Viticulture: Moor Visitors Expansion
Time: ~70 minutes
Times Played: 10+
Viticulture: Essential Edition and the Tuscany: Essential Edition expansion are two mainstays of our collection (as well as the metal coins!) so it was only a matter of time before Viticulture: Moor Visitors Expansion made it’s way into our hands.
The expansion, notable for the design help of the acclaimed Uwe Rosenberg, totals forty new visitor cards for both seasons that are added to the existing deck via shuffling them together. Besides a small symbol in the top right corner of each card, nothing distinguishes these cards from those found in the base game. I do want to acknowledge that it is far easier to see the symbol on the Summer cards as opposed to the Winter cards. This is notable as in the event you ever want to separate them, it’ll be a pain. I couldn’t even get my phone camera to properly focus on the Winter cards symbol.
They are the same colors and consistency of the base game so you don’t have to worry about being able to spot a difference before pulling a card. I read somewhere that some players had issues with the cards being a fraction of a centimeter off in measurement which made shuffling a pain but all of my cards are uniform in size and shape.
But card quality is only so important. You’re reading this because you want to know what the expansion brings to the table. Moor Visitors adds more variety to the game due to the influx of cards and that variety is the ability to do this or do that, which was lacking from the base game cards. Giving players options on what to do creates interesting scenarios and the ability for some pretty strong combos if you have the cards and workers to pull it off. The variability of these actions adds some more replayability to the game as what worked for one round may not work for another quite as well. You may even choose to take the completely opposite approach.
With the base game featuring seventy-six Visitor cards, the inclusion of Moor Visitors helps fatten the deck without over-saturating the market with the new cards. It’s not a guarantee you’ll encounter a card from the expansion and if you do, it may not fit your plans. I’m a big fan of this as it adds some new strategical decision making that will impact your game. After playing Viticulture a hundred times, I typically have an idea of the gameplan I want to follow based on the opening turns and cards dealt. While I enjoy the game greatly, some games will feel identical as I perform the same actions again and again. Adding the Moor cards can flip that on its head as I might grab a card that lets me reach a different goal faster.
Besides the either/or option, there are some cards that feature interesting trade-offs that can impact end of the game scoring, such as granting you Lira immediately when the card is played but deducting points if you don’t meet the requisite Lira at the time of final scoring. This adds such an interesting conundrum as you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul and have to decide if the trade-off is one, worth it and two, the game won’t end before you meet that requirement.
The added cards will change the strategies of players as they can no longer abuse the deck, looking for that one particular card that will put them over the edge. There were clearly cards in the original deck that were better than others and the odds of finding one if you kept going to the well often enough were high. Moor Visitors puts a kibosh on that strategy as the decks are just too large to sift through now.
But that doesn’t mean players should shy away from collecting cards. There are some powerful hands and combos that can be made and ignoring these cards completely could spell doom for a players chances at winning.
Since merging the expansion cards with the base game cards, we have never made an effort to or even thought of separating the cards. We consider this to just be a part of the game now and don’t even refer to it as an expansion.
A final point is that the box is cute but once you add the cards into their respective decks, it doesn’t really serve a purpose. I’m not adding this to the Viticulture box as that thing is already slammed with components from all the games. I typically throw away expansion boxes once they fit in the base games box (blasphemy!) however, I kept this box as it works perfectly to store dice for other games. I use this for Warhammer 40k. Maybe it could serve a similar purpose for the purchaser?
That being said, these additional cards are not needed to enjoy Viticulture or Tuscany. They provide a slightly different experience when they appear and it is a nice way to re-energize the game after repeated plays. Whereas I see Tuscany being almost a necessity, Moor is more of a “if you want to add it to your collection.” If you’re playing Viticulture a lot, I would say that this is a definite addition just for the variability. It will add a new flavor to the game and that new element helps implement new strategies. If Viticulture is something you’re lukewarm on or only sees the table sparingly, Moor Visitors isn’t going to change anything drastically enough to warrant its inclusion. Some might see it as overpriced since you’re only getting forty cards but it was a worthy investment for us.