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From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy

Part I - Introduction and General Strategic Principles


Among German games, Princes of Florence (PoF) features one of the highest requirements for strategic thinking as opposed to short-term tactical manoeuvrer. Players must choose among a variety of viable strategies, deciding which one best suits their position at the time, and then steer it through the thicket of options and the opposition of their opponents to bring it to fruition. Its depth and subtlety is as great as any German game in print.

Of course, any game of great depth can pose serious problems to new players, especially those who are playing with a group that already has considerable experience. The extreme case of this is a person who is learning the game on BSW, where he or she will frequently face people who have played PoF hundreds of times. This article is aimed (primarily) at anyone in such a position, as well as seasoned players who are just looking for a few more nuggets of wisdom to gain that extra edge on their opponents.

Here I shall do my best to lay down the product of, as of this writing, over 300 games of PoF experience, much of it gained against the top players on BSW, who are some of the best players in the world. While I cannot claim to be the world's best player, I am quite good, and could dominate most casual face-to-face groups without any great difficulty.

Part I shall discuss General Strategic Principles. Part II will look at each of the items that a player can buy. Part III will look at other, less general, strategic concepts.

One friendly warning, first. Even a basic grasp of the material I shall present should make you considerably better than most casual players. The kind of dominance this can cause is little fun after the first few wins, and makes PoF absolutely no fun at all for your opponents, just as it may currently be frustrating you if you feel that you have no chance against your current opposition. If you are only a little behind the rest of your group, and just need a bit of help with the fundamentals to become competitive, I highly recommend that you read Richard Fawkes earlier strategy article Fawkes's Princes of Florence Strategy Guide first. If, after you have fully absorbed its lessons, you find that you still need help, this article should be for you. You can find Richard's article at http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekforum.php3?action=viewthrea....

This may give the impression that this article is a bad thing, sucking all of the pleasure from the game, but actually, I think the opposite is true. I have found that PoF becomes more fun when I play with groups of players with greater skill. Often it seems to beginners that only one or two strategies are viable if you want to be competitive. As your skill level grows, however, methods of combating these dominant strategies will become apparent. Once this happens, the range of viable strategies broadens, the margin for error decreases, the fights become more dynamic, the players must become more adaptable, and the tension heightens. When a group of players of great skill faces off at Princes of Florence, it is an exhausting but exhilarating game to participate in.

While I will be including everything I know that I think is important, I am not going to try to cram every crumb of strategic knowledge I have into this article. This is a very long article as it is, and trying to be encyclopedic would make it truly monstrous. Beyond a certain point, there are diminishing returns on the effort necessary to add such detail. Digressing with special cases and specifics too often would reduce clarity, as well. Besides, if I give up everything that I know to the world at large, winning will just become much too difficult. A lot of my regular BSW opponents read BGG too

On the other hand, I feel it is important to support the ideas that I will be presenting. Sometimes this will require a bit of math. It will not rise above the level of very basic algebra, and nothing that is over the head of a person that can understand how to play PoF, but it only seems fair to warn you.

One significant area that I will not discuss at length in this article is the Builder family of strategies. Builder strategies are a completely different beast than other strategies, relying largely on different strategic principles (or rather, they rely on a different way of looking at normal PoF strategic principles that comes more clearly into focus when discussed on its own terms). Add the fact that I almost never play Builder strategies, and it becomes a topic for another article by another authour. Therefore, virtually everything in this article should be read with the unwritten preface "Assuming you are not playing a Builder strategy..."

Before I start, a brief note on how I will be using the term Work Value (WV) in this article. Strictly speaking, Work Value refers to the points you get from playing one of your Artists to produce a Work, which you then convert into a mixture of Florins and Prestige Points. In this article, however, I will often use it as a measure of any kind of return on investment, a mode of thinking that I use when I play. For example, I often think of the reward for buying a second copy of a given Landscape as being 6 WV rather than 3PP. More generally, I will often say that a play that scores 1 PP, for example, is worth 2 WV, while paying 100 Florins is a cost of 1 WV. From now on, I will usually avoid explaining this.

I do this because converting cost and direct Prestige Point and Work Value returns into the same units makes evaluating and comparing potential purchases much simpler. By using WV as a universal unit of measurement, you also do not have to think of costs in terms of half a Prestige Point. The same thing could be accomplished by discussing all returns in terms of Florins, but WV is measured in smaller units (it requires typing fewer zeros ), and WV is also a more fundamental unit in the PoF system.

