Radio Review #19 – Cinque Terre

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(2013  –  Rio Grande Games)

 

“If I had my little way, I’d eat peaches everyday…”

 

Over 10 years ago, designer Chris Handy (most known for his design of Long Shot) began to tinker with an idea for a new design centered around farming and the delivering of produce. While he’s published much of his story here at BGG, not much was known about the game until now. In Cinque Terre: the Five Villages, players are farmers competing to harvest and deliver their produce to five different villages, based on demands and customer orders. Merging Euro-style gameplay with a pick up and delivery mechanic, along with completing hidden agendas and card-based production (similar to that found in Ticket to Ride), Cinque Terre shouldn’t take long to find its place amongst gaming shelves across the community.

 

 

Components:

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– Cinque Terre Game Board

 

 

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– Player Boards (1 for each player color)

 

 

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– Player Cart tokens (1 for each player color)

 

 

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– Player Scoring tokens (1 for each player color)

 

 

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– Produce Cards (comprised of Zucchini, Grapes, Olives, Tomatoes, Oranges, Garlic, Lemons, and Mushrooms)

 

 

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– Produce crates (each representing 1 of the 8 different types of produce, as listed above)

 

 

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– Dice representing Produce Demands (2 dice per produce type)

 

 

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– Starting Produce Order Cards

 

 

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– Regular Produce Order Cards

 

 

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– Most Popular Vendor markers

 

 

 

In Cinque Terre, players will compete to become the most successful produce farmer at fulfilling orders while gaining profit from the five villages along the Italian Rivera coast. Each of the five villages have different demands for different types of produce, as well as specific orders that will spring up from time to time for the farmers to fulfill. Players must be able to harvest the needed produce and deliver it to specific villages in order to gain these profits. Bonus profits can also be earned by being the most successful farmer in a certain village as well as fulfilling the specific orders before others can do so. The game ends when a certain number of specific orders and successful farmer rewards have been completed (or a certain number of produce has been harvested throughout the game). The winner is the farmer with the highest profit ( or Victory Points) at the end of the game.

 

Setup:

Before we get into the mechanics and play, there’s a couple of things that players will need to do to set up a game. One of the beauties of Cinque Terre is how different each game can vary just by its initial setup alone.

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The first thing that players want to do is randomly place the Produce Tokens around each of the Harvest Areas on the game board. There are 3 Harvest Areas, represented in the upper, right side of the board. Each of these areas are surrounded by 2-3 produce fields. One particular type of produce will be placed in each of these produce fields. Players can determine any way they wish to randomly place these, as long as each field only includes 1 type of produce.

Next, produce demands for the individual villages need to be determined, and this is done by the placement of the different Dice. To the right of each of the five villages, you’ll see a spots for the dice. The color and number of the dice will determine the type of produce (each color represents 1 of the 8 different types) and how valuable it is to the particular village, respectively. To begin, only 1 color of each Dice is placed into the cloth bag. This will leave a 2nd set of Dice outside of the bag for now. A player will then remove a Dice from the bag, roll it, and place it on the leftmost space next to the 1st Village space (Monterosso).

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Then, a 2nd Dice is removed, rolled, and placed in the 2nd vacant space next to Monterosso. Once all spaces are filled in Monterosso, the Dice are then placed next to the spaces of the last village, Riomaggiore. Once all 8 Dice of the 1st set have been placed, the next set of 8 Dice are placed in the bag and drawn/rolled/placed the same way for Vernazza, then Corniglia, and finally Manarola (in that order) to complete all empty spaces next to the 5 Villages. The separation of the two sets of Produce Dice will help to spread out similar types of produce demands among the Villages.

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Next, players are dealt 4 Produce Cards face-down, then the remaining Deck of Produce Cards are placed in the designated space on the board, and 4 of these cards are drawn and placed face-up.

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Each player will also receive 1 random Starting Order Card, and a Player Board with a matching colored Scoring token and Player Cart token. Players will choose and place their Player Carts in any of the 3 Harvest Areas. The is no limit to the number of Carts allowed in one space. This will be the space that players start the game on.

