Archive | July, 2014

Do we really need another board game with a wine theme?

The gaming mechanisms in The Vine Game could just as easily be applied to ‘The Beer Game’ or a game called  ‘Strawberry Jam’.  However, owning and operating a vineyard is something lots of us city dwelling corporate warrior types fantasize about and provides a great theme for the game.  The wine theme has been deeply embedded in the game and is not just a label on a run of the mill farm game.  You really get the sense of being involved in the wine industry.

Room For One More

With games like Winerd, Winopoly and more recently Viticulture, etc why not just leave the space to all the other wine related offerings?   It is because we believe The Vine Game is such a great free wheeling and dealing strategic game that we just had to make it available.  It’s old school – money is the medium of exchange not ‘resource’ cards. The concept is easy to grasp for those not well versed in today’s more convoluted gaming devices.   As well as that, the end game is decisive.  Simply reach a cash target and then make and sell one last batch of wine.  With many paths to get you there and negotiation skill a big key to your success, The Vine Game allows you to pit yourself against your opponents.  We sincerely believe that there is room for one more game, a great game – The Vine Game!

Dad Will Love It

Dad’s are the hardest people to buy gifts for. Does he really need another tie? The deluxe wooden box and pieces exude quality so he’ll be chuffed that you thought of him so highly – even if he never plays it, LOL. If your Dad is, or was into board games, he will love it!  And you can always borrow it to play it yourself.

More Nifty Game Features


How Prices Change

Another difference is a unique device we’ve called the “Price-O-Meter”.  In any economy, prices are always changing.  Not only that, prices also reflect the quality and quantity of goods in the market.  The “Price-O-Meter” is a neat solution to achieve fluctuating prices and quantities that can shift the fortune and the strategic position of each player – and it looks great on the board as well!

The Price-O-Meter also shows two other numbers that help players negotiate when the are trading with each other.  It helps new players get a handle on what their grapes are worth in the current market.  Of course they can vary those guide prices up or down but the guide provides an excellent starting point.  With experience  and skill, different valuations based on relative position and options available to the player may emerge.

cellar notes

Cellar Notes

The Cellar Notes cards each include three wine knowledge/triva question of easy, moderate and expert levels of difficulty.  It is amazing to watch how players jump at the chance of asking their opponent a Cellar Notes question.  It deepens the wine theme and provides another facet to gaining success in the game.


Wine Tasting Option

We’ve also given some thought as to how you can include wine tasting as part of the game.  The Vine Game is not a drinking game but including wine tasting of some previously untried varieties may be something that extends your enjoyment of the game. If you decide to go with it, great,  but The Vine Game also plays perfectly well without it.  If you include the tasting option always remember to drink responsibly.

Keep an eye on Kickstarter for our launch there.

The Vine Game team.


The Wine Tasting option: Part 2

Wine Choice

The person who chooses the wines can’t really take part in the wine tasting contest because they have too much ‘insider knowledge’ which, as we know, is highly illegal – LOL.  The person intending to act as banker is ideally placed to choose the wine because the banker can manage the tasting activity along with his/her other tasks.  However there’s nothing to stop the banker enjoying the wine along with the other players. A second option is to get your local wine retailer to choose the wines for you.  Most likely he/she will be able to assemble a good selection under your budget guidance and indication of your preferrred mix between red or white.

Wine Clues

Then either ther the banker or the wine retailer will need to make up the clue list which players can use to  help them identify each wine.

Lets say the following 3 wines have been selected for tasting:

  1. 2008 Pinot Noir from Central Otago, NZ:  “Spicy with cherry notes and smoke, racy mouthfeel”
  2. 2006 Saperavi from the King Valley, Victoria: “Very sweet red berry fruits followed by intense blackberry, and then coffee infused cedar”
  3. 2012 Shiraz from Adelaide Hills, SA: “Aromas of flowers, peppery spice, summer berry pudding, and barely there oak herald a silky palate of real concentration.”

The clue sheet needs to contain a 4 randomised lists of the  vintages, grape varieties, region and tasting descriptions and will end up looking something like this table2.

