Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Viticulture Essential Edition» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Complete Solo Campaign - Score of 16 rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Dennis Goodman
United States
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
I recently completed the Viticulture Automa campaign. It took me 16 games to complete the 8 challenges. Given I had played 2 games before taking this on, I think this is decent.

The Automa campaign is special for many reasons, but I feel the best thing going for it is that is teaches you how to play the game differently based on circumstances. I truly feel that each scenario is there to open up your eyes about a particular strategy. It basically takes the normal structure and turns it on its head 8 times.

Here is my rundown and my hypothesis on what the designers were trying to convey (which of course could be fantastically wrong).

I think the overarching thing I learned is that Viticulture at its core is not a game of actions but rather a game of options. Giving yourself plenty of options is the key.

Challenge 1: No Mama Card, but you can plant three vines as part of setup

Result: 4 games

This was my worst result of the 8. I am not sure if it was because I was new to the game (I think it was) or not having extra workers showed my glaring inefficiencies (certainly true). Regardless, my early games I spread the vines across multiple fields. This meant I either needed to build a yoke or spend bonus tokens to get all the grapes out.

After I took the free plants and put them on one field, I was able to win. This cash infusion from selling unused fields allowed me to train workers quickly. I would select the wake up space with the temporary worker in year 1 and immediately train another one. Most of the time I would use my other year 1 action to harvest a field (or sell a field if I started with less than $4). I would try to repeat in year 2. This means by the end of year 2 I have 3 workers and 2-4 grapes on my pad – depending on how much cash I had.

Next, I would use any extra cash (maybe selling another field) to buy a cottage. The extra visitors gave me plenty of ways to make and fill wine. I did buy a yoke to make sure I could not get blocked from harvesting. After that it was just cranking up the engine to get grapes every year.

Lesson: You can only use one field and get plenty of grapes for filling wine orders in the later years.

Challenge 2: You can only have 2 workers, but you get to use the bonus actions in the middle (unless it is the Grande using an occupied action).

Result: 1 game

This one felt pretty straight forward. I would take the wake up space with the vine early. I would then usually grab vines and try to plant and harvest in year 1. Since I could use the bonus spaces, I did venture onto two fields for this challenge. I sold the other field and bought a cottage early.

Then, I just went whichever way the visitor cards took me. When they allowed for cheap training of workers, I took it. When they helped me build structures more efficiently I did it.

I wound up being at about 5 points after year 5 but had such an engine going, two large end turns put me over the top

Lesson: Unlike a lot of worker placement games, the lack of workers does not necessarily hamstring you.

Challenge 3: You must have 6 workers by the end of year 3

Result: 1 game

When you hear me complain about bad luck later in the series, remind me to come back and read this one. I got very lucky with visitors on this round. I did the standard selling a field to get some quick cash. But, my papa gave me a cottage and those visitors turned into opportunities to get workers. I had 6 workers by the end of the second year.

After that the game was pretty standard. Get some grapes going, produce some wine and get the win. The combination of cards and workers made this one smooth.

Lesson: Workers can be gotten in other ways other than the train action

Challenge 4:Start at -5 VPs but you can harvest up to 3 fields

Result: 2 games

The extra 5 points to be gained means that more or less you need to fill one more wine order (or get creative elsewhere). To fill wine you need a grape engine. The compensation for the 5 less points is a bonus on harvesting…well, my stupid head did not take advantage in game 1. I stuck to my system of selling fields to get buildings and it failed.

On the second game, I focused on getting plenty of vines up front. I used bonus actions to plant more than one vine. This let me take advantage of the extra harvesting. It took me longer to get the engine running, but it was a more powerful engine. I won this one in year 6.

Lesson: Don’t stick to your strategy – look for opportunities and seize them

Challenge 5: No bonus actions, but you get 8 years and can wake up with whatever bonus you want.

Result: 1 game

The 8 year portion was nice and all, but the real bonus on this one was the wake up chart provision. I took the extra worker in year 1 and used it to get train a permanent worker. I then took either vines or wines to see what I had to build towards. Near the end I was just taking the bonus victory point. I won this one easily.

Lesson: Always scour the board for the bonus that helps most based on current goals

Challenge 6: No VPs during game but you get points for wine in large and medium cellars in the end

Result: 3 games

This challenge was the hardest to wrap my head around. While I lost on other challenges, the two losses to this challenge were not even close. One of them I stopped after year 5 because it was impossible to create enough wine. Why did I mess it up? I was not producing enough grapes. This challenge is all about grapes.

You have to plant early and get the benefit of the maturation. Also, since grapes will age on the pad without a structure, I did better when I was a bit more patient in building my cellars. I had my $6 field with a 3 white and 3 red grape. I had my $5 field with a 2 white and a 2 red. I would harvest both each year using a yoke or bonus token.

I used extra money to buy the cottage and stockpiled visitors that enabled making wine. I caught a break with a few visitors that allowed for aging of wine and got the win.