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Finally, the Deck of regular Produce Order cards is placed to the side of the game board. A number of Produce Order cards equal to the number of players in the game are drawn and placed face up next to this deck. The Most Popular Vendor markers for each Village are also placed next to the board. Once everything is set up, it should look something like this:

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Gameplay:

As mentioned before, players will attempt to harvest crops, sell produce, and fulfill specific orders to each of the 5 Villages during their turn. There are 4 different types of Actions available to a player on his turn, and he may perform 3 total Actions. Note that it is legal to perform the same Action more than once, though each individual Action taken counts as 1 of the 3 total taken. So for instance, one of the Actions is that a player may take a Produce Card from the game board. He could choose to do this Action 3 times in a row, however that would complete his turn (since he is only allowed a total of 3 Actions). Let’s take a look at what each Action contains and how they are performed:

 

1.) Move up to 4 spaces – A player can move his Player Cart token up to 4 spaces as 1 Action. The movement must be in a clockwise rotation and contains the 3 Harvest Areas and the 5 Village spaces. You’ll notice on the game board that there is a little dirt road that connects these spaces together.

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Player A’s Cart (dark blue) is on the leftmost Harvest Area. As his 1st action, he could choose to move 4 spaces and move his Cart to Manarola. He doesn’t necessarily have to move 4 spaces though. He could instead choose to only move 2 spaces for that Action and move to the 3rd Harvest Area. After this Action is complete and he has moved his Cart, he would still be allowed 2 more Actions before it would be the next player’s turn.


2.) Draw 1 Produce Card –
As mentioned above, a player may draw a Produce Card from the game board as one of his Actions. These Cards match the different types of Produce that can be Harvested in the Harvest Areas. They consist of Zucchini (green), Grapes (purple), Olives (black), Tomatoes (red), Oranges (orange), Garlic (white), Lemons (yellow), and Mushrooms (gray). The player taking this action can either Draw a Produce Card from amongst those already faced up, or can choose instead to Draw 1 from the top of the Draw Pile.

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Player B (light blue) has decided to Draw a Produce Card as 1 of his 3 actions. From the 4 cards faced up he decides to draw a Zucchini card and place it in his hand. He then replaces the empty space with the top card off the Draw Pile. He now has 2 more Actions that he can take. As his next Action, he’ll choose to draw another Zucchini card and add it to his hand.

 

3.) Harvest Produce – As an Action, a player can choose to Harvest as much as 4 crates of Produce from any fields connected to a Harvest Area. Harvesting Produce is a very important step in the game, as players must have particular types of Produce crates in their Carts in order to sell them amongst the 5 Villages. When this Action is taken, a player must discard a number of Produce Cards that match the number and type of Produce crates they will add to their Cart. The field that grows the Produce must also be attached to the Harvest Area space that the player is currently on.

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For instance, Player B drew 2 Zucchini cards in the above example and still has 1 remaining Action left. His Cart is currently located in the center Harvest Area space that is connected to two fields; one the grows Garlic and one that grows Zucchini. Since he currently has 2 Zucchini cards in his hand, he can take his final Action by discarding both of these cards and take 2 crates of Zucchini off the game board and place them on the Cart on his player board.

Note that a Cart may never carry more than 4 crates of Produce at any given time. Therefore, the crates will need to be sold throughout the Villages before a player can gain more. Also, a player may discard 2 matching Produce Cards and gain 1 non-matching Produce crate, as long as the field that Produce is being grown in is still connected to the current Harvest Area space that the player’s Cart is in.

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For instance, if Player B decided that he didn’t want to add 2 crates of Zucchini to his Cart, he could still take the Harvest Action to discard BOTH Zucchini Cards and choose to take 1 crate of Garlic (since the Garlic field is connected to the center Harvest Area that Player B’s Cart is currently in). But, remember that up to 4 Produce can be Harvested with this 1 Action. So he could choose instead to discard 2 Zucchini cards and 1 Garlic card to obtain 2 crates of Zucchinis and 1 crate of Garlic in his Cart.


