Viticulture - Board Game Box Shot

Viticulture

| Published: 2013

Old-world Tuscany awaits your winemaking skill and strategic cunning. You’ll plant vines, harvest grapes, age wines, and fill merchant orders to create the greatest winery in Italy!

You find yourself in rustic, pre-modern Tuscany, where you've inherited a meager vineyard. You own a few plots of land, an old crush pad, a tiny cellar, 3 workers…and the dream of owning the best winery in Italy.

Your job is to allocate your workers and helpful visitors to complete various tasks throughout the year. Each season is different on a vineyard, so the workers have different tasks they can take care of in the summer and winter. There’s competition over those tasks, and often the first worker to arrive at each one has an advantage over the rest.

Using those workers and visitors, you can expand your vineyard by building structures, planting vines, and filling wine orders as you work towards the goal of owning the most successful winery in Tuscany.

Viticulture Board
images © Stonemaier Games

User Reviews (3)

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7
I play blue
Book Lover
Intermediate Reviewer
Smash Up: Ninja Faction Fan
10
132 of 139 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 3
“Build, Plant, Harvest, Sell: Or, How to Build a Successful Vineyard in 90 Minutes or Less”

Viticulture is a strategic worker placement game for 2-6 players, played over the course of many “years,” each divided into the four seasons.
– spring: players select their “wake-up” position to determine the year’s turn order, and collect their respective position’s bonus.
– summer: players place workers to build structures, plant vines, welcome visitors, offer tours, etc.
– fall: players draw either a summer or winter visitor card.
– winter: players place workers to harvest fields, welcome visitors, make wine, fill orders, train staff.
The game ends when one player reaches 20 points (earned a variety of ways), and everyone plays until finishing the year. The winner is whoever has the most points at the end of the year. (Interestingly enough, most games play only to seven years.)

What I love
I had not played any strategic worker placement games (I knew of many and had read up on most of the popular ones) before playing Viticulture, and I will say this was a great introduction to the mechanic. There are meaningful choices during both worker placement seasons (summer and winter), with enough flexibility that the game is not repetitious and enough strategy that the game has a direction. Each choice has weight for the game, and there is very little, if anything, superfluous about the game.

The components are gorgeously illustrated and well-crafted. The various tokens in front of each player are well-designed and sturdy, and cleverly fitting with the winemaking theme. The small, clear counters for crushed grapes and bottled wines are one of my wife and my favorite components. Another example of the clever design: the turn order markers are small roosters, which is perfect because the symbol for Tuscany’s trophy DOCG Chianti Classico wine is a black rooster in a red ring. The decks of summer and winter visitor cards are beautifully illustrated and conceptually clear, featuring portraits of the Kickstarter backers and giving recognition of their support. And like serving espresso gelato in a fine china bowl, the box expertly holds and stores all of these prime components.

What I love most, though, is that this game scales well. I first played with four, and have since played a 6-player game teaching both couples, and several 2-player games with my wife. This is a fantastic two-player game. Most of the two-player games we’ve come across feature a “take that!” system that does not make for a great evening of entertainment for our marriage. Viticulture is much more conducive for an evening of slow, engaging, constructive play.

What I Dislike
Very little. A few of the options on each player’s board seem a bit superfluous (build a tasting room to gain a point for giving a tour; build a windmill to gain a point for planting a vine), but they fit the theme beautifully, and they increase the immersive play, so I don’t mind.

One of the things that bothers me aesthetically is the presence of the “uncertified” classification of visitors in both summer and winter visitor decks. For example: the “Teacher” trains one of your workers for a discount and allows you to use that worker this year; the “Uncertified Teacher” does the same thing, but you can’t use that worker until next year. This is a perfectly valid card and a great strategy and a fair play and a well-executed component concept, but aesthetically I dislike these cards because I feel guilty for using them as I strive to build a reputable, above-board vineyard. Silly and insignificant as this is for the game, I can’t get over it. When I play, I am immersed in the world of the game, and decisions like these matter aesthetically. I would rather not encounter this element; and yet, I recognize that this element adds a realism to the vineyard world the game creates, and I am impressed all the more.

Recommendations
My wife – who favors and excels at strategic games – loves this game. I am not a strategic player, and I love this game. Our friends who introduced this game to us are connoisseurs of board games of all kinds, and this quickly became one of their favorites after only one play.

Casual gamers will love its design and feel and clarity; social gamers will love its ease of play and relaxed pace that allows for good conversation over their favorite bottle of Chianti or Trebbiano.

There’s also room at this table for power gamers because order of actions within the seasons, and the players’ turn order overall, become very important (especially the fewer players there are).

A couple notes for family gamers: this is a competitive game, but without any overt “take that” feel: great for our family! There is no objectionable content in this game, except the nature of the theme in general: you’re in the business of producing and selling alcohol. With all of this in mind, and considering that the numerous components are quite small, I would recommend this for the pre-teen to adult members of your family.

Salud!

 
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6
Private eye
Detective
9
40 of 45 gamers found this helpful
“An Excellent Vintage ”

I have not played many Worker Placement games overall: Waterdeep, Kingsburg, and Stonemaier’s other game – Euphoria. However, I have played Viticulture and it really stands out.

First of all, it is a Stonemaier Game. While considered an Indie Game Company, they put so much care and craft into their games that they are beautiful to bring to a game session. The games may be on the more expensive side, but looking above at the picture the site provides you can see that the components and look are completely worth it.

Not only does this company produce eye candy in components, but they put a tremendous effort into their design. The game plays well. Like any worker placement, there is plenty to do, but it all clicks and never seems overwhelming. The journey to the most points is interesting and varied from upgrading workers and your vineyard to harvesting and making vintages to trying to secure special bonuses from visitors. The time keeping ‘years’ provide for strategic decision making and options to be competitive without a ‘take that’ disruptive sense. All in all, like a good bottle of the grape it flows well and leaves one feeling pleased.

The only downside is people might overlook this because of the theme. In a game universe where the excitement of space and quests and wizards and warp drives rule the day, one might think running a vineyard seems rather dry.

This is a game that deserves consideration and definitely should be uncorked.

 
Player Avatar
2
9
100 of 121 gamers found this helpful
“Who knew making wine could be so fun? ”

Worker placement game in which you need to make money, plant grape vines, harvest, make wine, and fill orders quicker and better than your opponents. Fewer players allows for more ease of play and less competition, however, more players and more competition increases the challenge and enjoyment for those looking for more strategy.

In Viticulture, players have to find the balance between quite a few factors: money, building, planting, harvesting, making wine and filling orders. The more players there are the more you have to plan your moves carefully and strategically.

There’s a little bit of luck due to the cards you can draw but strategy definitely has the lion’s share in this game. If you’re looking for a challenge with a bit of competition then Viticulture is definitely worth a try.

 

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