princes of florence [Updated Nov. 21, 2006]  

2006 WBC Report  

 2007 Status: pending 2007 GM commitment

Eric Brosius, MA

2006 Champion

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Event History
2001    Arthur Field     65
2002    Arthur Field     94
2003    Eric Brosius     88
2004    Eugene Lin     77
2005    Ian MacInnes     82
2006     Eric Brosius     57

Euro Quest Event History
2003    John Kerr     31
2004    Brian Reynolds     24
2005     Rod Spade     25
2006    John Kerr     24


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Eric Brosius       MA    06     94
  2.  John Kerr          VA    06     50
  3.  Arthur Field       SC    02     50
  4.  Doug Kaufman       MD    06     49
  5.  Eugene Lin         WA    04     44
  6.  Legend Dan Hoffman MD    06     40
  7.  Ian MacInnes       NY    05     40
  8.  Rod Spade          PA    06     38
  9.  David Platnick     VA    05     36
 10.  Davyd Field        SC    06     30
 11.  Brian Reynolds     MD    04     30
 12.  Tom Johnston       IL    06     27
 13.  Doug Smith         PA    02     22
 14.  James Carvin       PA    03     18
 15.  Donna Rogall       MD    04     17
 16.  Joe Nemet          PA    05     16
 17.  Clyde Kruskal      MD    03     16
 18.  Rod Spade          PA    06     14
 19.  Tom Browne         PA    05     12
 20.  Greg Thatcher      FL    05     12
 21.  Holliday Jones     MD    04     12
 22.  Stuart Tucker      MD    03     12
 23.  John Weber         MD    03     12
 24.  Sam Atabaki        CA    06      9
 25.  Andrew Gerb        MD    05      9
 26.  Richard Fox        IL    06      8
 27.  Andrew Greene      VA    05      8
 28.  Scott Nicholson    NY    05      8
 29.  Nathaniel Hoam     OH    04      8
 30.  Lyman Moquin       DC    06      6
 31.  Brian Jones        MD    04      6
 32.  Winton LeMoine     CA    06      4
 33.  Greg Crowe         VA    05      4
 34.  Anne Norton        NJ    02      4
 35.  Brian Jones        NC    01      4
 36.  Bruce Reiff        OH    03      3
 37.  Randy Cox          SC    01      3
 38.  John Brier         NY    05      2
 39.  Marc Houde         DC    01      2
 40.  Justin Veazey      MD    01      1

2006 Laurelists

Rod Spade, PA

Legend Dan Hoffman, MD

Sam Atabaki, CA

Davyd Field, SC

Thomas Johnston, IL

Past Winners

Arthur Field, SC
2001 - 2002

Eric Brosius, MA
2003, 2006

Eugene Lin, WA

Ian MacInnes, NY

 A "shopping" game, eh? Sounds like Eric is trying to attract more ladies to his event. I know my wife's ears perked up when I told her about it. But then she said, "na - I'd rather go shopping then play a game about shopping." Darn!

Now in its sixth year at WBC, POF suffered its lowest attendance ever so one might wonder if this first of the "heavy" Euros is losing steam. Since the attendance record has been errattic rather than a steady decline, it seems likely this is just a scheduling problem.

Unsafe at any speed...

Princes of Florence is an event you are welcome to enter without prior experience as long as you attend the demo session. For the second straight year, we filled the demo table with several new players and a few others who wanted a refresher. The game is easier to learn than you'd think, probably because it's about shopping - a theme ideally suited to the American psyche! As an aristocrat in Renaissance Florence, you win not through riches but by gaining more prestige than your fellow players, but it does take a good deal of cash to maintain that seemingly effortless lifestyle. 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. Some of the items available for purchase offer potentially high rewards, with commensurately high risks, while others provide a margin of safety. The game is like an auto race - if you're too cautions you'll never win, but if you take risks, it's easy to crash, especially when you and an opponent both try to seize the same opportunity. The trick is to know when to step on the gas and when to hang back and avoid trouble.

The game accommodates three, four or five players, but is best with five if you want a competitive game (more players increase the contention for scarce resources.) I ran as many 5-player games as I could, with 4-player games as needed to give everyone a seat. Charlie Kersten won a 4-player game in Heat 1 with 66 PP, ahead of three other players with 47 PP each, as Al Schwartz took second based on florins remaining at the end. Jay Fox, who learned the game at last year's demo, also won a game in Heat 1, finishing ahead of Carmen Petruzzelli by four PP.

In Heat 2, S. Deniz Bucak earned the remarkable total of 27 PP from Prestige Cards, completing four. He finished in an exact tie with Winton Lemoine at 58 PP in a game in which only seven PP separated first place from fifth. Unfortunately for Deniz, Winton ended the game with 500 florins to win, leaving Deniz with 200 florins and in second place. Thomas Johnston won his second straight game by one PP over Sam Atabaki, putting him atop the list of qualifiers. Bruce DuBoff, who had attended the demo and was playing in his first heat, managed a third place finish in a game won by Davyd Field.

Heat 3 offered the last chance to advance. It attracted both repeat players and those who were making their only attempts. Katherine McCorry, was the only player to enter all three heats. She was also a great help to the GM in getting the games organized. Katherine finished second for the third straight time, this time by just two PP, earning a spot in the semis. Four players who were playing second games won their games: Jeff Senley, Bob Wicks, Greg Crowe and David Platnick. Bruce DuBoff improved his standing with a second place finish, also by just two PP, to make his way into the semis.

