There are some updates to the first edition of Viticulture that will become standard in the second edition. These updates can be seen along with an overall summary of the game on this one-page printout created by supporter Nersi Nikakhtar. The most current version of the game is the Essential Edition–it is bigger and better in every way than the second edition, for the same price.
The grande worker is henceforth part of the core game of Viticulture. Each player starts the game with 2 regular workers and 1 grande worker, and in total you may have up to 5 regular workers and 1 grande worker by the end of the game. The grande worker now has the following ability:
It may be placed on an already full action to perform that action. For example, if you are playing a 2-player game and the other player chooses to give a tour with regular worker to gain 2 lira. If you really needed to give a tour, you may then place the grande worker on that action (on the art for that action, not an action space) to gain 2 lira as well. Multiple players may place their grande workers in this way. Otherwise you may place your grande worker on any action as you would place a regular worker there.
Viticulture is a very tight game–that was our intention when we designed it. It adds plenty of tension to the game. The problem is, there are times when that tension crosses the line into frustration when a player was really counting on getting a certain action but they couldn’t get it due to something out of their control (like turn order). The result is that selecting one of the first slots on the wake-up track becomes much less of a choice and more of a necessity.
Also, the end of the game can be quite anticlimactic. Once the wine order and winter visitor action spaces are full, there are no other ways to get points (beyond lira for the tiebreaker), which makes for a deflating end to the game, especially if you’re one step away from getting another point or filling an order.
The addition of the grande worker and its new ability fixes all of those problems. The game is still very tight, but you have that one out if you really need it. And the final year of a game has many more meaningful actions.
What Should I Do If I Don’t Have Grande Worker Tokens?
You have a few options:
- Wait for the expansion Kickstarter campaign. Because all retail copies of Viticulture are missing the grande workers, we’re going to offer one version of the expansion pack that has the grande worker and other updated components. That way you can get exactly what you need depending on if you were an original Viticulture backer or a post-Kickstarter buyer.
- Use meeples from any other game. If you have lots of games with meeples, there’s a good chance there’s one sitting in the back of your closet gathering dust. Take one meeple of each color from that game and use them as your grande workers. They’ll look weird, but functionally they’re the same.
- Buy some big meeples. MeepleSource has “super mega meeples” that are the same size as the grande worker (24mm) and look very similar. The colors almost match up perfectly.
The “crush grapes” action will henceforth be knows as “make wine.” Specifically: Make up to 2 wine tokens. If you choose the middle action space bonus, you may make an additional wine token.
There are no restrictions to the type of wine you can make. You are only limited by your grapes and your cellar. Thus if you want to make one red wine and one champagne, if you have 1 white grape, 3 red grapes, a medium cellar, and a large cellar, you can make those 2 wine tokens.
Why the Change?
- The old rule was really confusing. If you’ve played Viticulture a number of times now, you probably don’t find this rule confusing anymore. That’s great, and we appreciate you sticking with the game. However, we’ve found that most new players really struggle with the old rule (crush grapes into one type of wine). It’s a rule that doesn’t stick–it needs to be repeated over and over, and players often forget how it works between gaming sessions.
- It streamlines the game. With the old rule, making wine could be an arduous process–so much so that some players would make as little wine as possible. There was a disconnect between wine orders and crushing. Now you can have a few wine orders in hand, and you can target one of them specifically with a well-timed crush action.
What About Visitors Like the Crusher or Crush Expert?
For example, the Crusher says, “Crush grapes into any or all types of wine.” This card–and the other crushing visitors–retains the original meaning. Thus if a visitor card says, “Crush grapes into one type of wine,” that’s exactly what it means. Crush as many grapes as you want to make one type of wine.
These visitors are now a little less powerful than before, but that’s probably a good thing. They are still quite potent, especially if you need to make a lot of wine at once or if you can combo them with another winter visitor card.
We are changing three of the visitors cards that we determined (after much consideration), to be imbalanced to the point of unfun. This might be the toughest decision we made, because the cards aren’t all meant to be equally useful to all players at any time–that’s why they’re cards instead of face-up choices in the game. But these three stood out a little too much, so here are their revised versions (also available for download here):
- Entertainer: Pay $4 to draw 3 winter visitor cards OR discard 1 wine token and 3 visitor cards to gain 3 VP.
- Handyman: All players may build 1 structure at a $2 discount. You gain 1 VP for each other player who does this.
- Horticulturist: Plant any 1 vine even if you don’t have the structure(s) required OR uproot and discard 2 vine cards to gain 3 VP.
We are also making minor edits to the following cards:
- Mentor: All players may make up to 2 wine tokens. Draw 1 vine card or 1 summer visitor card for each opponent who does this.
- Crush Expert: Draw 1 wine order and make up to 3 wine tokens.
- Crusher: Make up to 4 wine tokens.
- Uncertified Oenologist: Lose 1 VP to upgrade your cellar to the next level.
- Jack of All Trades: Choose 2: Harvest 1 field, make up to 2 wine tokens, or fill 1 wine order.
- Vendor: Draw 1 vine card, 1 wine order, and 1 winter visitor. Each opponent draws 1 summer visitor.
- Tour Guide: Gain $4.
- Novice Guide: Gain $3 and draw 1 vine card.
Also, the tour guides no longer count towards the tasting room (they give you money instead of saying “give a tour to gain X,” which was confusing for some players).
Replacements for these cards will be provided in the Tuscany expansion pack to those who have the original version of Viticulture, and only the revised versions will appear in the second edition of Viticulture.
This is a very minor change. Instead of the starting player being the oldest player or the player with the fewest points in the previous game, the starting player will be randomized at the beginning of the game by blindly selecting one rooster. The player of that rooster’s color will be the first to select his/her wake-up time.
Either of the Yoke’s abilities may be used in any season. You can harvest in the summer or winter or uproot in the summer or winter. You can still only use the Yoke once per year.
The “Friendly” Rule
In the original Viticulture, there was a rule that said you could not choose an action space just to block someone–rather, you must be able to use the space to its full capacity (including the bonus if applicable). However, this rule is pretty clunky to explain, so we feel it’s better left to the players themselves to decide if that’s the type of players they want to be. Thus players can now place workers anywhere within the current season (within the action space limits for the number of players in the game) to use the action even if they can’t or don’t want to use the bonus. You must use the action–it’s only the bonus that is optional.
It should be noted that the rule regarding playing visitor cards does not change. To play a visitor card, you must be able to complete all the things that card says you must do. If it says to harvest and fill a wine order, you must harvest and fill a wine order.
What We Aren’t Changing
We’ve heard some feedback about end-game points, but with the changes to the grande worker and crushing grapes/making wine, if you have tons of excess money (beyond the amount for a tiebreaker) or excess wine, you’re not playing the game as optimally as you should. It’s important for us to make changes that work thematically, and there will be thematic ways to convert lira and excess wine to victory points in the expansion pack. We don’t think those changes are needed for the core game, though.