Recommend
44 
 Thumb up
 Hide
21 Posts

Viticulture Essential Edition» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Viticulture - Essential Review Edition rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I am a eurogamer and yeah, yeah, yeah I have a weak spot for worker placement games and yeah, yeah, yeah I am a sucker for great components and yeah, yeah, yeah, I drink the occasional glass bottle case of wine. I know all this. But even if not all of the above applies to you, below you can find reasons explaining why Viticulture might very well be a game you want to check out.

1) It's soloable.
In fact, the solo option to this game is very worthwhile. You play against an Automa deck which simulates one or more other players by placing workers before you get a chance to. This way, you are forced to discover the many strategies of scoring points since those Automa-workers are bound to get in your way.

2) It scales well.
Jamey Stegmaier & Alan Stone have succeeded in keeping the game tight, no matter how many players you play with. And you can play the game with as many as 6. Since the number of spots you can place your workers in depends on the number of players participating, there is a continuous race to get to the spots you want.

3) It offers solutions.
But if that spot you so desperately wanted is taken, you can still get to it by using your one Grande Worker, for instance. Regardless of whether there are spots left, your Grande Worker will always do exactly what you want it to do. You'll be wishing for more of them.
Maybe even more vital than that Grande beauty of a Worker are the visitor cards. Whatever your problem is, there's bound to be a visitor in the deck that can solve it. Get your hands on visitors. Get a Cottage. Early.

4) It offers problems.
Whether it is because we are trying to save the world or getting mouse royalty to safety or because I desperately want to terraform the terrain next to my Stronghold before anybody else gets a chance to: I like games that are tense. In games, tenseness seems to come from the possibility of not being able to do what you want to do. This, in turn, can be caused by not having enough workers (check), not being able to put your workers to work when or where you want to (check) or simply by not getting the vines you want (check). Having to find creative solutions and discovering that there are multiple ways of scoring points is what makes a game interesting to me.

Board Game: Viticulture Essential Edition


5) It's thematically strong.
Being a eurogamer, I was never too concerned with thematic strength. Having discovered The Gallerist and Viticulture, amongst others, I do see how a strong theme can add to a gaming experience. In Viticulture, you really do feel as though you are running a vineyard as efficiently as possible, thus trying to outwit the competition. You want buildings, you want grapes, you want to sell.
Not only does this make the experience better, it also helps teach the game to new gamers because it's easier for them to see how certain elements work together.

6) It's very replayable.
Starting with a different Mama/Papa set each game, as well as those decks of order cards, vine cards, and visitor cards really does mean that every game is different.

7) It's rewarding.
The game is fun & addictive. There is very little downtime, there are many options, and it's quite challenging at times. Getting to build & run your own winery, albeit a cardboard variant, simply feels good and feels like time well spent. The more you get to know the game, the more you get out of it.


1-6 players

+
Beautiful components
Different set-up every time
Strong theme
Very replayable
Challenging
Accessible

-
Element of luck (card draw)

Some Papa cards seem to simply be better than others (more money, same building). There's bound to be some logic behind this, but I am yet to see it. This is not a big issue, but some players are very sensitive to these kinds of inequalities, whether they be real or merely perceived.
63 
 Thumb up
1.75
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Bruce
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Omnis singulus exemplum Declarationem Libertatis fuerit frugalis or Every single extra copy of the Declaration of Independence has been thriftedMicrobadge: Bored At Work...Hello BGG
Nice review! My V:EE copy comes in the mail today. How many times have you played it and with what number(s) of players?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ilse
Belgium
Kortenberg
Vlaams-Brabant
flag msg tools
Smile!
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: I love Christmas!Microbadge: 2016 Secret Santa participantMicrobadge: 2017 Secret Santa participant Microbadge: 2018 Secret Santa participantMicrobadge: I love Christmas!
I played this for the first time a few days ago and I'm nearly as excited as you are (ofcourse my excitement might grow after more plays).
I agree in the visitor cards being quite important, but I like how the hand card is limited to have just one spot short every time...
I want to keep this and this and this and oh wait that's eight cards...
It adds some extra tension, I like that.
I have only one remark .. Why is this game so expensive?
Just because of the different wooden structures? I like that very much but still the pricing seems somewhat high. I liked playing it and I hope to play it again soon, I won't add it to my own collection though.

