Tuscany Playtesting Page

Please post ALL feedback in the comments section on this page so other backers can chime in with their feedback. You can subscribe to the comments here to receive notification of when someone else has left feedback. The posted feedback is how we’ll keep track of who is actively playtesting, so please include your real name if your screen name is different.

Also, each new element to the expansion pack should be tested with all other new elements. However, please add them to Viticulture one at a time, not all at once. The expansion pack will be tiered in that players will start with one element and add another after a few plays (in an order of their choosing), and so on. Tuscany is not for beginner players, but we’re trying to manage complexity creep through these tiers.

Playtesting 12-12-13

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316 Comments on “Tuscany Playtesting Page

  1. 2nd Tier:
    The new visitors fit great into the game, bringing a little more complexity (in a good way). We liked them.

    The special workers are really great. Also the limitation to two workers per player is manageable, more of them would be to cemplex (maybe). Nearly all of us didn’t like the oracle. Its special ability is nice, but it didn’t fit into the theme in our opinion.

    We could not play as many games as we would like to have done. Therfore we had taken a look at the extended board and decided not to implement is reasons of complexity. I am shure, it is also a great expansion, but, in our opinion, for the times when the normal board becomes a little bit boring?

    1. Jens: Thanks for your feedback. You should definitely try the extended board. :) One of the key things it does is that it doesn’t require players to remember anything–everything is right there on the board for them to do in an intuitive way. If I could redesign Viticulture from scratch, it would have the extended board instead of the regular board. (But as it stands, I like the feeling of “upgrading” from one board to the other.)

  2. At first: Thank you for letting the spare-part-copy of Viticulture be sent to me, it increases the motivation for playing the game to a simple PnP-version. I received the game some weeks ago, around the end of february, and I had several plays together with my gaming group (from 3 to 5 players).
    The overall impression of Viticulture ist great (most players opinion), that is increased by the (unti now) already very well balanced PnP-expansions coming with Tuscany.

    Based on the late start of our playtesting, there is not so much new/additional feedback I can give you, as many things are already mentioned in this comments section.
    1st Tier:
    All of us liked the slightly asymetrical start with the Mamas and Papas. They seem to be balanced enough and there is an interesing difference regarding the actions taken in the first round(s) between i.e. Papa4 (medium cellar) and Papa7 (tasting room). In most cases we preferred the structure from the Papa-cards.

    Property gives nice tactical possibilities, we all used and liked them.

    Patronage was ok, but it wasn’t one of our favorites. Maybe we had not enough games (that is sad but true), so the longtime tactics didn’t really work for us.
    The advanced visitors are great, especially for long term variety.

    At all, Tier 1 fits very well into the game and improves it in an unintrusive way.

  3. Sure do, it’s very similar to the orig visitor, but instead of saying Draw 1 vine or summer it says Draw 1 of any card for each opponent…

    I’m now looking at summer visitors. I had the wedding party mixed in (in the advanced visitor files) to get to 16. So now I’m at 15 there. Unlike before, not a clue yet of who is missing. I can list them out as before, or do you see that too?

  4. Thanks for the replies!

    Ahh, Arboriculture! I hadn’t gotten that far yet! :) I will say a few of those visitors (although not the Wedding Party which is why it missed mention in my question) are marked on page 7 under Advanced Variant on what to keep if discarding all original visitors. For someone new jumping in, they might wonder about those 3rd tier cards they haven’t seen?

    Hm, if there isn’t an advanced mentor, then I count 15 advanced winter visitors, not 16 in either the public or private downloads. Not sure which one is missing. I see, (just counting advanced cards):
    top row (4): Adv merchant, crusher, uncert oenologist, oenologist
    second row (1): Adv marketer
    third row (4): Adv crush expert, uncert teacher, judge, teacher
    fourth row (4): Adv benefactor, assessor, queen, harvester
    fifth row (2): Adv professor, vintner

    Listed in case it helps track down which one I’m missing. Thanks for the help!

    For the promoter, I knew he hadn’t changed. I was remarking that if you were reprinting the card due to the iconology, it wasn’t noted in the 10 cards to replace in fixing Viticulture. Sounds like he’s just fixed in Viticulture reprint, but not as a Tuscany fixed card.

    Thanks again

    1. Peter–Ah, good catch on page 7. I’ll take a look at that. And yeah, we’re not reprinting the promoter since there’s no functional change on the card.

      As for the winter visitors, let’s see…you’re totally right. We’re missing a winter advanced visitor. Do you have the text for the old Advanced Mentor?

  5. Peter: Thanks for your questions! Let’s see…

    Patronage: This is something that’s going to change with the final design of the patronage cards, but for the playtest versions, you simply flip over the card and slide half of it under your vineyard mat to conceal the secret goal. That shows that you’ve activated the patron.

    Those special visitors have been added to Arboriculture–they’re in the Arboriculture component list (at least, they should be!)

    The Promoter hasn’t actually changed–we’ve just improved the iconology on his card.

    Hm, I don’t think there is an advanced mentor anymore.

  6. A couple questions on the advanced visitors/original visitor fixes as I go through these:

    Question on where Volunteer crew, Guest Speaker and Caravan are accounted for in rules components? The viticulture rules state 20 summer and winter cards, although if these are included in that box, it would be 21 summer, and 22 winter, correct? I don’t see those 3 mentioned on the errata for Viticulture, and I don’t seem them mentioned on the pg3 Tuscany page, “Intro” where the 10 updated visitor cards are mentioned. Are these KS exclusives that were printed? If so, would that be beneficial to note somewhere? If they are coming in the print of Tuscany, (or even if they are coming in Viticulture 2nd ed) it may be good to call attention to them on that Intro/fix page?

    Next up, the Promoter card from Viticulture ed #1 – (residual icon added instead of stating $1 on residual track). Would this be another card to list on the Tuscany rules, pg 3 for 2nd ed. fixes. I assume he’s being reprinted because he’s on the PnP of advanced and updated visitors.

    Finally, the Advanced Mentor appears to be missing from the PnP of advanced and updated visitors. I have it from a previous print out, or I wouldn’t have caught him.

    Hope that helps if any of that was supposed to be noted in rules or fixed for printing.

  7. Going through the Tuscany rulebook page by page as I prepare for the test Saturday. I thought of a question on page 6 that I think could be a common question for a new Tuscany player, and should probably be noted on that page. Namely: How do you mark the patronage card when you have fulfilled the order portion of it? The first thing I scanned for is text that said whether you do or don’t reveal the “under-mat” portion when fulfilling the order (i.e. the fully exposed card indicates you’re now dealing with part 2, and everyone can see it). But since there’s no talk of revealing until end game, I assume that players will just have to remember or mark the left somehow. You could make a suggestion on what components you recommend to do this (which would also make sure the rule is 100% clear). Thoughts?

  8. Peter: Wow, very cool, and no pressure at all for me to have such esteemed company play Tuscany. :) I have made some small tweaks to a few visitor cards here and there, mostly just to get the text to fit on the cards. I’ll upload them just in case, but you’re probably safe with the cards you have.

    If you happen to get to the modular expansions, I think I’m the most curious to hear the reaction to the mafia expansion, which hasn’t been revealed on Kickstarter yet. Thanks!

  9. Day of Tuscany! Mar 22

    Jamey, this Saturday I’m driving up north to visit Jeff Cornelius and Luke Laurie, and the three of us (plus potential other gamers) will embark on a mission to play Tuscany expansion packs from beginning to end for no less than 6 hours, if not the whole day. (exact combo of tiers TBD, but likely slightly accelerated from normal introduction to make sure we hit it all). The point is to a) have a blast gaming all day and b) distill a review for you at the League of Gamemakers. We haven’t had any reviews there per se, but I know Jeff, Luke and I are excited to cover the game for you and hopefully the three person angle helps convey a variety of points about it. We’ll keep you posted on the results, and should be able to turn around the article quickly.

    Just wanted to double check that all the PnP files here are the most up to date – or if I should look at the campaign in progress. Sounds like from a comment you just made, the rules are updated, but if there are any significant gotchas, do let me know. Also, assuming we have time to play one of the modular expansions, do you have a preference on which one would be covered for a review?

    Thanks again for sharing this game!

      1. Thomas, Jamey removed the link since Google was indexing this page, thus making them very public. he said if you need the link to email him and he will pass it on to you.

  10. So I had a chance to play the Solo variant today. Wow I have to say that it was a blast. It ramps up quick though, you have to be on your toes the entire time. Thinking ahead on how you can set yourself up to keep the VP’s rolling in or you will lose. i played 3 games, lost 2 of them and tied for the 3rd. Can’t wait for this to be announced and added to the Kickstarter, (if we get there) i know a lot of people will really enjoy it!

    1. That’s great to hear, John! I’m curious which version you played. There is a more updated version that uses its own set of cards to remove any confusion, although I realized that I didn’t upload the cards to the playtest folder (the new rules are there).

      1. The rules you have uploaded now are not the same ones I played with. I printed the Tuscany rules out last Saturday, (not 2 days ago the one before). Those are the rules I played with. It’s the version where you draw from the summer/winter visitor deck to place the “opponents” workers. It was also on the base board not the new extended one as in the current rules show. I like how the new rules have their own cards, this would remove the confusion when drawing cards. I will hopefully print out the new cards/rules and give them at try very soon.

        1. Cool. The old rules have been updated (it’s not a complete revamp, just an update). There are some smaller changes to help streamline the game but keep the difficultly level high. They also encourage that players play it as a campaign.

    2. Hi John

      Thank you for posting, it’s really great to hear that you liked the solitaire version – I’ve spent a lot of time on it :-) Please let me know if you get the chance to play with the updated version of the rules.

      Thanks
      – Morten

  11. First thoughts on Mamas and Papas: we like it a lot. Freshens up the start of the game especially without making things uneven. One in our group really enjoys it because he had a hard time deciding on his strategy in Viticulture when learning to play, and M&P would help push him in one direction or another.

  12. Sorry that this post will be so long, but I have been lax in posting my play testing comments and wanted to rectify that. In the last 3 weeks the game and expansions have hit the table 6 times.

    #1) 3-Players, extended board, Mommas & Papas, Field Cards, Updated & Advanced visitor cards, Patronage
    #2) 3-Players, extended board, Mommas & Papas, Field Cards, Updated & Advanced visitor cards, Patronage, Tuscany Regions
    #3) 2–Player, extended board, Mommas & Papas, Field Cards, Updated & Advanced visitor cards, Patronage, Tuscany regions, Structures.
    #4) 3-Players, extended board, Mommas & Papas, Field Cards, Updated & Advanced visitor cards, Patronage, Tuscany Regions, Structures, Special Workers
    #5) 5-Player, extended board, Mommas & Papas, Field Cards, Updated & Advanced visitor cards, Patronage, Structures, Tuscany regions, Mafia, Special Workers
    #6) 2-Player, extended board, Mommas & Papas, Field Cards, Updated & Advanced visitor cards, Patronage, Structures, Tuscany regions, Mafia, Special Workers

    Here are our thoughts on the individual elements of the expansion.

    Extended Board:
    *************
    A) Players who hadn’t played the core game prior to using the extended board loved how intuitive the season worker placement areas are. They found it quick to learn and easy to follow. Players who were experienced with the base board said that this was a huge improvement as it was much easier to track actions. All players stated that they would never play the game without the extended board. The only issues were in smaller player count games where people would make mistakes with when they get bonuses due to some being in the middle and some being in the left slot. I don’t think this needs to be corrected, but I’m hoping the coloring between the three spots is a little clearer to help users visually see them easier. I know the simple solution is to tell players that they can only use the left slot in a 2-player game, but for some reason it kept coming up.

    B) There are a few of our players that feel that there are too many bonus VPs on the board between the board itself, Tuscany region and the player mat structure bonuses. That said, in tracking how players got their points I found that most people ended up getting 30-40% of their points from “alternative” methods and 60-70% via wine tokens (selling wine or filling orders). I think this is a healthy balance as too much removal of these could run the risk of reducing the game to a race for starting player to always take the “Harvest Grapes” space. It also provides players with flexibility in their strategies. We also only had one game where someone won with only filling one order, but that was on a 5 player game where they had a great combination of M&P starting structure, great structure cards, and strong visitor cards.

    Field Cards:
    *************
    A) Players liked the flexibility of these cards and allowed them to strategize how they would plant vines.

    B) The only time we saw players flipping their fields were typically in the last year of the game to get the bonus victory point on the board as most players don’t need to harvest grapes that late in the game.

    C) With the Structures expansion we found no one flipping fields as it provided them with an extra space to build. We find that most players only plant vines in 2 fields as at most they can harvest only 2 fields (with the bonus). This means that the third space is typically open for a structure unless that player has a Patronage card asking for “most vines planted”.

    Mommas & Pappas:
    *************
    A) By far everyone’s favorite expansion. As of this point we have used every card and while some might have a slight advantage, I don’t think it is a meaningful one. Typically someone would comment at the beginning of the game that one was overpowered, but the player with that “unbalanced” card wasn’t the winner at the end of the game. All players experienced with the base game viewed this as a wonderful thematic way to avoid the base game’s issue of nearly scripted opening moves (tour & build structure). We wouldn’t play the game without this.

    Updated & Advanced Visitor Cards:
    *************
    A) All agree that the added flexibility of the “OR” on most cards really help fix problems with the base game.

    B) The only card issue we had was with the “Advanced Wine Critic” card. Selling 1 wine token for 4 VPs seems too powerful given that each time it came up a player used a red or white, so that card’s power is compared to the Sell Wine space which would give them only 1VP.

    C) All other cards the players were okay with. The general feel was that these cards seem to have a higher portion of VP opportunities on them than the base game, but I haven’t done a side-by-side comparison. I don’t think I like this, but it isn’t enough of an issue to make me want to change it.

    Patronage Cards
    *************
    A) The group viewed these as kind of neutral. We liked the new version of these over the prior play testing versions with two goals, but no one was in love with this expansion. We didn’t run across any that seemed over powered or restrictive. Most players filled the order and met their goal, so points typically were a wash.

    Tuscany Regions
    *************
    A) Typically this was utilized in the first 2-3 years and again in the last 1-2 years, with almost no usage inbetween.

    B) Most newer players ignored it to their detriment as they forgot to take into account this high amount of victory points available. Most realized it too late with only 1 turn left in the game to be able to correct it. It is more of a lesson that players need to learn as all players corrected play by their second game.

    C) In a 2-player game this region largely turns into a game of chicken. If one player stresses this area, they basically force the other to use it to avoid the large number of end-game VPs. Because of this, I’m not a huge fan of this in a 2-player game, but love it for other player counts.

    D) Much like the Mommas & Pappas expansion, this helps to further vary the opening moves each round. Therefore it seems to also avoid the scripted moves of the base game.

    Structures
    *************
    A) While included in 4 games, new structures were only built in 2 games, and by one player in each of those games. Most players commented that they got cards at bad times where they were too expensive early or were no longer any benefit to them later in the game. Players who did use them did like the flexibility and having “special powers”.

    B) In both games with structures being built the statue and the Workshop were the ones build. The first game these were done due to luck of the draw. In the second game one player kept drawing structure cards just to get these and build them. An odd strategy.

    C) Given the low number of structures built and players finding them not useful, I walked them through the deck and most agreed that there are actually a lot of really helpful structures that people just weren’t drawing (Studio, Inn, Veranda, Aqueduct, etc). After seeing this, most players views on the expansion changed and they wanted to play with them some more. I will let you know their thoughts after a few more plays.

    Special Workers
    *************
    A) Overall we liked these. They added a ton of variance to the game and were loved some of the creative uses players had to pull off some great combinations (getting to 6 workers by the end of turn 2, etc).

    B) There are definitely different strengths to these workers. The best seemed to be Chef, Farmer and Mafioso. Our very first game included the Chef and Farmer, which resulted in each player effectively having 3 Grande Workers given that these two allowed for lots of bonuses in player actions. Because of this, I feel that rather than every worker requiring $1 more, some of the more powerful ones should cost slightly more $2-$3. Still, because they are available to all players it isn’t as critical to increase the cost. Increasing the cost would effectively make players second guess spending the funds to get that powerful worker.

    Mafia
    *************
    A) While we only played 2 games with this, feelings on them spanned from neutral to dislike. They seemed to force too much of what players wanted to do by limiting their usage of grande meeples. It also seemed like the most tacked on item in the expansion list.

    B) Because of the mechanics of them and only having 9 cards, both time we used them other players were able to identify who had the #9 card and utilized their grande workers to take the card in the last turn. Players didn’t like that “gotcha” addition to the game.

    1. Tom: Thanks so much for this extensive feedback (and thanks to your group for playtesting)! I really appreciate it. I’ve read your comment a few times to try to soak in the input, and I have a few responses and follow-up questions.

      Advanced wine critic: I determined this VP value based on wine orders. For example, a wine order for a 6-value red wine (or white or blush) gives you 3 VPs and a residual. If you go up to an 8-red wine order, you get 4 VPs. I think it makes sense to either drop it to 3 VPs or make it a 7 or higher wine token and give 4 VPs for it. Just so that it works with the Advanced Judge, I’ll go with the latter.

      Structures: I have a note in the rulebook about the point you made to your group. Structures are something to obtain early in the game to build your strategy around, although since they all have a built-in VP, it can still be helpful to build them late in the game.

      Special worker cost: Since all players have equal access to these workers, I think they can all have the same surcharge even if some are better than others. I’ve debated a 1-lira surcharge vs a 2-lira surcharge, but I lean towards 1 because once you get up to 2-lira, some players might just prefer to make two regular workers, which isn’t as fun. :)

  13. Have been playing mostly with Mamas and Papas and the Patronage cards. Now that we’ve got a few more games under our belt, here are some thoughts.

    Mama and Papas – My wife and friend think that if they ever have less workers than anyone else, they’re at a disadvantage. I think this is due to playing Agricola before. I think we’re all still trying to get the nuances of the different strategies. I’m more willing to try different things, win or lose, but they’re first strategy, no matter how many workers they have. This may have to do with group think, as well.

    Patronage – I do like having hidden agendas but with just the base game, there are only so many different goals we end up with and usually tie with say, the amount of workers or buildings. Is there going to be Patronage cards that “unlock” as players add the expansions? So more Patronage cards with each Tier?

    I don’t know if this has been brought up, we talked about it, but haven’t tried it; Do wineries ever trade wines with each other? What we were thinking is say you get a wine order in from a customer, but you don’t carry a certain wine, could you tell the customer that you can get it from another winery/vineyard. So could you trade wine tokens with other players? I think that this would make the game too easy to fill orders, but my friend thinks because of the luck of the wine order cards, this will make some situations less frustrating. Some times he will make wine before he knows what the order is. I think this is bad play, but I think he’s trying he’s trying to get a jump on wines before it gets too crowded near the game end.

    1. Tony: That’s all the patronage cards we have. I feel like my goals for them are being me: They incentivize players to make wine (at least once), and they give players a little nudge to try a new strategy, even if it’s just a slight adjustment. Even if all players fulfill their patronage cards, that’s okay.

      Wineries in real life sell grapes to one another, but it’s pretty rare for them to sell or trade wine. It’s an interesting concept, though. The extended board addresses the frustration that happens when you can’t get your vines and orders to match up. (But yes, it is a bad play for your friend to make wine before he knows what his wine orders are. :) )

  14. Jamey,

    In the Kickstarter Video you just released you stated that the Formaggio and Mafia’s were going to be stretch goals? Is this the case and are only available if they are met? Or are there other did I miss understand what you stated?

    1. John: That’s correct. A lot of the stuff you all have playtested are stretch goals, even within the expansions. For example, 24 mama and papa cards are included in the base game, and we’ll add more when we hit stretch goals. I’ve asked all playtesters to please not say anything about what you’ve tested versus what’s on the campaign during the Kickstarter–I’ll be adding stretch goals based on how the budget expands due to economy of scale. I trust you all to keep the information you have to yourselves. :)

      1. Okay, that makes sense since there is so much in this expansion. I hope we hit all stretch goals, I don’t want to not play with without any of the pieces which I have grown to love! I know for one, (if I am quick enough) I will be upgrading to the metal coins. That will just add another awesome component to this wonderful game. Which I have to say is my favorite even without the expansion, Tuscany just makes it much more so! Keep up the great work guys!!

        1. Thanks John! Yeah, there’s a lot in the Tuscany expansion pack. Economy of scale is going to make a big difference. Ironically, it’s a more expensive game to make than Viticulture at this point, despite the number of custom tokens in both games.

  15. I finally managed to get this to the table again. Too many new games have distracted my gaming group for the last few weeks. We played 6 players with everything but the tier 3 stuff as we had a couple new players. It was the first time we used the special workers and I gotta say I love them. We had the carpenter and the auctioneer. The auctioneer didn’t see much use but everyone had hired a carpenter during the game. I really like the carpenter, he is not so powerful that you have to get him to be competitive and his ability adds gives you reasons not to take the bonus space (more choices!).
    I do have a question about the timing of residual structures. On the last year, I played the final worker of the year to fill a wine order that brought me to 24 points. I had previously built the statue that gives me a VP during the residual phase. Does this mean the game ends right away as I was the last to pass? Or would we play out another turn? The rules seem to suggest the former but it feels wrong that it doesn’t give any other players a chance to react.
    This game was the most fun I’ve had playing viticulture. Using all of tier 1 and tier 2 seems to have just the right amount of complexity for me. I’m a little worried that the tier 3 stuff might be too much but I can’t wait to try it out

    1. Hey Todd: That’s a great question about the Statue. It triggers at the end of the year, not during the year, so it wouldn’t end the game. I’m going to add a note to the rules about it.

      I have a little bit of bad news: I’ll talk about this in this week’s update, but due to budgetary reasons, we had to cut the Carpenter, Auctioneer, and Sommelier yesterday after getting an updated estimate from Panda. I agree that I really like the mechanism that incentivizes players to choose non-bonus spaces, and that mechanism will remain on the Mafioso.

      I agree that the game’s sweet spot is Tier 1 + Tier 3 (although I really do enjoy the cheese expansion). That’s one of the reasons why we give players the option to not play with tier 3 expansions if it’s too much for them, or to play with the Mafia expansion, which is a lot lighter than Arboriculture and Formaggio.

  16. Greetings Stonemaier,

    Just played an extremely close, and fantastic game of Tuscany. Included everything up to and including the new visitor cards. Highlights included seeing someone score 14 points in one year( and myself scoring 13 the same round), and the game coming down to one point. One of our testers said the new bits combined, makes this her (now)favorite game. I can’t say I really disagree either. There was only 2 points of discussion which I wanted to throw out here for you. I obviously know that nothing can be done about them now, but I wanted to pass along the thoughts nonetheless.

    1) would be nice if there was either a slot/indentation/picture that matched the building pieces(eg. windmill), so that new players could tell where each piece went. Also, someone referenced “operation” and “scoville” as examples. I know you can’t change the boards now obviously. you have to admit, it’d be pretty cool if you had indentations or something, to “hold” your buildings.

    2) The glass tokens are slightly too large for the player boards, if placed side by side. A few of us figured it would be great if some workaround could happen. What about cubes/ovals/circles/mini-grape tokens that matched the wine color? Anything that was slightly smaller would be great. We all realized this is logistically challenging. It’s just a thought.

    Lastly, just want to say how stoked we are for the campaign, and the boxed-final copy of Tuscany. You already have at least two pledges from our playgroup, with a serious consideration for adding a copy to the board game cafe :).

    1. Darren,

      Both of those points have been updated in the new version of Viticulture. The new player boards have icons next to each of the times. I also remember Jamey saying at one point (maybe here or in an email) that the glass pieces were going to be smaller as they are, as you stated, to large for the board

      1. Darren: John is correct–the new player mats have the icons, and we’ve reduced the size of the glass tokens to 10 mm. I look forward to using the smaller tokens! :)

        I’m happy to hear that everything seemed to sync with your last playtest. All of you playtesters have had a somewhat unique and accelerated run through Tuscany!

  17. Ok, I can’t remember which visitors I had for sure, but it might have been the Auctioneer or Wedding Party or possibly the Peddler. I don’t think there’s anything specifically wrong with those cards, I just had an unfortunate draw at the start of the game.

  18. I had a 4-player game of Viticulture + Tuscany last night, with 2 new players and one that has played once before (With just mama/papas). They agreed beforehand to try out a few expanded things, and I think the full art on the board really helped out to interest people ^^.

    1 – There seems little incentive not to rush a ton of workers on the new board. There’s so many actions available which can work out to be useful that you’re about certain to be able to make use of all of them. In our game every player got to 6-workers, and I only saw the £1 space get used once. It’s a shame as it felt good to get away with fewer workers before, + getting ‘all players may train workers for £1’ when everyone was on 6 sucked =P

    2 – The Influence map is awesome in a 4-player game, and was contested throughout with regions changing a couple of times over. I was able to nab a 2-point region in the second-to-last year with a double cube-placement on it and that felt good ^^. I#, glad more regions are becoming worth 2 VP though ^^.

    3 – Filling Orders. This seems to be a bit harder to do in one way, as the advanced visitors didn’t seem to have many fill/harvest spots, at least in comparison to before (May have just been my draws, I know there’s a few still). This meant every order I filled needed to be on the fill spots on the board. On the other hand, in my final year (About to happen in the pic) I took last place to have an extra worker, and skipped on doing anything in earlier seasons until the last possible moment, this meant in winter I had the freedom to wait until everyone had passed and nabbed both order fullfillments!

    4 – Properties. These worked out nicely in our game, with 2 of us making use of flipping them for money. I did mine about 1/3 of the way through and another player did about 2/3 of the way (Essentially I did it before planting vines and he did it after, so he knew what he could flip). We both contemplated flipping back but the scores were looking so tight we stuck to our guns for the tiebreaker/workers for filling orders.

    5 – Wake-up. This was very interesting at the higher player count of 4 (as my other extended board plays were solo/2-player). Every position got used at some point during the game, although the earlier spots were still very focused later in the game (Understandably). Track 6 was of interest to all, with people trying to work out the best way to use the aged grapes to fill up orders. I like 5 for the cube, but think I only used it once in the game as taking place 2-cubes was a strong way to get it done too (And sell wine). It’s a shame the summer visitor cards can’t be used immediately like the winter ones on the track though ^^.

    At the end of our game we finished with a 3-way tie, with Andy taking first by winning the tiebreak. 2nd place was still a tie as we both used up all wine/grapes and had 6 money left. Very intense and one of my most enjoyable finished of the game yet, in part thanks to the feel-good feeling I had from getting my score from right at the back to a very close call in the last couple of rounds (I didn’t manage to fill an order until the year we’d just finished in the picture, which was right at the start of the last year!).

    Very enjoyable, looking forward to trying with formaggio but I don’t think I’ll be able to in a little while (Done 2 weeks in a row at that society using up all the time in the evening). I’ll do a few solo games and hope someone joins me for a 2, but otherwise will leave it till the kickstarters up and try entice people into buying ;)

    Cheers =)

    1. That’s a great looking PnP, Christopher!

      You echo one of my observations about the extended board, and it’s something I’ve kept an eye on over many plays. With more action spaces, more workers seems inherently better. I think that’s mostly true–getting an extra couple of workers early on makes a difference. However, I don’t necessarily think it’s always the first thing you should do (as you know, you can’t underestimate the power of getting grapes aging early), and I don’t think that getting 5 or 6 workers is always optimal (see Helen’s comment about having extra workers leftover at year end).

