EDITOR'S NOTE: Steven Maus had announced awhile back that when his evening arrived for choosing the game to be played, he would select Machiavelli. So, armed with this knowledge, I made an effort to contact those members of our group who enjoy the game, attempting to entice them to attend. It worked, as Mike and Clyde Hayman, Bill Sanders and Josh Freeman all agreed to attend the two consecutive nights required to play the game to completion.
At one point, Machiavelli was my favorite game. I still enjoy it, but my tastes in games has changed considerably. I now much prefer games wherein the rules can be learned quickly and the game played in a much shorter duration than the 8 - 10 hours required for many of the older multi-player games such as Machiavelli. I find that I can get as much enjoyment ... indeed, even more enjoyment ... from games such as El Grande, Princes of Florence, Torres, etc. that I can from the old Avalon Hill line of games. There are fewer rules arguments, omissions and confrontations. I also no longer desire to play these longer games on a regular basis; once or twice a year for a long game is fine with me. Further, I honestly feel that many of the German style games offer as much strategic depth and decisions as those older AH games. I realize not everyone agrees with this, but that's fine. That's why both types of games still get played!
Machiavelli is a mid-fifteenth century power struggle between the Italian city-states of Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples and Rome, as well as their neighbors of Austria, France and Turkey.
The object of the 'short' game is to expand your initial holdings to control twelve cities and be debt-free at the end of that turn. Expansion is done through diplomacy and military conflict. Deciding who to trust and for how long is very important for survival and expansion.
Expansion brings financial gain as income is collected once a year. This income is based on the number of cities, provinces and sea areas controlled. Standing in the way of expansion, however, are spring famines, summer plagues and neighbors who may bribe your armies and navies. Enemies may also make assassination attempts on you.
The participants in this struggle were: Michael Hayman (Turkey), Clyde Hayman (Naples), Steve Pouey (Papal States), Steven Maus (Florence), Willerd Fann (France), Josh Freeman (Milan), Bill Sanders (Venice) and Jerry Maus (Austria).
The first two years were fairly uneventful with players expanding to nearby vacant areas. Things heated up in year 3, however, when all of the "easy pickings" were gone. The Papacy and Florence both edged closer towards Venice. Naples took advantage of this and began moving towards Rome. Turkey used this opportunity to block the Napoli conquest of Rome. He also took Messina and Palermo from Naples. The conflict was definitely heating up as Austria moved on France with support from Milan. Florence, meanwhile, consolidated its territories in the center of Italy.
The game resumed its second session with Willerd taking over Venice from Bill, who was struck with the flu. At the time, Venice controlled 10 cities, Florence 9 and Turkey 7.
Turkey and Naples failed to reconcile their differences. Naples, with only four military pieces on the board, was still able to be a thorn in Turkey's side, with occasional assistance from Florence and the Papacy. Venice inched oh-so-close to victory, controlling 11 cities. Austria, however, borrowed 25 ducats from the treasury and used this money to disband two Venetian armies, opening a path for him to move south. Austria captured Milan and continued to press into France.
A devastating famine hit Milan and allowed Austria to continue its incursions. Meanwhile, Turkey had cornered Naples into a garrison and wrested control of Sardinia from him. Venice lost two more units to famine and saw its chance at victory collapse.
Austria moved into Bosnia, attracting Turkey's notice. Austria now controlled 12 cities, but had an outstanding debt. By now, everyone but Florence had borrowed money. Most of the borrowed money was used to disband enemy armies and navies. Milan, however, was more deceitful, attempting two assassinations, but both were unsuccessful. Turn 16 saw Florence capture its 12th city and claim the victory.
Finals (Cities Controlled):
Austria 15 (but in debt), Florence 12, Turkey 8, Papacy 4, Venice 3, Milan 2, Naples 1
Ratings: All 9's & 10's, with the exception of Willerd, who soured on the game due to some confusion with the rules.