Finally got to play Viticulture: Essential Edition with my wife last night

Supporter
Gameplay

It's finally happened! My wife and I had our first session of Viticulture EE and here are the highlights:

  • We had some interesting choice of Spanish guitar playing in the background with the help of Alexa. Should've gone for Melodice?
  • Oh boy, 2 player session is much more limiting since it only allows space for one worker for every action in the seasons.
  • It was very interesting to see my wife's decision-making--she almost always chose to wake up later and went for the bonus lyra every time. She also used workers in the summer season to mostly give tours to get more lyra (money) or to get vine cards. And except for the last year, she used her grande worker in the summer season every single time.
  • Every now and then, I avoided making certain moves thinking "hmm.... she really needs to start planting or harvesting by now so I won't place my worker there," but I should've minded my own business--she did most of her planting and harvesting through efficiently using her visitor cards. It's funny because she's won almost all of her games with me and others even though it's her first time. For example, when she played Wingspan with Trent and others, she won mostly by placing big birds that give lots of points instead of focusing on building an engine (the concept of engine-building is very new to her). It's interesting how her lack of awareness/experience of "expected" strategies tend to benefit her quite often.
  • In the middle of our play, my wife said "this is really fun" while smiling like a kid--that would be my highlight for the night!
  • We decided to go for 10 VP's being the end goal instead of the usual 20 VP's since it was getting late and our son was waking up often crying a lot (he's been fighting a bad cold for the past week).
  • I managed to fulfill two orders while my wife fulfilled one (and almost fulfilled her second).
  • In our second to last year of the game, I thought I had it in the bag to win it in the next year but my wife went on a rampage acquiring VP's left and right through the visitor cards! 
  • In the last year, I had to sell another one of my fields so that I could buy a structure using a visitor card in the winter that would award 2 VP's for having 6 structures.
  • We ended up tying in VP's and my wife won the tiebreaker by having 1 more lyra than me lol

My wife really enjoyed the game and it's currently her top game (she's also played Welcome To, Santorini, Just One, Catan, Wingspan, Skull, Azul, Love Letter, and Quacks). We will definitely be getting Tuscany after a few more plays!

So.... for those of you who've seen my past posts searching for a game that will exceed her level of enjoyment from Catan, it's finally happened!

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11 months ago

My wife is smarter than me as well.  

11 months ago

Ha! Same here...

Supporter11 months ago

My wife has always said that she's the real engineer in the family. I agree 100% xD

10 months ago

This makes me happy! I love those moments where your significant other says they are having fun! Beautiful!

Supporter10 months ago

She's been wanting to play again! Time didn't work out for our second play but when I asked when she'd like to, she basically said whenever I'm available :D

10 months ago

Excellent! Love that! Are you thinking you will try and go for a 20 point game?

Supporter10 months ago

Definitely. It's just been a rough past two weeks with our son waking up super early every night and refusing to go back to sleep (and demanding a banana at 4am sometimes lol). The gameplay should also progress faster now that she's gotten more experience!

10 months ago

Excellent! That is very exciting! It seems like it can be real quick with 2. I played a real fast game of Agricola the other night, seems similar lol. 

10 months ago

Glad she liked it!  I haven't tried Viticulture yet.  I have a friend who has it, but she tried it 2P with one of the gamers from our group and they didn't like it so we haven't gotten it back to the table to try it 4P.

Supporter10 months ago

Ahh I see, I hope you get to try it some day and let me know whether it worked for you or not!

My wife's really taken a liking to it and has been up for more plays ever since (basically said that she's down whenever I'm available haha). We played our second game tonight and we'll be getting Tuscany: Essential Edition real soon!

Supporter11 months ago

Huzzah Phil! Great report. Glad she enjoyed her time with the game!

Supporter11 months ago

Thanks! It was a moment I've been waiting for lol

For 2020 I'd like to find out more about her preferences so that we can branch off from Viticulture

Supporter11 months ago

This is a great report! I’m wanting to try bare viticulture one more time to see if getting the expansion is good or not worth it for us.