      1. Ha, thanks =) It’s a shame that board in the top middle warped a little though, the importance of quality components ;)

        I suspect that my opinion about worker strength may be skewed due to the way I play when I think about it. As a rule I’m generally happy to go last and see what I’ve given, because it gives me more freedom elsewhere and that lets me play in a less stressful manner ^^.

        When I think more about our game I don’t think the other players were making particularly effective use of their workers and could have achieved the same with less, there was 2 of them with 3 fields of planted vines despite no windmill. Perhaps if they’d used their money/actions elsewhere at those points in the game they might have hit 25 without ending in a tiebreak.

        I left it quite late to get grapes out in that game actually, as did the player who finished a bit behind (IT was 27-27-27-17 I think). The trade came in useful to get a 1-value white, and if it hadn’t been so hotly contested in the final year would have been perfect for getting me another red to make a sparkling to sell (yoke>make wine>sell was a pretty nice way to get 2 points, getting an easy 1 grape for my spare money would have been perfect ^^).

        I’ll use patronage next time and see what difference it makes. The fact one player will actively want less workers is likely to show up how important it really is! (And then structures, I wish I could throw them in every game, favourite addition =P)

  19. Last night Debra and I played a game with everything up to and including the extended board side one (mama & papas, properties, advanced visitors and patron cards). This was out first time with the extended board and the final score was 33 to 15 (Debra won, well and truly).

    Things we noticed (relating to the extended board):

    1. Competition for the harvest, make wine tokens and fill wine order spots was very fierce and more than once we had to put our workers on the hire a worker spot rather than taking useful actions in a year.

    2. Money wasn’t particularly important, but it seemed (at least for me) to be easier to acquire.

    3. There were a number of occasions where the person who went first that round would pass first and have the opportunity to go first next round; if a player is clever they’ll manage their workers carefully to achieve this. I think the upshot of this is that the extension of the wake up track makes the game more strategic: if you want to go first and need to grab position seven in order to get there, you need to plan two years ahead, something that I’m not necessarily very good at (*cough*). Although I’m alert to it now which will give me a better chance next time.

    4. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the influence tokens. I placed a couple but Debra was so far ahead of me on victory points that they made no difference at end game. If it had been a closer game I would have paid more attention.

    5. Smoothsmith noted that the age grapes on the wake up track tripped up one of their players; I had the same problem. I thought it was age wine and I was ready to make two wine orders that winter and couldn’t make either of them. To be fair, the printed board was in grey scale and not easy to read. And having screwed it up once I won’t forget again!

    6. Two things I really liked: the second opportunity to build a structure, especially with the bonus on it, and the gathering of the workers when you pass during winter. I suspect that both of those will make more of a difference with more players and if people’s play styles vary more than ours did (in our game it was rare to have a meeple left to place after the other person had passed).

    I think, in order to get the most from the extended board, we need to change our play styles a little more. I’d like to experiment with non-wine order means of getting victory points, like repeatedly flipping a property, selling wine and trading. We were both trying to play our standard fill wine order games and that didn’t work out well for me :P

    Finally, a quick question about the Harvester visitor (“harvest two fields and gain two lira OR harvest two fields and gain one victory point”). Can this card be used if you only have one field to harvest or if only one field is available for harvesting (i.e. your other fields have already been harvested that year)?

    1. Helen–Thanks for your observations about the extended board (and congrats to Debra for the victory). I think you’ll start to see the value of influence and trading after a few plays–they’re probably the most used actions when we play. And with all four seasons, using the Yoke to harvest out of season becomes an even bigger deal

      The Advanced Harvester should say “harvest up to 2 fields”–I’ll check the wording on that one.

  20. Can you think of any specific visitors that you didn’t want to use? I’ve tried to hone all advanced visitors so they’re good at some point in the game.

    I’ll get back to you on this; for some reason I don’t get the notification when comments are posted, so I didn’t see it until today! I’ve checked the tickbox multiple times and it doesn’t work :(

  21. Hey Jamey/co-testers,

    So I’m probably in the minority on this, but I want to put it out there anyway. Also to preface this, I just want Stonemaier games to know, that I’m not trying to knock anything they’re doing in the testing phase. I just want to throw a PERSONAL opinion out there. I think Viticulture is great, as is the upcoming Tuscany(this is not the minority part). However, I feel like Tuscany as it’s headed right now, is attempting to do too much. Some games are great with modules, and I get what you’re aiming for with the progressive story(a-la legacy); I don’t think Tuscany NEEDS it. All of the modules by themselves are good fun, and welcome additions. However, adding them in together makes for a bit much.

    It’s almost like there should be two core-goals here. 1)The smaller modules like Patronage/property/M&P cards, could(should?) be rolled in as part of the second edition Viticulture base game. Just like the grande meeple. They arguably improve the feeling of viticulture, without REALLY changing the core-gameplay much. This would greatly improve the core game, and give people a reason to own both base-copies of the game. Realistically, you could play the second point, without the modules I just listed….I think. 2) The new board, new/advanced cards, structures, special workers; These could all essentially roll as one module for a large expansion.

    As I said earlier, I TOTALLY get the thematic purpose and desire to do a rolling story, by adding one module at a time. I think some people are turned off by this though, myself included. I say again that I’m probably in the minority here. I would personally much rather back a project that had one nicely packaged, well rounded expansion set; As opposed to oodles of mini-expansion style modules. Maybe it’s a matter of playtime. I’d rather just learn one set of rules and go, and enjoy the solid replayability of a good ruleset. I get turned off by having to learn new rules every time I play a game. That’s one of the reasons I stopped playing most LCG/CCG games. I got tired of having to relearn the game every time I played.

    TLDR: I think the mama/papa, patronage, and property cards, should all be rolled into version 2.0 of base-game Viticulture. I also think that the rest of the modules, should be released as one cohesive expansion-ruleset, instead of many smaller modules to be learned one at a time. I hope you don’t take too much offense at this, I just wanted to share an opinion. I love all the modules so far. I just think having the game broken up so much, takes away from the overall goodness of the expansion. Not everyone has time to play a lot of games after all.

    1. Thanks Darren! We’re definitely not putting anything from Tuscany into Viticulture for a variety of reasons. For example, there are 2500 people out there who already own Viticulture. If I put those elements into Viticulture, they would all have to buy it again, which isn’t fair to them. Or I would have to package them separately so they can buy them separately…which is exactly what Tuscany is (a way to add new stuff to the core game of Viticulture).

      You’ve posted about the legacy elements a few times now, and while I respect your opinions, that’s not the direction we’re going with this game, and honestly, it’s not really up for discussion. I’d rather focus on the things that are up for discussion, like making each of the expansions work as well as possible.

  22. Got a 2-player in with some bits and pieces I’ve not used yet (non-solo at least). Not sure I really learned anything useful, but here’s my thoughts anyway on our game with Mama’s, Papa’s, Advanced Visitors, Properties, Patronage and the Extended Board.

    Mama and papa cards: I started with a windmill & Harrison with a tasting room, this had me on £2 and him on £0 (Can’t remember the combinations right now), I think I had an advantage from this as money just wasn’t tight enough for tours to be needed particularly often. I only planted on 3 separate years but I think that’s the same as he toured too. I think the windmill as a starting building is stronger than building it later which might need to be accounted for in some way.

    Property cards: Played with but ignored, there’s just no need to flip when playing on extended without structures.

    Advanced visitor cards: Change up the game in an awesome way, I love the 2 effects giving more choice, and some of the abilities can really be worked into interesting plays – I particularly like that there’s a lot of ‘discard x visitors to gain y’, or at least in the draws I got there was!

    Patronage cards: These are a very nice addition, which I didn’t appreciate so much in single-player when I had more freedom of actions. On the second-to-last year I was able to slip this into my schedule with a visitor to net a nice few points for endgame, which just required me to have less workers than the other players (I had 4 to his 5, glad he didn’t stick to 4 as I struggled a bit staying on 3^^).

    Extended Board side 1: The new wake up track leads to some very interesting decisions. I think for 2-player track 5 felt the strongest to me (For the cube placement), although I went for the vine/order track (3/4 I think) a couple of times each to be prepared for the year. 6 was quite nice, but the fact it only ages Grapes tripped up Harrison the once thanks to make wine being in fall (I.e. he had to go to winter to make it age, but then couldn’t make it into wine). The 4 seasons is an interesting thing to think about as there’s a little more power to going first (Countered by the tracks). Harrison used the trade space a couple of times to try and get better cards, but I didn’t feel I needed it for anything all game. The bonus spots for 2-player now are a nice addition, and I think fairly well balanced (No bonus on the leftmost cube spot meant we never really wanted it rather than using track 5 to get a cube instead. The layout of the board is awesome, although it can be annoying to deal with the retrieving/choosing wakeup which can involve a lot of leaning over the board while the other player(s) are still trying to think about their turn. Having winter spots open up when a player passes is a nice change, and while we never quite needed it we could see the benefits of allowing people to hold back workers so they have enough to get in on important spots after others have passed in winter. Also the art is absolutely gorgeous =P

    Hope I get to play tonight, but not sure if it’ll happen or not. The expansions shaping up great and has really improved things (from my perspective at least) a lot for 2 player games (Maybe the tasting room is underpowered with so many £1 bonuses in 2P though). The new wake-up track also had the effect that I didn’t want a cottage this time round.

    Mafia (Unplayed): This module really doesn’t excite me at all and I suspect I’ll never want to play it unless someone else asks about it. It feels far too forced and the fact only one person is going to nab points from it is a shame (I think the highest should get #players-1 points, and 1 less for each other player at the least, otherwise I can’t imagine it making any sense to pursue in for example, a 6-player game). On the other hand it’s designed to cater for people who want that interaction and I don’t have to include it, so no big deal ^^.

    1. Chris: Awesome, thanks for the comprehensive feedback. This is really helpful.

      After a playtest last night, I have a tweak to mafia similar to what you suggested here (the player with the best mafia card gets 2 points, and the player with the worst mafia card loses 1 point). I’m trying to do something here that’s different from other worker-placement games–it becomes kind of a hunt across the board as you try to track down the best card. Where you place your grande and where other players place their grandes really starts to matter in relation to one another.

  23. My gaming group didn’t really enjoy the Mafia set as much as some of the others. They said it felt out of place and didn’t make much sense as to why it was there. Also I have a question. The order of the “teirs” is from the basic to the more complex, correct? If this is true what makes the Mafia part than say the Advanced Visitors?

    1. John: Can you explain that a little more? Mafia is meant to be different–it’s purely interactive.

      The third tier is separated from the others because the elements in it are modular while the expansions in the first and second tiers are permanent once they’re unlocked. So if you play with Mafia, you wouldn’t play with Formaggio or Arboriculture.

      1. So, if I understand this correctly, when you play with say Mama’s and Papa’s they are them permanently/always played with. Alternatively with Mafia or Arboriculture, you can choose to play with one or not, but NEVER with the other 2?

        Once I told my group this the said that they understand why it is vastly different than any of the other teirs, as you stated modular vs permanent.

        The biggest thing they didn’t like about Mafia specifically was it was basically a card shuffle where you tried to get the best card from the deck and then stay away from other people’s Grande worker. But as you posted further down you have made some changes to the way they work so we will review them once again this week.

        1. John: Yes, that’s correct. The 1st and 2nd tier expansions are permanent, while the 3rd tier expansion (arboriculture, formaggio, and mafia) are modular–only one (or none) of them should be included at a time.

  24. Hi all,

    We tried a three player today with just the patron cards added in, we got cards 1, 9 and 8. In all, we felt that the patron cards helped to guide our play without being intrusive. We managed to all get the bonus for our cards, however with all the patrons being 2 points at the end of the game, it did not impact the end position.

    The game ended at 29,27 and 24 points, with the new rules stating there is no maximum points, we wondered if there should be a token to denote that the player has gone over 25 points [i.e. a +25 points token].

    Afterwards we looked through the other patrons, we were a little unsure of patron 7, storing 3 different types of wine in a cellar at the end of the game for 2 points seems weak especially since there are cards that allow you to convert 1 wine into 2 VP… Maybe this could be a different amount of VP and would stop people assuming the patrons are only worth a hidden 2 VP.

    Jen

    1. Jen: That’s a great point about Patron #7. I’d prefer to keep the patronage VPs the same, but I think that one should change to “2 types of wine” or even “1 blush or sparkling wine token”. Any preference there?

      As for a token for going about 25 points, I’ll see if we can fit it on the punchboard. Otherwise, because it’s accounted for the end of the game, i don’t think it’s hard to keep track of. And then once you unlock the extended board, it goes all the way to 40.

      1. Out of a choice of the two, 1 blush or sparkling wine token would be better as they are less used in the game and would help planning.

        It’s not really difficult to keep track of, however I did forget to explain the change in maximum points to the other players :)

  25. Finally got around to trying out a solo game, remarkable how difficult it can be to find free time sometimes =P On the bright side this means my ‘can’t get the same group together a second time’ problem is away and I got to try lots of things! So here’s a few thoughts about bits in the game.

    I should probably point out I was using the idea mentioned above that you play 7 years, with each space on the wake up track usable only once.

    Mama and papa cards
    – Really what makes this a worthy idea, would love to see a leader-board hosted somewhere with sorting based on the mama/papa used!

    Property cards
    – Pretty cool, nice to have the option to get money instead of the field, and worked out as a nice extra £5 for me in game. I didn’t feel any need to get it back, but I guess if I got some really tasty structure cards I might have been more interested in doing it.

    Advanced visitor cards
    – Great addition to the game, I don’t think solo would be any fun at all without the extra possibilities these provide (I found myself barely using visitors as is, lack of the double spot does that to you ^^) Some don’t really apply well to solo but I don’t think any were completely useless from it which is good ^^.

    Patronage cards
    – Pretty cool to have an extra thing to go for. I didn’t use it as I was focusing on the nice money providing orders I was getting, but was nice to have it there. I’d love to see a no-solo mark on the ones which are interactive if that’s a possibility.

    Extended Board
    – This seems pretty fun, but feels odd in solo just because you have seasons with nothing in them so much, it’s like a season just didn’t happen that year. The extra competition with other players I imagine mean every part would be used. It was interesting having the decision to wait until fall to build a structure to nab the $1 discount, I messed up the once because I forgot I needed the structure in summer! The influence map is pretty much free points in solo, although still pretty cool (Perhaps some kind of ‘dummy’ placements to make it a bigger challenge?).

    Structure Expansion
    – I like this, the extra variety makes for a lot of fun. I got to have a personal fill-order spot where I got 2 VP for going there, but had to pay $3 to do so, and a vine card-every year which didn’t really achieve anything as I failed to build it early enough. It would be nice to have some mama cards that start with a structure card (e.g. 2 workers, 2 summer visitors, 1 wine order OR 1 structure card), the OR is just to account for games without structure’s in play. Alternatively a few mama’s with ‘1 of any card’ would be a good option, as then it could be chosen if desired without confusing text.

    Special Worker Expansion:
    – I had the Politico and Oracle in my game. I only bought the politico as by the time I went to get the 5th worker I wasn’t feeling like I needed more cards. The politico is pretty cool and is nice to use on spots with 1VP bonus to nab that extra. A no-solo mark on the interactive ones like the no-2p ones would be great.

    General Ideas for Solo:
    -Some kind of ‘dummy worker’ situation. I generally hate dummy players, but if there could be a good method of locking up some of the spots I think it could make things a lot more interesting. One idea I had was that when you retrieve workers, you replace them with another colour of workers as blocks for the next year (And another alternative is that they don’t block, but instead make the second space available, so you can strategise around making the middle bonus spots available for a particular year).
    – Rushing lots of workers is way more important than in multiplayer games due to spot availability, something to reduce that focus would be appreciated. One thought I had is an end-game score addition that you lose 2VP per worker (Or gain 2VP per untrained worker), so you have to juggle having lots of workers with the points you could get by being minimal.

    Anyway that’s just a few initial thoughts, I’ll see if I can find time to play again sometime, and hope someone else has tried doing it in case they might give me some suggestions to make it better ^^.

    1. Hi Smoothsmith

      It’s great to hear that there are other players are interested in playing Viticulture solitaire, and it’s great to hear your thoughts. I’ve been toying around with the idea of making a solo variant of Viticulture for a long time with little luck, but Todd Schoenings idea made it all come together. I’ve been playtesting intensively for the past few weeks, and I think that Jamey will be posting my rules here at some point and I hope you’ll try it out and give me feedback.

      My version stays within the components of Viticulture and Tuscany and has a simple system for placing blocking workers and a VP marker to compete with, and it’s compatible with most of the expansions revealed so far.

      Cheers
      – Morten

      1. Looking forward to trying that out then ^^. I gave it a go with the ‘next spot up is available when first is blocked off’ route I mentioned, was quite fun trying to manage what years I’d do certain things so that I could get access to different bonuses next time, bit of a pain to keep switching everything around though (Though could just alternate which colour is being used to play).

        Had a wine-order generating structure the second time which was nice for giving options of how to use up wine, but had a pretty poor pair of fields to really make good use of it, possibly shouldn’t have flipped a property and gone for Lira instead of a tasting room on my papa card (Think I toured once, just didn’t feel desperate enough for money doing solo/on the new board).

        Having a VP marker to compete with sounds interesting, guess I’ll see how that’s going to work when Jamey decides to post it up ^^>

  26. Hi Jamey,

    Just looking through the items in the Mafia list,

    I’m not 100% sure the order feels right to me.

    The current list is:
    1. Pasta
    2. Oranges and lemons
    3. Cheese
    4. Wine glass
    5. Olive oil
    6. Bottle of wine
    7. Silk tie
    8. White truffle
    9. Leather shoes

    I don’t see giving a Capo pasta as a gift, as it is a staple food.

    Balsamic vinegar isn’t on the list and could make a good replacement (the good/true stuff can reach up to 200 dollars a bottle), and fits into the idea of making wine.

    A whole truckle of cheese would in my view would be worth more than a bottle of Olive oil, and with the cheese making expansion makes it more logical as a gift.

    White truffles are rarer and more expensive than leather shoes (but this would depend on era)

  27. Side note. I see that the Grande workers ability has been nerfed – they no longer get the bonus when landing in an unoccupied space with no bonus. What was the rationale for the change? It’s simpler now (plus) but the added ability was very interesting and not too complex rules-wise, IMHO.

      1. Yep, Chris hit the nail on the head. Jose, if you look at the new special workers, the Farmer has the grande’s old ability. If we hadn’t invented the new special workers, the grande probably would have kept both abilities.

        1. Thanks to you both. It might be good to call to this change specifically for people who are used to the Arboriculture Grande ruleset. My instinct when I read “this is now part of the core game” is “this is now available outside Arboriculture”, but actually it’s not exactly so because of the missing second ability. :)

  28. Would you be totally opposed to the idea of changing the first level of crafting for blush wines, to 3, and the first level of champagne to 6? This would let people at least CRAFT a wine token, just not age it, until they have the cellar size needed. Call it a vintner’s first attempt at crafting something, before expanding the cellar to get the space needed to go full bore on it.

      1. This could be made into a Structure, though. It seems like an interesting idea for them, and it fits the “build early” philosophy of the Structure expansion.

        By the way, tit would be nice to have a printable structure mat, or at least an idea of what it’s supposed to look like. I gather from the above descriptions that it has two slots for structures plus a “destroy 1 structure” action space, right?

          1. Ouch! Sorry, my fault. I was looking at the file in the Box page, and it had nothing (evident enough) to indicate that there were other two pages after the blank space in the third… oops!

          2. OK, now that I have made a fool of myself I’ll try to counter it with a few useful comments regarding Structures :P

            1) The Tavern is strictly better than the Tap Room – it’s cheaper, gives the same VP and has a better ability. Some tweak is in order. :) Also the “token” part of “wine token” is missing in the Tavern.

            2) I’m not a fan of the wording in the Label Factory, since it reads to me as if the payment part was not strictly mandatory (as in, you can take the action if you have less than 3 lira and just pay what you have) since it goes after the action. I would go with either the wordy “You must pay £3 in addition to placing the worker to use this action space. Fill 1 wine order” or the terse “Pay £3, then fill 1 wine order”.

            3) Mercado: Can the wine order being drawn be the one fulfilled? If it can (I guess so) I’d add “afterwards” somewhere. A similar comment can be applied to Fermentation Tank.

            4) Wine Parlor: Uses “After” instead of “Whenever”, which is the wording in other similar structures.

            5) Fountain: Not a fan of anything that requires memorization or generally remembering earlier events. In this case you’d have to keep track of who has played a single summer visitor come winter, and of which players have already triggered the bonus and which haven’t – it can mostly be deducted by looking at the board, but still I can see folks forgetting to use the bonus. In any case, it needs some clarifications – does it trigger once per opponent or just once a turn max? does it trigger again if an opponent plays a 3rd visitor card? If the intention is exactly once per opponent that fulfills the condition (which I guess is the case), a wording like “Whenever an opponent plays his/her second visitor card on the same turn, you may pay £1 to gain 1 VP.” or similar could be clearer.

            6) Mixer. Wine tokens don’t have color, they have type. :) And clarifying the way it works (something like “The value of the new wine token is the sum of the value of the discarded tokens”) could be necessary, since there’s nothing in the rules that deals with combining existing wine tokens. I’d also half expect the Mixer to let me make blush or sparkling wine instead of combining two similar wines together, but that’s just asinine on my part :P

            7) Storehouse. I haven’t tried the expansion, so I might very well be mistaken – but this structure really stands out for me. It looks like a real powerhouse for just £2 and I can see it warping your strategy significantly if you happen to draw it early.

            8) Rules for Action Structures. Adding a note to the effect that you can only take the action if you can fulfill it fully (including paying any costs involved) would help with concerns like 2) above.

            9) Grande exceptions: I have seen above that you are not supposed to use your Grande in the Yoke when it’s already occupied by one of your workers. While that avoids cool combos allowing you to harvest twice in the spring :P I guess that it should also extend to other Structures. In that case it should be mentioned in the rules.

            Very excited to try them in actual gameplay – the structure cards look awesome!

          3. Jose: This is great feedback! I’ll take a close look at these and make some tweaks. For the fountain, it’s for an opponent who plays 2 visitor cards on the same turn, not the same year, so there’s no having to remember stuff from previous seasons.

            For the Mercado, you are correct, and I think the word “afterwards” should be added.

            I’ll look at the others tomorrow afternoon–I need to work on the project video right now. :)

          4. Re: Fountain, again I made a fool of myself. :P In my defense I was thrown off by the “at least 2” language. Perhaps “plays 2 visitor cards as a consequence of an action” or similar is a good alternative?

            BTW, my comments about Storehouse also extend to Distiller, which I somehow missed. In fact I’d say that Distiller is even better.

            Looking forward to the video! :)

  29. I know this could screw with the balance of the wine order cards at some point, but is it possible to change the sparkling wine requirements to just say “3 grape tokens:any color(s)”? The dual red, can be a total biznatch if you never draw reds. Half the time I just end up dumping champagne cards. You’d still need at least 7 in total value. It just means there’s less pressure to draw red over white.

    1. There are some things I can’t change at this point due to the precedent of Viticulture and the balance of the wine orders, and this is one of them. You can use the trade action on the extended board to get red grape tokens if you’re not drawing any red vines, though.

      1. For this I am greatful. I made excellent use of this fact, to discard a grape I couldn’t plant, and a summer visitor I couldn’t use. Gave me my red token, allowing the making of a blush I needed to win.

        1. I use that action a lot. :) If I’m not getting a diversity of vine cards, I don’t mess around trying to draw a lot of them–I just start popping out grapes on the trade action as much as possible.

  30. I’m looking at the influence map on the board, side-1. I presume the 2 zones worth 2VP instead of 1, are done so because players are less-likely to choose those two spots(based on their bonus). My question is, do you really think people are likely to choose the wine order cards any less than the summer/winter visitors? I think they’re all just as likely, depending on the phase of the game.

    Our last game had us both placing our last two cubes on that spot, in an effort to try and a)win the zone, b) draw extra wine orders to burn through and cross the line first.

    Maybe all the zones other than the 1 lira(which is arguably the least valuable), should be worth 1VP.

    1. Darren: Right, that’s the idea behind the VP value. I’ve played with the map at least 50+ times at this point, and I’ve tweaked it a little it, but not much. I think the key is that late in the game when you’re trying to draw wine orders, you’ve probably already placed all of your influence tokens, so at that point you’re just moving them around within the map (if at all). When you move them, you don’t get a bonus.

      I’ve found that Grosetto and Pisa are the most used (and Lucca on side 2), then the visitors/wine orders/$1. I think that’s the case with the visitors because you’re often drawing them anyway from the wake-up track. I hadn’t thought about it, but perhaps the two visitor spots, the wine order, and the $1 territory should be 2 VP.

      1. On a mildly related note. Have you ever considered dropping a card or two in one of the “new” visitor decks, that allowed you to remove a cube? To “uproot” your influence, if you will. Or to add one for that matter. If there’s already cards allowing cube manipulation, then ignore this. I haven’t seen any yet.

        1. Darren: It’s a good idea, but some people might unlock the new visitors before the extended board, so they need to be influence-free. However, a number of the structure cards have interactions with influence cubes.

    1. Thanks Helen! All of the mamas and papas have names and faces–they’re just not on the PnP. :)

      Can you think of any specific visitors that you didn’t want to use? I’ve tried to hone all advanced visitors so they’re good at some point in the game.

      1. Cards like the summer negotiator, could be a bust if you get it first round; As you wouldn’t have a shot at HAVING a wine token to “sac”. However, I don’t think you should really be able to play EVERY card the first year. Otherwise drawing wine orders would be considered a detriment. Realistically though, any card may or may not work, depending on what you get for starting buildings/funds. That’s the beauty of the M&P system though. Some avenues will more open to you at the start, and some will be less so. The entire purpose(as I understand it), was to de-clog spaces in the first few turns, yes?

        Having “plant X vines” cards in the first year would be useless, if you couldn’t get access to vine cards ;)

  31. Apologies if this ends up being a double post; the internet ate my comment.

    A couple of notes to add to Debra’s extensive report :)

    Re summer visitors; I had several over both games that required sacrificing either money or cards (neither of which I had enough of in the first round of that second game!) in order to get the benefit. For me, the benefit rarely outweighed giving up either wine orders or other visitors and I generally didn’t have excess cards because they had been discarded at the previous end of year.

    I noticed that we tended to cluster together on action spaces more, especially during the second game. I’m not sure if that was the result of the advanced visitor cards or just a quirk though.

    Danny’s use of the property cards was interesting. When I flip property, I don’t bother flipping it back: it’s a sacrifice to gain money early on (I don’t think I’ve ever planted three fields). But he flipped his back and planted it, hoping to get the victory points from the patronage card. That’s a good example of the expansions working together :)

    I think that’s it, Debra covered everything we discussed (and then some!).

