An instant classic sent to our local V:TES list. Oh, did I not mention that VEKN.NET has a poll on the future of Vampire: The Eternal Struggle? I haven’t mentioned a bunch of things, like my Kickstarter backings recently. Anyway.
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As I said on the forums, I don’t see the point of a VTESlike game that isn’t V:TES.
For all of the grief that CCGs get, including V:TES, V:TES is actually a good game. CCGs are a bitch to design and to expand and to manage. Magic may have hit on some cheat codes in that set rotation is a way to deal with mechanics bloat, plus having enough design and development resources to actually make the game work. But, a lot of CCGs either started off less playable or became less playable when they expanded.
Keep in mind that you can actually change some of the core rules and have the same game. Transfers can work differently, for instance, without removing the ability to play Undead Strength. You couldn’t remove the idea of superior disciplines or the idea that you have ranges/strikes.
Is combat a mess? Sure. Additional strikes are confusing as hell. But, remove “as about to enter combat” effects like Obedience and that reduces a step, remove a host of prerange cards and people can probably live with Carrion Crows and Torn Signpost without losing their minds, remove Immortal Grapple timing, Aim cards, first strike, Rotschreck, and this thing we like to call combat ends … and who knows?
I said on the forums that one reason I’d make most of the currently playable card pool unplayable in an overhaul is because I’ve played some games in the last year that had that old, Jyhad feel to them. People liked playing Jyhad. A fair number, by anecdotal “evidence”, stopped liking the game when it stopped feeling like Jyhad.
It’s amazing, but I still really enjoy playing V:TES. But, in numerous ways, I’m an exception as I don’t stop playing the games I play, no matter what I may think of them, until the fellow players are gone.
I can see enjoy playing a Jyhadlike game more than current V:TES, though. Jyhad was so much faster, so much more straightforward. I realize it was also much more broken. Weenies, fewer bleed defense options catering to an even more Dominated environment than currently exists, combat ends being a huge combat problem which was why Potence was so much more common are all elements that just rewinding the clock is not going to fix.
Oliver points out something that came up when we were talking about what to do for Brett’s demo decks at the con. The discipline mixes in the game are horrendously out of balance. This means either forcing Dominate on whatever clan that doesn’t have it, playing very very narrow archetypes, relying on P/J cards to not die, or the like.
Speaking of demo decks, other than the Toreador and Tremere, I kind of see problems with all of the Camarilla Clans in a teaching environment. Brujah – can’t defend pool. Gangrel – can build toolbox, but there’s no variety to the build. Malks – too easy to just bleed and ignore everything else. Nosferatu – midcaps don’t really do anything useful for you without Deep Song. Ventrue – I bleed, I vote, I bounce, I combat ends, but I don’t intercept because Second Tradition in a demo deck is weird and because I bleed, I vote, I bounce, I combat ends. Toreador have that mix of bleed, vote, combat, intercept without jumping through a bunch of hoops that shows off a balanced game. Tremere don’t have the voting prowess, but they bring an interesting combat element to a basic game where people don’t just combat ends or first round murder you.
Anyway, getting back to discipline combinations. Other than disciplineless Deflection for 5+ caps, just making Celerity and Potence do more out of your early sets would help immensely. Sure, Celerity now is kind of interesting with Resist Earth’s Grasp, but that’s a recent phenomenon. Potence still suffers from blah. Spoils of War is the sort of card that addressed a problem with how some clans just suck because of their disciplines, but it came 15 years later than it should have.
The thing about it is that when you clear out the chaff and the broken stuff (Govern, Conditioning, Voter Cap, Giant’s Blood, etc., etc. etc.), you can rebalance the game to where Malks and !Malks fight without equipment or Protean skill cards.
Will the player base put up with 75% of their collections, their Summon Histories and their Enkil Cogs, being not tournament legal? Very possibly not. Can you sell 5000 new players on playing this game about the Camarilla, Sabbat, and a few indie weirdoes that can take more than 75 minutes to play and requires at least three players but is kind of ridiculous with more than five? I have my doubts.
So, as much as what I want is a better V:TES, I do imagine that the only two things anyone will ever do is continue to bloat the existing game and/or put out “I Paradoxically Rage Your Fae Mummy” as something that hopefully doesn’t even try to pretend it’s related to V:TES.