Nice review by the way
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Bruce
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Omnis singulus exemplum Declarationem Libertatis fuerit frugalis or Every single extra copy of the Declaration of Independence has been thriftedMicrobadge: Bored At Work...Hello BGG
Ilse23 wrote:
I played this for the first time a few days ago and I'm nearly as excited as you are (ofcourse my excitement might grow after more plays).
I agree in the visitor cards being quite important, but I like how the hand card is limited to have just one spot short every time...
I want to keep this and this and this and oh wait that's eight cards...
It adds some extra tension, I like that.
I have only one remark .. Why is this game so expensive?
Just because of the different wooden structures? I like that very much but still the pricing seems somewhat high. I liked playing it and I hope to play it again soon, I won't add it to my own collection though.

Nice review by the way
How much is the game priced in your country? I thought it was a very good price. I got mine on sale for $36.50 USD. I see it at a handful of retailers for around $39 USD.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marty Strubczewski
United States
Mechanicsburg
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Viticulture fanMicrobadge: Terra Mystica fanMicrobadge: Scythe fanMicrobadge: Russian Railroads fanMicrobadge: A Feast for Odin fan
Excellent review. Awesome game!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Costas Taliadoros
Cyprus
Nicosia
Strovolos
flag msg tools
badge
Microbadge: Arsenal fanMicrobadge: Navajo Wars fanMicrobadge: Braid fan
RDBruski wrote:
Ilse23 wrote:
I played this for the first time a few days ago and I'm nearly as excited as you are (ofcourse my excitement might grow after more plays).
I agree in the visitor cards being quite important, but I like how the hand card is limited to have just one spot short every time...
I want to keep this and this and this and oh wait that's eight cards...
It adds some extra tension, I like that.
I have only one remark .. Why is this game so expensive?
Just because of the different wooden structures? I like that very much but still the pricing seems somewhat high. I liked playing it and I hope to play it again soon, I won't add it to my own collection though.

Nice review by the way
How much is the game priced in your country? I thought it was a very good price. I got mine on sale for $36.50 USD. I see it at a handful of retailers for around $39 USD.
In Europe it's expensive. Ατ my retailer these are the prices (excl. shipping costs)

Viticulture €59
Viticulture Essential Edition €59
Viticulture - Tuscany €64.95
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Bruce
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Omnis singulus exemplum Declarationem Libertatis fuerit frugalis or Every single extra copy of the Declaration of Independence has been thriftedMicrobadge: Bored At Work...Hello BGG
Zolos wrote:
RDBruski wrote:
Ilse23 wrote:
I played this for the first time a few days ago and I'm nearly as excited as you are (ofcourse my excitement might grow after more plays).
I agree in the visitor cards being quite important, but I like how the hand card is limited to have just one spot short every time...
I want to keep this and this and this and oh wait that's eight cards...
It adds some extra tension, I like that.
I have only one remark .. Why is this game so expensive?
Just because of the different wooden structures? I like that very much but still the pricing seems somewhat high. I liked playing it and I hope to play it again soon, I won't add it to my own collection though.

Nice review by the way
How much is the game priced in your country? I thought it was a very good price. I got mine on sale for $36.50 USD. I see it at a handful of retailers for around $39 USD.
In Europe it's expensive. Ατ my retailer these are the prices (excl. shipping costs)