  32. Wow, Debra, tons of great feedback here! As for cards that let you train a worker, I’m worried about text space on the cards. I’ve highlighted that in the rules several times. I think the key is that the default when training a worker is that you can’t use that worker this year. That rule is only broken if a card says otherwise. We had extra room in the text on the original visitor cards, hence why we were able to add a line about not using the worker this year.

    For your winter visitor question, each action is separate from the bonus, and you can take them in an order. So you can take the action of playing a winter visitor and then choose to take the bonus action of playing another winter visitor. However, I’ve tried to limit the number of cards that let you draw an in-season visitor. There are only a few left at this point (the vendor, Inkeeper, and Caravan, I think).

    As for the layers of the expansion, each layer is treated as a separate expansion to be unlocked. However, with many of the first-tier layers, I don’t think people will need to play more than one or two games with them before they’re ready to add something new.

    As for the papa cards, there are basically two of each that are pretty similar. For each set of those papa cards, there’s one that makes choosing the money a more lucrative choice, and another that does. The main purpose of including more than one papa card with the same structure is that it creates the possibility that two people might start with the same structure, creating some interesting dynamics. Also, just to note in the example you gave, Helen had two summer visitors to start out with, which is really powerful to use the first year of the game.

    That’s an intriguing point about using property cards to count against the money you have in a tiebreaker. I’m not sure if people would remember that, but I’m intrigued. Let me know what you think about the flipping after you unlock the structure expansion. :)

  33. Oops, forgot something else!

    I’ve been thinking about the property cards and the various ways they could be used during gameplay. And one of the thoughts I’ve had was that if it looked like things were going to be close and potentially come down to a tie then it would be a smart move to mortgage a field in the final year (if there was one remaining) and get the lire to be in a solid position if there was a lire countback as tie-breaker. This would never have occurred to me if it were not for the fact that both games yesterday ended in ties that were broken by the lire countback.
    [And no, I didn’t do it. And yes, I wish I had in the second game!]

    It then occurred to me that this could be avoided (if that was something you wanted to stop people doing) if the mortgaged fields counted negatively when it came to counting lire for tie breakers (ie. if a player had 10 lire cash and the 5-lire field mortgaged then they would have a total of 5-lire for tie-breaking purposes). This would ensure that the properties were really only used as a cash injection vehicle at the start of the game rather than as a tie-breaking boost at the end of the game.

    But then I guess it all comes down to what role you see the property cards filling in the game…

    PS: Sorry for the late night ramble and spamming the playtest feedback wall. It’s well past midnight here. Shutting up now!

    1. I actually DID the flipping of a property for money during the final turn, in the last game we played. Ironically, I screwed up my patronage as a result. Didn’t even realize it until we did the score count. I had needed 5 planted vines, and I had 2 per field. By “selling” the field, I no longer owned the vines. Thus my patronage was no longer met. Cost me two points for nothing

      Money comes at a terrible price sometimes :P

  34. Oh, and I forgot something…

    We had a quirk happen with the M&P cards in the last game. Helen had P4 and Danny had P11. P4 gives 3 lire and a choice of medium cellar or 4 lire. P11 gives 4 lire and a choice of medium cellar or 3 lire. Both Helen and Danny chose to take the cellar which meant that Helen had 3 lire and Danny had 4. This imbalance was compounded by their Mama cards where Helen had M8 and Danny had M17. M17 gives you two lire!

    So the upshot was
    Helen: medium cellar, 3 lire, 1 vine card, 2 summer visitors
    Danny: medium cellar, 6 lire, 1 vine card, 1 winter visitor

    That 3 lire difference between otherwise similar starting positions left Helen feeling behind the 8-ball at the start of the game.

    Is there a reason why P4 and P11 are so similar ?

    1. Personally, I think two summer cards and 3 lira, is a way better start than 6 lira and 1 winter. Just wait until you incorporate the new board ;)

      In all honesty though, the winter cards aren’t usually AS good to start. They can be, but not usually useable for a few turns. Therefore, the summer cards are realistically going to be a leg up. Especially if you factor in the fact that you can actually PLAY a card in the first summer, draw a WV in fall, and play that as well. Helen had a way better starting setup IMO.

  35. Hi Jamey,

    We just played a couple of games with the Advanced Visitor cards, one of which included the patron cards.

    We all really liked the changes to the visitor cards and thought that they made the cards more balanced and useful at both ends of the game. We were also wondering why they are being kept for the mini-expansions and not just put in the base game.

    One thing that we picked up was that the new versions of the Professor and Visitor cards don’t say if the new worker can be used immediately or not until next year. We assumed the worker activation would be the same as the previous versions of the cards and played it that way but that text really needs to be added to the new versions too.

    Also, we had a query related to winter visitors that is not specifically about the expansions: When playing WVs using the bonus space on the play WVs card area we know that you have to have two playable WV cards to use that space. But what happens if your first WV card allows you to draw additional WV cards and you want to replace the second card that you were going to play with one of the new ones that you have just drawn. Can you do that or do you have to stick to the original two cards that you were going to play?

    We need to play a bit more with the patron cards to see what we think and see if anything crops up. In the game we played I was the only one to activate my patron and also meet the hidden agenda. Helen and Danny had both met their hidden agenda but neither of them had activated their patron. Danny said he hadn’t because he was just never able to and Helen said she kept forgetting the patron card was there because it wasn’t in her hand of cards. I have to confess the only reason I think I remembered mine was because when I initially I looked at it my first thought was ‘Oh no!’ (my agenda was ‘fewest workers’) but at the same time decided that I was going to give it a go and started trying to work out how to do achieve it.

    And I have what’s probably a dumb question (since you’ve probably answered it already somewhere and I’ve missed it!): I know you’ve said that you want people to work their way through the layers of expansions, preferably playing several games with one expansion before shifting on to the next. But do you mean every individual little element or are you grouping some of these changes? If every element is viewed as an individual mini-expansion that’s a lot of games that people are expected to play before hitting the core of the expansion tiers, the extended board. Some of these earlier expansions seem to group themselves quite naturally though. For example, the M&P cards and the Property cards could be grouped as they both benefit the start-game – they are like a kick-start mini-expansion.

    Debra
    :)

  36. Hi Jamey,

    Firstly my apologies for not posting this sooner, we have now played with the Mama’s and Papa’s cards three times. All times were with 4 players.

    M&P Cards

    * Most of the group enjoyed the variability that it added, almost like with some games where you have a race/faction (that similar to Euphoria). One person did comment how he felt that it could add some big swings to the players set up

    * Reducing the amount of Mama’s and Papa’s was a good move as 60 was too many, even with 36 there is a ton of variabilty.

    * Didn’t notice too many cards that were overpowered or unbalanced

    All in all very happy with this addition, not much more to add to this other than do you think 36 is still a few too many?

    Also what about giving each player two Mama’s and two Papa’s cards similar to Euphoria, then keep one of each?

    Regards
    Russell

    1. There’s a variant in the 2.0 rulebook that says advanced players can draw two and keep one(of each card). Although Stonemaier advises against it. I personally think the cards are balanced enough that it’s not an issue.

    2. Thanks for your thoughts, Russell! I think the Kickstarter campaign will start out with about 24 mamas and papas, and that number will increase to 36 if we hit several stretch goals.

      As Darren pointed out, drawing more than one mama and papa is an advanced variant.

      1. I have to say something about that statement turns me off. If you discourage it… why mention it? People will figure it out on their own and adopt it as a House Rule if they wish.

  37. Okey dokey. Burned 5 games in 3 days with various people. Will combine all thoughts/feedbacks, and present them as if they were my own(to make it easier. Also, because I forgot to write down who said what. I just took notes). Modules played included M&P, new/advanced visitors(replaced ALL original visitor cards in both cases), Extended board-side 1, patronage cards.

    In no particular order, here’s some thoughts.

    – Please add a visitor card that allows the harvesting of one field, AND making ONE wine token. probably as a winter card
    – Can you ensure no visitor cards allow more than 2 points(some cards have potential of earning 5 VP for “free”)
    – The M&P cards are a great idea. The variable starting resources makes the game more interesting. Would like to see names on the cards instead of numbers though.
    – Could there be a visitor card that allowed someone to harvest one field at the cost of a victory point, but instead of making (MAX)2 grape tokens, allow people to use any combination of grapes from that field? EG. lose a VP to harvest field (A), which has a pinot(1R/1W), and a Trebbiano(2W). Normally you’d make a 3W grape, and a 1R grape. Would like said card to allow the making of a 1R, a 1W, AND a 2W token. I think the general idea, is that sometimes it would be nice to get more than 2 tokens from harvesting one field. EVEN if the value of the tokens is lower. The potential problem with this, is that
    – The champagne/sparkling wine is almost never made in any game. There’s a couple reasons I’ll simplify. 1) By requiring 3 grapes to make, it’s not as cost effective as other wines. 2) The fact that harvesting a field, only yields two grape tokens, means you’re (typically)assuring someone has to spend an extra worker just to GET the grapes to make the wine. 3) It’s hard to justify making, when there’s such a narrow window in the wine cellars. You almost ALWAYS end up wasting grape values, and there’s never any real chance to age them. All in all, most people avoided making the sparkling wine, as though it was the plague.
    -As per the previous comment, it was generally agreed by most players(not all), that the medium cellar should allow sparkling wines, and the small cellar should allow blush wines. After playing the extended board, there was some discussion about still doing this, but reducing the value for selling sparkling wine(in the “sell wine token” space) to 3(from 4).
    -The Extended board is amazing. It looks fantastic, it makes the gameplay much more engaging. Also, the new retooling of the wakeup track makes choosing your player order, MUCH more valuable/important.
    – There’s a 50/50 split of people who like the patronage cards vs people who think they’re completely useless in the game. It comes down to personal preference with games. People like the idea of end game scoring bonuses, but reject the idea of the actual point values being identical. It almost becomes a mandatory thing to finish, when you know that everybody has 5 points they’re sitting on, from the start of the game.This general feeling has come up with the “Ethical Dilema” cards from Euphoria as well. The thought being, what’s the point of having an end bonus, if the bonus value is the same for everyone?
    – The patronage cards should either all be dependant on you, or all be dependant on relating to other players. Having one person have to plant a couple vines, but another player have to have less, seems unbalanced in a way.
    – The flip property space, should allow people to flip an extra property as a bonus, instead of offering a VP. Otherwise all you have to do is bank the coin from flipping it(while getting a VP), then next turn flip it back with the money, for another point. You’re basically letting people chain VPs for the cost of tying up one worker. I ended up gaining 6 points over as many turns, because everyone else was too busy planting and such. I didn’t care about tying up a worker, because I started with a winter card that let me buy an extra worker for 2 lira. I ended up winning the same game by 7 points.
    – Can you clarify the “planted vines”, only applying to vines that are on fields not currently flipped(sold)? A patronage bonus came up at the end, where someone had to have 5 planted vines. They had 6 overall, but 2 were on a field that was sold. Confirm that the patronage bonus would not apply? As only 4 of the 6 vines were currently owned.
    -There was a split decision on whether the “Trade one for one” space involving the use of a grape token, should require 1 each of red/white, or just 1 of either(regardless of the direction the trade goes). You can argue the case for both.
    – The new sell wine space, while not used often, was a great improvement over the sell grapes space(on the extended-1 board).
    – Can the grande worker be placed on the yoke space if it’s occupied? I feel this shouldn’t be allowed. The grande worker should only be placeable on the main game board. personal opinion.
    – While I appreciate what you’re trying to do with the new ruleset(I.E. Legacy-format), I think you’re making it a bit more complicated than need be. I think you also underestimate the average gamer’s ability to pick up new rules. You can easily combine all of “Tier two” to be learned/played as one.
    – The “Tier one” shouldn’t be part of the expansion. It should simply be rolled into the second printing of Viticulture, as it makes the base game feel more “whole”. It would also make learning the expansion, more approachable(without “requiring” a bazillion plays, as suggested).

    That’s all the notes for now. Note that I agree with some of these, but not all. This is a conglomeration of my thoughts, and others who’ve tested this with me over the last few days. My big thing is that the flip property space shouldn’t have a bonus VP for using it. The new board looks schmexy though. It makes the game play SUPER well.

    Also, played it at our local board game cafe this week, and it quickly drew the attention of someone who’d only played the base version. They seemed very interested in the potential “balancing” of visitor cards, so don’t be surprised if a copy of Tuscany ends up at the cafe, and that person’s private collection. ;)

    1. Darren: Thanks so much for taking the time to share all of this feedback! I’m going to go through it item by item tomorrow when I update the playtest PnP. I will say about the first point: See Jack-of-All-Trades. :)

    2. Darren: I just went through your comment in detail and saw that you had some questions:

      “Can you clarify the “planted vines”, only applying to vines that are on fields not currently flipped(sold)?” You can’t flip fields that have vines planted on them or structures built on them, so this should never happen.

      “Can the grande worker be placed on the yoke space if it’s occupied?” No, it cannot. I’ll clarify that in the rules.

      1. Quoted from the rules on property cards: “If you sell a property that has vines planted on it, those vines stay there (even if/when you buy it back).”

        Am I missing something here?

        Good call on the yoke. I think it would seriously harm the functioning of both the yoke, and the Grande, if they could be placed on individual player boards.

        1. Ah, I see the problem: I changed that rule on this page (see above) but not on the actual PDF with the property cards. That’s what I get for having rules in more than one place. I’ve updated it now. Feel free to let me know if I’m still missing it somewhere!

  38. Yesterday I was finally able to test some of the Tuscany elements in real life. I went for the “first layer” and included Mamas&Papas, Properties and Patrons (I didn’t have time to redo the visitor decks, so that will have to wait). I played two 2-player games. Some thoughts:

    * Mamas & Papas: Worked as nicely as I’d expected. They can help you shape an strategy early – in my second game I got a Tasting Room, for example, and it was a very powerful way to get points. They are easy to understand, and introduce a good amount of variability. Two thumbs up.

    * Properties: I can imagine them being quite interesting at higher player counts, but I see a potential problem with them in 2P games – the temptation to open by mortgaging the £7 field (or any of the others, for that matter) is huge. It gives you a VP and a boatload of money, and you rarely need a 3rd field anyway because the harvest actions are severely restricted and it’s very difficult to be in a position to harvest 3 fields every turn. This removes the money restrictions at the beginning – you can turn that near-useless field into a few structures or an additional worker – and also works contrary to one of the Mamas & Papas defining characteristics (in many cases they force you to start either quite broke or to sacrifice a juicy structure for cash). They really accelerate the game, and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, but the flavor on the opening is definitely different, and I don’t really feel like there’s much incentive to turn them back in 2P games. Perhaps it would help to add a VP “elastic” bonus/malus, much like money (ie. when you mortgage the £7 field you lose 3 VP and you recover them when you flip it again, and you can’t mortgage your property if you don’t have the VP – nobody will buy from you if you are scraping the bottom).

    * Patrons. There are a few graphical design considerations I already relayed to Jamey via email – namely, that the way they work (having to flip them and hide half of the card beneat the mat while trying to hide it from other players) was a little clunky. The possibility we ended up considering was having the card double sided – patron picture at the front, goal at the back, with a reminder (“(5) wine -> (3) points”) at the bottom of the front. The patron card would start beneath the mat, so that only the reminder is visible – that way you are constantly reminded that you have a patron available for fulfillment – and, once filled, the patron would go to the table, besides the mat, so that the art is visible (as a reminder that it’s active) and the objective is hidden but easy to check. I think that would help with most obstacles I found in the game (my opponent kept forgetting that she had a patron available). Other than that, they also accelerate the game, specially since the properties make it easy to afford a medium cellar early – 3 VP for any 5 wine is a quite good deal.

    * New yoke rules. I’m a bit torn on this. On the one hand, the ability to harvest in the summer is huge. It open lots of strategic avenues. Placing a worker in the Yoke used to be a difficult decision – either do it early and forfeit the ability to occupy one of the precious spots in the board, or do it late and be unable to use the obtained grapes for anything. Now, if you can spare it, it’s kind of a no-brainer to harvest at the end of spring – this puts you in a much more flexible position when Winter comes, and is “free” in the timing sense (it’s like always having the chance to harvest uncontested at the beginning of Winter). I don’t know it that merits revising the cost of the Yoke, although the new avenues for obtaining money costs are not that important (the first few times you’re more constrained now by the building actions than by the funds), and I’m not sure I can thematically justify harvesting in summer. :P Other than that, the change is quite interesting, and will make the Yoke even more popular (it has always been popular in my games, but now I feel that its precedence to other buildings has increased significantly).

    Liking the changes so far, and really looking forward to unlocking the extended board :P

    Cheers!

    1. Jose: Thanks so much for your thoughts! Have you played the properties yet? It’s actually just as tempting to flip the $5 field, because it’s only has a 5-value wine maximum. I don’t think the fields really need to be flipped back, but when the structure expansion is included, it becomes a pretty key choice.

      I think the Yoke took a hit in value when the grande worker was officially added to the game, because you can always use him as your outlet to get to the harvest action if needed. Allowing the Yoke to be used in any season gets it back up to the intended power level. Also, with all the new structure cards with private action spaces, I thought it might be confusing if each one was a different color or combination of colors. I think it’s easier for players to parse if all private action spaces can be used in any season.

      1. Jamey: Yes, the comments are based on actual gameplay :), although perhaps you meant structures instead of properties in your first paragraph? I could do just fine with the 5+6 properties, and the extra £2 is nice. I look forward to testing the structure cards, I’ll be sure to write a boring wall of text with my ramblings once I do. :P

        I’m OK with the Yoke being £2 – it’s one of my favourite features of the game, and having it for cheap is good. :) It does slightly change the game, but I like having that extra breathing room – it opens interesting possibilities. And harvesting is perhaps the key action of the game with regards to timing – waiting one or two turns to fill an order or even to make wine is not the end of the world, but a badly timed or missed harvest can set you back significantly. I still feel that the Yoke is now more open to clever usage and that it is more important to have it built, but that’s not a bad thing. I just wonder how being able to harvest in the spring fits thematically, but that’s a pretty minor gripe.

        Here are two examples of creative uses in my plays that could not have been possible with the old rules:

        I) I had no grapes left over from the previous year in spring. I used the Yoke to harvest, then sold grapes for a few £ and the 1 VP that same turn. Pretty interesting way to get a bit of cash and a VP to boot a few years in. With the extended board and the enhanced sell/trade action, I can see this being even more flexible.

        II) One year, I used a regular worker and my Grande in the Yoke at the end of spring, thus harvesting two fields, then used my first winter action to make 2 blush wine with the harvested grapes and my second action to fill an order. I would not have been able to otherwise – my oponent had initiative and she would very likely have chosen harvest+make wine as her actions, significantly blocking that course of action. In effect, I won Winter initiative by having the Yoke. It was admittedly quite a corner case, but I felt pretty good after pulling it off. :P

        I can see the grande meeple reasoning, but still – in 2P games the spaces are severely contested, and my experience is that there are a lot of good options where the Grande may go. I personally did not feel that the usefulness of the Yoke was diminished by the Grande (I’m perhaps biased because of having played many 2P games) , although I can see how other players might disagree. In any case, it’s indeed more streamlined with the new rules, so this is more of a commentary than a complaint. :P

  39. Sorry, it’s been a while. I’ve been working on my own game for the past few weeks… and this week it kinda just came together so we’ve been playtesting that as well. I had a chance to look at the Special Worker cards tonight. Since each player has the ability to train them, balancing them seems to be pretty smooth. I was a little iffy about the Chef at first because I’m not sure that I would deem it worth it to bump a worker back to another players pool of available workers to gain an action especially if a game was neck-and-neck. But, I could see if I were leading by enough, I’d be willing to do that to another player who may be trailing by quite a few points.

    1. It’s great to hear you’re working on your own game, Jason.

      As for the Chef, it is a pretty price to pay, but we’ve found that it’s worth it when it’s worth it. :) That is, in those moments when you really need to take an action (particularly an action with a bonus) that has already been taken, it’s worth it to bump another’s player’s worker. Other players can try to predict it and even place their special worker on that precious action space in the hopes you’ll bump it back to you.

  40. First instinct with the advanced visitors is that they’re great. My wife and I had an idea for visitors though. As there is definitely (with us, and our gaming friends who’ve played basic Vit) an agreement that sometimes the flow of cards is detrimental. We had an idea. What if there was a beginner deck, and an advanced deck. What if there were advanced cards for ALL visitor cards, and the decks simply swapped once any player had surpassed 10 points? Or conversely, if ALL players had surpassed 6 (indicating that all players are at least in “mid to late game” status). Even if the Advanced “deck” was smaller, that’d still be great for cycling cards later in the game. Alternative to doing an entire alternate deck, maybe you could add a space somewhere that let you REMOVE a card in your hand from the game, in order to score a free action, cash, points, or some other benefit. That way you could cycle out less useful cards, without wasting time/actions from having drawn them(in case of wake-up track).

    We haven’t seen enough of the advanced cards come into play yet, and we’re going to drop the first 3 modules together in one shot tonight, to test how the M&P work with the property/advanced cards. I’ll have more feedback for property after tonight’s game.

    1. Darren: We’ve played around with something similar to that, but a little more simplified. The way we played was to put the original visitor cards on top of the advanced visitor cards. So at some point in the game, the deck gets better. It worked pretty well, but the issue was that it circumvented the whole point of the advanced visitor cards, which is to make every visitor card relevant in the early and late game (instead of only at a certain time in the game).

  41. Special workers – great! Quick question, can you clarify the need to pay the extra lira when there are cards that may give you a newly trained worker? I know this will come up and will be debated. So far I’m very impressed and pleased with each aspect of Tuscany.

    1. Kaleb: Great question. Indeed, no matter the cost offered to you elsewhere to train a new worker ($1, $2, 1 VP, $2 discount, etc), you always have to add on 1 extra lira to train a special worker instead of a regular worker.

  42. Rebecca and I just started playing Viticulture this past weekend, so far it’s been pretty great.

    I’ve been reading through the play testing updates to get a handle on how to properly implement Tuscany into the game with little success.

    However, I have been giving some thought to a lot of the issues other people have been having and looking over the expansion pieces (specifically Mamas and Papas, they seem to be everyone’s complaint/compliment). What if, instead of choosing randomly, or drafting two random cards. You choose a surname and then on a “normal-sized” play card, it gives your starting abilities. I understand that might be a bit hard to retool this late in the process. The only downside I can think to this would be that it removes some of the luck involved. The other solution would be to choose a Mama face up and a Papa face down, or vice versa.

    Either way, we look forward to playing more and more, and can’t wait for the Kickstarter! (maybe more so to see our name on a card, haha.)

    1. Ben: Thanks for your comment. I think at this point the mama and papa cards are pretty balanced, so I don’t think there’s much luck involved at all. However, I have included the following variant in the rulebook: “Although we recommend against it, advanced players may draw 2 mamas and 2 papas and choose 1 of each.”

  43. Oh I forgot one thing. With base viticulture, there was a few of us, who wondered if maybe 6 points for a wine order was a bit much, in a game where 20 points is the baseline for winning. I felt that there shouldn’t be any orders worth more than five, but a few players felt that all wine orders should be between 1 and 4, to prevent mass point slamming in the later half of the game.

    Also, while I don’t necessarily agree with it, two of our friends playing base Viticulture, thought there should be some minor “trophy” style, endgame bonus. Not much, just like 1 or maybe 2 points. Alternatively, having a 1 or 2 point penalty for some metric. I’m pretty sure it’s only because, lately they’ve been cramming a lot of TTR, and Stone age. I’m not for or against this personally. I think reducing the wine order point spread, would negate the need for an endgame score adjustment.

  44. Darren: Thanks so much for the detailed feedback! I have a few long comments and e-mails that I’m going to mindmap tomorrow and respond to tomorrow night in an e-mail to playtesters. I’ll respond to your key points then.

  45. Hi Jamey/Alan,

    Apologies for my super late input in feedback. My wife and I dropped two games with just the M&P cards tonight, and will add the other modules similarly throughout the week. Here’s some feedback/suggestions not only from this module, but from just basic points of Viticulture(which we only just learned with some friends, a week ago).

    1) Whilst reading/playing with the revised entertainer, general agreement was that the second part “…OR discard 1 wine token and 3 visitor cards to gain 3 VP.” should be changed to 1 wine token of 3 or higher-value, and/or 3 visitor cards of ONE(maybe winter only?) type, to gain 3 VP. By allowing people to choose any visitors, it makes it too easy to cycle unwanted cards out of hand for free points. Also, increasing the baseline threshold of wine, makes the sacrifice more meaningful.

    2) The clarification/edit on the “Jack of all trades” card was super helpful. There was a heated debate over how much wine he should be able to make, prior to this change.

    3) Change the Vendor card to read “All opponents in turn order, choose one DIFFERENT type of card for you to draw. The opponents each get one card from the unchosen type.” While I don’t 100% agree with this, I think it COULD be better than handing out summer cards to your foes, arbitrarily.

    4) By making tour guide visitors NOT count towards the tasting room, it severely dimishes the value of said room. Again, I’m not sure on this, as you still get money/points with the tasting room. Somebody else posed the possibility of making the tour space, a free-for-all (like the $1 for help, space).

    5) I’ve seen a lot of suggestions on what to do for grande meeples. We hijacked a stone token from Euphoria, and gave one to each player. Worked surprisingly well.

    6) Mama 17 felt slightly overpowered to most of us, considering only two mama cards have cash bonuses.

    7) The person who started with mama 12, felt that having two wine order cards, without a vine card, felt more like a handicap than a bonus, as half their hand size was dominated by cards that could take half the game to use.

    8) What is the logic behind some of the “max-cash” potential from papa cards equalling $7, and some equalling $6?

    9) The papa cards offering the tasting room to start, seemed like a bigger advantage than others, due to the combined considerations of building cost, and building bonus.

    10) There was discussion amongst us. Offering some kind of option to draw one Mama AND one Papa card to start, OR have a third set of cards to draw from with minor persistant bonus’ throughout the game, could be interesting. Thematically, it could be a landlord that’s letting you work his vineyard instead of owning it. Or just call them assistant managers(like Euphoria recruits in a way). Mechanically, they could give you lira everytime you got a “salary” bump. They could offer you reduced building pricing, or bonus’ in wine value when crushing. You could have them give you a rank-1 grape token of each color, everytime you fill a wine order. You could even have one where you get to draw a visitor card, everytime you spend lira(advertising agent?)

    11) I’m a Euphoria addict. I would love to see viticulture have another “track” to affect gameplay, other than the residual income. I have no idea how to include this yet, but I’m pondering. Something that would maybe affect points you get per wine order, based on how many(or how valuable) the grapes you have planted. Something that adds incentive to improve your fields, or rotate them(instead of just trying to fill them with the first thing you get, and leaving it)

    12) Lastly, this could be innexperience with our testers; There was a couple thoughts, that uprooting vines, seemed to be something that nobody would ever do. somewhat correlates with #11. While that thought was all me, this one was not.

  46. Hmmm… I’m not sure why my comment wasn’t placed belows Todd Schoening’s. I was replying to the one where he wrote:

    “I was thinking yesterday about solo play. I’m not a big fan of solo play in board games but there is a lot of interest in it on boardgamegeek. I think Viticulture with the Tuscany expansion would be quite good solo. The random start you get from the mama and papa cards along with the random nature of the card decks means there wouldn’t be one optimal strategy every time. It could be done with minimal rules changes, unlike some solo variants that end up being way more complex than the original game. Here is what I came up with:
    Play 7 years, each one on a different track of the wake up track. At the end of each year, place a grape token on the spring space of that year. It now counts as being occupied and cannot be chosen again. Then choose a different track for the next year. Track 1 can only be taken the year after you take track 7 like normal.”

