Monday, July 15, 2024

Bringing A Classic Euro Game Back To 2023 – ‘The Princes of Florence’ Review

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The Princes of Florence has recently been granted a new version, published by Wizkids. Players are trying to attract artists and scholars to their own palaces in order to become the most prestigious family in Florence. The game plays over 7 rounds and accommodates 2-5 players. Designed by Wolfgang Kramer and originally published in 2000, this is an updated 2023 version that has new art and new components. 

What’s in the Box?

The Princes of Florence box art
  • 1 Game board
  • 5 Double-sided player boards
  • 5 Double-sided principality boards
  • 30 Buildings (3 of each type)
  • 18 Landscapes (6 of each type)
  • 12 Freedoms (4 of each type)
  • 5 Double-sided reference sheets
  • 6 Builders
  • 7 Jesters
  • 5 Player screens
  • 60 Cards
  • 5 Pawns
  • 5 Fame disks
  • 1 Round marker
  • 5 50/100 disks
  • 1 Starting player marker
  • 58 Money
  • 21 Automa cards and 1 die
  • 6 Character cards

How’s It Play?

The rules have stayed the same from the original game, but if this game is new to you like it was to me, let me cover how it plays. 

The game is played over 7 rounds, and players are trying to gain the most prestige to win the game. Players take turns in a clockwise direction following the steps in the game. Players have artists that are chosen at the beginning of the game that are used to make works of art. The points given for what the artist does is determined by how many items you have completed listed on the left side of that card. Each round has a minimum amount of points you need to get to to be able to complete that work of art.

The Princes of Florence - artists and scholars cards

The first phase in the game is an auction where you can gain one of seven different things that are needed by your artists. This includes landscapes, builders, jesters, prestige cards, and recruitment cards. Some of these items might help you with discounts, or gain additional points when scoring your works of art. Everyone performs this phase, one after another, before moving to the next phase.

Players then take 2 actions to complete work, build a building, take a bonus card, take a profession card, or take a freedom. When completing a work of art, the card is played out and points are tallied up depending on how much items you have completed on the left side of that card. Buildings cost money, and are placed on your player board, and they also score you points. Freedoms help you score more points when completing a work of art if its listed on that card. Each bonus card can be played when creating a work of art, and it boosts the value of the work of art so you can fulfill it. 

The Princes of Florence main board with first round actions

As the game progresses, you gain buildings, freedoms, and other tiles so help you fulfill works of art for more points. You then gain more personality cards to hopefully fulfill them as the game progresses. You might already have tiles that score you points for new cards, and as the game ramps up, you will have more items to fulfill cards but also you need to have higher point values per card. When fulfilling a work of art, you gain money which can then be used for points. This decision is hard, as you need money in the game, but you also want to score the most prestige points in the game.

After 7 rounds, players score their prestige cards and whoever has the most points wins the game. 

The Princes of Florence tiles and second actions

The Verdict

Other than new artwork and components, the game is the same game that came out in 2000, if you have played that version. For me, since I never got the opportunity to play it then, it was been a great refresh to a game with classic euro vibes and is a well designed, even balanced game that can change due to different players or how the actions turn out. 

It does include a bidding aspect, which can be hard for some players, as no one knows the true value of things. I would say from my play throughs and from what I have read and watched, the jester holds a lot of power and should go for a pretty penny. Other tiles might or might not be wanted by other players, so just know that you need to bid on something you actually want because other players might just all pass. The last player to win in the auction also gets their tile or item for the cheapest and can be used as strategy in the game as well.

The Princes of Florence player board and space

Your board needs to be built in a certain way as certain building tiles cannot touch other buildings, so landscape tiles need to be used at some point to separate them. There are some tricks with some of the cards or actions where you can gain more cards to potentially score you more future points, but also give you a more choices to fulfill those requirements on those cards.

The components in this version are pretty stellar. The cardboard player boards, and the tiles are all thick enough that you can’t bend them. The pawns have the classic look brought by the old classic euro, but then produced in a way to make them look fancier. The player screens are thin, but nothing that would be different in other games. Everything checks out as far as components. 

The game in itself isn’t complex to grasp, as in each turn you go through the steps and do something you want to do. There is a good variety of things you can do, so options are wide open. But when you combine things together, things become connected and interact with each other and the game becomes more complex in that regard. The game provides a good space to find some depth and figure out tactical choices that you become presented with. 

The Princes of Florence bonus cards

The design tried hard to make the game have as least of luck as possible. When drawing cards, you draw 5 and choose 1, so this gives you options. The decks of card also are not extensive and you will get to know the cards if you keep playing the game to get the depth you are seeking. But with time, you will find clever moves, which cause the game to be more exciting to you. 

Ultimately, The Princes of Florence is an older classic game. It is designed by Germany’s first full time professional game designer, Wolfgang Kramer, and because of that, it has to get updated to bring us a more modern version of a key game that was designed or invented during the modern board game era. If you are a fan of euro games, then you should take a look at The Princes of Florence.

Princes of Florence is set for release in Q3 of 2023 at an MSRP of $54.99, but you can pre-order it now at the WizKids shop.

Images via WizKids

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