princes of florence  

Updated 11/30/2009

2009 WBC Report  

 2010 Status: pending 2010 GM commitment

Thomas Browne, PA

2009 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
2009    Thomas Browne     58

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
2009    Legend Dan Hoffman     35

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Eric Brosius       MA    09    100
  2.  Rod Spade          PA    09     91
  3.  Legend Dan Hoffman MD    09     72
  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.  Tom Browne         PA    09     42
 10.  Alex Bove          PA    08     42
 11.  Ian MacInnes       NY    05     40
 12.  David Platnick     VA    08     39
 13.  Davyd Field        SC    09     36
 14.  Eric Freeman       PA    08     36
 15.  Lyman Moquin       DC    08     30
 16.  Chris Senhouse     MA    09     27
 17.  Tom Johnston       IL    06     27
 18.  Andrew Gerb        MD    08     23
 19.  Winton LeMoine     CA    08     22
 20.  Doug Smith         PA    02     22
 21.  Greg Thatcher      FL    07     21
 22.  Boaz Gura          NJ    07     18
 23.  James Carvin       PA    03     18
 24.  Donna Rogall       MD    04     17
 25.  Joe Nemet          PA    05     16
 26.  Clyde Kruskal      MD    03     16
 27.  Bruce DuBoff       NJ    09     12
 28.  Aran Warszawski    is    08     12
 29.  Holliday Jones     MD    04     12
 30.  Stuart Tucker      MD    03     12
 31.  John Weber         MD    03     12
 32.  Sam Atabaki        CA    06      9
 33.  Bill Zurn          CA    09      8
 34.  Kevin Walsh        NY    07      8
 35.  Richard Fox        IL    06      8
 36.  Andrew Greene      VA    05      8
 37.  Scott Nicholson    NY    05      8
 38.  Nathaniel Hoam     OH    04      8
 39.  John Lewis         RI    07      6
 40.  Brian L Jones      MD    04      6
 41.  Tom DeMarco        NJ    09      4
 42.  Greg Shirah        MD    09      4
 43.  Eyal Mozes         NY    07      4
 44.  Greg Crowe         VA    05      4
 45.  Anne Norton        NJ    02      4
 46.  Brian Jones        NC    01      4
 47.  Jason Long         PA    09      3
 48.  Yoel Weiss         NJ    07      3
 49.  Bruce Reiff        OH    03      3
 50.  Randy Cox          SC    01      3
 51.  Robert Kircher     RI    08      2
 52.  John Brier         NY    05      2
 53.  Marc Houde         DC    01      2
 54.  Justin Veazey      MD    01      1

2009 Laurelists                                               Repeating Laurelists:

Chris Senhouse, MA

Bruce DuBoff, NJ

Rod Spade, PA

Davyd Field, SC

Jason Long, PA

Past Winners

Arthur Field, SC
2001 - 2002

Eric Brosius, MA
2003, 2006

Eugene Lin, WA

Ian MacInnes, NY

Eric Freeman, PA

Alex Bove, PA

 Thomas Browne, PA

Greg Crowe,Tom Browne, Katherine McCorry and Rebecca Hebner go "shopping".

Rob Flowers takes a break from his El Grande GMing to play POF with David Gerson.

Would You Like to Buy a ?

Many games cast you as a merchant amassing riches.  In Princes of Florence, wealth is of no account.  As a Renaissance aristocrat, you care only for prestige.  In fact, you splash money around freely as you seek to outshine the owner of the palazzo down the road.  Of course, it takes money to maintain a suitably extravagant lifestyle, and the small inheritance you start with runs out quickly.  Too often you must sell off the master works of the artists you attract to raise the cash you need to stay on the back of fame's tiger.

Princes of Florence is a "gamer's game," but beginners learn it quickly because it has a clear structure and a familiar theme - shopping.  The game takes seven rounds, and in each round you buy one item at auction and carry out two actions - thus, you have 21 opportunities to maximize your winning chances.  Six newcomers showed up for the demo, and after a rules explanation they were able to play several rounds of a practice game, giving them a feel for play before the real action began.

It's a challenge seating players quickly at the start of each heat.  I want to thank Katherine McCorry and Cally Perry, my Assistant GMs, and Rob Flowers, who volunteered on the spot.  I strongly prefer 5-player games; as the GM, I don't play if the number of players is divisible by five without me.  This year we had an unusual occurrence:  one player signed up for Heat 1, but left before I called out his name for a table assignment.  As a result, we had four 4-player tables in Heat 1; I didn't want to take the time to move players among tables after the unexpected dropout. 

Close games are common.  There were three ties for Prestige Points in the heats, with the winners determined by the tiebreaker, most cash.  Two other games were won by a margin of just 1 PP.  At the other end of the spectrum, David Platnick won his first heat by a margin of 27 PP.

Last year I came in fifth in my heat, losing to Alex Bove, who went on to win the tournament.  This year Alex and I were at the same table for Heat 1, but Alex came in 2nd and I third as Alan Elkner won.  Alan went on to win his game in Heat 2 also (no one else won both heats) so it was no fluke.

Some people claim Princes of Florence is slanted toward the player who plays 2nd in Round 1.  It makes sense in theory, but it didn't pan out in 2009.  For the second straight year, the bottom of the order out-scored the top, and in fact Seat 2 came in fifth in five of the eleven 5-player heats.