Masking the wines

The whole point of the wine tasting option in The Vine Game is for players to guess the hidden identity of the chosen wines.  So the labels should be covered and any other clue to a wine’s identity (e.g. the cork or cap) should be hidden, removed or blanked out.

The person selecting the wines and creating the list of clues to identity should also mask each bottle.  The simplest method is to double bag each bottle with those brown paper bags available from your wine retailer and secure them just below the cap/cork with masking (!) tape or cellophane tape.

The Wine Tasting option : Part 1


The wine tasting is  purely optional inclusion when playing The Wine Game.   If you do includie it there are several thing you need to decide and organise.

  • Decide the number of wines.
  • Decide the budget & who pays for the wines.
  • Choice of wines. (see Part 2)
  • Prepare the list of wine clues. (see Part 2)
  • ‘Masking’ the wines. (see Part 2)

Number of  Wines

Less is more.  Choose fewer higher quality wines.  Try the wine that you always wanted to and in the process share it with friends!  Keep in mind that the game requires you to be on the ball.


As the host you might generously decide to treat your guests. Well done Mr Rockerfeller.  On the other hand a budget based on $20 per head with 5 players and a banker that would allow you to buy three $40 wines or  one at $15, $30 and $75.  The players could then also venture a guess at the which is the more expensive wine – that could be interesting.

Buy The Vine Game

disappointedAs at  12 July 2016 you can’t buy The Vine Game just yet.  Launching a board game is no simple task and in this case some family bereavements have delayed our release dates.

Our plan is to offer serial numbered hand signed special editions of the game as well as the deluxe and standard versions.  Copies ordered by supporters of the launch will supplied from an initial production run of around 2000 copies.

After that The Vine Game will be in full release through game clubs, game retailers, selected specialty wine sellers and through this site.

Right now there are only 5 copies in existence undergoing play testing.

Player Feedback

This post is provided for player feedback on The Vine Game.  A place to leave your comments, questions and suggestions about The Vine Game.

A lot of thought and effort has gone into developing and testing The Vine Game.  That doesn’t mean it can’t be tweaked or improved based on feedback our player community and for that reason we encourage player feedback.  Of course we’ll keep a watch on what you say and ask that you remain respectful at all times in your replies and comments.

We have provided some tips to help get you off and running in the game here.

In time a full fledged forum may be established to cover specific topics, but for now its over to you……


Creation of The Vine Game

In the beginning…

In 1994 I had just left a corporate finance job in a large company to become a full time Dad and I needed a project to keep me thinking.  That led to the creation of The Vine Game.  To be strictly correct I called it “The Wine Game” at the time but now there’s another game that goes by that name – so it became The Vine Game.

After a near miss at commercialisation in 1995, the game has…well just simply been sitting there – mostly in the background and sometimes front and centre whenever a moment’s inspiration hit me.  There have be countless refinements to the game over the 20 years since I created the original.  Just last year my two kids (now in their 20’s) asked to play the game.  That turned out to be fun and encouraged me to bring the game to the market.

The result of this effort  is something that one serious board gamer recently declared as “the best game I’ve ever played”.  Flattering words for sure and not everybody will agree but it certainly was a small and significant confirmation that, despite the long development time, I’ve created something that many people can and will enjoy.

The Vine Game is not Snakes and Ladders – if you don’t have a gamer’s mindset it takes some effort to come to grips with. On the other hand some people pick it up pretty much intuitively.  The game is about wine and you can optionally enjoy wine as part of the game.  If you choose to include wine tasting as part of the game do so in moderation and never operate a vehicle or other equipment while under the influence of alcohol.

One of the purposes of this site is to allow player feedback and suggestions to enhance the “evolution” of my creation.   You can leave your feedback here.   A great deal of the enjoyment comes from wheeling and dealing your way to success and the rules allow a lot of creative ways to become the ultimate winner.   You might also prefer to vary the rules within your own playing circle and that’s cool.   If your ‘local rules’ improve your enjoyment of the game – feel free to share them here.  I’ve also provided some pages with tips on aspects of the game.

Over time new “Cellar Notes” question sets will be made available for purchase here as will Special Editions and Collectable versions of the game.

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