First of all a happy new year 2012 to all of you. May you and your families be healthy and happy. I have decided to write this letter to close the information gap that has been correctly pointed out by members of the community. I will give you a summary of what has happened in the past year, an outlook on the year to come and I will make it a priority in the future to keep the player base better informed. In return I ask you, if you have not done so already, to come to the www.vekn.net website, register and voice your opinion through the forums. A community only lives through the participation of its members.
What is the V:EKN? The Vampire: Elder Kindred Network is the player organization of Vampire: The Eternal Struggle. The purpose of the organization is to be the sanctioning body for official tournament (rules) and to ensure the continued health of V:TES. It consists of a small Inner Circle with dedicated positions and the national coordinators, but more importantly it is based on the work of hundreds of princes and players out there. Let us always keep in mind that we are a great community of wonderful people and in the end we will hopefully all push in the same direction: continue to play this game, that is not only about strategy and winning but at least as much about friendship and socializing.
As you all know by now, CCP/White Wolf has unfortunately ceased production on V:TES with the last set being Heirs to the Blood. A lot of effort by the V:EKN has been invested in trying to keep the game in print by convincing White Wolf otherwise or by finding a new publisher. Due to many factors but primarily the complicated licensing situation this has not been possible for the immediate future. To add to the problems, CCP/White Wolf had to clear out all V:TES stock by the end of 2011 by either selling or destroying the cards. Luckily a deal has been worked out where Walch&Nusser in Europe and the well-known David Tatu for North America, South America and Australia have acquired a decent stock and will continue selling the currently available sets and various tournament packages at least for the next two years. A press release will be available shortly with the details.
The famous L. Scott Johnson (LSJ) decided to move on to other ventures after doing a great job of being the designer and rules monger of V:TES. This created two voids that needed to be filled. I am pleased to report that Pascal Bertrand, the French national coordinator, has stepped in as Rules Coordinator and is doing an amazing job so far. He has released his first RTR which addressed a widely discussed issue by making Minion Tap playable again for those players who were not in the position to acquire enough Villein cards and still want to play big cap vampires. Secondly the V:EKN Inner Circle decided that to keep the interest in the game alive and to make it attractive for another publisher to pick up the game, it would be beneficial to release small, electronically published V:TES expansions, legal for use in V:EKN tournaments and respectful of the intellectual property involved. A design team has been chosen and is working on the first installment, a Sabbat themed set with approximately 30 cards which is to be released in 2012. We are taking our time with it since the first and foremost priority is the quality of the cards, both in terms of card text and artwork. It is a high priority to avoid the creation of both broken cards and useless wallpaper. The design process will also involve playtesting a lot more than in the past to make this a real community-based success. You can find updates on the new set in the Designer's Diary on the V:EKN web site, there should be some previews soon.
The next point sadly is not a story of great progress. Since the White Wolf website has been shut down the rating system has been dysfunctional and, despite having half of the system in place so that you could view results and register the events, the reporting part never got done. We had a very dedicated volunteer, Jussi Hattara, at work here and the website as you see it today would not exist without him. Unfortunately life got in the way and due to everyday commitments the progress on this has stopped. During the hectic events of trying to keep the game in print we forgot to take proper care of it so it took until the end of 2011 to get a new team in place. I am pleased to report they are showing good progress and I expect for public testing to take place in Q1/2012. Once the ratings with the current system are functional again all the results where you still have the Archons can be uploaded for the period in between. Also I will open the discussion on a better rating system, as many perceive the current one as not sufficient.
One of the cornerstones of our community are the big events. The 2011 events have been a huge success. Despite the game being out-of-print, attendance was as high as ever. A big thanks to all of the organizers who made it happen. I am happy that the NAC, EC, SAC and AC for 2012 are secure. The NAC will take place at Origins (May 30 - June 3) and the EC in lovely Budapest (October 26-28). Keep an eye on the website for further updates.
Our storyline coordinator, Eric Chiang, has informed me that the popular storyline events will continue in 2012. There will be a constructed and a limited storyline, run concurrently, over the course of 6 months and a one-shot event at the NAC. The outcome of those tournaments will influence the history of the (old) World of Darkness which is now solely defined by V:TES.
That is all for now, see you at the tables.
Chairman of the V:EKN