  47. That’s a great idea, Todd. Back before Tuscany was in the making I was toying around with ideas for making Viticulture play solo, but I gave up. After seeing the Mammas and Papas expansion (which seems almost designed for making solo play viable) and your idea the problems I had disappeared and suddenly it all seemed to work out and I’ve had a lot of fun with it during the past few days.

  48. Debra (and Dominque): There’s a lot to respond to hear–thanks for the in-depth comments, Dominique–but just a quick response to the property card thing. I know I’ve been saying this a lot about Tuscany, but I will say that the structure expansion gives you a big incentive to flip the fields back without making it a mechanical thing. You can only build on a property you own, so you might flip the property early in the game and really want it back after a few years.

  49. Dominique,

    This comment made me stop and think:
    ” If you added some kind of negative points for having the field in hoc at the end of the game that would make their use a bit more strategic; even if it were only 1 or two points the psychological effect would be enough to incentivize most players to un-mortgage.”

    Initially I thought: ‘Yeah, great idea’, but then I thought ‘Hang on, in the real world many businesses survive by balancing a line of debt with their income.’. So thematically I see no problem with ending the game with one or more of the fields mortgaged. It just reflects the real life situation of small business owners having to balance complex economic decisions.

    But … I don’t know … part of me just thinks it would be so much ‘tidier’ if there was an incentive to unmortgage them!

    Debra
    :)

  50. Jamey,

    We are sorry it took so long to provide feedback; we wanted to get enough plays of viticulture in so that we could tell how the expansions effected it. We are still working out our plays of Tuscany, but so far we do like it and think the changes bring a lot to the game.

    First, so that we have a baseline You should know that when it comes to Viticulture we approach the game from different places. Olivia prefers Euphoria and finds the variance caused by the vine and order deck to be a detriment to the game, but loves the way the visitors change how the game plays. Dominique prefers Viticulture over Euphoria because of the explosive nature of the game due to the visitors and how they help form a strategy.

    We went through the game with the various mini expansions and here is our basic feedback. We can give more pointed express feedback if you would like on the specific things we like and didn’t like.

    The Patrons,

    We really like the effect they have on the game. It gives you a reason to pay attention to how your opponents are playing that isn’t as important in the base game. It also provides a nice direction to head for to help squeak out some points if you feel like you are a bit behind. Having them work for any type of wine also mitigates the vine availability vs order availability that Olivia hates. They are a very good addition.

    What we think needs to be tweaked is the value of the patrons for the hidden agenda part. Currently with all of them being worth the same it feels a bit lack luster, but also it makes the ones that everyone can get (effectively hidden penalties) equal to the ones that only one or two people can get (effectively hidden bonuses) an that just feels a bit odd in play. We think the ones that are more limited should be three points in order to make them a bit more impactful, and possibly throw in some four point ones with harder criteria. Also allowing for ties makes them a bit bland, but slightly less competitive so that may be a good thing.

    Mama & Papa cards

    The Asymmetric start these offer is interesting and helps remove the feeling of rote starting turns that the basic game breaks down into after you play it a lot. This is a very positive improvement and using them like the worker cards in Euphoria is great (get two mamas and two papa pick which ones to keep) It would also be interesting to see what would happen if you let people have two mamas or two papas, but since Grande workers become so powerful in the late game that might not be a good idea, especially since you can’t get Grandes in any other way. Also given that this is supposed to be Pre-EU Italy that would not be very thematic since even now Italy is one of the most diversity insensitive first world countries in the world.

    The only issue we had with the Mama and Papa cards was that there seem to be too many and it is easy to get two that are pretty much the same, that and that there is some pretty wild imbalance in the cards, not just the values of them, but also in the templateing. Specifically this was most visible with the Papa cards. The total lira value varied between groups of them as did the valuation of the structures. On some cards you would get full price for the structure if you picked to do without, and on others you got reduced value. This only served to add to the feeling that there was too much variance. While it is true that your parents and geography affect your ability to earn wealth and move up in the world that isn’t exactly a glowing feature of humanity and I’m not sure that enshrining it into a game is a positive move for the game.

    Property Cards

    We loved the way they made the different fields have different values. This reduced the problem in the base game of getting all 3 and 4 vines since it is impossible to place a 3 and 4 in the same field in the base game. With the property cards it doesn’t feel like you are throwing turns away when you draw one. Similarly it makes your earlier vine placements more strategic and makes the yoke a more valuable structure.

    The ability to mortgage and un-mortgage seems like a win more as there is no real incentive to un-mortgage unless you absolutely need a third field. In many games players were able to win without using all three fields or even building the large cellar. Being able to mortgage is a bit like offering a super tour at times. If you added some kind of negative points for having the field in hoc at the end of the game that would make their use a bit more strategic; even if it were only 1 or two points the psychological effect would be enough to incentivize most players to un-mortgage.

    The Advanced Visitors/New Visitors

    For these visitors we are torn, some we love some we don’t. Effectively it comes down to the cards that are used strategically by either giving things up for a benefit, or by offering that benefit to everyone are great. They add a wonderful layer of strategy and interaction to the game. The ones that are just super actions though (take three actions for free, or two actions and get some free points or money) are detrimental to the game as they add to the “variance determines the winner” feel that some games of viticulture have. Basically it comes down to if there is no reason not to ever just snap play the visitor, or if the visitor is super powerful early but worthless late then we weren’t huge fans. Examples of these are the Advanced Contractor and Surveyor, both are pretty much snap plays at any phase of the game, or The Swindler and The Sponsor both are very powerful in the early game, but in the late game have pretty much no effect.

    All in all we like the game, and like where you are going with it. The players we have introduced it to like it as well and have requested more plays and are looking forward to the full Tuscany plays as soon as we can get it to the table (should be this week) so far in house we like Tuscany a lot, the control aspect is a great level of complexity and helps add timing to the game in a pretty sweet way.

  51. Debra: Thanks for your question. Any time you place a worker on the “Flip 1 Property” action space with the 1 VP bonus, you flip one property and gain 1 victory point. So feasibly you could flip a property to gain 5 lira the first year and then go back to that same space the following year to pay 5 lira to flip it back and gain 1 victory point. The hidden cost is that you just used two workers to do nothing other than gain 2 victory points. Meanwhile other players are improving their vineyards. :)

    The thematic reason is that nothing has happened with the field since you sold it–they farmer who bought it hasn’t planted or built anything on it, so the value hasn’t changed. Although in truth, it’s more of a mechanical decision to keep all the numbers the same, just to streamline it.

  52. We’ve played with the property cards and found them a great addition to the start of the game. In conjunction with the extra lire from the M&P cards they really give a boost to players at the start.

    There’s only one problem with them though… You need to actually remember that they’re there and can be used! I kept forgetting and consequently was thrashed by Helen who *did* remember!

    I have a question and an observation. Both of these have probably already been asked and answered, but if so I missed it.

    The question:
    If you happen to be first player to use the sell grapes/flip property action space can you gain the bonus VP for both selling *and* buying back your field?

    The observation:
    For some reason I expected the property cards to be like properties in Monopoly where you mortgage your property for $X but then to buy it back costs $X + 10%. I was initially surprised to see that it cost the same to get back the field as it did to sell it. I can see that in the context of Viticulture the current arrangement makes more sense since there simply isn’t as much money in the game (certainly no automatic $200 for passing Go!) but I was also wondering if there was a thematic reason for the arrangement. Family loan rather than bank loan?

    Debra
    :)

  53. Jamey,

    We have been playing this game a lot. We keep trying the addon’s for a couple of games then go back to the base game to compare. I have to say the Mama’s and Papa’s are what I would play 100% of the time. With the latest change of adding the option of 1 of 2 choices makes it that much better. It makes for alot more replayablity. We haven’t played with the “other board” yet but we will most likely try to squeeze some time in this weekend to give that a shot. I really like the property cards, it makes for getting some quick cash if you get one a single Lira to start. Even with the Buying option giving you a VP back I still don’t see myself buying them back as I don’t really need the extra plot. I will see if I can get my wife to give me her more detail opinions so I can post them here. Keep up the good work Jayme!

  54. Helen: Thanks for sharing your thoughts too! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the mamas and papas. I like your point about that intense final year. The uncertainty of when the final year will be is something I enjoy–there’s always that tension that someone is going to be able to pull it off, and if you’re that person, you have to weigh whether or not you’re pulling the trigger too soon.

  55. An addendum to Debra’s comments above :)

    After we played a five player game with friends a few weeks ago, Danny found that the initial few years were quite slow as it took time for people to build up the money to build structures etc and he suggested that starting with a few extra lira would get the game moving more quickly. At that point I explained the Mamas and Papas to him and now we’ve used them I think they do give that kick start that he was looking for.

    Personally, I really like the M&P cards. The initial choice might be difficult for someone who hasn’t played before, but our group tends to play in a very friendly manner, so we’d be upfront and honest in giving advice as to what choice to make.

    Oh, and regarding that first M&P game, i was the one following the victory point strategy that Debra described. I actually quite enjoyed the strategy and my (just for fun) goal was to finish without filling any wine orders. I did end up filling a couple though and I didn’t win, but I was first across the finish line.

    I actually think that’s something I particularly like about Viticulture. Having the opportunity to finish the year and potentially win makes that last round very intense. I’ve definitely crossed the finish line first and then been beaten by someone else at least twice. It might be time to adjust my strategy…

  56. Debra: I really appreciate the meticulous approach that you, Helen, and Danny have taken to playtesting Tuscany! Thanks for walking us through the evolution of plays so far. The 3-player game probably is the fastest of all games with the old board. With the extended board (when you get to it), I think they’re about even.

    I’m glad to hear that the M&P cards are finally at a good place thanks to all the feedback we’ve gotten here. I feel good moving forward with them.

  57. Helen, Danny and I started playtesting a couple of weeks ago and decided to work our way systematically through the expansion components.

    Initially, we played enough games with the new second edition rules to feel comfortable with them. This was so that we’d be able to identify and understand how the new expansion elements affected the base gameplay.

    Then we added in the Mamas & Papas cards. Our first game with the M&P cards was much shorter than previous games and just seemed to zip along. (Note: I had P13&M12, Helen had P7&M6 and Danny had P9&M1.)

    Our preliminary observations were:
    • the overall gameplay seemed accelerated, with players performing significant actions much earlier in the game
    • a lucky or unlucky combination of Mama & Papa cards could either help enormously or hinder at the start of the game
    • the different starting conditions added variety

    On thinking about it afterwards I’ve also been wondering if certain cards/combinations might ‘force’ players into non-preferred methods of playing. For example, a player who receives the Papa with a tasting room and 1VP would realise that they could collect a guaranteed one, if not two, VPs per year by giving tours and selecting the VP position on the wake-up track. This would be in addition to any wine orders they might fill. Obviously though, to commit to this strategy it requires the player to forego other spots on the wake-up track and to use a worker each year in giving tours, thereby also foregoing the use of that worker for anything else.

    Since making the above observations we’ve played a couple more games with the newest version of the M&P cards. Helen and I talked through the games afterwards and made the following observations:
    • We thought the option on the Papa cards to take either the money or the structure was much better than the first version we’d played with. It was more flexible and would enable the player to choose appropriately depending on what they received from the Mama card and what fitted best with their playing style.
    • In addition, because the direction of individual play wasn’t so curtailed by the starting conditions we also seemed to play a more ‘traditional’ game and filled a lot more wine orders.

    We’ve been timing the games and the first one with the M&P cards was 3-player and went for 45mins. The next two were two-player and went for 55mins and 60mins. When we were talking after the first game we’d all decided that the zippiness of that game must have been due to the starting boost that the M&P cards provided. But after a couple more games we’re now wondering if, instead, what we were seeing was a difference between a three-player game and a two-player game. In the three-player game the second action spot with the bonus is available whereas in the two-player game you never get to use any of them. To be honest, we felt a bit hamstrung without access to the bonus spaces. It’s funny how not being able to use something you’ve had access to before suddenly makes it seem like you’re missing out!

    Our overall thoughts on the M&P cards were that they’re a great addition. They provide a boost at the start, which was the part of the game that seemed to lag previously, and they also give each player slightly different starting conditions, thereby improving variability and replayability. Initially, when we first laid them out and looked through them all we thought the Papa cards looked a little unbalanced but the changes to the most recent version seem to have addressed that.

    Oh, and by the way, we’ve been playing with different M&P cards each time. At the end of each game we set aside the ones that were used that game to make sure that we draw different ones next time. We want to try and make sure that we play with as wide a variety as possible.

    Debra
    :-)

    Next up for us: Property cards and Advanced Visitor Cards

  58. Played with the Structures Expansion today. Both my wife and I loved this addition. There were only a few cards that seemed unbalanced.

    Banquet – Given that you can now shift influence cubes, the player with this structure would have a pretty decent advantage when they see that the game is about to end. If they were able to snag the other 2-influence cube spot, they could easily spread out their influence cubes to make sure that others don’t attain any bonuses.

    Fence – I feel that this card combined with the bonus VP on the flip property action space makes this option too sweet. But, this goes along with my previous concerns about the strategy of switching back and forth.

    Ristorante – This is the one that seemed the most unbalanced. The card does come with a high price point, but you’re not really struggling for Lira in the early game any more. It seems too powerful to gain the equivalent of a wine order (no residual… but it’s comparable to 3 residual) by only discarding one wine token and one grape token of an value.

    1. Thanks Jason! These are great notes. Let me explain what I was thinking with those cards, and hopefully we’ll be able to balance them:

      Banquet: Originally the Banquet required you to give up a grape token to get the two influence bonus, but I never used it–it wasn’t worth the grapes. So I got rid of that cost. The only cost now is a worker, which is a pretty big deal. Most likely you’ll end up using this structure to shift cubes around, not place them, and although shifting cubes around increases your chances of getting end-game VPs, it doesn’t guarantee it. Often you’ll only be able to tie the other player, or you’ll put yourself in a position for the other player to surpass you with a cube shift of their own.

      Fence: All of the structures are meant to create specific strategies or combinations of strategies that you may not have normally considered. The Fence does that with the property flipping. I’m not so sure it’s overpowered, because you’re still committing at least one worker a year to eek out a few extra points.

      Ristorante: So, the Ristorante is an exact mathematical combination of the cafe and the wine bar, each of which have played in a pretty balanced way in testing. Perhaps it’s too powerful when those two bonuses are combined into a single structure/action? I’ll test this one out today to see.

      1. Banquet – From a 2-player perspective, gaining VPs or shifting to tie the other player are pretty much the same thing. If you shift to conquer a territory, then you have extra VP but the additional player has extra VP as well. If you shift to tie, you both lose VP, so there is still an equalizing. I could see how it would be a little different in 3+ player games. I just think that card kinda takes the fun out of the influence map. Whoever has that card, as long as they can utilize the bonus influence action space and their structure space when the game is about to end, it allows them to shift 4 cubes in one year, which pretty much allows them to maneuver their cubes in any way that will prevent other players from gaining any VP. Also, prior to that last turn, would you really use the card? I dunno… I’m still just not feeling it. But I respect your comments. :P

        Ristorante – It is the mathematical equivalent, except it’s not taking into account that with the other two structures you would be utilizing one worker each, whereas with this structure you’re only utilizing one worker to gain the equivalent of the two-cards. Perhaps 2VP & 3Lira would be a better alternative.

        1. Jason: That’s a great point about the influence map. Similar to the fences, building that structure is essentially defining your a major part of your strategy as the influence map. I’ll look into it today.

          Good point about the Ristorante only needing one worker for the same thing that you’d get from two workers elsewhere. I’ll look into it when I playtest today to see if I can balance it.

  59. I was thinking yesterday about solo play. I’m not a big fan of solo play in board games but there is a lot of interest in it on boardgamegeek. I think Viticulture with the Tuscany expansion would be quite good solo. The random start you get from the mama and papa cards along with the random nature of the card decks means there wouldn’t be one optimal strategy every time. It could be done with minimal rules changes, unlike some solo variants that end up being way more complex than the original game. Here is what I came up with:
    Play 7 years, each one on a different track of the wake up track. At the end of each year, place a grape token on the spring space of that year. It now counts as being occupied and cannot be chosen again. Then choose a different track for the next year. Track 1 can only be taken the year after you take track 7 like normal.

    1. Interesting idea! I’ve been struggling to find people to try out Tuscany with so I’ll give it a go using this idea later! If I seem to have the time I’ll try it at a few levels of adding things =)

  60. Structures look like a great addition. Hopefully I can get a game or 2 in this weekend. I actually like that these expansions are adding extra layers of complexity. With it being modular, you can adjust the complexity to your tastes and to the group your playing with. Our last few games have ended with nearly everyone having lots of coins so this will expansion will take care of that. With this using the backside of the game board though, I still think something should be tweaked on side 1 to reduce the amount of bonus coins you get when not using structures.
    I know you’ve mentioned that the kickstarter is launching in March, but do you have a rough idea of when the game will ship to backers?

    1. Todd: Yeah, the idea behind the game is that you add each layer one game at a time, and when you’ve unlocked everything, you can mix and match as you wish.

      Which specific bonuses on side 1 are you concerned about?

      1. The last game I played (4 player), everyone always seemed to have coins. The vineyard tour spots were rarely taken, even the residual track didn’t seem necessary. It’s the first time I felt that way about residuals, maybe it was a just a weird coincidence, but it seems like with all the bonus spaces that give a coin and also being able to gain coins from a number of visitor cards that it is even less of a reason to fill wine orders. Maybe moving the bonus coins from a couple of the left hand circles to the right hand circles so they only appear in 5-6 player games? I’m gonna try to get a 5 or 6 player game going this weekend and see if it plays differently.

        1. Interesting. It’s hard to tell if it’s circumstantial or not. For example, on Monday I played two 2-player games with the structure expansion. In the first game, I feel like I had an abundance of money. In the second game, I really struggled to get any money (and I didn’t want to flip my fields because I wanted to build structures there).

          I like your suggestion–it’s definitely something to keep in mind. In general, I think it’s good if players have more money instead of less, but not if it totally negates the “give a vineyard tour” option.

  61. Nicolai, just had to chime in that 100% felt the same way as you in this regard: “My initial reaction was that the game became too complex and added too much to consider. Prior I have loved every play because we can get it done in 30-40 minutes (max with Arboriculture). Suddenly I was overworked and looking at 70-80 minutes and it went from an everyday game to one that would see plays in weekends.”

    I think that’s why I walked away with a slightly negative reaction to my first playtest. I was overwhelmed. But, I’m usually overwhelmed at first by a new game with any substance. For that reason, I’m hoping to get a few more playtests in before posting more feedback because I’m thinking once I can absorb all the new content, I’ll like it so much more.

    1. Here’s my thoughts after playing tonight:

      1) Patron cards – Although I liked the new format… I still missed the dual goal portion. Quick idea: What if you had a Standard and Advanced version of the Patron cards. A wine order would still need to be filled, but the goals and VP would be different (standard would be 1 goal for 2 VP; advanced would be 2 goals – 1VP each, +1 VP if both goals met). I’m sorry… I hate to beat a dead horse… I just really loved balancing those dual goals. :P

      Also, aesthetically, we found that putting the one-half side under the board made it challenging to keep hidden the player’s goal. What if one side of the card was the wine order, and the other side was the goal(s). When dealt the patron, the player would place down the card with the wine order side up. After the wine order was completed, the player would place a counter on that card (could be the wine token that was used to fill it) showing that the Patron’s wine order was filled.

      2) We’re starting to get into the influence map. The only thing that still feels really off to me is the ability to place 2 influence cubes at a time (action space + bonus) in a 2-player game. Since we now have the ability to shift, players can place their 6 cubes on the spots with the lower VP counts early in the game and collect the better rewards, and then throughout the game switch them to the higher (especially if they have the ability to switch two at a time). The other thing that I thought might add some flavor is placing a limit of how many influence cubes can be on each territory.

      3) I also though the 1VP bonus spot on Flipping a Property may be better served in a 3+ player game. I think there should be some sort of “punishment” for flipping a property at equal lira value and losing two-worker placements (both flips) seemed like a good one. However, losing two-worker placements but gaining 2VP makes that spot much more attractive.

      Those were my thoughts. Nothing earth shattering. Solid play. Look forward to breaking out the structures expansion!

      1. Jason: Thanks for your feedback! This is great stuff. I like your solution of marking completed patronage cards with a glass token. I think the normal way works too, but you have to be guarded about it.

        You’ve raised a good question about where that bonus space should be for influence. My original intent was that in a 2-player game, you only have one other person to usurp, so if you can only move 1 token, it might be a fruitless effort to overtake an early leader. But perhaps it’s too big of an advantage if one player dominates that action. I have noticed that the influence action is rarely uses when a player isn’t able to place/move 2 influence tokens. I don’t think that’s a terrible thing, but I have wondered if the +1 could be replaced by some other bonus that isn’t as good as influence and works thematically.

        I’m not so sure about the property feedback. It’s a pretty big deal to flip a property–I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player flip a property back and forth just to get the VP. It’s not worth the workers you would have to devote to it. Really the only time I see people flipping properties back is in the structure expansion when they need to get a field to build there.

          1. Todd: Hmm, maybe I was misreading Jason’s statement. Under the current rules, you only get the bonus from the influence map when you place cubes, not when you move them. Jason, were you playing that way?

          2. Looks like there is a nesting limit for comments… but Jamey I’m responding to yours here. We were playing that you only received the bonus from the territory (i.e. draw a card or gain lira) when you place an influence cube not when you shift.

            Here’s the strategy I use when I win the first player lottery. My first worker is used to gain 4 lira by placing two influence cubes on the territory that gives you 2 lira. My second worker is used to flip one of my properties which will gain me up to 7 lira (and one VP point off the bat). My third worker will be used on the train worker space which I’m able to afford since I have a plethora of lira. If allowed, I’ll perform much of the same strategy on the second turn (usually gaining lira from my newly hired worker and using it to unflip the property thus gaining me another VP). So, by the end of the second year, I still have a decent amount of lira, all three properties, and five workers. It just seems like a little too much of an advantage. (Maybe my thinking is off though)

          3. OK, I misread a few things. My suggestion was about the bonus placement on the left circle, not the bonuses received for placing cubes. My idea was that when you take the left circle of the place cube action you can place two cubes of shift one. Nether that bonus cube or the territory bonus would apply if you shifted cubes. Maybe that would balance it a bit?

          4. Jason: Interesting strategy. I’m not sure it would pay off in the long run, though, given that it’s tough to accelerate the aging of grapes and wine. So if that’s what other players have been doing in the meantime (perhaps in combination with other things by using the visitor cards, I don’t think you’d have an advantage. However, I’ll try to push that strategy in a playtest tomorrow to see how it pans out. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

            Todd: Mechanically I like the idea, but in terms of iconography and consistency, I would place that in the “exceptions to a rule” category, which I want to avoid as much as possible.

  62. Long-time tester, first time poster, sorry about that, life has been busy, freaking me out a little.

    Plus, whenever I feel we have something to contribute, you have already altered the parameters… :)

    These comments are all based on the 2 player game, my wife and I. Please also note that we have played these games with the Arboriculture expansion – my bad for not seeing the note on that.

    1) Mama & Papa cards do not seem to have been updated on the download page – last update 22nd of January!!!

    2) Mama & Papa cards. We love them. They provide variety to the game and encourage different paths towards victory, on their own. Once you start adding in the later expansions it seems that they still provide variety but ultimately we are all “forced” down the same path towards growing and selling wine.

    I do believe this was your intention to an extent, so in this respect I think it works. There are still other avenues and once we added the advanced visitor cards (exp. 4 – 3 plays only) the cards themselves provide better opportunities for gaining VP. Playing MP with the base game cards and Arboriculture meant very little chance of winning without selling wine or being lucky in the card draw. (I do note just today that you say do not use that expansion for testing…),

    There are some discrepancies in some of the cards in terms of valuation. This is based on pre-updated 1/28 cards. Papa 10 and 18 are identical in terms of workers, VP and lira – but then P10 gets a yoke… What is up with that?

    3) Property cards. We seem to use them to get lira and then just leave them like that. In 12 plays I think it has happened 1-2 times that we have bought them back – all after the prices were reduced. We do enjoy what they add to the game though and would most likely always add them to the game.

    4) Advanced visitor cards. These are WONDERFUL! We LOVE the fact that cards are now useful early and late in the game and the question now becomes whether to use them now or save them for later. This might especially be in relation to the 2 player game where the turn-over of cards (especially visitor) is slower so you can really get hosed at times.

    5) Patron cards. We have only played with the 1/22 updated cards and 3 plays. Unsure what I think about them. They can give you an early benefit and without upgrading your cellar, so available to everyone. Not sure about the benefits as some might be better than others, but I feel that it becomes another aspect you can create your strategy around. In one game I had one that gave me 3 lira, so I made it a priority to get it done and get the extra income each year.

    We will see how the new cards work.

    6) Extended board (3 plays). My wife LOVED it first time out. It took me 2 plays to get used to everything that was now possible.

    My initial reaction was that the game became too complex and added too much to consider. Prior I have loved every play because we can get it done in 30-40 minutes (max with Arboriculture). Suddenly I was overworked and looking at 70-80 minutes and it went from an everyday game to one that would see plays in weekends.

    Once we got the 2nd play in I felt more comfortable around the board and this and the 3rd play took us 60 minutes.

    The fact that there are now more options to pursue means there is less tension going first, at least if you only need your Grande Worker for one action. Does that make sense? Even if my wife goes first, I can also get to harvest. The problem comes if we both need to harvest before creating wine. It also makes cards and the yoke more interesting.

    I think the jury is still out on whether bonus placements are a good fit. Creating 3 wines is a big deal. Harvesting 2 fields is good and helps the game progress.

    The influence change will be welcome as getting in early meant the other player had the upper hand in terms of deciding where to score points.

    We look forward to playing the game with the changes introduced today/ last night. :)

    1. Nicolai: Thanks so much! This is a great list of comments. A few replies:

      1. You’re right–this is now fixed. There’s a set metric on the mamas and papas, but the one exception I made to that metric is for the papas with the Yoke and Medium cellar, which aren’t as useful the first few turns of the game (unlike the other structures, which are immediately useful). So I gave them an extra lira.

      5. Yeah, try the new patrons. I think we finally got it right with the current version. :)

      6. Let me know what the jury decides about moving the +1 spot for making wine over to the 2-player game. The intent is similar to that of the harvest space, but I agree that it might be a little too good.

  63. Ooh very exciting addition (structures), I really hope I can find an opportunity to test everything before it’s too late, I’ve been watching progress and trying to keep up with having things printed to try out, but seem to be stuck in eternal first-play syndrome (It has to end eventually!).

