This session of "Princes", like a few before, turned out to be an arms race to see who could become the strongest warlord (i.e. "terminator") in all of Italy. As it turned out, the player who fought the most wars garnered the most laurels, and hence the most victory points. With each war he fought, a ton of cash was earned, which he then re-invested back into his army. The rest of us, unfortunately, were only concerned with acquiring the most expensive city tiles, and so dismissed the attempt of this player to win wars. Alas, our downfall !
My own attempt to become the "fall guy" failed miserably, as my strategy to conserve gold and influence did not pan out as I had envisioned. My mistake, this time, was in not participating in enough war-bidding as I should have. This cost me the extra income I would have received per decade, in addition to affecting the value of other player's tiles. I learned my lesson: Pick your strategy and then make sure you stick to it !
Surprisingly, the usually ignored Naples surged to the top of the city chart when the Ferrara family consistanly sold its mercenary services to this minor power. Naples was
involved in every war this decade, beating its rivals Milan, Florence, and Rome in the process. The Ferraras became rich and quickly re-invested in more troop tiles the
following decade. I focused my attention on acquiring artists in order to speed up the decade, and to prevent more wars from being fought, but this did not have the desired effect. However, I did manage to grab a usefull merchant event card instead.
Newly acquired cash this decade was quickly invested into city tiles by all the players, and I made good use of my "freeze bid" treachery card to block another player's bid on a much coveted Naples merchant card. Although the majority of us favored the high-end city tiles like Naples and Venice, the Ferrara player focused instead on the much cheaper Milan tiles, and saving himself some cash in the process, especially since few of us were willing, or able, to bid against him. Again, the Ferraras were involved in nearly every war this decade, winning more laurels and gold in the process. I decided to take the "merchant" route by trying to acquire merchant city tiles and merchant event cards to try and boost my gold income for the next decade. The other players competed with some difficulty against the Ferraras in the war-fighting auctions, but they did manage to pick up a few laurels in the process.
The third decade went swiftly, as the event cards were quickly swallowed up in a mad grab to obtain remaining Victory points. The dreaded "French Invade" card was purchased by the D'Este family who had no other recourse than to play it on Rome rather than damage his own chances for scoring high. It was just as well, since the Ferraras earned a whopping 28 victory points alone from just battle laurels, somewhat negating the value of city tiles in the final talley.
The final city ranking was as follows:
Ferrara (Con) 61 VP: 4 Milan Tiles, 34 Gold, Most Influence, 7 Laurels, 7 Artist VP
D'Este (Bruno) 39 VP: 2 Venice Tiles, 2 Milan, 1 Naples.
Bentivogli (Claude) 44 VP: 2 Venice, 1 Naples, Most Gold, 3 Laurels
Malatesta (Myself) 43 VP: 2 Venice, 2 Naples, 1 Merchant card (3 merchants)