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Die Weinhändler» Forums » Reviews

Subject: An uninspired and tiring math exercise. rss

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Robert .
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Die Weinhandler

Components (Bits):


Like most Amigo games, the quality of this production is top end. The box is wonderful with great artwork, the cards are very tiny but of amazingly high quality with great illustrations. The coins are thick and well printed.

Setup and Rules:

The rules for this game are decent, but pretty vague in describing some rule ambiguities. I don’t feel scoring was adequately explained, and most people had a tremendous amount of questions after reading the rules. Each player is dealt a hand of 5 cards, the deck is placed in the middle of the table and 4 cards are flipped over to form the bidding row. Setup is fast and simple.

Theme:

While pasted on, I like the theme of this game. The wonderfully illustrated, colourful wine bottles are pleasing to look at. The back of the cards are very well done. Everything is pretty relaxing and enjoyable, and you do get the feeling of collecting wines. Unfortunately the game just doesn’t hold up to the quality of the theme.

Game Play:


This is a bidding and set collection game, with a good bit of hand management thrown in. The objective of the game is to build your pyramid of win, scoring points as you go along with bonus points for particular formats. To start off, players offer up bottles from their hand to “Bid” for the 4 display cards for sale. A player may pass immediately, in which case he can draw 2 cards from the draw deck, and keep whichever one he chooses. Once a bid is placed, it cannot be removed or rescinded, the value of a bid is determined by the number on the card, and this value must be “Declared” to all players when the bid is made. The next player can raise the bid, or bid under if he wants to try and win the highest bidders bid. Basically this system is slightly similar to the bidding system in “Money”, except Money has a superior method of dispersal and is a blind system. In Die Weinhandler, the highest bidder gets the display cards, the second highest gets the highest bidders cards, and so on.. The last person places their bid onto the face up bid stack and replenishes it as necessary back up to 4 cards. Now players, one at a time, add to their wine cellars (Pyramids) to get their hands down to 6 cards maximum. Scoring is done as placement is made, and continues around the table. Bottles are scored based on the number of stars on them, with special bonus conditions such as 1 additional point for 3 of the same colour cards in a row, or 4 points for 3 of the same bottles and colours in a row. After which time, the next round begins anew, and is repeated, over and over. When the deck is depleted, one more round is completed, and the final scoring is tabulated.

Depth and Tactics:

There really isn’t much to this game, it is about winning the bids you need, collecting sets of bottles, and placing them in such a way to score the most points. The problem here is that often it is just too tedious to try and hold out for a specific set of bottles, and bidding feels constrained. If I want the bid of a specific player instead of the offered wines, then I must ensure I bid “Just Under” that player to win his bid. This mechanism isn’t very compelling to me, and feels needlessly convoluted, whereas in “Money”, the high bidder can select which cards he wants to take, etc. This game forces restrictions that sometimes feel too constrained, and needlessly complex. The tiny bonuses aren’t worth tying up your hand for, it is better to score your pyramid and rapidly move on to the next one. There is a pretty high kingmaker situation in this game. Once a player gets sufficiently ahead, there is little you can do to prevent them from winning the game. I just can’t find any tactics or strategies in this game that excite me, it all feels forced, processional, and mundane.

Summary:

I have several issues with this game. The bidding is needlessly slow and complex, requiring constant adding and re-adding of double digit numbers, making it a tedious math exercise just to finish each bidding round. The exchange process is fairly difficult to predict, and seems far more random than the system in “Money”. Die Weinhandler feels soulless, mechanical and overly constrained in the way it plays. The overly long play time (1-3 hours), fiddly scoring, kingmaker situations and low bonus points didn’t help matters. Die Weinhandler feels like a mishmash of concepts ripped from games like Money, Oh Pharaoh and Katzenjammer Blues, and unfortunately it is much inferior to those titles. If you want a good pyramid game with similar concepts, go pick up a copy of Oh Pharaoh instead of this one. Given all of its problems and lack of fun, I cannot recommend this game.
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The Steak Fairy
United States
Columbia
South Carolina
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Games? People still play games??
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Specious arguments are not proof of trollish intent.
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Kobra1 wrote:
While pasted on, I like the theme of this game. The wonderfully illustrated, colourful win bottles are pleasing to look at.


You don't mention the color scheme of the lose bottles. How are they? Are there any draw bottles? I think it's odd that the game only supplies bottles to the winners. But at least they're colorful.
 
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Robert .
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Hehe, oops. Typo!
 
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Joseph Cardarelli
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Quote:
A player may pass immediately, in which case he can draw 2 cards from the draw deck, and keep whichever one he chooses


Actually, if a player passes, s/he draws two cards and keeps the lower valued card. This can sometimes feel unfair. Especially if two people pass in a row, and one gets a low card while the other gets a high card. But then again, it could be the shape/color card you need for your cellar.

Quote:
Bottles are scored based on the number of stars on them, with special bonus conditions such as 1 additional point for 3 of the same colour cards in a row, or 4 points for 3 of the same bottles and colours in a row.


There is a 1 point bonus for 3 different bottles of the same color. All three of the bottles must be different from each other, not just "not the same shape". 4 points is givin for 3 bottles of the same shape and color. This points more emphasis on getting the bottles you need, cause it's a larger bonus than just quickly and easily getting the same color. Hope that helps.
 
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Stew Woods
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Kobra1 wrote:
The overly long play time (1-3 hours), fiddly scoring, kingmaker situations and low bonus points didn’t help matters.


Whilst I appreciate the rest of your concerns about this game, this leapt out at me:

1-3 Hours!!!! Really????

Played twice last night with 3 players and got both games in about an hour and a half (with newbie rules explanation included)

I just can't see how this game can take as long as you describe...
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Julian Murdoch
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Agreed -- I just played for the first time with my 10 year old daughter, and two friends, and it was less than 30 minutes start to finish. The mechanics of this game are flat out brilliant, and I can't really see the true tediousness of adding up, say, 12 and 17. My 10 year old handled it with no difficulty.

After the first game, we sat there just saying "Holy cow. This game is brilliant."
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