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Subject: Winning with the Tavern card - Broken, you decide? rss

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Derek Strand
Canada
Langley
British Columbia
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In my most recent game of Tuscany Essential Edition, I won the game by filling only 1 wine card and I could have won the game without filling a single wine card. You may be wondering how that is possible, especially if you have never played Tuscany. Well... I was lucky enough to get the Tavern structure card.

The Tavern allows a the player to receive 3 points by spending 2 grape tokens every time they play a yellow summer visitor card, or a purple wine card.

(**IMPORTANT NOTE: I wasn't absolutely sure whether the Tavern was depicting a purple wine card, or a blue visitor card - it was very hard to decipher whether the color on the tavern card was purple or blue on the card. Everyone in the game group interpreted the card as playing a yellow or purple card so that is what we went with.)

The game started slow for me. I had no structures to start with. I bought the irrigation and trellis. I also trained workers twice (one was a special worker that allows the owner to take spaces in future seasons). Finally, I was able to pick up a orange structure card. Lucky for me, I picked up the Tavern!! Once I had the Tavern card, I knew that filling wine orders would not necessarily be a priority any more. So instead I focused my effort on producing grapes and loading up on yellow summer visitor cards. I made sure I took wake up positions that gave me the cards I needed. I also made sure that I had two fields operating and that they were producing both types of wine in each. Once I had this in place, I was very fortunate because most years I got to place my worker on the "play a second summer card" space as a bonus. This meant when I played 2 visitor cards, I was getting 6 points (as long as I had 4 grapes to spend). Unbelievably, I was able to accumulate a minimum of 6 points every year. One year, I wasn't able to play 2 summer visitors, but I had a summer visitor card that gave me 3 points when I throw away 4 cards in the discard. On my final year, I surpassed 25 points by filling a 3 red/3 white wine order for 3 points and spending 2 grapes for an addition 3 points.

Final score
Me: 30 points
Everyone else below 19 points

It was nice to not have to worry about filling orders. IMO The Tavern is overpowered because it allows you to accumulate points by spending grapes. To fill wine cards requires an extra step to complete. I didn't have to do this step. I could completely ignore the final season almost every year after I got my third worker. This meant I was leaving the year early and having first pick at the wake up chart. Therefore, I usually got the cards I needed to score points. The Tavern combined with my special worker (allowing me to claim future spots in future seasons) meant I had a major advantage in the game. I made it a priority to get the bonus summer visitor space each year. In only 3 years, I had accumulated 18 points while the other players were trying to fill orders. Not filling orders is way easier than trying to fill them. I didn't need to buy any upgrades for holding wine. (only bought the trellis and irrigation!). It was easy and I destroyed the competition.

So it seems that the Tavern is way too powerful. As a house rule, it may work to limit the Tavern capability - the card should only be allowed to be played once per year. On another forum, someone said they pull the Tavern and Tap out of the game; I think that could be another good solution.

Tuscany is an awesome edition to Viticulture regardless of this card. The Tavern did put a sour taste in the mouths of my competition though.
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Iain
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Out of interest how many years did it take you to win from the start? You seem to describe several rounds at the start of training workers, planting vines, etc. Then you got 18 points in three years, plus another year to get the final points to win - so 7-8 years?

There are perfectly viable strategies to win in 7-8 years (just see the solo mode) - it may be just that your opponents were not playing efficiently - also you didn't note whether you scored the influence board?

I'm not criticising, just playing devils advocate. Could it be possible that Tavern is the dominion 'big money' strategy? (i.e. an easy win against inefficient opponents, but easily beaten if they cotton onto the tactic?).
 
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David Combs
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Spring Lake Park
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I have not played with this card from the expansion yet, but from what I've read both the Tavern and the Tap Room do seem overpowered.
Also, looking at both cards, their abilities activate when you play a yellow or blue card. Think of it as the summer or winter visitors are going to your tap room or tavern while they are visiting your vinyard.
 
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John Van Wagoner
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Bluffton
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i believe it's supposed to be a blue card (not purple)...
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Andres K
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I had the same feeling when we played. Luckily, the guy got the Tavern half way though the game, but it did looks like cheating - we were struggling with production and filling contracts, while he took the Play Card spaces noone needed and harvested from yoke.
It's yellow and blue, not purple - so you do not have to even fill a contract.

To be fair, he did not win, but was 3rd or 2nd from 4 players.
 
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Chris Laudermilk
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I have not run across Tavern yet, but it does sound powerful. I also am making the same guess as Iain. 7-8 years for your win? In which case, you simply found a strong, efficient path to the win and your opponents failed to prevent it or outrace you.

Remember, this game's theme is about running a vineyard, not simply narrowly making & selling wine. I often finish games filling only one or two orders (win/loss is 33%). I actually commented on my first game with Tuscany incorporated as I won by primarily filling wine orders (I think 4-5) since that was unusual.
 
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George
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John_VW wrote:
i believe it's supposed to be a blue card (not purple)...


Agreed after comparing to other cards showing purple. Also thematically summer/winter visitors makes sense for a Tavern (and Tap). Plus the cards usually say "Fill [1 purple]" instead of "Play" like the Tavern/Tap do.