There is a lot of information in this article, probably more than an inexperienced player can hope to absorb at once. Do not worry if it seems a bit overwhelming. Read it and play a few games to see what you have gotten out of it. Then, if you think there are things you have missed, read it again. Your game will have improved some in the meantime, and after you have a couple more plays to put what you have learned into context, you will probably be in a position to understand more of this article.

Oh, and the best piece of advice I can give you is have fun! That's why we all play games in the first place, right? You will play better if you are relaxed and having a good time, too.

Part I - General Strategic Principles

There are a number of strategic concepts that you should keep in mind most of the time while playing. They can help trim away poor strategic possibilities from consideration, letting you focus in on the best candidate plans. They are the guide posts that allow you to determine which purchases are necessary, which are good, and which are weak, and to prioritize the purchases that you feel are going to be most productive.

The Object of the Game is to Acquire More Prestige Points than Any of Your Opponents

Yes, I know that this is the most banal truism you can state about PoF, but it happens to be a succinct way of introducing a very important meta-strategic point. The bulk of this article lays out a number of strategic ideas and guidelines, and most of the time they will lead you to greater success than ignoring them will. The bottom line, though, is that you are trying to win the game. While strategy tips and rules of thumb can help you find the right path, in the end you have to concretely assess the possibilities, and weigh the costs and benefits to you and the other players. Only then can you decide what the right play is. Occasionally you will be in an unconventional, or even downright bizarre, situation where normal strategic considerations have to take a back seat. At other times, two ideas that I present here will lead you in different directions.

This does not invalidate the rest of this article. Instead, it is a warning that mindlessly applying it will lead you astray sometimes. Against quality opposition, it can cost you some victories.

Use the ideas presented in this article, but keep in the back of your mind that there will be times when you will have to set one or more of them aside, even the ones presented as being of the highest importance.

Perform All of Your Works

The number of Works you perform in any given game will vary widely depending on the number of people playing and the strategy you pursue. Ultimately, though, you will end up with a certain number of Artists and Recruiters (hereafter referred to collectively as Artists) and you have to do what you can to get them all out of your hand and onto the table.

Although the basis of this is straightforward, and probably does not need any explanation, I will present one. Making it explicit and detailed may make later discussions clearer. Quite simply, it requires money and either actions or auctions in order to acquire Artists. While an unused Artist will contribute somewhat to the value of other Works that you do perform, other items can do so much more efficiently. For the purchase of an Artist to give a greater return than other possible items, you must convert them into Works.

You should make a point of keeping two main issues in mind. If you do not, one or the other will probably trip you up by the end of the game.

The first is simply running out of actions. In the course of trying to pick up all the Freedoms, Buildings and Bonus Cards that you need in order to execute your master plan, you can lose sight of how many Works you have left to perform, causing you to forget to leave enough actions to actually perform them all. Do not laugh. It happens more than you might think, and it even happens to very good players.

A failure to track the current Work Value of their Artists in relation to the current minimum Work Value is the other major cause of not playing all of your Artists. With a handful of underpowered Artists, all you can do is take remedial actions to boost Work Value, such as constructing Buildings or purchasing Bonus Cards. If it happens late in the game, it usually results in not having enough actions to perform all of your Works.

Efficiency May Not Mean What You Think it Means

In most German games, money is a highly limited resource. Thus, when you sit down to play PoF, it is natural to think playing efficiently means spending as little money as possible, a concept that is reinforced when talk turns to cheapskate (AKA cheapass) strategies. Actually, this idea is misleading, and can result in mistakes that are real inefficiencies.

Money is, in fact, functionally unlimited in PoF. By converting WV into Florins, you can gather more than you can reasonably spend over the course of a game. If you get truly desperate for cash, you can even convert previously earned PPs into Florins, albeit at a poor rate compared to what you get from converting WV directly into money. Of course, always taking all of your WV as Florins is going to be very damaging to your final score. With sufficient justification, however, you can take surprisingly large amounts of money from your Works.

Instead of money, the scarcest resource in PoF is time. You have a grand total 7 auctions and 14 actions in which to accomplish your goal, and, unlike money, there is no way of gaining more. One action or auction represents one twenty-first of your total allotment of time, while 100 Florins only represents one-thirty-fifth of the money you start with, and is one-fiftieth or less of the total money that you will use during a game. Wasting 100 Florins is not a good thing, but you can overcome it. Completely wasting an auction or an action is devastating.

