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Viticulture Essential Edition» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Solo strategy? rss

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Jason Boyd
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I'm loving this game and have only played four solo games so far, but can't seem to get anywhere near the 20+ points to win it. The best I've achieved is 13 VP.

So, I was just wondering, do you folks have any strategy you tend to follow or discovered something that works for you?
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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JakersNI wrote:
I'm loving this game and have only played four solo games so far, but can't seem to get anywhere near the 20+ points to win it. The best I've achieved is 13 VP.

So, I was just wondering, do you folks have any strategy you tend to follow or discovered something that works for you?


I try to stay out of strategy discussions for games I've worked on, but I'll suggest that you try the lowest difficulty level, where you have eight years to develop your strategy and thus is under less pressure, then once you've mastered that you can start looking for optimizations.
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Brian Pierce
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JakersNI wrote:
I'm loving this game and have only played four solo games so far, but can't seem to get anywhere near the 20+ points to win it. The best I've achieved is 13 VP.

So, I was just wondering, do you folks have any strategy you tend to follow or discovered something that works for you?


I have played the game several times solo and with other players. I have a good track record in winning the solo game. I don't have much specific solo advice, but there are a few things to keep in mind that are good tips for the game in general.

Harvest your fields often. An easy mistake to make when you are first getting into the game is to simply plan for 1-2 contracts in your hand and work on fulfilling them. By the time you have aged the grapes, upgraded your cellar, made the wine, and fulfilled it you might find that the game is basically over and you have only filled 2-3 orders. You need to constantly harvest your fields (even when you have no current need for the grapes). These can be used with many visitor cards to get extra bonus points, or can be used for future contracts at the end of the game.

The Summer and Winter visitor cards are your friends. They will often let you perform actions that the dummy player may have blocked, and they often allow you to take 2 actions instead of one. This improves your efficiency and is a key aspect to the game.

Keep your grande worker for the spot you HAVE to have this turn. If you must make wine this turn, be diligent about keeping your grande worker until the Winter in case the dummy player blocks you from that spot. It is tempting to use them in the Summer to play a visitor card or build a structure, but try to remember that this (and certain visitor cards) are you workarounds to getting blocked.

Draw several contract cards. It isn't uncommon that you have to hunt a bit in the contract deck to get some contracts that work together. If you start the game with red vines and all white contracts, put early effort into gaining new contract cards to increase your flexibility in the game. I often choose this wake up spot first in the game in order to set myself up with a plan as early as possible.

In general it is of course a good idea to build up your workforce fast by recruiting additional workers. You are unable to do this in one of the solo campaign games, but in the other games more workers = more actions.

Selling a field can be a great way to get a quick infusion of cash to help buy an extra worker or upgrade your cellar. I typically sell off my 6 or 7 field and use the money to convert into workers or buildings.

The yoke is a great and inexpensive building that gives you a lot of flexibility and power. If you want, you are guaranteed to be able to harvest two fields a round and it gives you protection if the dummy player blocks harvest and you want your grande for something else.

I don't know if any of that really helps, but I think those are important things to keep in mind. I typically start out by getting some vines and getting those planted asap so I can harvest early. A turn 1 harvest of a red 2 grape, gives you access to a red 9 grape by the end of the solo game. Then I hunt for contracts while I gain money (sell a field, etc.) to recruit more workers and upgrade my cellar. I harvest fields as much as possible. By this point I can usually fulfill a couple of early contracts with my early harvested grapes. If things work out I use visitor cards to get bonuses on contracts and extra actions to fulfill contracts & make wines. By the last turn I typically hope to save a regular worker and my grande worker so that I can possibly fulfill two orders on the last winter phase (unless I get blocked by the dummy player).

Don't be discouraged. There is a fine line between winning and losing I think. You only have 7 rounds to build your engine so I often score my last 10 or so points on the very last round.

Good luck!
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Jason Boyd
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Brian, this is some amazing advice. I greatly appreciate the effort.

I'm bookmarking it!
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Jason Boyd
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mortenmdk wrote:
I'll suggest that you try the lowest difficulty level, where you have eight years to develop your strategy and thus is under less pressure, then once you've mastered that you can start looking for optimizations.


Morten, I think I missed that easier setting in the rules! I'll definitely give that a try. Many thanks for the game. I only got it last week and have already played it four times.
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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JakersNI wrote:
mortenmdk wrote:
I'll suggest that you try the lowest difficulty level, where you have eight years to develop your strategy and thus is under less pressure, then once you've mastered that you can start looking for optimizations.


Morten, I think I missed that easier setting in the rules! I'll definitely give that a try. Many thanks for the game. I only got it last week and have already played it four times.


Thanks, I'm very happy to hear that you like it .
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MaxFool
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JakersNI wrote:
Brian, this is some amazing advice. I greatly appreciate the effort.

I'm bookmarking it!


I second that!!!
All of this plus including the Windmill early on give much needed easy victory points, even in multiplayer. Sometimes that one or two points makes a big difference where you don't have to scramble changing your approach because of another threatening player.
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Jason Boyd
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Well, I tried the easier eight rounds variant last night and won, so that's a start!
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Brian Pierce
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That's great Jason. As Morten pointed out, one round can really make all the difference. The solo game is very fun for this game because of the pressure it puts on the player to do a lot in a short amount of time.
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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JakersNI wrote:
Well, I tried the easier eight rounds variant last night and won, so that's a start!


Great, try it again while looking for optimizations. You just need to use a few actions less in order to do the same in 7 years.
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Stuart Boston
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JakersNI wrote:
Well, I tried the easier eight rounds variant last night and won, so that's a start!

I started my first game, first solo, with the normal difficulty and then hit the wall at turn 7 and lost even when I game myself an extra turn (I was ~15 points).

Second game, tried again at normal and aced it. By no means am I an expert but the solo game is very different to a multi-player game.

As others have said, plant harvest early.

Plan for the automata to block actions you need and try to mitigate those blocked actions with others that you can do. I.e. If you'd planned to hire another worker and you're blocked, go for new order cards instead (assuming they were part of your plan).

If at any point you are thinking, "Hmm, what can I do with this spare worker" you've not planned enough, there should be a reason for that worker at every opportunity.
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Jim D
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The cottage is your friend! Getting it early will give you access to more visitor cards, which as previously mentioned can be a good way around blocked spaces as well as alternate sources of VPs and other resources.
 
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Doug L
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I've played a handful of times. I find the trick is plant on your first turn, harvest by the second. Get lots of purple cards so you have a strategy and options. Build your cellars early.
 
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