After some dinner with my wife and kids and a little bit of shopping, we returned home, and Nathan Winchester dropped by to get in a little lighter-than-last-time two-player gaming. I suggested a few things, and of course, Nathan wanted to play Age of Steam. I pulled out my Scotland map, which I had never had the chance to tryout. This is a tight little player designed map with very little in special rules or changes, just a map for two-players. We dove in and after a couple turns, two things became apparent. We were going to run out of goods very soon and Nathan was going to lose. He had taken three more shares than I at the point that we were making a profit and didn't need more shares and during the last couple turns Nathan was making smaller deliveries than I consistently. Nathan also got hosed a bit by where he had built his main line - the goods didn't come out into his areas at all. I ended up winning 55-38. AoS definitely hits a sweet spot at 4-5 players, but this wasn't a bad little map to get in our AoS fix, and can probably be played in about 75 minutes, making it a decent two player option.
Next up, while deciding what to play, Nathan asked about Carc, so I pulled out Carcassonne:The Castle. Once again, luck was against Nathan, who despite nailing the bonus pieces ahead of me most of the time, pulled ones that were similar and not as devastatingly powerful as my single double-castle scoring one that let me score a whopping 40 points. I won 111-76. I think in the future, I'll play with the scoring tiles face up to allow for a bit more tactical approach to grabbing the bonus tiles.
It was about 11:15PM, so I pulled out a game I hadn't played before, but which I knew to be pretty quick - Pecking Order. I picked this one up at a Tuesday Morning on cheap, which was cool since I had been keeping an eye out for it after seeing The Fonz playing it at the Game Shoppe in Omaha once. Basically its a fast and light little bluffing/deduction game. Players each have cards 1-12 that they place on spots on a board. If you place a card where your opponent is, they have to reveal the card (you do not). If your card is higher, they take theirs off, otherwise you do - still, the "attacker" never reveals the card. There are also a couple of other spaces that let you look at a card and two spots that if you fill both, you get a big bonus. Apparently, I suck at this sort of thing, because Nathan kicked my butt 105-135. Again, another fun little two player game and I'm glad I finally got to try it out.