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Viticulture: Visit from the Rhine Valley» Forums » General

Subject: Why different backs? rss

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King Maple
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Jamey asked me to ask this here instead of e-mail:

They are cards for the same purpose as before, so why are the backs different?

Is there a reason for different backs for this Viticulture expansion? Why not have the same backs and just an icon in lower right corner and a rules sheet/card recommending to only play with the new deck(s)?

It would still make it possible to shuffle everything or 'deckbuild' your own gameplay.

Or are they so imbalanced between one another that getting from old deck is much better/worse than new one?
 
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Jérôme
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You'd get the same people twice in your deck, if you mix up everything.
I'm glad the backs are different; now it's clear that you play with either the new decks, or the old.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Jerome is correct. The cards are designed to be their own unique set, not a combined set to be shuffled together with existing cards. Both sets of cards are viable to play with, and they each offer different experiences (one geared more towards VP; the other focused more on the wine business. If they're all combined together, you will likely create an imbalance, as some people might end up drawing VP cards and others may draw the wine business cards.
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King Maple
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Tsaar wrote:
You'd get the same people twice in your deck, if you mix up everything.
I'm glad the backs are different; now it's clear that you play with either the new decks, or the old.


Yet that takes away the option of player decision. Some would like to shuffle them. You could still play your way by icons separating expansion while those who prefer different setup cannot do the same.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Some things just aren't designed to be optional. Moor Visitors was designed to be shuffled into the original deck. Rhine Wine was designed for a completely different purpose. We know how gamers work, and we're looking out for their best interests in changing the card backs to heavily discourage them from shuffling the cards together.
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JoeAubrey
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Tsaar wrote:
You'd get the same people twice in your deck, if you mix up everything.
I'm glad the backs are different; now it's clear that you play with either the new decks, or the old.


Yet that takes away the option of player decision. Some would like to shuffle them. You could still play your way by icons separating expansion while those who prefer different setup cannot do the same.

You also can't put Winter Visitor cards in the same deck as Summer Visitor cards, because that's not the way the designer intended the game to be played. But if you wanted such choices, you could use sleeves with opaque backs and then combine Vine, Visitors, Wine Order, and Structure cards all into a single draw pile!

I'm being a little facetious, but I think the intentions are clear that these are designed to be a separate deck and to provide a completely different Visitor experience. I assume a lot of thought went into that, and I'm glad they didn't dilute their intentions by trying to make the decks work in all possible combinations.
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Pauly Paul
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jameystegmaier wrote:
Some things just aren't designed to be optional. Moor Visitors was designed to be shuffled into the original deck. Rhine Wine was designed for a completely different purpose. We know how gamers work, and we're looking out for their best interests in changing the card backs to heavily discourage them from shuffling the cards together.


+1

Have a little faith in game designers.
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Chris Laudermilk
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After getting the email newsletter and heading over to read the expansion's page on the Stonemaier website it was pretty clear to me why the backs are different. I know there's been a few comments complaining about that decision, but I like where Jamey went with this. You will have two variations of Viticulture to play. The VP-focused visitors (which some people have long complained about), and wine operations-focused visitors (which seem to be what those people are expecting/looking for). To me that sounds great.
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claudermilk wrote:
After getting the email newsletter and heading over to read the expansion's page on the Stonemaier website it was pretty clear to me why the backs are different. I know there's been a few comments complaining about that decision, but I like where Jamey went with this. You will have two variations of Viticulture to play. The VP-focused visitors (which some people have long complained about), and wine operations-focused visitors (which seem to be what those people are expecting/looking for). To me that sounds great.


Yep, all those who considered anything but grinding through your wine operations unthematic can now use these decks to "fix" the game

And another common complaint about the game is the cards can swing the game. Can you imagine how much more swingy the game would be if you shuffled the new decks in with the old? Whoooo boy... I can see the complaints now.
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Corey Hopkins
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MentatYP wrote:
claudermilk wrote:
After getting the email newsletter and heading over to read the expansion's page on the Stonemaier website it was pretty clear to me why the backs are different. I know there's been a few comments complaining about that decision, but I like where Jamey went with this. You will have two variations of Viticulture to play. The VP-focused visitors (which some people have long complained about), and wine operations-focused visitors (which seem to be what those people are expecting/looking for). To me that sounds great.


Yep, all those who considered anything but grinding through your wine operations unthematic can now use these decks to "fix" the game

And another common complaint about the game is the cards can swing the game. Can you imagine how much more swingy the game would be if you shuffled the new decks in with the old? Whoooo boy... I can see the complaints now.


I 100% guarantee those complaints will still occur. "I came up with a 'fix' for the new cards by sleeving them so I could shuffle them all together. But then someone drew a totally unfair combo. This expansion is broken!"
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Jacob Busby
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OP, you essentially have three options.

1. Play the game as the designer intended. The Rhine Valley cards represent a particular blend and thus will favour certain ways to score VP more effectively than others. Depending on the card set, players will therefore be nudged into either a strategic game which focuses on building a more efficient engine or a tactical game in which they duck and dive and exploit opportunities as they arise.

