$30.00
Recommend
20 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Vinhos Deluxe Edition» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Geeks Under Grace Review: Vinhos: Deluxe Edition (2016 Vintage) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Chris Hecox
United States
Fort Wayne
Indiana
flag msg tools
Game Reviewer
badge
Help, I can't stop laughing.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Original review at: http://www.geeksundergrace.com/tabletop/reviews-tabletop/rev...



The Background of Vinhos

Vinhos: Deluxe Edition is a 2016 reprint of the original 2010 edition of Vinhos. Designed by the distinctive, Vital Lacerda (Co2, Kanban Automotive Revolution), the deluxe edition is published through Eagle-Gryphon Games, and wrapped its Kickstarter earlier this year.

Vinhos: Deluxe Edition stays true to its name with a huge box, packed full of content. The game contains both boards and rules for a revised 2010 “reserve” edition of the game, as well as streamlined and simplified rules for the new 2016 “vintage” edition. Additionally, add-ons and expansions were shipped with my version of the box and adds lots of variability.

Author’s Note: For the purposes of this review, I will be splitting our review for Vinhos: Deluxe Edition into two separate reviews: The Vintage ruleset review (this one), and a secondary review that covers the 2010 Reserve edition ruleset, alongside blurbs on each expansion included in the box. This game is far too comprehensive to be fully covered in just a single review, as there is too much offered in the box to ignore or underplay parts of it.



Introduction to Vinhos

Once upon a time, I lived in my self-titled craft beer capital of the United States: Kalamazoo, Michigan. I’ve now come to learn other states have craft beer. Regardless, it was in Michigan where I learned many of the fine subtleties and distinguished flavors of hops, barley, and malts. This stoked my interest towards beverage-themed board games, wherein I learned of Brewcrafters and Viticulture.

My wife (girlfriend at the time) had been working at our local winery, St. Julians. This one is actually somewhat world-renowned. While I was beginning to understand the deeper tastes and origins of craft beer composition, Katie was becoming a student of wine, grapes, and barrels. It was this year of our lives where we began to appreciate the labor and behind-the-scenes of what it would take to brew and ferment high-quality alcoholic beverages.

You see, grapes are the foundation of wine… Or so I thought. Grapes will change based on a number of factors: soil, weather, region, how they are tended to while growing, etc. Undergoing the growing process, grapes carry flavor from both their skin and juicy insides. The skin will produce different hints of scents, and of course flavor, or even appearance. Knowledge and physical work are two clear hallmarks of the wine industry.



But, How Do You Play?

Enter Vinhos: Deluxe Edition. Vital Lacerda has created and revised a top-down, tabletop representation of the commencement of a Portuguese wine empire. Players will need to carefully decide which regions of Portugal are most critical to their expansion, as each part of the country bears different pros and cons. Players must establish cellars to increase the value of their wines, as well as hire farmers and oenologists to tend to the grapes in the fields and learn proper science behind the grapes.

Players are given a special ability and choose an initial vineyard in the country of their choice, which gives them a starting location, but also increases the world renown of said region. Walking meeples around a 9-space action chart, players will purchase additional vineyards, wineries, sell barrels of wine to local establishments for money, ship wine globally for points, or hire wine experts for free abilities. Landing on a space occupied by taxes or another player will cost the offender, as they take their action.

At the end of each round, players will age their wines, by moving them further along a track in each estate. Additionally, players will also produce new wines based on a number of factors, including: weather, oenologists, farmers, wineries, or vineyards. Players must pay careful attention to weather patterns and plan accordingly, lest they grow no grapes and have pitiful crops.



Finally, at set intervals in the game, players will enter their highest quality wines into an international wine fair. This fair grants victory points to the player with the most consistently delicious wine, as well as grant additional end-game points, extra barrels to sell or ship, and a few bonus opportunities. The fair is critical to success.

The game ends after the third fair, and players score points for leftover money, wine, bonuses, etc. Whoever has amassed the most victory points, sits comfortably atop the throne, and is named the world’s most impressive wine business owner. Fascinating.

Art, Design, and Bits and Such

In typical Lacerda fashion, Vinhos is decorated by magnificent art style. Pastels and drab illustrations color the Portuguese landscape and pieces. This isn’t a negative. In fact, I insist this artwork is exceptional. Like an auteur in filmmaking, Lacerda leaves a clear mark on his games, from design to iconography.

