Viticulture is the study of grape cultivation. It is a long process that seems intensely competitive, and after playing the original board game that this game is based on, a lot of fun.
The board game was originally designed by Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone, becoming a firm favourite of board gamers, so when I heard there was going to be an digital version of Viticulure then I couldn’t contain my anticipation for it.
IOS, Android, Steam
Version played – Android
Developer – Digidiced
Upon loading the game for the first time, you are lead through a detailed tutorial, that explains how to play the game. This is an excellent addition, and allows players to understand the game quickly and efficiently. The basis of the game is very simple; you begin the game with a set number of workers, and you place them on a variety of different action spaces. Some of these actions could be plant a field, build specialist buildings, hire extra workers, or even give a tour. There are a lot of options, and you will have to plan your strategy carefully since you might want to keep some workers for later in the year, where more options are available. Keeping workers available later is essential because not all the actions can be accessed in one season. For example you can only harvest the grapes and complete orders in autumn. One thing to keep in mind is that you will never have enough workers to do all the actions you want to do.
You can also pick up cards that will influence the game and provide extra resources or actions if you use them. All this is so that you can complete orders which provide you with victory points, with the last round being triggered by somebody gaining 20 points.
The graphics are very clear and colourful, showing a vineyard, and when the seasons change, snow will appear in winter for example. Each action has a symbol attached, allowing the player to know what you will get if you place a worker at that spot. So if you want some money, you can see a coin that tells you that is where you can get extra money. However there is an option to add text to help you pinpoint your actions, if you struggle with symbols.
Viticluture can be played solo, against the computer A.I, who have three different levels of difficulty. I have only played on the easiest setting and I am yet to win a game,which shows either that I’m pretty rubbish or it’s a tough game to win. However I do keep coming back, wishing I had one more worker to perform the strategy that would make me win. The game will also save continuously. If you do have the time, games will last no more than 45 mins depending on the number of computer opponents.
There is also online play available, with asynchronous play an option, meaning that you do not have to sit down and play the game there and then, but get on with life and take your turn when you’re able to.
For gamers with little time, the fact that you can break off a solo game, and come back to it, combined with online asynchronous play, means that this is a game that is not a massive time sink in one go, and does respect the busy life of people.
Overall this digital version, is an excelent translation of the boardgame. The tutorial, graphics and relaxed gameplay means it is a lot of fun, and with the online options, and short length, means this is a perfect game for any lapsed gamer, and I eagerly await the Tuscany expansion.
Code provided by the developer