A list of 25 qualifiers and 25 alternates was posted on the event kiosk.  All 13 winners qualified, together with 12 players whose best finish was a 2nd place result.  23 qualifiers appeared for the semis, and I added the top two alternates 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: 300 florins

3rd: 67 florins

4th: zero

5th: zero

All five semis were close.  No one was more than 10 PP behind the winner.  In one semi, Bruce DuBoff (who bid 200 florins for Seat 2) finished with 54 PP, ahead of Jason Long and Peter Eldridge at 53 PP each.  In another, Thomas Browne finished with 54 PP, ahead of David Platnick, Greg Thatcher and Cheryl Meek, all three of whom finished with 53 PP.  In games this close there are many decisions that can make the difference between victory and defeat.

The players for the Final were Bruce DuBoff, Tom Browne, Chris Senhouse, Rod Spade and Davyd Field.  I observed that there would be at least one first this year---a winner whose first name started with a consonant!  We bid for seating order, and Bruce took Seat 2 for 400.  Davyd paid 100 for Seat 1, and Tom, Chris and Rod took Seats 3, 4 and 5 at no cost.

The game started off quietly.  Bruce got a Builder for 700 florins, and Chris bought a Jester for 1100.  Rod paid 700 for a Recruiter, Davyd took a Forest for 200, and Tom picked up a Prestige card (a "strait jacket", as the players described it) for 200.  Every player then bought a Profession card and a Freedom.

The shape of the game began to take form in Round 2.  Davyd bought a Jester for what Chris had paid, but Bruce spent 800 for a second Builder.  You can make a lot of hay with multiple Builders, but Bruce was paying high prices.  In Round 3, Chris bought a second Jester, this time for only 1000, and Rod got the Builder as Bruce was running out of money.  In fact, Bruce had to sell a PP for 100 florins to finance the construction of a Studio.  With the Studio in place, he attracted a Painter, and then sold off the Painter's work to raise cash.  Rod, during his Actions, attracted the Organ Maker, a Professional who later demonstrated the ability to toot his own horn.

Round 4 featured a minor bidding incident.  Chris put a Recruiter up for auction, and when Chris bid 600, Rod passed.  Tom, mishearing Rod's "pass" as "700", passed, and was surprised to find that Chris had bought the Recruiter for the relatively low price of 600.   Tom did not complain, settling instead for a cheap Lake.  Chris recruited the Organ Maker from Rod, performing a work, and Davyd in turn recruited the Organ Maker from Chris, making it three works by the Organ Maker in just two Rounds.

One tough decision in this game is how much cash to set aside for the future.  Every 200 florins you take from a work costs you 1 PP, so you don't want to take too much.  On the other hand, if you run short of cash, you get only 100 florins for each PP you sell - better to have taken cash up front.  Going into Round 7, Bruce had 400 florins left and Davyd had 700.  Bruce needed a Forest.  Unfortunately, so did Davyd.  Bruce bid 200, Davyd 300, and Bruce 400 - all his cash.  Davyd raised the bid to 500.  Bruce wondered whether Davyd was just messing with him, but competitive auctions for Forests are not uncommon - someone paid 1600 for a Forest in Round 7 of a 2005 semi!  Bruce decided it was worth selling PP for the second time in the game to get the Forest and bid 600, only to hear Davyd bid 700.  When Bruce bid 800, Davyd knew he'd have to sell PP to keep bidding, and he reluctantly passed, allowing Bruce to sell four PP back to the bank to finance the purchase.  Tom had 1200, a lot of money for Round 7, and he used 900 of it to grab a Jester after spirited bidding.  At this point, Chris and Davyd each saw a Prestige card as the best option.  Chris put it up for auction and Davyd kept bidding, even as the price soared above the amount of his cash.  When Davyd won the bid for 1200, he had to sell five PP back to the bank to pay for it.  This left Chris with the low-cost option of buying a second Lake for 200, gaining 3 PP and leaving him with a lot of money he'd never be able to use.

When it was Tom's turn to perform Actions, he started by paying his last 300 for a Bonus card.  He drew five cards and was shocked to see that the "7 Categories" card was among them.  This is usually the best Bonus card in the game, and it is almost always selected the first time someone draws it.  Tom didn't think twice.  He took the "7 Categories" Bonus and used it to add six Work Value to his Dramatist, earning 11 PP and 100 florins.

After Round 7, Chris was in the lead with 47 PP, followed by Rod with 45, Bruce with 42, Davyd with 38 and Tom with 34.  But it wasn't over.  Bruce had a Prestige card and Davyd and Tom each had two.  Bruce's card was worth five PP for "2 Large Buildings", putting him into a tie with Chris (though Chris had more money.)  Davyd had "4 Buildings, 2 Freedoms and 4 Works" for six PP, but did not score for "Most Works", leaving him at 44.  Tom then revealed "All 3 Freedoms" for eight PP and "1 Builder, 1 Jester and 2 Landscapes" for seven PP (no wonder he bid so much for that last Jester) bringing his score to 49, 2 PP ahead of Chris and Bruce and in sole first place.

The final scores: Tom 49, Chris 47, Bruce 47, Rod 45, Davyd 44. 

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

Congratulations to Tom, who won his first Princes of Florence final at WBC.  And thanks to all who took part in this year's tournament.

One of the things that makes WBC special is the dedicated GMs who put a lot of planning into running their events efficiently. One of the best is Eric Brosius whose table markers seen here are just a small visible part of the effort he puts into his event.

Eric Freeman who co-ordinates the co-operative Euro GM scheduling
efforts to reduce conflicts enjoys the fruits of his labor
during WBC as he games with Aran Warszawski of Israel,
back for his third WBC vacation.

2009 Euro Quest Laurelists

Legend Dan Hoffman, MD

Rod Spade, PA

Bill Zurn, CA

Eric Brosius, MA

Tom DeMarco, NJ

 GM      Eric Brosius  [6th Year]   NA   NA

2009 Preview Page | View the Icon Key | Return to main BPA page