princes of florence [Updated November 2007]  

2007 WBC Report  

 2008 Status: pending 2008 GM commitment

Eric Freeman, PA

2007 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
2007     Eric Freeman     72

Euro Quest Event History
2003    John Kerr     31
2004    Brian Reynolds     24
2005     Rod Spade     25
2006    John Kerr     24
2007     Lyman Moquin     24


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Eric Brosius       MA    06     94
  2.  Rod Spade          PA    07     64
  3.  Legend Dan Hoffman MD    07     52
  4.  John Kerr          VA    06     50
  5.  Arthur Field       SC    02     50
  6.  Doug Kaufman       MD    06     49
  7.  Eugene Lin         WA    04     44
  8.  Ian MacInnes       NY    05     40
  9.  David Platnick     VA    05     36
 10.  Eric Freeman       PA    07     30
 11.  Davyd Field        SC    06     30
 12.  Brian Reynolds     MD    04     30
 13.  Tom Johnston       IL    06     27
 14.  Lyman Moquin       DC    07     26
 15.  Doug Smith         PA    02     22
 16.  Greg Thatcher      FL    07     21
 17.  Boaz Gura          NJ    07     18
 18.  James Carvin       PA    03     18
 19.  Donna Rogall       MD    04     17
 20.  Joe Nemet          PA    05     16
 21.  Clyde Kruskal      MD    03     16
 22.  Andrew Gerb        MD    07     15
 23.  Tom Browne         PA    05     12
 24.  Holliday Jones     MD    04     12
 25.  Stuart Tucker      MD    03     12
 26.  John Weber         MD    03     12
 27.  Sam Atabaki        CA    06      9
 28.  Kevin Walsh        NY    07      8
 29.  Richard Fox        IL    06      8
 30.  Andrew Greene      VA    05      8
 31.  Scott Nicholson    NY    05      8
 32.  Nathaniel Hoam     OH    04      8
 33.  John Lewis         RI    07      6
 34.  Brian Jones        MD    04      6
 35.  Eyal Mozes         NY    07      4
 36.  Winton LeMoine     CA    06      4
 37.  Greg Crowe         VA    05      4
 38.  Anne Norton        NJ    02      4
 39.  Brian Jones        NC    01      4
 40.  Yoel Weiss         NJ    07      3
 41.  Bruce Reiff        OH    03      3
 42.  Randy Cox          SC    01      3
 43.  Greg Shirah              07      2
 44.  John Brier         NY    05      2
 45.  Marc Houde         DC    01      2
 46.  Justin Veazey      MD    01      1

2007 Laurelists

Boaz Gura, NJ

Rod Spade, PA

Greg Thatcher, FL

John Lewis, RI

Yoel Weiss, NJ

Past Winners

Arthur Field, SC
2001 - 2002

Eric Brosius, MA
2003, 2006

Eugene Lin, WA

Ian MacInnes, NY

GM Eric Brosius officiates in a game with Sam Atabaki, Asst GM Katherine McCorry, and Chris Johnson.

Eric Freeman on his way to the title over John Weber and Jason Levine in an early game.

What will you buy next?

The Princes of Florence schedule began with a demo on Wednesday morning, an hour before the first heat. You're welcome to play in the tournament, even if you're new, as long as you attend the demo. Princes of Florence offers plenty of scope for strategy, but the game itself is easy to play -- just keep buying things! Your goal as a Florentine prince is to gain more prestige than your fellow players. Money isn't an end in itself, but you have to keep spending if you want to keep up with the Medicis. In each of the seven turns you may buy one item at auction and take two actions. The winner is the player who makes the most of these 21 opportunities. Some items are more attractive than others, but your opponents are likely to bid high for these, so a cheaper, less attractive item could be a better buy. The gme is like an auto race along a winding mountain road -- if you're too cautious you'll never win, but taking a big risk could lead to a sudden crash, especially if an opponent tries to seize the same opportunity. We had more than five players at the demo, so I paired people up to play one turn of a sample game. I must apologize to Boaz Gura for forgetting his first name several times; at least I learned it by the end of the week!

The game requires three to five players, but is best with five (it's more exciting when the mountain road is crowded.) We were fortunate to have all 5-player games this year; as GM, I joined 49 other players in Heat 1 to fill ten tables. Games took a bit longer this year, perhaps as players thought about the Builder strategy that has generated many wins recently. Some players feel that the person who plays second in the first turn has a significant advantage, since that player has the opportunity to buy an extra Profession card, but the Builder strategy adds an important wrinkle by generating prestige points (PP) without a lot of Professions.