On the topic of icons printed on the board, players will need a few games to grasp the totality of their understanding. Lacerda forces players to realize symbology over phrasing. While initially a turn off, players should learn to appreciate these icons, as they allow for focus on gameplay instead of a barrage of wording. Admittedly, this is personal preference, as I only truly appreciate good iconography once I’m invested enough in a game, as opposed to just learning it.



Beautiful illustrations of eccentric experts and magnate actions mark the many tiles of the game. Players will drop round markers on regions, artistically displaying the geographical differences in the land of Portugal. Red or white wine tiles are grown from players’ estates, and transformed into hefty, yet elegant, colored barrels of wine, shipped off to new countries or hopping locales.

The bits and tiles that ship with Vinhos are in the bunches. Though components are top notch, setup time can grow to be abysmal. The included insert is jam-packed with cardboard, wood, tableaus, tokens, chits, three rulebooks, and more! Speaking of rules, these are exceptional. While quite a bit to ingest, one rulebook covers set up for both games, as well as a component overview. The individual rulebooks are beautifully designed, informative, and over-the-top in making sure readers clearly understand which rules apply to which version of the game.

Thematics and Tactics

Board design reflects the necessary and tight nature of each mechanism. Players must play Vinhos as a long game, or else be completely dominated by more future-minded opponents. It seems integral to spend close to every bago (money) given at game start in order to compete in the next round. Does this mean one must pay up to travel further, or utilize the same space as two other players? Maybe. Yet, despite the need to spend bagos on building up your estates, bagos are extremely scarce early game, and must be spent wisely.

As each round pours on, players retrieve more and more wine tiles from the supply. A steady flow of wine will be critical to success, but not nearly as important as properly managing which wines need to be sold, which ones need to be shipped, and which one must be entered into the wine fair.



See, if a player refuses to submit a press release (the advantage of doing so earlier will guarantee turn order), they will quickly fall behind and become anything but notable. Their pitiful winery can barely keep up with the ever-changing tide of new wines from different parts of the country. Of course, when selling, shipping, or presenting at the fair, this is where renown cubes can be spent to increase the quality of a wine. Therefore, this introduces multiple players vying for grapes from one region, all waiting for the perfect moment to pounce and grab those precious cubes other players have spent turns and turns gathering.

Unfortunately, despite this simplified ruleset in the 2016 Vintage Edition of the game, Vinhos refuses to hold your hand. It’s almost like an excited parent dropping off their kid at college. Mom gives you a kiss on the cheek, looks you in the eyes, and says, “Love ya. Bye.” Before you know it, she’s in the car with dad, and they are already back home, meanwhile you have to defend yourself and figure out what in the world you are going to do with your life. (For the record, I bawled my precious childlike eyes out when my parents left me at college, but eh, I digress).

Vinhos is a game of careful, methodical engine building. Now, comprehending every step necessary to smoothly craft your wino-empire is not at all intrinsic up front. That said, the game grants satisfaction for players who hope to learn Vinhos as if it’s an old friend you’ve known for years. A friend that gives you exactly 12 actions over the course of the game.

At times, you will wonder what else there is to do with those spaces. It seems so underwhelming up front, but meticulous planning and timing of those 12 actions will definitively demonstrate a player’s ability to soak up the whimsical, mechanical nature of Vinhos.

I have an undergraduate degree in Vinhos with the 2016 Vintage edition ruleset, so I look forward to graduating and experiencing the variances and added complexity from the original 2010 Reserve edition.



Final Thoughts

While I can’t help but recommend Vinhos to gamers, the glaring caveat is to beware the steep learning curve. My first two games were spent milling over various rules complications through both the 2016 Vintage rulebook and the setup guide (as it holds information on individual tile iconography). This increased the playtime from my first game considerably, and until you can process and watch a few rounds in motion, strategy and mechanisms will seem unattainable.

However, if you take your time through the rulebook, you will find an incredibly well-designed board game with excellent attention to detail and art. A game that can even be played in an hour with two players, and I find that magnificent.

