PLACE: Casa de Pizula
Chris, Lisa, Matt, DaveO, Rick
As no one
else in our group had ever played Princes of Florence, and it
was the Spielfrieks game of the week, I decided that it
was high-time I got
these guys on it. This
is one of my top 10 games and a lot of people
compare it to Puerto Rico, and although I can't put my
finger on why, I have
to agree with them that the two games feel the same in
some weird way.
Puerto Rico is the current favorite among many, but I
have always thought of
Princes being the better game.
As for our playing of it, at the beginning of the game I
warned people of
the strength of the jesters and they did go for a
somewhat hefty sum, but
Rick managed to score three of them by the end of the
game, also getting a
couple prestige cards as well. Rick and I were neck and neck going into the
last round but I only had one prestige card although it
was worth 7 points
if I could get one more landscape (it was the most
I got cute as I put up for auction a jester thinking
someone would want to get it for some easy bonus points,
however, no one was
even planning on putting on a work except for Rick and he
had already bought
an enticement card.
Had I grabbed a lake or park, I could have received the
3 bonus points for an additional landscape and 7 points
for the most
landscapes, instead I only got 4 points for the tie for
the most landscapes.
I did however, get the two additional points for the
newly acquired jester
which was probably a good thing, as Rick and I tied for
the best work in the
last round with Rick getting a whopping 12 bonus points
for his jesters (he
had 3 of them with a bonus card adding another 2 points
for each jester).
He ended up
with only two buildings and a couple landscapes in his
province but still managed to crush us as his prestige
cards left me in the
Ricker - 64
DaveO - 51
Pizula - 45
Lisa - 42
Matthias – 40
enjoyed this one and I really think the Ricker and Pizula took to
it as I have; they thought that it might be a better game
than Puerto Rico,
while Lisa is sticking to her guns with the Puerto Rico
as the game of
choice; Matt just wanted spaghetti....
had to leave at this point to go get the family up at LAX; he
vowed he would return though if we'd play Chinatown.
We gladly agreed to
that and Rick split and we ate spaghetti.
The spaghetti was excellent and
before I even got to the table, Matt had eaten half a
plate of it - slow
pasta, we chose Paparazzo, one of Friedemann Friese's older
is a weird game; it's kinda like Modern Art on 'shrooms. Each
player has a hand of compromising photos of celebrities
there's no nudity for you prudes out there).
At the beginning of the round
you look at your right hand neighbor's cards as well, so
you have more info
about what celebrities are in play this round (only about
half the cards are
dealt out so some celebrities will be more prevalent than
object is to have the most money at the end of the round
which can be
obtained by auctioning off photos and also the final
reckoning at the end of
the round, where each photo is worth its market value.
Players take turns
being the auction mediator, which allows them to select a
photo from the
public pool and then auction it off.
The auction is a little weird as there
first is a round to set the price of the photo in which
the mediator takes
no part, and then there is a round where the mediator has
first dibs on
buying the picture at the set price.
If he doesn't want it, then clockwise
around the table each player has the opportunity to buy
it until someone
does purchase it. If
no one buys it then the person who ended up setting
the price in the first round has to buy it at that price.
If they don't
have enough, they have to pay a penalty at the end of the
game; this adds a
bluff element that I'm sure experienced players take
advantage of (we,
however, were not savvy enough to really try that).
If the mediator doesn't
buy it himself, he gets half of the proceeds, so there is
not to buy your own photo (can you say Modern Art?).
Upon buying a photo,
the buyer places the photo on the table in front of
himself and then adds a
photo from his hand.
This new photo then makes the value of the
corresponding celebrity move up.
This continues until only one player has
cards in his hand or there are no more photos in the
public pool which can
happen when someone who wins a photo in an auction
doesn't have any more in
his hand to replenish the public pool, the size of the
pool drops by one.
So if that happens four times, the public card pool will
be empty. We
actually played this twice as I screwed up the minimum
bid rule the first
time we played and made it too high, thereby causing
everyone to be out of
money before the game ended. This ended up being okay as this game really
takes a play to figure out what's going on and seeing how
work together. All
in all, I thought this was a really cool game and I
think it will take quite a few more plays to really play
DaveO - 71
Matthias - 67
LisaLisa - 56
Pizula - 52
that Rick would be back shortly, I brought out Basari. I thought
it would be good to let Pizula check this out as Out of
the Box will be soon
republishing this and I thought he might like it.....I
was right, he did!
