file Missing from the Future poll: relaunch

26 Feb 2016 22:39 #75551 by finbury
(This is a post I made on a local mailing list; I was asked to repost it here.)

Looking at the poll about the future of VtES, I was disappointed to see that "incompatible overhaul" is not an option. My view is that a reboot a la Netrunner is the best option for the future of the game.

There is a lot to like about VtES. It has a number of unique elements that make it unlike any other game:
- predator/prey mechanic and the table politics it drives, providing a truly social game.
- the card play mechanic - no card limit, cards are immediately replaced, but cards only apply to one of a set of subgames (combat, stealth/intercept, etc) or specific phases, providing natural limits - a truly elegant system that gives unique deck building and hand management challenges.
- having a fixed resource pool that you expend to recruit and equip minions makes for a great resource-planning challenge and is a brilliant tie-in with the theme.
- hell, the theme of an eternal struggle between immortal but selfish beings, for reasons that are lost to history, is a fantastic setting for a game.

But there are flaws too:
- slow games, especially the start
- needlessly baroque rules (transfers, combat rules, etc) and poor terminology / templating / timing
- existing card pool is a minefield of cards printed as a reaction to other cards, as a reaction to other cards, etc.
- bad balance between disciplines.
- bad balance between strategies; politics / bleed / combat isn't a real rock-paper-scissors
- difficult to learn because so many of the "realities" of the game exist as a consequence of cards in the pool - things like bleed bounce, Archon, Pentex, Concealed Weapon / .44 magnum, S:CE, Immortal Grapple, Minion Tap / Villein
- existing card pool has too many "perfect" cards that limit design space - e.g. Camera Phone, .44.
- 90 card decks are pretty intimidating for a new deckbuilder

Try this for me: ignoring the practicalities of printed cards and existing sets, imagine a game that has all of the things that make VtES great, and none of the weaknesses. Imagine how that game might work:
- Maybe you cut 10 minutes off of game time by having everyone start with 8/9/10/10 pool on vampires.
- Maybe you simplify transfers by making the crypt automatically refill and having 1 transfer move blood in any direction.
- Maybe you drop Blood Doll / Villein entirely and allow transfers to and from controlled vampires.
- Maybe you make maneuvers and presses the same thing
- Maybe you have vampires come out at half capacity, and make base hunt 2. Maybe you tweak base pool and number of transfers, too.
- Maybe you completely rewrite combat to be rock/paper/scissors between three strategies, to give you more space for different disciplines to do different things. Maybe that's three ranges - hand, melee, and long - and guns don't work at melee range.
- Maybe making some subsystems simpler or more complex means you should change the number of cards in hand to 6 or 5
- Maybe you ditch superior disciplines and make a nice symbol for "Capacity X or more" - i.e Lost in Crowds becomes obf: +1 stealth // C>=5, obf: +2 stealth

... the list goes on. I encourage you to think of your own - it's fun! Two things become *immediately* clear:

1) If done well, some of these changes could make for a more enjoyable, more accessible, and ultimately more successful game - a game that could be taught more quickly, that would flow more smoothly, and that would have a better metagame and more design space for future expansions.

2) These kinds of change are incompatible with the existing card pool. Any and all of the above would clearly require a lot of playtesting. That playtesting would be reasonably possible with a small card pool, say the cards in a new starter set... but would be utterly impossible if you had to test for interactions with the 2192 existing library cards in the game. Hell, just going through all 2192 existing cards, making the text modifications required for ANY major change, proofreading, and checking for wording loopholes would cost a good chunk of the development budget of a new game.

No, I think it's pretty clear that the best outcome for the game is a Netrunner-style reinvention, with fixed card sets, small, frequent releases, modern graphical design, and improved gameplay - but a game that's similar enough that a good player of VtES 1.0 will still be a good player of VtES 2.0.

Sure, that means our collections will be worthless. That sucks. But if the game dies - which I believe it will without this kind of reinvention - they'll be worthless anyway. And what do we love more, the game or our cards?

