Dave J McWeasely
I sat down to teach Carcassonne at boardgame night to four new players. As I don't remember everyone's names, lets just call them Red, Blue, Black, Grey, and Green.
We used the German 3rd edition rules, and we played with many expansion tiles, but none of the expansion rules activated, for example the Cathedrals were just four sided city tiles.
Blue started the first city of the game, and Red and Black quickly injected their own meeples. It was a fecund nucleus, and soon grew to be ~36 points, putting us three way ahead.
Green and Grey forged an alliance to try to catch up, but it was a paper tiger, I don't think they ever helped eachother out in practice.
Black then proceeded to squander every last meeple on farming. I offered to let him take it back, but he refused and proceeded to place his tiles as malevolently as possible, and to try to make completed cities in his farmland. His farms were ubiquitous, so this actually worked pretty well for him. He also joined three of his farmers into a super-farm, which shut out one red, one grey, and two blue farmers, to our mass chagrin.
In the end, even though he'd not placed a meeple in the latter half of the game, Black's super-farming strategy worked, and he won by a large margin!
I was suprised, because I'm used to 2-3 player, where not having meeples cuts you out of the "quick 2" type place-and-retake moves and can really put you behind. But in a 5-player game its not like you get so many turns anyway, that's not as much as issue. Better to take advantage of other's industriousness by slapping down farmers.
Schooled by the noob. That's me.