Friday, April 13, 2012

King's Vineyard Rules

The Review Crew's Take on
KING'S VINEYARD
# Players . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-4*
Game time . . . . . . . . 30-45 minutes
Set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 minute
Luck . . .  . . . . . .6 . . .Strategy
*Interplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Visual Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.5
Component Quality . .. . . . . 7
*Replayability . . . . . . . . . . . 8

*See "How we Rate" for a definition.

Grape growing doesn't sound like a theme that would make for an intense, bring you back again kind of game, but King's Vineyard is all that. The concept is simple and all done with cards. You're growing grapevines, up to five at a time, and you want to have the sweetest, most colorful vineyard you can get. The king comes to visit three times every game, so you want your vineyard to be at its peak when he comes. Problem is, you don't know exactly when that will be.  
The concept may be simple, but the management of a vineyard isn't. There's a lot to think about: getting your vines to the optimum length (some can't grow as long as others) keeping them green until the king comes, maximizing bonus possibilities, and more. A surprising amount of strategy goes into the game, but luck plays a part, too, which means that just about anyone who plays has a chance at doing well at this game.
Play moves along quickly--a game can be completed in 30-45 minutes or so--and it's a pleasure to look at while you're playing. The sturdy cards are so beautifully illustrated you might want to eat them. But don't. You'll want to play this game again . . . and again.
*Jeff and Alison's family had the chance to play King's Vineyard at its launch with the game designers and were told that you can play with five people. Instead of putting three kings in the deck, put two. That way, each player has enough time to grow his or her vineyard before the king comes. We've played that way with five and it works well.

At Game Night Games for the launch with designers Sandeep Kharkar and Dave Haslam

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