Chris L, and the Fifth Tradition.

“I started playing Vampire: the Eternal Struggle back in 2012 when a long time friend asked if I wanted come over and play cards with a few mates. It was a love/hate relationship at the begining but I really enjoyed the depth and strategy that VtES had from being a multiplayer game.

From there, I started asking everyone I knew to try out this great game I’d just started playing. I didn’t have much success with family and friends sticking with the game, so I turned to the local game shop.  I put fliers on the counter and I got a few people interested to try it out and even ressurrected an old player from torpor. People came and went as it wasn’t the easiest game to learn and then even if they did like it, availablility was a big problem. I consolidated some how to play guides and made flowcharts into a learning aid pack I give to new players. I used my own card collection to construct a variety of decks for people to try out.  Armed with the tools to introduce new players to the game and a few solid regular players, we are still attracting new blood to this day. Right now we meet a few times a month to play games on a Saturday. Sometimes at my house, sometimes at the local game store to give it some exposure.

What I really enjoy about VtES is how highly interactive it is, and how you can influence the game even when it’s not your turn.  The dynamic of the predator and prey relationship, complexity of card interactions, and table balance all combine for a detailed puzzle.  Add on top of this the human player element where you can’t always guarantee someone will act a certain way, makes for a different experience every time. I’d never played a CCG like it, or since.

In terms of my play style, I prefer smaller decks (60-75 cards) that repeat a solid combo and are either some form of bleed or vote.  I don’t feel like I have any particular trait I’m known for, except maybe a well timed cry of doom and often top decking the required card to oust Shan. In terms of decks, I’m very fond of my Scout and Dmitra deck as it’s fast moving, has decent survivability, and can change table balance. However I am also a sucker for all things Bloodlines, with Salubri, Baali and True Brujah being some of my favourite clans.

I don’t particularly enjoy tournaments all that much, but what I do like is playing with a larger group of people who I don’t normally play with. You are exposed to so many different personalities and decks and it’s that interaction I enjoy.  I do like to compete but having a well fought game is more important.

Living in a remote city, it can be hard to see diversity, so I’ve been using VtES tournaments as an excuse to travel to other Australian cities (Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane) and even internationally to Japan (twice) and New Zealand.  The players are always welcoming and show great hospitality which is a real testament to the character of the people who are playing Vampire.

In terms of my fondest VtES memories, winning my first tournament is certainly right up there, but I also loved playing with the Japanese VtES group for the first time.  The combination of two of my life’s passions, Japan and gaming coming together, it was quite surreal at the time.  I remember contacting James Lin, the National Coordinator for Asia and asking for some contacts in Japan to hopefully organise a game.  Taka and Hayakawa were so accommodating with my request, and I am so grateful that I was able to meet their playgroup and play a few games.  They are a small and fantastic group and I highly recommend that if anyone is in their part of the world, please try to have a game with them.”

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