Related to this post Never Alone but different. V:TES came out in 1994. Twenty years, with some years off. I believe the game is bloated but should also just see certain cards removed from competitive play because they should never have been part of competitive play.
This is not a rant post about removing Events, Imbued, promo cards, and pseudo-promo cards, e.g. Carlton.
This is taking a look at what’s missing in the game that could have been done instead of Redlist/Trophy, et al. More specifically, let’s take a look at what clan cards exist for the Camarilla, the Sabbat, and the major independents. I’ll start with Camarilla and will include Gangrel.
Thirteen clan cards. Two are straight out hosers. Of the relatively high number of allies, three of them suck. Eleven of the thirteen were available by the time Ancient Hearts was in players’ hands, ten by the time Dark Sovereigns was. Good ole Anarchs, then New Carthage!! Sure, it’s grossly powerful, but didn’t I say something about how little support Camarilla get once or twice?
At least the Brujah have themes. They get the search for weapons theme. They get the gangs theme. They have something of a weenie theme between Brujah Debate and Arms Dealer.
Any of Political Action, Combat, Reaction, or Equipment would make some sense to me. I can see how hotheads don’t get retainers. Political Action makes the most sense to me, with Reaction probably next.
Twelve cards. They don’t get Cam titles. They don’t get Dominate. They don’t even get Serpentis anymore for some plus bleed. And, yet, they get half as many clan cards as … well, that’s a future post in this series.
While Shackles, for example, may see virtually no play (too hard to understand even when there weren’t billions of cards) these days, only really one unplayable card in Werewolf Pack. It’s funny that some of their other cards got buffed and this card didn’t get reduced to 2 pool or something.
Like the Brujah, Gangrel have two, count them – two, cards more recent than Ancient Hearts. Good thing Anarchs came along and totally brought in the age of independent Gangrel and all of their indie toys.
One thing the game could use more of is animal Allies, but I’m sure a Master card would be reasonable. I could see something like Oppugnant Night for them to get the combat on, but intercept or bleed are always a thing that decks might want more of.
Back to 13 cards, including the sharesie Derange. Twelve if you only count unbanned cards. Goofy stuff for the most killery clan in history is a thing. Only Childling Muse is awful. Malkavian Rider Clause and Muddled Vampire Hunter (as annoying as the latter is at times) are cards I think are particularly well-designed. Game of Malkav is the sort of goofy I can actually enjoy as I don’t recall a time when everyone just chose 1 to have nothing bad happen. Madness Network should so totally die, as should anything that allows taking actions on other people’s turns, but that’s getting off topic.
Derange doesn’t really count, so we get an Anarchs card and a KoT card. One that is hard to play and another that should never see play.
So, here’s the thing. Malks and !Malks routinely suffer from play style problems. If you care about winning, you ignore their goofiness and their odd effects and even some of their not bad but clearly not bleeding at stealth cards. Just giving them more silly means the powergamers will ignore the cards and the method actors (or whatever) will build obnoxious decks. I’m not saying Malks have too much silly right now, but I don’t want to see that theme expanded upon.
What I want to see are Allies and Retainers because insanity is easy to transfer on to mortals and others to where they do want to hang out with you. An Action Modifier could make sense, as well.
Thirteen, all of which are Actions or Masters. Hmmm … that seems almost intentional. Here’s what I don’t get. Humans may find Nos disgusting (though not !Nos … ?!?), but animals? Ghouls? Wererats?
Promo, Anarchs, KoT give three, count them – three, cards after Ancient Hearts!
The powerful cards are relatively or outrightily subtle. Some of the cards are just awful.
Nos anti got Inside Dirt, Nos could really use something that promotes any one of combat, politics, or bleeding. While Storm Sewers already plays on the theme, more cards of the “I can hide in the sewers and pop out anywhere” type can give some Action Modifier or Reaction action.
Only 10 cards?!? (Yes, I like using ?!?.) Totally disguised by the abusively powerful Toreador Grand Ball and the sheer style points of The Portrait. All of one card since Ancient Hearts, though Carnivale might as well be a Toreador card. The Louvre is jumping through a bunch of hoops not to be a self-hoser. Kindred Society Games is mechanically more of the feel of a Malk card.
Let’s see. One Ally for the social clan. One Retainer for the social clan. No Political Action for the other political clan.
Only 10 cards … more than 10 other cards!?! Okay, six of them are shared with !Trem to do Gargoyle stuff and one is exceedingly silly not because requiring two clans isn’t cool but because Thaumaturgy is fairly common among Followers of Set. That gets us back to the normal 13.
I find it funny how Tremere, the powermongering scientists get extra Allies and Retainers. But, hey, if you can’t make friends with your social skills, you can always make friends.
Ankara is just too easy to get into play for other clans (not that it’s exactly balanced for Tremere). Nuln really, really needs some support to make it suck less.
Political Action might be interesting. Retainer shouldn’t be hard. But, really, more magic items seems the easiest thing in the world to do.
Eleven … ? Ten excluding banned cards … ? What’s funny is that of those that remain, there are some pretty mediocre or outright bad cards. Not that Ventrue (or Malks) need more good cards, but the point of giving Camarilla more to do isn’t about giving more good cards, just giving more interesting cards to build a wider variety of decks.
One Ally makes as much sense as the Toreador’s lack of Allies. Zero Retainers because … because … come on people – even my Ventrue V:TM character had a named Retainer! Can also come up with a Political Action that’s legal in tournament play.
Pander were always treated like crap (outside of the stupidity of Legacy of Pander), given that they were an actual clan and someone might want to embrace them as a clan and not just a collection of wee folk. Caitiff were pretty rockin’ in the day. Then, NotOKtiff got made who had far more crippling drawbacks. Then, more and more hosers for wee folk. Plus, just everyone else gets stuff. Sure, Caitiff aren’t even a clan. And, sure, one-caps still pull more than their weight a lot of the time. And, sure, Anarch Convert is the most important crypt card in the game.
But, how about just something like an action card that let’s them go anarch or Pander better? How about a way to gain disciplines more effectively to perform more of their old timey role of being crypt filler for actual clans? How about a way to gain immunity to Events since nobody feels inclined to ban Events?