Viticulture / Tuscany

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Viticulture / Tuscany

Post  PaulC on Wed 09 Dec 2015, 11:55

Back in 2013 my finger hovered above the "Pledge Now" button on the Viticulture 2nd edition Kickstarter page. The first edition had been really well received but I'd only recently backed Brew Crafters - was there room for 2 alcohol production themed games in my collection? Regrettably my answer was "No", but my terrible mistake was finally corrected when I took delivery of Viticulture and its expansion Tuscany earlier this week.

Viticulture is a worker placement game themed around wine-making in 1920's Italy. Cease your groaning, haters of worker placement, Viticulture adds a couple of mechanics to counter the biggest complaints about worker placement games - Please stay with me, I'll get to them in a minute...

The object of the game is to maintain and upgrade your vineyard by planting and harvesting vines, crushing grapes into wine and aging your wine to perfection to enable you to complete customer orders and improve your reputation within the industry.

Each game round represents a year in the vineyard. In Spring, the players determine the turn order for the rest of the game. If they're happy to go last they can receive an additional temporary worker to use for the rest of the year, instead they could choose to earn some extra Lira, or a victory point, or, if they really want to go first they can do so - but will receive no bonus.

In Summer it's time to put your workers to, erm, work. Acquiring and planting vines, building structures to enhance your vineyard, giving tours, etc, but be careful - any workers used in the Summer can't be used later in the year!

Autumn is the time to arrange for future visitors - this may be Volunteers who will come in the summer time to plant additional vines, or a Master Vintner who will come in the Winter and increase the value of your wine.

Finally winter arrives and your remaining workers are deployed to harvest your fields, crush your grapes, fulfill customer orders and perhaps train an additional worker to be used next year. Once everyone has used up their workers the wine ages, the grapes mature and everything is reset for the next year.

You will recall I mentioned a couple of mechanics that elevate Viticulture from "just another frustrating worker placement game". I've already mentioned one, the fact that you don't need to wait for the first player token to get back round to you before you get to do that one, vital action. You are (to an extent) in control of your turn order. If you want to go first, stick your guy on the first time slot - but you won't get one of the oh so tempting bonuses on offer.
The second is the introduction of a "Grande Worker", everyone starts with one of these bad boys who can be placed on any action, even if it has already been claimed.

The Tuscany expansion is actually a collection of expansions of varying magnitude, ranging from subtle changes such as the introduction of new visitor cards, to fundamental changes such as the introduction of cheese-making as a parallel industry. The designer's suggestion is that the expansions are added in a Legacy style; play the base game then the winner chooses an expansion; play another game then the winner chooses another expansion and so on. Personally I think this is an unnecessary attempt to shoehorn the fashionable Legacy concept onto the game. I don't plan on playing it in this way.

In conclusion, I really love this game. It's well balanced, the theme works well and it allows players more freedom than many other games of this ilk.

I want to play it a lot, please help me.


Last edited by PaulC on Wed 09 Dec 2015, 14:46; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Viticulture / Tuscany

Post  paulyg on Wed 09 Dec 2015, 12:13

PaulC wrote:I want to play it a lot, please help me.
Really enjoyed this when we played it in Stoke. I'm up for helping and cracking open some of those expansions. I think the designer has decided that some of the expansions should always be played with (which make up the essential edition now) and some ad optional / add different flavours and aspects. Did you play with any of them yesterday?

Also glad the designer got rid of the stupid maximum points thing!
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Re: Viticulture / Tuscany

Post  PaulC on Wed 09 Dec 2015, 12:24

PaulG wrote:
PaulC wrote:I want to play it a lot, please help me.
Really enjoyed this when we played it in Stoke. I'm up for helping and cracking open some of those expansions. I think the designer has decided that some of the expansions should always be played with (which make up the essential edition now) and some ad optional / add different flavours and aspects. Did you play with any of them yesterday?

Also glad the designer got rid of the stupid maximum points thing!
We just played the essential edition, which adds additional visitor cards, asymmetrical starting conditions and fields that you can sell. Though I did dip in to the Tuscany box for the field tiles rather than using the cards that come with the essential edition.
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Re: Viticulture / Tuscany

Post  Lizzy on Wed 09 Dec 2015, 13:30

Yep, also up for playing this again! Great game.
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