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Eric Brosius
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Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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As GM for the The Princes of Florence tournament at the recently-concluded World Boardgaming Championships, I made a detailed record of the final game (I did this last year also; you can read that report at the following link.)

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/336950

Just like last year, it was not a perfectly-played game, but it did feature strong players making their best efforts. I'm posting this report to provide an example you may play through and perhaps learn something about the game. Here's how it went:

The players were Bruce DuBoff, Tom Browne, Chris Senhouse, Rod Spade and Davyd Field. Each of them participated in one or both heats (58 people took part in at least one heat) and then won a semi-final in order to qualify for the finals.

I encourage any finalists who are BoardGameGeek members to post additional thoughts about the final game below. I'll use dollar signs in my write-up, even though money comes in florins.

Because of the perception that some seats (especially Seat 2) are better than others, I use bidding to determine seating order in the semi-finals and finals. Bruce was first to bid, and he bid $200 to play Seat 2. Tom bid $0 to play Seat 3. Chris then bid $300 to play Seat 2, topping Bruce's bid. Rod bid $0 for Seat 1 and Davyd outbid him for Seat 1 at $100. Now Bruce bid $400 for Seat 2. At this point Chris bid $0 for Seat 4 and Rod accepted Seat 5 at no cost. We rearranged the seating order accordingly and each player paid his bid to the bank.

Seat Cash
---------------
1 Davyd 3400
2 Bruce 3100
3 Tom 3500
4 Chris 3500
5 Rod 3500


Round 1 --- Auction

As 1st player, Davyd started by auctioning a Builder. Bruce bought it for $700. Davyd then auctioned a Jester, which Chris bought for $1100. He auctioned a Recruiter that went to Rod for $700. Finally, Davyd put up a Forest, which he was able to buy for $200. As the last one in the auction, Tom took a Prestige Card for $200.

Round 1 --- Actions

1. Davyd bought a Profession Card for $300 and Freedom of Religion for $300
2. Bruce bought a Profession Card for $300 and Freedom of Travel for $300
3. Tom bought a Profession Card for $300 and Freedom of Religion for $300
4. Chris bought a Profession Card for $300 and Freedom of Travel for $300
5. Rod bought a Profession Card for $300 and Freedom of Opinion for $300

No one earned Best Work this turn

Seat Cash PPs
----------------------
1 Davyd 2600 0
2 Bruce 1800 0
3 Tom 2700 0
4 Chris 1800 0
5 Rod 2200 0


Round 2 --- Auction

Bruce auctioned a Jester and Davyd bought it for $1100. He then auctioned a Builder and bought it himself for $800 (gaining 3 PP.) Tom auctioned a Recruiter to Chris for $800 and then bought a Park for $200. This allowed Rod to take a Forest for $200.

Round 2 --- Actions

1. Bruce bought a Profession Card for $300 and Freedom of Religion for $300
2. Tom bought Freedom of Travel for $300 and a Bonus card for $300
3. Chris bought Freedom of Opinion for $300 and played #10 Cartographer for 10 WV, taking $1000 + 0 PP
4. Rod recruited #10 Cartographer from Chris and bought Freedom of Religion for $300 and a Bonus card for $300
5. Davyd built a Tower for $700 (gaining 3 PP) and played #20 Astronomer for 16 WV, taking $1000 + 3 PP

Davyd earned 3 PP for Best Work

Seat Cash PPs
----------------------
1 Davyd 1800 9
2 Bruce 400 3
3 Tom 1900 0
4 Chris 1700 0
5 Rod 1400 0


Round 3 --- Auction

Tom auctioned a Jester and Chris bought it for $1000. He auctioned a Builder to Rod for $600 and a Recruiter to Davyd for $700. Tom bought a Prestige card for $200. This allowed Bruce to take a Lake for $200.

