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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

Recent Topics paging, uploading images and preview bugs require a patch which has not yet been released.

× Talk about collectible card here.

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

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02 Jan 2021 07:36 #317638 by Erik Twice

charlest wrote: This game is incredible. It's a bit demanding and imperfect, but man it feels special.

The new starter really feels like a compact release with everything you need for a group.

I'm really glad you liked it! I was a bit afraid you would be put off my the roughness so I'm glad you are having fun. What was your first game like? :)

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02 Jan 2021 12:29 - 02 Jan 2021 12:53 #317642 by charlest
It's a little rough for sure, but there's so much excellence that it's easy to forgive.

I'm playing via webcam with some friends which makes things a little awkward, but I fielded Tremere.

I tried to put constant pressure on my prey (Toreador) with early bleeds, and found some success. I don't think I managed my crypt or equipment well though, and had a rough time with my predator (Malkavian). I couldn't quite grasp the tempo - first play and all - of balancing defense with offense and particularly struggled with the Malkavian's obfuscate abilities.

There was a decent amount of social maneuvering and the Ventrue player sitting across from me leaned heavily into politics. I really love the voting system which isn't surprising as it's something I'm heavily fond of in TI and other designs.

I did manage to knock out my prey but fell almost immediately afterwards as I death spiralled. Ventrue ended up winning.

Wonderful first experience.
Last edit: 02 Jan 2021 12:53 by charlest.
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02 Jan 2021 18:13 #317649 by Shellhead
I received my fifth edition box today. It's a very nice overall package, and the odd color palette of the box cover and deck boxes is very striking, with cool grays and pastels punctuated by a bit of hot pink and of course vivid red. It took me a while to punch out all 180 blood tokens plus the edge token.

The rule book is solid and fairly comprehensive, addressing various mechanics that were introduced during specific expansions in the past. I would have personally gone with a better index instead of all the specific card rulings.

The decks are all solid, and focus primarily on two primary winning strategies: voting and bleeding. I was worried that the voting decks might be too powerful, but all five decks have good access to titled vampires. I was also worried that the Nosferatu deck might operate at a disadvantage, since their three core disciplines are not especially useful for either voting or bleeding. But it turns out that this Nosferatu deck has excellent defenses against both votes and bleeds, with plenty of intercept and a new card that requires a primogen. Also, this set is somewhat lacking in combat cards, except that the Nosferatu deck has some good ones.

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02 Jan 2021 18:17 #317651 by Shellhead
Charlie, did you collect six pool for ousting your prey? That tends to offset the risks of committing heavily to offense for a turn or two. Of course, it's always tough having a Ventrue predator, because they are great at both voting and bleeding.
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02 Jan 2021 19:37 #317656 by charlest
Ah shit, I forgot about that! Going to reread the manual.

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12 Jan 2021 22:09 #317979 by charlest
I've played four games of this now. If it didn't feel illegal, I'd be picking this as my game of the year.

Think I need to put it away for awhile though as playing it remotely is awkward.

I wrote an article on it tonight and am posting it tomorrow. All fired up.
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12 Jan 2021 22:24 - 12 Jan 2021 22:25 #317980 by Gary Sax
It's a good feeling to be that into a single game and not just churning through the first two plays of something and the rules. Just super refreshing.
Last edit: 12 Jan 2021 22:25 by Gary Sax.
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13 Jan 2021 04:22 #317983 by Erik Twice

charlest wrote: I've played four games of this now. If it didn't feel illegal, I'd be picking this as my game of the year.

Think I need to put it away for awhile though as playing it remotely is awkward.

I wrote an article on it tonight and am posting it tomorrow. All fired up.

Nice! I look foward to reading it.

It reminds me a bit of Barnes who said Dune was his game of the year and it would be every year it got re-released. If you want, you can be specific about the 5th edition thing to sneak it in :P
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13 Jan 2021 09:51 #317993 by charlest
Not sure there's anything here for veterans, but the article is up: playerelimination.com/2021/01/13/partaki...ifth-edition-review/
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13 Jan 2021 11:22 #317994 by Shellhead
Excellent review. Overall, this 5th edition boxed set is a great way to learn and experience the game. If somebody just bought this set and never bought another card for the game, it would still function as a great board game in a very compact package. But the rules are complex, so it's a heavy lift to get on the table with people who don't play regularly.

