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Subject: My Stragegy Tips rss

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Stan Sevcik
Germany
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I started to respond to the Blind leading the blind thread, but since my post got so long, I figured I would just put it in a separate thread.

Here are my strategy tips in order of importance:

1) Maximize your worker output
You should always strive to get the most actions out of your workers. A typical beginner mistake is e.g. to use up four workers to end up with one Pinot planted and nothing else. Consider what the net result of your actions for the year will be and replan if it seems to be too little. It may be that other players get in the way of your plans, but still consider what your best options are for the long term play. For instance, getting two purple cards even if you already have two good ones on your hand may be a better use of your worker than getting the sixth worker for 4 Lira; or, planting just one Sagniovese with your worker seems weak - you may want to look for better options and make the planting move next year when you can get the planting bonus.

2) Crisis management vs long term perspective
You will eventually experience a crisis in one of yoru games - getting cards that are of no use for you - you get the 6th white grape when you are waiting for a red, your orders don't match your wines in the cellar, you get blocked out of important plays.

The key is to not allow this to happen in the first place.

If this happens towards the end of the game where you can't do anything about it it means that you don't have a variety of grapes AND don't have a variety of wine orders AND you don't have windmill/tasting room to give you a steady VP increase. This means you have been playing wrong from the start. Keep a variety of something on your hand/estate at all times - visitors, orders, grapes. Don't let yourself get into the position where you filled your last order and you have NOTHING to do next except hoping you'll get an order that fits your wares.

If this "crisis" is happening at the beginning of the game, don't panic, everything is fine. You may want to grab the windmill and/or the tasting room as this is a fail-safe way to get VPs for the next turns and grab more visitor cards and/or order cards and see where it gets you; consider producing grapes without turning them into wines yet and leave yourself the option of producing roses and sparkling wines when a suitable order card comes, you may even sell grapes to grab the bonus VP on the way.

3) Don't overestimate the value of money
The worth of 3 Lira is about 1 VP as evidenced by some of the visitor cards and game mechanics. This means that getting 1 Lira is most often a weak move, even in the beginning of the game when you need Lira to build up your estate. Plan your expenditures ahead and make wineyard tours preemptively. Avoid getting in the position where you are just 1 Lira short of important buildings and waste your workers or the rooster on a weak "get 1 Lira" move.

4) Number of workers
It's always necessary to get the 4th worker. Get him in the first couple of rounds for the best return. The 5th worker is almost always worth it in 3 and 5 player games where there's more space on the board. Getting the 5th worker in 2,4 and 6 player games or the 6th worker in 3 and 5 player games depends on whether you think you can get something out of him. If you are running the windmill/tasting room/grape selling strategy, the extra workers are usually worth it. If you are mostly fulfulling orders and/or playing visitors, there's usually a better move for you than getting the extra worker that will not bring much value.

5) The wake up order
IMO there is a slight unbalance on the original board that has been addressed to some extent in the expansion:
- the 1 Lira is too low in the order - as mentioned in 3), getting one Lira is too weak of a play
- the purple card is too high - getting new orders is good and you'll be high in the turn order
- going first is strong - you'll be collecting the bonus fields on the board which is typically stronger than any single bonus from the wake up order (if you can make use of the bonus fields of course)
- don't forget the bonus VP - it's approprietly low in the turn order, but don't overlook it, remember the 1 VP to 3 Lira ratio - this is a strong bonus
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Leif Smart
Australia
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I agree with the idea that the +1gold spot is particularly. More often than not, you're better off taking the first spot with no bonus, since you'll be able to grab the bonus spots that provide +1 gold. Of course there's no guarantee that spot will be available but in the few games I've played so far it generally is.

There's also the possibility that you might need the rooster +1 and the bonus +1 in order to afford something (ie training a worker but only having 2 gold) but it's pretty unlikely you'd get the spot being so low on the order and thus have to save your Grande for it, hoping that it's not completely full.

While moving up the +1 gold rooster spot in the order makes sense, perhaps an easier fix might be to make it +2 gold, since that would just involve a sticker on the spot. That should provide enough of an extra benefit to take that spot early, without making it too much better than the +1vp spot below it.
 
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Mike Jeter
United States
Arizona
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I like taking the cottage on turn 1, then getting yellow cards for the first 2 rounds and then blue cards from then on. The yellow cards definitely are geared towards getting your engine going while the blue are more towards turning your hard work in to victory points. I agree with others that the blue cards are a little better, but you don't really need the advantages that they give you early in the game. I like getting all the workers I can and using the yoke to make sure I can harvest every turn unless your orders are all big ones where you don't need to harvest as much.
 
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Flight Doc
United States
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I think it's important to consider that strategy will and should adapt as the game progresses.

If your opponent is training a lot of workers quick, you might find yourself getting behind as you're doing less per year. The cottage is usually helpful to offset this as many cards combine 2 actions of some sort. Plus, once built it provides the effect without further worker use.

The tasting room is much less powerful now as it requires a wine present in your cellar. Once you have wine, you may not want to burn a worker giving a tour as money becomes less vital as the game progresses. Having all the workers makes this less a problem as you'll soon have workers to burn doing this.

The windmill is less helpful after you have your fields set, so get it early but even then, you likely will only get 3-4VP by game end.

If you get structure cards, try to build them and alter your gameplay to make them useful. Don't wait for the perfect one or it'll be too late to make it worth building.

If you're playing with the cheese, get some extra cows in a trade action, make them and let them age using the aging expert to speed the process. Ensure you build the cellar to prevent rotting. By adding a level 4 cheese to 2 wine orders in 2 consecutive years is equal to having 2 level 4 wine orders. You can really sneak up and win the game this way.

Most important: play often! The more you play, the more you'll be able to adapt. This is too good a game to only play once a month. Like any wine fan, you must taste many to know what is good and what isn't. Make it a regular thing and you'll soon find little ways to squeeze out the VP and "crush" your competition.
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