One more note on this one…even though blushes and sparklings are more valuable, they can be made with smaller grapes. To me, the key to this one was getting those 2 and 3 value grapes on the pad early to they could mature into red and white 8 and 9s by the end. To get to 21 points you will need at least 9 or 10 of the 12 wine spots in the large cellar filled. You desperately need to get those high value whites and reds started quickly

Lesson: If you are in a wine fight, you are gonna need a lot of grapes

Challenge 7: Start at -3 VPs but 2 residual dollars

Result: 3 games

This was easily the most frustrating of the challenges to me. My game 1 score was 19 and my game 2 score was 20. In both games the Automa took the spot I ultimately needed in the last round. Well, I needed 2 spots and only had one Grande. I am sure I messed up somewhere else in the game, but the Automa made me mad and had me wondering if it was cheating (this balanced out Challenge 3).

The interesting part of this challenge is that I found myself with a lot of money. I mean I had a lot of money. I was not really sure what I wanted to spend it on. This was the first time I built a tasting room. Ultimately, the tasting room and the visitor that gave bonus points for having 6 buildings put me over the top.

Having the money also led me invest in a lot of workers, but in an odd way I found this hindering. I did not really know what to do with them.

In football, they say if you have 2 quarterbacks you really have 0 quarterbacks. The logic being that you cannot focus on one strategy. In the end, unlike challenge 2 which restricted your options making you be laser focused, I found myself going all over the place in this challenge.

Lesson 1: Being average at 4 strategies is not as good as being great at 2
Lesson 2: Automa, like the Queen of Diamonds, will beat you if their able. Automa is like the potential partner that you don’t let meet your parents until you have been dating 2 years.

Challenge 8: You cannot fill wine orders

Results: 1 game

I felt like this was the final of a college course. Take all the lessons you have learned about using visitors, being opportunistic and creating efficiencies and apply it to this challenge. If this would have been challenge 2, I would have thought it impossible. At challenge 8, I did not even bat an eye.

I did not even bother building a cellar for this challenge. I did get lucky and drew a papa that gave a tasting room. My strategy was to have one bottle of wine and one grape at all times. That gave me flexibility with the visitors to discard and get VP.

Getting a bottle of wine in year 1 meant I got 6 VP from the tasting room. I then used most of my bonus actions to play multiple visitors at a time. I wound up comfortably getting to 23 points.

Lesson: In a game about wine, you don’t need to sell wine to win.

Overall: 16 games

I feel the campaign does a great job of teaching possible paths to victory. A player who has made it through the campaign has a huge advantage on those who have not.

With these 16 plays under my belt, I would be a pretty tough foe for any of my friends.

Congratulations on designing such a comprehensive and well thought out campaign.

Now….Tuscany!
14 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morten Monrad Pedersen
Denmark
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's great to hear that the campaign is being played. I'm always in doubt, whether anyone actually plays them.

Thank you for taking the time to write this.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
fortheloveofdice
Canada
Toronto
ON
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
That is serious dedication!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gilles de Rais
Belgium
Brugge
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Currently stuck on game 4, with 4 defeats.

'but you can harvest up to 3 fields', dammit, I forgot that part in my last 2 plays.

And thanks Morten for this fun and challenging campaign.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morten Monrad Pedersen
Denmark
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ravazul wrote:
Currently stuck on game 4, with 4 defeats.

'but you can harvest up to 3 fields', dammit, I forgot that part in my last 2 plays.

And thanks Morten for this fun and challenging campaign.


Thanks .

Not sure whether you're aware of this rule, but after a defeat you start the next game with one more bonus action token than you did in the game you lost (these are aside from the seven on the wake-up chart). After a win the number of extra bonus action tokens goes back down to zero like normal.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dennis Goodman
United States
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
mortenmdk wrote:

Not sure whether you're aware of this rule, but after a defeat you start the next game with one more bonus action token than you did in the game you lost (these are aside from the seven on the wake-up chart). After a win the number of extra bonus action tokens goes back down to zero like normal.


I completely missed this rule. Son...of...a...gun.

This is the universe evening itself out for all those Pandemic Legacy rules I missed that made certain rounds easier.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon Maynard
United Kingdom
Exeter
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
mortenmdk wrote:
Ravazul wrote:
Currently stuck on game 4, with 4 defeats.

'but you can harvest up to 3 fields', dammit, I forgot that part in my last 2 plays.

And thanks Morten for this fun and challenging campaign.


Thanks .

Not sure whether you're aware of this rule, but after a defeat you start the next game with one more bonus action token than you did in the game you lost (these are aside from the seven on the wake-up chart). After a win the number of extra bonus action tokens goes back down to zero like normal.

Ah, I had forgotten that rule as well.

I'm currently on the last challenge of the campaign and have struggled through most of the previous challenges. Getting an extra bonus action token each time I failed may have sped up my progress I'm sure. I'm impressed by the amount of challenges the OP passed on first attempt though!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gilles de Rais
Belgium
Brugge
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Finally finished the campaign with a score of 27, not very good at all, but it was great fun (mission 4 took me 10 tries, ouch).

Learned a lot, so when I played Tuscany for the first time today I scored 23, which I think is quite good for a first try.
1 
 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.