Friday, November 25, 2011

Does this vampire feel balanced to you?

This is a LOT of positive and negative text... just not sure if it all balances out in the end.

The intent of this vampire (from a thematic building point) was that they were a paranoid recluse. Chi & + stealth help her avoid others, but getting out there and doing things (like bleeding, etc) requires extra effort for her (hence increased cost). But being a paranoid recluse with [AUS] means you'd also be keenly aware of anything happening nearby and constantly vigilant (hence the burn 1 blood for -1 stealth anywhere near her).

I may amend it to have the increased cost on (D) actions and keep the "burn a blood". The title seems not to fit with the rest of the idea, so I might give her a 5th discipline (since those would be roughly a half-price discpline).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ishtarri Bleed to Live

Deck Name: Ishtarri Bleed to Live
Author: Juggernaut1981
This is a variation on my Ishtarri Bleed Deck. This was originally made from 2 Ishtarri Starters mashed together to make a deck. It's entire plan is that a good offence is better than a solid defence. Basically it intends to bloat via bleeding. Ganhuru + a Social Charm or Public Trust will give you 2 pool and other minions bleeding will give you another pool. If you can get a blood or two from things like Blood Doll then combined this will probably turn into a steady trickle of pool (once you've got the minions out).

One of its historical moments was that it took 15 pool, bloated approximately 12 pool and that is without VP-pool.

One of the greatest things this deck has done has basically helped train me into being a more aggressive predator, one that even when "walling up" still takes forward actions. It is exceedingly rare for me to not take forward actions, even if it is a simple 1-bleed. This deck was responsible for that change in play.

Crypt [12 vampires] Capacity min: 4 max: 7 average: 6

3x Ganhuru 7 FOR PRE cel pro Ishtarri:4
3x Ubende 7 CEL PRE for obf qui magaji Ishtarri:4
2x Honorine Ateba 6 FOR PRE cel nec Ishtarri:4
2x Shasa Abu Badr 5 PRE cel for Ishtarri:4
2x Kenyatta 4 cel for pre Ishtarri:4

Library [90 cards]

Action [16]
4x Enchant Kindred
2x Entrancement
4x Public Trust
6x Social Charm

Action Modifier [24]
4x Alacrity
2x Dawn Operation
8x Forced March
4x Freak Drive
6x Uncontrolled Impulse

Ally [4]
4x Informant

Combat [16]
8x Hidden Strength
8x Majesty

Equipment [1]
1x Kduva's Mask

Event [4]
2x Bitter and Sweet Story, The
2x Narrow Minds

Master [19]
4x Blood Doll
1x Celerity
1x Fortitude
4x Life in the City
1x Mbare Market, Harare
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
2x Port Hunting Ground
1x Powerbase: Tshwane
2x Sudden Reversal
2x Wash

Reaction [6]
6x Terra Incognita

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quotable Quotes 22/11/2011

Johannes Walches:
Let´s just call Quietus "challenging" and not "underpowered". When you have won so many tournaments with DOM, accept the challenge and go QUI!

Translated into the Blacktown VTES group vernacular:
"Get your nuts out of your purse"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Legalism, Intent and Game complexity...

I'll do more later, but I'm starting to get frustrated by the interplay of three effects in VTES.

Player legalism
Card/Rule Intent
and Game Complexity.

These are basically the same set of forces that are turning up and maxing tax law overly complicated in Australia. As a feedback loop it works something like this.

A Card or Rule is created with a specific intent (e.g. Villein: To make Minion Tap more difficult to play but also to not become a perceived problem like Minion Tap had become)

Players read the Card/Rule with a mindset based on "If the law doesn't explicity say it can't be done, then it must be legal even if I know the intent is the opposite". (From what I remember of the Tax Lawyer babble I used to hear when I worked in a Big 4 Accounting Firm they label that the "Narrow Reading"). Some players seem to spend their entire time reading cards for 'loopholes' where they can deliberately circumvent the intent of a card/s or rule/s.

So those creating the cards and rules then feel compelled to 'close the loopholes'.

In Australia, that process has created Tax Law documents for Federal Taxes that is something like 3000-pages on A5 paper at 8pt print for Company Taxes only. The next part is that around 500 tell companies what taxes they need to pay, how to pay it, when, how to document it, how long to keep records and so on. The other 2,500 are basically the deductions against the other 500 pages. When I was dealing with a 'small uncommonly used section' the core of the deduction was covered in about 3 pages (including when and where, documentation, etc), another 20+ pages was amendments made to it because people deliberately went out of their way to abuse the wording of the first 3.

I know that many lawyers realise, especially tax lawyers, would be out of a job if they didn't make the tax law more complex. By making it more complex, they make their existence more needed and get to charge more to sort out the problem they explicitly helped to create.

How this seems to be playing out in VTES:
This has been the set of forces that seem to be heading us towards EVERY card nearly having its own off-the-card ruling about how it 'should be read' and how it 'should be played' and it often just reads a long list of ways you are or are not allowed to abuse the card beyond its intent.

This is why there have been rulings that several players find counter-intuitive. This is why there are words that now seem to have gained new 'keyword meanings' compared to what they have had in the past.

Now I am not saying that the Role of Pascal is irrelevant. He is needed and valuable and does a good job (and I apologise if he thinks I am deliberately targeting him or LSJ).

