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Fürsten von Florenz (The Princes of Florence) - Online Guide

Starting The Game

With /join 3-5 players can join the game. With /start the game begins. Alternatively, you can use the Game Tool!

Object of the Game

Spielfeld

Florence - center and playground of many artisans. Each player tries to gain as much prestige points as they can for their piaza by engaging artists to perform there.

Game Board

Künstler

You will see a list of available artisans on the left of the interface, defined by their preferred buildins, landscapes and freedoms. At the start of play you will be able to select from the artists who are highlighted in 'grey'. Light coloured artists have already been played by someone and matches the colour of that player. Dark coloured artists (of your colour) are the ones that you currently own which have yet to be 'played'.

The example (left) shows the game interface from view of the red player: it has the Map Maker (Kartographen), Composer and Mathematician available to play a work in later rounds. The Pharmacist (Apotheker) and Doctor (Medizinier)have already been played. Yellow has played the Physicist (Physikir) and Blue the Lawyer (Rechtsgelehrtert).

Freiheiten und Handkarten

Located in the upper centre of the interface are your bought items. Freedoms are shown along the top. Those highlighted are the ones you have aquired. The next line indicates the number of Jesters, Builders, Bonus Cards, Prestige Cards and Recruitment Cards you own. The Recruitment indicator shows two values:
left = how many unused Recruitment Cards
right= how many used) Recruitment Cards One click on the Bonus Card/Prestige Card/Recruitment Card icon will open a window. Click on the "Abwerbe" Icon to close these windows again. If you click on the Recruitment Icon during your turn (after the auction)and you have cards available you can select an available artisan. If you don't want to select one just yet click the 'X'.

Geld- und Rundenanzeiger

This panel shows your current worth. In this example have 1400 Florin and 6 Prestige points. It also shows that the game is currently in round 5 and that 15 points are needed to play a work.

Bauplan

This part of the screen shows your piaza where you can place your buildings and landscapes. The Palazzo is there from the start.

Spieleranzeige

This panel shows all the other players. You can see what buildings they have in play and which freedoms they have declaired (in a mini format). . To the right you can see their Prestige Points currently awarded. The green light shows whose turn it is.

If one want to look at another players piaza or liberties in more detail then click on their name.

Flow of the game

Each player starts with 3500 Florin. There are 7 rounds in a complete game. Each round consists of two phases: Phase A is an auction, in which each player has to buy an item. In phase B each player can play 2 actions.

Künstlerauswahl

At the beginning you have a choice of 3 from the 4 greyed out artisans given to you at random. Click on the one you do NOT want.

Phase A - Auction

Auktion

Once everyone has chosen their first 3 characters the first Phase A (Auction) starts. The starting player (highlighted by the light) selects one of the seven options (Forest, Lake, Park, Jester, Builder, Prestige Card or Recruitment Card) by clicking on it thereby starting the bid at 200 Florin. The auction cycles through all the players until it is sold to the highest bidder. The item being auctioned has the colour of the highest bidder indicated. The next player in sequence can either increase the bid by exactly 100 Florin (by clicking on the gold symbol)or pass on this item (by clicking on the Blue arrow). If the first person did not conclude the auction he starts the bidding on the next item. Otherwise the choice moves to the next in play. This continues until everyone has bought an item. (It is possible to pass and not buy an item during the last auction of that round but since you get it for 200 Florin that would either be a waste or you have not managed your resources very well!)

Landscapes
Wald See Park

Three landscapes serve the artisans for inspiration. If you have built the landscape which matches the one preferred by the artisan (see artist table), then this increases value for this by three points. Further landscapes of same type do not bring any further advantage when playing a work, however, they gain three extra Prestige Points and could be useful in using a Bonus Card.

Bauen

If you acquired a landscape, you must place it immediately on your piaza. A window will open to allow you to place the landscape in the appropriate location and attitude. THe top blue arrow flips the shape, the center circular arow rotates the shape and the triabgles move the shape. If you are happy with the new location click the gren check/tick mark. CAUTION: if you select the brown 'x' , you will lose that landscape tile!

