This year, I’ve been doing card game design. Leads to interesting thoughts. I really need to organize them all for posterity, but, anyway, from the last design session, an idea for a V:TES variant came up. By the way, I haven’t done a search of V:TES variants, so this might not be new.
It has been said that lacking Fortitude is quite the detriment to a high cap. Now, there are other ways to multiact, from Truth of a Thousand Lies to Danse Macabre to Dual Form to … Rutor’s Hand.
The point being that if a high cap isn’t multiacting, why not play two midcaps or three winnies or whatever? Obviously, high power specials, like extra master phase actions, titles and superior Presence, combinations of abilities (hard to go too wrong with 4 votes and 3 bleed, for instance), etc. all justify the value of particular high caps that don’t easily multiact. But, what if all of the high caps with not so great specials could multiact?
And, so the Prehensile Tail Variant of V:TES. There are all sorts of other names for it that could be used instead, but I didn’t like any of the ones I thought of off the top of my head, so Prehensile Tail it is. Every vampire has a built in Rutor’s Hand mechanic. In other words, once per the vampire’s controller’s minion phase, the vampire may untap. This is in addition to everything else, so a vampire could still get a Rutor’s Hand, Shalmath can still use his ability to untap, Helicopter still does stuff, etc.
Clearly, this has far greater impact than just allowing high caps to multiact. Actually, having high caps multiact isn’t what inspired the idea. What really inspired this idea was, admittedly, a combination of thoughts that included how people gravitate to multiactors for superstar decks, but what started the line of thinking is having the game less dependent upon wakes.
Every midcap, Dominate bleeder can now bleed for 5-6 and still be up to bounce. Every 3 cap with Celerity can equip with a .44 and rush the same turn. Every “Hesha” can net a lot of blood. Every Serpentor can call Regaining the Upper Hand and follow up with Enticement. Every Baali can stop using Eluding the Arms of Morpheus for untaps. Every “Pariah” can mean not discarding a master card (but, who would be so foolish as to not want to discard master cards?).
Broken? Well, in comparison to what is currently possible, sure. But, then, pretty much any major rule change would break the environment for weal or ill.
But, the more interesting questions to me are questions like:
- Will people reduce the number of wakes they play?
- Will decks get more toolboxy due to a greater variety of actions having value, leading to more diverse play? In particular, how will voting be affected? Though, combat may become more important as well, since it doesn’t matter a whole lot how many actions an empty vampire in torpor can take.
- Will people not bother with that and instead do things like hunt with The Hungry Coyote?
- Will uncontestable plays that advantage immediately untapping, like Atonement, get rather annoying or will the metagame not care?
- Will average crypt sizes go up? Will it have an undesired effect and have them go down since winnies still have useful things to do, like The Embrace?
- Would Tupdog need to be banned? Or, would Scourge of the Enochians be in every deck?
- Will Baleful Doll, Blessing of the Name, et al, be the best cards ever?
While any vampire can be tooled with Thaumaturgy and Rutor’s Hand or have Fortitude grafted for Freak Drive, all of that requires setup and some sort of blood investment, which effectively limits the multiact possibilities in the game. Then, the importance of wakes in the game also means copious opportunities for vulnerability in defense that wouldn’t exist, theoretically, if everyone could just pop back up. Though, we can see something of what would happen with this variant with Imbued, who can play a game of acting and being untapped at the end of the turn without a bunch of setup.
Note that I intentionally exclude allies from this mechanic. Ally decks lose relative strength, which I’m good with.
Unfortunately, I have a hard time seeing variant play catch on outside of storyline events. I think this variant has great elegance, even if I have little idea what people would actually do in its environment. Then, there’s the irony that someone like me, who has a low level of interest in untaps and multiacting but uses wakes prolifically, is the one floating it as an idea.