crowning a new prince ...
It is the last turn of the Princes of Florence finals,
and Eric Brosius and Tom Johnston are tied for the lead. Eric
has just bid all his cash, 1100 florins, for a Prestige card.
Tom is still alive, and he ponders long and hard. Should he raise
the bid? How the devil did Eric know to save exactly 1100 florins?
Tom sighs. "I'm cooked," he says as he drops out.
then wait for Eric to put on two works. Instead, he pauses, then
quietly announces: "This is going to put the cat among the
pigeons." We are stunned as he sacrifices three VPs to take
300 florins. It wasn't over yet!
This year's Princes of Florence event had 88 entrants
over four heats, a semi-final and final round. Harold Siegelman
was the original GM, but he had passed away unexpectedly this
spring. Harold had decided that we would have open money and
four-player games for the first time, and I decided to honor
his wishes. Sixteen players advanced to the semi-finals, and
it was. Eric Brosius, Stuart Tucker, Tom Johnston, and Clyde
Kruskal who advanced from those to the finals. Tom had narrowly
escaped his semi-final game by beating Donna Rogall with the
tiebreaker, by 300 florins. This year we would have a new champion
as the two-time defending champ Arthur Field had retired from
the game to pursue other challenges.
The four-player games ran an unfamiliar course. Profession
cards were available much later than usual. In some games, not
all were claimed. In the finals though, they were all gobbled
up in turn 3. Jesters were still expensive, averaging 1000 florins
each. Stuart acquired four of them, but he never got a landscape,
and it might have hurt him. Clyde pursued profession and recruiter
cards, and he had nine of them by the end of the game.
By the end of turn 6, everyone had put on four works. Tom
and Eric were tied at 40, and Stuart and Clyde were tied at 33.
In turn 7, after bidding all his cash for the prestige card,
Eric squeezed 300 florins to buy a bonus card because he could
only play one work. He played it, and then he used that last
prestige card to edge past Tom, 64 to 63, to grab the victory
in a thrilling finish. We had a new champion.