    I’ve tried out Mama+Papas’ a few times now though at least, they really add a lot to the game from my perspective, and asides from making the game more open, they seem to help a lot in giving new players a direction to go. When I’ve taught Viticulture without them, people seem confused and they seem to very much ‘stab in the dark’, but when they have something to plan around it seems easier on them (I may be wrong, but that’s how it seems, and is reflected in comments I’ve heard).

    I like the direction you’re going in with patron cards, as while I’ve not tested them, when I mentioned them as a possible ‘next game’ thing to people that have played, they’ve been rather reluctant and turned off by the idea of them (Not sure what exactly, but people recalling at the idea was bad ^^), they’re looking good now!

    With any luck I’ll find a day to play multiple games of it with one person and get cool stuff added in! ^^.

    (PS. No idea why but I can’t log in via wordpress or google+ to post here, very odd).

    1. Christopher: Well, I should warn you: If your first game with Tuscany has everything thrown in, you’re going to be overwhelmed! :) Jason and Nicolai touched upon this a bit. Maybe add in a few more things before you get to the extended board.

  64. Finally got a play in last night. Only had the Mama’s and Papa’s unfortunatlely. Kat commented on bgg which I thought may be useful:

    “Played an extremely long game of Viticulture, 4 new players so the only thing Nathan got to test was the M&P cards again. Oh and he had some cheat sheets printed out so we were playing with the new rules, which we aren’t very familiar with. I liked the new crush rules (makes a lot more sense), but we weren’t sure if any of the Winter helper wording needed to be changed. I missed being able to get an extra bonus with my Grande meeple, but I liked that you can now use it on a full space, as we had a LOT of them. The Horticulturist basically won the game for one player, catapulting him to the 25 point space, however he had been hoarding that the entire game. We ran out of Winter helpers in the last round”

    And audio and video here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/j1ktt7wcbwm4e43/4jM9naAv0Z/Viticulture%20Playtest

    (There’s a picture of the last time we played which I didn’t get round to uploading at the time, soz. Hopefully you can get some info from it. Again Just M&Ps They’re old versions iirc)

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I didn’t see that BGG post (which is odd, because I see everything on BGG), but would you mind keeping posts about Tuscany to this forum in the future? I would prefer for them not to be on BGG while the rules are still in flux.

      I’m not able to listen to that audio file for some reason–I’m not familiar with that format. Do you have it in mp3 format? Thanks!

      You can also see what the newer versions of those visitors (including the Horticulturist) will look like here: https://stonemaiergames.com/second-edition-viticulture/

  65. Played Two 2p games today with a new player (but experienced gamer)
    Game 1 – Viticulture plus property cards – 1 hr
    Game 2 – Tuscany board, Property cards, Mamas and Papas. – 1.5 hrs – also for this game we added a bottle of wine. :)

    Notes:
    On flipping properties. Game 1, only I did it. I did the 5. I had no incentive to flip back over, as my other 2 fields were doing well. I did do it in the spirit of “what if these are worth VP”, and I had enough cash. But in game 2, neither of us flipped at all. No need. We’ll see with next component that is money focused. However, I will say this – I love the 5-6-7 property values. Great in the mix of where to plant/uproot, etc. Also, are the properties going to remain cards, or is that for ease of pnp testing? Today I thought of tokens, either 2 sided for on/off or only for when it’s closed.

    On influence: Ran into a question that I couldn’t find an answer to in the instructions above, forgive me if someone asked. But my friend and I went influence heavy to start. He got 4 cubes out fast, and I responded with all 6 of my cubes by year 3. So the question became, is taking influence not an option (spring square no use to you, wake up track 6 no winter bonus, etc). or can you shift one of your cubes to a new spot, and take the short term benefit a second time, and also reposition yourself as needed for long term win. I told him, ok, let’s pick one way and go with it, and we both totally voted for shifting allowed. I have a feeling it may be intended to be one-off, but I can tell you we really enjoyed being able to jockey around further. If you cannot shift, my feeling is 6 cubes is too few. If you can shift, 6 is fine. It made for a tight influence battle.

    On trying to win without making wine: I totally set this as my goal, and I’m happy to say I did not make any wine until the final turn and only to catch up to my friend. The final scores without influence were 26-25, and with influence he had another 2. So I’m happy to say there are other ways to go. I loved scoring all over the seasons with points and how many advanced visitors helped me out. I had to really use everything I had to keep up though. Here’s how the final year scores tracked:

    Year 4:
    Me: 5 points
    Friend: 13 points (he had started filling)

    Year 5:
    Me 10: points
    Friend: 16 points

    Year 6:
    Me: 16 points
    Friend: 23 points

    ended. I pulled out everything I had to jump 9 points that year. :)

    On passing out of Winter and getting first dibs on next year. Love it! Two great reasons, incentive to pick first of course, and also it totally helped me take a “play winter card” action when I couldn’t have.

    On confusing/unintuitive design: Everything is working great. If anything, I think the “add 1 grape to crush pad” is currently not intuitive, as I had to look it up, but I imagine that will be a fun icon when all is said and done. And my friend suggested adding a symbol for the conversion rates – 2-1 sparkling and 1-1 blush somewhere, as he could never remember. (ideally player mat if you are reprinting, but if not, perhaps on make wine). It took a little bit of practice to get used the way the new wake up track worked with shifting someone, getting them their stuff and then going back and registering what season you were working on, but I can’t think of a better track, and we both felt the seasons lined up well and were a clean design. Maybe something on the wake up track to remind you of going into fall for cottage, (double line?). Overall, the iconography in Viticulture was one of very strong and it carries over here.

    On Patrons: didn’t play that today, but had a thought on them in the car ride home. I know you said you have another solution and trying it already, but here’s one for kicks: What if you all start with a patron, but can choose your bonus from among a set group of patron bonuses that everyone has access to? Now, it’s a small expansion that gives you incentive to get going on wine making, AND gives you something very cool, but it’s not unfair because everyone can pick their variety that fits the game they are playing. Sure, the VP is probably what everyone picks, but maybe not. You could even make the patrons something that has a easy and a complex order, and the options vary (or you do 1, and then do 2 if you really want to impress). Anyway, lots of thoughts came to me on this one that could keep the randomness out of it, and if the new line of thinking doesn’t work, another idea to try.

    On Tuscany. The game, it’s playing well. This could be the wine talking (just kidding, wine is long gone), but I loved the new map. Mamas and Papas was fun – my friend had $8 to start and it was exciting. Both of us really enjoyed the interaction of influence and the complexity of options with playing 4 seasons. Great stuff!

    1. There’s lots of great feedback here, Peter–thank you. I’m a little torn about the influence idea. The current rules are that once you place your influence cubes, you’re out of influence cubes. You can’t move them–the reason for that is it adds too many moving parts for other players to strategize around. However, it says something to me that you had fun moving them around, and it kept that action relevant later in the game. So I’m intrigued about the idea (especially since influence cubes also come into play in the cheese expansion).

      Your patron idea is interesting, but I want to try to first play with the new patrons (not yet uploaded), because I think they may do everything we were hoping to do with the patrons. We’ll see about that.

      I’m glad you brought up the wine-making key–it will be on the new player mats in Viticulture 2.0, and we’re thinking about adding stickers to the first print run of Tuscany for people to add to their existing copies of Viticulture 1.0.

      As for the property cards, it’s tough, because I still think they’re important for Tuscany before you get to the extended board, but they become much less relevant once you get there. Like I mentioned, I think they’ll be relevant again for the structure expansion, but I’d prefer for them to also be relevant in the interim.

  66. Todd: Thanks for playing last night. This bears repeating: For those of you who have playtested Tuscany multiple times, I hope you know how awesome you are. We really, really appreciate it.

    So Todd, the point you bring up about flipping properties is an interesting one. While I want all expansion modules to be compatible with all other expansion modules, I must admit that property is much more useful while players are still using the old game board. Once they open up the new board, they become less useful. However, I think we should stick with them until we get to the next expansion module, because it’s more money-intensive and may need the flipping mechanism.

  67. Hey Jason, I can’t quite tell, but I think you misplayed the new wake-up track. A player cannot choose the 1st wake-up slot unless they have the green grape token, and you can only get that token if you go last the previous season. You then put the token back on the 7th slot of the wake up track. So if you choose to wake up 7th, the following season you would have to wake up 1st, but after that year you must choose any other slot (not the 1rst slot). I’m sorry if that was unclear–it obviously makes a big difference.

    I was a little confused about the “Tuscany board” you referred to, but I think I get it–you’re talking about the influence map. Also, just to note, the extended board has the word “win” on 25, so that is indeed the point value that triggers the end game when playing with the extended board.

    The grande worker acts exactly like a regular worker, except that he can also be placed on a full action. If he is placed in that way, he doesn’t gain any bonus (just like any worker, he only gains a bonus if he’s placed on an action space with a bonus on it).

    1. Gotcha. That makes me like the new wake up track a whole lot more! Im hoping you just changed the Spring language because its now clear as day (meaning Im hoping it wasnt like that last night when I read it over and over again and came to that conclusion… cause if it was… I was way off)

      Yeah. The influence map felt kinda forced. As another player described above, we just feel it needs something more than an initial and end-game reward (even if it means sacrificing one of the two).

      If you play a two-player game of base Viticulture (old board) you may want to try “Allow the Grande Worker to gain the middle bonus if the 2-player action space isnt filled. Otherwise Grande worker is played as normal.”

      1. One idea that may also help the influence map is finding a way to limit the amount of territories available based on number of players.

        1. It was a good point you made about the wake-up track. It seemed intuitive to me, but it makes sense that you might think that once you have that grape token, you’re stuck there forever! I revised the language above on this page.

          Your input about the influence map is really interesting. From a mechnical standpoint, it does exactly what I want it to do: It give players things in the short term that help them pursue their strategies, but in the long term their choices on the map may translate into points. And thematically it does what I want too: You’re sending out workers to talk up your vineyard to other areas in Tuscany, and they return with goods related to that region (each good is connected to a specific region–like, Livorno is known for the number of people who vacation in the summer there, so it’s as if your worker’s promotion there brought one of those vacationers back to your vineyard). And with smaller player counts, you still have key choices to make because some of the territories are more valuable late in the game–do you go after those, or do you go after the territories that are worth fewer points but give you better stuff?

          I’m not trying to convince you–I’m just a little surprised. The map is one of my favorite aspects of the extended board, and everyone I’ve played with really likes it. That makes me wonder if they’re more open to it because of the way I explain it in person, and perhaps I need to better explain it in words here.

          1. My wife really wasn’t playing the Influence Map, so it kinda made me feel like I was cheating when I did use it. So, perhaps if you have all players engaged in the influence map, it makes it much more fun. Which could explain some playtesters negative experiences vs the other positive experiences. We’ll try to adjust our mindset moving forward to better incorporate it.

            But it also seemed like in a 2-player game that there was just too many territories, that you couldn’t really contest for influence (due to only having six influence cubes). In retrospect, maybe not less territories… but possibly more influence cubes. Which was one of your questions above. So, my answer is leaning towards yes, more influence cubes (perhaps a set number of cubes based on players?)

  68. Got done with our first game with the new board tonight. Keep in mind this from the perspective of a 2-player game.
    I’ll start off with the things we liked:

    1) Max VP was raised to 25 (although… in a 2-player game that still runs kinda short)
    2) The new wake-up track
    3) Being able to play in all four seasons
    4) Not automatically drawing winter or fall visitor cards in fall

    Now here’s the list of things that felt a little off to us:

    Both my wife and I agreed that the Tuscany board element just did not feel as though it was a fluent part of the game. She pretty much ignored the board, while I conquered it with influence cubes. Now, the way the games balanced, a player cannot really ignore the board if they want to win. So, I feel it “works” the way it is now… but I’m wondering if there is an additional element that you could add to that board to make it feel as if it’s part of the game, not just a sidepoint. One idea that we tossed around was replacing the Flip Property space (which we didn’t use) or the additional Build Structure/Give Vineyard Tour (which rarely got used) with a “Use Influence” space where if a player had influence in a specific region, they could gain some sort of reward from that region. So, not only would a player receive the initial reward, but it would create an increased incentive to maintain influence of an area (other than the VP points.

    My wife didn’t seem to mind it as much, but I really didn’t like that the first player was stuck on track #1. I think it made the game take a little longer, since every other turn I couldn’t receive any bonuses. Also, I felt it took away the competitive edge of choosing your place on the wake-up track. Since one of us was always on track 1, the other had no real reason not to choose the more powerful tracks. Also, track 7 never got used. This feedback is probably limited to a 2-player game.

    I thought I would like it, but after playing it, I really didn’t enjoy the 2-player bonus spaces, especially the ones later in the year. Several times my wife would use her workers in the Spring-Fall and I would still have two workers left in the winter which gave me a lot of bonuses. Just to put it out there, we have a house rule for a 2-player game with the Grande Worker: If a player places a Grande Worker on an unoccupied action space, the Grande Worker gains the bonus. That limits each player to gaining only one bonus per game. (I actually though that was an official rule… but in rereading the Grande rules tonight… I realized its not)

    Lastly, we both had a lot of Lira early on in the game. I think this may have been due to the Tuscany board addition as well as the lira bonus spaces… or could have just been a fluke. Will let you know if we see it as a trend.

  69. I think you’re right…Hahaha…we seem to have had a hard time conceptualizing what the game was about with so much going on. It’s nice for someone to reset you and say “you’re over-thinking it” :) I’ll pass that on to the group, and we’ll resume playtesting without the Arboriculture expansion. Thanks!!

    1. That is a good reminder, though, that I should mention that concept in Tuscany rules. If players go into it thinking that this is a game about making wine (which, admittedly, Viticulture is…the subtitle is “The Strategic Game of Winemaking”), they might have a negative experience when someone wins by focusing on the other ways of increasing their reputation.

  70. Sorry for the delay – it’s been hectic here for the past few days. Before I go into a ton of detail, I should ask one question: Should we be playtesting these components with the Arborioculture Expansion (we have been)?

    What we ran into was about halfway through the first game, four of the players figured that once morale was maxed out for the workers, they could let it drop for a year, and then send a worker to leisure for a free VP every other year. The extra VP on the bonus track was selected every single turn (usually by the first player), which was a wash, since everyone took advantage of this. The biggest problem we had was with the Papa 6, 7, 13, 14, and the Patron 6 cards. Starting with the windmill is insanely beneficial to whoever owns it, and the tasting room can be a quiet killer while everyone is attempting to fight over planting crops or building structures during the summer. As for Patron 6, that card is essentially creating a residual VP for filling a wine order (in this case, the price of the Patron). Throwing in some of the Summer and Winter Visitor cards actually led to players being able to accrue a ton of VPs by selling grapes, giving up lira, or tossing wine from their cellars.

    For example, say you start with Papa 6 (1VP and the Windmill) and you draw Surveyor Summer Visitor card. If you elect to hold onto the visitor until all three fields have vines on them, you’ve basically gotten 7 VPs without even crushing grapes. Add in the cards that award VPs for selling grapes or removing wine tokens, and you’re at the 12-16 VP range. If that takes six years to do and you’ve minded your workers’ morale, that’s an easy 3 extra VP for spamming the leisure space. Conversely, the players who stick to “plant, harvest, crush, fill” wound up with about 1/2 to 2/3 of the VP after the same period of time.

    It just seemed like there were entirely too many ways to build up VPs that had nothing to do with filling wine orders.

    To combat those things, we added some house rules to make filling wine orders more of a goal. We removed Patron 6 from the deck, added a draft for Mama/Papa cards, and we only allow additional VPs for morale if you allow the morale tracker to go one space below the “start” area.

    One thing you might consider for the Papa cards that have structures – remove the automatic lira, and make it an *or* statement for the cost of the structure. Such as: “Yoke OR 2 lira.” Early in the game, I find that players are more likely to take the quick cash than the structure.

    1. Matthew: Thanks for your feedback. I’ll respond in full in a second, but I do want to emphasize up front that Tuscany (and even Viticulture) is a game about building a successful vineyard, not about filling wine orders. Making and selling wine is a big part of the game, and we want the game to encourage players to do that. But if a player plants 3 beautiful fields, he’s increased his reputation as a vineyard owner. If a player sells a lot of grapes, he’s increased his reputation. If he caters to the demands of lots of visitors, he’s increased his reputation. So I just want to make sure we talk about Tuscany under that frame of reference. Make sense?

      That’s a good question about Arboriculture. Arboriculture is completely separate from Tuscany. It is compatible with Tuscany, but it’s an optional modular addition. We recommend that you playtest Tuscany without Arboriculture.

      That said, the leisure strategy those players employed is completely fair game. That’s how just Arboriculture works. Using a worker for that is a worker that you can’t use to do other things in the game, right?

      I like your solution for the papa cards. I like giving players that option.

      You’ll see a fix to the patron cards early next week.

      Thanks!

  71. I haven’t yet played with the new Patronage cards, but I must admit that my first instinctual reaction wasn’t the best.

    Some cards are definitely more powerful than others. I see that some of the balancing done was to make ones that may be lesser of value in gameplay have a higher initial victory point value but I’m not sure that’s enough. I’ll point out some of my initial observations.

    Patron #1 – Since a player can build a yoke for 2 lira and potentially harvest 2 fields per turn or use his Grande Meeple to harvest up to 3 fields, I don’t think this card would be used much.

    Patron #3 – I believe this patron is destined to get the player killed. :) Being able to play 2 workers in a row is bound to screw up the rest of the table’s ability to strategize. It’s not so bad when it’s on a Summer or Winter visitor card. But every single turn could get annoying.

    Patron #4 – This patron has the ability to draw a card of any type, whereas many of the other patrons require a specific type of card. While this patron only earns 2 initial victory points, if played early on, this card would definitely trump the abilities of the other four card draw patrons.

    Patron #6 – I believe this patron earns you a victory point each year, which again just seems too good to be true (again, especially if played early on).

    I think I might like the new Patronage cards if they weren’t just freebies. I.E. you still needed to fill a wine order for them, but afterwards, your reward came at some sort of cost (i.e. Trade 2 lira for 1VP, Trade 1 lira to draw 1 vine card, etc) It would make them less attractive… but I think that’s the issue I have with them. Some of them are just TOO attractive. Also, if the former were implemented, I think it would be cool if there was a way to discard a patronage card in hand to draw another and also have the player draw another patronage card immediately following fulfilling the wine order for their current. That way, players could build their “armory” of patrons which increases their ability to exchange resources.

    Keep in mind, my observations were made without playing with these Patronage cards yet… so I might feel differently after breaking them out. However, I am a little miffed because I was running low on sleeves and had to pick up another set. :P

    Lastly, I really enjoyed the original Patronage cards. I thought they were a great small variant for the game and really enjoyed trying to balance reaching those secret goals without jeopardizing my goal of reaching 25 Victory Points (I’m not sure whether we were supposed to up it to 25 without the new board… but we decided too anyways because 20 seemed so low). If you decide to implement the new Patronage card, I’d strongly encourage you to keep the original Patronage cards, re-theme them, and then offer them as a variant.

      1. Just thinking out loud… but what if Patrons werent wine orders in themselves… but after filling any wine order a player gains a patron? The patrons wouldnt be freebies… but instead implement some sort of trade mechanism mentioned above. This would naturally lore players back into filling wine orders and potentially solve the track 6 issue mentioned in prior posts.

        1. Thanks Jason. I just sent you an e-mail with the new patrons that I’m hoping to test tonight before sending them to testers next week. They’re almost exactly how you described here, and I think they’ll fill all of the niches we’ve been discussing: short-term goals, long-term secret goals, and incentive to make wine. The one thing they’ll take away are ongoing abilities, but the next big expansion element I’m revealing has that in spades.

  72. Better late than never? Got the parts and a free night, and I’m ready to dig in with a friend of mine who is a big worker placement fan. He’s never played the game either, so I think I can get base feedback and how the variants mix in. Jamey, when I mix in Tuscany segments, is there anything in particular that you want to test at this stage of the game? Thanks

    1. Peter: I would recommend playing three games: One with just the base set of Viticulture, a second with the mamas and papas, and a third with mamas, papas, and property cards. Then continue to layer in the expansions one game at a time after that if you have time. Thanks!

    2. Update on my first Tuscany tests, want to write down impressions while it’s fresh. I had to deviate from the plan, because I had not printed out enough property cards. On the plus side, I had 3 other players, all game designers with extensive experience in WP. We played 1.5 games. One game of regular Viticulture to get them acquainted (which went long), and then half a game with Mama and Papas, and new Patronage. With little time left, I wanted at least some new stuff to get discussion on.

      Thusly, most of the reactions are to the old game, the luck and chance of visitors came up a lot, and I know that’s being solved for. I didn’t want to edit any of it out though, in case it sparks any thoughts.

      1) someone asked if anything allows you to fill outside of winter? The reason being that harvest-make wine-fill are choke points, and in game one, everyone was crowded around the fill. You needed a grande to even think about it. I guess nobody was drawing those choice winter visitors. It made me think though about a fill option in the spring – you know that wine you couldn’t unload, at a discount?

      2) choke points and the yoke. As mentioned above, the choke points came up, and one player suggested that the yoke was the most useful building, and that there might be room for other buildings of yours that were quite expensive, but allowed for some alleviation of these points. He thought it may solve the excess money mid-end game, and give you ways to get around times that prevent you from winemaking. He also suggested being able to pay into a space. So that, if all make wine is blocked, grande spent, but he has tons of cash, he can still buy this action. I tend to agree that if it’s all about making wine, suddenly you can’t make wine and you feel your whole winter is wasted.

      3) the comment about old Viticulture being about 1 path to victory only was brought up. Glad to know it’s being solved for in Tuscany. I also mentioned the legacy aspects of the game, and one friend said that if the original game had X, Y and Z issues (minor but there and being corrected in this expansion, you wouldn’t really want to discover these things slowly. As in, if the original visitors, even when advanced, mix in too much chance, but by pack #4 that you open, you get these new visitors and they fix it right up, then you risk alienating players at the start with the weaker game. Another example: If you play with just Mama and Papas, but through testing find that property makes the game solidly better, then offering it second means every customer’s first play of Tuscany is weaker than the second. Sometimes, game #1 matters a lot. In fact, I remember reading it on your blog. :) Anyway, just wanted to share that.

      4) The mama and papas we had were M5-P1, M6-P6 (windmill), M13-P11, M4-P3 (VP). The windmill player didn’t seem excited at first, but then played to that. I think we’re all in favor of them, and I personally love the story aspect of it, this is what you were left with to start. Part of me wanted to get even more into the story. Like, the mamas and papas are tied to certain visitors. It’s not a random summer visitor, it’s Uncle so and so. I know that means custom cards to pull out of the deck, although it does allow you to balance more than all the draws. The other thing I thought is that the Mamas and Papas become become quickly almost a non-issue. They are a giant balancing exercise that most players will grumble about. Drafting is great, but I wished they had more of the patronage aspects, or that they had lingering effect. So that they gave more choice or ability that you could work to unlock, but with more common starting ground. Such as – in year 2, something happens and you find an old will, or the uncle shows up. Or an option to make them advanced choices for players used to the game. Like the old windmill can be purchased out of the gate for 2. Something that you have control of so that you can opt to take the variation as you learn what it would do.

      5) continuing for one moment on that aspect of story, the balance of visitors came up again and someone mentioned how Suburbia has a pile of A tiles, B tiles and C tiles, to somewhat regulate that you don’t see a super expensive airport tile show up out of the gate. I thought how you could perhaps use this to tell more of a story. In the beginning, young winemakers don’t see such and such visitors, but after someone passes VP 5, or reaches the end of the deck as it starts, certain ones get mixed in or taken out. I know the visitors have been majorly reworked, and I have yet to test them, but this got me excited about the modular, legacy part of Tuscany, and I began to imagine what it would be like if the game had visitors separated a bit further into beginning-mid and end game helpfulness, or coming in and out as you discovered modules. Most of the play tonight was from original Viticulture, but it became often that the chance draw was likely to deliver you a handful of cards you didn’t need. I thought of a space to trade in cards, cycle more options, but I see the new board has excitement of that sort, can’t wait to play it!

      6) couple patronage questions came up. Place a worker, the player was confused and we all assumed it was play, and play again. It might need clarity on the card. The patron #10 – retrieve a placed worker. Including Grande? This could be too powerful? Could you redo bonuses in this way? FYI, all 4 patrons were completed by turn 4. I think they were good motivators. I had the one that got me 3 lira once a year, and I was digging that.

      Overall, I want to stress that the notes are more train of thought, and I realize not constructive enough yet without more plays, and possibly digging into parts you don’t need undone. I just wanted to jot it down, objectively and in case any of it helps. The plays again tonight enforced for me that I like the game more and more, but I’m afraid original Viticulture did not win over my friends with the old visitors. We had a long game 1, with some analysis paralysis and I think a couple were trying to make the best out of poor cards, even grapes. One player drew all expensive orders, and emptied his whole crush pad and cellar just to fulfill and then felt he wasn’t seeing the aging and timing work for him. I don’t think I’m mixing in the old visitors any longer, gotta get the new stuff in there to see how the “any time use” ones help patch it up.

      Not ending on that note, ending on thank you for the chance to dig into your game further. This remains one of my wife’s favs, so I know she’ll be excited to try out all the new stuff as well.

      1. Peter: Thanks for playtesting! I’ll get right to your questions:

        1. filling wine orders: You all played with the grande worker, right? It pretty much eliminates any choke point. We do a few things on the extended board to reduce that choke point even more. Some of summer visitors have ways to translate wine into VPs too.

        2. Yoke: It is very useful, although less so with the grande worker. Your friend touched upon one of the Tuscany elements I haven’t shared yet–I’ll get to it soon. :)

        3. That’s a good point. We’ve corrected everything in the original Viticulture that we think we need to make it stand alone as a solid game. I think it holds up by itself for that key first play. I hear that it didn’t work for your friends, but based on the BGG rating, I think it’s fine, especially with the fixes to some of the visitor cards.

        4. I definitely like the idea of incorporating more story into the game. It would be really tough to balance with the mamas and papas, though, and having them target specific visitors might not work for groups who decide not to use the original visitors at all after using the new visitors (I want all elements to remain modular with other elements). So I’m specifically trying to address that with the patron cards.

        5. I like that a lot. Several times during playtesting I’ve shuffled the old visitor deck and placed it on top of the advanced visitors. I see players only doing that for one play before permanently using the advanced visitors, but it could make the transition game interesting.

        6. I need to revise the patron cards again, so I’ll address that soon. You’re right that some are too good.

        1. Just to clarify Jamey, Viticulture has a lot of high marks and respect by all the players last night. It’s just that they are game designers, so you know, it’s in their nature to help pull apart things. Often times, things that are already working. ;)

          Just to clarify my #1 point on choke points. We did have grande workers, yes. I won the game at 25 points, but it was close. All of us had passed 20, and my friend had two wine orders he could have filled to get to 25 and beat me in coins. However, he had no wine bottles, and was in low start order. So, make wine was used up and he had to use his grande to get it, and by then, fill orders was gone. And he didn’t have the blue cards. So, he was blocked. Now the beauty of a strategic game is that all of those choice were made by him, and he learned something about how to prepare for that end game. The same player in game 2 might adapt and make changes and never feel the pinch. However, he played well and we was trying to help think of ways to alleviate the harvest-make wine-and fill cycle overall, and one solution he had was a lesser fill in the spring that would ease rounds prior and stop the made rush. I think it sounds like all the options you have in the new board and other expansions are going to really break all that we know up anyway.

