Many paths to victory
Princes of Florence is a Top 20 game on Boardgamegeek.com.
Although it is celebrating its tenth anniversary, it keeps making
it to the table, with 2500 plays recorded on Boardgamegeek in
2009 and a new printing scheduled.
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
options 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 you may 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, 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 (about 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 some 4-player games may be necessary in the
heats. If at least 25 qualifiers appear, the semif-inals will
have five 5-player games. If 20-24 players appear, we will play
five 4-player games. If 16-19, we'll play four 4-player games.
All semi-final winners will advance to the Final (but if fewer
than 16 qualifiers appear for the semi-finals, we'll skip the
semis and go straight to a 5-player Final.)
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
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 increases, 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,
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 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.