Now the question becomes, if money is easy to obtain, while time is finite and extremely scarce, how should you measure the relative efficiency of your options. The answer, I believe, is to weigh which option gives the greatest gain in WV per unit of time (I want to point out again that here I am using WV as a fundamental unit that includes direct gain of PP, not just increases in the WV of future Works). Your goal should be to find which option offers the greatest difference between purchase price (as expressed in WV) and return (again, expressed in WV). I will illustrate how this Works with a couple of concrete examples of evaluation.

Example 1

With six actions left in the game, Richard has five Artists left in his hand. Thanks to some aggressive bidding on Jesters, he can play all of them for at least 17 WV, although this has left him without any Builders. Obviously, he will use five of his six remaining actions to produce Works. He now wants to decide whether he should use the sixth to buy another Building or another Freedom (for the sake of simplicity, we will assume that he does not see buying a Bonus Card as a viable option).

His five remaining Artists are Alchemist (Laboratory, Lake, Opinion), Physicist (Laboratory, Forest, Travel), Philosopher (University, Forest, Opinion), Lawyer (Library, Forest, Opinion) and Painter (Studio, Lake Travel). He has already bought Freedom of Opinion, so if he bought a Freedom, it would be Travel. Since he has not purchased any Buildings relevant to his remaining Artists, the obvious choice to build would be the Laboratory, which is the only Building that will add to the value of two of his Artists. In order to make an intelligent decision, Richard decides to analyze what his gain would be from each purchase.

Turning first to Freedom of Opinion, the cost is 3 WV, while the return would be 6 WV. Thus the gain from buying Freedom of Travel is (return-cost) 6-3=3 WV.

If he buys a Laboratory, he has to pay 7 WV (no Builders), but will regain 6 WV immediately from the 3 PP reward he would receive for building. In addition, he would gain +4 WV on each of 2 Works, giving him another +8 WV, for a total return of 14 WV, and a net gain of 14-7=7 WV. Compared to the 3 WV gain he would net for his action if he bought Freedom of Travel, the Laboratory should be his clear preference.


Example 2

It is the beginning of the second round auction, and the auctioneer has chosen a Jester as the first item to put up for bid. Mary wants to know what the maximum she should bid on the Jester is before dropping out to pursue her plan B, which in this case is to buy a Park. She is playing in a five-player game, and while she has four Artists in her hand, she almost certainly will not be able to buy a fifth. Two of her four Artists like Parks, and she expects to be able to recruit another one that fits with her strategy later in the game (she does not want to buy a Recruiter this round, but definitely plans to buy one before they run out).

The first step is to determine what her expected gain would be from buying a Park. Mary tends to be conservative in her estimates, so she decides to assume that she will have to pay 400 Florins for one. Since she expects the Park to help with three of her Works during the course of the game, her total return from buying the Park would be 9 WV, so subtracting 4 WV from that for the purchase price leaves a gain of 5 WV. Therefore, for the Jester to be as good or better, it has to give her at least that much of a gain.

Since she expects to perform five Works, a Jester would grant her a return of 10 WV. Thus, for it to grant her a gain of 5 WV, she could pay a maximum of 5 WV, or 500 Florins (10 return - 5 price).


So is it really that easy? Well, it would be nice if it were, since I could probably end this article right here, although PoF would not be very fun to play more than once or twice.

In reality, several complicating factors can get in the way of making clear-cut evaluations like this. You will likely have several equally viable, efficient, paths that you can pursue, especially during the early part of the game. Which one is correct depends on your current position, how the other players' plans affect the prices of items in the auction, and the availability of some items that are in limited supply. Unfortunately, there will not always be a single, clearly correct, answer.

Fight Hard to Win Best Work Bonuses

When I first started playing Princes of Florence, I did not really pay that much attention to the Best Work award. There was so much that I had to keep track of, and Best Work awards seemed like a secondary concern, especially early in the game. Boy, was I wrong.

Suppose you are playing last during the second round of a game and you have in your hand an Artist that can currently produce a Work worth 12 WV. That is not an especially large Work in the general scheme of things, and the natural inclination would be to hold off, at least until you need some more money. Normally, the longer you wait to produce a Work, the more it is going to be worth, since you have more time to buy items that will increase its value.

Consider a situation where none of the other players has produced a Work this round, or one where the player who spent all of his money on a Jester and a Recruiter popped off an 11 WV quickie to top up his money supply. In these cases, if you produced your Work, you would also get the 3 PP bonus for Best Work of the round. Adding this to the 12 WV the Work produces itself, the total value is 18 WV. 18 WV is a good-sized Work, even in the mid-to-late game, and normally you have to produce at least one Work before then to facilitate cash flow. If you wait to do a Work until you absolutely need the cash, you have no idea if you will get the Best Work bonus from it or not. It could end up being, in effect, a smaller Work than it would be now, even if the Work Value proper would be a bit larger.