Supporter11 months ago

Hope it works out! And I'm curious--which worker placement game has been the hit in your group?

11 months ago

Ahh I love the mid-game "this is fun" or "I like this game". So satisfying!

Supporter11 months ago

I was REALLY hoping she'd like Viticulture since all other games weren't as enjoyable to her in comparison to Catan, so it was very satisfying to see her light up! Now that I know this fits her preferences, it really opens up the type of games I could introduce to her.

11 months ago

Nice! Well if she likes that game, then maybe Everdell is for you guys after all, haha! It's worker placement and tableau/combo building.

Supporter11 months ago

She seems to have really enjoyed the aspect of building/growing her own vineyard and seeing the end results. I'm pretty sure Everdell will go very well--the theme hits the right spot too!

11 months ago

If you get it eventually you'll have to report back! I just ordered the Pearlbrook expansion and I late pledged for the next 2 expansions haha. We like the game a lot...

Supporter11 months ago

Definitely. Will see if it happens in 2020 :)

Hmmmmm now that we're talking about this, I see it on Game Nerdz for $45.97 with $5 shipping. That doesn't seem bad at all... will have to resist for a while haha

Supporter11 months ago

Awesome.  Sounds like you had fun.  I’m always happy to see something dethrone Catan.

Supporter11 months ago

After seeing her response to Wingspan and Quacks, I was starting to wonder which game will be the one to dethrone it too. She's warmed up to Wingspan though and thought it'd be cool for us to buy our own copy.

If I hadn't had a lot of work to do tonight, my wife actually wanted to go for another round of Viticulture!

Supporter11 months ago

I’m glad to hear it.  I can see the value of Catan as a gateway game but I don’t really care for it.  I don’t mind losing when I play a game (in fact gaming isn’t fun for me if I never lose).  But I’ve played Catan on at least two occasions where I just couldn’t get my numbers rolled (even when I set up near supposed high likely roll numbers).  It’s just not fun to sit at a table and watch others play while you roll a die or every 3-4 turns and that’s all you get to do for the entire game.

Supporter11 months ago

I enjoyed Catan but it was definitely interesting to see how difficult it is to progress in points. It was either a drought in resources with bad consecutive rolls OR the rolls come out too well that even when I tried to use up my cards, I kept having an excess of 7 cards during the others' turns and someone would randomly roll a 7 or use the knight card lol

11 months ago

Would you say that this is a pretty accessible game for most people?

Supporter11 months ago

I’ve had success using it as an accessible game.  I think it’s pretty easy to teach the basics and even give a few helpful hints (ie, you’re going to need more workers at some point).

11 months ago

That’s good to know, almost like “I’ll basically play this first game for you” haha I always lose those..

Supporter11 months ago

I'd say so. It starts with the right theme since wine/wine-making is approachable for most crowds, although some might not find it very exciting. And the mechanic is so thematically blended that it's easy to pick up and the gameplay is divided up into seasons to help you focus on a limited number of actions and not get overwhelmed by having too many choices (e.g. Spring is for deciding the wakeup schedule for your workers, Summer is the time to plant vines or run/upgrade your vineyard, Fall is a quick transition period of drawing a visitor card, and Winter is for harvest/making wines/fulfilling orders/training up additional workers for the next season).

I think the main challenge for complete beginners will be understanding the "flow" or strategy of the game in terms of when to train more workers to acquire more actions vs. drawing/planting vine cards to build up resources vs. building structures so that you can store more/better wine--which is really just a general problem in any games where you need to figure out what's keeping you from snowballing your engine (not that this is an engine-building game). I'd say the learning curve is relatively low and most players will learn a lot just by watching others make their plays.

Plus, if Viticulture EE is a hit for the group, throwing in Tuscany EE into the mix will drastically improve the experience because it offers great ways to mitigate bad card draws that can be very difficult to deal with for a beginner. It also changes up the wakeup mechanic in a way that gives players who are behind better chances to catch up.

11 months ago

Cool that is super helpful, thank you!!

Supporter11 months ago

Awesome, So glad to hear that. I assume that puts Tuscany on the "must buy" list for you? How long did it take to teach her?