          The teaser you just mentioned to Jason on the next big expansion element with ongoing abilities has me very curious – can’t wait!

          1. Thanks Peter! I didn’t mean to sound defensive. :) It’s just that we feel like we have Viticulture at a really good place with the second printing, and Tuscany is here to take it to the next level. I think it’s a good thing that they’re separate entities.

        2. Having now read the advanced visitors and new visitors, I wanted to say that you had solved #1 on choke points. Sure, not a fill order per se, but the two summer guides allowing 2 critical winter actions is helpful. The planner and manager in new visitors will also help. Very cool. Full visitor notes in a separate post below

        3. VISITOR notes

          Advanced Visitors feedback – having just played Viticulture without these, I see these as definite improvements. Can’t wait to try these out today. No notes on these yet, all seem balanced and versatile.

          New visitors feedback (prior to testing):
          Love the Planner and Manager and Organizer – these open up the game to flexibility!

          Also dig the Swindler, Banker and any card that involves both your benefit and others choice. However, there is a caution there on anything that could cause whole table AP. For example, Importer could slow the game as everyone discusses?

          The cultivator breaking the rules struck me as awkward at first, possibly with cards that move fields, like advanced landscaper. My thought was do you have remember which one field is allowed to break it when other players say, “how did you get more there”, but re-reading it, it seems a one time thing you’re doing, then you don’t think on it further, even if you move (you’re still then adjusting within set rules).

          The Producer and Stonemason’s “pay” ability is great, and I think it something that will help the money surplus and fit into your next expansion you haven’t revealed.

          I like the Designer for the fact that there’s a reward finally for those who have spent time building. Woo hoo!

          One card that may need a cap: Negotiator. Imagine you do this when you’re at 5 residual. Too powerful for a blue card?

          So keeping an eye on Importer and Negotiator for today’s testing, but all of these look to add fun and interest into the mix!
          Peter

          1. Hey Peter, thanks for taking a close look at the new visitors. I definitely appreciate you noticing visitors that might increase downtime. With that in mind, we’ve removed almost all visitor cards that let you draw visitors of the same season (i.e., now all summer visitors that let you draw cards only let you draw winter visitors). We’ve also removed some cards that require you to draw cards and then give them out to other players. However, cards that give all other players a decision don’ feel like downtime at all because everyone’s engaged. It’s good to keep an eye on them, but so far they’ve been a lot of fun when they hit the table.

            As for the Negotiator, let’s see…his ability says, “Pay $2 to gain $1 residual or gain 1 VP for each residual you will receive this year.” Hmm…it’s tough. He definitely rewards players for making wine, which is good. But there is no sacrifice at all to make that ability happen. I think this will work better: “Pay $2 to gain $1 residual OR decrease your residual by up to $3 to gain 1 VP per $1 residual decreased.”

  73. I’ve run into a roadblock. There’s good news and bad news here…

    Bad news first – everyone playtesting the new elements LOVES Viticulture, but they feel like the additions are detracting from what made them love it in the first place. The most common comment I’ve heard is that the expansions all but eliminate the need to have a successful vineyard. There are too many ways to earn victory points that have nothing to do with producing wine. This is coming after our fifth playtest with all of the current components.

    I’m not exactly sure how to address that. I know that the components add new elements, but I’m not sure that they understand how it impacts the game as a whole. Playing Viticulture is about making and selling wine. We had a run where the person who filled the most wine orders still lost because of the other ways people could win. I’ll chalk that up to people being unwilling to see the goal of the game change…

    The good news is that my FLGS has had a copy of Viticulture on its shelf for a few months. I was going to pick it up yesterday and donate it to a playtester only to find out that it had been sold! Someone in the DFW is a new fan! The owner said he would give my number to the person who bought it so I could include him/her in playtesting sessions :)

    1. Matthew: Thanks for your feedback. It’s definitely really important that Viticulture remains a game about winemaking, although Tuscany is titled as such because it expands the game to encompass more elements of the Tuscan world beyond winemaking. However, if a player can win without making any wine, we have a problem! Could you perhaps share some of the ways players are getting victory points that are disconnected from the theme of making wine and running a vineyard?

      I’m glad there was some good news too. :)

  74. If you play The Organize visitor does it affect your wake up time the rest of the year? Also, how does that card factor into a six player game if all bonuses are filled?

    Loving the advanced and new visitor cards along with the patronage. The patronage cards add so much variety because they prompt you to adapt your strategy.

    1. Jason: The Organizer does change your wake-up position for the rest of the year. There are 7 wake-up tiers, so there’s always one available.

      I think we may be changing the format for the patronage cards–we’ll see how they compare.

      1. Saw that above. Just chiming in my vote that I love them as is but thats without seeing the revision yet.

        In regards to theme, personally, it feels like Tuscany transitions the game from being about individual winemakers making wine to individuals vying for influence/clout in the wine business (due to the wider array of means to earn VP). But I feel that transition in theme is still so closely related that it doesnt betray the theme of the base game.

  75. We finally got a chance to try out the new board tonight. Played a 6 player game for the first time. I really like the influence mechanic, the balance between whether to go for a card or money that will help you now versus trying to max out the victory points at the end of the game. The two money areas were the ones that saw the most cubes but one player focused on getting cards in the early game and had all his cubes placed very early. 6 influence cubes seems pretty good, it’s enough that you can try for several territories or focus on just a few but not too many that it becomes overwhelming (no player had more than 3 cubes in a single territory)

    I was really excited to try the new board out with 4 worker placement phases but each season has fewer options to choose from and everyone seems to be going for the same things each phase and if you got stuck going later in the turn order for a few turns you can easily fall behind. Either more options in each phase of maybe taking some of the existing ones and making them usable year round (like the gain $1) such as the new trade spot or the sell 1 wine token. BTW, both those locations are fantastic.

    The new wake up track is better and I agree with a lot of what has been said above about track 6 & 7. Track 7 was popular in the early game but by midgame it was rarely being used. Players would rather pass early in the winter to grab the #2 spot then take track 7 to get #1. I like the idea of changing track 6 to ageing tokens instead of residual but it would weaken that spot early game especially with 6 players. My biggest issue with the new wake up track is how you pick your new spot when you pass in winter. Winter is now more about either doing little to nothing to get a better pick of wake up time or save lots of workers so you can hit all the bonus spots as people pass and remove their pieces. I think I would prefer leaving all the workers out until everyone passes. On a related note, do you remove the temp worker when you remove your pieces or does it stay in place until everyone passes?

    Finally, the patronage cards. I have to say that they seem to have very little effect on any of the games we have played so far. The influence mechanic has a bigger impact on the end of the game than the patronage cards. I think they need to be potentially worth more points but also award partial points. Maybe a variation of the wine order cards like you mentioned but give points for partially filling them as well?

    I hope this hasn’t come across as too negative. Overall I think everyone enjoyed the new stuff in the game, it just needs some tweaks. I’m looking forward to playing again.

    1. Todd: Thanks for your thoughts on these various areas of the game. I’m particularly intrigued by this statement: “everyone seems to be going for the same things each phase [season]”. I must admit that we haven’t experience that at all in our games. I can’t exactly explain why, but there are so many good actions to take in each season, it’s not like everyone was competing for one particular action. I’d like you to keep an eye on that.

      Yeah, the idea that you pick up your workers when you pass in the winter is definitely up for debate. I’ve played it both ways so far. I like the flow of picking up pieces as you pass, but I can see how it may make winter too “easy.” The temporary worker would return to the wake-up track when the player who took him passes.

      I have a redesign of the patronage cards I worked on yesterday thanks to Paul’s comments. I think they’re better, but I need to test them.

      1. This was the first 6 player game we played and I think that is a big part of why it felt so much harder to get certain actions when we needed them. Turn order is more important with 6 as opposed to 5 players and I need to play again with 6 players to see if maybe some of my frustrations from last night were mostly just because of the strategies we employed. I will say that the player that won focused more on going earlier then the bonuses on the tracks. I know that if I had focused a little more on going earlier on a few turns in the midgame then I probably would have been setup better to win. As it was I finished in the middle of the pack around 20 points.

        The new visitor cards are a welcome addition. Last time we played, I think we went through each visitor deck twice so we saw a lot of the cards multiple times. Last night we did go through each deck but not until late in the game. I don’t recall any of the new cards seeming unbalanced but the player that won did have a cottage and played more cards then anyone else. I wonder if with the advanced cards that the bonus space that lets you play a second card might be too powerful. Maybe a different bonus instead? And with the vine, what about when you draw one, you can draw two and keep one? This would help to mitigate the problems when you keep drawing only one color of vine card.

        1. Todd: That’s interesting that the player who went earlier seemed to win more. I think the lack of bonuses on the upper tiers of the wake-up track balances out the advantage of the bonuses that player may get by going first for the most part, but let me know if you don’t think that’s happening. Also make sure that the only player who can choose the #1 wake up time is the player who has the grape token (i.e., the token you get by waking up in the 7th position the previous year). That should prevent the same player from getting the best stuff at the beginning of each year.

          We’ve tried playing with the rule where you draw two/keep one, but it slows down the game too much. As for the visitors, they are powerful, and they make that middle action space quite good. I thought about changing that middle action space, and I’ll still consider it, but I think the addition of the lira bonus as an alternative makes that action work well. Plus, even though it’s strong, I think playing combinations of visitors is a lot of fun for all players–they all know the action is there for the taking.

          1. FInally got another game in tonight. I did not have a chance to print off the new patronage cards so we actually played with out any patronage cards. I played with a different group this time, 4 players, only 1 other had played before. Even with adding all the parts from Tuscany (other than patronage cards) the 2 new players seemed to pick it up quite quickly. This game I focused on going as early as possible each turn and managed to get on track 2 or 3 in nearly every turn. It’s definitely easier to get your vineyard going good (plant/harvest/make wine) when you have early turn order but I had very few visitor cards all game. Now that I’ve played with the new board again, I definitely like the new turn track. The “age grapes” change worked well too. The free residual didn’t feel right.

            After our last game, I had commented that it seemed like everyone was going for the same spot each phase. This game did see a lot more variety in what people were going for and it didn’t feel nearly as bad as the last game. I think maybe that game was just an anomaly. I hope to get another game in during next week so we shall see.

            One thing I have noticed the last few games we played is that players seem to have a lot of money in the later parts of the game. With all the bonus coin spots and visitor cards that give coins, residuals almost seem unimportant now. I wonder if some of those bonus coin spots couldn’t be changed to something else. The property cards also feel unnecessary when there is so many other ways to gain money (other than maybe a quick boost on turn 1).

  76. Played another three player game. One player started again with the Tasting Room and 2 VP. That player pursued the no wine strategy. Another player built both cellars early and focused on filling wine orders. A third player started with the Windmill and focused on planting each turn plus selling wine and dominating Tuscany. The sell wine player ended up winning by scoring 6 points in Tuscany and coming from behind to win. The no wine player is the one who triggered the end of the game and came in second. The wine order player scored a lot in the final round but was fairly far back in third. That being said, the sell wine player got a very lucky start by getting all trellis vines so he could plant every turn without buying irrigation. The no wine player went through about a dozen winter visitors and only got one that gave him VP or else he would have probably won easily.

    I’m certain that the no wine strategy would be less strong with 4 players since it really only works if one can consistently take Track 6. It’s also clearly not unbeatable. However, it reminds me of the starvation strategy in Stone Age. Letting your workers starve in Stone Age is a legit strategy but it rubs many people the wrong way because it seems unthematic and allows one player to ignore a big part of the tension of the game (feeding). This feels similar. It’s kind of boring just grabbing VP and always choosing Track 6. Since Track 6 already gives you everything you need for this strategy (VP, winter visitors, free money) there aren’t too many tough decisions to make in order to pursue this strategy.

    Of course, this is only my third ever game so I may just be bad at efficiently filling wine orders and the simpler no wine strategy seems to work because it’s so easy to grasp.

    Also forgot to mention in my previous post that I really like the extra bonus spaces. I think I’d like to see even more. I like the extra decision making of whether I want an extra lira or an extra action or an extra VP. Also, why do some of the visitor cards use $ and some use the word lira and some use a picture of a lira coin from the game?

  77. Hello, everyone.
    I finally got all my cards printed and cut out this week. I played my first game of Viticulture last night. It was enjoyable, but friendly worker placement games are not something I get too excited about. Today I added Mamas and Papas, Properties, Patronage, Advanced Visitors, and the Extended Board. The complexity of the Extended Board appealed to me quite a bit, as did the variability of the Mamas and Papas and Patronage cards.

    Impressions from one three-player game with new elements:

    Really Liked
    – Extended Wake Up track, it seemed much more of an interesting decision than in the base game
    – Property cards. This expansion initially seemed the least exciting, but I loved being able to get out of a financial hole quickly. All players used it at least once, with different fields being sold for different reasons.
    – Overall layout. It’s not as pretty as the base game, but it is really easy to scan your possible actions for each season.

    Enjoyed: Has Potential
    – Mamas & Papas. I think variable starting positions makes the beginning much more exciting. I would prefer, though, that there were fewer of them, but each one had more personality. One player got the Papa that starts with the Tasting Room. That was interesting and something I would remember many weeks afterward. Getting an extra 2 lira or wine order is meaningful but not memorable. In other words I’d rather have 6-8 distinct mamas and papas than 18 slight variations of one another. Even with only 6-8 different of each you’d still have so many different combos that no two games would be the same.
    – Trade spot. This spot gives the game much more flexibility for innovative play. I’m not totally sure about the ratios yet but I do like having something to spend money on. A big money strategy, with the help of the Tasting Room and the Property cards seems feasible.

    Uncertain
    – Tuscany. I love area control games so I was most excited about this. I did like that it provided a new way to score and some “surprise” points at the end. Ultimately, though, it felt very tacked on and minor. One player jumped in early but that didn’t help much since you don’t score until the end and he ran out of cubes pretty fast. The other players just waited until near the end and grabbed any open spaces and blocked spaces with single cubes. I think it would be better if instead of a one-time reward for placing a cube, whomever has the majority gains a particular ability (like in Alien Frontiers). For instance if you control an area perhaps you get an extra lira at the end of each year. Or you get a discount on all structures. Or you get a VP at the end of every year. Or your wines age two spots instead of one. Or your field capacity is increased by one. The advantages I see to this system are 1) it gives players a reason to commit their cubes early, 2) it connects what you do in Tuscany to what you are doing in the main game, 3) it seems more thematic that being influential in a particular region would give you advantages. Another idea I had would be that the wine orders would act as the way to put cubes in Tuscany. So each wine order would come from a particular area, making the decision of which wine order to fill more strategic than just which is worth the most.
    – Patronage. Suburbia seems like a great game, but I don’t enjoy it purely because of the hidden bonuses. They seem so random and unconnected to the game. I felt something similar here. I certainly like the idea of hidden points and goals, but they currently seem uninteresting and unthematic. Why do you get a point for having the fewest workers? I can understand the fame associated with having a high residual score, but you are already being rewarded for that, why do you need a VP on top of it? One player might get an “interactive” goal that no one else has while other players might be competing for the same goal. It’s a very simple mechanism (pass out cards at the beginning) so it might be worth keeping despite any problems, but it didn’t add much enjoyment for me. Combined with Tuscany the game starts to veer toward the feeling that rather than playing a game about making wine you are playing a game about victory points with a wine theme. Rather than simply add new ways to get VP I’d like to see everything absorbed into the main thematic flow of the game. For instance if there was a mechanism that made sparkling wines more valuable in a particular year, that would be interesting to me because it would tie into the main theme rather than just being a random task to complete. For example one goal is to have the most vines in one field. As a hidden goal this isn’t very interesting because, depending on the other players and your cards, you may accomplish this without even trying or it may be impossible. However, if a card is flipped and it says that for the next three years grapes from fields with at least three vines are worth +2, then that would be basically the same idea but would fit more smoothly into the theme and main gameplay.

    Concerns
    – Track 6. The player that got the Papa with the Tasting Room and +1 VP to start focused as much as possible on Track 6. He also had the Patronage card for fewest structures and at least 4 Residual. He won easily without filling a single wine order. By using the tours, the early residual money, and selling his property he was rolling in money which he then traded for VP on the Trade space. Track 6 also granted a free Winter visitor card each round, which he was able to use for more easy VP (Advanced Professor and Advanced Assessor). Admittedly the other two players didn’t block him much, but that was because their goals and starting positions encouraged wine production. If we compare Track 6 to Track 7, I think there are many situations in which Track 6 is preferred. An extra worker should normally be better than one VP. Draw any card is strictly better than draw a winter visitor. Being forced to go first with no bonuses next round, however, is frequently worse than a free residual advancement. And since other players frequently took Track 7 for the extra worker, the player on Track 6 rarely had to go last. It’s situational, but concerning.

    Questions
    The Advanced Teacher and Advanced Uncertified Teacher say to “gain” a worker. Since other cards say to “train” a worker, I assume that when you gain a worker you can then immediately place it that round unlike when you train a worker. The winning player in my game was able to play both of these cards on the same turn and suddenly had two extra workers.

    1. Paul: You have lots of great thoughts here–thanks for playtesting Tuscany this weekend.

      I’ve actually been worried about that $1 residual spot on the wake-up track too (I use the $ sign instead of lira in places just because it’s easier to insert and edit. It’ll all be lira in the final game). We haven’t seen someone abuse that strategy as well as your friend did because there was always a fair amount of competition over that space, but I would like to try to switch it out with the alternative we tested: the words “age grapes”.When the 6th-level player passes into the winter, he may immediately age grapes. Thus it encourages that player to actually have grapes in order to age them, and if that player is ignoring grapes/wine, they’re losing out on a valuable bonus. That player would age grapes a second time when he passes at the end of the year.

      Those are some interesting thoughts about Influence (you wrote “Tuscany,” and at first I was like, the entire game?! :) ). I’m intrigued by the ongoing bonus idea, but I’m wary of having lots of things to keep track of and remember. The idea behind influence is you’re sending a worker out to various regions of Tuscany to do a task (collect an order, get some money, etc) and make some friends along the way. It’s good in the early game and good in the late game. It’s new to all playtesters, so I’d like to hear some other thoughts on this. I will say that we’ve only tested it with 5 cubes per player, but I increased it to 6 for blind playtesting. Perhaps 5 was the right number.

      This statement resonated with me, and it’s something I definitely want to be aware, particularly with the patronage cards: “The game starts to veer toward the feeling that rather than playing a game about making wine you are playing a game about victory points with a wine theme.” So, I think the idea of some sort of hidden information/goals is a good thing–I’m not set on the way we’re currently doing it, though. My vision for the patronage cards is they represent people that come to you and say, “Hey, I’d like to see you do this thing. If you do, I’m going to make you famous,” with the idea being that you have an overarching goal to keep an eye on from turn one. I think Lords of Waterdeep does this really well.

      Those advanced cards should indeed say “train.” Good catch!

      As for the bonus action spaces, I’m open to it, but the key is that I don’t want to devalue the existing bonuses too much (hence their calculated placement so far.). You’ll see a few more of them on side 2 of the board.

      1. I do think the big issue with Track 6 is the residual bonus. Even just thematically it seems that reward should be preserved for winemakers, but your age grape idea would not only encourage the no wine player to at least have some grapes, it would also give wine makers a reason to take the track.

        Influence is valuable early since you can get resources to invest in your vineyard, but once you’ve taken the bonus influence space twice you are pretty much done with that part of the game. Other players totally ignore that part of the game until the end and then steal a few points or block the leader. It’s not even close to the level of interactivity as the rest of the game. And while your thematic explanation makes sense, the fact is you are putting cubes on a separate map that never move once placed so it just feels tacked on even if you have a logical explanation for it. I liked a previous poster’s idea of a starting spot on the map being connected to the Mamas and Papas. Or if the workers “moved” on the map (like in Village) so that which path you took made a difference, that would be interesting. Anything to make it come alive so that it’s not just a space where you get some extra resources and are done with it.

        I played my second game without Patronage and enjoyed it more. The Patronage cards just seem like a distraction. The Waterdeep bonuses are okay. You get points for doing something you would normally do anyway so they don’t encourage random or counterintuitive strategies. I’m not sure they add much fun to the game but you are right they are implemented smoothly. If the Patronage cards could at least achieve that level of integration it would certainly be an improvement. Some sort of “special wine order” card might be interesting.

    2. What if Patronage cards were glorified wine/grape orders that you fulfill at the end of the game, and you get bonus points if you meet a certain requirement (i.e., 4 workers or less)? Thematically they would represent rich patrons who have very specific tastes in wine, and they want to test your talents as winemakers by adding that additional requirement (if you dare to oblige). By keeping it focused on wine, it’s a big incentive for all players to incorporate winemaking into their strategy in some way.

  78. Lots of messages there that I haven’t had time to read so sorry if this has been addressed, but: Can you play (and should we be testing) with the individual elements separately or do you have to have (e.g.) the mamas and papas in before you can use the larger board…

    1. Nathan: each new element to the expansion pack should be tested with all other new elements. However, please add them to Viticulture one at a time, not all at once. The expansion pack will be tiered in that players will start with one element and add another after a few plays, and so on. Thus you’ll start by adding mamas and papas, then property cards, and so on (see list at the top of the page).

      Of course, I can’t stop you from jumping in and using the extended board if that’s what you want to do–just make sure to note that in the comments.

  79. Momma & Papa Question: I mentioned this to Jamey on BGG and he asked me to post it here to see what others thought of the idea. To enhance the theme of inheriting a small vineyard I suggested that the M&P cards be modified to include one cube in the Tuscany region. Players would receive the bonus for the region as part of their starting items.

    To me, this does a few things:
    1) It further rounds out the theme. Not only did your parents leave you goods, but they left you a small vineyard too. Having a location at the start helps to drive home where your property is. Since most or all of the Tuscany bonuses are already represented on the M&P cards, it shouldn’t be too hard to modify.
    2) Starting with a cube in place would seem to help incorporate the Tuscany region into the game and make it feel less like a tacked on mechanic. If players already have a majority it is more likely they will fight to keep it. As is, it is very possible to play the game and never use the Tuscany map. This simple modification minimizes the likelihood of that occuring, all while not sacrificing theme or player choices.
    3) I’m not sure how much of an issue the 1VP vs 2VP areas would effect the game. Since those points aren’t granted until the end of the game there is still lots of time to change majority, so my gut feels like there shouldn’t be much of a difference. The biggest question is if a single cube in place is enough of a deterrent to stop other players from entering your starting region (that would be bad).
    4) Knowing that there is a 0.5 Lira rounding issue in the value of M&P cards that others have mentioned, would the use of the 2VP areas and 1VP areas be a decent way to rebalance this rounding issue?
    5) One issue with doing this is that it complicates the use of the M&P cards without using the Extended Board. I know Jamey has mentioned that ideally he would like each mini-expansion to be a stand alone item. Still, given that this would tie in the theme so well, I think there may be a way to denote the bonuses on the cards with the use of symbols. While I can’t use symbols on here, here is a basic way to do it. Likely you would want to work with the wording so it is clear that if you weren’t using Tuscany you still get the bonus (to keep the card balanced), but if everyone who has the M&P cards already has the Tuscany rules (they came in the same box) they should know what the cards are referring to.

    **************************
    * Papa #99 *
    * *
    * Grande Worker *
    * Irrigation *
    * 4 (Lira symbol) *
    * 1 (Card symbol) *
    * *
    * Tuscany Bonus *
    * (Cube) in Siena (+$1)*
    **************************

    One other thought is if the M&P cards are having such an issue with balancing, should they not be separate decks? They would be easier to balance if one card just held the M&P items together as there would be less likelihood of pairing up two weaker or two stronger parents.

    Let me know what your thoughts are on these items.

    1. One other item on the Tuscany idea: Having a starting region makes it so that growth into other regions of Tuscany thematically represents the growth of the reputation of your vineyards around the area, so I think this once again helps to drive home the theme.

  80. I’m not sure why there is a thematic resistance to choosing a Papa & Mama by drafting them. I know thematically, you can’t choose your parents, but you should be able to choose which household you will play from the village (i.e. by choosing the Papa from the draft pool) and then choose a wife (i.e. a Mama) that he marries. Seems like a perfectly good thematic explanation for what is happening.

    1. For me, I prefer the theme of inheriting a small piece of property from your parents. As with life, it is luck of the draw. As long as the cards are balanced it shouldn’t matter much. Being able to pick your family (Papa card) and wife (Momma card) seems a little too forced for a theme. I understand it from a game strategy factor, but I think it solves a problem that can be solved better by balancing the cards.

  81. Hi Jamey,

    We tried a 2 player version of Viticulture with just Mama and Papa’s added in. This is from the 14th January changeset.

    I got Mama 12, Papa 3:1 summer visitor, 2 wine orders, 4 lira, yoke
    Helena got Mama 8 and Papa 4: 1 vine card, 2 summer visitors, 2 lira, medium cellar

    I think the combination I had unbalanced it in my favour, but if this translates to more than two player is yet to be seen.

    I had liquid capital and two wine orders I could focus on (luckily one that didn’t require a cellar). My starting hand allowed me to plan ahead and was effectively driven by me rather than the cards. I was producing grapes on the first year.

    Helena meanwhile had little money, had to focus on getting money (to be able to plant anything as all her vines needed irrigation) and couldn’t focus on planning ahead and took longer to get an ‘engine’ going and didn’t manage to get grapes until the second year.

    While thematically getting no choice in your parents works, I think from a gameplay point of view a draft would be better. Could you be siblings splitting up an inheritance?

    We’ll be trying the patronage cards next as soon as we can get Viticulture to the table at our weekly meet for both a first play through and then for the expansions.

    1. Jen (and Val): I could probably be convinced on the mama and papa drafting. For me, it’s almost not as much about the theme there as it is the idea that it’s actually good if some elements of the game are stationary. It forces you to not try the same thing every game. It gets people out of pre-occupied notions they may have about how the game works–for example, people may end up taking papas that give them more money even though it’s actually more efficient to take papas that include structures because you don’t have to place a worker to build a structure. By removing that choice from players at the beginning of the game when everything else is a level playing field, it actually leads to more interesting and varied decisions later on.

      We’ll see. I still lean towards it being an official variant. :)

  82. Please note, this is before play testing, so please feel free to ignore this comment. I am interested in someone’s input.

    A little bit of history. When playing Viticulture in the past I have often opted for a game where I make no wine and fill no orders, opting to make VP from selling grapes (bonus); taking tours (with tasting room); waking up late on space 6; and planting vines (windmill and yoke). Games are usually really close between this strategy and filling orders but filling orders usually pays off due to the residual money generated.

    With the property cards and the extended board I see a potential problem (although I will reiterate that I haven’t had a chance to test it yet). There’s now the option to make victory points from selling the fields (bonus); you can then re-buy the fields also getting the bonus for the exact same cost that you sold them for; you get residual money when waking up in 6 (something that wine order filling did better than being a lazy tour guide), and you can use money to trade for victory points (you end up with quite a lot of money when just doing tours).