POSITIVES
+ Beautiful, muted colors, alongside delightful artwork, components, and graphic design
+ Tight strategy, with plentiful indirect player interaction
+ Exceedingly simple to play once formally understood
+ Plays quickly (60 minutes with two players)

NEGATIVES
- Rules are extensive and will need to be revisited frequently
- Bad planning and timing will result in a prompt stomping
- Long setup time
- Steep price tag

BOTTOM LINE
Vinhos speaks to the gamer demanding a heavy gaming experience in less time, all the while being surrounded by outstanding art and graphic design direction. Once mechanisms have been grasped, Vinhos plays quickly and eagerly demands players’ attention to the ‘long game.’



A copy of Vinhos: Deluxe Edition was provided by Eagle-Gryphon Games for a fair and honest review.


See more of our reviews on our Geeklist: https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/211382/geeks-under-grace-...



22 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Young
United States
Springfield
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Really like your writing style. Hope you continue to do these reviews. Vinhos Deluxe is such a polished and elegant game. Once you play a couple of times, it becomes so intuitive that consulting the rulebook almost never happens, which allows you to immerse yourself more into the game. Love it when designers can do this.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randolph Bookman
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Do you have the deluxe or the super deluxe version? The real question is, are the additional expansion and stuff worth the $$?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Hecox
United States
Fort Wayne
Indiana
flag msg tools
Game Reviewer
badge
Help, I can't stop laughing.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
shieldwolf wrote:
Do you have the deluxe or the super deluxe version? The real question is, are the additional expansion and stuff worth the $$?


Super deluxe! My second review that covers the expansions and old 2010 ruleset will be publishing either this or next week.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Hecox
United States
Fort Wayne
Indiana
flag msg tools
Game Reviewer
badge
Help, I can't stop laughing.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jefferoni wrote:
Really like your writing style. Hope you continue to do these reviews. Vinhos Deluxe is such a polished and elegant game. Once you play a couple of times, it becomes so intuitive that consulting the rulebook almost never happens, which allows you to immerse yourself more into the game. Love it when designers can do this.


Thanks! I appreciate the feedback.

Now that we've played this as many times as we have, I do feel like I have a good understanding of the game and different paths to victory.

I do love the weather element and how that can completely muck up your plans, forcing you to readjust and prepare differently. This adds a very interesting level of tactics that doesn't feel obscenely random.

We have plenty of other review links on our Geeklist, but our Part Two Vinhos review will be publishing this week I believe.

I'm excited to play more games from Lacerda.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vital Lacerda
Portugal
Oeiras
flag msg tools
designer
badge
2010 - Vinhos, 2012 - CO2, 2014 - kanban, 2015 - The Gallerist, hopefully: 2016 - Lisboa, 2017 - A Colony in Mars, 201? - Escape plan
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you for such well written and nice review. I'm very happy that you enjoyed the game that much.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Hecox
United States
Fort Wayne
Indiana
flag msg tools
Game Reviewer
badge
Help, I can't stop laughing.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
newrev wrote:
Thank you for such well written and nice review. I'm very happy that you enjoyed the game that much.


Thanks for designing an excellent game! I look forward to playing more of yours in the future.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russell Smith

Brunswick
Maine
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Terrifically well-written review, Chris. I admit to bias - this is my favorite game - but even as an experienced 'vintner' of the 2010 version, I just found your review to be a fun read. It only increases my need to get my deluxe version to the table. Thanks!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Hecox
United States
Fort Wayne
Indiana
flag msg tools
Game Reviewer
badge
Help, I can't stop laughing.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RussPSmith wrote:
Terrifically well-written review, Chris. I admit to bias - this is my favorite game - but even as an experienced 'vintner' of the 2010 version, I just found your review to be a fun read. It only increases my need to get my deluxe version to the table. Thanks!


Russell, I really appreciate the kind words and nice feedback.

I have so much enjoyed my time with Vinhos. It's the sort of game that needs only a few plays to appreciate, but many plays to have a lot of meaningful understanding.

Love having this one. I recommend the deluxe!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Cabral
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I really enjoyed reading your review. I am also an experienced 2010 vintner but always like to read about newer versions of games I own to see what has been changed.

You had some really nice pictures included to help convey what you were reviewing and show off the beauty of the artwork and its quality components. I also liked the personal touch of including you and your wife's experiences with craft beer and wine. If you know about the wine industry I think it helps a lot in enjoying the game more as you may get a little more them out of it. This applies to applying the theme to any game as well. If you know about the subject you get more out of it as you have a different perspective and can see how the theme is implemented through mechanics or components in the game.

I look forward to reading your 2010 review.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.