You Never Miss the Water
Eric Freeman must defeat Chris Mattos
and Scott Fenn on his way to the Final.
Katherine McCorry and Greg Crowe,
the Titan:Arena GM, do a little shopping.
Well Runs Dry ...
In recent years, talk at the tournament has centered on the Builder strategy. One form or another won each year from 2012 through 2014. Builder prices have risen steadily in response, so it was less successful (and less common) in 2015.
Heat 1 featured exactly 30 players, so we played six 5-player games (I believe 5 is the best number.) First-timer Jeremy Oppenheim won the closest game by 57-55 over veteran Rod Spade. Next was Robert Cranshaw’s 63-60 margin over another newcomer, Wade Campbell. The most remarkable game saw one player buy a Lake for 1000 florins in Round 7 and Greg Crowe use five Bonus Cards to achieve a Work Value of 39. Neither gained victory, though; that went to Aran Warszawski. Thrills often cause spills in Princes of Florence.
Heat 2 featured two 5-player games and four 4-player games. Scores are higher in 4-player games, since there is less competition in the auctions. Doug Smith took full advantage, scoring a whopping 82 to win his board. Doug finished second in 2001, WBC’s first year, and followed that with a third in 2002, but he will always stand out to me for his generosity last year, when he stepped in to replace a player who left in the middle of a heat.
Only 19 players appeared for the semifinals, so we played three 5-player games and a 4-player game, with a 4-player Final. In the elimination rounds, we bid for seating order. Many people prefer the second seat in a 5-player game. You can view the data. In the 5-player games, players bid 200 or 300 florins for Seat 2, a bit for Seat 1, and nothing for the other seats.
In the first 5-player game, Curt Collins II came out on the good side of a 55-55 tie, ending with 500 florins to Jeremy Oppenheim’s 200. In this game, Legend Dan Hoffman and Jennifer Horan got into a bidding war over a Lake, ruining their chances (usually Forests cause trouble, but this year it was Lakes!) Wade Campbell won with 64 PP - an impressive total with 5 players -- and Eric Freeman won the third 5-player game. In the 4-player semifinal Doug Smith topped Aran Warszawski, 68-65. Kenneth Horan, who finished third, predicted that Doug’s extra experience in 4-player games would give him an edge in the next round.
In the Final, Wade bid 200 florins for Seat 2 and Curt bid 100 for Seat 3. Eric and Doug took Seats 1 and 4, respectively, at no cost. We played a 4-player Final for the first time since 2003, so players were a bit uncertain about how things would go. Jester prices were close to normal, but only two Builders were bought, and all four of the Prestige Cards went for 200.
In Round 3, Wade bought his first Jester at auction, leaving him with just 100 florins. When it was time for him to take his actions, he announced that he would give up two Prestige Points for 200 florins. But Wade had no Prestige Points, so he had none to give up! This was a shock to Wade. His group at home lets players go negative on the Prestige Point Track to get money. The rules aren’t completely clear, so I included a clarification in the tournament rules, but not surprisingly, Wade hadn’t seen it. At this point, Wade had a Freedom for 3 Work Value, a Jester for 2 Work Value, and six cream-colored cards for another 6 Work Value, giving a maximum Work Value of 11 -1 short of the minimum Work Value of 12 in Round 3.
Wade was unable to complete a Work, and with only 100 florins and no way to get more, he was unable to buy anything. He could do nothing but pass for the rest of the game. This was a most unfortunate situation, but I saw no way around it, given the rules. I told Wade that he was free to leave, since he had no more decisions to make, and I could pass for him. I want to commend Wade for taking this disappointment in a sportsmanlike way. I understand that he won two other tournaments, and I hope he can play again in the future.
In the meantime, the other three players had suddenly found themselves not in a 4-player game, but in what was effectively a 3-player game (though with the Profession Cards in Wade’s hand removed from the game.) At the end of Round 7, Eric was in the lead on the score track, but Curt and Doug each had two Prestige Cards. Doug scored both of his, but Curt could only score one, giving Doug the championship!
The final scores:
Doug 67, Eric 62, Curt 57, Wade 0.
A full report of the game, including a more detailed discussion of the rules issue, can be found at https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1418429
Congratulations to Doug on his first WBC win in Princes of Florence. Thanks also to everyone who took part. If you’re interested in Princes of Florence, come to WBC next year and join us. I'll explain the game during the demo and you can join in the fun.
GM Eric Brosius (seated at right)
with his four finalists. |