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Vampire: the Eternal Struggle (the game formerly known as Jyhad)

29 Aug 2019 12:24 #301215 by Shellhead
I recently got interviewed at another website about my participation in this game and some related projects that include my only published boardgame:


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29 Aug 2019 18:09 #301221 by Erik Twice
Welp, seems like I lost a huge message by pressing a button. Sorry guys.

Either way, thanks a lot for sharing this stuff, Shellhead. I really enjoy reading your playthroughs and I liked the interview too! I understand the importance of having new faces to shake things up. It's not even just deck dynamics, having new ideas, rivals and potential changes to the playerbase is always exciting. As much as I enjoy it, playing with the same people isn't the same as having a wider pool.


Regarding FFG and VTES, I'm told they actually worked on it for a while. I know Richard Garfield said something to the effect and there were some playtesters. Not much is known other than they changed the factions to include werewolves, wizards and so on instead of just vampires.

I really believe the game could be one of the greats if it was given the Android: Netrunner makeover. But I also believe it's not really necessary. A new format that only included the latest sets, like Magic's Standard would be enough to revitalize the game. It would allow new players in, it keeps backward compatibility and it lets you get rid of all those janky, awfully designed cards (Like Deflection, Combat ends effect, etc.) that you wouldn't put in the game if you were creating it anew. Note that you can actually doge a lot of wonky mechanics, like presses, by never including them in newer sets.

I've mentioned it before, but everytime I see VTES I get this impulse to make a "core set" myself.
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30 Aug 2019 13:10 #301252 by Shellhead

Erik Twice wrote: I've mentioned it before, but everytime I see VTES I get this impulse to make a "core set" myself.

When I got back into semi-regular play about a year ago, I strongly felt that same impulse. It really feels like a streamlined version of the game could be a lot more accessible, and the fundamental design of the game could appeal to a wider base if made accessible. The problem is the deck-building. Most players want to build their own decks, and deck-building only remains interesting in the long run if there is a large and/or changing base of cards to choose from. Even with multiple sub-games with the game (stealth vs intercept, voting, the whole combat segment), there is a certain number of redundant cards, often with fiddly minor restrictions or advantages. The game currently has around 2.200 legal cards (a few have been banned and some were designed for use in specific tournaments only), and a streamlined game might only need 250 of those cards.

Take voting, for example. There are 162 political action cards in the game, but the vast majority of votes called are either Kine Resources Contested, Conservative Agitation, and Parity Shift. Those are popular vote cards because they cause the target(s) to lose pool. There are differences between each, but since they are all doing about the same thing, they could be streamlined from three cards to one. Use a few more icons to convey standard concepts like +bleed or +vote, and simpler language. If Fantasy Flight ever got the license, this is definitely what they would do with the game.

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02 Sep 2019 05:57 - 02 Sep 2019 06:04 #301312 by Erik Twice
It seems to me the lack of variety is caused by two or three factors:

1) No card limits. The moment a card is slighty better than the rest, you can just run 12 copies of it and never have to play the others.
2) Most cards are free. This enforces similar scaling effects. You always get the same amount of bleed out of the same amount of blood, for example.
3) No rotation. I often see very cool effects but it's clear they cannot compete against 25 years of cards.

It also seems to me that VTES has a very polarized metagame in that most decks are "full political", "full bleed" or "full combat". There are some "toolbox" decks, but the tendence is to be focused on one axis. If you put together a "good stuff" deck with a bit of everything, you don't tend to get a good results. You are simply outplayed on all angles.

But I think that polarization can be solved through card design. If you don't have "Combat ends", then you don't need Immortal Grapple to dabble in combat so more decks can dabble in it. If bleed is less overpowering, you can include some political protection and not feel bad about it.

The language thing is just a matter of doing it. The game's text could be simplified so much just by trying to do so. I think designers should look at cards like On Qui Verve or whatever it's called and just recognize something's wrong! And stuff like "put this card into play" should be replaced by saying "attachment" or whatever.


That reminds me that VTES can be drafted, right? Would be interesting to make a set just for drafting. I've been thinking about it since I started making my Magic cube.
Last edit: 02 Sep 2019 06:04 by Erik Twice.

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02 Sep 2019 09:52 - 02 Sep 2019 14:13 #301316 by Shellhead
Garfield's original theory was that card rarity would offset the lack of card limits, but he underestimated how many cards some players would acquire. There has never been card rotation in V:tes, but White Wolf published 16 expansions and 3 base sets in a 10 year time span, which kept players exploring the potential of new cards for a long time.

It's true that successful decks tend to be focused decks. Bleed decks are the easiest to do. Just load up on bleed bonus cards and either stealth or tapping effects to get the bleeds through. Vote decks are also easy to design, but less reliable because their success can be contingent on who else is playing a voting deck each game. Combat decks are harder to design and win with, because most decks have at least some combat ability, so the combat deck must bring overwhelming combat to succeed, plus ways to create combat plus a strategy to keep the fighting vampires healthy. By the way, successful combat decks usually have a preferred range, either using maneuvers to set up ranged combat or Immortal Grapple to force close combat without weapons.

In times past, my favorite decks were defensive tool box or bruise/bleed, which is a combat deck that provokes combat with big bleeds. Lately, I have been more focused on bleed strategies, but I do have a Gangrel/Gangrel antitribu combat deck that runs five disciplines: Animalism, Fortitude, Protean, Celerity, and Potence. I rush my prey's minions and use manuevers to keep the range close, then Immortal Grapple to lock out weapons and force an extra round of combat. Then I whip out claws for aggravated damage and strength-boosting cards to make it a lot of aggravated damage. The Fortitude is there to prevent damage to my guy.

I have participated in several V:tes draft tournaments over the years. My favorite was untuned Jyhad starters plus a few untuned Jyhad booster packs. I also enjoyed the drafts that promoted new starter decks, where each player drew a random clan starter deck from the new set and then we drafted some booster packs. The worst one was simply a draft of a variety of booster packs from recent sets. Another bad draft event had us bring in half a pre-designed vampire deck and then draft a bunch of booster packs from The Night of the Reckoning. That was the set that featured the Imbued, supernaturally-enhanced monster hunters. I love the Imbued because they function really well within the game using a single expansion set, and retroactively interacted with a lot of previously published cards in interesting ways. But it's really hard to mix the imbued with vampires in a 50:50 deck because they have incompatible deck design goals.

If not for some retroactive text revisions, a box of 10 old school Jyhad starter decks would make a good drafting cube. Any other base set would also work well, but none of them were printed in as large a quantity as the original Jyhad base set. If card availability wasn't a challenge right now, the best draft cube would be the six Camarilla Edition starters (Brujah, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere, and Ventrue) plus some CE booster packs. By coincidence, Black Chantry will be publishing new starter decks for those same six clans in the near future, and they are still selling reprint card packs from Keepers of Tradition Heirs to the Blood, which are all cards that work well with the Camarilla clans.
Last edit: 02 Sep 2019 14:13 by Shellhead. Reason: Keepers of Tradition, not Heirs to the Blood

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