This was a terrible outing for me as at one point I
rolled something like 5
1's in a row, never ever having a chance to get in on the
10 bonus points
for making the lap around the board.
Everyone was way out in front of me
after the first round when the airport shuttle driver,
Rick, returned. Rick
had some spaghetti and let us play one more round; I was
determined to get
out of last place! I
again couldn't roll the dice worth a crap but through
some decent gem grabbing and wheeling and dealing I
managed to tie up with
Pizula, but Matthias was unstoppable; he lapped the board
(for the second
time in the game) AND got the majority in the most
valuable gem (for the
second time). He
Final Score (2 round game)
Matthias - 75!
LisaLisa - 40
Pizula - 32
back, we played Chinatown; with this and Princes of Florence
down, we can now say that we've played every Alea
release. This one started
out as a lot of fun but about halfway through, our ADD
king decided to leave
the table right in the middle of a negotiation phase.
Not only was it bad
timing but there was no explanation as to
why....unfortunately, he was the
only one I could trade with as no one else had anything I
interested in. I
sat around and watched LisaLisa, the Ricker, and Matthias
wheel and deal for about 5 minutes, when LisaLisa went to
go get Prince
was fuming by this point as it completely ruined my gaming
experience since there was literally nothing I could do.
boiled over and I dropped f-bombs all over Pizula, kinda
putting a cloud
over the game (to say the least).
We persevered onward and Pizula and I
even managed to make a trade near the end of the game to
try to salvage
ended up being the shrewdest negotiator while I ended up on
the short end of the stick. I learned a valuable lesson - stay the hell
away from Pizula when you play Chinatown - you never know
when he's gonna
get the urge to run to his throne and read rules!
With all that said, I
really enjoyed the game (except for that one round) and I
else enjoyed it (except for my tirade).
Ricker - 102
Matthias - 91
Pizula - 88
Lisa - 87
DaveO - 77
this point was pretty spent but we wanted just one more game.
I pulled out a lighter one which I hadn't tried but
looked like it would be
fun (boy was I wrong), called Ex und Hopp.
This one's by Ruediger Dorn.
I've enjoyed some of his (Traders of Genoa, Emerald, and
Gargon) but thought
Zauberberg was too light; well, I guess Ex und Hopp fits
in the latter
category as well. In
this game there is a deck of cards which are numbered
1 to 12 in as many colors as there are players, each
player being a
different color. There
are also tiles which are either positive or negative
laid out on the table.
All of the cards are shuffled together and players
are dealt a hand of 6 or so; they then take turns playing
the cards onto the
tiles; when there are as many cards on a tile as there
are points on the
tile (regardless of whether they're positive or
negative), the tile is given
to the player corresponding to the color with the highest
sum of cards. One
twist is that instead of playing a card on to a tile, you
can instead ask
for a trade; I thought this would add an interesting
element to the game -
it didn't; it instead was tried about four times with
terrible results, and
so was never attempted again. The game turns into a crapfest where you just
try to whack your neighbor by playing his higher cards on
tiles, and if you can manage to get one of your own,
playing it on a
positive tile. I
think in most games the leader also would be getting
whacked but in our game, everyone just seemed to play the
largest card they
had in their hand down and Rick's and my cards seemed to
be in everyone's
hands more than anyone else's. In fairness, we left out a few positive
tiles by accident (they were hidden under the box
insert), but I think that
all they would have added to the game was 5 more minutes
of hell. The rest
of the participants were not as sour on the game as I
was, but I really
don't think anyone's gonna be screaming to let this one
Lisa - 10
Matthias - 6
Pizula - 6
Ricker - -4
DaveO - -8
All in all, it was a fun time with the group learning a
couple of great Alea
games, and I got a couple of surprises(one pleasant and
one not:*). It's
always a good time when you can play a couple new games,
play a few
classics, and share some good food with friends, right?
Until DevilDog 2
(which is in less than 12 hours).....