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Subject: Reroll: Viticulture (with polls) rss

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Robb Rouse

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I imagine this might be a popular reroll. Have you playedViticulture? Remember if you leave comments below, please provide your BPPP rating as well. Will pick a couple to mention on the show.

Poll
1. What you played Viticulture?
Yes.
No, but want to.
No, but would play if someone brought it out to try.
No and have no desire to.
2. What is your BPPP rating of Viticulture?
6-game collection essential.
5
4
3-average game.
2
1
0-the worst.
      227 answers
Poll created by rookenoble
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Sam Hillier
Canada
St. Albert
Alberta
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I have absolutely played Viticulture (plus Tuscany), but not recently enough. This should be motivation to get it off the shelf and onto the table again.

Personally, I didn't see very much in the original game to come back to, but the Tuscany expansion made it a big hit. The expanded board really opens up new options, and tough decisions on when to use your limited worker pool. The Structures expansion also works to give the game the kind of variability that I like: the structures you draw can nudge you in a direction to specialize in.

This leads to very different games every time that you play. Sometimes you'll take a typical route of planting vines and making wines, while other games you'll focus on running a tavern or a tap room. In this way, they work like the occupations and improvements in Agricola. I like this way of choosing a strategic path much better than the visitor cards, which are often too random and only give one-time abilities.

EDIT: forgot to mention scores! Viticulture on its own is a 2, while Tuscany brings it to a 5
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Joe Pilkus
United States
South Riding
Virginia
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Admittedly, I came to Viticulture a bit later and it was actually because of am auction Jamey ran a few years I donated a significant amount to the cause, but am glad a.) the charity he picked made quite a bit of money and b.) I was able to finally acquire both Viticulture and Tuscany at the same time.

In short, it's a "6" ~ and most if not all of my games fall into this category, which is why my collection will always remain small. It's a game for both new-ish players to the hobby as well as seasoned veterans. The luck element is relatively low and you can pursue several different strategies, all of which can win you the game. Now, a few years later, I've played this game more than 50 times and it still shines as brightly today as the sun casting its golden illumination on the vineyards of Italy.

Cheers,
Joe
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Paul Naxer
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1. What you played Viticulture?
Yes play Viticulture???

I was living in and enjoying Oregon wine country when I first played Viticulture. The components are fantastic, Beth's art is a pleasure as always and I do enjoy worker placement. To say I was excited to find my new favorite game would be accurate.

The first several plays I struggled to find a strategy in my card pulls. Frequently I would line up my production and workers with decent value wines ready to sell but was never able to obtain the correct contract to sell the wine. I felt like I was completely at the mercy of the cards even when I was the first player.

When I did get the magic to happen it was often not enough. Another players visitor card would derail my direction and left me frustrated. The card draws really turned me off to this game. I'm not averse to randomness is games but this is too much.

My wine went sour, 1 peg.

***PS - I still want to like this game, does anyone know of a variant that might help?
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Paul Naxer
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The Professor wrote:
In short, it's a "6" ... The luck element is relatively low and you can pursue several different strategies, all of which can win you the game.

We can still be friends, right?
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Joe Pilkus
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Paul,

You'll always be my friend (despite your confusingly low rating for Viticulture )!

Cheers,
Joe
 
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Richie Turner
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Bennington
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Viticulture on its own is a 3 IMO. When you throw in Tuscany (especially the extended board) it rises to a 6 for me and my 3rd favorite game of all time.
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Jason Brown
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Alexandria
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Viticulture was my first euro game and sits at #2 on my Top 10 GOAT right behind Scythe.

- The seasonal progression and Grande worker mechanic (seriously, you guys have got to play Viticulture Essential Edition) ensure that you're working towards your goal on every turn, and all your decisions effect future decisions.

- It's straightforward enough to introduce newer gamers, yet deep enough for veterans to enjoy.

- The Automa solo AI was the first of its kind, is simple and effective, and forms the basis for many AI decks

- Add top notch components and one of the most universally attractive themes in the hobby and you have a game that belongs on every gamer's shelf!

6 Pegs, pause the podcast now and buy it (and pick up Tuscany Essential Edition while you're at it).
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Mike V
United Kingdom
Totnes
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The problem with Viticulture, as already clear from comments here, is that it's hard to get a true gauge of people's opinions about Viticulture by itself because many opinions are filtered through the lens of Viticulture + the Tuscany expansion. I think Viticulture + Tuscany is the definitive version of the game. For that price tag, I think Viticulture is really entertaining but not particularly good value.

