Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
Jean had arrived now, so we played a 4 player game of St. Petersburg. In clockwise order around the table, Don was first in the worker phase, Jean was first in the aristocrat phase, I was first in the building phase, Trevor was first in the exchange phase. In the first building phase, there was a pub, a market, customs house and few other high priced buildings, so I snapped up the pub, Trevor took the market. Don then did something uncharateristic. He bought a customs house, followed by the $11 ruble 3 VP building, leaving him with virtually no money for the next round and effectively putting him out of the game.
In the aristocrat phase, there were no controller, judge or mistress. The game continued normally, with everyone attempting to grab aristocrats whenever they could, taking up buildings into their hand to open up slots to do so.
In turn 3, Don got an observatory, Jean built a turn 3 library (5 VP for 17 rubles) while picking up the other observatory on turn 4. Trevor got a warehouse, which appeared to be the key, since in turn 4, in the exchange phase, 4 exchange aristocrats flipped up, but since we were all jammed in our hands with 3 cards, Trevor was the only one able to grab two of them. I think this was the turning point. Scores:
Trevor 83 (7 aristocrats)
Jean 78 (6 aristocrats)
Norbert 76 (6 aristocrats)
Don 63 (6 aristocrats)
Interesting, in all the games I have played, I never thought of the warehouse as a strong building. But it appeared to be beneficial for Trevor in this game.
Game 2 of St. Petersburg. In clockwise order, Trevor went first in the worker phase, Don went first in the exchange phase, Jean was first in the aristocrat phase and I was again first in the building phase. Like last game, only a pub showed up (no observatory), so I took the pub and let the market and custom houses go by. In the aristocrat phase, a judge showed up for Jean, which he bought right away, and there were no big aristcrats left (controller, judge or mistress). The early advantage was to Jean now.
Trevor got the observatory on turn 2 and forgot to use it once, while Jean got the other observatory on turn 3. It was another tightly contested game for aristocrats, with everyone opening up slots to get aristocrats. Two turns later all large buildings turned up, so nobody took anything in the aristocrat, building or exchange phase. My only regret, since I was going first in the exchange phase, was not take a large building (I think the smallest was a $11 ruble 3 VP building) to open up 1 slot to see what exchange card would flip up, but I didn't think it was worth the risk.
I eventually got 3 markets, an academy and a few valuable exchange buildings. This appeared to put pressure on Jean since the last turn, he bought a library, leaving him unable to pay for the controller in his hand and costing him -5 VPs. This opened up the door for Don, who ended up with 1 more aristocrat than me at game end. Scores:
Don 76 (6 aristocrats)
Norbert 72 (5 aristocrats)
Jean 71 (6 aristoccrats)
Trevor 66 (7 aristocrats).
We sort of agreed that it was Jean's game to lose since he got a judge on turn 2, and if he didn't buy the library, he might have won the game.