Re:How does this play as 2 player?
It plays pretty well as a 2 player. I only played it recently (a friend's copy) and have since traded for it. And it will get played 2-player for the most part.
Upsides: beautiful game, good game play as long as you like a bit of brain-burn, I like the way it combines Torres and Tikal in the scoring - feels like more options to score points. Even with 2 players, this is a meaty and satisfying game.
Downsides: more space on the board - means less competition for spots, but that makes it more relaxed too. Also the analysis paralysis is a potential problem as someone tries to compute the best move, but this is less than in Tikal I think as there are too many ways to score so you just can't run through every combo - generally people I've played with have picked a route to go and maximize that.
Putting the game away is a bit of a pain too, but that isn't a 2-player only problem.