Viticulture €59
Viticulture Essential Edition €59
Viticulture - Tuscany €64.95
€59 is basically full retail price. Find an online retailer. The prices should be better.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Laudermilk
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Scythe fanMicrobadge: Fan of Stonemaier GamesMicrobadge: Ford Mustang fanMicrobadge: Magic Realm redesign fanMicrobadge: I have crafted Magic Realm
Martystrub969 wrote:
Excellent review. Awesome game!
Came to say this.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
RDBruski wrote:
Nice review! My V:EE copy comes in the mail today. How many times have you played it and with what number(s) of players?
I have played over 10 times. I tried solo, 2p, 3p and 4p. 5p coming up
I included it in my 10x10 for the year and I might hit that in March already for this game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
glyn spence
United Kingdom
rugby
flag msg tools
Microbadge: 5 Year Geek VeteranMicrobadge: Rugby fanMicrobadge: Welsh National Rugby Team fanMicrobadge: Rahdo Runs Through fan
RDBruski wrote:
Zolos wrote:
RDBruski wrote:
Ilse23 wrote:
I played this for the first time a few days ago and I'm nearly as excited as you are (ofcourse my excitement might grow after more plays).
I agree in the visitor cards being quite important, but I like how the hand card is limited to have just one spot short every time...
I want to keep this and this and this and oh wait that's eight cards...
It adds some extra tension, I like that.
I have only one remark .. Why is this game so expensive?
Just because of the different wooden structures? I like that very much but still the pricing seems somewhat high. I liked playing it and I hope to play it again soon, I won't add it to my own collection though.

Nice review by the way
How much is the game priced in your country? I thought it was a very good price. I got mine on sale for $36.50 USD. I see it at a handful of retailers for around $39 USD.
In Europe it's expensive. Ατ my retailer these are the prices (excl. shipping costs)

Viticulture €59
Viticulture Essential Edition €59
Viticulture - Tuscany €64.95
€59 is basically full retail price. Find an online retailer. The prices should be better.
Always check and support your FLGS first, picked up our 2nd edition Viticulture and Tuscany for a combined total of £50 in their new year sale.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Millar
United States
Fort Wayne
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast fanMicrobadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: Raising GamersMicrobadge: 5 Year Geek VeteranMicrobadge: Autism Awareness
Nice review, my copy came this week and I can't wait to get it to the table soon.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
gabe elliott
United States
washougal
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: 5 Year Geek VeteranMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level I - One small step for geek... One giant leap for geek-kind!Microbadge: Gloomhaven fanMicrobadge: Copper Board Game CollectorMicrobadge: Star Trek: Ascendancy fan
Having played about ten games with varied amounts of players now I have to say that this game is just OK for me. If I'm comparing this to something like a Caverna (one of my favorites), this is just a little too light and simple for me. There aren't enough varied strategies to win. Everyone plants some grapes, harvests, sell wine for points, and get some bonus points from visitors. My 10 year old daughter was able to pick it pretty quick and felt it lacked complexity as well. I noticed my regular gaming group also becoming a little bored halfway into their second game.

It's possible the Tuscany expansion will help with this but I'm not really wanting to pay $60 for something that has many of the components I have already in the essential edition and some I'm not interested in such as the Patronage and Mafia modules. I think this will have to collect dust for now until they come out with a Tuscany light and hope that expansion will offer what I feel is missing from the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Like I said, it's an accessible game. I have however won games in which I filled only 1 order and focussed entirely on getting points with my visitor cards. There is, in other words, a fair amount more to the game than just planting vines, picking grapes, turning them into wine and then selling that wine.

I love Caverna too, but one of the many criticisms you often hear with that game is that the setup is basically always the same (the same furnishings are available, mild variation because of random, preset cards). With Viticulture, your Mama/Papa, the cards you get dealt, wake up positions etc all contribute to the overall experience.

I did get the Tuscany expansion, and whereas I am dying to try it out, I have a specific group in mind and hope to do the Legacy experience with them. Some patience required, in other words.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lisa Schensted
United States
Lakefield
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: Con of the North attendeeMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: Castles of Burgundy fanMicrobadge: The Legend of Zelda fanMicrobadge: Are the cones a metaphor? Well, yes and no.
Totally agree - SO rewarding! Great review!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
I must say after 3 games (2p and 4p), I'm pretty underwhelmed by this game.
So is my gaming group.
I love worker placement (and wine), but this seems like a luckfest, and too long for what it is, really.

There are at least 6 sources of uncontrollable randomness:
- initial Mamas and Papas
- initial grapes + first cards (crucial to have wine early, instead of losing actions to draw more cards)
- contracts (you want easy ones first, expensive later).
- yellow cards (I cant believe these have already been filtered...)
- blue cards (mainly for scoring)
- turn order: basically you want to be first in the endgame, so the first to chose is always favored. good luck being near the bottom the last couple of turns.

