Viticulture Expansion Design Contest

Update 10/31/2013: The contest is closed. Congrats to Justin Killam for his expansion design, and a big thank you to everyone who entered!

We are currently designing our next project, an expansion pack for Viticulture. We envision that this pack will include at least 3 expansions to the original Viticulture game plus the Arboriculture expansion (available through the 2014 Kickstarter campaign for the expansion pack).

Given the wonderful reception Viticulture has received from the gaming community, we would like to give you the opportunity to design one of the expansions in the expansion pack. The winner of this contest will receive $2,000 from Stonemaier Games.

Please read through the details below and ask us any questions in the comments section.

Rules and Guidelines

  1. Second Edition: The Kickstarter campaign for the Viticulture expansion pack will also include the option to receive the second edition of Viticulture. Aside from some small cosmetic changes, the second edition of the game will be exactly the same as the first except that the grande worker will be included. His ability is that when he’s placed on an action space, he gets the middle action space bonus even if he’s not on the middle action space. We are considering expanding his abilities to also allow him to take an action that is already full (he would not get the middle action space bonus if he used that ability. Other proposed changes are that there would be a way to turn money into victory points at the end of the game and that there be a different way of rotating first player, but we are not as likely to make those changes in the core game as we are to add those capabilities in the expansions. UPDATE: See the two official changes here.
  2. Grand Prize: The winner of the contest will receive $2,000. You may work together with friends and divvy up the reward, but we will only it to one person (via PayPal or check). Maximum of one entry (i.e., one expansion) per person. We won’t guarantee that we will use the winning design in any future expansion pack, but we do guarantee that a grand prize will be awarded for this contest if there is a submission that meets the following guidelines. We retain the right to change or adapt the winning entry as we wish. If the winning entry makes it into the expansion pack, the designer(s) name(s) will be on the rulebook.
  3. Rights: We own the rights to all entries and ideas submitted to this contest. We retain the right to use ANY idea submitted to us (whether or not the idea is part of the winning entry), and that all entries must include a signed waiver indicating as such (download here). We will credit you in the rule book if we use a concept of yours that we hadn’t previously thought of.
  4. Experience: All participants in the contest must have played the original Viticulture game at least a dozen times with various numbers of people. UPDATE: You don’t need to have played the  Arboriculture expansion, but you should be aware of how it works (so you don’t replicate what we’ve already done with that expansion) by reading the rules.
  5. Eligibility: Stonemaier Games advisory board members are not eligible to participate in this contest.
  6. Polished Submissions: We are looking for polished submissions, not ideas or concepts. They must go through the full development cycle of designing, playtesting, redesigning, blind playtesting, redesigning, polishing, and final playtesting.
  7. Art and Design: Neither custom art or custom components are needed (we have our own artist for the final version), but placement art and user-friendly graphic design are recommended for the final submission. Send us a prototype that we’re happy to play and clear, easy to understand rules in English (Word format is fine). Viticulture is a 2-6 player game, so make sure to submit enough components to play with the full range of 6 people.
  8. Due Date and Address: All hard-copy prototype entries (no PnPs allowed) are due on October 15, 2013 at 6352 Forsyth Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63105. UPDATE: We will not return prototypes. Early submissions are welcome, but they may not be changed or updated after we receive them. We will make our selection by November 3 pending any unforeseen issues, and the winner will be paid immediately upon selection. UPDATE: We will give our reasons for selecting the winner, but we will not give our reasons for not selecting the other entries.
  9. You’re on Your Own: We will not help you with your expansion design. No designer will get the special treatment of collaborative brainstorming,  idea-generating/vetting, or access to lists of blind playtesters—we need to remain fair and impartial to all designers. The ONLY questions we will answer about the contest are those asked publicly on the contest page of our website. No exceptions.
  10. Theme and Components: The expansion must include a player mat extension to the original Viticulture player mat (width can differ, but the height should be 169mm). Other additions are permissible as well, but the original board and original player mat must remain the same (i.e., the expansion must be compatible with first-edition copies of Viticulture). You may add new victory conditions, new types of cards, new versions of existing types of cards, new wooden components (no molded plastic miniatures, though). Ideally the expansions will add depth, not complexity or time (the goal is still 20 minutes per player). The expansion should keep the spirit of the original game and should expand upon the overarching Tuscan/Italian theme. Possible themes to consider are: Cheese, modernization/technology, festival, pizzeria/restaurant, gelato, Roman Gods, merchant/shipping, etc. The new expansion should be able to be played without Arboriculture, but if you want to creatively expand upon concepts or cards from Arboriculture that allows the new expansion to be played even if a player doesn’t own Arboriculture, that’s fair game.