Jester
Gaukler

Each jester increases your work by two points. Several jesters will add up. This is one of the most powerful items in the game! At the beginning it is not uncommon that it can sell for 1300 Florin in the first auction!

Master Builder (Baumeister)
Baumeister

Buying the first builder reduces building costs from 700 to 300 Florin per building. Buying a 2nd builder gives you three points of prestige and allows to build buildings which touch each other. Buying a third builder master gives you another three prestige points and lets you build for no cost. A player can have a maximum of three builders. There are only 6 builders available during the game. Some skillful players will completely fill their piaza with buildings to obtain all the extra PPs. Although this can be a winning strategy, it is also one of the most challenging options!

Prestige Cards

Prestige Cards bring Prestige Points at the end of the game (After Round 7). Players can earn between three to eight for each successful card. If you elected to buy a Prestige Card, a window will open giving you a choice of 5 cards. CAUTION: Only click on the cards you do NOT want. The discarded cards placed in the bottom of the deck in the order they were discarded. It can be more beneficial to choose a Prestige Card earlier on in the game to give you a chance of achieving the objective stated on the card(s). More details can be found on the Bonus & Prestige Cards page.

Recruitment Cards
Abwerbekarten

Since the number of artisan cards are limited, you can recruit them from other players who have already played them. This way you can claim a work using those artisans in your piaza. Remember every artisan/recruitment card adds one point to the value of any work you play. The more artisans/recruitment cards you have the more cumulative points you have for playing works.

Abwerben?

When you purchase a Recruitment Card you are immediately asked if you want to recruit an artisan. You can select from artisans who have already been played by other players. You can see which ones are currently available and select them now (by clicking on them).

In the above example yellow has played the physicist and blue has played the lawyer. Red therefore can recruit either of these artisans.

If you don't want to recruit just now, click on the 'x'. You can recruit later during phase B at any time. This does NOT constitute as an action and is very useful near the end game! To do this click on the Recruitment Icon during Phase B. The Recruitment cards themselves cannot be used to play a work (you have to recruit first). They do count as an extra point toward playing a work! The person who perviously had the artisan who was recruited gets the spent recruitment card and therefore does not lose the extra work point. You cannot recruit you own artisans.

Phase B

Phase B

In phase B, players can select two of the following actions per round.

  • Buy 1 Freedom for 300 Florin.
  • Buy 1 Artisan/Person to perform for you for 300 Florin.
  • Buy 1 or 2 Bonus Cards (each being an action) for 300 Florin each.
  • Build 1-2 buildings (700 Florin each/ 300 with 1 builder / free if you have 3 builders).
  • Play 1-2 works for Prestige Points.
  • Pass (click on the blue arrow)

Click on the action you wish to take. Since you have 2 actions you will click twice in this window.

Freedoms
Freiheiten

You can only buy 1 Freedom per round. One can only have one opf each Freedom (Opinion, Travel, Religion). If you can match the artisan you play your work with to his preferred freedom you will increase the value of the work by three points. Freedoms can be used each time you play out a work.

Character Cards
Personenkarte

In order to achieve and collect thus valuable points of prestige works, you need many artisans to perform in your piaza. You can pay 300 Florin once per round to add further artisans to your hand. If you choose the action, you get five cards to choose from (highlighted in grey), four of which you must return back to the deck. Select one-by-one the cards you do NOT want. Since there are only 21 artisans in the game, you may have less than five cards to select from. When no more are available you can only get new artisans using the Recruitment cards.

Bonus Cards
Bonuskarte

A bonus card can be used solely to improve the value of the work played in your piaza. Once it has been played it is no longer valid. The improvement of the work value depends on realizing the conditions on the card. You can purchase 1 or 2 Bonus Cards during your turn in Phase B for 300 Florin each. When you purchase you can select from the top five cards. CAUTION select on the four cards you do NOT want. They are then placed on the bottom of the deck in the order you discarded them. There are 20 different bonus cards in the game. More details can be found on the Bonus & Prestige Cards page.

