Lisa and I decided to try the two-player variant of Border Reivers. This was the first time Lisa had played and the first time I had played with only two. We both admired the quality of the pieces and the general production. Lisa felt that at times the rules were not as clear as they could be. She thought that the game was hard to get into for someone who does not have a history of board/wargames (apart from playing Risk once...an expereince she is keen not to repeat!). This was her enduring criticism of the game, particularly the combat system which she could not make sense of (although I think I found a way to explain it afterwards).
In the end I won with 46 gold to Lisa's 38. We are a little concerned that we were not playing it correctly. We both realised that we could easily sit and build our settled empires without fighting each other and see who was the first to get 40 gold. There appeared to be no incentive to attack each other (definately not the case with 3 or 4 players).
Interestingly we both chose the Market, Training Camp and Guildhouses cards to improve the chances of increasing armies and revenue. I later chose a Reiving Party card which I used twice to annoy Lisa and keep down her income from taxation. I also got hold of the Mine which was worth doing. There was only one battle (apart from the Reiving Party) which I won by using Siege Engines to reduce Lisa's Castle to a Fortress and having twice as many armies. I then went on to destroy her city just soon enough to stop her winning by gaining more gold.
Although we enjoyed playing the game together it felt a little unsatisfactory. Lisa could have won really quickly had she not bothered defending an area which I did later attack. Had she used the armies committed to this to create cities she would have taxed her way to victory much sooner.
We will try it again soon and Lisa did say that she would like to try the 3 or 4 player version as well!