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Subject: Vinhos Vineyard Strategy rss

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Darin Lea
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Richardson
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In most situations, one's overall strategy in Vinhos must be decided at the moment the first vineyard is purchased. During the first three years of gameplay (the first wine fair season), players tend to focus on developing their estates in order to develop mid-quality wines early on and high-quality wines in later years. The inherent bonuses applicable to each vineyard will strongly influence both the tactics with which a player must pursue this development and the overall strategy by which a player hopes to achieve victory.

Minho

The cheapest of all vineyards at 3000 bagos, Minho's inability to host a cellar makes it a poor choice for further development. Minho is best suited to producing cheap wines with which to utilize the services of the wine managers and, thus, secure the bonus actions vital to any victory. Minho is one of the few regions suited to the placement of multiple vineyards within a single estate, as this permits the estate to produce wine during the worst weather conditions without sacrificing a more limited (and more valuable) winery purchase. Minho is also a sound choice for two estates, as its bargain price and lack of strong need for development can insure a steady supply of spare wines with minimal investment.

Selecting Minho as a starting vineyard serves a singular purpose (under the variant rules): securing first player position (with the intent of purchasing additional vineyards as one's first action).

Trás-os-montes

Trás-os-montes is a 4000 bagos vineyard. Unlike other regions, which offer benefits that apply equally well to other activities or schemes, Trás-os-montes supports a single strategy: winning wine fairs. To capitalize on this region's benefit, the estate must be further developed. A wine cellar will serve well for latter game years, but early on a second vineyard or a winery or two is vital. As with Minho, Trás-os-montes strongly supports a second vineyard within an estate as a viable tactic. In fact, the singular nature of the region's benefit is almost wasted on developing two Trás-os-montes estates (though one might argue the need for both a red and white estate for satisfying the requirements of Alexandro).

The focus of a Trás-os-montes-centric strategy is to secure and maintain first place during all three wine fairs. It's selection as a starting vineyard (under the variant rules) also serves well to insure an early turn order, which may affect the viability and cost of securing an early cellar or wineries.

Dāo

A 5000 bagos vineyard, Dāo and its sister region - Lisboa - are sound choices for any strategy. The purchase of a Dāo vineyard grants two advantages: the bonus cellar it provides saves the player both money - in the 2000 bagos that will not need to be spent on it - and time - in the action that does not need to be allocated toward its acquisition.

At 5000 bagos, the purchase of a second vineyard within an estate (without the corresponding gain of the cellar) is not recommended, unless other factors (such as a discounted Beatriz purchase action or a wine expert bonus) warrant an opportune acquisition. Dāo is well suited as both a primary and/or secondary estate which one should strive to fully develop.

Douro

Douro is a 5000 bagos vineyard that lends itself toward focused strategies. The +3 bonus from the Porto tiles can provide a strong advantage in the early game, or a late burst in the middle and late game, but the two bonus tiles gained limit the vineyard's long-term benefit. Without the benefit of Porto tiles, there is little reason to purchase a second Douro vineyard for an estate, and the 5000 bagos would be better spent within a different region. A second Douro estate, however, can extend the viability of a Douro-incorporated strategy.

When purchased as a starting vineyard, the best strategy is to develop the estate with a cellar and winery as quickly as possible, to maximize the benefit of the Porto tiles within the first harvest or two.

Lisboa

A 5000 bagos vineyard, Lisboa, like its sister region, Dāo, is a sound choice for any strategy. The purchase of a Lisboa vineyard grants two advantages: the bonus winery it provides saves the player both money - in the 3000 bagos that will not need to be spent on it - and time - in the action that does not need to be allocated toward its acquisition.

As with Dāo, the 5000 bagos pricetag of a Lisboa vineyard (and the lack of its bonus winery) does not lend itself toward the purchase of a second vineyard within a given estate. Lisboa is well suited as both a primary and/or secondary estate which one should strive to fully develop.

Alentejo

An Alentejo vineyard is a strong choice at an economical price of 4000 bagos. The extra potency of its Renown cubes will, in the long run, offset the extra expense required to develop the estate, and Alentejo estates benefit well from installing multiple vineyards, as this region's benefits are not "lost" to a second vineyard in the same region. However, the Alentejo region supports the fewest Renown cubes and should a second player encroach on the region, those cubes will become a precious commodity, requiring well-timed maneuvering and, perhaps, sacrifice to insure beneficial exploitation.

As with Douro, selecting Alentejo as a starting vineyard lends itself toward early game advantages. The Alentejo advantages, however, are less-quickly diminished.

Setúbal

The 5000 bagos Setúbal regions is, perhaps, the most selective of vineyards to consider. The benefit of the bonus Wine Expert tiles the vineyard provides is highly dependent on situation and luck. Setúbal is most viable as a starting vineyard if "bonus cash" or "discounted vineyard" Wine Expert tiles are face-up on the stacks. Though the high region number almost insures a later turn order (under the variation rules), these Wine Expert tiles can greatly offset the initial outlay of cash if additional vineyards are soon purchased, and "bonus cash" tiles, in particular, will continue to benefit in latter years.

Setúbal is less suited to mid- or late-game acquisition, as there are more efficient methods to obtain Wine Experts without the additional expense incurred byt the vineyard, although certain strategic choices may capitalize off of just such a scheme.

There is little reason to install a second Setúbal vineyard to a given estate, unless other strategic elements justify such a decision.

Algarve

All else being equal, Algarve is, indeed, the best vineyard in the game. At 4000 bagos, the vineyard is only slightly discounted, and the required outlay of cash necessary to fully develop a Algarve estate is more than, say, with a Dāo or Lisboa vineyard, but in the end, an equally developed Algarve estate will always out perform any other. And as with Alentejo, the benefits conferred by an Algarve vineyard are not "lost" to a second vineyard in an estate, making doubling-up a sound option for this region.

Algarve is a suitable vineyard for purchase at any time during the game (if purchasing a vineyard is a viable option at all).
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Stephen Lovell
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Excellent, well written, and just what I want to devour after just finishing my first game. Thanks!
 
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Vital Lacerda
Portugal
Oeiras
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2010 - Vinhos, 2012 - CO2, 2014 - kanban, 2015 - The Gallerist, 2016 - Vinhos Deluxe, 2017 - Lisboa, 2018 - Escape Plan, CO2 Second Chance and Dragon Keepers - Maybe: 2019 - ROTW Portugal and On Mars, 2020 - Kanban Deluxe Edition
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Hi Darin, well done. Thank you for this thread. I must missed it somehow.
Added it to the 'how to play list' header. A geek-list I made with a compilation of the best Vinhos articles I found.
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Stephen Lovell
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newrev wrote:
Hi Darin, well done. Thank you for this thread. I must missed it somehow.
Added it to the 'how to play list' header. A geek-list I made with a compilation of the best Vinhos articles I found.


Vital, I know you're not the only designer active on BGG, but it's always a joy to see a designer who obviously loves what he does and loves his community. Thank you for making an excellent game!
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