    I guess the main issues I see are that the buy and sell price of the property cards is the same and the residual money being a positive of filling orders. Again, not tested this, I am looking to see if anyone else has seen this, tested this or if there are reasons behind the decisions. Also very aware that filling no wine orders is perhaps not the correct way to play this game…

    Also if I have understood any of the rules incorrectly I do apologise.

    Regards

    James

    1. James: These are some great points and questions. This is a lot of what we’re addressing in Tuscany.

      So, there are LOTS of paths to victory in Tuscany. Way more than in standard Viticulture. There are more ways to get points without making wine too. But the key is that the game still encourages players to make wine–in fact, it encourages them more than before due to many of the visitor cards and the new “sell 1 wine token” action. Building an engine that produces wine in some way is more lucrative than getting a lot of little points here and there. Also, another key to that is the extended board goes to 25. That extra 5 points makes a big difference.

      That said, we want people to push that strategy and try to win over players who build a wine engine. We’ve tried it, but I haven’t seen any player win from it yet. And honestly, I’m fine if a player can *sometimes* win by not making wine if he draws the right visitor cards. But in general I want players to at least make some wine to have a chance at winning.

      I’ve tested the property cards a ton, and what I found is that players hardly ever flipped them back. There’s really no reason to–there are better ways to get the 1 VP you might get by using the flip action. Players usually flip one or two fields early in the game, and that defines the look of their vineyard for the rest of the game. I think that’s fine, as long as they still have the option to get those fields back, which they do. But I bet I could make the cost even lower and they would rarely be flipped.

  83. “End-of-Year: When you pass out of the winter, you immediately (a) chose your spring wake-up time and (b) do the things represented by the circles below the wake-up chart. That means you’ll retrieve your workers while other players may still have workers to place in the winter.”

    Does this mean that other players can place their remaining workers in the spots vacated by your retrievals? Logically yes, but it would be a pain if it was no and we had to “remember” which spots were still unavailable…

    1. Russell: Absolutely. Any open action spaces are available to players with remaining workers. Good question, and I added a note to clarify it.

  84. Jamey, can you take a look at the advanced visitor card file? For some reason when I open it there are no pictures, which I would expect for play testing. The bigger issue is that when I open the file the card templates seem to be overlapped and a lot of the cards are blank (just an orange outline).

    1. Thanks Thomas. Some of the files can’t be viewed online–they have to be downloaded. That might be the case here. If you’re downloading and printing stuff right now, could you wait about an hour? I’m working on a big update right now.

      1. With the new Summer-to-Fall transition on cards being tied to wake up position, does this now mean that any player with a cottage will have to take their second card of the shown color (blue image means you get 2 blue cards) or no cards if your space is blank? I’m assuming this is what is intended, but I want to be sure.

        1. Thomas: Sure, there’s a note about that in the “existing structures” bullet point. Does it need to be clarified? Thanks!

          1. The note is there, but it currently reads “it activates when you pass into the fall, even if you would not draw a visitor card from the wake-up track”. Based on this I would read it as you get at least one card no matter what the wake-up track states, and in many locations you get two (wake-up track one plus your cottage bonus). If this is correct than just to clarify it further, is the cottage bonus card always the player’s choice of type or if they wake-up track shows a color do they have to follow it?

          2. Ah, I see. How about this: “The cottage activates when you pass into the fall, even if you would not draw a visitor card from the wake-up track (the cottage lets you draw a summer or winter visitor in the fall–it’s your choice of which one, regardless of the card you might draw from the wake-up track).”

      2. Before I print out the new visitor cards… I wanted to make sure they are not supposed to have any artwork. I’ve downloaded the PDF… and it looks like artwork displays for a split second, but then disappears.

  85. Well, I was ready to post a bit of feedback on a few games with the Mommas & Poppas and the Patronage cards that we completed over the last week, but now I see the version I had has been replaced. Therefore most of my thoughts are out of date. Luckily I have 3 more gaming sessions with it scheduled over the next two weeks to provide 2-player, 3-player and 5-player feedback.

    Here are some general thoughts about the expansions that aren’t specific to the old or new versions:

    – The Mommas & Poppas are our favorite addition so far. The people I have playing this have all played the game minimally 3 times prior to these tests, and in some cases 8-10 times. The second most common complaint prior to this testing has been that the opening moves are always very scripted with the first two players taking the money and building a building in either order. Every player was glad to see that while these two actions were still extremely popular early in the game, the different starting “gifts” did lead to players opening moves being very different. I had never seen a planting action or getting a vine card be the first action before. This led people to be a little happier with the beginning of the game. Well, except for one person who started with the most money and still used a Grande worker to take the extra money with the opening move that upset a few players. I regularly hear in many reviews that “scripted moves” is one of the biggest killers of the longevity of a game, and I tend to agree with this view. For me, if the overall goal is to improve the longevity, force players to try different build strategies, and introduce a slight bit more randomness, than this expansion does it well. I will reserve comment on specific cars until I print the updated ones later this week. (**By the way, the most common complaint has been the power/luck of visitor cards, which I am looking forward to testing the new versions of to hopefully solve this.**)

    – As many have stated, the older Patronage cards didn’t typically work well as most ended in ties. There were a few who didn’t like them as they felt they worked against their chosen build strategies in the game. Still, these same people found later that after choosing to ignore them early in the game, they were making moves late in the game to stretch for them anyway. I feel with their small value 1-3 points, they really aren’t that important, at least not to the level some of my players complained about them. They added some flavor and served to basically replace the normal Lira tie breaker. We will retry this later in the week with the new version of the cards.

    – We aren’t sure if it is just luck or a factor of player strategies, but in our games the players who received buildings as part of their starting sets ended up in the last places of our games. This seemed counter intuitive as everyone was thinking it was too strong of a benefit at the beginning. With only 2 plays with the cards, this may just be a coincidence. In both games it was the people who received a victory point who won, with both stating that by having that cushion they were more inclined to use those extra VPs as currency on visitor cars for building or production bonuses that they may not have done without having the “freebies”.

    As I stated, I will give you more feedback when I play the newer versions and the advanced visitors.

    1. Thomas: Thanks for your feedback. It sounds like the mamas and papas are accomplishing their goal for you all–give players different priorities early on in the game. That’s an interesting observation about the structures, and I’m curious to see how that plays out with the new papas.

  86. I’ve taken a look at the updated mamas and papas and have a few comments for them:

    1) I don’t like that so many of the cards give you VPs. The reason for this is that it’ll make the game last fewer turns and I think that a game running few years gives you less chance to feel that you’re building up a vineyard and it gives you less time to age wine, which to me is important both thematically and to keep strategies that use expensive wines somewhat viable.

    2) From the perspective of an armchair quarterback starting with a windmill seems very powerful, and perhaps the same goes for the tasting room. I’m also concerned that cards like these dictate your strategy to a large extent.

    3) Comparing papas 7 and 14 we can see that the value of VPs are set at 2 Lira each, but if we compare papas 16, 17 and 18 we can see that VPs are valued at 1 Lira each.

  87. Played tonight with all the new stuff (including Capacity cards). We have only played Viticulture a few times so far and this was the first with the advanced visitors. Our 5 player game went 6 years and ended up very tight. First place ended up at 26 points and last place was at 18. The player that ended up winning actually did so without ever filling a single WIne Order card. Using cards like Handyman and Guest Speakers early on to take a big lead then building a windmill and a tasting room. It doesn’t feel very thematic to be able to win that way but I do like the fact that there are multiple paths to victory.
    The Capacity cards were not much of a factor. Early game no one seemed to have extra cash to increase capacity when they trained a worker. The player that won did reduce his capacity on the last few turns for a few extra points though, which probably gave him the game. Having a smaller hand size (4 as opposed to 7 normally) doesn’t feel like that much of a hindrance but raising your capacity will give you another way of getting VP in the late game.
    The new Patronage cards are a lot better. Last game we played with the old ones, no one got any points from them as there was always a tie for each goal. Several people got points off them this time around. Have you given any thought to having goals with the fewest of something? (fewest workers, fewest vines,etc)
    Advanced Visitors have a much bigger impact on the game then the regular ones do. Maybe too much so. We will have to play a few more times to see how they affect the game now that we know what they can do. With that said, I do like them a lot more then the standard ones.
    The Mamas and Papas cards (at least the ones we used tonight) seem a little more balanced but I’m still not sure if extra money at the start is too powerful. In the last two games we have played, the player that started with the most money has won. We did have one player who started with the tasting room but I don’t think its too strong (as noted above). That player ended up second last and he gained VP from the tasting room every year.

    1. Todd: Thanks for your feedback! It’s interesting to see you say the converse of what Michael said about the buildings/money.

      Capacity was partially introduced to combat the more powerful advanced visitor cards–did you see that factor in at all?

      I really like your idea of having a patronage card with “fewer” as a goal. I think that might work better for certain elements that are inherently better to get. More vines aren’t inherently better, but more workers and more buildings are. Very clever. Let’s try out that version.

      1. In our game, no one went above 4 capacity so every year there was at least one person discarding cards. If you don’t increase capacity then keeping the good cards for several turns to maximize their benefit is a lot harder, so I guess that does help in that regard. If you had the cottage (which no one built in our game), then capacity would be a lot more important. I’m anxious to play again and see how all these things work now that we have played them once and have a feel for how everything works. I will let you know…

        1. Todd: Thanks for your feedback. I played Tuscany last night–my fourth time playing with capacity, and I came to a few realizations. The first was that capacity shouldn’t cost anything to adjust–the “cost” is using a worker to adjust capacity. And the second realization is that I’m not sure that it’s relevant enough to remain in the game. :)

          1. I had thought about whether the 2 Lira cost might be the main reason why no one increased capacity in our game but I don’t like the idea of it being a free upgrade when you train a worker. Why wouldn’t everyone then max out their workforce to max out capacity for free and then in the late game you have more workers to use to spend capacity for VP. What if you gained 1 capacity when you used the “gain 1 Lira” space? That space seems underused in our games and there is no limit to how many workers can go there.

            I actually like the idea of being able to spend a worker to reduce capacity and gain a VP. Multiple paths to victory is never a bad thing. It’s just the first part of the equation (how to gain capacity) that maybe needs tweaking so that its not a guaranteed path to victory.

          2. We had the same problem – almost no one increased capacity, because we all felt like it was useless. I increased exactly one time, because I had a great hand and I wanted some breathing room. Everyone else felt like there were better ways to spend their money.

            Why not kill the 2 lira fee and make the space an OR action? Train a worker OR adjust capacity – leave the bonus for decreasing, since that gives incentive to do it…

          3. Those are good ideas. You’re welcome to test them if you’d like, but I think I have something a little more interesting in mind. It’ll add another path to victory and give players something to do in the early game–those are two requirements I’m looking for in all of these additions. I’ll follow up about this soon.

  88. Michael: Thanks for your comments. Out of curiosity, were you playing with the current batch of mamas and papas? I rebalanced them, but the tasting room is still there.

    For the contractor and any visitor where you have multiple actions, you can take them in any order.

    Good point about the patronage wording.

    The Jack of All Trades retains the same exact meaning as before. But we are changing the wording for the advanced version of him.

    In terms of theme, I was thinking that capacity could refer to the size of your house and how much room you have there for visitors, seeds, and the various orders you’re getting. Originally I thought about breaking it down by card to make it a thematic as possible, but I think that would feel even more gamey.

    1. Yes, we were playing with the current version of the Mamas and Papas. I had Papa #7, which gave me a grande worker, a tasting room and a VP. At the very least, I don’t think it needs the VP. This might just be a 2-player issue, though.

  89. My wife and I played two more games of Viticulture with the Tuscany expansion over the weekend (two-player games). Some thoughts:

    – We definitely had less fun in these games (games 2 and 3) than we did in game 1 a few days earlier. This was mainly because I ran away with both of these games, whereas game 1 was a tight game.
    – The problem in game 2 was largely that my papa (#7) let me start with the Tasting Room, which was hugely important for my dominant victory. I took money and a point every single turn. Yes, my wife could have blocked me, but she had better things to do for her own strategy. Starting with a Tasting Room seemed way too strong, especially since it also came with a victory point.
    – Clarification question: With the Contractor, is there a specific order you have to take your chosen actions in? This matters because if I choose to build a structure and plant a vine, do I get a victory point for the vine if the structure I build is the Windmill?
    – The Patronage cards that refer to “buildings” should probably refer instead to “structures” for consistency with the other cards.
    – With Jack of All Trades, should his “crush grapes into one type of wine” option be edited to match the new “make wine” rules? I assume so, but I wasn’t sure; perhaps it’s only intended to allow the player to make a single wine token.

    As for the capacity card proposal, I don’t think I’ll get a chance to actually play it (we’re kind of Viticultured out right now), but my first thought is that it feels like a good mechanic to address an end-game problem… but I’m not sure how it fits into the theme. What does increasing your capacity represent in vineyard management? It feels very “gamey” which is something to be careful of with such a thematic game as Viticulture.

  90. Jamey: I’d agree that changing the Advanced Landscaper isn’t strictly necessary – especially on the card – but I think enough people will either play it incorrectly, or wonder about it, that it should probably be mentioned somewhere specifically. Like in an F.A.Q. section, or in the rules about planting vines. It’s similar to the Wedding Party card question (which seems like it can swing a lot in power). Perhaps that should be a direct, once off, give another player 2 Lira for 1 VP? Or up to two players? I’d imagine the potential of getting 5VPs out of a single card play (if you’re playing 6 players) in the end game to be quite devastating, especially if you can combine it with a fulfilled wine order.

    With the Advanced Merchant – how many wine order cards are going to utilize a level one or two (with a year’s age) wine? You still need to go through that whole process to get another grape to make another wine token of decent enough quality to fulfill an order. I suspect that it’s too weak an effect to be worthwhile to spend a worker to enact and will only be useful in fairly rare circumstances or in the late game when you need an extra grape to create blush or sparkling wines.

    Finally, with the A U Oenologist, I agree that 1VP for a 6L cellar is a pretty good deal, but so is a 6L cellar for 3L. At that stage of the game, you’ll have an easier time spending and recovering Lira (which matter little) than VPs (which matter alot). The full cost of a large cellar should equate to 2VP – pricing the card at 1VP is the discount.

    1. Val: I like that idea for the Wedding Party. It is mentioned in the back of the new rules (maybe the old rules too), but I’d prefer people to not have to refer to the rules for individual cards.

      For the Advanced Merchant, I think we’ll have to see if it’s used when players are testing the game. If it’s not used much, we’ll cut it.

      Good call on the A U Oenologist!

  91. Some notes/questions on the Advanced Visitor cards:
    Summer:
    Advanced Landscaper – Can you go above the field max when switching?
    Uncertified Architect – I assume the building made is for free, although it should state this in the text. Otherwise it may be mistaken for a free build action where the cost must still be paid.
    Horticulturist – The wording feels a little wonky – I think it should be “even if you don’t have the required structure(s)” as opposed to “the structure(s) required.” Both ways are grammatically correct, but the current wording sounds odd in comparison.
    Wedding Party – This is somewhat unclear – can I only play this if I can afford to give each player 2 Lira? Can I make a partial payment and gain a VP for each person I did pay? Perhaps it would be more clear to say something like: You may give any other player(s) 2 Lira each. Gain 1 VP for each player that received 2 Lira.
    Winter:
    Merchant – The first part of this card seems awfully weak – a value 1 grape on each crush pad would be a little better for the cost.
    Uncertified Oenologist – The cost for upgrading seems a bit harsh (especially in comparison with Oenologist – 2VPs vs 3 Lira) I think you should lose 1VP rather.
    Uncertified Teacher & Advanced Professor– What does ‘permanently’ mean? Do you return them to the game box? Or can they be retrained? For the sake of clarity, I’d suggest saying “remove one of your unused workers from the game” or “Return one of your unused workers to the School/Training Pool.”

    I think Caravan would be easier to have a player draw one card from each stack, keep two and discard two of those, but the current version is fine as well (and I can see how it adds a different dynamic). The issue being is that you’re creating the likelihood of a bad card being exposed which then someone will need to bite the bullet in order to draw or the stack falls into disuse (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it should be accounted for).

    1. Val: thanks for looking over the visitors. I’ll address your questions below (questions like these are very helpful because they help me realize that the cards aren’t written as well as they should. They should get to the point where there’e no confusion at all on any of them).

      –Advanced Landscaper: No, they can’t. This is one that I’m not sure needs to be noted. The cards are all consistent in that they don’t let you break the rules of the game unless they specifically say otherwise.

      –Wedding Party: People do ask about this one a fair amount, although it says in the rules you must be able to fully perform a card to play it. In this case, if you can’t give each other player $2, you can’t play the card at all.

      –Advanced Merchant: Well, consider this. To get a grape, you have to draw a vine card, make a structure (usually), plant the vine, then harvest it. The Merchant lets you do all of that without any of the work. Granted, you only get it once, but that’s the point of the card–it’s an early game boost to greatly accelerate what you need to get a wine order. What do other people think about this one?

      –Advanced Uncertified Oenologist: I go back and forth on this one! It’s tough. The Oenologist costs $3 to do the same thing. My concern is that 1 VP for a $6 large cellar is a huge steal. But it is consistent with the Oenologist. I’ll change it.

      –Teacher/Professor: Yeah, you lose the worker for good. I’ll change the wording.

  92. Agricola has a very different draft and even experienced players may choose not to use it because it takes a lot of time. In it, each person has their own hand of cards – which means each person must individually read and process all the cards from each set as they get them, and remember what else is out there that may come back to them – that’s using a lot of brain power! And the cards are not nearly as formulaic and similar as the Mama and Papa cards.

    Putting cards in a communal draft that everyone can see means that everyone processes all the cards simultaneously. Also, you’re only focused on how Mama cards combine with Papa cards – not with how every card combines with every other card (and their strategies). The pool size of cards to select is also much, much smaller.

    Jamey has pointed out that Tuscany is for more advanced players, and I’d wager that advanced players would prefer to play this as a draft, rather than a random luck draw – which seems to be geared more towards starting players (and I think the drawing method would work very well at that). I can’t imagine that it would add too much more to play time. It certainly would provide much more strategic bang-for-your-buck for that extra minute or two of added time.

  93. Val & Jamey, we do the same thing with Agricola. For new players, no draft. For experienced players, we have a draft. The draft adds extra time to the game (& processing power), but with only 2 cards to draft, this makes a lot of sense for V. Though I personally love the web app that tells what each color gets.

    Jamey, we played it a couple times over the holidays. Again, lots of new converts. Folks who had never played a worker placement game loved it! We did not play with the new advanced visitors, patronage or properties, yet. Been saving it for non-new players. I’m most excited about the patronage cards because almost all of our games (8 out of 11) end with 1 or 2 players getting 25 points. The last game we played my fiancé played two summer visitor cards that gave her 8 points. Crazy way to jump from 17 to 25 in one action. These seemingly random/lucky visitor card combos can take away from a well-played game. It’s why I always go for a Cottage in games with 5+ players – the good cards will get cycled the most often and it can often make the difference in a game. Again, these differences in starting scenarios often get muted by the cards drawn throughout the game.

    I’m excited about the patronage cards because often us players with 25 points don’t have any “wasted” grapes or wines left in our vinyard. This gives players a reason to have some more in stock. Similarly, I’ve seen a few games come down to players not getting useful wine order cards near the end when they have plenty of wine to sell. I’ve often wondered if a “You can always fill a wine order for a single wine for 1 VP” or adding “by requiring discarding of an unfilled wine order card” would ever make sense? Now the Fill Wine Order space gets very crowded at the end of the game (just as build one structure does early on), so this may not make work especially since the 3 winter visitor cards that allow for filling wine orders can often decide the game. Just thinking out loud, but maybe this could be another option for the day-laborer summer/winter space – instead have it be a grey market? I’m hoping the patronage cards will give reasons for those who are clearly not going to win in the last year to collect additional cards/grapes/wines/lira. Otherwise they often resign when there are no more ways to collect points and just put all their workers out to collect 1 lira each for help usually since all of the winter spaces are filled.

    I’ll try to withhold more suggestions until actually playing these additional expansions. :-) But lastly, what of the Agriculture expansion that came with the Kickstarter version (morale & fruit – I forgot the name)? I’ve read it and it seems fun, but haven’t got it out since pushing 2nd Ed rules and Tuscany expansion.

    PS. Every time I log in to post here, it takes an impossibly LONG time to do so using G+ (ie. it never stops with the “Connecting to X” bar below). I use various browsers on a Mac and can only post here using Safari.

    1. Kaleb: I definitely agree with your assessment of the visitors, so I’m hoping the new visitors will address that issue.

      You also touch upon my intent for the patronage cards–I want them to give people something to do late in the game if they’ve already done all the other stuff they can do.

      The Arboriculture expansion will become one of the lower tiers in the box. Some big stuff happens in the 8th tier and beyond (currently Arboriculture is the 9th tier).

  94. Hi Jamey,

    I haven’t had a chance to get things printed off or try the game, but reading the feedback here on the Mama and Papa cards gave me an idea. Since getting Mama and Papa cards only occur during setup – would it be possible/desirable to draft them instead of getting them randomly?

    (I.e. Draw one Mama and one Papa card for each player, but place them face-up on the table. Starting with the starting player and going clockwise around the table, each player selects and takes one Mama card. Then, in reverse order, each player selects and take one Papa card.)

    This would help with two issues:
    (1) If someone gets a crazy combination that happens to lead to a great start, it because they made a good choice and the other players let them get it.

    (2) It really helps you evaluate what players think is valuable (i.e. what get’s taken first more often), and, eventually, it helps you evaluate what is the most powerful (as experienced players will choose and test out some of the roles repeatedly).

    It would also be interesting to see how this combines with timing on the Patronage cards – if you get the Patronage card first, you can choose a Mama and Papa that is best suited towards one/both of those goals.

    Allowing players room to create synergy between their cards and their strategies is usually a good thing for a game.

    Hope these thoughts help.

    1. Val: Absolutely, that’s a great idea. I think what I’m going to do is offer an official variant for drafting/selecting mamas and papas. I say that instead of making it the official rules is the connection to theme–in real life you don’t select your parents. I think many players will enjoy the puzzle of working with mamas and papas that push them in directions they’re not used to, while others will want a choice at the beginning of the game and will enjoy the draft.

      1. Actually, I think drawing one more Mama and Papa card than the number of players might be even better, as it still gives the last player to draw a card a choice.

  95. My wife and I played a two-player game of Viticulture with all of the expansions and new rules, Generally, we loved it. The Grande Worker is great. I was a little leery of the Mamas/Papas starting setup, but having tried it I enjoyed it.

    Let me first say that my wife and I tied at 25 points at the end of the game, and I won on the lira tiebreaker (something crazy like 14 to 0). The fact that we tied even though, as you’ll see, we followed very different paths in the game is a very good sign in my opinion.

    My wife started with two workers plus the Grande, plus 2 victory points and 2 lira and I believe a wine order and a vine. I started with only 1 worker plus the Grande, but with 5 lira and an irrigation plus a wine order and a vine. The first extra vine I drew was a good one that required irrigation, thankfully; had it been another little one, I would have been annoyed. But it turned out fine this time.

    The property cards worked well. I planted my middle field and sold my small field very early in the game, and my wife never sold any fields (she had planted all three by the end). I actually never used the large field (I put one small vine there but only ever harvested the middle field), but that was okay. I never considered un-mortgaging the field I sold, and I suppose I should have sold the big one instead (and I probably would do so next time if I had a similar setup).

    The patronage cards added something really nice to the game. Mine rewarded me for having the most unsold wine and for having 5 vines planted. I accomplished neither of these; as we moved toward the end game, I just raced for other victory points. My wife on the other hand achieved both of her patronage goals, which I believe included uncrushed grapes and three different planted fields. Again, different paths to the same number of victory points – excellent.

    We also different on our visitor approach. She built the cottage early and was using visitors all the time; I used far fewer.

    As for the visitors themselves, we played with just the visitors in the playtest PDF. We went through most of both decks. For the most part, we were pretty happy with all of the cards, but there were some whose balance we questioned:
    – I had both the Architect (build at $3 discount) and the Blacksmith (build at $2 discount); this seemed strange to have the first choice on these two summer visitor cards set up so that one is strictly superior to the other. It felt like they should offer the same discount.
    – I also had both the Wine Critic (discard a 6 or better wine for 3 VP) and the Judge (discard 2 wines of 4 or better for 2 VP); the Wine Critic seemed WAY better in play. Having one spare wine of 6 or better seemed easier than two spare wines of 4 or better, and yet it was worth more points. Maybe bump the Judge to 3 VP as well. Also, the Judge’s “draw 2 winter visitors” ability feels weak (spending a winter visitor and an action to get 2 winter visitors feels like a lousy trade). Is the Judge just supposed to be bad for thematic reasons, maybe?
    – While these cards didn’t come up in our game, I’m confused about the Tour Guide and Novice Guide. What does it mean for a summer visitor card to tell you to give a tour? Do you have to put another worker on the tour spot? What if it’s full? Or is “give a tour” just flavor that describes what your summer visitor worker is doing?
    – The first ability on the Benefactor (draw 1 vine and 1 summer visitor) feels bad like the Judge’s “draw 2 winter visitors” ability.

    For what it’s worth, I did have a silly amount of lira left over at the end of our game (14). I just happened to end up on a run in the final two years that resulted in a lot of money without any spare actions to spend it on. I had my victory path in hand and needed to just execute on it. This was in part because I was at the 3 lira residual level and in part because I had the tasting room, so I was continually giving tours for a VP. I believe one of my final round visitors gave me some incidental money. I didn’t mind this, but I mention it because this is one of the stated goals of the property cards; I only really made use of one field, so I never needed to flip back the one I sold (and I certainly didn’t have a spare action for it).

    Tuscany feels like a great next step in Viticulture’s evolution. I’ll try to test with a bigger group, and I’m sure I’ll get some repeat tests with my wife as well. Aside from a few specific cards that I would consider tweaking, I feel like this is pretty much good to go.

    1. Michael–Thanks so much for sharing these extensive thoughts about Tuscany. This is a huge help. You’re totally right about those advanced visitors you mentioned–I went ahead and adjusted all of them that you mentioned except for the Benefactor (I think he’s fine).

      That’s interesting about the excess of lira you had at the end. One of the ways I was trying to counteract that are the new property cards. Even in the late game you could spend a lot of money to buy those properties back and get the bonus VP. It sounds like you may have had better ways of getting VPs by that point?

      1. Jamey – I’m clearly missing something. Do we get bonus points for having the properties flipped face-up? I thought that the drawback of having a property flipped face down was that you now had one fewer field to plant, but that was all (and that wasn’t a problem for me). Are there also points you give up? I re-read the rules above and looked at the cards again, and I don’t see anything about bonus VP for having my fields “unmortgaged”.

        I’m guessing you might be talking about bonus VPs from visitor cards or patronage cards; I didn’t have any that needed me to have all of my fields unmortgaged. My patron did want me to have five planted vine cards, but I only ever planted three and I didn’t have any more in my hand, so it was definitely not worth it to go for that particular victory point (not that it would have necessarily required the properties to be unmortgaged).

        I think I might be missing something!