2. Sleeve the cards and mix them all together. This may create point swings, power combos and nombos as some cards may not work well together. This may bother some players, whereas others will be perfectly happy with the greater variety of cards in the pool. You know your play group better than I and can judge whether this would be acceptable.

3. Come up with your own house rule. Off the top of my head, I'd suggest that the person in last place (or in the case of a tie, last in play order) decides where the Summer Visitors come from (either Italy or Germany). The Winter Visitors then come from the opposing region.

Pick the one which best suits you play group and style.
 
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Luc Ledoux
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Could we play with both set at once ?
2 piles of summer and 2 piles of winter

Player choose from were the visitors come from ?

Are the 2 decks balanced from a final victory points perspective ?
Even if they use 2 different strategies

thanks
 
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Mike Taylor

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I can understand the explanations by Jamey, et al, and fair play to you all but one of the questions still remains unanswered: why *not* make the backs the same and put an expansion symbol on front? It’s all the same, you can sort out the different decks just as easy with a symbol instead of card backs. But the different back sides make it prohibitive to even *try* to mix the decks together without going out of our way to sleeve the cards, etc. For no good reason other than to be told that “we have to play it this way” by the designer. I mean I appreciate the new cards and I’m already preordering them, but for literally zero extra effort we could’ve gotten cards with the same backs to allow for a little flexibility if we want. That’s not a very friendly decision to gamers IMO. I’m scratching my head on this one.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Mike, I have to keep the user experience in mind when I design games. The whole purpose of this deck of cards is to create a different experience than when playing with other visitor cards. It's through the visual design of the game that we show players how to play. That's the case here.

I can assure you that it wasn't a flippant decision--it originated with the designer and Feuerland, and I challenged them on it. But they made the same points that I echo above, and ultimately I agreed with their decision.
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I love this design decision. I wish more designers would do it. Whereas expansions for other games add tons of cards that dilute the deck—adding more but not really changing the experience much—this does the opposite.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Going off just the fact that the decks are meant to replace, not mix in with the original decks I get a sense of Tom Lehman's treatment of Race for the Galaxy where he has three separate "story arcs" of expansions. While they could be mixed all together, he recommends they do not.

I will go under the assumption the game designer knows what he's doing and follow the suggestions.
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atomheartmother wrote:
I love this design decision. I wish more designers would do it. Whereas expansions for other games add tons of cards that dilute the deck—adding more but not really changing the experience much—this does the opposite.


But why take away the option?

You can STILL get the same effect by use of icons (for example, Runebound by FFG does this) without taking away the toolbox from gamers that wish to tweak the experience.

There is no real benefit for changing the backs other than players that don't read the rulebook or rules sheet or card.

By changing backs, yes it enforces the change, but takes away the 'sandbox' feel of board games as well as limiting variants, drafting etc.

There's no real benefit to changing backs.

But hey, it's their call. I'll find less use for the expansion as a result though.
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Slashdoctor wrote:
atomheartmother wrote:
I love this design decision. I wish more designers would do it. Whereas expansions for other games add tons of cards that dilute the deck—adding more but not really changing the experience much—this does the opposite.


But why take away the option?

You can STILL get the same effect by use of icons (for example, Runebound by FFG does this) without taking away the toolbox from gamers that wish to tweak the experience.

There is no real benefit for changing the backs other than players that don't read the rulebook or rules sheet or card.

By changing backs, yes it enforces the change, but takes away the 'sandbox' feel of board games as well as limiting variants, drafting etc.

There's no real benefit to changing backs.

But hey, it's their call. I'll find less use for the expansion as a result though.


Just draw from the bottom and your problem is solved.
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alphacentaurus wrote:
Could we play with both set at once ?
2 piles of summer and 2 piles of winter

Player choose from were the visitors come from ?

Are the 2 decks balanced from a final victory points perspective ?
Even if they use 2 different strategies

thanks


This was my question, as well, but I suspect it's not balanced for this, and then there'd still be complaints about how the new decks are underpowered, blah blah blah.
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Scott Seifert
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Slashdoctor wrote:
There is no real benefit for changing the backs other than players that don't read the rulebook or rules sheet or card.


If Jamey is correct in that 99% of people will prefer to keep them separate, the benefit of the extra distinction to people who have to sort out the cards far outweighs the trouble to the remaining 1%.

Indeed, they can just draw from the bottom, sleeve their cards, or enjoy the extra strategy of being able to see which card set the top of the deck is from. And if they alternate mixing and not mixing the sets, then they will especially appreciate the clearly distinguished cards. Undoing a shuffled Race for the Galaxy deck is a nightmare.
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Theodore Martinovich
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Seems like for those people that this is really a problem for... sleeve your deck with colored sleeves... problem solved.
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Jinxstar wrote:
Seems like for those people that this is really a problem for... sleeve your deck with colored sleeves... problem solved.


Or for a cheaper solution (as I don't believe you can get coloured sleeves for cards that size), do as someone above suggested and draw from the bottom each time.
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