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Viticulture Essential Edition» Forums » General

Subject: Random Card Draw a huge enough drawback? rss

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ChToHe
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Half my Geekbuddies mentioned the random card draw to be the biggest weakness in the game. It is enough to make me pause every time I want to purchase this game.

From previous threads in the original edition, Jamey mentioned that Tuscany solves the problem. Is it true in the Essential Edition as well? From the Tuscany EE rules, it doesn't seem to address this concern. I do not know if the original Tuscany solves this issue. Would appreciate feedback.

Has anyone tried using limited open face card draw to counter the random card draw? The open selection works only if the card values are equal throughout the entire game. Otherwise, card rotation will get blocked or clogged at some later stage in the game.
 
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Darin Bolyard
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toucana wrote:
...random card draw...the biggest weakness in the game...
I may actually agree with this↑. However, this sentiment can be likened unto saying "...melting...the biggest weakness in ice cream..."

No game is perfect, but Viti EE [and especially + Tuscany EE] is among the best worker placement games you'll ever play. It's nearly as much a card-driven game as it is a worker placement game, and so random draws are no more or less a factor here than they are in any card-driven game.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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ChToHe: Have people mentioned why the draw is random? The reason is that I never want to ask players to read small text from across the table. If the cards just had a big icon on them, they would be face up. But that's not the case here, at least not with the visitor cards.

Feasibly, the wine order and vine cards could be face up. However, in Viticulture, all of the cards are good, and you will draw a lot of them in the game. The puzzle is deciding which cards to play and when to play them--it's both tactical and strategic. Seeing the cards you're drawing would fundamentally change the nature of the game.
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David Goulette
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jameystegmaier wrote:
ChToHe: Have people mentioned why the draw is random? The reason is that I never want to ask players to read small text from across the table. If the cards just had a big icon on them, they would be face up. But that's not the case here, at least not with the visitor cards.

Feasibly, the wine order and vine cards could be face up. However, in Viticulture, all of the cards are good, and you will draw a lot of them in the game. The puzzle is deciding which cards to play and when to play them--it's both tactical and strategic. Seeing the cards you're drawing would fundamentally change the nature of the game.

Thank you for this Jamey. Your comment made me think of a variant idea.

You could deal 1 card of each type to each player. These cards are not in their hand. These cards are personal market. I would use small card holders for each player to hold their market. Then when a player is supposed to draw a a card they can:

1) Take the card from their personal market and then replace that market card with one from the deck. (Thus, you always have a choice of one known card and one random card.)

or

2) Draw a card from the top of the deck. Then they could optionally discard their market card of the same type and replace it with the top card from the deck.

This would allow a bit more strategic choice with the cards. This would lower the effect of the bonuses that allow extra card draws. With Tuscany it would devalue the influence map bonuses.
 
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Molokov (AU)
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Half the fun in Viticulture is attempting to form your strategy around the cards you draw, rather than devising a strategy and being disappointed because you're not drawing what you want.

It can make the game a little swingy, but given how short it is (6-7 rounds, around 90 minutes), it's not really much of a problem.

Viticulture EE solves several problems of the 2nd edition - Mamas and Papas give you a starting set of cards (and possibly structures) which may inform your early game strategy; the replacement of some of the 2nd edition Visitor cards with their New/Advanced variants allow all the visitors to be useful in both early and late game.

You can also add Moor Visitors or Visit from the Rhine Valley to give even more variety to Visitors but then, of course, you may draw ones that you don't find useful to your current strategy. I always try and make use of whatever visitors I draw.

ON TOP OF ALL OF THIS, you can easily implement a house rule about the cards. I know of two popular ones:

a) Have a two-card "market" for each deck, where players can choose from either of the face up cards, or have a blind draw from the deck. This does have the problem Jamey mentions above about being able to read small text across the board.

b) When you are supposed to draw N cards (of any type), draw N+1 and then discard down to N. This give just a little extra choice and should hopefully avoid clogging up your hand with cards you don't want or need.