Also, if you wait until later to do your Work, with the idea of pushing all of your Works off until as late as possible, you will be doing two Works a round for the last 2-3 rounds. Unless you get lucky (or spend a huge amount of money) and win several Jesters between now and then, it is highly unlikely that they will all be worth more than 18 WV. You are almost certain to get more value from doing the Work now to claim a Best Work bonus.

Each round is another opportunity to claim a Best Work bonus. If you manage to claim several Best Works over the course of the game, your total score will be much higher than it would be if you simply hold off and do all of your Works at the end of the game. By winning the Best Work bonuses yourself, you also deny them to other players, or at least share them with one or two others. This keeps the scores of your opponents lower, which obviously helps your chances of winning as well.

The only time that it is probably not worth taking a Best Work bonus when you can get it is during the first round. The highest WV you can achieve (without taking a ridiculously risky stab at getting a high return Bonus Card) is 10 (3 Artists + Landscape + Building), and even with the Best Work bonus, the total return is only going to be 16 WV, respectable, but not noteworthy. You may also seriously damage your longer-term position by missing an opportunity to buy an Artist or a key Freedom. A first round Best Work just does not offer sufficient compensation.

It should be apparent by now that it is actually worth your while to go a bit out of your way to earn Best Work bonuses. The question now is, just how far out of your way? To start with, I will look at a clear-cut example.

Example

Going back to Mary's situation from the last section, suppose she sees that by buying the Jester instead of the Park, she will be able to do a Work with her Artist that does not like Parks, and it would almost certainly earn her Best Work for the round. This means that the Jester would now offer her an additional 6 WV return on top of the 10 WV it gives her just for adding to the value of her Works, for a total potential return of 16 WV. When she thought the Jester would only be worth 10 WV to her, we determined that it would be worth bidding up to 500 Florins before dropping out to go after the Park instead. In this new light, it is easy to see that the Jester is still the better buy at up to (5 WV + 6 WV =) 1100 Florins. What a difference a Best Work can make!

Buying a Park would also earn the Best Work bonus in the last example, so it would seem that there would be no reason to add value to the Jester. By buying the Jester now and winning Best Work with the Artist that does not like Parks, though, she has added the Best Work bonus to the value of that Work, added the +2 WV for the Jester to one more Work than she would by buying the Park now instead, and has not lost the Park bonus from any of her Works either. If Mary buys a Park next round, she will be in a very strong position to win another Best Work bonus then, also. Finally, using her non-Park Artist to win a Best Work award means that she has been able to make productive use of it without having to use an auction to buy a Landscape for it.

In a real game, of course, you can rarely be as certain of winning a Best Work award as Mary was in the example. Other players can do unexpected things that make their own Works more valuable than yours. Also, players are human, and miscalculations can happen. Therefore, when weighing two options, one of which gives a clearly defined return, while the other offers the potential for earning a Best Work, you have to consider the risk of failing to earn that Best Work. Unfortunately, there are no calculable odds one way or the other, since the actual risk involved depends on the playing styles of the other players. It is also hard to assess the possibility that plays, regardless of their immediate benefits, may or may not contribute to winning Best Work awards in future rounds as well. Ultimately, some things just come down to developing a feel for the situation and a personal style of play.

There is a finite limit to what a Best Work award is worth. In concrete terms, it is 6 WV, which is equivalent to 600 Florins, but in practical terms it may be lower than that. Forgoing the Best Work may allow you to make plays that offer other benefits, such as being able to perform another Work that you otherwise could not. If another player is pushing you hard in a fight for Best Work, you will eventually reach a point where you just have to concede, and seek to make up for it in other ways. You should do your best to make sure that any opponent pays a fair (or even unfair) price for the bonus, but destroying your position to do so accomplishes nothing but giving the game to someone else. Best Work is a good thing, but it is a means to an end (achieving a higher score), not the end itself. When your end result will be better if you leave Best Work to someone else, then you should do so and pursue the more profitable path.

Broad and Narrow Purchases

The last two sections may have begun to give you the idea that knowing which purchases to make and when to make them requires nothing more than raw calculation. The end of the last section began to hint that calculation alone is not enough, though, which is certainly true. During the first three or four rounds, the future course of the game just cannot be seen clearly enough to make highly accurate calculations. The vagaries of the Artist draw even prevent you from knowing just what you have to account for in your plan. Short term considerations can get you through this, but PoF is a game of planning, so purely tactical play is rarely going to be efficient play. You must cut through as much of the murk as you can to form the broad outlines of a plan, and then pursue it.