Please check back here periodically for updates (to be marked either below or with “UPDATE”) in case any universal question needs to be answered in the main guidelines. This is the first time we’ve done this, so we apologize if it’s a little rough around the edges.

Leave a Comment

43 Comments on “Viticulture Expansion Design Contest

  1. Part of the decision to have just one winner is to protect us, because while you all are out there making expansions, I’m at home every night making expansions too. :) So it’s quite possible that someone will submit something that I’ve already created. Plus, we can only afford one winner! So I would suggest entering the contest under the assumption that there will only be one winner. We’ll see what happens from there. :)

  2. How far can the expansions go in terms of changes to established game elements? I mean, is it necessary for them to be designed with compatibility with other expansions in mind, or can they tweak core elements of Viticulture even if that means going —presumably— in a different direction than other possible expansions? (Of course, we’re talking of mechanical changes/tweaks which keep the spirit and general workflow of the game).

    In other words – must expansions be like the ones for Carcassonne, Fresco, Alhambra or similar games (little game tweaks, additive, may mix and match) or would something like Agricola: Farmers of the Moor (several game tweaks, introduces new mechanics) be fair game? If you’d rather not have an expansion of the second type in the pack (which is understandable), it’d be great to know it beforehand.

    1. andvaranaut–This is a good question. Basically, I’d like you to design your expansion as if it is the only expansion. However, that will not be the end result of the expansion pack–expansions will be interchangeable and will interact with one another. But that’s my job, not yours. :) We’ll judge the expansion on their ability to stand on their own and expand the game without the interplay between other expansions. Does that answer your question?

      1. Yes, perfectly. Thank you. That encourages me to follow a more adventurous route. :)

        Now that you are at it – In the “Viticulture: Second Edition” page it states “One of those expansions will be the fruit of our $2,000 design contest.” Here in the contest it says “We won’t guarantee that we will use the winning design in any future expansion pack.” Perhaps some clarification is in order, although I think I understand the general idea (my take is: the winner will appear in the Tuscany expansion pack, possibly with changes and further development to fit with the other expansions, unless none of the entries is fit for the idea you have for the pack).

        1. Yep, your take is spot on. That’s why I used the words, “the fruit.” We may not use the exact expansion–in fact, we might have to change it quite a bit to make it work best for the game–but some element of it will end up in the game. The line in the contest is there just in case something happens that prevents us from making the expansion pack at all. In that case, it protects the winning contestant–they get the $2,000 no matter what.

          1. Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that – the idea of you guys failing to deliver seems preposterous ;)

            Have you considered the posssibility of including more than one design in the expansion pack? Don’t get me wrong, the $2K is nice and all ;), but I guess that for a lot of us the best possible reward is being credited as (co)designers in an expansion to a game we love.

            Thanks for the information!

  3. So I’m working an expansion idea out in my head as I continue to play Viticulture. However, my idea warrants the need for a new location. I thought about the location being on a player mat expansion, but ultimately, I’d want to limit its availability like other locations on the main board. How would you feel about a tile that could be placed on the board to represent that location?

    1. Jason–Absolutely, that’s fair game. I don’t want huge expansions to the board because of table space, but a new location/action on the existing board is completely fine. Thanks!

  4. You guys had a cheese-making-themed expansion as a stretch goal for Viticulture. Since you guys already have that expansion theme in mind, would my entry be disadvantaged if it had cheese-making theme as well?

