Vampire: The Eternal Struggle is a customisable card game in which four or five players take on the roles of ancient vampires known as Methuselahs. The game is set in a shadowy, alternate reflection of our own reality called the World of Darkness. Methuselahs are considered to be mere legend by younger vampires. Younger vampires think that they pursue their own ends, even as they are being used by one Methuselah to undercut the influence of another. Throughout the world, Methuselahs manipulate their minions to frustrate the designs of the other Methuselahs, just as they have for as long as anyone can remember. These eternal struggles are sometimes covert and subtle, sometimes open and spectacular.
Your goal is to accumulate the most victory points by destroying the influence held by rival Methuselahs. You accomplish this goal by using your influence to gain control of younger vampires and using those to perform actions to reduce the influence of rival Methuselahs. Influence is represented by pool counters, the main currency of the game. If a Methuselah runs out of pool, they are ousted from the game. As Methuselahs are ousted, other Methuselahs will earn victory points; the winner is the Methuselah with the most victory points at the end of the game.
Cards: Each Methuselah’s deck has two components: a crypt and a library.
The cards in your crypt represent the vampires you hope to control; they have oval portraits on the front and amber marble backs.
The cards in your library represent the wider World of Darkness and allow you or your minions to operate in that world; they have square illustrations on the front and green marble backs.
Each Methuselah must have at least 12 cards in their crypt and between 60 and 90 cards in their library. There is no maximum limit on the number of cards Methuselahs can have in their crypt.
A Methuselah can include any number of copies of a given card in either their library or crypt within the limits indicated above.
Each vampire belongs to a specific group, identified by a number above the upper left corner of the text box. A Methuselah’s crypt must be built using vampires from a single group or from two consecutive groups.
Counters: Counters are an integral part of the game. Each Methuselah needs about 40 counters: 30 for their starting pool and extra counters, to represent the blood bank. The counters used to represent pool, blood or life are the same but are named differently when they are in your pool, on vampires (blood) or on allies (life). For instance, if you move a counter from your pool to a vampire, it becomes a blood. Similarly, a blood stolen from a vampire by an ally becomes a life. When you burn, pay, or spend 1 blood or pool counter, you return it to the blood bank. If you would gain 1 blood or pool counter you gain it from the blood bank. When blood is added to a vampire, it is added from the blood bank. Blood and pool counters can be any convenient items, such as coins, glass beads, or stones. Single-item methods of keeping track of changing numbers (for example, dice) are discouraged, due to the frequent need to move counters from one place to another.
The Edge: The Edge is a symbol showing that your minions have temporarily given you an advantage over the other Methuselahs. Choose an object to represent the Edge. Any small, distinctive object, such as a figurine, trinket or a glove will do.