Round 3 --- Actions

1. Tom bought Freedom of Opinion for $300 and built a Laboratory for $700 (gaining 3 PP)
2. Chris built a University for $700 (gaining 3 PP) and played #2 Theologian for 16 WV, taking $1600 + 0 PP
3. Rod built a Chapel for $300 (gaining 3 PP) and played #21 Organ Maker for 15 WV, taking $1300 + 1 PP
4. Davyd bought Freedom of Opinion for $300 and a Bonus card for $300
5. Bruce gave up 1 PP to gain $100, built a Studio for $300 (gaining 3 PP) and played #15 Painter for 15 WV, taking $1500 + 0 PP

Chris earned 3 PP for Best Work

Seat Cash PPs
----------------------
1 Davyd 500 9
2 Bruce 1500 5
3 Tom 700 3
4 Chris 1600 6
5 Rod 1800 4


Round 4 --- Auction

Chris put a Recruiter up for auction and got it for $600. Rod passed, but Tom thought Rod had bid $700 and was surprised to find that Chris got it for $600. Rod auctioned a Jester and got it for $800. Davyd auctioned a Builder, which Bruce bought for $900 (gaining 3 PP.) He then bought a Prestige card for $200. This allowed Tom to take a Lake for $200.

Round 4 --- Actions

1. Chris bought a Bonus card for $300, recruited #21 Organ Maker from Rod, and played #21 Organ Maker for 15 WV using the "Each Large Building" Bonus card, taking $1100 + 2 PP
2. Rod bought a Bonus Card for $300 and built an Opera for $300 (gaining 3 PP)
3. Davyd recruited #21 Organ Maker from Chris, played #21 Organ Maker for 15 WV using the "Each Jester" Bonus card, taking $1500 + 0 PP, and built a Workshop for $700 (gaining 3 PP)
4. Bruce built a University for $0 (gaining 3 PP) and played #1 Mathematician for 15 WV, taking $500 + 5 PP
5. Tom bought a Bonus card for $300 and played #4 Botanist for 19 WV using the "Each Prestige and Each Freedom" Bonus card, taking $1300 + 3 PP

Tom earned 3 PP for Best Work

Seat Cash PPs
----------------------
1 Davyd 1100 12
2 Bruce 1100 16
3 Tom 1500 9
4 Chris 1800 8
5 Rod 400 7


Round 5 --- Auction

Rod auctioned a Recruiter to Tom for $700 and a Jester to Bruce for $800. Rod then bought a Lake for $200. Davyd bought a Builder for $200. This allowed Chris to take a Forest for $200.

Round 5 --- Actions

1. Rod played #13 Composer for 17 WV, taking $700 + 5 PP, and built a Library for $300 (gaining 3 PP)
2. Davyd built a Library for $300 (gaining 3 PP) and played #11 Jurist for 17 WV, taking $500 + 6 PP
3. Bruce built a Workshop for $0 (gaining 3 PP) and played #7 Watch Maker for 17 WV, taking $700 + 5 PP
4. Tom built a Hospital for $700 (gaining 3 PP) and played #16 Pharmacist for 15 WV, taking $1500 + 0 PP
5. Chris bought a Bonus Card for $300 and played #3 Philosopher for 20 WV, taking $1000 + 5 PP

Chris earned 3 PP for Best Work

Seat Cash PPs
----------------------
1 Davyd 1100 21
2 Bruce 1000 24
3 Tom 1600 12
4 Chris 2300 16
5 Rod 600 15


Round 6 --- Auction

Davyd auctioned a Prestige card to Bruce for $600. He then put a Jester up for sale and bought it for $700. Tom bought a Builder for $600 and Chris a Lake for $200. Rod then passed rather than put an item up for auction.

