Tourism for Vegetarians
Racing to Cultivating vegetables
The name Uwe Rosenberg probably conjures up, for nearly all experienced players, a vision of complex development and worker placement games, who quite often challenge gamers for a whole evening. Reykholt however, is a Rosenberg creation that is fairly quick and fairly simple. He did, however, remain with his main topic: Reykholt, like so many of his other games, features an agricultural topic - cultivating vegetables, this time far up north, in Iceland!
In Reykholt, players are vegetable farmers and use them to prepare dishes for tourists; each tourist demands a certain kind of vegetables in varying amounts. Tourists sit at a given chain of tables and want to consume our vegetables there. Vegetables on demand at a table are pre-set and known from the start of the game. There is no variation in that part of the game, arrangement and demands at the tables are always the same - each table demands only one type of vegetables in a given amount. You can even discern a certain pattern, obviously tourists are willing to sit down in orderly queues, and, most interesting, less hungry wants are being served before the hungrier ones. At the first five tables you have tourists that only want one kind of vegetable, the next five tables want two types, and so on. A concept, that might work in Iceland, caterers in locations further down south are rather strongly advised against it.
So, the chain of tables runs along the edge of the board on the central game boards, ending with tables that demand six different types of vegetables. This chain of tables must now be serviced by each player, one table after the other, and, at the end, the winner will be the player who was able to serve most tables with his vegetables. Thus, Reykholt also has a distinct flavor of a racing game, as you as a player are trying not to fall back but to deal with the tables in leading position. After all, you are permanently reminded of the position in which you find yourself, but we warned, the strategy of trying to be always in first place can turn out to be fatal in the final round.
The topic in Reykholt are vegetables and mushrooms, for easier handling summarized under vegetables from now on. We cultivate five different types of vegetables - salad, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower and mushrooms, and want to sell them to tourists. Those vegetables come in the guise of lovely cut-out wooden parts and contribute much to a realistic flair of the game. Vegetables can be bought during play, but it is better to plant it yourself and then harvest, because this is the only way to increase amounts so that you avoid having to buy again and again.
To enable you to harvest your own vegetables, you need hothouses for planting. Of course, you have to own the respective vegetable to be able to plant something at all. For all those actions and a few more options, you use worker placement action slots on the central board. Each player commands three workers of identical value. Action slots are arranged in four columns, featuring five or six actions slots in relation to player numbers. In each column, action options are similar in the individual slots - for instance, in the real estate column you mainly get hothouses.
Action slots can only be occupied by one worker in each round. Some of the action slots are marked with a flag; on those slots, an individual player may only occupy one per column in each round - this avoids the blocking of important slots of similar functions by the same player - an important mechanism in a game that lasts a manageable number of rounds.
Hothouses themselves are represented by cards featuring a certain number of free storage slots for vegetables. You can only plant one type of vegetable in a hothouse. Hothouses are available with three to six storage slots and are only available in limited numbers. Only hothouses with three slots allow you to plant any type of vegetables; in other hothouses there are restrictions - carrots, for instance, cannot be planted in hothouses with more than three slots.
Besides the already mentioned action option of receiving a hothouse, there are actions to receive various types of vegetables, action slots to plant and harvest and slots in the town hall column. Actions in this column enable you to move to the next table by discarding your own hothouses instead of paying with vegetables. This feature is of importance towards the end of the game. The town hall also features a slot for receiving a service card. Those cards give advantages during the game, and are primarily of use for their owner, but can also be used by his neighbors after being activated once. Out of 36 service cards, only five are used in an individual game.
A game of Reykholt can be played by up to four players and is played over exactly seven rounds, unless you play the story mode comprising eight rounds. Each of those seven rounds has four phases: During Work Time, workers are placed; during Harvest Time you harvest your hothouses; the harvested vegetables are delivered to tables in Tourism Time and, finally, workers return home during Homecoming Time, which a change of starting player to the left neighbor of the current starting player. Players begin with their token in position in front of the first table in the chain on the central board.
The starting player begins the round with Work Time. He places a worker on an empty slot on the board and immediately resolves the respective action. Many action slots offer several actions. You need not resolve all actions offered by a slot, but must at least resolve one, others can be left unresolved. In turn, players place one worker until all workers have been placed. With those placements, you take hothouses, transfer vegetables from the market to your storage facility or plant vegetables from your storage facility into your hothouses or use the actions of the town hall column.
When you plant vegetables, you use one of your empty hothouses and put one vegetable from storage on a slot on the hothouse. The remaining slots in the hothouse are filled with the same type of vegetables, taken from general stock. When harvesting vegetables, you take one vegetable tile from the hothouse for your storage facility.
When all actions have been resolved, it is Harvest Time. Each player takes a vegetable tile from each of his hothouses and puts it into storage. Therefore, there are two moments in the game when you harvest: Upon selecting an action slot with harvest action and during Harvest Time. This is especially important in later rounds when you have to deliver several vegetable tiles, advancement might be difficult otherwise.
When harvesting is complete, you deliver to tourists, tables, that are. Players in turn play their marker, the farm manager, in the chain of tables, beginning with the player in first position. To be able to move to the next table, you must discard the vegetable(s) depicted at that table from your storage facility. This is repeated for consecutive tables as long as you want to and are able to; then the turn passes to the next player. If the marker of a player ends up on a case where there is already a marker, he advances his own to the position in front.
In this way, each player moves along at least one table, especially because each player must cash his premium in this phase. To cash his premium a player takes, once during Tourism Time takes from general stock the vegetable that would be necessary to move to the next table instead of having to discard the vegetable(s).
At which point in the Tourism Time a player cashes his premium is up to the players choice, but he cannot forfeit the premium.
At the end of the last round, the position of the farm managers determine the winner of the game. If there are several managers at the front-most occupied table, the winner is the player whose manager is furthest in front at this table.
Reykholt is a game with a very balanced game flow. In our games, there was never a big difference between positions of farm managers of individual players, the result was always a tight one. It is especially important to not that the player in last position moves his manager last, and can therefore win if he manages to reach the front-most table. To complete the last-but-one round can therefore be rather risky. The game flows rather evenly over all seven rounds, with the exception of the last round, the necessary actions are always the same. The game has nearly no element of luck at all, only interaction with other players obstructs your own planning. And this planning is important as it can easily happen that you cannot serve a table in a round due to lack of one single vegetable tile and thus are stuck. Correct calculation of numbers of vegetable tiles and of which types you collect when is the key to success in this game. And do not forget to include the premiums in your planning!
There is, as mentioned, also a story mode in the game, featuring cards that provide a new way to play the game.
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Artist: Lukas Siegmon
Price: ca. 50 Euro
Publisher: Frosted Games 2019
Genre: Worker placement with a racing element
Users: With friends
Rules: de en es fr it jp kr pl pt ru
In-game text: yes
Lots of interaction
Worker placement in general
Arclight (jp), Arrakis Games (es), Galapagos Jogos (pt), Games Factory (kr), Lavka Games (ru, Origames (fr), Raven Distribution (it), Renegade Game Studios (en), sternenschimmermeer (kr)
My rating: 5
Worker placement with simple rules and yet a variety of action options, with a usually relatively even game flow and similar game play in individual games.
Chance (pink): 1
Tactic (turquoise): 3
Strategy (blue): 2
Creativity (dark blue): 0
Knowledge (yellow): 0
Memory (orange): 0
Communication (red): 0
Interaction (brown): 3
Dexterity (green): 0
Action (dark green): 0