On The Radar: Viticulture

Posted by James (admin) on September 10th, 2012

There were a few wine-making games released a couple of years ago and I noticed a new intriguing one called Viticulture on Kickstarter at the moment.  The reason it has intrigued me is because it combines several game mechanics that I like in other games.

During the game players are trying to make the best wineries from their meagre beginnings.  Turn order is decided by players claiming different positions and each position gives a benefit – the later the position the better the benefit.  This is similar to the turn order system in Fresco (where the best part of the game was deciding what time to get up as that determined turn order as well as other limits like market prices, happiness of workers, etc. for you for that turn).  Last Will uses a similar system too.

Viticulture is a worker placement game and mentions Stone Age (one my most favourite games) as an influence too.  One interesting aspect is that players perform a rounds worker placement (for the summer actions) resolving the actions as they go, and then perform rounds of worker placement (for the winter actions) with their remaining workers, so workers don’t get returned until the end of the winter actions.  There are more action places for more players (so it scales up to 6 players) and, intriguingly, some of the action spaces (for the same action) give better effects so they’re not all quite equal.  Actions cover buying vines, harvesting, giving tours (for cash), training new workers, fulfilling wine orders, etc.

Each player has their own vineyard board.  They plant vines and harvest grapes which go to their crushpad. Different wine varieties are made depending upon the types of grapes crushed together and their value (and some need special equipment).  Each player stores their wine in their cellars but needs better cellars to avoid any ceiling on their wines’ value.  First player past 20 points ends the game and the winner is the one with the most points.

I like worker placement games so Viticulture is one I look forwards to trying out.  The game is currently live on Kickstarter and getting close to 100% funding but not quite there yet .  More details on the Viticulture Kickstarter page.






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