So how do you pursue a plan that you have not worked out yet? Make use of rules of thumb. The best rule of thumb I have to offer to PoF players is "Make Broad Purchases Before You Make Narrow Purchases."

A broad purchase is one that will add value to several of your other actions (usually, but not always, actions that you use to perform Works).The archetype of a broad purchase is buying an early Jester. When you buy that Jester, you are enhancing the value of every single action you use later to perform a Work, which is at least three actions, and probably considerably more than that.

Narrow purchases are those aimed at squeezing the last little bit of extra value out of one or two of your actions. The archetypal narrow purchase is the Bonus Card. Regardless of when you buy one, it can only enhance the value of one Work action. That does not mean that Bonus Cards cannot be effective, merely that their effect is constrained.

There are two major reasons why you should pursue broad purchases before narrow purchases as often as possible. The first is that broad purchases are flexible, so even if events do not go exactly as you expect, the purchase is still likely to be useful. If you buy a first round Jester, reasonable play should allow you to get your money's worth out of it. By comparison, buying a Landscape that you only have one Artist for is much more uncertain. If you do not draw any more Artists for that Landscape, you will have to make purchases to support your other Artists sooner in the game, instead of buying more generally useful items.

The second reason to focus on broad purchases early in the game is that, as the game moves toward its conclusion, the difference in return from a broad purchase and a narrow purchase will decrease. The defining characteristic of a broad purchase is that it has the ability to increase the value of many actions. As the game moves toward the later rounds, however, the number of actions that any purchase can affect shrinks, since there are fewer actions left in the game. At a certain point, narrow purchases will be able to affect the value of a large portion of your remaining actions, which will make them just as broad a purchase as any other item.

As a characteristic, breadth is a continuum rather than being binary. Some items are broader than others are. Those at the top of the scale are broad purchases and those at the bottom are narrow, with a fuzzy gray area in the middle. While there is room for argument, and some variation will occur depending on the actual situation during play, the following ordering of the items available to buy seems reasonable:

Broad

Jester
Artist
Recruiter
Primary Landscape/Freedom
1st Builder
Building
Secondary Landscape/Freedom
Prestige Card
3rd Builder
Bonus Card/Tertiary Landscape/Freedom
2nd Builder
Duplicate Landscape

Narrow

Part II of this article will discuss the individual items, and present the case for this hierarchy, even if it is not explicit.

Of course, this idea can be overemphasized. As always, a player must bring common sense and good judgement to weighing how this rule of thumb applies to his current situation, and how to weigh it against other relevant strategic considerations.

Increase the Breadth of Your Early Purchases

Regardless of what they are, you should do as much as you reasonably can to make your early purchases as broad as possible. After making the right kind of purchases in the first place, following them up in an appropriate way will increase the return, and therefore the value, of your early purchases. As the section on efficiency pointed out, this will increase how well you can make use of your limited resources of time.

How to do this may require a bit of consideration the first few times you try to put it in to practise. You have to think about how the items you have bought generate value, and then pursue actions and purchases - a plan - that will allow those items to generate value as often as possible for the rest of the game.

For instance, if you buy an early Jester, you know that it provides a return to its owner by increasing the Work Value of all Artists that you play later. Therefore, getting the most from a Jester simply means producing as many Works as is reasonably possibly. If you want to increase the return from your Jester, you should form a plan that involves acquiring several more Artists.

Likewise, if you buy an early Forest, you should choose new Artists that like Forests as often as you can. If you buy a Builder, you should develop a plan that involves buying several useful Buildings. Similar ideas should come to mind for other purchases.
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Jim Cote
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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy
Where's the :jawdrop: icon? thumbsup
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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy
This is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.

I only skimmed it, and will have to read again in-depth. thumbsup
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Eric Jome
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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy
First, let me say excellent article. This certainly does a marvelous job of opening a player's eyes to some of the dynamics of Princes. Now, I thought I might add a few additional observations and thoughts that may help.

The essential components of winning are Artists and Recruiters. - Given an opportunity to acquire one of these things, you should always do so. As a result of this demand, there will never be enough to go around. To compensate for losing out on one of these things, you have Prestige cards and bonuses for things like extra Builders and buildings. Do not be fooled into thinking that anything other than these cards will win the game in the end. A Jester is worth nothing if it is not adding to a Work Value and is worth little if it is not winning you the Best Work bonus.

