Viticulture World Expansion Solo Overview

Viticulture World breathes new life into the series. It fixes some of my biggest issues, allows for new ways to play and makes everything feel fresh. You will be expanding your winemaking prowess across the globe with different continent decks, a new AI system, new board, a reputation track, upgraded locations, more mamas and papas, a revamped wake up chart and event deck.

What’s New?

To begin a game choose a continent deck as seen above. Each deck plays over 6 years (rounds). The heart of this expansion are the event decks and each deck plays completely differently. Each year you will flip a card, expanding on gameplay in some way. Some examples would be: providing temporary worker placement spots, creating temporary goals that provide rewards and making gameplay more difficult. There are more creative uses of the decks, but I’ll leave those as a surprise.

Aside from the new decks, there is now a reputation track that you have to scale in order to win, it is very expensive to gain reputation, but most decks provide opportunities to raise reputation as you play. The wake up chart is revamped with new options and every fall you get to select a reward, instead of just a visitor card. Workers now start with yellow summer hats, or blue winter hats limiting when the workers can be played. Upgrading workers allows workers to remove their hats, allowing them to be placed during either season and game upgraded location rewards. Upgraded locations make each spot better and allows for multiple workers to go to the same location.

World allows you to work with an AI dummy player. They are very low upkeep. Each summer/winter phase the AI draws from their deck, dictating which 4 spots she will place her workers and will receive 3 money to use on upgraded locations and reputation. You are able to trade with the AI as you would a human partner. This really opens up the game for solo gamers the same way it does for everyone else. My largest issue with Viticulture was always the card draw. Having access to more card options via the AI helps a lot.

Component Quality

Everything in World comes packaged in a thin but heavy box, it included a nice insert and you can really tell that Stonemaier is making more moves towards becoming green. Instead of plastic baggies, cards are wrapped in a thin paper and the new worker hats are kept in a different biodegradable bag. The hats themselves have a good feel to them, they are squishy and fit on the workers perfectly. I don’t have to worry about them falling off while placing the worker. The rulebook quality isn’t the same as their newer games, but matches the same quality of Viticulture and Tuscany. Two new wooden components for the reputation and event are included as well.

Final Thoughts

I haven’t played every deck, but those I did, did not disappoint. The starting themed deck is based off of Charterstone and does a great job introducing you to the new mechanics. It also introduces a “with help” card meaning that if you can’t win by year 6 you can choose to play one more year and say you won “with help”. As a teacher I appreciated the accommodation. Often times I will still pass students “with help” on a test if they can solve a math problem with one prompt. I chose to use this 7th year “with help” card on my first real game while playing the Asia deck. I would have felt pretty bad if I lost my first real game by two points. I needed that extra round to sell one more order and get over 25 points.

Each deck REALLY shakes everything up and makes Viticulture feel fresh. It’s a game I love but has sat on my shelf for over a year. I had difficulty with the easy deck and have since beaten a few medium difficulty decks after a few tries. I can’t imagine how difficult the hard decks are, but it will keep me coming back for many more playthroughs. Viticulture World works with all expansions, even parts of Tuscany, allowing you to build buildings. As I mentioned before, my biggest issue was the card draw and being able to trade with the AI helps me search for the cards I need. This is my first time seeing a co-op AI and I was not disappointed. Good job as always Automa Factory!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.