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Board Game: Viticulture Essential Edition
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Subject: A Casual Review of Viticulture Essential Edition rss

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Lisa Schensted
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It is a truth universally acknowledged that I am constantly in want of games that allow me to use my own player board. Another truth: I like wine. A lot. So Viticulture was pretty much made with me in mind!

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The premise is you're making and selling wine. Easy enough concept to wrap your brain around. You do this by placing workers and completing their tasks. There are 4 seasons - Spring (deciding turn order), Summer (do the actions on the board like draw cards, build structures, sell grapes, etc), Fall (draw visitor cards that let you do cool stuff or score VPs by doing stuff) and Winter (do the actions on the board like make wine, train new workers, fill wine orders, etc.)

Each player starts with a mama and a papa card (honestly, they're really called that) and you get your starting resources that way. We did a slight variation where we started with 2 of each and chose 1 mama and 1 papa. Because we can.

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So while it seems obvious that you want to make wine (you then sell it and accrue points this way), there are other ways to score points too, thanks to the Visitor Cards. I love the complexity the cards add because you're not all gunning for the same end game, necessarily. You will compete over the different spaces on the board which are limited, but there's always SOMETHING you can do, which is pretty forgiving.

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The cards are very straightforward and they are a blend of interactive and self serving. There were a few points in our game where one person's card affected everyone (by choice or by force) and other times where it only impacted the person playing the card. Again, great variability and complexity with the cards added in.

The turns move quickly after the first few placements and rounds once everyone knows what they're up to. You have a slew of grunt workers and 1 HBIC worker (okay, Grande, whatever) who allows you to go to a spot on the game board that's filled up completely and do that task. If you're the first player to go to a space, there's a bonus in it for you, so placement is competitive. The HBIC gives you a way to do what you want to do, though, which balances the game a bit and keeps it forgiving. I'm a fan of that as I want my wine making and wine selling to be more on the low key side and not so much on the cut throat side, you know?

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So along you go planting grapes and building structures and selling wine until the end of the game. End game is initiated when someone reaches 20 points and the current year is played out to the end. You can see where we ended up points-wise with the picture above. Pretty close! Except for that one dude.

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Other organizational/easy play elements I'm a fan of are the Summary of Seasons which is like a quick reference guide or a refresher if you need it, and the box insert fits all the things quite neatly.

I'm a big fan of Viticulture, you guys. I really dig the blend of working on my own area while competing for worker placement. I also find addictive fulfillment with completing wine orders (reminded me of how much I love At The Gates of Loyang) and as soon as the game was over, I wanted to start all over again!

This could easily fall into a "quick to learn, longer to master" category, but the mama and papa cards + season decks will change it up each time so each play is unique.

The only thing that would have made this game better was to drink wine whilst playing, which I surely intend to do next time. And the next time. And the next time...

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Pauly Paul
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I played this again just tonight, with 3 people for the first time (previous plays have just been with my girlfriend). We like the game (she kicked our butts big time).

I liked your review. The photos are a great addition. Perhaps you should start a geeklist to track your reviews (which other can subscribe to)?
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Mr. Blue
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We received this as a surprise gift from our BGG Secret Santa, who rightly thought we would enjoy it. My wife and I have played several times and love it, even though she beats me Every. Single. Time.
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Eriks Dunens

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venrondua wrote:
I liked your review. The photos are a great addition. Perhaps you should start a geeklist to track your reviews (which other can subscribe to)?
Your wish has been granted: Casual Reviews by Lisa

Another great review, Lisa. Now I want to play and drink wine.
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Ned Meier
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Got this to the table for the second time last night. I love it so much. It is currently my number one game. I love how tight everything is but you are rarely totally blocked from doing something. I did much better this time around but still was a little too all over the place. Next time I plan on winning.
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Pauly Paul
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eriksdunens wrote:
venrondua wrote:
I liked your review. The photos are a great addition. Perhaps you should start a geeklist to track your reviews (which other can subscribe to)?
Your wish has been granted: Casual Reviews by Lisa

Another great review, Lisa. Now I want to play and drink wine.
Oh sweet thanks. Subscribed.
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Lisa Schensted
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venrondua wrote:
eriksdunens wrote:
venrondua wrote:
I liked your review. The photos are a great addition. Perhaps you should start a geeklist to track your reviews (which other can subscribe to)?
Your wish has been granted: Casual Reviews by Lisa

