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Subject: Why Do You Love Viticulture? rss

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Steve G.
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Lots of people regard Viticulture as an amazing game, particularly with the Tuscany expansion. At a superficial glance, it can look like a bog-standard, dry-themed worker placement where you go to some spots to gain resources and other spots to expend them for points.

So, what do you think makes Viticulture outstanding? I've got lots of good worker placement games. What does Viticulture do that makes it rise towards the top of the heap?

I would really love to hear people who are passionate about Viticulture regale me with the pleasures it holds in store.

Thanks!
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Josh Malbon
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I think the theme really comes through, between planting, harvesting, and then getting the wine to the customer.

The visitors really add another dimension to what you can do. They give lots of different options.

The solo game is really tight. It almost seems impossible in the beginning to get over 20 points, but then you pull a few great years and then there is hope on the horizon.

The components are all nice to look at and feel great.
Though I bought some real Italian lira, because I like clinking metal coins.

All the different cards, between vines, mama and papas, visitors, and orders means no two games should play out the same. And there are lots of options.
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ParisianDreams
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sixthecat wrote:
I think the theme really comes through, between planting, harvesting, and then getting the wine to the customer.

The visitors really add another dimension to what you can do. They give lots of different options.

The solo game is really tight. It almost seems impossible in the beginning to get over 20 points, but then you pull a few great years and then there is hope on the horizon.

The components are all nice to look at and feel great.
Though I bought some real Italian lira, because I like clinking metal coins.

All the different cards, between vines, mama and papas, visitors, and orders means no two games should play out the same. And there are lots of options.


You can get the metal coins that were part of the deluxe tuscany edition from I believe meeplesource. Boardgamebliss.com was selling them as well, but they appear to be out of stock right now.

I'll just yeah that to all that Josh said. The theme is pretty awesome, I'm not even a huge wine drinker/lover. I feel totally immersed in the game when I play. I love moving the little glass tokens on my crush pad and in my wine cellar. Love the visitor cards too. They all seem like really amazing cards vs "Oh wow that seems so over powered compared to...." I'm super excited about the Moore Expansion for it.

I have Tuscany but have not tried the new board yet, excited to do so though.
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My thoughts are this...

When it comes to the visitor cards, I can get pretty analytical. Good card, great card, so-so card, etc. If I don't have any good visitor cards I will find anyway I can to grab more. The thing is, I don't see the theme come through in my quest to find the right visitors. It is simply pulling them to find the right combos and advantages when needed. This may be my only complaint of this game, because...

Here is the thing though, when it comes to the worker placement portion of this game, I can confidently say that this is the MOST thematic/immersive game I have played in a long time. I am really running an orchard. No seriously...not just some farm for points, not just resource gathering. I am sending my workers off to do real work, and what they do (or how well they do it --BONUS actions!--). I am harvesting my own grapes, crushing them, and aging them in my cellars. What kind will they make? Well, that will be up to me as well. Maybe I need to sell off some land in the short term, or sell of some crushed grapes because I am going to be a little short when it comes to money this season. Training a worker...requires another worker. Like in real life!

Perhaps it is because I live and work on a farm, but this game feels right. I was a 1st ed KSer. I upgraded to 2nd ed, then to EE. With that investment in mind I am still considering picking up a brand new EE just because I want to have all the corrections on my board...because I play it so often!

Buy it. don't hesitate. It's different, and the same, but a great addition to anyone's collection.
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Aernout Casier
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Viticulture - Essential Review Edition
This is why I love the game so much. Having played with the Extended Board for the first time the other week, I can't wait to discover other parts of the Tuscany expansion.
 
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Joe
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In addition to what others have said, I really love the individual player mats.

Aside from the tension created by the tight worker placement on the main board, you have to plan how you can use your grapes and wine to your best advantage, choosing which wine orders to focus on.

You have to carefully plant your vines, consider which structures you need to build, pick which fields to harvest and which grapes to combine, wait for your wine to age, calculate whether it's possible to fill two wine orders in one season..... aggghhhh! It's so good.
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James Derbyshire
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steveg700 wrote:
Lots of people regard Viticulture as an amazing game, particularly with the Tuscany expansion. At a superficial glance, it can look like a bog-standard, dry-themed worker placement where you go to some spots to gain resources and other spots to expend them for points.


I know you asked for passionate people to tell you why they thought the game was wonderful, but I felt I needed to chime in with the opposite.

We got caught up in all the cooing and gushing over the game and snapped up a copy at a convention. We expected something great, but found a very generic and luck driven worker placement game.

The cards are so broad you can spend multiple turns drawings to get something you need or will help you. Whilst another player will draw one card which will be the perfect addition to their strategy.

When you get the pieces out for the first time it's impressive. You get little wooden markers for things you've built on your player board. I just dont see the point though. They're there, in my opinion, to grab onto the tails of the current Kickstarter miniatures hype - every game must have minis!

Now I appreciate that lots and lots of people really do like it, but for us, huge worker placement fans, it does not cut it. I actually put it in the same category as Lords of Waterdeep - hugely overhyped and not actually anything special. Massively disappointed.
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(Note: We always play with the Tuscany board and a full deck of visitor cards.)