The Best Work bonus comes from doing Works. - Seems obvious right? Implicit in this simple idea is something much more important; what really matters is Works, not Best Work. Best Work is a bonus you get for doing works. You might earn 3 victory points for Best Work, but if you can afford to take the entire Work Value as victory points, you will find yourself much further ahead. Indeed, many games are won not so much by someone getting the Best Work bonus every time, but rather getting it a few times while planning a turn in which they play 2 Artists and take none (!) of the Work Value as florins. This can often mean 16 or more victory points; if your opponent earns 12 for a 9 point Work and 3 point bonus, you've exceeded them considerably.

Prestige cards are best early and extremely helpful in winning. - What can you get for a work? Maybe 6 to 8 points, typically? What can you get for a Prestige card? About the same amount! Thus, as many people consider Works to be the essence of the game, do not think that you should ignore Prestige cards. Indeed, if you can get 1 or 2 Prestige cards that you can satisfy while accomplishing some solid Works, you will very likely win. Thus, the earlier you can acquire a Prestige card, the more time you will have to plan to fulfill it. Remember, Works are worth more, but Prestige cards are very powerful.

Be flexible! - The most important thing to note is that many things are limited in actual supply or supply rate. For example, there are only 3 of each Freedom and no more than 1 Jester can enter the game each turn. Do not force yourself into a corner where you must acquire these things. I once had the pleasure of seeing a game won by someone in a very different way. Realizing they were not going to be able to compete in Works, this person did their initial works right away, moved directly into builders and built a board full of buildings. Between the bonuses for early works, buildings, extra builders, and prestige cards, they managed to finish first. This is what flexible thinking can do for you. Recognize when you are falling behind and devise a strategy for catching up.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy
And the really neat thing about this article....

It looks like it was cut off mid-sentence.

That means that there might be...more...

surprise

Seth Ben-Ezra
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Gerald Cameron
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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy
laugh....yup it was.

Hmmmmm......okay, and edit to clean this up, and the rest of the article coming momentarily.
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Gerald Cameron
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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy Part I - Introduction and General Strategic Principles
Richard and Jim - thanks for the kind words.

Seth - I'll wait until you have a chance to read the full article ninja before I respond to your comments.
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Jim Cote
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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy Part I - Introduction and General Strategic Principles
Btw Gerald, I've finally put PoF on my want list, partly based on this article. I decided that even though it's unlikely I'll find a group that would appreciate the game, I'll kick myself forever if I don't have it when I want it. laugh
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Seth Ben-Ezra
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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy Part I - Introduction and General Strategic Principles
Hey, that wasn't me! I am just sitting here in awe at your magnificence! Who am I to differ with your vast knowledge, peon that I am? robot

Seriously, this article is going on the shelf (figuratively speaking) next to The Large Warehouse of Puerto Rico Knowledge. Thank you very much for writing it.

Seth Ben-Ezra
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Eric Brosius
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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy Part I - Introduction and General Strategic Principles
Jim,

I've found Princes of Florence to be surprisingly accessible to a broad range of gamers. The fact that it's a shopping game draws people in, and the individual player mats allow people to focus their attention on their goals and how to achieve them.

It's not essential that a player understand everything Linnaeus has explained to enjoy the game.

Eric
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Jim Cote
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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy Part I - Introduction and General Strategic Principles
Eric,

I think the people I play games with would play it once, and form an opinion. They would see it as chess-like, as if there's a fixed way to play that they just haven't figured out yet. I don't think I could get them to play enough times to see the depth and elegance of the game. However, since I am going to pick it up regardless, I'll probably take the chance, since the rewards are so great.


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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy Part I - Introduction and General Strategic Principles
ekted wrote:
They would see it as chess-like, as if there's a fixed way to play that they just haven't figured out yet. I don't think I could get them to play enough times to see the depth and elegance of the game. However, since I am going to pick it up regardless, I'll probably take the chance, since the rewards are so great.


Hmmm... I've heard PoF called "multiplayer solitaire," which is rubbish, but "chesslike" is new to me. I think that the auctions will quickly dispel that notion. Yes, definitely pick it up before it again goes out of print. While you're trying to find people to play with, we can play on BSW to satify the craving...
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Mike Harris
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Re: From the Library to the Laboratory: a Guide to Princes of Florence Strategy Part I - Introduction and General Strategic Principles
This is great than you for pointing out the cost factor to me.
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