Friday, 23 September 2016

And that's how you play Viticulture

Thursday evening at my house is a pretty regular thing, and normally it's just myself, Andrew and Ian. We stopped bothering everyone else as they all appear to have other things going on. But as Adam had recently contacted me about his gaming yearnings, I let him know it was on, just in case - and he turned up! How we warmly embraced him upon arrival! How we wished he'd stayed home just an hour or so later!

Adam hadn't seen the games cupboard/wall in a good while and was suitably impressed/unnerved. There were many games there he hadn't played, but with Andrew and I hankering mildly for Viticulture (Ian was absent), Adam was more than amenable.

And he was all yellow

"Nothing happens for the first hour" I pontificated sagely. "And then it all speeds up at the end"

Forty-five minutes later, Adam had established a ten point lead, and was surging toward the finish line. Andrew and I were having Cheltenham Road flashbacks, to the time when GNN was nearly renamed Adam Wins News, so regularly did he trounce us at everything we played. The two of us had started in a kind of knuckle-cracking, couple-of-press-ups fashion as we shook off the cobwebs of the day: not so much putting our ducks in a row, as noticing that we had ducks and going "Ooooh! ducks!". We'd forgotten that Adam is not a man to stand around idly admiring poultry, and by the end of the first year he had planted grapes, harvested them, and was eyeing up a growing stack of orders in his hand. I'd sown a single field, sold another, and Andrew was preparing to show round a bunch of visitors.


I would like to add here for the record that we did help Adam in the early stages: suggesting what cards to begin with, to take that extra worker, and so on. We were marking out our own graves! The creeping custard had slid into the house at half eight - by the time we'd warmly embraced, opened our brews, explained Viticulture, played Viticulture and packed Viticulture away in a stunned daze, it was a night-is-young ten past ten.

How does he do it?

"How do you do it?" Andrew asked him. Adam said he tried to only ever take an option on the board if he got the bonus with it. Can it really be that simple? I hope not. I'd be disappointed in both the game, and Adam. 

Adam 21
Andrew  15
Sam 12

So we played Cosmic Run. This is mine and Andrew's new favorite filler: a race for points as meteors barrel their way past you and you befriend and exploit mathematically-minded aliens. Andrew went the card route; regularly picking up little helpers. I ignored them until the end, trying to force the pace by racing up the planet tracks. Adam did a little of both... it was tight in the end, so tight that Andrew realized if he'd played his last turn differently he would have won by at least 4 points. But he didn't!

Sam 59
Andrew 58
Adam 48

Adam still had half a glass of wine, so I suggested the ten-minute game of predation: Om Nom Nom. But by the time I'd explained the rules - which took about 30 seconds - I realized I was too tired to play. We called it a night. Great to have the slinking tapioca back at the table!


  1. That's how he does it! There's two of him.

  2. And they both prefer the sneaking semolina.

  3. Nice to see Adam again. Not so nice to lose to him again. Very efficient play, with only one field in use. Am I remembering it wrong or did he get his final VP by picking up a visitor card and then using it? Jammy semolina.

  4. I can't remember. If it was so, then that's exceedingly efficient