For example, if you have the Cottage, you can draw 2+1=3 visitor cards in Autumn (any combination of Summer/Winter) and then discard back to two visitor cards. If you place a worker on the "draw a vine card" spot, draw 2 vine cards and keep one. If it's on the bonus spot, draw 3 vine cards and keep 2.

I heard about variant b) from The Brothers Murph/Matthew Jude (from This Game is Broken) and we tried it on our last game, and think we'll make it a permanent house rule - it's certainly one way to mitigate the luck of the card draw and give players a little extra choice.
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ChToHe
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Thanks to all of your suggestions and comments. Much appreciated.

I have played a lot of worker placement games and both my Geek and local buddies have raised this issue. It has certainly held me back in the past for getting this game. After several new editions have emerged, I wanted to revisit this issue precisely because the game is so highly regarded and well-loved. In the end, the problem may just be a non-issue.

I don't know how this is an issue with others, but I do know I dislike last minute lucky card draws which allow you to finish contracts/quests/orders and earn massive VP to swing the game. There is no particular way to plan for this other than luck of the draw.

I think the draw 2 pick 1 method could be a decent compromise.
 
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Will Shaw
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Yes, the card draw in Viticulture EE can be problematic. I remember one game where I spent several rounds drawing grape cards and never getting the red grape I needed.

Tuscany EE improves things by providing a means of turning useless cards into something useful. Taking the Trade action would allow a player to trade 2 useless cards for either 2 new cards, 3 money, 1 VP or 1 grape.
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ChToHe
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So would this be something that can be done without actually buying Tuscany? Seems just like a rule change?

I mean the card draw issue probably doesn’t crop up if many cards are drawn over the course of the game but I could see how one bad streak could really sour someone’s gaming experience.
 
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Chris Laudermilk
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Molokov wrote:
Half the fun in Viticulture is attempting to form your strategy around the cards you draw, rather than devising a strategy and being disappointed because you're not drawing what you want.

It can make the game a little swingy, but given how short it is (6-7 rounds, around 90 minutes), it's not really much of a problem.
This. Dealing with the cards you have is part of the challenge of the game. My group does not see it as an issue. Viticulture/Tuscany is one of our favorites.
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Josh Chen
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Just got this game and got 3 games under my belt this past weekend. My dad and I got hosed by my mom when she draw 2 winter cards that gave her a worker each so she started year 2 with 5 workers. That was a tough game but if you have your expectations straight then I don't see this as a problem but like any other card games that requires you to draw cards, there will be luck involved.

I think the 20 victory point to end the game is very well designed and play tested because the game lasts just long enough but not get blown out of proportion when the players were given another year. (wilder swing of points if given another year)
 
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Steven St. John
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If you make cards face up you’ll have people complaining just as much. I’ve seen people complain about this in Kraftwagen, where there are two research cards face up and you select one when you take the research action. Being able to see, with your own eyes, an opponent having better cards to select from than you did touches exactly the same nerve.

Me, I love tactical games based on making the best of what you’re dealt, so I’m fine with the Viticulture system. I’m just saying if you’re someone who dislikes the idea that some cards will be perfect and some will be not very useful, there’s probably not a solution you’ll like other than all cards face up, choose what you want.
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Josh Nakauye
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The cards are not super swingy, only problem i have seen is drawing a bad variety of plant cards and not getting order cards that compliment. This is nothing unique or soulcrushing. I think it is very balanced.

If you wanted a balanced and simple house rule. Draw 1 extra and discard. That should mitigate any concerns and that wouldn’t hurt the balance.

Face up doesn’t solve anything unless you have a market place. And that is ill advised. Being able to keep your cards secret is important otherwise in multiplayer you could have the blocker thwarting your strategy and creating a negative experience.
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ChToHe
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Yeah. I got it, played it mainly 2p and a few 4p and promptly sold it. All within 2 monthS. Clearly an acquired taste. With all the worker placement stuff out there, this just didn’t rock my boat.
 
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Dan Winnowski
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It's a non issue
 
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