Only 19 qualifiers and two alternates appeared for the semi-finals, which meant we would play five 4-player games. Five copies of Princes of Florence were on hand, one belonging to second alternate Rob Flowers. Rob, who was 21st on the list, could have bumped the player ahead of him based on the shortage and the fact that he had brought a copy. In an exemplary act of gracious sportsmanship, Rob voluntarily ceded his spot, allowing his copy to be used for the tournament even though he did not play. 

Though the tournament format includes bidding for seats in the semis and Final, there is little perception of imbalance between the starting positions in 4-player games, and only three games saw non-zero bids. In one semi, Carmen Petruzzelli bid 100 florins to be Player 1 and finished two PP behind Eric Brosius, who was Player 4. In another, Rod Spade bid 100 florins to be Player 2 and won with 74 PP, a full 16 PP ahead of his closest rival. Sam Atabaki and Rodney Bacigalupo bid 100 florins each to be Players 1 and 2, respectively, in their semi, but Rodney had to pay 1300 florins for a Lake in Round 7 (sometimes you really need a Lake.) This left him far behind as Sam edged past Charlie Kersten for the win. The other two games featured no bidding. In one, Katherine McCorry finished second for the fourth straight time behind Davyd Field. In the other, Thomas Johnston finished with 59 PP and 1000 florins, just one PP behind winner Legend Dan Hoffman, who had 60 PP and 200 florins. Tom had saved a pile of florins to bid for the item he wanted in the Round 7 auction but wound up taking a less desirable item for just 200 florins. He rued putting so many florins aside for bidding - if he had taken PP instead, he may have won by a comfortable margin.

The Final featured four returning laurelists and one newcomer, Sam Atabaki, who in his first WBC had a close second in his one heat and a win in the semis. We sat down to bid for seats. Eric bid first, placing his marker on Seat 2 for 0 florins. Rod immediately outbid him, offering 200 florins for Seat 2. Davyd bid 100 florins for Seat 1, hoping to get it cheaply. Dan now bid zero for Seat 3, and Sam immediately bid 300 florins for Seat 2. Eric had to bid again, and he bid 100 florins for Seat 3, displacing Dan. With players committed to paying for Seats 1 to 3, Rod and Dan now took Seats 4 and 5 at no cost. We rearranged our seats and Davyd, Sam and Eric paid the amount of their bids to the bank.
You don't expect to get bargains in the Final, and bargains were indeed hard to find. Sam paid 1100 for a Jester in Round 1, and Davyd took a Builder for 700. Consistently high Builder prices kept anyone from even trying the Builder strategy that was the rage in 2005. The next item was a Recruiter card, a category that is often undervalued by rookies, but Dan had to pay a high price for it. Eric now paid 200 for a Forest, a safe, cheap bid that would eliminate pressure early in the game, and Rod was happy to take a Prestige card for just 200. No one put on a Work in Round 1 as we concentrated on getting Profession cards and Freedoms.
The choice items remained costly in Rounds 2 and 3. We even saw the odd landscape bid up to 300 or 400 as players jockeyed for position. In many games one player will buy several Jesters and another several Builders, but this time these items were distributed evenly, no one getting two of either until the late rounds. Eric bought a Recruiter for 600 in Round 2 and another for the same price in Round 3, and he used two 700-florin buildings and his Forest to put on the sole Work in Round 2 for a WV of 15 and again in Round 3 for a WV of 16, earning Best Work both times without using a Bonus card and setting aside the cash he needed to fund future purchases. From Round 4 on, each Best Work required the help of a Bonus card, a more dependable route but one that takes two actions to carry out.
By the end of Round 3, many players were beginning to run short of cash, especially Sam, who began with only 3200 florins and did not find bargains in the auctions. Dan was also squeezed, turning PP back in for cash at one point to fund construction of a key building. In some games prices come down toward the end as differences among the players' strategies result in different needs, but in this game there always seemed to be two or three players who wanted the same item at the same time. Three of the six Prestige cards that were purchased involved building, and they went to three different players, guaranteeing a spirited competition. The final Recruiting card went for 900 as players saw the value of the extra Work it would allow them to put on.
The scores were extremely close at the start of Round 6, but Eric still had three Works to put on while no one else had more than two. Eric paid 1200 florins for a Jester in Round 6; he was willing to pay a high price to guarantee that he could put all three Works on. Sam saved two Works for Round 7, but was forced to buy a Bonus card to put one of them on, leaving one unused in his hand.
At the end of the game we turned up our Prestige cards to complete the scoring. Davyd had purchased two Prestige cards and each other player had but one. Davyd fulfilled only one of his cards and Dan was only tied for Most Buildings to earn three PP. The other three players fulfilled their cards. This made Eric the winner with 59 PP. Rod was second with 53, followed by Dan with 49, Sam with 46 and Davyd with 42.

2006 Euro Quest Laurelists

John Kerr, VA

Douglas Kaufman, MD

Richard Fox, IL

Lyman Moquin, DC

Winton Lemoine, CA

 GM      Eric Brosius  [3rd Year]   NA   NA

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