Hi St. Petersburg fans!
We play this game for about a year and love it! At the beginning we had some problems with the game-balance. The 4-player game usually lasted only for 5 rounds (sometimes 4 or 6, but never 7-10 indicated in the booklet), most of the blue cards never got bought, and the green and the blue decks got depleted much faster than the red, or especially the exchange ones. Additionally there was a huge luck-factor: Some players could buy cheap green cards for 1 ruble pretty early.
So we tried to fix the rules in many different ways: Playing with 2 decks, dealing various numbers of cards according their color, lowering the price of the blue cards, or distriburing more money at the beginning.
These changes were really drastic, but didn't work really.
After a few months and a lot of testing we believe that we've found the ideal rules and fixed most of the problems described above, applying only minor modifications. Here are the changes, I suggest everybody to try them:
1. There is not only 2 rows on the board, but endless imaginary rows. After finished the second full turn, the cards in the second row didn't get removed, but shifted to the 3rd (imaginary) row, and of course could be bought 2 rubles cheaper than the original price. After the third turn they move to the 4th row and further and further... until they get cheap enough to be bought. The 8 cards maximum rule apply any time!
2. Basic green cards can never get cheaper than 3 rubles.
3. At the end of the game the different blue cards score similarly then the aristocrats; but they score only the half amount of victory points (rounding down) than the same number of aristocrats would. Blue cards with original selling price lower than 5 do not qualify.
4. The Observatory card can be used to draw only from the exchange card deck. The drawn card can be bought, held in the hand or discarded.
5. Optional (we never play that way):
a. The Mistress and the Builder should be more expensive by 2 rubles.
b. The Judge, the Weapon Master and the Potjemkin's Village should be more expensive by 1 ruble.
c. The Marinsky Theater and the Tax Man should be cheaper by 1 ruble.
I hope, everybody will enjoy it! With these modifications the game I would rate close to 10.