Friday, September 22, 2017

Terroir Gameplay Review

I'm playing Terroir, a winery management simulation by General Interactive.

The game features randomized tiles on which to place crops in different soils (which support different types of grapes), buildings to enable additional management actions or sell wine directly, an environmental areas (like lakes and forests) that produce adjacency bonuses. During the year, the foliage must be trimmed back in order for the grapes to ripen, though too much sun will ruin them too. In addition, rot and insects can ruin crops as well. Once Fall rolls around, grapes are harvested and turned into wine using a four-step process (crushing, fermenting, pressing, and ageing in barrels) that affects the four attributes of the wine. There is initially only one option for each step (though some minor tweaking is available), but more can be unlocked well later in the game. Then, the wine can be bottled, tasted by professionals that assign a rating, and sold at a price based on that rating. Once a five-star rated wine is produced, you can play Monopoly-style chance cards that may give a positive or negative event. Starting out is very difficult: poor randomized weather can ruin a year’s crop, there is a lot of initial guessing as to the optimal attributes for each wine, there is only one option for each processing step in the beginning, starting wines don’t make much money, and loans can only be taken out if you are well established with a high renown rating. But once the money starts rolling in, the game becomes more enjoyable with lots of crops to attend to, more buildings to construct, more worker actions, and more options to process the wine. Still, the general process is repetitive from year to year. Terroir is a unique game in its setting, but reversed difficulty (harder at first and easier as things progress) and repetitive gameplay make it difficult to recommend overall.