Many paths to victory
In Princes of Florence you are a Renaissance aristocrat,
seeking not cash but prestige. In each of the seven rounds you
may purchase one item at auction and take two actions. At the
start, many strategic options are available, but player decisions
shape your choices, so each game is different. 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. "Builder
strategies" have won in recent years, though 2014 champion
Lyman Moquin didn't look like he started the game with a plan
to pursue this strategy; he appeared to fall into it as the game
I will run a demo for new players. If you want to learn, or
if you want a refresher, please attend. The rules to the gane
are simple, and people enter the tournament every year after
learning the game at the demo.
Heats. This year's tournament will have two preliminary
heats. You may play in either or both. We will play 5-player
games where possible, but we will probably have to play some
4-player games in the heats.
Semifinals. If at least 25 players appear, there will
be five 5-player games. With 20-24 players, there will be five
games, but some will be 4-player games. With 16-19 players, we'll
play only four games, and some will be 4-player games. The semifinal
winners will advance to the Final. If fewer than 16 qualifiers
appear for the semifinals, we'll skip the round and go straight
to a Final that includes the top five qualifiers.
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 5 points for third place in a 5-player game
4. 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 and alternates will be posted at the
kiosk after the last heat. If attendance is similar to that in
recent years, some players will advance without a win, but if
attendance goes up substantially, it is conceivable that some
winners may not advance.
We will make the following rules changes. All other rules
will be as printed in the 2000 Rio Grande English edition.
1. Money is public. Florin pieces are kept in full view. Players
are entitled to know how much money other players have at any
2. Starting players are chosen randomly for the heats, but
we bid for seating position in the semifinals and finals. 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.