Many paths to victory
In Princes of Florence, you play a Renaissance aristocrat,
seeking not cash (it's so bourgeois!) but prestige. In each of
the seven rounds you may purchase one item at auction and take
two actions. You must make the most of these 21 opportunities.
At the start of the game, many strategic options are available,
but your decisions shape your choices, so you face new challenges
each game. Resources are scarce, so if opponents bid high for
items you want, an alternate plan may be better. The hallmarks
of a successful player are solid strategy and tactical flexibility.
An aristocrat can gain prestige in many ways. The most common
is to attract scholars and artists of various professions to
work in your principality. You take advantage of their works
to boost your prestige, or sell them to raise funds to further
your plans. You may also gain prestige by constructing beautiful
buildings and landscapes, or by buying Prestige Cards. Last year's
WBC champion de-emphasized works, using a "Builder strategy"
based on buildings and bonuses derived from them. Was this a
one-time phenomenon, or will similar approaches meet with success
I will run a demo for new players. If you want to learn the
game, or if you would like a refresher, attend the demo. The
rules to Princes of Florence are simple, and people enter
the tournament every year after learning the game at the demo.
This year's tournament will have two preliminary heats. You
may play in either or both. We will play 5-player games where
possible, though we will probably have to play some 4-player
games in the heats. If at least 25 players appear, the semifinals
will have five 5-player games. If 20-24 players appear, we will
play five 4-player games. If 16-19 appear, we'll play four 4-player
games. All semifinal winners will advance to the Final (but if
fewer than 16 qualifiers show up for the semifinals, we'll skip
the semis and go straight to a 5-player Final.)
Tiebreakers for advancement to the semifinals will be:
1. Most wins
2. Win in first heat entered
3. Total points in all games entered, where for each game your
points equal the ratio of your score to the score of your highest-scoring
opponent plus 100 points for a win, 20 points for 2nd place,
or five points for third place in a 5-player game
4. Average finish in all heats entered
5. Low numbered random draw from Profession deck
The order of finish in a game is determined first by prestige
points and then by florins. If there is a tie on prestige points
and florins, then the tied player with the lowest numbered Profession
card on display at the end of the game will be awarded the higher
A list of qualifiers plus alternates will be posted at the
kiosk after the conclusion of the last heat. Depending on the
results of the heat, you could advance without a win - alternatively,
you could fail to advance even though you have a win. Unless
attendance goes up, however, all winners are likely to advance.
We will make the following rules changes. All other rules will
be as printed in the 2000 Rio Grande English edition.
1. In all games, money is public. Florin pieces must be kept
in full view. Players are entitled to know how much money other
players have at any time.
2. Starting players are chosen randomly for the heats, but
we bid for seating position in the semfinals and Final. Many
players believe some positions have an advantage, a concern we
address by letting players bid florins to obtain preferred positions.
The bid cost offsets the benefit of the position. The GM will
supply a chart for each game with boxes for 0, 100, 200, 300,
... florins for positions 1 through 5. The initial bidder is
chosen randomly. Going around the table in order, each player
whose marker is not on the chart must place it in any empty box,
as long as the bid is higher than any previous bid for that position.
If your bid for a position is topped, you take the marker back
and use it to bid again later. If your marker is already on the
chart when it is your turn to bid, you must pass. Bidding ends
when all markers are on the chart, and players rearrange their
seats in accordance with the final bids. You must pay the amount
of your final bid to the bank out of your starting cash before
the game begins. You may bid 0 florins, but you may have to accept
a less popular position as a result.
1. During the Auction phase, all initial bids must be exactly
200 florins, and all raises must be exactly 100 florins. No jump
bids are allowed.
2. You may bid more florins during the Auction phase than
you have if you have enough points on the Prestige Point track
to make up the difference. You spend Prestige Points at the rate
of one per 100 florins only if you win the bid.
3. You may use a Recruiting card to recruit either immediately
after purchase in the Auction phase or during your turn in the
Action phase. You may not recruit at any other time.
4. Profession cards are numbered in the top corners for reference.
These numbers do not contribute to the Work Value. They have
no effect on the game except as a tiebreaker (see above.)
5. You may not build the same building type twice (e.g., you
may not build two Towers in your principality.)
6. As a matter of "game etiquette" you may continue
the game while another player selects a Prestige, Profession,
or Bonus card, except in the 7th round where knowledge of your
actions could significantly assist the player's choice. You may
also choose to wait until the card is selected before you continue.
7. It is easy to forget to pay for an item or to score Prestige
Points for purchases, so players at each table should carefully
monitor each other to assure that all payments are made and all
Prestige Points are credited. If possible, a non-playing banker/scorekeeper
will be used for the Final.