Round 6 --- Actions

1. Davyd bought a Bonus Card for $300 and played #8 Goldsmith for 16 WV, taking $600 + 5 PP
2. Bruce built a Hospital for $0 (gaining 3 PP) and a Tower for $0 (gaining 3 PP)
3. Tom built a Theater for $300 (gaining 3 PP) and played #19 Poet for 21 WV using the Each Freedom Bonus card, taking $500 + 8 PP
4. Chris built a Laboratory for $700 (gaining 3 PP) and played #6 Physicist for 24 WV using the Each Jester and Each Freedom Bonus card, taking $0 + 12 PP
5. Rod played #10 Cartographer for 17 WV, taking $100 + 8 PP, and #12 Choreographer for 17 WV, taking $100 + 8 PP

Chris earned 3 PP for Best Work

Seat Cash PPs
----------------------
1 Davyd 700 26
2 Bruce 400 30
3 Tom 1200 23
4 Chris 1400 34
5 Rod 800 31


Round 7 --- Auction

Bruce put a Forest up for auction and bought it for $800 after giving up 4 PP for $400. Tom then put a Jester up for auction and bought it for $900. Chris put a Prestige card up for auction and Davyd bought it for $1200 after giving up 5 PP for $500. Chris then bought a Lake for $200 (gaining 3 PP.) This allowed Rod to take a Park for $200.

Round 7 --- Actions

1. Bruce played #14 Sculptor for 17 WV, taking $100 + 8 PP, and #17 Physician for 17 WV, taking $100 + 8 PP
2. Tom bought a Bonus card for $300 and played #18 Dramatist for 23 WV using the 7 Categories Bonus card, taking $100 + 11 PP
3. Chris bought a Bonus Card for $300, recruited #1 Mathematician from Bruce, and played #1 Mathematician for 21 WV using the Each Lake Bonus card, taking $100 + 10 PP
4. Rod built a Laboratory for $300 (gaining 3 PP) and played #5 Alchemist for 22 WV, taking $0 + 11 PP
5. Davyd played #9 Bell Maker for 25 WV using the Each Building Size Bonus card, taking $300 + 11 PP, and built a Hospital for $300 (gaining 3 PP)

Davyd earned 3 PP for Best Work

Seat Cash PPs
----------------------
1 Davyd 0 38
2 Bruce 200 42
3 Tom 100 34
4 Chris 1000 47
5 Rod 300 45


It was time to reveal Prestige Cards to determine the winner.

David earned 6 PP for 4 Buildings, 2 Freedoms and 4 Works, but was not able to score Most Works
Bruce earned 5 PP for 2 Large Buildings
Tom earned 8 PP for All 3 Freedoms and 7 PP for 1 Builder, 1 Jester and 2 Landscapes
Chris had no Prestige cards
Rod had no Prestige cards

Final Scores

Seat Cash PPs
----------------------
5 Davyd 0 44
3 Bruce 200 47
1 Tom 100 49
2 Chris 1000 47
4 Rod 300 45
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the scrub
Canada
Mississauga
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Thanks for the report Eric! laugh
 
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Corin A. Friesen
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1st place Tom bought his stuff in the auctions for 200 florin every round until the 5th. Seriously, that's cool.

Epic report in it's completeness!
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Dave Eisen
United States
Menlo Park
CA
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Low scoring game. I typically aim for around 60 in a 5 player game and need every point.
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Jim Cote
United States
Maine
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Ooh, that's gotta hurt to lose by 2 points and have 1000 florims left.
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howl hollow howl
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generalpf wrote:
ekted wrote:
Ooh, that's gotta hurt to lose by 2 points and have 1000 florims left.

Sometimes I'll lose by one point and have 300, 400, maybe 500 florins left, but 1000? Epic miscalculation!

Yeah, Chris got 3 best work bonuses and still got hurt. Sitting on 1300 florins, he took 1000 more in turn 5, and then in the next two turns.... bought two lakes. Would love to know what he was thinking, or if it was just pressure.
 
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Loveland
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Wow...I've never seen a Jester go for $900 in the last round.
 
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Dave Eisen
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Last round is funny business. Some people are sitting on money that is about to turn into worthless and are willing to spend all of it for a gain of one PP. That twists the auction around when some players are in that situation and others aren't.
 
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Chris Heap Senhouse
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
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Thanks for the detailed write-up Eric....