I wish that there were a few more locations, weapons, and combat cards in this set, and a little more variety to the voting cards. More locations help establish the dark urban setting. The combat system offers another way to differentiate the clans and the decks. The Celerity discipline offers easy access to extra strikes in combat, and most weapons help make those extra strikes really count. Guns often have a built-in maneuver, allowing the user to shoot an unarmed opponent without suffering a counter attack. The Potence discipline includes a variety of cards that increase hand strike damage, but also one-shot ranged attacks like Thrown Sewer Lid. Thaumaturgy has combat strike cards that do nasty aggravated damage. The most efficient vote cards are the ones that attack an opponent's pool, and the three best ones are all in this set. But other vote cards can do fun things like give a title to an untitled vampire, or ban weapons, or steal a location.

There is one point that I want to clarify about the structure of the game: the predator-prey structure is important, but it is not mandatory. Quite a few action cards allow a directed action (often represented with a D in a circle) against any chosen player, not just your prey. However, you only get a victory point and six-pool reward for ousting your prey. If you oust some other player's prey, that player gets the victory point and six-pool reward. Normally, the only reasonable time to go after someone other than your prey would be if your predator was too aggressive, or if another player at the table looks like they might be a threat to the whole table.

Another time to go after a non-prey player might be if a vote deck across the table was doing too much incidental harm to you. Voting often involves deal-making that overrides the normal predator-prey considerations. For example, maybe there is a five-player game with two strong voting decks, say the Ventrue and the Toreador, and those players are not sitting next to each other. The Ventrue might try to pass a vote, but the Toreador might have enough votes to keep it from passing. So the Ventrue might offer voting terms that include hurting the Toreador's prey as well as the Ventrue's prey. If it happens enough, the Toreador's prey might want to hit back at the Ventrue, even if they are not adjacent.
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13 Jan 2021 11:36 - 13 Jan 2021 11:37 #317996 by charlest
Great points Shell. It was hard to gauge for me whether weapons and locations were more heavily utilized in most people's constructed decks as I just don't have the context.

I didn't clarify or mention it at all, but targeting players who are not your prey did indeed play a big part in a couple of my plays. Mostly we used those cards as leverage for deal making, applying pressure to someone in a five player game you couldn't normally target. There were some moments that reminded me of similar plays to what often see happen in Spartacus.
Last edit: 13 Jan 2021 11:37 by charlest.
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13 Jan 2021 13:47 #317998 by Shellhead
Charlie, I've been playing Vampire/Jyhad for so long that I have forgotten how much some gamers hate player elimination. I think that player elimination is thematically appropriate for some games, especially shorter games with a horror theme. But Jyhad is not a short game, and an early oust could mean up to two hours of downtime until the game ends. Experienced Jyhad players know this, and generally find ways to occupy their time.

Things to Do in Jyhad When You Are Dead:

1. Get a snack or beverage, even if it involves leaving and going to a nearby convenience store or restaurant.
2. Improve your deck. Maybe remove some cards that you discarded without regret, or add some cards to address a shortcoming.
3. If you are playing in a game store, go shopping, or at least window-shopping.
4. Play a filler game with the next player or two who get ousted.
5. If there are enough players present for at least two separate games, the first four or five ousted players can start a third game.
6. Make a new deck.
7. Trade cards with other players.
8. Watch the game you got ousted from.
9. Hang out and talk with the next ousted player.
10. Login to Amaranth and design a deck to print out later.
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21 Dec 2021 10:39 #328978 by Shellhead
If somebody was interested in Vampire: the Eternal Struggle without getting sucked into a big investment, that fifth edition starting set works great as a self-contained game. And now there are four new decks that seem to be carefully designed to be equally competitive with the five decks in the fifth edition starter box. The starter box decks focused on voting and bleeding strategies, but three of the new decks emphasize combat. Previews available here:

www.blackchantry.com/page/3/

With these new decks, it is clear that the card game is back in synch with the current edition (V5) of the role-playing game Vampire: the Masquerade. In times past, both games had a crazy number of clans and bloodlines and mystical disciplines, and frankly some of the clans were based on regrettable stereotypes, like the Ravnos clan of thieving gypsy vampires. Now the rpg has been streamlined down to 13 clans and fewer disciplines, and these changes are directly reflected in the four new decks for V:tes.