(Not faulting the o.p. Sounds like they all agreed it was purple so no foul play. Just adding my 2 cents for their future plays.)
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Derek Strand
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Langley
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Gribbon wrote:
Out of interest how many years did it take you to win from the start? You seem to describe several rounds at the start of training workers, planting vines, etc. Then you got 18 points in three years, plus another year to get the final points to win - so 7-8 years?

There are perfectly viable strategies to win in 7-8 years (just see the solo mode) - it may be just that your opponents were not playing efficiently - also you didn't note whether you scored the influence board?

I'm not criticising, just playing devils advocate. Could it be possible that Tavern is the dominion 'big money' strategy? (i.e. an easy win against inefficient opponents, but easily beaten if they cotton onto the tactic?).


I am not certain how many years had gone by before getting the Tavern and putting it into place. I would say about 2 to 3 years. It definitely took me a few years before I had it. I would say, total 5 to 6 years to get to 25 points. My wife is a pretty efficient and smart player. She usually beats me but I was way ahead this time - 30 points to her 19 points.

I did score on the influence board - that is how I got some of my yellow summer visitor cards and a structure card - I scored 3 points from that.

I think that if someone has the Tavern card, others MUST do what they can to block that player from getting BONUS actions. They also must play efficiently, but that all depends on the luck of the draw sometimes.
 
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Derek Strand
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Langley
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dhc3po wrote:
I have not played with this card from the expansion yet, but from what I've read both the Tavern and the Tap Room do seem overpowered.
Also, looking at both cards, their abilities activate when you play a yellow or blue card. Think of it as the summer or winter visitors are going to your tap room or tavern while they are visiting your vinyard.


That is what I thought!!!! BuT no one agreed with me. They all said it was purple. In the end, I don't think it made a big difference. I wonder if Jamey from Stonemaier can chip in to validate the color of card for me on the Tavern???
 
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Derek Strand
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Langley
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John_VW wrote:
i believe it's supposed to be a blue card (not purple)...


The color looks almost purple on my copy... but it could be blue. My game group thought it was purple and when I disagreed, they said I was color blind! LOL
 
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Derek Strand
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soosy wrote:
John_VW wrote:
i believe it's supposed to be a blue card (not purple)...


Agreed after comparing to other cards showing purple. Also thematically summer/winter visitors makes sense for a Tavern (and Tap). Plus the cards usually say "Fill [1 purple]" instead of "Play" like the Tavern/Tap do.

(Not faulting the o.p. Sounds like they all agreed it was purple so no foul play. Just adding my 2 cents for their future plays.)


Thanks for chiming in. I actually believed it was blue. But hey, if my competition wanted it to be purple, it worked for me anyhow!
 
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Jamey Stegmaier
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St. Louis
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Derek asked me to chime in with a definitive answer. The Tavern card is referring to when you play a summer or winter visitor--a yellow or blue card:



The original Tuscany version of the card had a less distinct shade of blue on the winter visitor icons:

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Chris Laudermilk
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Yeah, that's a very strong card. I certainly would make a big effort to get either two fields planted, or a white + red field to ensure 2 grapes every year. Then get the Cottage (heck I try to anyway) to keep the visitor cards coming. After that, pretty much ignore wine orders or making wine.

Your opponents would definitely want to clog up the visitor & harvest spaces, and probably also the trade space to slow you down.

I wonder is house-ruling the cost from two of any grape to two of any wine would effectively slow this beast down? That would force one more step, consuming another worker every year.
 
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Derek Strand
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claudermilk wrote:
Yeah, that's a very strong card. I certainly would make a big effort to get either two fields planted, or a white + red field to ensure 2 grapes every year. Then get the Cottage (heck I try to anyway) to keep the visitor cards coming. After that, pretty much ignore wine orders or making wine.

Your opponents would definitely want to clog up the visitor & harvest spaces, and probably also the trade space to slow you down.

I wonder is house-ruling the cost from two of any grape to two of any wine would effectively slow this beast down? That would force one more step, consuming another worker every year.


I totally agree with you on all points.

You definitely need to plant 2 fields and it is best to have fields producing red and white grapes because otherwise you will clog up your crush pad with one type of wine value, and perhaps not be able to produce. You would want each field producing different valued grapes also. The cottage would guarantee you have visitor cards but I didn't find this to be a necessity - I never bought it. The Tuscany EE wake up chart provides ample opportunity to get cards. You also can put out stars to get the cards too!

Opponents MUST do all they can to block you however that would be at the expense of their own game!

Possible House rules that may help:
- Put a minimum cost of grape that you must spend when using the Tavern (higher grape value only).
- Make the Tavern a one time use card - it can only be used once per year.
- Increase the cost to buy Tavern structure - $7 to $10.



 
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Darin Bolyard
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Oak Grove
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I've won using the Tavern, but the other two experienced players at the table were not far behind. One of them merely a point or two. It was a very interesting game, as I was harvesting grapes and playing visitor cards like mad. He only played a couple of visitor cards the entire game. I don't think it's overpowered. I appreciate the diverse strategies available with Tuscany EE.
 
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Brent Gerig
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Upland
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I really like the variety of strategies Tuscany offers. I had a similar game this weekend with the Tap Room and wrote about it here.
 
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