4.) Sell Produce at a Village –
The final Action that is available to a player is that they may sell any number of Produce crates in their Cart to a Village that they are currently in. The Produce Dice next the each individual Village space represents the amount of profit (Victory Points) that a player will receive by selling that particular type of Produce to that Village. If a type of Produce is not represented by a Dice of its matching color in a particular Village, its default profit is 1. When a player sells a number of Produce in a Village, he will take those crates off of his Cart and place them on the empty spaces next to the Villages on his player board. This represents a players fulfillment of Produce to certain Villages and will be important when trying to complete Special Orders and gaining the Most Popular Vendor markers from the different Villages.

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Player C has harvested 2 crates of Oranges, 1 crate of Lemon, and a 1 crate of Olives. He is currently in Corniglia, which provides 5 profit per crate of Oranges, and 2 Profit per crate of Lemons. He decides to unload all of his Produce in Coniglia (as 1 full Action) and would score a total of 13 Victory Points (10 for the crates of Oranges, 2 for the crate of Lemons, and only 1 for the crate of Olives, since there was no black dice available in Corniglia).

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He would then move his Scoring Token 13 spaces along the scoring track around the game board. He would then place any sold crates onto his player board according to the Village in which they were sold in.


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Produce Orders:

In addition to the profits earned by the regular Village demand of Produce, there are also extra bonus profits that can be earned by fulfilling certain Produce Orders. As mentioned during the setup section, a number of Produce Orders equal to the number of players in the game are drawn and set to the side of the game board. These Produce Order cards give you information about the order itself.

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So for instance, the Order above shows that it requires a player to have sold 1 crate of Zucchini in Monterosso, 1 crate of Lemons in Venazza, and 1 crate of Mushrooms in Manarola. Remember that when crates are sold to Villages, they are placed on the empty slots on the player’s board to keep record of what crates and how many have been sold where. So it makes it easy to reference when looking at the Produce Order cards. At the very end of a player’s turn, he may choose to fulfill 1 Produce Order if he can do so. Players cannot complete more than 1 even if they meet the requirements for multiple ones. As soon as a player fulfills this Produce Order, he will place that card next to his player board and then score the appropriate amount of Victory Points (14) referenced on the top left corner of the Produce Order card.

As a delivery bonus to fulfilling the Order (think of it as a customer in a village giving you a custom order because they are impressed by your efficiency and service), a player will draw the top card off the Produce Order Draw Deck and secretly look at it. That player can either choose to keep this Produce Order card in his hand or refill the empty spot with the other face-up Produce Orders beside the board. If he chooses to discard the card and refill the space, he may (but is not required to) take the next card off the top of the deck. If he chooses to do this, the player must keep the 2nd Produce Order card. These are secret, custom orders that are kept secret in hand and scored at the end of the game, depending on how they have been fulfilled.

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Player C has completed his turn and completes the Produce Order from the above example and places it in front of him, face-up. He then draws another Produce Order as a delivery bonus, secretly from the top of the Draw Pile that calls for a crate of Lemons in Montresso and a crate of Tomatoes in Venazza. He chooses to keep this card in hand, thus he draws another Produce Order and places it face-up to refill the empty space among the remaining Produce Order cards. He could have instead, either chosen to discard the delivery bonus Produce Order card and not taken a new card, or discard the delivery bonus Produce Card, and draw a new one (in which case he must keep it).

 

 

Most Popular Vendor:

Another way to score bonus profits is to become the Most Popular Vendor in any of the 5 Villages. In order to do this, a player must be the first to complete all the empty slots in a particular Village on their player board, with crates. Note that the crates do NOT all have to be different colors, so long as all the empty slots are covered. At the end of a turn, the first player to successfully complete this can take the Most Popular Vendor marker for the Village that matches the one completed on his player board. The player will then score the appropriate amount of Victory Points listed on the MPV marker. As with the Produce Orders, only 1 of these can be claimed per turn.