Those of you wondering what I was thinking need to consider that Eric's write-up does not include all the information, and you need to consider what Professions I had. I needed my first Lake for some of my jobs. In the last round, I had 1400 florins and was planning to use 300 on a bonus card. One thing people don't consider is that while having left-over florins is not desirable, it does give you power in the final auction. The reason Davyd paid $1200 and 5 PP for the Prestige card is because I was the other player bidding against him! I wasn't going to pay 900 for a 4th Jester, so what do you all expect me to buy? The only things left were Jester, Prestige, and landscapes... sheesh. The second Lake gives me 3 more PP, which is not insignificant. Considering I almost got the Prestige card for $1100, having that money available is not an epic miscalculation. When I took that money in round 5, I knew I wanted $1000 for a building and a bonus card, leaving myself $1300 for two auctions. I could EASILY imagine a situation where I spend $600-700 in each auction on Jester, Prestige card, or Lake (yes they do get bid up sometimes).

Getting a lot of Best Works is certainly important, but it doesn't automatically win you the game. Because I spent so much in the first two auctions, I had to play a Work in round 2. After getting a Jester in round 3, getting Best Works becomes necessary for my strategy.

Also, my decisions were definitely not influenced by pressure. I have played a fair amount of mid-high stakes poker and top level Magic tournaments where there is way more pressure. I felt perfectly relaxed and thought I played this game very well. The other finalists and I discussed what would have happened if I had kept bidding on that final Prestige card, sacrificing PP to get it. There were 3 cards in the Prestige deck out of 10 that worked for me, so there is a small chance I could totally miss and end up in last place by doing that (also then not being able to buy a bonus card). Also, I believed I was in first unless both of Tom's Prestige Cards were full value. I took the slightly more conservative path, knowing that Tom could easily have missed the second one he got in round 3 (or shared it for half points).

I hope this clears up what happened in the game and my decision-making. For some reason, Princes is my best game at WBC. My game results are 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 1, 4, 1, 1, 2. The 4th place was last years finals.

Chris

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Chris Heap Senhouse
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Somerville
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No worries. One of my favorite things about good games is that every so often, they push you into a corner you didn't expect or have never seen before. You can't just play robotically - you have to adapt to the circumstance. Princes of Florence has a lot of hidden depth that people who play it a few times often don't give it credit for.

Chris
 
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howl hollow howl
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Thanks for the info, Chris. No disrespect intended. It looked a little funny cuz you took the money out in round 5 even though you only needed a lake in round 6 and could have taken money then after seeing how much you got the lake for, but if you knew already that you would be willing to bid $1100 in round 7 for that card, then that makes sense.
 
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Alex Bove
United States
East Lansdowne
Pennsylvania
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The same thing that happened to Chris this year happened to Winton last year. Sometimes you make a reasonable prediction (that your last two auction items will go for $1300 total) and that's just not the way it works out. This is why we so often see good players sacrificing PP for $100 each in the final auction: they played for maximum efficiency and miscalculated, but their estimates were too low (the opposite of Chris's approach here). Dividing those 5th-6th round works into PP/florins is the toughest part of Princes. When you make the "right" choice, you look like a genius. When you're "wrong," you look foolish.

Also, look at it this way. Let's say Chris had been a bit more conservative in Round 5. He knew he needed $1000 for a building and a card, so let's say he predicted he could get his last two auction items for $500 apiece. Let's say he even predicted the $100 left over from the odd-numbered WV in Round 6. So he took $400 florins fewer and 2 PP more in Round 5. He still would only have tied Tom, and because of his perfect efficiency, Chris would have lost on the tie-breaker.

Or...

Chris would not have had enough money to force Davyd to trade PP for cash for the final Prestige card. If Davyd had been able to buy that last prestige card for $700, he would have won outright. Chris's aggressive auction strategy in Round 7 surely prevented Davyd from beating him. So at the very least, Chris's choice to take more cash in Round 5 moved him from 2nd to 3rd.
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silence means security
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montu wrote:
The same thing that happened to Chris this year happened to Winton last year.....

I'm still seething.
 
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Daniel Eppolito
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Don't keep seething Winty Fresh, the odds don't apply to you (this includes euro-game auction speculation).

Fantastic report by the way Eric!
 
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