Expansion: Visit from the Rhine Valley
Base Game: Viticulture
Published: Stonemaier Games
Players: 1-6 players
Playtime: 1 hour-1 hour 30 Minutes
Other Expansions Needed: No
- Provides variety
- Stronger focus on theme
- Helps to build engine
- Easier to learn for new players
- Replaces prior components/ expansions in game play
- Cannot be combined with other visitor cards
- Card art is repeated
Visit from the Rhine Valley adds a brand new set of summer and winter visitor cards for players to choose from. Visit from the Rhine Valley is designed to provide players with an additional deck of visitor cards, rather than providing another expansion that adds cards into the base game deck. These two decks have different backs than the original decks to keep them easily identifiable and to dissuade players from mixing the two decks together. For some players, this may be seen as a negative, as it replaces cards from the base game and the Moor Visitors expansion.
However, this expansion provides variety in a different way, that could not have been provided by just adding cards into a larger deck. By giving players the options of two decks, the players are able to choose what kind of game play suits them and the people they are playing with best. Visit from the Rhine Valley’s cards have more focus on the process of making wine, and building a stronger engine to fulfill wine orders, whereas the base game and Moor Visitors’ cards provide players with ways to gain victory points. While both options are valid and provide a good game play experience, Visit from the Rhine Valley does this in a more thematic way.
Generally the cards focus around making the vineyard better, and providing a more streamlined way to create wine. Some cards allow players to gain grapes or wine, others allow players to harvest fields or plant fields, and many allow players to manipulate the kind of wine made despite type of grape. The variety of the cards allows players to be able to manipulate the game play better, keeping the focus on making wine rather than getting the cards with the most victory points. This deck will be more enjoyable for players who enjoy the process of wine creation. It is also easier for new players to learn. The cards are more straight-forward than the original games, and new players seem to have less questions about the symbols and effects of the cards.
Another positive aspect of this expansion is that because of the focus being on wine making rather than victory points, the actual scoring of points tends to be more spread out then in the base game. Players are not able to count on cards to get a lot of points in just one turn. Instead players have a more consistent income of victory points due to wine orders.
With the focus on variety, some players may be disappointed to see that the cards have the same card art as prior cards. As you can see in the image, many of the visitors appear the same, with a change in occupation. While many players may have been looking forward to a new aesthetic piece for their game, they may be disappointed to see that the cards have many similarities, with just a few new cards added. The positive of this is it helps keep the cost of the expansion low.
Overall if you enjoy Viticulture, I would highly suggest this expansion. It adds a new angle to game play, without being overly expensive or difficult to learn. You do not need Tuscany or Moor Visitors to play this expansion. While there are cards that are Tuscany specific, they are marked as so and can be taken out for games without that expansion. It will provide players with variety, and replay-ability without taking away from the theme or feeling of the game.