princes of florence 

Updated 11/30/2008

2008 WBC Report  

 2009 Status: pending 2009 GM commitment

Alex Bove, PA

2008 Champion

Offsite Links


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
2008    Alex Bove     67

Euro Quest Event History
2003    John Kerr     31
2004    Brian Reynolds     24
2005     Rod Spade     25
2006    John Kerr     24
2007     Lyman Moquin     24
2008    Brian Reynolds     26

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Eric Brosius       MA    06     94
  2.  Rod Spade          PA    08     70
  3.  Legend Dan Hoffman MD    07     52
  4.  Brian Reynolds     MD    08     50
  5.  John Kerr          VA    06     50
  6.  Arthur Field       SC    02     50
  7.  Doug Kaufman       MD    06     49
  8.  Eugene Lin         WA    04     44
  9.  Alex Bove          PA    08     42
 10.  Ian MacInnes       NY    05     40
 11.  David Platnick     VA    08     39
 12.  Eric Freeman       PA    08     36
 13.  Lyman Moquin       DC    08     30
 14.  Davyd Field        SC    06     30
 15.  Tom Johnston       IL    06     27
 16.  Andrew Gerb        MD    08     23
 17.  Winton LeMoine     CA    08     22
 18.  Doug Smith         PA    02     22
 19.  Greg Thatcher      FL    07     21
 20.  Boaz Gura          NJ    07     18
 21.  James Carvin       PA    03     18
 22.  Donna Rogall       MD    04     17
 23.  Joe Nemet          PA    05     16
 24.  Clyde Kruskal      MD    03     16
 25.  Aran Warszawski Israel   08     12
 26.  Tom Browne         PA    05     12
 27.  Holliday Jones     MD    04     12
 28.  Stuart Tucker      MD    03     12
 29.  John Weber         MD    03     12
 30.  Chris Senhouse     MA    08      9
 31.  Sam Atabaki        CA    06      9
 32.  Kevin Walsh        NY    07      8
 33.  Richard Fox        IL    06      8
 34.  Andrew Greene      VA    05      8
 35.  Scott Nicholson    NY    05      8
 36.  Nathaniel Hoam     OH    04      8
 37.  John Lewis         RI    07      6
 38.  Brian Jones        MD    04      6
 39.  Eyal Mozes         NY    07      4
 40.  Greg Crowe         VA    05      4
 41.  Anne Norton        NJ    02      4
 42.  Brian Jones        NC    01      4
 43.  Yoel Weiss         NJ    07      3
 44.  Bruce Reiff        OH    03      3
 45.  Randy Cox          SC    01      3
 46.  Robert Kircher     RI    08      2
 47.  Greg Shirah        MD    07      2
 48.  John Brier         NY    05      2
 49.  Marc Houde         DC    01      2
 50.  Justin Veazey      MD    01      1

2008 Laurelists                                                 Repeating Laurelists:

Winton LeMoine, AZ

Aran Warszawski, Israel

Chris Senhouse, MA

Eric Freeman, PA

David Platnick, VA

Past Winners

Arthur Field, SC
2001 - 2002

Eric Brosius, MA
2003, 2006

Eugene Lin, WA

Ian MacInnes, NY

Eric Freeman, PA

Princes of Florence has settled into a steady attendance pattern befitting a classic game.

GM Eric Brosius (right) keeps tabs on his finalists which include defending champ Eric Freeman.

What will you buy next?

In Princes of Florence, you play the role of a Renaissance aristocrat, planning and developing your principality in an attempt to gain more prestige than your fellow aristocrats. Money is no object -- but it is an essential ingredient of success. You wouldn't believe how much it costs to construct buildings, plant forests and dig lakes, furnish the latest in entertainment and do all the other things that will make sure yourprincipality is where the hottest artists come to put on their works.  Ideally you will finish the game without a florin in your pocket because you spent it all to put on a spectacle everyone will talk about for years to come.

Princes of Florence is known as a "gamer's game," but it is easy for beginners to learn because it has a clear structure and a familiar theme -- shopping. Six or seven newcomers showed up for the demo before the first heat, and several of them told me after the tournament that they felt comfortable playing after attending the demo. The game takes seven rounds, and in each round you may buy one item at auction and carry out two actions -- thus, you have 21 opportunities to maximize your winning chances.

You can play the game with three to five players, but in my opinion it's best with five because the greater interaction puts a premium on planning (and on adjusting deftly when opponents upset your plans.) I name assistant GMs so I can play if there's an opening, but I only play if it will convert a 4-player table to a 5-player table. Assistant GM Cally Perry helped me enter people for the first heat, as did my wife Claire. When we counted the names we had 50.  One person dropped out at the last minute, making 49, and I inserted myself to bring the numbers back to 50, giving us ten tables of five. Once the players were seated, the games ran smoothly, as the experienced players provided answers as needed at the tables. I had no more than five rules questions during the entire tournament.

There were many close games this year. The "bad luck" award in the heats goes to Winton Lemoine. In his first heat he scored 53 PP, but finished behind Brian Kowal, who also scored 53 PP but had more cash. In Winton's second heat the scores were a remarkable 52-52-52-51-49. Jason Levine and Cally Perry each had 52 PP and 200 florins while Winton had only 100 to take third. The winner was decided by the "lowest numbered Profession on the table" criterion -- Jason's lowest Profession was #4, the Botanist while Cally's was #8, the Goldsmith, making Jason the winner. A three-way tie at 50 PP in another game was resolved based on florins, with Eric Eshleman edging out Cheryl Meek and Brad Sherwood.

