We started with Glory to Rome which was Van's pick. Despite her previous irritation at the way 2-player games often end abruptly with the all the in-town sites being utilized, she was keen to have another go at it.
She got off to a strong start with a couple of building completions and a Storeroom (all clients count as labourers) allowed her to make up for my initial advantage in the vault. As usual, the Circus Maximus (doubles each client's action) proved to be a devastating card and I tried in vain to make up for the differential in influence between the two of us.
I managed to obtain each of 6 different clients and with a completed Scriptorium (able to complete any building with one marble material) stood a good chance at a Forum victory but alas, the card never came.
In the end, Van took the victory easily with a score of 32 to 19. She commented that she made an effort to manage her hand more efficiently this time round after I highlighted it to her after the last game. Looks like I can look forward to more keenly contested games in future.
I next picked Puerto Rico cause I was keen to play a game that hadn't come to the table much recently. Van as usual was reluctant to play Race for the Galaxy so I figured Puerto Rico was one of the deeper games we had that scaled reasonably well for 2 using a suitable variant.
The plantation draw was cruel to me and I failed to get either cash crop early in the game. I successfully blocked Van by taking both the Harbour and Factory (in the variant we played, we had only one of each violet buildings) but in vain as she propelled to victory by scoring maximum points for her Guild House. The final score was 48 to 35 in Van's favour.
On second thought, I should have perhaps taken the Guild House earlier since it seems particularly strong in the 2-player game. I thought I had a nice shipping strategy going but due to my limited production of goods, I ended up with only 18 shipping points despite the effect of the Harbour (extra point for each type of good loaded)
Van chose Stone Age as the final game and I made it a point to opt for a more diversified strategy this time round. It paid dividends as I maxed out my tools, meeples and was just one short of maximizing my food production. I also managed to obtain all 8 different green civilization cards and beat Van with a score of 437 to 342. She tried to pursue a building strategy but her limited number of multipliers at the end of the game did her in.