Another great review, Lisa. Now I want to play and drink wine.
Oh sweet thanks. Subscribed.
Thank you!
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Lisa Schensted
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Meiere01 wrote:
Got this to the table for the second time last night. I love it so much. It is currently my number one game. I love how tight everything is but you are rarely totally blocked from doing something. I did much better this time around but still was a little too all over the place. Next time I plan on winning.
There's so many things TO do that it's easy for your mind to try to do ALL of them instead of streamline! What a great problem to have, though.

I too am itching to play again soon! Good luck!
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Dennis Ku
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I've been playing through the Campaign solo mode while I wait for my next chance to play with other people. It is REALLY challenging and fun.
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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futhee wrote:
I've been playing through the Campaign solo mode while I wait for my next chance to play with other people. It is REALLY challenging and fun.
Thanks, I'm very happy to hear that.
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Stuart Burnham
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Love your reviews, just got this game.
I know, I know, back to front - should read review, then buy...
Must've been the wine (again....)
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Lisa Schensted
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vk1980 wrote:
Love your reviews, just got this game.
I know, I know, back to front - should read review, then buy...
Must've been the wine (again....)
Hey man - we've gotten loads of good games based on impulse! ENJOY! And thank you!
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Mr. Big
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Thanks for the great review! My wife and I (after reading reviews like this one) ordered the game, it arrived today! So excited!
edit: thanks for showing your packed insert!
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Victor Freire
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Great review
Thanks for the great review This one will be released here in Brazil in march, probably. I'm looking foward to get it.
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Guilherme Zardo
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As always, do not expect the components to be nearly as good as the ones in the photos. Sad.
 
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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guilhermezardo0 wrote:
As always, do not expect the components to be nearly as good as the ones in the photos. Sad.
Not sure, what you mean? That should be components from a retail copy of the game, so they should be like the components in any other copy of the game. Have you gotten defective components in your copy of the game?
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Lisa Schensted
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mortenmdk wrote:
guilhermezardo0 wrote:
As always, do not expect the components to be nearly as good as the ones in the photos. Sad.
Not sure, what you mean? That should be components from a retail copy of the game, so they should be like the components in any other copy of the game. Have you gotten defective components in your copy of the game?
I'm also not sure what this means...
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Josh Malbon
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heylisarenee wrote:
mortenmdk wrote:
guilhermezardo0 wrote:
As always, do not expect the components to be nearly as good as the ones in the photos. Sad.
Not sure, what you mean? That should be components from a retail copy of the game, so they should be like the components in any other copy of the game. Have you gotten defective components in your copy of the game?
I'm also not sure what this means...
I think Viti has some great components. I bought some real Italian lira for the coins. But everything is top quality, boards, cards, etc...
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Victor Freire
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mortenmdk wrote:
guilhermezardo0 wrote:
As always, do not expect the components to be nearly as good as the ones in the photos. Sad.
Not sure, what you mean? That should be components from a retail copy of the game, so they should be like the components in any other copy of the game. Have you gotten defective components in your copy of the game?
The latest games that were produced in Brazil had a very poor quality. For example, comparing Terra Mystica (the imported one and the brazilian one) you can see that. However, the "brazilian" Viticulture was produced in the same factory as the worldwide version (I think it's in China). Hence, the quality is great -- the cards are thick and the wooden components are well done.
 
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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victorwfreire wrote:
mortenmdk wrote:
guilhermezardo0 wrote:
As always, do not expect the components to be nearly as good as the ones in the photos. Sad.
Not sure, what you mean? That should be components from a retail copy of the game, so they should be like the components in any other copy of the game. Have you gotten defective components in your copy of the game?
The latest games that were produced in Brazil had a very poor quality. For example, comparing Terra Mystica (the imported one and the brazilian one) you can see that. However, the "brazilian" Viticulture was produced in the same factory as the worldwide version (I think it's in China). Hence, the quality is great -- the cards are thick and the wooden components are well done.
Yes, as far as I know all our games, no matter what edition, is made at Panda Games in China. I'm not 100% sure, though.
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