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Starting Produce Orders:

Each player receives a Starting Produce Order at the beginning of the game, and although the completion of these works similarly to the regular Produce Orders, they are scored quite differently. You’ll notice that unlike regular Produce Orders, starting Produce Orders have a different crate of Produce in each Village that must be fulfilled by the end of the game. If a player can complete all 5 crate fulfillments, they will score a number of bonus profits (Victory Points). If however, they fail to complete the entire Order, they will instead lose that many points. The value of the Starting Produce Order is determined by subtracting 30 from the individual demand values of the Produce types listed on the card in each Village.

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So for instance, Player has the following Starting Produce Order: It requires a crate of Garlic in Montresso, an crate of Lemons in Vernazza, a crate of Grapes in Corniglia, a crate of Cucumbers in Manarola, and a crate of Oranges in Riomaggiore. As seen below, the demand value of Garlic in Montresso is 2, the demand value of Lemons in Vernazza is 1 (remember that if there are no dice of that color in a Village, the default demand is 1), the demand value of Grapes in Corniglia is 5, the demand value of Cucumbers in Manarola is 1, and the demand value of Oranges in Riomaggiore is 4. Therefore, the total value of fulfilling this Starting Produce Order would be 17 (30-13).

 

 

Endgame Conditions & Scoring:

A game of Cinque Terre can end in 1 of 2 ways:

 

1.) If any 2 fields have been emptied of Produce, each player including the one taking the last of these crates of Produce will get 1 final turn.

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2.) Once any player has received any combination of 5 Produce Order cards and/or Most Popular Vendor markers (as seen above), each player including the one that has just received the card or marker will get 1 final turn (note that Produce Order cards in a player’s hand do not count towards this total, only those face-up in front of him).

 

After the game has ended, each player will add their bonus profits (Victory Points) to those they’ve already obtained throughout the game on the Scoring Track. These bonuses include the following:

– The full value of the Starting Order card is either added to, or subtracted from the Scoring Track depending on if the Order was completely fulfilled.
– The secret Produce Orders in a player’s hand are then added. If the player has successfully fulfilled the Order, they will score the total value of the card (the number in the upper left corner). If however, they did not completely fulfill the order, they will subtract 5 points for each Produce that was not fulfilled on the card.
After all total profits have been tallied, the Vendor with the most total profit wins the game.
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Thoughts:

This is one that may surprise a lot of people. With the variety in setup from game to game, smooth learning curve, and Euro-style pick up and delivery mechanics, Cinque Terre seems to find that balance between a gateway game and a strategic Euro. The hidden agendas, fulfillment of produce orders, and turning in of cards for crates will all certainly generate references of similarity with Ticket to Ride. Though Cinque Terre certainly involves much more preplanning and timing. While there are is really only one main way to win in Ticket to Ride, there are plenty of strategically balanced options of gaining profits in Cinque Terre, from completing Produce Orders, to selling to Villages with higher demands, collecting delivery bonuses, gaining Most Popular Vendor rewards. It really forces players to plan out a strategy of how to best combo these different profit-earning situations into a turn or two.

The theme really works well here. Villages have different demands for different produce, and once the initial setup has taken place, these demands are set and known by all players throughout the game. Players collect crates of produce when traveling to the countryside to harvest goods and will choose between demand and convenience when deciding which Village to sell them to. Fulfilling orders placed by the Village will earn your business more profit. I thought the idea of a delivery bonus was neat as well. Almost like earning a customers return business if you can fulfill it in time. On top of all this, earning even more profit for being the one to sell the most produce in a particular Village (MPV reward). I won’t say that theme is always essential to the enjoyment of a game, but players should find a good deal of it here.

Cinque Terre will probably fly under the radar at first, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has quite a following by year’s end. With the varied setup of produce on Harvest fields and changing of Village demands from game to game, along with the random card draw of Produce cards and Produce Order cards, there’s quite a bit of replay value to be found here. For those that enjoy games like Ticket to Ride and/or enjoy games with a rich pick up and deliver mechanic, or just looking for a nice Euro-style game, definitely take a look at Cinque Terre.

 

 

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