As someone who likes some amount of luck, my main issue is that luck of the draw is a little too important. The luck factor is above average for this type of game.
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Jamie Maltman
Canada
RICHMOND HILL
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I didn't get in on the initial wave of Viticulture, so came to it with the Essential Edition. And that is absolutely the base box anyone can buy and will very much enjoy right out of the box. Tuscany adds even more options and possibilities, but Essential Edition right out of the box is great.

And just like that, I'm queuing it up to play again soon, because my wife is a big fan.
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Jimmy Smith
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Played Viticulture 5 or 6 times by now and still feel no need to even touch the Tuscany expansion (and know nothing about it). Every game has felt different, driven mostly by where my card draws entice me to go.

A solid 5 pegs in my book.
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Daniel Newman
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I gave Viticulture a 3. It's fine. I'm not crazy about the theme, and if I was going to play a game about wine making it'd be Vinhos. But my tastes run a bit heavier, I guess. It's a decent game for what it does, it just doesn't do quite enough for me.
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Ray
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Viticulture is an amazing game. It was the first game that I felt was smooth and relaxing. A few people do not like the randomness and I completely understand that. But the game is not meant to be this serious pursuit of wine making simulation. If you are trying to adhere to one single strategy, you can be easily derailed or achieve wild success. It rewards those that cover many bases by doing a little of a few things. It's a fantastic game!
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Chris Whitpan
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Viticulture would be in my top 10 if there was one.
I love the game, but qualify that with expansion materials I will not play without....

Expanded board with 4 seasons, the Mama and Papas, structures and special workers.

One I will never get rid of! Solid six!
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Tyler DeLisle
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Richardson
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tinyplasticships wrote:
My wine went sour, 1 peg.

***PS - I still want to like this game, does anyone know of a variant that might help?

How long ago did you play it exactly? If it was before the Enhanced Edition, then that was the problem. I played the original version when it first came out and really did not like the game. The cards were wildly imbalanced, many of them were too skewed towards early game or late game, and there were some wonky combos and strategies where you could bypass making wine all together and win, also very little variability. Felt like I experienced the whole game in 2 plays and sold it off.

The Enhanced Edition, Jamey went back and overhauled the cards, tweaked the rules and some mechanics, added a Grande worker so you had some guarantee to your moves, and variability was added. Tuscany EE goes even further on all of this. Go a step further and add the Uwe Rosenberg cards into your decks.

My BPPP ratings would be:

Viticulture (original edition) - 2 pegs
Viticulture EE - 3 pegs
Viticulture EE w/ Tuscany EE - 5 pegs

That extra board makes such a huge difference, really amps up your decision tree. I'm fairly burnt out on worker placement games, but Viticulture with Tuscany is full of tough decisions, lots of having to consider other player's moves, and lots of things to juggle.

I hope for the reroll that the pegs have tried Tuscany.
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Richard Trout
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What better theme (or setting) for a game than winemaking. Many of us enjoy drinking it, so why not make the wine too?

Every time I play Viticulture, I know there are a variety of strategies to the game, yet underneath it all, I enjoy the idea of growing grapes, then crushing, bottling and ageing.

However rarely does the game last long enough for any of this to count, and any substantial amount of filling contracts concludes, before the game draws to an end. So it's a winemaking game without the need to make wine? (don't even mention wine tasting)

The visitor cards are enjoyable and thematic, but the points they offer make the game far too much about the cards, and detract from the idea of winemaking.

It is possible the announced expansion Viticulture: Visit from the Rhine Valley would improve the game for me, as this seems to be what it specifically sets out to do by replacing the visitor cards.

I know for many it is an enjoyable thematic game, especially with friends over a glass or two. For me, it just falls flat and makes it a game I play, to enjoy others have fun.
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Meghan Naxer
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One of my favorite themes in board games is food/beverage. That might be a weird-sounding category, but games like Brew Crafters really are my jam, and Vinhos was my initial plunge into heavier games and over the years has risen to my #1 game. So imagine my excitement when I heard about Viticulture.

The first game I played was with 5 players who were all super excited to try it. It took over 3 hours. I didn't come away wowed from the game, but chalked it up to the usual "it says 5 on the box but really means 4." So I vowed never to play it again with 5 and thought I'd try again. I did, and walked away from the game pretty cold. It didn't feel like worker placement at all and felt like a random mess of a card game. But then I was told I needed to try it with Tuscany. So I did. And it was better, but still not great. Then I was told that EE was really where it shined. But at that point, I was tired to trying it over and over and over with every new tweak and addition. Why wasn't the EE the version that originally released? Why are there 3 versions of this game and 2 of its expansions? Why was it so hard to just love this game like everyone else?