Placing Buildings
Gebäude

Each artisan prefers a certain building, in order to best perform his work. It you match the artisan with his preferred building you will score an additional four points for the work. In order to place a building, you will select the building action in phase B. A window with all building types appears. Select the building you want and locate it using the functions similar to placing a landscape. Buildings may not touch including the Palazzo which is already part of your piaza. Only the corners can touch! Exception: If you have two or three builders your buildings can touch each other. A building costs 700 Florin to place. Exception: [One builder - > 300 Florin, three builders - > free of charge]. Each building gives three Prestige points. There are sizes of building: small/medium/large (3/5/7 spaces). There are three of each building a player can NOT build the same building more than once.

Playing a Work

A work costs nothing to play (since you have already paid for the artisan and pampered him with Freedoms, Buildings and Laandscapes!). When played they bring money and/or Prestige points.

When you selection “work”, click on one of your artisans in the list. You will be awarded points as follows:

  • 4 Points for the astisan's preferred building.
  • 3 Points for the astisan's preferred Landscape
  • 3 Points for the astisan's preferred Freedom.
  • 2 points for each Jester owned.
  • 1 point for every artisan card you own (played or in hand).
    1 point for every Recruitment card you own (played or in hand).
  • Points awarded for any Bonus Cards played.

You must meet the minimum Work value to be able to play a work. (e.g. in round 2 you need to have a minimum of 10 points. If you play a work and have 1 jester (2 pts) 1 building (4 pts) and own 4 artisans (4pts) you will have the 10 point minimum needed). As the game advances the higher the minimum work value needed.

Round1234567
Minimum7101214151617
Bonuskarte spielen

If you wish to play a Bonus Card to increase the value of your work (remember the person who plays the most valuable work each round gets +3 Prestige Points!), click on the Bonus icon then select the Bonus Card you wish to play with the work. It will be highlighted by a blue sphere. You MUST select the Bonus Card before you play your work. The points are then automatically added to the work.

Werk vollbracht

When you play a work, one receive 100 Florin for every point of work. You can convert these points to Prestige points instead. You get 1 Prestige point for every 2 points of work. (e.g. if you played a work for 10 points you could claim 2 PP and 800 Florin). Use the arrows to decide on the Florin/PP distribution and then click on the green check/tick mark. Once everyone has finished Round B, the player who played the highest value work is awarded with 3 additional Prestige points.

End of the Game

The game ends after the seventh round. Any Prestige Cards are then evaluated and added to the players totals. The winner is the one who collected the most Prestige points. If there is a tie then the one with the most Florin wins.

Strategy

  • Auction and Action
    While the auction and action phases of the game are distinct, they are joined at the hip. Each succeeding auction or couplet of actions is influenced by the preceding and succeeding phase, subject to the planned strategy. To wit: You ideally want all of the jesters you plan to buy before you play your first work, in order to maximize their worth. Also, timing of planned auction purchases or actions can be influenced by the turn order. Therefore, one must think of the game as seven auctions, seven pairs of actions, alternating, instead of it being seven turns with an auction and action phase each.
  • Game Start
    The game always begins with the four Person cards you are dealt. Common requirements are of course desirable. I would argue they are desirable in the following order:

    1) Common landscape
    2) Common building
    3) Common freedom

    The reason for this hierarchy is that landscapes are auction items, and are therefore scarcer. If you have played the game before, I guarantee you sometimes end up with an action you don’t know how to use, but you never have an auction where you don’t want anything. (I have seen actions passed, but never auctions.) Common buildings are important because buildings are the most expensive Work Value boosters in the game, in terms of both time and money. Having a pair of Persons with a common building is a significant advantage to begin a game with.

    The Auction

    Valuing the auction items, or ‘how much should I bid?’ Each item in the game translates itself into Work Value, and therefore into Florins and Prestige Points.

    1 WV = 1 Fl. = 0.5 PP

    This key formula is the only thing you need to know how much you should bid as a maximum. However, it is only a guide, and it won’t really help you decide *what* you should bid for. More on that later.