    1. Good question. If you have a great idea for a cheese-expansion, give it a try. You won’t be disadvantaged at all.

  5. With regards to placement art, is it ok to just use google image search powers for the art for it? I’m far from being an artist but I don’t mind trying if you’d rather not have art I don’t explicitly own =P

  6. […] The great worker placement game Viticulture – review coming soon, watch this space – has just reached its Kickstarter backers and already Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone are talking about expansions. Probably there will be three of them, all in one pack that will go on Kickstarter next year. And there’s a chance for you to become rich and famous in this project, because one of those expansions might your expansion. Until October 15, you can submit your Viticulture expansion to Stonemaier Games and have a chance to…. […]

  7. WIll there be a way for first edition owner to upgrade to the 2nd edition changes (i.e. the grand worker)?

    1. Joe–Absolutely. The grande worker will most likely be the only component addition. We want the first edition to remain relevant, and I’m confident it will do so.

  8. Aw crud, one more question. Does a new board addition be counted as the “must require player mat”?

    1. No, it doesn’t count, and you need to make sure it fits the rule: “the original board and original player mat must remain the same.” Viticulture already takes up a lot of room at the table, so any extensions to the board must be absolutely necessary.

      1. Just to be clear, are you saying that extension to the main board would be acceptable if it was “necessary”, which means that otherwise players would be able to win in 7-9 turns without using the main board at all, effectively removing the interactivity of the game? Also, if there is a main board extension, there still needs to be a player mat? If that’s not what you mean, what types of conditions would make a main board extension “necessary”?

        1. Eric–By “necessary,” I mean that the game already takes up a lot of space on the table, so it’s more a word of caution that I am hesitant to add more to the mail game board. However, I don’t want to stifle your creativity–if you think of a clever extension to the game board, by all means, give it a try.

          Players should absolutely still need to place workers on the main game board–it wouldn’t be Viticulture without that board.

          A player mat extension is mandatory for all expansion submissions.

  9. Ok. Will not playtest with Arboriculture. Will keep it in mind as to not ape or step on it. If there are cards being added, should/could they effect apples/tomato/olive/morale? I assume you want all 4 expansions to be playable seperately and together so I am assuming the answer to that question is, no.

    1. The new expansion should be able to be played without Arboriculture, but if you want to creatively expand upon concepts or cards in a way that players who don’t have Arboriculture can play your expansion, that’s fair game.

  10. So I am hearing, while play testing do not use Arboriculture (oops on the miss spelling). The expansion ideas I am thinking do not add to Arboriculture anyway.

    1. Actually, Josh, I think you bring up a good point here. The designers for this contest should have an awareness of what Arboriculture is and how it works so they don’t end up replicating it. I’ll mention that in the rules.

    1. Good question. I don’t need proof of the playtesting, but we’ll know as soon as we start to play the expansion (and as soon as we read the rules) if it’s been both playtesting and blind playtested.

      1. When play testing our expansion with the core game should we be using the grande to be able to get the special bonus AND the be able to place on a full spot? In all of the normal games I have enjoyed playing with both abilities on the grande.

      2. When play testing with the grande worker just in the core should we use both abilities, get bonus and fill a spot already full? Or just the first one?

  11. As for number 9, you say that it *should* have a player mat extension. Does it *have* to include a new mat? We have some ideas that only need new cards and pieces. So will our entry be disqualified if it does not include a new mat?

    Thanks for this opportunity!

    1. Sarah–The wording is as we meant it. The player mat is required. I’m sure you can think of a creative way to incorporate a player mat!

    1. Honestly, I’m not really looking to promote in that way. I have a subscription list of 6,000+, and I know other bloggers are going to spread the word. I think most savvy designers pay attention to the greater world of board games, so they should hear about it on the web.

  12. Does the viticulture PnP count as the “original” or do you mean hard copy?
    If it is the PnP, a wider variety of submissions may be sent, as availability of the hard copy is scarce.

© 2020 Stonemaier Games