On top of that bonus actions are very strong, depending on start/end game.
for instance, playing two yellow/blue cards is so much stronger than having
1 extra buck, esp. at the end, making being first even more important, as only 2-3 actions are useful in the endgame.

Has anyone played more games and have a different view ? I'd like to like this game, really...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
I have played it a few times more (10+) and whereas I too had similarly feelings after my first few games, I have mostly come back from that. There are many ways to score points, and wine is literally only one. Mama/Papa do little more than prevent games from being similar (they help you focus at first, at best).

True, luck of the draw plays a role in this game. But if you dislike that simply build your cottage and don't waste time/actions drawing cards: you literally do not need wine to win. If luck was the deciding factor, I'd not consistently score 20+ points in 7 years, give or take 1

Give it a few more shots. Try and work around the wine and you'll see you can score big!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
AernoutMJC wrote:
you literally do not need wine to win (...) Try and work around the wine
Thanks for the reply.
So in this wine-making game, I should not make wine....
I think I'll stick to Agricola.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
artvandelay71 wrote:
AernoutMJC wrote:
you literally do not need wine to win (...) Try and work around the wine
Thanks for the reply.
So in this wine-making game, I should not make wine....
I think I'll stick to Agricola.
That, indeed, is also a game in which do you not need wine to win (or, as you decided to change my words "should not make wine").

I'll try and break it down into simpler statements for you:

In Viticulture the easiest and most straightforward way of scoring points is by making wine.
If you have an unlucky draw and feel like you're stuck, you might want to try changing your strategy and focus on scoring via other ways. You might not need the wine as much as you think you do.

Whereas my easiest wins were by making wine, I have won only filling 1 wine order and using visitors to my advantage.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
AernoutMJC wrote:

I'll try and break it down into simpler statements for you:

In Viticulture the easiest and most straightforward way of scoring points is by making wine.
If you have an unlucky draw and feel like you're stuck, you might want to try changing your strategy and focus on scoring via other ways. You might not need the wine as much as you think you do.

Whereas my easiest wins were by making wine, I have won only filling 1 wine order and using visitors to my advantage.

Thanks. We'll see if luck-of-the-draw evens out on the four card piles.

Quote:
If luck was the deciding factor, I'd not consistently score 20+ points


Ah ... that flawed argument again. Usually people at least say "if it's only luck how come I beat beginners all the time", which makes a little more sense.
Well, guess what, I also scored 20+ each game, and still think a big part of the game was decided by random factors (whether I win or lose), in a not-so-enjoyable (and rather long) way. Just my opinion, of course.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phil
United States
Morton Grove
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Viticulture fanMicrobadge: Restoration Games fanMicrobadge: Dominant Species fanMicrobadge: Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island fan
artvandelay71 wrote:
We'll see if luck-of-the-draw evens out on the four card piles.
This is a game where the cards are key. If you are only ever drawing a few, you're probably not going to win because you don't get the orders or visitors that match your strategy for that playthrough. The more cards you can draw the better your chances are for they to work with what you want.

That being said, it's highly possible this game just isn't for you. I took a look at your highly rated games and you seem to like things that are a bit more deterministic, where you have more control over the cards you are getting, and less blind-draws.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron Fischer
United States
California
flag msg tools
Microbadge: 5 Year Geek VeteranMicrobadge: Alien Frontiers fanMicrobadge: Silver Board Game CollectorMicrobadge: Scythe fanMicrobadge: Railways of the World fan
I also find the luck-of-the-draw pretty strong in this game. Get plantable vines and great visitors and you will be hard to beat. But there are some pretty appealing visual/thematic aspects, and it plays pretty well...

Maybe some house rules could make this more appealing for you? For example, pick X cards from each deck, and have each person pick one that they want, in some fair order. You would have more ability to quick-start a strategy, rather than meandering for a few turns until you can figure out where you are going.

But to each his own. I suspect that this game will continue to make appearances amongst friends who favor some what lighter games, but not make it into the mix with folks who desire deeper challenges.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls