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Tuscany Essential Edition» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Nerd Weekend Reviews Tuscany: Essential Edition rss

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Justin Baumgartner
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Wisconsin
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Normally I wait a little longer to write a review, but seeing as Viticulture: Essential Edition is a common game to be played on Nerd Weekends I feel pretty comfortable reviewing Tuscany so quickly.

Here is what I have commented at time of writing for Viticulture:
"Viticulture is a game with really well done dovetailing of theme and mechanics. The game is pretty simple to grasp and I feel it has a low ceiling, making it great to play in a group with various skill levels.

The luck factor with the cards means you don't play to win really, you just play to be in a position to win. If you need strong competitive elements in your games, Viticulture isn't for you. However, it is a fun game to just play, regardless of winning or losing.

I like competition a lot so Viticulture won't make my Top 5, but it's one of my favorite games to bring to the table with my friends."

Viticulture is a game that I have almost always brought to game events simply because the range of people that enjoy it is quite broad. Even new gamers who manage to sit through the relatively expansive teaching portion of the game make it through, and almost always they don't score a lot of points but they also always leave the table satisfied with their experience and confident that the next time they will do much better.

I bring all this up because Tuscany is such a dramatic shift away from this core accessibility.

Viticulture with Tuscany, from a strict gaming standpoint, is a much better game than the base game.

I rate games in certain categories from low (1) to high (10). These ratings allow you to make your own determination on whether this is a game for you. I also avoid gameplay overview, I suggest checking out some of the professional reviewers (I like Rahdo) for those.

Theme: 7/10 - Theme is strong but not immersive
Complexity: 7/10 - There are a lot of moving parts, but nothing counter-intuitive
Stress: 3/10 - Most of your decisions are fairly obvious and the game is relatively forgiving, if you make a mistake it won't cost you the rest of the game.
Components: 9/10 - I find Stonemaier games to be top-notch in component quality in general, this is no different.
Length: 7/10 - Maybe its because of the group composition, but a full 6 players takes quite a while to play.
Accessibility: 4/10 - While Viticulture in base game form rates as one of the more accessible-yet-complex games, I think the added complexity of Tuscany makes this game one to avoid for people who are new to board gaming.

The other element to my reviews is through breaking down the types of gamers I've encountered and making a statement based on their point of view.

The Tactical Gamer: This is me, and I prefer games that give me the ability to outplay my opponent through clever maneuvering and variable objectives. Tuscany for a Tactical gamer is a strict upgrade over Viticulture, and in comparison to other games offers a really robust system with new choices to make each turn. This gamer type would almost always play Tuscany and would sometimes suggest it.

The Race Runner: This person tends to prefer games where you are making constant forward progress, utilizing each turn to it's maximum effectiveness. This gamer should see Tuscany as a strict upgrade over the base game. Tuscany really doesn't have a lot of gratification in the first two or three turns though, there isn't steady progress from beginning to end and therefore a big final push can overwhelm steady gains. This gamer is unlikely to turn Tuscany down, but probably wouldn't suggest it often either.

The Theme Junky: A gamer who prizes theme and prefers games where the complexity of the mechanics doesn't break their immersion. Tuscany is actually probably a downgrade on the base game in theme and immersion as the new mechanics don't have the same level of mechanical immersion that the existing ones do. Theme Junky players will probably play if asked but I'd be surprised if they suggested Tuscany.

The Strategist: Strategists tend to like to develop a big metagame strategy early in the game and then work to execute it as well as possible. Tuscany is a big improvement over the base game for these gamers as there is a lot more certainty when it comes to gaining victory points. In comparison to other games, I think Tuscany actually has a really great system for these gamers, especially with the Mamas and Papas in place. This gamer will probably always play Tuscany and often suggest playing it.

The Casual Gamer: Casual gamers prefer games that aren't complex and have enough variability to make them feel competitive even if they lack knowledge of the game in comparison to other people. Tuscany is a pretty complex Euro game, and probably would turn off a lot of Casual gamers via it's increased weight. Casual gamers are likely to turn down playing Tuscany and won't suggest it either.

The Social Gamer: Social gamers prefer games that are easy to teach, highly replayable, and naturally generate interaction with other people. Tuscany (and Viticulture in general) isn't really interactive beyond the worker placement portion, and the game is fairly long. Social gamers by nature will typically play anything put in front of them, but are unlikely to suggest this specific game.
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Darin Bolyard
United States
Oak Grove
Missouri
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Interesting review. Despite not including an overview, you did a pretty solid job of presenting it. I think much of what you said is spot on, especially this↓
Micanthropyre wrote:
Viticulture is a game that I have almost always brought to game events simply because the range of people that enjoy it is quite broad. Even new gamers who manage to sit through the relatively expansive teaching portion of the game make it through, and almost always they don't score a lot of points but they also always leave the table satisfied with their experience and confident that the next time they will do much better.

I bring all this up because Tuscany is such a dramatic shift away from this core accessibility.

I agree. Personally, I feel like Tuscany takes Viticulture from point salad to POINT SALAD.
This↑ isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially for those gamers you mention who lean toward higher complexity in euro games. But with Tuscany's added complexity, Viticulture probably won't hit the table as often as it currently does if I insist on playing with Tuscany modules every time.

For me (a gamer to be sure), I'm not wholly on board with this↓ statement yet. Accessibility is a huge factor for those I game with.
Micanthropyre wrote:
Viticulture with Tuscany, from a strict gaming standpoint, is a much better game than the base game.


It's a solid expansion, and I really appreciate the modular nature of it. Very well thought out and implemented.
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Justin Baumgartner
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Wisconsin
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If someone else doesn't do an overview with pictures in the next week or two, I'll probably do one then.

dbolyard wrote:
But with Tuscany's added complexity, Viticulture probably won't hit the table as often as it currently does if I insist on playing with Tuscany modules every time.


Yup, exactly. I'm not sure I personally will be excited to play Viticulture without the expansions, so it is probably going to be played less than it has in the past. Which is... counterintuitive I guess.

dbolyard wrote:
For me (a gamer to be sure), I'm not wholly on board with this↓ statement yet. Accessibility is a huge factor for those I game with.
Micanthropyre wrote:
Viticulture with Tuscany, from a strict gaming standpoint, is a much better game than the base game.


It's a solid expansion, and I really appreciate the modular nature of it. Very well thought out and implemented.


Yeah, that's why I qualified it, though I could have phrased it better. If you eliminate the social aspect and look at Tuscany from a gameplay standpoint, the game has more balance. I always felt like in Viticulture you do the best you can with the visitor/vine/wine order cards you are given, and if the wine gods allow it you might win. With Tuscany I feel far more in control of my destiny, specifically because of the Trade and Sell a Wine Token spaces.

I also agree: it is a really great expansion to a game I already enjoyed. I do think though that if a game group regularly plays with people that dislike heavier, more mechanical games (Mombasa, Terra Mystica, etc) then Tuscany might not be an essential purchase.
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Justin Baumgartner
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Wisconsin
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I've created a GeekList that I'll update as I feel the need to that goes a little more into depth about the different Gamer Types I reference:

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/217444/gamer-types
 
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