When I review a game on my Youtube channel, I only take the core game into consideration. But lots of good games has very good expansions, which increases the gameplay experience. More and more our The viewers request reviews of expensions too.
In these new series, I’ll review expansions for games I already reviewd on my channel.
Let’s get strated with a Big Fish. Viticulture: Essential Edition Tuscany is one of the perfect expansion for me, for quite a few reasons. This expansion is modular, and even the modules are modular.
The first, and the biggest module is the new, two-sided board,which brings three new thing in the game. The board is flipped before the game according to the use of structure cards, or the lack of.
The greatest change that all four seasons now „active”, all have actions of the board. The original board only has summer and winter actions, Tuscany has spring and autumn too. It’s not only broadens the action opportunities, but enhances the theme too.
The next change is Wake-up chart, the initiative system. We don’t pass the first player token at the end of the year anymore. If you pass at the end of the turn (year), You choose your position on the wake-up chart for the next turn. It’s your choice if you want to take you action before the other players, or want some juicy bonus, but act later.
The last change on the board is the influence action. The players have opportunity to influence the various regions of Tuscany. The influence tokens give the players immediate bonuses, and victory points at the and of the game, based on area majority.
The second – and best module in my opinion – is the special workers. The Grande worker introduced in Essential Edition is already genius; all warker placement game has a basic rule: one worker per actions space. The way the Grande worker can brake his rule eliminates the way some games punishes players. I never have the same feeling playing Tuscany, as I usually have with Agricola, that the game wants to punish me.
And after this brilliant mechanic, Jamey Stegmaier chose to go all in, and intruduced special workers into Tuscany. In every game, we randomly choose two special workers, and all players can train this same two workers in the game. These workers change tha way actions, actions spaces work, and even give the players special abilities.
The third module the stucture cards is the perfect example of top quality variable player powers.
Although the mamma and pappa cards in the base game counts as some kind of variable player power, but in my opinion, the structure cards makes the game different enough for the players.
And how they do! Every player can build two structures on their own boards, in addition to the printee sctructures (trellises, yokes, windmills, etc.). But the structure deck is full of different structures, thus every player’s structures will be unique, with singular abilities.
And there are even more! There are three kinds of structures; the action structures have one action spaces for our own workers. The enhanced structures give ongoing bonuses the the players. The Residual structures provide end of the turn bonuses, just like the residual payment, but with different resources.
Tuscany changes the base game so much, that it can be called a stand-alone game variant. The modules strengthen good mechanics in the game to excellent. The expand things needed to be expanded. And they give a ton of new tactical and strategic choice to the players. The new board even extends the theme of the game; I know, Viticulture isn’t a perfect wine-making simulator, but the four seasons action system is more realistic than the two seasons system original.
I don’t want to use the rating system I use on my channel here, because it wouldn’t work. But if I want to interpret my opinion in a numerical system about these expansions, I choose the one to ten system, and for something to beat for the coming expansions, I give Tuscany a 10.
Tuscany – Essential Edition
Jamey Stegmaier & Alan Stone, Stonemaier Games