Fragment of the Book of Nod VIII: Simon R, and inherently interesting interactions.

“I started playing V:tES around 1999, with friends in Wellington. Met the local prince and got hooked. We played casually for some years, but I didn’t get into the tournament scene until I travelled to the UK in 2005. After that, my first tournament in Australia was 2007, in Melbourne. I made the finals and qualified for the Nats – and it was the first of many times I lost a final to Jason.

I like playing in tournaments as the intensity and quality of both decks and play is a lot higher. You can occasionally find yourself at a table with players who aren’t as competitive, but most of the time people are playing to win. You’ll see random trick decks sometimes, but if you’re playing at a Championships those decks rarely fail to fire. Still, I like games where luck isn’t a factor, and decks like that can swing the outcome without scoring any VPs.

I find that the difference between success and failure at the competitive level is more down to the player than the deck. I can take a weak deck and work hard to win, even if it’s a ‘fun’ deck. That has more chance than a strong deck with a person playing for fun rather than victory points.

I’ve found that the Australian tournament scene is pretty similar in style to the UK’s, although I haven’t played there for a while. We tend to get on with the game a little more than in mainland Europe. There’s some table talk, but the smaller scene means we pretty much know everyone and how they play. So a player will make their point and then just get on with playing their game. It’s very different than when I went to the EC in 2007. The amount of table talk there was incredible, and quite a shock at the time!

I think I’m mostly known for playing toolbox style decks, and I favour cards with multiple uses. I like to have multiple ousting strategies every deck, so it’s not too predictable for others to guess what’s coming. I don’t really have a favourite, but I like various flavours of Assamites, and I often find myself coming back to Tremere or !Tremere. Bleed offence with combat, votes, equipment, so many variations. That said, that’s more of my casual play style than at tournaments. I’ve never gotten bruise-bleed to work in big events, and favour decks that have some cross-table influence.

I’ve played a few games of other CCGs, but they’re usually two player games. I prefer multiplayer games, and V:tES is just so good as a multiplayer game. The prey- predator relationship and the way you only gain immediate benefit for ousting your own prey is such a good balance on king making. Multiplayer games are inherently more interesting in their interactions, and V:tES is balanced so that it isn’t game over if you get a bad run of cards at the start of the game. Throw in the fact that you can take the same five players with the same five decks and just re-order the players and you can have a completely different game, that makes every game interesting.

The other great thing about V:tES is that, even for someone like myself who has had some success, I still lose more than I win! That makes every game that much more enjoyable as you really don’t know what is going to happen every table.”

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