        1. Michael–Good question. You don’t inherently get points for flipping fields, but because of the action used to flip a field (the old “sell grapes” action, you can get a point from the bonus space there. As I’m typing this, I’m realizing–you played a 2-player game! No points for the bonus in that game…and yet that doesn’t seem right. I think what I should do is move the VP over to the 2-player spot on the tile you put on the board to create the “sell grapes or flip one property” action. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be available in a 2-player game.

          1. Morten: Ah, but I’m one step ahead of you here. We have renamed the “middle bonus action space” to simply “bonus.” So a bonus can be on any action space. Sometimes there might even be bonuses on more than one action space…

            The key here for staying consistent is never waivering from the basic rule that the far left action space is available in a 2-player game, the far left and middle action spaces for 3 or 4-player games, and all three action spaces for 5-6 player games. If we started making exceptions with that, it would be confusion. But from our playtests with the extended board, the bonuses have all been very clear. I look forward to hearing your thoughts if you’re able to play on the extended board, which I should be posting here on Tuesday.

  96. All in all, I think that the expansion elements add a ton of fun to the game. There are a few minor issues that we ran into that I’d like to point out:

    1. The Mamas and Papas cards seem like they could use more structure. For example: there seems to be some overlapping of benefits such that if you draw specific combinations (like Mama 13 and Papa 14) in a four player game, you have the potential to make the game very lopsided by being prepared for a decent wine order while the other players are still fighting over trellises and vine cards.

    The only way I can think to fix that is to set certain areas for both the Mamas and the Papas – like the Mamas have a worker, structures, and visitors, while the Papas have grande workers, vines, and lira. I’d recommend leaving people to fight over the wine orders for one reason. If only one person out of four has a wine order, it impacts that person’s decisions, while the rest of the group is guessing at what they think will be the right path. In our games, that only happened once, but it made for an unpleasant experience for the other three people.

    2. In our games, Patronage cards four and five added no value – everyone maxed out their workers and had harvested all of their fields by the end of the game. The rest of the cards worked perfectly :)

    3. Not a problem at all – the visitor cards added a ton of balance to the game. You can definitely tell that thought was put into fixing the gaps that existed before.

    Overall – great job!!

    1. Matthew–Thanks so much for your feedback. This is great stuff.

      1. I do agree here. I tried to make sure that the mamas had certain things that the papas did not (and vice versa), but that formula could continue to be tweaked. I’ll work on that today. I’m not so sure that completely leaving wine orders out is a good idea–after all, players can easily draw them in the game–but I see what you’re saying.

      2. Cool, I’ll revisit those cards.

      1. No problem, Jamey! We have a blast playing Viticulture, so it’s an honor to be able to test the new expansion components. I don’t think that anything really needs to be fixed, since the probability of those exact Mama/Papa cards being drawn by the same player is pretty low.

        The only time we had an issue with the wine orders is when the other players had to use their grande workers during the summer phase in order to plant. When winter came around, the only player with a wine order drew another one to block that action, so that gave one player a two year start at filling orders while everyone else was planting vines blindly, with no goal to aim for. We’re cutthroat around here…haha…

        Thanks for listening to our feedback :) Happy New Year!

  97. Allyson and I just finished playing a 2 player game of Viticulture with both the Mama & the Papas and prosperity expansions. I had Mama 8 and Papa 20, while she had Mama 27 and Papa 18. Allyson really disliked the Mama and Papa expansion because she felt crippled in comparison to my setup. I started with an extra worker, more money, and more cards than her, while all she had extra was a medium cellar. Neither of us really feel that the medium cellar is significant compensation for all the extra items I had, especially since you don’t need a medium cellar so early in the game.

    In terms of prosperity, I personally loved it. I immediately sold my medium field, and I enjoyed the extra economic boost the early money gave me. Allyson didn’t sell a field, and I honestly think not doing it after I did it crippled her. I never bought the field back and didn’t really need to.

    End scores:
    Dan – 25
    Allyson – 10

    1. Hi Dan, thanks for your feedback. I’m curious–do you think Allyson would have liked the Mamas and Papas more if she had a choice? Like, a choice of 2 mamas and 2 papas, or perhaps there could be a choice on each card?

      1. I definitely do think adding a choice somewhere in there would help the expansion. I don’t think she enjoyed me having an “advantage” based on chance.

  98. I just played with the Mamas and Papas and the Patronage cards. We played a three player game. For my wife and I, it was only our third game, while only second game for our friend. Both of them are casually players, while I’m the only one on BGG to read all the forums.

    Using the website to choose the parents, I had mama 8 + papa 24. Wife had mama 24 + papa 22, and friend had mama 18 + papa 9. I had Patronage #8 (Most vines and highest residual). I forget exactly what the other two had.

    Being casual players and new players, I don’t think having the new starting scenarios helped and they both immediately went after training new workers(They’ve played Agricola, so I believe they used the strategy of getting as many workers ASAP. I only trained only one or two more workers.). Since they only had two to begin with. The scores were me at 26, wife at 22 and friend at 16. I was able to complete both my end game goals, as I believe the two goals went well with each other. Plant vines, make wine and fill. So just the basic overall strategy to the game. My friend trained all his workers, but didn’t seem to have a plan. I’m not sure if the other cards will have that much synergy as these goals. You’ll definitely have to be an advanced player to use them, maybe.

    They both didn’t like the Mamas and Papas, as they still were too new to the game. They believed I had too much of an advantage with my extra worker at the beginning. They felt their cards didn’t make up the difference as being luck based driven (I know a common complaint about the game), the cards didn’t help them in the beginning.

    One question that came up about the Patronage card “Most wine tokens in cellar”, does this mean in all cellars or just one of the three cellars? It’s not plural in the card, so we were unsure.

    Being casual players, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get them to play this again anytime soon, as we played it twice in a week. I hope to play it again, as I am enjoying it and have only scratched the surface of the game. I’ve kickstarted the first game, but now I’m unsure if the expansion pack will be a good thing to kickstart, as I don’t think my wife and friend (main gaming partners) will ever get past being more than just casual; as it sounds like the expansion will move the base game into a more “gamer’s game”. Still very much enjoyed the game.

    1. Hi Tony, thanks for your feedback. I agree that mamas and papas (or really any elements of Tuscany) aren’t good for players to use until they’ve played Viticulture several times at least.

      “most wine tokens in cellar” refers to your entire cellar (small, medium, and large). Thanks!

  99. Hi again

    I’ve looked through the papa cards and have a few comments for them.

    1) For Mama 12 you value 1 VP at £4, while in Papas 11 and 30 you value it at £2.

    2) Papa 2 has all the same things (1 grande worker, £2 and a summer visitor) as Papa 6, but in addition to this it also has 1 VP, so Papa 2 is

    without argument 1 VP better than Papa 6.

    3) Papa 8 seems strictly better than Papa 5. Initially 2 wine orders are not as useful as 1 vine and 1 wine order.

    4) When comparing Papa 10 and Papa 15 you see that Papa 15 pays £3 for a vine card compared to the usual 2 (I know this could be a rounding issue,

    but I think that my interpretation is how it’s going to look two players who get those cards in the same game). You have the same issue when

    comparing Papas 5 and 21.

    5) Normally VPs and visitor cards are valued at £4 each, but Papa 26 gives you 1 VP and 1 visitor for £4.

    6) With Mama 30 you get a winter and a summer visitor for £8, but with Papa 27 you get them for £6.

    1. Hi Morten–I’ll take a look at those. We can’t compare Mamas to Papas, though, because the grande worker is more valuable than a regular worker.

  100. Will and I played with the Patronage cards Wednesday night. It had a big impact on the game in that Will played a lot more aggressively than he normally does. He felt that to get the extra points, he had to end the game as quickly as possible since many of our games in the past had instances where everyone built every building or had the highest residual. So in order to prevent that from happening, he had a sense of urgency due to his previous experiences with the game. Normally, he’s much more laid back on how he takes actions and the game tends to last a lot longer.

    He also found himself using different strategies. In the past, he never really utilized the windmill, but in the game we played, it was the first building he built because it synergized with his goal of having the most vine cards planted. This was also the first game that no one built the cottage because we were so busy focusing on our secret goals. In the past, at least one of us would build the cottage.

    As for me, I still struggle with the game and did not do too well with the secret goals. Regardless of the Tuscany modules, I do very well in the first half of the game, usually shooting ahead in points, but then I peter out as I don’t plan far enough ahead. Will knows how to plan for the long term and is always setting himself up to be successful in the end. This game was no different as he won 25 to my 20 and he got 3 points for his Patronage card whereas I only got 1. So I didn’t do terrible, but I was floundering the last 2 years to get anything done while he was able to fill 2 large wine orders in the last year, shooting him from 16, I think, up to the lead. Part of it is the visitor cards being so random. Early on, he got 2 cards that gave him workers for very cheap. And I didn’t get another worker till near the end. I get very frustrated with the game, but the good news is, being a playtester motivates me to keep playing, as well as the fact that my husband really enjoys the game. But he compares it to chess, which he’s very good at. There are so many things you have to plan far in advance to be successful. And I’m not able to think more than a few moves ahead. I still like the game. I just need to figure out how to plan the end game better and adapt better to the random cards. Those are my two biggest flaws/issues to overcome.

    In the end, Will likes the Patronage cards when framed a certain way. Since no points are given to ties, the Patronage cards only give a benefit to those who succeed quickly in the game. This changes the experience for him from a casual game to a competition. And he knows that resonates with a lot of other gamers who have a competitive edge that they need to capitalize on. He also believes that the Patronage cards are only for advanced players. Sure, it focuses what you do, but the more casual players may not fully grasp the strategies behind what the cards focus you on. In terms of the points they offer and the goals, the cards seem balanced. He would suggest changing the bonus of getting both goals from 1 extra point to 2 extra points. This will really incentivize engaging on both fronts, since the Patronage cards give you goals that go in opposite directions. It really gets that player to immerse themselves in what the game has to offer. And based on the ways you get points throughout the game, he believes a 4 point total is on the higher end of the range of points that you can typically get from either visitor cards or wine orders, which matches the reward system in the game since it’s obvious that the more difficult something is, the more points you get for it. Kind of like blushes and sparkling wines give you more VPs. He thinks going in opposite directions and achieving both goals fits that same challenge that you reward players in other areas of the game.

    For me, I’m not a fan of the Patronage cards because I don’t like highly competitive games. I actually prefer the multiplayer solitaire eurogames where everyone has many paths to gain victory points and there’s a point salad computation at the end to see who won. Having said that, I understand the goals of Viticulture and it’s not that. I do think that there are going to be causal players and others who will not want to add such competitiveness to the game. I was really frustrated that I did not get my second goal and it was for most buildings. While that was not Will’s goal, in the pursuit of his goals, he built a lot of buildings to achieve what he needed. I’ve never been a fan of secret goals that are given to whoever has the most. I’m more of a fan of the ones like in Troyes where all players can gain points, though do not know what secret goals others have. But that does lead more towards a point salad at the end, so I understand not going that route.

    However, if I were to make one suggestion to change it, that would be to make the goals fixed. So instead of most buildings, you’d get points for building certain buildings or a certain number of buildings. That way make the game less competitive because it would not matter what your opponents do. It only matters whether you achieve it or not. One possible suggestion would be to make the less competitive Patronage cards a stretch goal, so people would have the choice on whether to add the competitiveness or not and still have the secret goals, which many people like. Plus, you could mix and match them.

    Oh, one more thing, about the Entertainer visitor card. First, we realized why the card bothers us so much (and why we took it out of the game). It’s because it forces a player not to play the game. That always feels like a dangerous precedent to have in any game. But Will did have an idea for how it might be changed. Instead of putting 4 workers aside to get 4 VPs, what if the card read instead: “You may put up to 4 workers on this card. For each worker placed, gain 1 VP.” This would give variety as to when you can use the card as well as not condemn someone from playing an entire year of the game.

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks so much for your thoughts. I’ll reply more in detail later. But I did want to note that the Entertainer has been completely changed for all future versions of Viticulture (new copies will be in Tuscany for those who already have Viticulture). That change is noted both on the advanced visitor pdfs and on the second edition rules page here: https://stonemaiergames.com/second-edition-viticulture/

    2. Sarah–Thanks for your thoughts. I’d really like you to try to play with the advanced visitors to let me know if they address some of your concerns about visitors.

      Those are good suggestions about the patronage cards (changing the extra point total for meeting both goals to 2 VP and making the goals fixed instead of dependent on other players). I’m certainly open to them, and I want to present my counterpoint in case others would like to weigh in.

      As they currently are, the patronage cards have overlapping goals with other players. Thus we didn’t want to make them worth too many points–after a certain point, it’s out of your control if you surpass another player. Hence why we made it 1 bonus point instead of 2.

      For the cards depending on other players, I don’t want Viticulture to be multi-player solitaire. I want players to have to keep an eye on what other players are doing. There is a downside to this, of course–two players might both be going for a certain goal–but that goes back to my first point about not making the bonuses worth TOO much. :)

      However, I’m open to both ideas. What do others think? A comparison on the second point would be one of the following two options:

      a. most buildings and most vines on all fields.

      VS

      b. at least 6 buildings and at least 6 vines on all fields

      Also, I should note that everything in Tuscany is for advanced players. It’s meant to take Viticulture to a new level for those who crave more game and deeper strategy.

      1. We do plan to playtest the advanced visitor cards. It will take us some time to get to them as we need to print out the PnP of the originals so we can make our own backs so no one can tell which visitor card anyone has. We don’t have mini sleeves, only poker-sized.

        As for the patronage cards, since you have 2 goals, what if one goal is fixed while the other is the most of something. The downside would be that it doesn’t completely focus the game in the way they currently do. But it does add a sense a variety to how you approach the game.

        I think the part I don’t like about the Patronage cards being the most is that there are maximums to all of the goals, so it could be possible for no one to get their bonus points which makes the patronage cards a moot point and can be disappointing. That’s also why I suggested having the fixed ones be a stretch goal so that players would have the full option of choosing either set or mixing. If some players are more advanced than others, they could take the more challenging ones while less advanced players could take the fixed ones.

        It’s because of these maximums that Will played so aggressively to pursue the points and end the game quickly. And not everyone might want to add such aggression and competition to the game, but I guess they could just not play with the Patronage cards.

        1. Sarah–I think you might be onto something here with the mixed goals, but could you give me a concrete example? Design a card–perhaps it’ll end up in the game exactly as you say. :)

          1. Here’s a list of ideas, sort of based on the existing Patronage cards:

            Most buildings and at least 6 vines in your fields

            Most buildings and 5 residual income

            Most Lira and at least 6 buildings

            Most vines on all fields and at least 6 workers

            Most workers and at least 4 vines on one field

            Most wine tokens in cellar and at least 6 vines in your fields

            Most vines on 1 field and at least 1 wine token of each type in cellar

            Most workers and at least 15 Lira

            Most wine tokens in cellar and 3 grapes of value 7 or higher

            Let us know what you think of them. We like variety in goals, which is why we came up with some new ideas such a Lira and grapes.

          2. Sarah: I like them! Except for those that involve Lira, since Lira is a tiebreaker in the game. That’s kind of like saying “Most points.” :) I’ll mock up the others to see if they work.

  101. I see what you’re saying. Ill keep an eye out as i play through. I just got Hegemonic today so that’ll be next though.

    As to feeling different priorities at different times, i actually did feel that, and I like that.

      1. I definitely will – I tried a 2 player game where I play both sides just to get the flow down and it was a really, really cool game from what I saw even from just a test play. I’ll be trying it out Saturday.

  102. The fact is that throwing in the mamas and papas will increase the amount of chance inthe game, thats what i saw today. With tthe static setup from the base game there is no chance to get a crazy head start purely by luck. Thats not meant as a good or a bad thing in my opinion, it just is. I’m excited to try more of them, but for my taste, i like the equal footing start of the original.

    1. Kolby–I see what you’re saying, but I disagree. I think the mamas and papas add variability, but not chance (if they are balanced, as I believe they are based on my metric). I don’t think they give any player an advantage over the other. Rather, they simply create different priorities early in the game, which is good for gameplay because players aren’t all trying to do the same thing at the same time.

      I think the tricky thing is that some mamas and papas FEEL luckier than the others. I wonder how I can mitigate that feeling.

      1. I do think that you did a great job of balancing the Mamas and Papas based on just randomly drawing a few times to see what was possible as combinations before we started the game. I guess what I mean is with some of the combinations, like the one that I saw today – it is possible to get that perfect setup where you just take off. It might happen very, very rarely, but in base game viticulture, it’s really not possible, because everyone starts off level playing field. I guess maybe chance isn’t the right word – adding variability does open the door though to the possibility that things like happened to our group today can happen. The point of what I’m saying isn’t that that added level of variable set-ups is a good or a bad thing, just that it’s a thing and some people will like it, some people will probably like the even footing start better. Are you planning on making Tuscany totally modular? I was just thinking that Tuscany could be compared, at least a little bit, to the new Tzolk’in expansion which adds like 3 modules you can add in or not to change the game. While I don’t like modular expansion that are like Battlestar Galactica, which basically can have 1 of 4 endings now, but you can only use one per game, I do like, and I think most people agree here, with modular expansions that can be added all, some, or none.

        I also had one more question Jamey – and realize this isn’t the right place to probably ask it, but I’ll go ahead anyways. Our Con here in Salt Lake is in March, and I’m planning on going the whole weekend. I’d be glad to wear the shirt and demo Viticulture and Euphoria (which I cannot wait for!) but I’m just wondering what else you’d like me to do? I know that the Con has some planned events and such and not sure how they work exactly, but maybe we can just touch base next month and I can try to figure it all out. I just really wanna do my best to represent Stonemaier, you deserve it.

        1. Kolby–Thanks for your thoughts and questions. We haven’t planned on making Tuscany totally modular (there will be an “official” way to play), but the game isn’t dependent on the mamas and papas. Players could choose to leave them out if that’s what they want.

          I really appreciate you offering to represent Stonemaier Games at the Con in Salt Lake. If I had copies of the game, I would want to send one to their play-and-win section (if they have one)…unfortunately we won’t have copies of Viticulture by then. We currently have Euphoria, of course, so if you need me to set one aside, you can send me an e-mail about that. Beyond that, the key is to find ways to teach people our games. People prefer to be taught (especially by someone official like you who knows the rules) than to read through a rulebook.

          1. I remember there being a play and win section last year – so I will totally email the organizers and get a spot set aside for a copy of Euphoria! That’s a great idea and that will really allow me to teach with a purpose. I remember TMG did it last year for Belfort and it was a big hit. Great game too.

  103. Hey Jamey,

    I played two games with Mamas and Papas today. The first one went fine, was a neck and neck game right until the end (both were 3 player.)

    The second one however I think showed one of the weaknesses of the Mamas and Papas cards. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but one player started with Irrigation and 2 or 3 vine cards. Just by luck the first 2 vine cards played down by this player were a 3 white and 3 red which each required irrigation. This was just too much of a lead, granted due mostly to luck, but there was no catching this player in this game. The scores ended at 24, 14, and 8. What are your thoughts on that?

    1. Kolby–That’s an interesting observation about the vine cards. It actually counteracts Morten’s earlier point about how having 3 vine cards isn’t all that good. Maybe your two points balance each other out? :)

      1. Haha :-) My point is a not that there can’t be situations where multiple vine cards aren’t useful, instead it’s that on average they are less valuable the more you add. We’d need tons of test plays to say anything empirically about whether I’m right or not.

  104. Thanks, Kaleb. That’s good to know about players being frustrated when they have no lira at all at the beginning. That could be something to note when I cut the cards down to 54. And perhaps the value of the wine orders and winter visitors should be decreased a bit.

  105. Hi Jamey

    I’ve read through the Mama cards (will look at the other stuff later) and have a few comments. Take them with a scoop of salt since I’m veering into armchair quarterbacking territory.

    1) You pricing of wine order cards seem inconsistent. For Mama 3, 16, 17 you price a wine order card at 1 Lira, while for Mama 10, 14, 21, 23, 26 and 27 you price it a 2 Lira.

    2) 3 vine cards are not 3 times better than 1 therefore I think that for example Mama 13 seems to worse than a lot of the other Mamas. So I’d suggest improving Mama 13 a bit.

    3) Mamas 19, 26 and 27 seem bad to me, because their start options are fairly limited and I’d fear that this will hamper them more than the 1 VP will compensate for.

    4) Similarly I’d also fear that Mamas 28-30 could be off to a rough start since AFAIR a lot of the visitor cards require that you already have stuff before they’re useful. At the very least they’ll be pretty luck prone.

    Finally I’d like to ask whether you get a pinot card (like in the base game) or just random vine cards?

    1. Hi Morten, thanks for your thoughts. Let’s look at these cards.

      Mama 3: 1 worker, 7 lira, 1 wine order
      Mama 16: 1 worker, 3 lira, 1 wine order, 1 summer visitor
      Mama 17: 1 worker, 3 lira 1 wine order, 1 winter visitor

      So in this case, I’ve valued a visitor card at approximately 4 lira.

      Mama 13: 1 worker, 2 lira, 3 vine cards.

      I kind of see what you’re saying, but getting that mama means that you don’t have to worry about drawing vine cards for a while–perhaps even the whole game. It also increases the chances of you getting a vine card you really want, as all cards on mamas and papas are blind draws.

      As for the Mamas that give victory points, I tend to agree. I think they’re fine, but if we were to cut the number of Mamas and papas down to 54 (these cards come on 54-card sheets), I think those would be the first to go. Although, I will say that using VPs as currency throughout the game becomes a bigger deal in Tuscany, so I don’t want to undervalue them quite yet.

      I’m curious what others think about Mamas 28-30. Visitor cards are really powerful, and they get more powerful once you include the advanced visitors.

      Thanks!

        1. Oh, I see what you’re saying. Actually, some of the cards are priced at 1.5 lira, but I can’t give players .5 lira. :)

          1. Well then you round it inconsistently :-) Comparing Mamas 2 and 3 gives you
            1 WOC + £1 = 1 VC
            While comparing Mamas 9 and 10 clearly gives you
            1 WOC = 1 VC
            (WOC is Wine Order Card and VC is Vine Card).
            I don’t see the reason for the inconsistent rounding.

      1. > I kind of see what you’re saying, but getting that mama means that you don’t have to worry about drawing vine cards for a while–perhaps even the whole game.

        But I don’t think that something that’ll help you later is of as much value as something that’ll help you right now, when you’re at the resource starved beginning of the game.

        > It also increases the chances of you getting a vine card you really want, as all cards on mamas and papas are blind draws.

        That’s correct, but each subsequent card has a lower probability of being immediately useful. To make an extreme example, let’s say that you need to roll more than one on a d6. Getting more rolls to achieve this will improve your chances, but giving you a third die roll adds much less value than the first die roll did.

        > I will say that using VPs as currency throughout the game becomes a bigger deal in Tuscany, so I don’t want to undervalue them quite yet.

        OK.

        > Visitor cards are really powerful, and they get more powerful once you include the advanced visitors.

        Good point about the advanced visitor cards, but as I understand it you won’t necessarily be using those? And anyway they’re still much more luck prone than the other Mamas.

        1. Well, for the vine cards, they could let you plant two vines on the first year. Basically, the mamas and papas are all about changing the priorities that players have the first few years. So instead of everyone going for a trellis right away, some players will have to get vine cards or money first. The player with all the vine cards already has the wine cards, so they can go right for the trellis.

          I’d be curious to see what others think if they’ve played with these cards.

          Right, you won’t always be using the advanced visitors. There is some luck with the visitor cards, but starting out with two in hand is quite powerful.

        2. We’ve been playing with Mamas/Papas since Gen Con. While some of the players hate it when they get no to little liras from these cards, we’ve found that it tends to even out nicely. In fact, at no time did we feel some cards were better/worse than others. The distribution of starting hands seem to lead to fair starts. It’s only the money difference (lots to none) that anyone ever complains about (and it’s short lived). The wine order cards aren’t important early one (and similarly, winter visitors are less useful – though this is balanced out with getting more workers which are needed early on) compared to the vines themselves. The whole point, I feel, for these cards is to get players taking different starting moves the first 3 years – similar to the reason the grande worker was needed. And so far, it totally works! Will try out the advanced visitor cards tonight.

          1. Hi Kaleb

            I completely agree that the cards are a nice addition for making the first years of each game different, and I really think that the game will gain longevity from this. Unfortunately I’m in the habit, when giving feedback, of focusing on the things I think can be improved and I forget to talk about the things I like, luckiliy Jamey knows this from the past year and a half worth of feedback from me, but of course the rest of you don’t know this, so I hope I didn’t come of as too negative.

            From reading what you write about your playtesting it seems that you support what I say that some cards aren’t as useful as others initially, and since I think that for your starting resources it’s much more important to be useful initially than later on, I’d suggest tweaking the balance a bit.

            Cheers
            – Morten

  106. Just looking over the advanced visitor cards, and I really like some of the changes to existing cards. I especially like the. Horticulturist because it creates this cool element of allowing you to break the rules just a little bit. Very cool precedent set. Later today I’ll play my first Mama and Papas game.

    1. Thanks Kolby! I’m particularly curious to see if the new visitors will provide an overwhelming number of choices. With the old visitors, it was fairly easy to decide which ones to discard if your hand size was greater than 8. But if all of the visitors are good all the time, how do you make that decision? I’m curious to hear what people think.

  107. Silly question – I may have missed it somewhere, but: If you don’t start with the grande, how do you get it? Can you pick it up using the extra meeple space?

    1. Nathan–With the new first-edition errata, you do start with the grande worker and 2 regular workers. With the mamas and papas, all papas have 1 grande and all mamas have 1 regular worker, so at the very least, you’ll start with one of each.

      1. I still am not clear on the rule for the Grande worker in combination with the Mamas and Papas. How do you get a Grande Wotker when starting with a Mama card?

        Thanks,
        Kent

        1. Kent: You always start with a mama and a papa card, and all papas have a grande on them. Thus you’re always assured to begin with a grande worker.

          1. Hi Jamey, I must be missing something extremely obvious. The rules for the Mamas and Papas seem to say that you only receive the starting resources that they list. Since the Mamas do not list a Grande Worker, is it possible to recruit one later? What am I missing here?

            Thanks,
            Kent

            rules quote: Here’s how the mamas and papas work: Ignore the rules in the core game that tell you to start with 2 workers, 1 grande worker (details on that here if you haven’t read the errata), 3 lira, 1 pinot, and 1 summer visitor. You start with none of those things. Instead, deal out 1 mama card and 1 papa card to each player. These are your parents—they’ve given you a bare-bones vineyard and a few resources to start out with, as shown on their card.

          2. Doh! Nevermind. Somehow I missed that you receive both a Mama and a Papa card. Thematically that only makes sense! :-)

    2. *took hours for this to post!* Currently there is no way to start without a grande worker as the errata states everyone either does or if playing with mama/papa cards, all Papa cards currently have a grande worker. In the future Jamey may have Papa cards that do not start with a grande worker and then he’ll need to answer this question. May have to train a currently employed worker into a grande worker. “Cabin Boy: Thank you, fellow crewmates, I’m off. And when I return, I shall be a cabin man.” :-)

      1. Kaleb–That’s a good point, but as of now, every papa will always have a grande worker. If people choose to play a game without the mamas and papas, they would start with the standard 2 regular workers and 1 grande worker.

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