In what some would call an upset, fifth seat players won half of the ten Heat 1 games. Second seat players won only two, and in one of those two games, second-seat player Cally Perry was surprised to find no cards left in the Profession deck for her to buy at the start of Turn 2. She shrugged and bought something else instead. A few turns later, the missing Profession card showed up at the bottom of the Recruitment deck, where it had been misplaced when the game was set up. As GM, I ruled that the final Profession card would be placed face-up on the table, where it could be recruited, but not bought. Even though she didn't get to buy the extra Profession card, Cally won anyway, besting second-place finisher Beth Raphael by 1 PP. Albert Schwartz used a well-executed Builder strategy to win his game by a comfortable margin, and GM Eric Brosius finished 13 PP behind Albert in fourth place.

Our luck held and exactly 40 players arrived for Heat 2, giving us eight 5-player games so I opted out to preserve the perfect symmetry of five-player games. Eric Freeman, a strong player who has been unable to play in recent years because of schedule conflicts, coordinated the scheduling for many of the Euro games, and was rewarded with a chance to play. He took advantage of the opportunity, winning with 57 PP over Tom DeMarco and Pete Gathmann, who came in second and third with 56 PP each. Jason Levine won his game by 12 PP, the week's widest margin, and David Platnick won again after winning in Heat 1. Eric Eshleman tied Boaz Gura at 50 PP and won the tie-breaker by 100 florins. Boaz qualified for the semis anyway on the strength of his finish in this game.

22 of the 25 qualifiers appeared for the semi-finals, and the top three alternates joined them to round out five 5-player games. We bid for seat order in the semis and Final to even out any imbalances. Average bids this year were 117 florins for Seat 1, 250 florins for Seat 2, 33 florins for Seat 3 and zero for seats 4 and 5. Boaz Gura won the closest semi, squeaking past Yoel Weiss 61­60 for his first victory of the tournament and a ticket to the Final. Rod Spade also won by 1 PP, topping Eric Eshleman 55­54.

In the Final, Eric paid 300 florins for the second seat, Rod and Boaz paid 100 florins each for the first and third seats, and Greg and John took the fourth and fifth seat at no cost. There were no early bargains. Boaz bought the first Jester, but he had to pay 1200 florins for it. Eric paid 700 for a Recruiter and John paid 700 for Builder. John may have had his eye on a possible Builder strategy, but the high price of Builders discouraged that plan. There's always someone who buys a landscape in Turn 1, and Rod bought a Forest for 200. Nine of the 21 Professions prefer Forests, so an early Forest can solve many problems. This left Greg Thatcher with a choice, and he took a Prestige Card for 200. An early Prestige Card can be a double-edged blessing; you don't know which you're most likely to fulfill, but you have time to work toward the one you choose. Each player used his actions to buy a Profession and a Freedom, so the Best Work bonus for Turn 1 went unclaimed.

Prices didn't go down much in Turn 2. Rod got a Jester for 1100, a high price but slightly less than Boaz had paid. Eric took a Builder and Boaz a Recruiter, each paying 700, and Greg and Tom selected landscapes for 200 each. Landscapes are bid up in some games, but this group didn't waste time on such frivolity, and all twelve landscapes bought during the game went for the minimum price. Eric bought the last Profession and another freedom with his two actions, but the other four players each opted for a building and a work. Boaz, Greg and John each scored 14 for their works, but Rod ended any hopes for a four-way tie for Best Work by using his Jester to score 16, giving him the lead with nine PP. John took two PP for his work to reach five, leaving Boaz and Greg at three PP and Eric (who had not yet put on a work) at zero.

In Turn 3, Greg paid 900 for the Jester, a price that looked almost cheap! In some games, one player grabs several Jesters early, but these guys were spreading them around. Rod took a Builder and Boaz a Recruiter, each for 600 florins, as cash levels were down and players started to budget. John now bought a Prestige Card for 200 and Eric took a Lake. There was a sudden run on Freedom of Travel this turn as the first three players bought it, Boaz and Greg also buying Bonus cards and John building a University. With only two players left to play, there were no contenders yet for Best Work, and Rod played #6, the Physicist, though with Freedom of Travel unavailable he could achieve a Work Value of only 13. Eric was delighted to be able to earn Best Work without using a Jester or Bonus Card. He built a Workshop and then played #7, the Watch Maker, for a Work Value of 16. He cashed it all in for 1600 florins, but three PP each for building a Workshop and Best Work raised his score to six PP.

