Are We Game?

Played casual V:TES for the first time in a long time yesterday.  This coming weekend, couple of tournaments.  Don’t know if any of the decks that saw play yesterday will see tournament play, but I don’t feel compelling reasons to do my usual write ups of games, where I offer tidbits about each person’s position.  Instead, I think I’ll go with things from a very myselfishness view.

Game 1:

I only built one new deck yesterday morning – allergy season might be hitting me or it may just have been poor allergy management that required me to take Benadryl and take a nap in the morning to abate symptoms.  I’m sort of on a key vampire kick.  I’m not into superstar decks, but I don’t mind having a preferred minion deck.  Was doing some searches when Louhi showed up in a list.  Not terribly surprising, since she shows up on a lot of lists.

I considered different discipline combos … and ended up running into the usual problem with trying to match to a fattie of having a whole crypt of fatties where the identity of the deck gets lost.  I had to keep focused on what my goal was – Louhi plus backups.  Well, it didn’t take me long to figure out what the deck philosophy would be – Louhi and Seeds of Corruption.  Shouldn’t take too long to figure out the idea was to mess with predator actions with her special and mess with prey actions with Seeds of “Confusion”.

THA/Obf was reasonable for bonus stealth.  Dementation was a question.  AUS, of course, for defense.  Eventually decided to run some Dementation, which ended up more than planned when I started adding cards.

So, I go third.  I have no Louhi, having two Paul Cordwood, Preston Varrick, and MacAlister Marshall.  I have three Wider Views in the deck to deal, but I go into my usual mode of playing as few cards as possible, so I cycle virtually nothing.  Paul gets a Dementation skill card.  Preston gets a Blood Doll.  With Tzimisce behind me, I keep combat cards in hand.  I drop a Seeds of Corruption on my prey’s Scout Youngwood.  My predator removes it.  I never mount any sort of offense, even after bringing up a Louhi.  My grandprey gets destroyed in combat against my grandpredator’s Magazine deck, cratering the other side of the table for an easy game for my prey, though we time out before my prey can get two VPs.  Predator’s Vampiric Diseases slowed things down.  I did nuke my prey’s Carlton and Muddled with Bloods of Sandman.

Why bother writing up sessions?

There’s always some value in reminding people that we play.  It’s often amusing, at least to me, what happens in games and sharing that amusement is a reason to exist.  For instance, how often do you see two Magazines on a Desert Eagle?  How often do you lose two allies in one turn to Bloods of Sandman?

But, there can often be philosophical questions that play sessions bring out or exemplify.  One thing I’ve been struggling with is trying to balance my decks better between offense and defense.  Too often, someone plays one of my decks and there’s no forward pressure at all.  That makes for long games where little of import occurs.  In general, pool damage stuff is the last thing I add to a deck, so there’s often not room for a good payload.  The Magazine deck (yes, one of my decks) and my Seeds of “Complication” deck both exhibited the problem of poor forwardness.  Even Seeds, which is a forward action, doesn’t necessarily pressure one’s prey.  Might just stop taking actions or go backwards.

I will try the Louhi deck again because it did get a strange draw – if it were just amusing but ineffectual, it wouldn’t be worth playing again, at least not without changes.  But, I do need to push offense more because it disrupts things for the rest of the table when a deck doesn’t go forward in any meaningful way.

Game 2:

I play my Dive into Madness/Freak Drive deck for a second time.  First time I played it, it was ineffectual.  This game was largely determined by my grandpredator playing Dom/Obf.  My predator’s Daughters had no hope of survival.  I never got a third dude in play with AUS, having two Villeins Suddened.  I did oust my prey with some bounce help, and I did have an avenue to winning, but I just couldn’t bloat enough or bounce enough to get a second VP and see what would happen in the endgame.  Though, the endgame wouldn’t have been that great for me as my Anatole just wasn’t going to hold down the fort to race.

This deck, too, has forward problems even though the deck was built around Dive.  For some reason, I just don’t get my permableed going fast enough, which might be a card quantity issue.

Game 3:

Besides building one deck before play, I did modify my old tournament winning Ravnos deck – my choice for my worst tournament winning deck.  I took out all of the Sensory Overload nonsense and dropped the Nightmare Curse angle, adding in stealth for a deck that had virtually none … to go with its copious amounts of zero-stealth actions.

The four other decks at the table had no interest in blocking stuff or in combat.  So, with only a few Drabas and no intercept, all I could do was bleed forward and choke on combat cards.  I actually did have decent offense for a change, having four dudes and a Laptop.  And, though I had to suck multiple bleeds of three from my grandpredator, I wasn’t seriously in danger of falling.  No, the game was kind of mindless in that my prey just went forward for tons of pool damage, eventually overwhelming my grandprey’s bloat, then finishing off my grandpredator before he could get 6 pool.  My prey easily got the third VP from my pool-depleted predator, and that was that.

This game brings up a different philosophical concept:  decks that don’t interact can make for very uninteresting games.  Sure, my prey’s vote deck was a vote deck, except no one brought out a titled vampire all game nor had a Delaying Tactics (crummy interaction, but arguably interactive).  Voting often ends up being a far less interactive activity in the game than bleed, though only my predator had bounce, and that was Lost in Translation!!  Really, this was all left-leaning decks with bloat, except for mine.  And, I neither drew an intercept card nor a wake all game.

There is a reason I make more of an effort to play decks with intercept, as there are just too many decks around with none, leading to people playing something much too close to multiplayer solitaire.  I’m no fan of how combat “works” in the game because it has always had a problem with combat typically being one of these three scenarios:  nothing happens; one minion nuked; both minions nuked.  But, actions do need to get blocked sometimes to make the game come down to more than just whether people drew better cards or more than just master card plays.

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