Banu Haqim: Formerly known as the Assamites and stereotyped as Arab assassins with the unique discipline of Quietus, the Banu Haqim now encompass more of a generalized near-East mysticism blended with some Islamic customs. Quietus has been replaced with Thaumaturgy, a more generic form of blood magic that was previously the exclusive domain of Clan Tremere. Another major difference is that the default sect of the Banu Haqim is the discrete Camarilla, giving them more of a voice in sect politics. They retain the disciplines of Obfuscate and Celerity, so they are still efficient at sneak attacks.

Brujah: I played the Brujah a lot during my first year with this game, because the combat system is like a game within a game, and nobody plays that sub-game better than the Brujah. Fast, strong, and charismatic, the Brujah can potentially win every fight and still lose the game. They have little defense against bleeds or votes, aside from directly attacking anyone who offends them. The big change in this edition is that most of the Brujah have left the Camarilla to become Anarchs. That gives them less political heft, but the Anarch cards tend to offer greater tactical flexibility in play.

Gangrel: The bestial vampires who are more at home outside of cities, the Gangrel are unchanged since the 1st edition of the rpg, with Animalism, Fortitude, and their signature shape-shifting discipline of Protean. Like the Brujah, the V5 Gangrel have left the Camarilla and become Anarchs. While they lack the strength and speed of the Brujah, the Gangrel are feared for their ability to inflict aggravated damage, which can easily send an opposing vampire to torpor.

The Ministry: This clan was previously known as the Followers of Set, and existed as a vague stereotype of Egyptian corrupters with the power of Serpentis, a grab bag of random powers inspired by snakes. Serpentis has been replaced with Protean, and some of the snaky stuff has been kept around as cards only playable by Ministry vampires. Their other disciplines are Obfuscate and Presence, which makes them effective at both bleeding and voting. Like the Brujah and Gangrels, the Ministry is now considered part of the Anarch political sect.
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21 Dec 2021 10:41 - 21 Dec 2021 10:42 #328979 by charlest
I'm definitely picking those up. Thanks for sharing as I would have missed this.
Last edit: 21 Dec 2021 10:42 by charlest.

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21 Dec 2021 10:59 #328981 by Shellhead
Although Black Chantry Productions has done a nice job of bringing Vampire: the Eternal Struggle back to life, they have been careful to avoid getting overextended with their releases. They have published a total of 14 pre-constructed decks and released several non-random card sets. They have also released a few hundred older cards that can printed on demand for individual orders, but all of these cards work with clans and disciplines that are not represented in 5th edition. Other cards from past editions are still available on an irregular basis through eBay or other online re-sellers, but the old cards tend to be overly expensive, packaged in random booster packs or odd loose lots, and some of these cards have been left in the dust by the long-term evolution of the game which includes a bit of power creep.

In practical terms, this means that a new player will struggle to put together competitive decks for a tournament environment, and would likely have more fun playing this as a self-contained game. Get the base set and add in one or more of the four new decks, and you will have a great game for your collection. But if you simply must engage with the deckbuilding and tournament playing aspects of the game, you face some formidable obstacles. What V:tes really needs is a publisher who is willing to declare all previous editions to be ineligible for tournament play, but that would alienate a large segment of existing players and leave everybody with a greatly-diminished pool of legal cards.

Treated as a standalone game, V:tes is probably most comparable to the original Dune board game, and surpasses it in various ways. V:tes offers a rich multi-player game with a great combat system, voting, treachery, intrigue, and conquest.
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