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Subject: Session Report rss

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J.P. Morgan
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Our fifth game of "Princes" commenced last Friday night with a complement of five people, all fully accustomed to the game's mechanics and all very eager to begin the Machiavellian intrigues. With increased exposure, I'm appreciating more and more the subtle and devious nature of this game, which warrants that a certain amount of guile and deception be used in order to achieve victory. Case in point: During an earlier game I came out with a very aggressive stance, (aka Terminator) ruthlessly pursuing wars and pushing my city tiles higher and higher up the chart. Victory seemed certain. Then suddenly it was "Gang up on the leader" time! I was hit from all sides with everything: The Wars, the Treachery, The French Invasion. Even the Pope ganged up on me! Doh!

I learned my lesson; If everyone thinks you're winning, you're in trouble. Better to mislead them by laying low for a few turns, then sneak in through the back door. This time I would play the psychological card; make them think I'm not a threat, then at the right time....Whammo! To achieve this I would start with the "fall guy" strategy, hoard my gold and influence, then use this power in the later stages of the game to buy cities and events after it was certain which tiles were going to finish ahead. But would everyone cooperate? Would they realize what I was up to? And would the tiles still be there to buy?

And so it began: An arms race to see who could become Primo Terminator, the Head Honcho, the Mother of all Mercinaries. Knowing my group, it was inevitable they would try to out-do each other with troop purchases. Would I follow this path to destruction? No! I deposited my 1 gold coin to the bank and purchased a sole Arquibusier. Now I could bid for wars if I had to, while retaining much of my cash for later use. In addition, the weak nature of my forces could be used to fulfill the mission of the "fall guy" by bringing down strong cities and earning gold in the process.

Early in the first decade, several of the Venetian tiles were purchased by the two players to my left. (each had two) Clearly it was to their interest to maintain the value of these tiles by pushing up Venice through Wars, which they did. Both of them earned several laurels this way. At the other end, the two players to my right invested in the cheaper cities like Naples, and later, when affordable, some Milanese tiles as well. Now the two camps were set: the Venetian faction versus the Naples-Milan faction. Where was I in all this? Waiting patiently, and playing both factions against each other. I bought a few artist tiles therby earning 5 VPs and speeding the decade along to its conclusion.

Now came the second decade, in which War after War was fought in rapid succession. In this process, I managed to earn some gold by fighting for the side no one cared about, and consequently, spending little influence to do it. Near the end of the decade, Venice had risen to the highest point on the chart, while all other cities were sent close to the bottom. Sensing an opportunity, I decided to bid on the remaining two Venetian tiles, knowing that I could outbid anyone with my hoarded cash. Since I had now joined the Venetian camp of the two players on my left, my fortunes were now locked with theirs. Should a War be waged on Venice, I could rely on the influence of these two players to come to the defense in the mercenary auction.

The third and final decade found Venice way out on top, while Milan, Naples, Florence and Rome were all in the same slot at the very bottom. Again, I had a slight advantage in hoarded gold, and also because of money I had earned from war-fighting in the previous decade. Venice was sure to come in first in terms of city finish. What wasnt so clear was second place. Knowing that the struggle would come down between the Venice and the Naples faction, I decided to go for the unsold (and overlooked) Florence tiles. If I was lucky, Florence would finish high while the other factions fought to sustain the value of their own cities. It worked. The clash between the Venice and Naples faction allowed Florence to come in second, with myself as its sole tile owner. This, coupled with my two first place Venetian tiles bought me a substantial number of victory points. The influence I had saved this decade won me the highest influence victory points and the game. By not spending early on city tiles or army tiles, focusing only on artists, I had won the game by sneaking in through the back door. I had let the big boys fight it out while I waited it
out on the sidelines. But now the cat is out of the bag; the boys are wise to me. Will they allow me to sneak in again next time? Stay tuned.

Final Scores:

D'Este 43 (2 Venice, 2 Florence, 2 Artists, Most Influence)
Bentivogli 39 (2 Venice, 2 Milan, second gold)
Baglioni 38 (2 Venice, 1 Naples, most gold)
Malatesta 29 (3 Naples)
Montefeltro 24 (3 Milan, 1 Naples)

 
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Gerard Mulder
Netherlands
Voorhout
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Re:Session Report
Morgan (#37710),
Great article! Very well analised and illustrating that you should have a strategy as well as react to what other players do.

Like you illustrate, in POTR you cannot just switch strategies half way through, you must commit to a strategy or perish. You have to find ways to make other peoples strategies work for you and the fall guy is very good at this.

I would like to know the merchant situation in this game. It seems from the scores bagliony was the merchant, with 3 merchants and 2 merchant event tiles.

Gerard
 
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J.P. Morgan
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Re:Session Report
Douwecarel (#39193),

Thanks!

I agree. You have to stick to your strategy all the way. Its difficult to switch strategies in POTR because you'll just end up wasting time and money if you do.

Fall guy is a great strategy to use in that regard. Its a lost-cost option that allows you to be in on the action at all levels, making the other strategies work for you.

As far as Merchants go, I believe Baglioni had 3 merchants(2 from Venice and 1 from Naples, plus at least one Merchant event card) The Bentivogli player, I think, also had 2 Merchants (both from Venice), and the other event card. Although both players won points for most gold, it was not enough to win the game. Unfortunately, it was too late to re-invest in city tiles at that point: the decade had already ended!

 
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Gerard Mulder
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Re:Session Report
Morgan (#39446),
Hi,
Fall guys most powerfull weapon is time. He can afford to speed up the game because he does not need many actions to achieve his goals. Most of our games take no more than 12 turns per player because someone will allways start sellign those event tiles. Many time as a fallguy I use my abundant influence (I buy a knight or artillery when I can, just for the influence) to get the merchant event tiles and win with 3 merchants and both event tiles (+6 points). I make sure I have 2 of those tiles in the biggest city (Venice or naples) and probably one in the other city. Milan is usually my enemy so I fight for them when I can (with my single knight(-.
It has been a time since I played but this is one of my alltime favorite games.

Somewhere on this forum is an aticle of mine that argues Fallguy is probably the most powerful strategy and how it can be stopped.

Take care,

Gerard
 
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