Viticulture World Expansion , although a co-op expansion, comes with it's own official solo mode called "Burratino". The Automa Factory is Stonemaier Games' solo mode wizards, and they have once again created a smooth and enjoyable system to play with.
The "Automa" in Stonemaier games is the Italian word for "Automaton". In this case however, since the game is co-op, they went a (slightly) different route and called the solo mode "Burratino" (sock puppet in Italian) since the player has a bit more say in what Burratino does during the game, compared to a regular Automa player.
At first to be honest, I didn't quite get why this game would have a solo system since it's co-op. Why not just play two handed? You totally could of course. But Burratino (in my opinion) helped me in my play somewhat today, and it does have less to do in terms of components etc when compared to a human player.
In true Stonemaier / Automa Factory fashion, the solo mode is simple to learn and run, and in a way sticks to it's foundational base game Automa form. Each season you flip a Burratino card shown above. He collects $3 (Lira in this case) and a woker is placed on each location of the board matching his card. This acts as if someone else is playing with you.
These handy reference cards for each season break down Burratino's simplistic actions even more clearly for you if need be. He follows (some) special rules and there are certain things that YOU get to decide what happens. For example, in Viticulture World when you place your Grande worker on an action space where another player has, you can choose to trade with that opponent. In the case of Burratino, you get to decide what he trades you for (with a minor adjustment to the trade rules). This reminded me of the Pandemic official solo rules that were released in 2020, where you use an "archive" that is accessible at times. Burratino's cards can help make your hand better. Again, with a couple minor restrictions (it's not a free-for-all by any means).
I used the GreenGully introductory pack again, especially since it was my first true solo play. It was very quick to get used to Burratino's mechanics/rules and I really enjoyed the game. Once again, it forced some different thinking and offered different options, which I always enjoy.
In the end, Burratino didn't help me win - although closer than when I played two-handed my first run through. To win in Viticulture World, each player MUST reach 25VP and you must have 10-influence. If either one is not reached, you lose. Burratino and I reached the required VPs, but we were 3 influence off of the mark. So close!