Prices continued their slow decline. In Turn 4 Eric paid 900 for a Jester, Rod bought a Recruiter for 500, and Greg got a Builder for just 400. Boaz took a cheap Park this time, and John got his second Prestige card. The order of play changes each turn, and the last player has the advantage of knowing exactly what it takes to earn Best Work. Boaz finished with #12, the Choreographer, earning Best Work and moving closer to the leaders.

It was in Turn 5 that the players began to differentiate themselves. Eric won his second Jester in the auction, paying only 700 this time. John bought his second Builder, and Rod paid 500 for a second Recruiter. Rod, Eric and Boaz now had the ability to put on six works each, while Greg and John could put on no more than four. On the other hand, Greg paid 200 for his second Prestige card; if Greg and John could convert their Prestige cards at the end of the game, it might close the gap on the leaders. All five players put works on this turn. Eric's two Jesters gave him a natural Work Value of 20, and Greg had to use a Bonus Card just to tie Eric for Best Work. Early in the game players had been selling their works, but they were now keeping the prestige. We awarded the Best Work bonus to Eric and Greg. Eric was in the lead with 26 PP, followed by John with 22, Rod with 19, Boaz with 18 and Greg with 17.

Eric bought his third Jester in Turn 6, paying just 600 florins. For some reason, interest in Jesters had disappeared, even though most of the works remained to be played. John wanted a third Prestige Card, but after seeing four of them go for 200 florins, he had to pay 700 this time. Boaz had works left to use, and he played one with a Bonus card to take Best Work with a Work Value of 22 and jump into the lead. Greg and John trailed Boaz by 12 PP each, but they had Prestige Cards and Boaz did not, so the scoreboard didn't tell the whole story.

The last turn began with Rod, Eric and Boaz still having two works available to play and Greg and John just one each. The seventh and final Jester went up for auction and-would you believe it?-Eric bought his fourth in a row, paying just 400 florins. Eric actually had to sell one PP for 100 florins to finance his purchase, but it was worth it to see those four Jesters piled up on his palazzo. There was no more competition in the auctions, as Boaz bought a Park, Greg a Lake, John a Forest and Rod a Prestige Card, each for just 200 florins each. Boaz now had two Parks and two Forests, earning six PP for a second landscape in each type. It was clearly a close game, and the player who scored Best Work could well be the winner.

Eric first played #1, the Mathematician, for a Work Value of 20 even though he didn't have the University. That's what four Jesters will do for you. He ended the suspense by following this up with #19, the Poet, which was worth 24 naturally, and supplementing it with a Bonus Card worth six more for a total of 30. These two works gave him 25 PP plus another three PP for Best Work. Boaz played two works of his own for 18 PP, but he had lost a lot of ground on Eric. Greg played a single work for 10 PP, but even if his Prestige Cards came up big, it didn't seem that he would be able to catch the leaders. John determined that he could not put on his final work (the lack of a Jester can be a big handicap in the last turn,) and instead he built two buildings for the prestige. Rod had saved up three bonus cards, clearly hoping to take Best Work for Turn 7, but Eric had put that out of reach, and Rod had to settle for 21 PP.

We then scored Prestige Cards. Rod earned seven PP for his, but Greg earned only eight PP for his two cards and John 10 PP for his three. Eric was thus the winner with 60 PP, followed closely by Boaz with 58, Rod 56, Greg 43 and John 38.

Attendance was up this year, even though there were only two heats. I give most of the credit to Eric Freeman's scheduling initiative, which made it easier for Euro enthusiasts to make more of their favorites. Eric's victory was made possible by finally being able to play in a heat, but he still had to win three games against strong competition to cash in the opportunity.

I'd like to express my special thanks to Assistant GM Katherine McCorry. She provided invaluable assistance throughout the tournament, and her detailed notes were the basis for my report on the Final.

2007 Euro Quest Laurelists

Lyman Moquin, DC

Legend Dan Hoffman, MD

Kevin Walsh, NY

Andrew Gerb, MD

Eyal Mozes, NY

 GM      Eric Brosius  [4th Year]   NA   NA

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