People may worry when the GM sits down to play at their table, but there was nothing to worry about this year. In my game both Andy Latto and Josh Cooper pursued Builder strategies. Josh used a full-fledged Builder strategy, while Andy's hybrid strategy included Builder elements. The Physicist was in my hand, and I planned to build a Laboratory to earn three PP and help the Physicist put on a solid work. I procrastinated, and suddenly all three Laboratories were built by my opponents (one by a player who didn't need it for a Profession, but was building it as part of the Builder strategy.) The unexpected shortage put a dent in my game. It wasn't the deciding factor, though. Alex Bove won with 61 PP, ahead of Josh by two PP as I finished last. Alex is a strong player who has won a number of tournaments, but he had never made it to the Princes of Florence Final.

Some people complain that Princes of Florence is heavily slanted toward the player who plays second in Round 1, with the 1st and 3rd positions being next most desirable. If this is true, it didn't pan out in 2008. The 4th player won six of the 17 preliminary games. They weren't all squeakers either: David Platnick won as 4th player by 14 PP and Rod Spade and Rob McFadden also did well from that seat, winning by ten and nine PP respectively.

The second heat drew exactly 35 players, so I didn't play. The seven tables yielded six new winners and one repeat winner, Bill Murdock (who won the Puerto Rico tournament in his last visit to WBC.) Bill was assigned the 4th seat in both heats, and he demonstrated that he has the position down cold by winning twice.

A list of 25 qualifiers and 17 alternates was posted on the event kiosk. Fortunately for Winton, his strong 2nd and 3rd made him a qualifier (there were only 16 winners, so the top nine non-winners qualified.) 23 of the 25 qualifiers appeared for the semis, and the top two alternates were added to fill five 5-player games.

In the semis and Final players bid for player order, paying florins to get their choice of seats. This year, the average bids were as follows:

1st: 117 florins

2nd: 317 florins

3rd: 17 florins

4th: zero

5th: zero

Winton Lemoine continued to live on the edge in the semi-final, tying for first in Prestige Points for the third consecutive game, this time with David Platnick at 61. This time Winton had the upper hand, with 700 florins left compared to David's 200, and the third time mattered most as Winton advanced while David had to settle for 6th place laurels. Three others who were in the Final for the first time joined Winton, as did last year's champ, Eric Freeman.

As the semi-finals were winding down, a helpful passer-by pointed out that halfway through the Final game, the Liar's Dice tournament would be starting in the same room. It's hard to play your best when 1000 dice are being shaken simultaneously in their plastic cups. We left for another room where the noise level was more manageable. As we entered, Alex mentioned that he was exhausted. Semi-finals and Finals had eaten up his planned rest time and he was working on just a few hours of sleep. I heard him, but it's hard to get sympathy when your problem is being in too many Finals! He'd just have to see how well he could play while half asleep.

The players bid for seating order, and Alex took the 2nd seat with a bid of 300. Eric paid 100 for 1st seat, Winton paid 100 for 3rd seat, and Chris and Aran took the 4th and 5th seats at no cost. Winton announced that he was determined not to finish in second place. He had finished in 2nd too often recently, and if he couldn't win, he'd rather have 3rd, 4th or 5th.

It was a tense game. All five players were experienced. Alex bought the first Jester for 1200 florins (you didn't expect him to get a bargain at this table) and Winton earned the Best Work bonus with a 10 WV Bell Maker in Round 1. In Round 2, Aran realized he had built a Laboratory in Round 1 rather than the Library he needed. He was greatly disappointed at this error, but I could not let him take it back, as time had passed since the build. He built the Library in Round 2 and thought long and hard about how to recover from this error.

Just as in last year's Final, Eric earned several Best Work bonuses, but it was an extremely close game as we headed into the final round.  Alex bought a Prestige card for 200 and selected his card carefully.  It's a risk buying a Prestige card in Round 7 because you may not get one you have time to fulfill. Eric won yet another Best Work, and it was all down to the Prestige cards.   Chris and Winton, who trailed on the Prestige Track, had two Prestige cards each, and they both scored 14 PP as a result. Alex turned over one Prestige card, the one he had drawn in Round 7, and it gave him 7 PP for Most Works. Alex had suspected that card was still in the deck, because it was worthless to anyone else, but he was relieved to have drawn it in the five cards he had to choose from. With the help of this card he had just barely enough to beat Winton. The final scores:

Alex 58, Winton 57, Aran 55, Chris 53, Eric 51. 

I took notes during the Final, so watch for a detailed play-by-play report.

Congratulations to Alex, who earned a victory in his first trip to the Final. Winton finished second again, just where he had said he didn't want to be! What really bugged him is that he finished with an unusually large bank of 900 florins. If he had taken just 200 florins less in cash during the game, taking one more Prestige Point instead, he could have won. Aran recovered nicely from his early slip, finishing only three PP behind, and relative newcomer Chris also performed well. Eric dropped from 1st place in 2007 to 5th in 2008.  This surprised me because I didn't see any substantial errors in his play, but the game was tight and little differences mattered. Princes of Florence is a tough game, and your opponents' actions heavily influence your success. Some people call it "multi-player solitaire," but I can't disagree more.

If you're interested in Princes of Florence, come to WBC next year and give it a shot. I'll explain the game during the demo and you can display that effortless aristocratic lifestyle as you play!

2008 Euro Quest Laurelists

Brian Reynolds, MD

Alex Bove, PA

Andrew Gerb, MD

Rod Spade, PA

Lyman Moquin, DC

 GM      Eric Brosius  [5th Year]   NA   NA

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