Friday, April 12, 2013

Through The Ages - Card - Michelangelo

This is a series of blogs written about each card in Through The Ages.  To find more, simply click on
"Cards" label.
His full name is Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, but most simply call him Michelangelo.    Born March 6, 1475, Michelangelo was born to a failed banker in Caprese, Italy.  Six months after his birth the family moved to Florence, where his father owned a stone quarry.  His father sent his son to study Grammar, but Michelangelo was drawn to paintings and sculpting.  At 13 he became a painter's apprentice.  At 14 he found himself at the court of the most powerful man in Florence, Lorenzo de'Medici.  While there he studied under Bertoldo di Giovanni, and began his career in creating art.

He was invited to Rome in 1496.  Since the Medici's were expelled from Florence in 1494, Michelangelo accepted.  By 1497 he had completed even more sculptures, including the Pieta.  The Pieta was so masterfully crafted that when it was placed in a chapel in St. Peter's Basilica, the chapel was renamed Chapel of the Pieta.  It also stands as the only sculpture Michelangelo ever signed.

Over the coming years Michelangelo would be contracted for works of art by the most powerful and influential of people in the world.  He created the statue David for the Florence cathedral.  Completed in 1504, David only reaffirmed his status as one of the greatest artists ever to have lived.

In 1508 he returned to Rome to paint the Sistine Chapel, a project which took 4 years to complete.  The list of works by Michelangelo is long and esteemed.  He traveled between Rome and Florence many times, but always working.  Besides sculpting and painting, he was also an accomplished sculptor.

His art brings with it an unparalleled aura of majesty and magnificence.  He moved among the circles of the most powerful people in the world during his life.  Indeed, they sought him out for his exceptional talent.  Michelangelo remains one of the few people whose talent and skill was as readily apparent during his life, and his work retains the power to awe people to this day.
Game Stats
Michelangelo holds a unique place in the game.  He is the first leader to hit greater than 50% in popularity.  Despite this, Michelangelo's ability to improve the player's position is minimal at best.  In fact, it may seem his best 'ability' is to grant a player the ability to draw a Wonder for one action less.  This is a misleading ability, as it takes at least 2 turns to take Michelangelo from the card row and put him into play.  Thus, if the player could take complete two Wonders and take a third, than Michelangelo pays for himself action-wise.
I recommend avoiding Michelangelo unless the player has a strong economy already in place.  Given he is an Age I Leader, this is unlikely to be the case.  Despite Michelangelo's stature in increasing culture, he improves neither the economy nor the military, and therefore is not important at this point in the game.

Perhaps the only time for using Michelangelo is to follow him up with William Shakespeare.  Doing this means following a "culture track", which is very difficult to maintain late in the game.  However, if the player can build an imposing military to prevent attacks against him and then tries to rush the game to an early conclusion, Michelangelo may be of great benefit.  Michelangelo should not be taken lightly as a "second option", as this path requires expert play and a constant build up to choose this path from the beginning of the game.
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