    Jester

    The Jester is the most powerful item in the game, adding 2 WV to any and all works. There is no limit to the number of jesters a player can have. Therefore, the basic formula for valuing a jester is:

    2 WV x # of works you plan to play x 100 Fl

    Note that only you can decide how many works you plan to play. In a typical four-player game, you can expect to play six works (21 person cards / 4 = 5, + 1 Recruiter) on the average. Therefore, the ‘break even’ value of the Jester is 1200 Fl. In a five-player game, this goes down to five works on the average, unless you have second seat or are confident you can win two Recruiters. Therefore, on the average, bid no more than 1000 Fl for a jester in a five-player game.

    As the game progresses, the value of the jester begins to decrease as works are played by each player, decreasing the expected returns from the investment. You might value the jester higher if you need one to make it to minimum work value, but there are other cheaper ways to get that done. We’ll talk about this later.

    Recruiter Card

    The recruiter has two distinct effects – it increases the WV of all the works you subsequently play by one and it becomes a Person card and thus an extra work. Therefore, you can value it as:

    (# of works you plan to play x 100 Fl) + (expected WV x 100)

    In many cases, the Recruiter Card is the most underestimated and undervalued item in a Princes of Florence auction. As long as your plans have at least one spare action to play the work brought in by the Recruiter, chances are you can make a tidy profit on it.

    Builder

    The Builder is an interesting item. It gives an incremental advantage on its second and third instance, and it also provides 3PP in the same cases. Valuation follows:

    First builder: # of buildings you expect to buy x 400 Fl
    Second builder: (incremental # of buildings you expect to buy x 400 Fl) + (3PP x 200 Fl)
    Third builder: (# of buildings you expect to buy x 300PP) + (3PP x 200 Fl)

    Prestige Card

    This is as easy to value as it is random. However, accurate valuation requires that you know all 14 Prestige Cards, what they do, how much each can reward you, and which of them you can use at the time you win. Early in the game, you can almost safely say that you’ll make money on it, because you can tailor your game to convert the card. Late in the game, however, luck becomes a greater factor, as you’re hoping to draw a card that can help you, and you have little to no auctions or actions left to fulfill conditions you don’t already meet.

    Remember, if you don’t meet the conditions on the card, it’s worthless. A draw is 3-4 PP. A full conversion is 6-8 PP. A worthless Prestige Card in a close game is crippling, so be careful. However, if you can’t win without converting one, check out your position and see which Prestige Cards you can fulfill. If there aren’t any, then there’s no real use in purchasing one late in the game.

    Note that you can purchase Prestige Cards early in the game and work the requirements to fulfill them into your plans. This can be a strong play in a game where Prestige Cards are undervalued in early turns, and people are spending huge sums on jesters, builders and recruiters. In theory, one Prestige Card is about the equivalent of a medium-sized work, so it can be the edge in a tight game where everyone plays similar numbers of works.

    Landscapes (Forest, Lake, Park)

    Landscapes are often ignored, but proper play on them can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

    It is critical to remember that an incremental landscape of the same kind is worth an automatic 3PP. Since you can oftentimes get a landscape for the minimum bid of 200 Fl, that’s a 400 Fl / 2 PP gain right there. In addition, five Prestige Cards are centered on landscapes, and three more have them as components. Buying an early Prestige can set up landscape plays later in the game. In most games, a player will ‘fall back’ to a landscape at least once after having been outbid for a more lucrative item. Make that count by planning what other uses the landscape choice can potentially have other than being +3 on a work or two.
  • Actions

    Purchase Person Card

    Unless you’re going to try for the pure Builder strategy, this is a no-brainer. If there’s a Person Card available, buy one. You not only get a +1 WV boost to all future works, you get to play one more work and you deny someone else one more work. The only time you might want to hold off is in a three-player game when you won’t have enough actions to play all the works.

    As stated in the Game Start section, planning for common resources always factors into the choice of Person Card to take.

    Purchase Freedom

    Other than giving +3 WV to some works, they are central to one PP and components to another. Not great. There is usually little reason to purchase all three Freedoms unless you have the All Three Freedoms Prestige Card. You can get by with as little as one freedom up to four players, but usually need at least two in a five-player game.

