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Subject: Vinhos Delux Edition: Full bodied and intoxicating rss

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AJ
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This weekend was a phenomenal gaming one for us. One of the best we’ve had in a while. We spent pretty much all day Saturday and all day Sunday gaming and hunkered down to learn some rules and get some new games to the table, among them Vinhos Delux Edition. I’ve been drooling over this game for a long while and went in with sky high expectations. Vital did not let us down, not even a little. This game is just flat out amazing. We’ve already played four times since Saturday and I can see this being a favourite for us for many years to come.

Before I get started here, I have never played the first edition of Vinhos. This is in fact our first, but certainly not last game by Vital Lacerda (indeed, I’ve already acquired CO2 and am almost certain to Kickstart Lisboa later this month). This review is based upon the 2016 reserve edition (without the use of any of the expansions or kickstarter extras).



How does it work?
You and your opponents are competing Portuguese winemakers facing off to establish the most profitable estates and wineries. At every step you face tradeoffs. Will you focus on improving a few estates and produce a limited supply of high quality wine, or establish many estates with fewer add ons (cellars, encologists, farmers, etc.) to produce many lower quality barrels (which can help you get other things down the road). Will you sell your wine to fund future estate improvements, will you export for victory points, or will you save your best barrels for showtime at the fair?

The game takes place over six years. In each year players get two turns, followed by a production phase.

The components
The components are gorgeous (I feel like I've been saying that a lot, but it's very true. I've been spoilt by the quality of the games I've bought lately). Everything is fantastic quality and the artwork is beautiful. I have no complaints at all here. In fact, even the storage solution was well thought out.

Time to set up and play
I will not lie. Set-up for our first game was excruciatingly slow (partially because it was a one person effort). Consequently, our first game took a really long time to set up and play (probably close to 2.5 hours including 30mins set up). Subsequent games were much faster, clocking in at 1 hour to 1.5 hours for a two person game including set up (<10mins).

Complexity/Rule book
This is a complex game. Looking at the multiple rulebooks and the numerous components could definitely be a bit overwhelming so I definitely recommend checking out a video first (Paul Grogan’s is very good – it is clear and goes over the main things you need to know).

To simplify the process, I highly recommend beginning by learning the nine action squares that are available to you first. Full disclosure: our first game, we pretty much ignored the magnate actions (probably because I misread a rule and thought that the actions were in place of one of your nine choices when in reality they are additional actions that give you more things to do) and underused the expert abilities except to increase show points.

The three fairs take place at the end of years 3, 5 and 6 (although a player can choose to enter their wine early). For a learning game, I might choose to explain these fairs as they happen (rather than overwhelm new players right off the bat).

While there are a lot of decisions to be made in this game, I don’t think it is overly complex to learn how to play. Strategy can be developed in follow-up games. There is a lot of depth here and I think it takes multiple playthroughs to really appreciate how much there really is to this game.

Player Interaction/Conflict
Conflict in this game is more through preventing other players from taking an action (or forcing them to pay more for an action), rather than via straight out attack. I definitely wouldn’t consider this multiplayer solitaire. You need to pay attention to what your opponent has on their board and what they need.

For instance, in our last game, there was a magnate tile I wanted that would have scored me a lot of end game points. My opponent (who would only score 2 points for getting the tile) was able to take the tile ahead of me preventing me from doing what I wanted to.

Players
We played this with two and it was great. Will be introducing this to our group next weekend, but anticipate that this will become even tighter with four.

Overall
Love it! Looking forward to playing many, many more times.
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Michael Cabral
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Great review! I am sure you will enjoy Vital's other games.

I just wanted to say that an oencologist/oncologist is a scientist that researches cancer. Enologists are the wine scientists.
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AJ
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AH - good catch :-) Editing now!
 
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Ryan M
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Great review and I agree. The original Vinhos is one of my favorite games and I traded it off to upgrade to the new deluxe version. What surprised me the most is that, upon reading the rules, I was worried the new 2016 version would be too easy or light compared to the original 2010. Having finally played it though, that isn't the case at all. As reviews have said already, it feels more streamlined and a pinch simplified, but still retains a lot of the strategy and planning and heavy thinking which is impressive.
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Josh
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Looks like the box for Vinhos is feline approved.
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AJ
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Shadrach wrote:
Looks like the box for Vinhos is feline approved.


It is indeed! Though if it were up to Rascal, all boxes would be his. Funny enough - he is a bengal cat and is pretty dexterous. The Vinhos tiles are a nice enough weight that he can (and enjoys) pick up the pieces with his claws and hold them. Letting him be happy in the box seems to be the safer option for my games.
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AJ
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Mools wrote:
Great review and I agree. The original Vinhos is one of my favorite games and I traded it off to upgrade to the new deluxe version. What surprised me the most is that, upon reading the rules, I was worried the new 2016 version would be too easy or light compared to the original 2010. Having finally played it though, that isn't the case at all. As reviews have said already, it feels more streamlined and a pinch simplified, but still retains a lot of the strategy and planning and heavy thinking which is impressive.


Thanks Ryan. I'm looking forward to trying the 2010 board too :-)
 
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