Many paths to victory
Princes of Florence ranks 11th out of 5110 games on
boardgamegeek.com and third out of 5687 on Aaron Fuegi's Internet
Top 100 Games list (scv.bu.edu/~aarondf/Top100/list.txt).
In Princes of Florence, you play a Renaissance aristocrat,
seeking not cash (so bourgeois) but prestige. In each of the
seven rounds you may purchase one item at auction and take two
actions, and you must make the most of these 21 opportunities
to win. At the start of the game, many strategic options
are available, but the decisions you make as you go along limit
your choices and force you to make difficult choices. Resources
are scarce, and if your opponents purchase items you need, you
will need to find an alternate plan. The hallmarks of a
successful player are solid strategy and tactical flexibility.
There are many ways for an aristocrat to gain prestige, but the
most common is to attract scholars and artists of various professions
to work in your principality. You may take advantage of
their works to boost your prestige or sell them to raise funds
for additional purchases. You may also gain prestige through
the construction of beautiful buildings or landscapes, or through
the purchase of Prestige Cards, but the most direct route to
victory is by putting on works. This presents challenges,
because at most 26 works can be put on during the game (an average
of five per player,) and the Personality Cards and Jesters needed
to put these works on are hotly contested during the auctions.
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 semi-finals
will have five 5-player games. If 20-24 players show, we
will play five 4-player games. If 16-19 vie, we'll play
four 4-player games. All semi-final winners will advance
to the Final (but if fewer than 16 qualifiers show up for the
semi-finals, we'll skip the semis and go straight to a 5-player
Tiebreakers for advancement to the semi-finals 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 3rd 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 position.
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 spikes, however, all winners are likely to advance.
We will make the following rules changes. All other rules
will be as printed in the Rio Grande English edition.
1. In all games, money will be 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 will be chosen randomly for the heats,
but we will bid for seating position in the semi-finals and Final.
Many players believe some positions have a significant advantage,
so we will prevent inequity 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
listing the five positions, with boxes for 0, 100, 200, 300,
florins beside each position. The initial bidder will be
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 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.