* All around very well balanced game.
* Great theme.
* Looks pretty. One particularly nice aspect are the coins.
* You need to make both short-term decisions (to pick the best spot) and long-terms decisions (to pick a path of likely available spots and alternatives), and they go hand-in-hand.
* You are not at the mercy of Lady Luck. You can draw bad cards, and that would decrease your chances, but you can push around it and end up being the winner. This aspect is probably the aspect that was most improved by the Tuscany board.
* You get different levels of resources with four and five players, slightly changing the feel of the game.
* Strictly speaking, the amazing support by the creator does not make the game better, but it sure makes it more pleasant all around.
* Workers have to work only once a year!
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Sean West
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What I love most about Viticulture is the feeling of growth, of building up the vineyard. It's a great feeling to me to start with just the basics, maybe a free building if you're playing with the Mamas & Papas, and watching that grow into a self sustaining wine and victory point engine over the course of the game.

This is unlike many other games. Other basic worker placement games come to mind like Lords of Waterdeep and Champions of Midgard (both of which I really enjoy, BTW) where your personal domain doesn't really change that much over the course of the game and you're just trying to make the next best possible move. You're not building your empire/engine/vineyard/business.

On top of that, although I'm not averse to conflict heavy games, I enjoy that there is very little conflict in this game. It is a relaxing experience for me when I play this game. It makes me happy when I figure out some clever way to achieve the next stage in my development and rarely has any moments when I feel completely frustrated at not being able to achieve something positive. Contrast this with something more complex like Agricola which does have a steady growth or build-up but I find to be really hard and frustrating to achieve your goals. That and the scoring in Agricola pretty much funnels you into an optimum path whereas Viticulture is more forgiving and more flexible about how you score.

For me, I think my love of the game comes because something about it, that I've tried to capture above, makes the experience much more rewarding than the mechanics of "go to some spots to gain resources and other spots to expend them for points".
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Dave Millar
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steveg700 wrote:
Lots of people regard Viticulture as an amazing game, particularly with the Tuscany expansion. At a superficial glance, it can look like a bog-standard, dry-themed worker placement where you go to some spots to gain resources and other spots to expend them for points.

So, what do you think makes Viticulture outstanding? I've got lots of good worker placement games. What does Viticulture do that makes it rise towards the top of the heap?

I would really love to hear people who are passionate about Viticulture regale me with the pleasures it holds in store.

Thanks!


Reasons I love Viticulture:
1. Components...the quality of the game boards, cards and bits is outstanding.
2. Artwork...the cards and boards are beautiful to look at.
3. Theme...the theme really comes through, you feel like you're sending your workers out to plant the fields, harvest the grapes, crush them into wine, and fulfill wine orders.
4. The visitors...really adds a needed twist and randomness to the game, you have to successfully utilize the cards to win, but the visitors you get might not always fit your strategy at the time, so you have to adapt.
5. Solo play...I love the solo play, it's great for when my wife can't play and I feel the itch for a good solo euro.

All in all, Viticulture is one of my favorite games and every time I finish playing I want to start a new game right up.
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Ender Wiggins
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I'm a big Viticulture fan. For the long version of why, see my review of the base game (link) and of the Tuscany expansion (link).

For the short version, here's some of the things I love about Viticulture:
The theme - You're planting grapes, harvesting them, crushing them to make wine, fulfilling wine orders, building structures on your vineyard, giving vineyard tours - all of these things make good sense on the level of both theme and mechanics.
The components - There's beautiful artwork on the main game board and individual player mats, and when you add in the unique wooden structures, workers, and glass tokens, it all adds up to a wonderfully produced package.
The visitor cards - The element of card-draw ensures that each game plays out differently, while still ensuring that you have different options.
The flexibility - While growing grapes, making wine, and fulfilling contracts is often part of a winning strategy, it's certainly not the only way to earn points, and the different paths you can take to victory are well balanced.
The mechanics - The game has a lot of very interesting mechanics, such as the wake-up track which determines turn order, and the way worker placement works over two different seasons and with the grande worker. And I've always had a soft spot for worker placement games.
The structures - The different structures available for purchase during the Summer not only look pretty, but give you different options for long-term strategy.
The tension - I really appreciate how the different ways of scoring points means that a player's position in the game isn't always measurable, and a player can come from behind by scoring a large amount of points in the final round.
The length - A game of Viticulture typically takes around 30 minutes a person to play, which is exactly what I look for in a medium weight game.
The weight - I'm a big fan of medium weight games that tend to the lighter side, similar to Stone Age in weight, and that's exactly the category that Viticulture falls into.
The two player game - Like many other people, while I enjoy multi-player games, I'm always on the lookout for a good game that I can also enjoy on occasions when it's just me and my wife at the gaming table, and Viticulture works very well with just two players.
The friendly gameplay - I don't care for nasty games, so I'm glad this game was designed to be competitive without being cut-throat. The worker placement part of Viticulture ensures there is good interaction without it becoming unpleasant.
The expansion - The Tuscany expansion has a large number of modules to explore, which help keep the game fresh, and make it even better.

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