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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Viticulture - The Boardgame

Today I played I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to like it when it was suggested. It sounded like  pretty dull subject matter for a game to me. Games like this are ten a penny and have been done a number of times. So I thought. When it comes down to it I was pleasantly surprised.

The designers have put some thought into the wine-growing/making process. Not only do they understand the mechanics but a lot of the game colour seems to come from understanding the world in which wine-making sits.

In the game the two biggest aspects are worker placement and turn order. If you want to go first you get nothing and if you go last you get an extra seasonal worker. Between these two are the growing season and the winter season.

What I found playing the game was that players will go and grab everything they can as early as they can. There is merit to being first as often you get more for your turn. The number of meeple placement spots is limited to three. In a five player game this is a problem especially as if it is something you want you can place multiple meeples. You have a super meeple which allows you to place anywhere you like to get around this but even this does not always help you.

Going last can mean you get an extra meeple. Like most games where you can increase the number of workers, this is a good thing. In the first turn, most player used all of their meeples in the summer land grab. This gave me some range to spend money to get an extra meeple which became my main strategy. I think I was the last one to start growing grapes and making wine yet by the time I had done so I was able to outproduce everyone else. This doesn't make it broken, just as long as everyone knows it.

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