Review: Viticulture World Expansion (Stonemaier Games) – English

My ideal afternoon? A nice drink (wine, beer, tea or my favourite: water), a nice snack (especially cheese, because cheese is very good…) and of course a good game. Preferably a very thematic game with longer and quite challenging gameplay. Viticulture and its expansion Viticulture World fulfil that wish in more ways than one. Fine and wine!

Our board game world has different kinds of expansions. Many expansions mainly offer you more of the same. The box contains more tiles or cards, making a game a bit more varied or bulky, but it is often not very innovative. Some expansions build on existing game mechanics and make the existing game experience more complex. There is also a third possibility, as some expansions tilt the existing game concept by almost 180 degrees, creating an entirely new gameplay experience. Many publishers would release this new concept as a standalone game (good from a commercial point of view), but not every publisher does.

Viticulture World is one such expansion that turns the original game on its head considerably. Some parts and elements are ‘borrowed’ from the original game, but the thematic worker placement game about growing and harvesting grapes and producing wine is transformed from a competitive game for wine lovers into a cooperative challenge for collective connoisseurs.

Viticulture World introduces a new game board, cards, hats and other game pieces that players will combine with the vineyard mats, meeples and cards from the original game. The basics remain intact: it is still a worker placement with events, wine, grapes and so on. But the cooperative element alone makes the game experience different. In Viticulture World, you have six years to achieve the two conditions necessary for victory in your chosen region: (1) Each player must reach 25 victory points and (2) the shared influence token must reach the end of the influence track. Because of the different actions, players often face a dilemma: which goal are we going to work on?

In this cooperative worker placement, we work together and think about the work ethic of our workers. At the start of the game, they are given a clear role assignment and matching hat, but it is possible that some workers wear multiple hats as the game progresses. Because workers have a clear role assignment, Viticulture World also contains the scarcity necessary in worker placements, but offers this in a refreshing way.

In addition, Viticulture World contains plenty of variety due to the different continents. In Viticulture, players can grow wine on different continents. You could compare it to different scenarios. Each continent introduces new game elements and game challenges with a hefty thematic charge and good dose of history. As with the original game, this allows you to get quite immersed in the theme. This makes it almost like visiting a historic vineyard with friends. Whereas in the original Viticulture players were competing to see who was the finest connoisseur, in Viticulture World they go about enjoying the wine nice and easy and together. Get some cheese ready and a good glass of wine and go for some wine overtime!