As players, I think we need to take a greater responsibility for our collective Legalist tendency. We need to stop looking for the ways we can break cards by ignoring things like the card's design intent and if nothing else, help to make our game less complex. VTES does not need to have new players thinking they have to become close buddies with the Rules-Lawyers and keep their own 20-page document of not-on-the-card-card-texts-and-interpretations-of-those-cards to play VTES once a week...

It is our fault that things in VTES are becoming this way. We should drop our need to push for the loophole as if it gains us some genuine advantage. We pay for that 'advantage' in increased complexity.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Villein, Minion Tap and all of that jazz...

There is a LOT of debate going on about these cards. I don't feel that individual forum posts can really express my wider thoughts (although if you do read all of them you'd get a similar picture) about Villein. I'm happy to explain more, I like debate... but play the argument and not the man. I try to do that and if you think I'm not feel free to call me out on it (I think its a sort of 'ungentlemanly conduct' in debates).

Villein. The card causing all the chaos. It seems worth putting its text up here and telling you what I thought the card meant after taking it out from a booster.

Type: Master
Master: trifle.
Put this card on a vampire you control and move 2 or more blood from that vampire to your pool. Minion Tap cards cost an additional pool. Villein costs an additional pool to play on this vampire.

What I thought the text meant when I first read it...
Simple. Choose a vampire that has 2 or more blood. Put this card on the vampire and tell everyone how many (at least 2) blood you are siphoning back into your pool. If you play Minion Taps they will cost more (up front of resolution, like all card costs) and if you play another Villein on this vampire, it also costs more (up front of resolution, like all card costs).

What LSJ told me the text meant later...
Choose a vampire that has any amount of blood and put this card on the vampire. Tell everyone how much blood you are taking off (at least 2) and if they don't have enough then you take what they have. If you play Minion Taps they will cause you to get 1 less pool per Villein than you thought, you don't have to pay before you siphon off the blood just deduct it out as you put it into your pool.If you play another Villein on this vampire, just do the same thing as the Minion Tap.

Where I think things all went pear-shaped...
  1. Move = steal. This was basically the centre of the debate about Villein & 1-blood-on-the-vampire. You could play Villein because declaring you want to move 5+ blood off the minion doesn't change the fact that it only has 1. This is different to Minion Tap, you can't choose an 11-cap and choose to take 12 blood... why should Villein (which is clearly supposed to be functionally similar) work so differently? Does this also mean I can move equipment that isn't there...?
  2. Paying for Villein as part of the resolution. Why should this be the only card (well excluding Minion Tap) that is allowed to pay for its cost as part of resolving the card? Every other card requires that you pay for it before you resolve its effects. Use a Patronage on 1 pool? You're dead... so why should it be any different just because its Villein???

So the next big problem is its power. Villein is very powerful for a Trifle. Most trifles provide 1 blood (or 1 blood under conditions later) at most (The Coven being the only exception, Unique and travels around the table). The only other Trifle that directly provides pool is Failsafe, which gives you 4 pool if you are on 3 or less.

All in all, this convinces me that either:

a) Villein needs changing, or

b) Rulings on Villein need changing

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Been having issues getting to

Maybe the Hunters are out again. Damned Society of Leopold.

jtablesession::Store Failed
DB function failed with error number 126
Incorrect key file for table './727k2/josvekn_session.MYI'; try to repair it SQL=INSERT INTO `josvekn_session` ( `session_id`,`time`,`username`,`gid`,`guest`,`client_id` ) VALUES ( 'os5ivkn4j52f5b9emd0ist7ta6','1320462266','','0','1','0' )

Friday, November 4, 2011

Updated site...

I've made a bit of a change to the Crypt Card section of my Downloads Page. Just created some placeholders that allowed a reorganisation of the crypt cards. I'll probably copy something similar for the Library Cards.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Protean-Animalism Wall-ish Deck for a Friend...

Deck Name : Pro-Animals
Author : Juggernaut1981
Description :
A Mixed Gangrel/Anti forward-facing wall. Aiming to grind down your prey via Fame and Army of Rats. Almost any action your prey takes should be blocked unless it is forward (which you want to leave alone so your next prey is an easier target)

Crypt [12 vampires] Capacity min: 5 max: 8 average: 6.16667

2x Nadima 8 FOR PRO SER ani aus Gangrel:3
2x Horrock 6 ANI PRO vic Gangrel:3
2x Janey Pickman 6 ANI PRO for !Gangrel:4
2x Celeste Lamontagne 5 ANI PRO for !Gangrel:4
2x Dr. Allan Woodstoc 5 PRO ani aus for Gangrel:3
1x Danielle Diron 7 ANI PRO chi for 1 vote Gangrel:3
1x Doyle Fincher 7 ANI PRO aus for obf !Gangrel:4

Library [76 cards]

Action [6]
2x Army of Rats
4x Tier of Souls

Action Modifier [6]
6x Earth Control

Combat [20]
6x Claws of the Dead
4x Earth Meld
4x Flesh of Marble
6x Wolf Claws

Master [20]
4x Ashur Tablets
1x Campground Hunting Ground
4x Curmudgeon
2x Fame
1x Frontal Assault
4x Grooming the Protege
1x KRCG News Radio
1x Rack, The
1x Rumor Mill, Tabloid Newspaper, The
1x Zoo Hunting Ground

Reaction [14]
6x Cats' Guidance
4x Lost in Translation
4x Sonar

Retainer [10]
4x Homunculus
6x Raven Spy