Do you really think there are old-time Netrunner players that are looking at the active release schedule, the smooth gameplay, the great card art, and the masses of new players and thinking, "gee, this is good and all, but I liked it better before"?
The following user(s) said Thank You: brettscho

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26 Feb 2016 23:22 #75552 by brettscho
VTES 2.0 would be awesome. Especially if it was 75% the same, just cleaning the up the edges and smoothing out the wrinkles. This is absolutely the ideal situation for me. Plus, there could be a slow release of expansions that add more clans [start with Camarilla, add sabbat but keep antitribu the same clan, independents and then maybe bloodlines], and each release could include a few VTES 1.0 cards that still work as intended in VTES 2.0, allowing players to keep using chunks of their original collection.

Check out my VTES blog: Gaming with BS

I also host a google doc which separates the TWDA into clans . That means I track how often clans win, which crypt groups get used, and how many people attend events. You can access all of that info here:

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27 Feb 2016 08:50 #75554 by Ylly
I cannot agree here. From the point of view of an (old) player with considerable collection, this is a major no-no. Moreover, I am not willing to invest money to a completely new CCG, starting from scratch - been there, done that, never again.
The only thing that would happen, imho, is splitting the community even more, thus, there would be players playing new vtes trying to recruit new players (on a long-term saturated market (vtes is not very suitable as the starting CCG for kids)) and players like me, sticking with the old torporized vtes trying to maintain at least a small local playgroup...

I understand your arguments, I agree to some extent, but I would only keep my fingers crossed for those willing to pursue the new project, I would not participate.

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27 Feb 2016 09:50 #75555 by GreyB
Smoothing out VTES cleaning up rules and quirks should be an ongoing process if it gets back to print and is a safer bet than ditching 1.0 for 2.0.
However creating a VTES 2.0 (or lite if you will) can also happen alongside, I see no reason why one should exclude the other.
There are are and always will be two kinds of players, ones that like easy quick games and others that like intrinsic complex long games.
I would probably play both depending on time and situation.

Keep in mind VTES 1.0 is well established with a considerable community. VTES 2.0 would start from scratch and the VTES 1.0 community would be more a bane than a benefit from a psychological point of view as there will be players scorned no doubt. You'd really have to create a great product and have faith in it to publish it and not count on an old community for sales.

Do both and you temper the moods of the establishment, sell them a VTES 2.0 more on curiosity grounds and possibly extend into new target audiences.

WoD as a whole is a fantastic product, more should be done, the market should be flooded with options in my opinion ;)

:garg: :VIS: :POT: :FOR: :flight: -1 Strength

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27 Feb 2016 10:57 #75557 by Brum
I posted this on the wrong place by mistake:

I don't think VEKN should cater to the possibility if a non VtES option.
This organization, its volunteers and its resources have one objective (from this own page):

"Vampire: Elder Kindred Network™ is the Official V:TES Players' Organization dedicated to the continued health of V:TES. The V:EKN endeavours to help V:TES grow in popularity through the embracing of new players as well as through the support of the existing fans.

The V:EKN is the organization responsible for sanctioning and regulating official V:TES tournaments, recording V:TES players' ratings (and rankings).

V:EKN Princes are volunteers who promote V:TES at the local level by, for example, coordinating tournaments and demos."

Some of the options proposed in the vote are the Final Death of VtES, imo.
VEKN should not even ponder on them, officially.
Unless these were from Paradox and in that case, VEKN should push for an option that means the continuity of VtES.

Retweek rules? Yes.
New game with new cards? No way.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Lönkka, Ylly, 1muflon1

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27 Feb 2016 16:55 #75563 by alek
I believe that we could have the best of two worlds: better and simpler rules and compatibility with old cards. Simpler rules would for sure mean that not all old cards would be playable f.e. if hunters mechanics would be remowed than all hunters cards would be illegal. But if we keep basic rules intact, majority of old cards could be played after the changes. I think it's the best solution for Vtes.

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