Long story short, I wanted to love this game and tried it over and over and it never felt like a great experience. Too long, too random, and constantly relearning it with ever new edition. I give it 2 pegs and it only avoids a 1 peg on the lingering hope that maybe EE+Tuscany really is where it shines for people, but I have too many other games I enjoy to keep wasting time on this one. Give me Brew Crafters and Vinhos any day of the week instead.
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Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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I once had a dream about playing Viticulture. One of my workers kept blowing all his wages on booze and gambling while the other one kept talking about buying a bunny farm. I mean seriously, who would buy a bunny farm in this economy?!? Then my Grande Worker accidentally killed one of my Summer visitors. I had to execute him behind the Windmill before the angry mob caught up with him. Viticulture is a tragic parable that reveals the nature of dreams, dignity, loneliness, and sacrifice. There is nothing pleasant or relaxing about growing grapes.

Viticulture EE (with Tuscany) gets a solid 5 Lennies out of 6 from me.
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Jordan Hopper
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For me this is the definition of a collection essential. Great for a lot of gamers and has a lot of interesting choices. My wife and I have played this 2 player 4 times in the last week. 6 pegs for sure
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John Kanost
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York
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I've only had the opportunity to play Viticulture one time (with the Tuscany expansion, I think... I'm pretty certain it was that instead of the Essential Edition).

I liked it. I was probably biased towards liking it, given how well I tend to like Stegmaier games in general. But I wasn't blown away. I'd played Euphoria for the first time not too long before that, and for me, both games felt like "precursors" to Jamey's magnum opus, Scythe. They're fine, and I'll play either one of them again, but for me, his earlier titles are more like stepping stones to his best game.

I give Viticulture a solid 4.
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Chris B
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This is the game that made me join the cult of Stegmaier and Stonemaier Games.

I have the original version with the Tuscany expansion. It is a fine game by itself but requires its expansion to reach its full potential. My preferred way to play is with the Extended board, Mamas & Papas, Structures, and all the visitors.

The gameplay is quick, there a multiple ways to win, great looking and practical components, and while I don't enjoy wine myself, the theme shines through and makes playing the game intuitive.

I think it has been hampered by confusion surrounding which version to get after the Essential redesign.

Currently this is my favorite game of all time. I rate it a six. It puts Stonemaier games on my shortlist of publishers to pay attention to.
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Greg Blickley
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Brockton
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I can't say enough good things about Viticulture. One if my favorite worker placement games. Love the starting player wakeup mechanism, love the theme, the board and components are gorgeous, it's really the complete package. Easy 6 pegs all week long and twice on Sundays.
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Kevin Farrell
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Cary
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I like games that have a race vs. engine building aspect. I think Viticulture (+Tuscany) fits this bill, along with Scythe, La Granja, and Rockwell. If you're content building your engine while someone else is racing to the end, you'll get your feelings hurt. This game gets a 5 for me. I think it would be a 6 if the production quality were better. I mean, imagine a tricked out version with smushy fake grapes and little tiny glass bottles.
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Matt Anderson

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This is what a game collection essential should be. Easy to teach, fun to play with an approachable theme, good strategic decisions and just enough luck that it isn't a foregone conclusion that the player with experience will win every single time. There are few games that can check all those boxes because they might be too deep for new players or too luck-based for players who want bite or because the theme is fantasy or space or zombies.

It is not a perfect game for all situations but it is a great game for most. I've played with heavy gamers and light gamers and both groups enjoyed the experience.

6 pegs

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Paul Marchbanks
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Viticulture is an excellent game. It's fairly simple, very thematic, and is a quality production. I think Viticulture also innovated in a way with the introduction of the Automa variant. I love that you take your actions in season and age your grapes. The special buildings give you so many possibilities and strategic options. The race to win aspect creates so much tension and I also love that there is a friendly variant in the book for us care bears. I love so much about this game and I think would call it an absolute boon to your collection. The only reason I hesitate to give this one the collection essential status is that there are a literal ton of amazing worker placement games and you may want a different style. My current favorites are Agricola, A Feast for Odin and Viticulture. I play each at different times when I want a different experience. That being said I give this one a high 5 pegs and would recommend everyone check it out and if you're anything like me buy it.
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