    One good reason to snap up a freedom you can’t immediately use is to deny another player a freedom he needs. If you only really need one freedom for the Persons you have in hand, and you see that there is one freedom of one type left, then it might be advantageous for you to purchase it. The one other player might need it, and it will probably be useful when playing Recruiters later in the game.

    Purchase Bonus Card

    I consider this the most advanced play of the game. Nothing can help a player’s cause more than a well-placed Bonus Card, especially in a five-player game. There are three reasons to purchase and play a Bonus Card.

    The first and weakest play is for extra WV for cash or PP. This is sort of pointless, and shouldn’t be the reason to use a valuable action. The second is purely defensive, and that’s to meet minimum WV. A player should plan to meet minimum WV via infrastructure rather than via Bonus Cards. If circumstances work against you, so be it. However, I would consider this a waste that can be avoided. The third and best reason to purchase and play Bonus Cards is to win the Best Work Award for a turn. Thus, not only do you get the extra WV/Fl/PP, you get 3 PP more for free. This is a very strong play, and it is essential to doing well, especially in a five-player game.

    Again, it is beneficial to know all 20 Bonus Cards, so you can determine how many can help you at any point in the game. It is also important to note what Bonus Cards the other players have used.

    Purchase Building

    It is too expensive to build a building at 700 Fl just to boost one work (or even worse, to get one work to minimum WV). (+400Fl + 600Fl – 700 Fl = 300 Fl) Don’t plan to do that. It becomes more tolerable at 300 Fl (with one or two Builders) (+400 Fl +600 Fl – 300 Fl = 700 Fl, slightly better than the gain for an incremental landscape) If the building boosts two works, it becomes a good play even at 700 Fl. It becomes very strong early in the game when the +4 WV can help win the Best Work Award in the first three turns.

    Buildings are also key elements in satisfying Prestige and Bonus Cards. Three Prestige Cards deal directly with buildings, and another has them as a component.

    When positioning buildings on the play mat, plan ahead for later purchases. This is particularly important when planning to build seven or even eight buildings (but beware that eight buildings precludes two large ones).

    Play Work

    As a rule of thumb, in a three-player game, play seven or eight works. In a four-player game, play six to seven works. In a five-player game, play five to six works. Save Recruiters for late in the game, to give you a better choice of targets. A look at the situations of other players can tell you whether or not they’ll recruit one of your Persons, so play that work and let your Person be taken. Recruit him back for a strong play, especially if you have all three requirements met.

    Try not to play more than one work purely for Florin. If you’re forced to play two full works for Florin, you’re probably bidding too much for resources.

    The early turns should be about building infrastructure so that you won’t be concerned with minimum WVs later in the game. However, never hesitate to play a work if you are certain that you’ll win the Best Work Award. This is most effective if you are last in turn sequence, and no one will have the chance to top your work. Otherwise, check the situations of the other players and estimate their ability to play a stronger work. It’s not too hard unless they’re all holding Bonus Cards. (As a gauge, it would be rare for a bonus card to give anything more than a +6, less if early in the game.)
  • Putting it all together
    There are two main lines that one can play. You can look to play as many works as you can get, with as many jesters to back them up. If you can win the jesters and the recruiters, you can reasonably play up to nine works in one game. The other strategy is to abandon jesters and works altogether, and get three builders as early as you can, then win Prestige Cards in the last four auctions. These two main lines can be completed, but not very often as your opponents will likely prevent it.

    “The Fool’s Game”, or, “Jesters Work”

    Shopping List: Auctions: Jesters, Recruiters, Landscapes, Prestige Cards Actions: Persons, Freedoms, Works

    Probable Ending Inventory (4P game): Auctions: 3 Jesters, 2 Recruiters, 2 Landscapes Actions: 4 Persons, 2 Freedoms, 8 Works

