Fragment of the Book of Nod IV: Keith L, making deals and shit-talking.

“I’ve been playing Vampire: the Eternal Struggle since 1998, maybe earlier. I stumbled across it because a few old timers were playing it at a local games shop in Singapore. I was a massive World of Darkness fan, so naturally I was hooked! The scene was pretty big then, in Vampire terms, maybe 30 players or so. I have been playing ever since, first in Singapore and then in Melbourne. I like playing casual games but tournaments can be a little hard. There’s a lot of keywords to keep track of, and I haven’t kept pace with all the new sets.

Despite its trappings, I don’t think V:tES replicates the World of Darkness all that well. I do LARPing and the feel of that is very different than Vampire. What I think is fun is seeing a face attached to key characters from the lore, like Fatima and Mary the Black. I’ve also think it’s cool how they’ve handled Gargoyles. Other stuff hasn’t resonated for me as much. Harbinger effects seem a bit derp, and the Laibon are okay but not great.

I like the game a lot but think it could be made much easier for beginners, so that you can pick it up faster. I hope that they eventually phase out the list of tournament legal cards to get a tighter card pool, so that cards like The Treatment can be junked from the game. That way no one needs to have to explain how it works.

When I started out I was probably known best for massive stealth-bleed decks. Malkavian antitribu was my favourite deck to play. Nowadays I like playing Chimerstry-heavy Ravnos or Blood Brothers. My fave deck is still a Malkavian antitribu one. It’s ‘angry Malks’ – a Dementation and Potence bruise-bleed deck. I’ve surprised many people with it: “oh, let’s block that Malk! Wait, why is he playing Potence? Okay… ouch. Ouch ouch ouch!”

The thing that keeps me coming back to Vampire is the social aspect. You have to make deals, and shit-talking is as much a part of the game as the cards. Though that same aspect can make it a really long game!”

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