Viticulture World gameplay overview
Viticulture World is a cooperative expansion to Viticulture, a game about making wine in Italy. Instead of competing against one another like in the base version of Viticulture, players are working together to have the most prestigious winery in a particular region of the world. This expansion completely changes the game’s feeling from one of fierce competition to collaborative exchange.
The base game of Viticulture
In case you’re not familiar with the base game of Viticulture, I’ll briefly describe it here to give you some context. Viticulture is a worker placement game where players are building up their winery and fulfilling wine orders in a race to get the most victory points.
The game has two main seasons, summer and winter, each with different worker placement spots. During summer, you plant grapes, give tours, and add structures to your winery. In winter, you harvest your fields, make wine, and fulfill wine orders. You can use visitor cards during both seasons to give you bonuses.
Viticulture World changes
Viticulture World takes the original gameplay from the base game and modifies it for a cooperative experience. When you start, you choose a unique scenario for the game that involves creating one of the most influential wineries on a specific continent of the world. Each continent has a particular difficulty and a unique deck of cards that changes how you play.
These scenarios change the game in unique and exciting ways. For example, the South America scenario gives players historical personalities to leverage during the game. In the Asia scenario, players can get cards that overlap areas of the game board, which makes the players more effective at doing specific actions.
Another significant change to the game is that you now have seasonal workers that are denoted by the color of the hat they wear. Summer workers have yellow hats, and winter workers have blue hats. Seasonal workers can only be placed in their corresponding season. However, you can train seasonal workers to take off their hats so they can be used in either season.
In addition, there are now two different kinds of improvements you can make to the worker placement spots. Oval improvements enable multiple workers to be placed on a spot and also give trained workers a bonus. Rectangular improvements make the worker placement spots very powerful, such as allowing you to harvest more than one field at a time or giving you extra points when fulfilling wine orders.
To win a game of Viticulture World, each player must get 25 victory points, and the team must collectively get 10 influence points. You must do this by the end of the game’s sixth year. Because there are individual and collective goals, players must ensure everyone is keeping up and no one is left behind.
Player count: 1 to 6 players
Playing time: 75 to 95 minutes
Why Viticulture World is a peaceful game
Even though I’m not a wine drinker, I love the theme of Viticulture World and find it relaxing. I get the feeling that the wine I’m producing in the game is made slowly and with care rather than being mass-produced. It doesn’t feel like we’re trying to make the most wine or be the most profitable in our region — we’re just trying to make great wine. Something is calming about creating an item thoughtfully and carefully.
The gameplay is where Viticulture World shines for me. Traditionally cooperative games pit you against an antagonistic force trying to derail your progress throughout the game. Viticulture World is totally different. Each year in the game, your winery is improving. There is no force working against you. You are coordinating with other players to enable each one of you to do what you need to do. Occasionally one of the scenario cards will give you a slight obstacle, but it is usually pretty easy to mitigate.
I also love how each player has an individual goal, and the team has a collective goal. That means everyone is involved and contributing. Perhaps there is a leader for the group, but everyone has an important role to play in the game. If someone gets left behind, the entire group loses.
All of the artwork in Viticulture World has a warm, friendly, and welcoming vibe to it. I love the backs of scenario cards — they all have recognizable landmarks with grape vines in front of them from the continent they represent. In addition, the game board retains the rustic and charming feeling of old-world Tuscany that base game Viticulture has.
One of the standout components of Viticulture World is the seasonal worker hats. The hats pop on and off the workers easily, and it’s quite satisfying to take them off once a worker has been trained. Also, the bright yellow and blue colors of the hats have a cheery appearance that I enjoy.
Is Viticulture World a good game for you?
I highly recommend Viticulture World if you enjoy cooperative games and the worker-placement mechanism. It stands out amongst most other cooperative games because of its rewarding nature and because there is no opposing force working against you. You also get a strong feeling of collaboration in the game because of the individual and collective goals.
This post is part of my peaceful game series where I discuss tabletop games that I believe have a noteworthy amount of peaceful qualities. Click here to read my previous entry in this series: PARKS.