    To play The Fool’s Game, win Jesters as early as you can. Pay up to 1200 Fl for one, or 1300 if your opponents are savvy with the game and know the 1200 Fl breakpoint. Mix in a couple of recruits, three if you can. But a person every turn until they’re all gone. Match up the requirements if you can, but it isn’t necessary. You should get five or six persons. With your two to three recruiters, you’ll have a base hand value of eight. With three jesters, your base hand value will be 14. At that point, simply matching one landscape or one freedom will get you to 17 WV. Match two and get to 20. You’ll probably have to use up to two works for cash in the earlier rounds, but try to do nothing but play fully-loaded works with your last six actions. That will give you at least 48PP, which is rarely enough to win a 4P game. Every PP you can squeeze out of your first two works will help your cause. Every work that you can match both Freedom and Landscape to will also help immensely. When playing this strategy, you need to watch your bidding – if you pay too much for jesters and recruits, you will lose even with three or four jesters.

    “Build Me a Home”, or, “Builder’s Prestige”

    Shopping List: Auctions: Builders, Prestige Cards, Recruiter Actions: Buildings, Bonus Cards

    Probable Ending Inventory (4P game): Auctions: 3 Builders, 3 Prestige Cards, 1 Recruiter Actions: 7 Buildings, 3 Bonus Cards, 4 Works

    Perhaps the hardest strategy to execute, Builder’s Prestige relies on flexibility and shrewd bidding. You need to get three Builders by the fifth turn to have a chance. You must also stretch your starting 3500 Fl as far as it will go. If you can get through the game without needing to take money from works, you’re in good shape.

    Ideal Builder’s Game: Turn One: Win Builder, Build, Play Work (must win Best Work Award) Turn Two: Win Builder, Buy 2 Bonus Cards Turn Three: Win Builder, Build, Play Work (with Bonus Card, win Best Work Award) Turn Four: Win Prestige Card, Build, Play Work (with Bonus Card, win Best Work Award) And so on.

    If you see the pattern, it relies on making the most of its three or four works to get the early Best Work Awards, using Bonus Cards. Luckily, there are several Bonus Cards that work will with buildings and builders. There are exactly four Prestige Cards that will help: Two Large Buildings, Least Empty Spaces, Most Buildings, and Most Builders. You need three of the four to have a good shot at winning. Remember to manipulate the Prestige Card deck if you run into two in the same pull.

    This strategy scores this way:

    3 Builders = 6 PP 7 Buildings = 21 PP 4 Works = 20 PP (5 PP average, on the low side) 2 Best Work Awards = 6 PP 3 Prestige Cards = 20 PP Total = 73 PP

    That’s more than enough to win a 4P game. Even with just two Prestige Cards you have a decent shot at winning the game. The hardest part of this strategy is winning auctions. If you are forced to spend a lot more than your beginning 3500 Fl, you're probably in trouble.

    The Middle Route

    Probable Ending Inventory (4P game): Auctions: 1 Jester, 1 Builder, 1 Recruiter, 1 Prestige Card, 3 Landscapes Actions: 2 Persons, 2 Freedoms, 6 Works, 3 Buildings, 1 Bonus Card

    Of course, most games (especially 5P games) will end up with one having to take what the game gives you, for the lowest price possible. Therefore, If you can’t win jesters for less than premium price, or if your opponents won’t let you have builders or Prestige Cards cheap, then you play for least cost – a little of everything.

    This is where person management becomes vital – the more common requirements you can produce, the better chances for victory are. This is especially true if you can match buildings up, and if you can entice your opponents to recruit your persons away so you can take them back and play them again. If you can get away with just one landscape type, so much the better, because then you can acquire the same landscape again for a cheap 3 PP gain. Finally, if you can win two or three Best Work Awards, there’s a great chance of winning the game. It all comes down to watching the opponents, the turn sequence, and playing the right works at the right time.

    Finally, in all cases prudent bidding is always important. The more your opponents pay for the auction items, the better chance you stand of winning. The less you pay for things you can use, the better chance you have of winning. Each 200 Fl beyond your starting 3500 Fl is always worth 1PP.
  • You can safely click on the X on the recruitment menu , to put aside for later. All the other actions can not be canceled. Be careful, when you click on the X in the positioning of a landscape, the tile is discarded!

The Bonus & Prestige Cards are descibed here.