Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Note: Play this More Often than Once a Year...

Vampire: Prince of the City.

Last time we had this out (according to the blog) was March 9th, 2006. Strangely, almost exactly a year ago. Somehow I thought it had been longer. I guess we've just gone through a lot of games since.

As before, we (well, I) made some rules errors. The rulebook, as atmospheric as it is, is poorly phrased and organized in many cases, which makes for quick location of critical rules difficult.

Concerning Re-rolls: Any card or ability which specifies re-rolls allows re-roll of any dice involved in the challenge or contest, not just those belonging to the player. This is covered under the heading "Dice" in section 3.6. This may have made a difference in Shemp's strategy at one point.

Torpor arising from Resolution Phase loss: Agent Easy was sent into torpor in the last turn of this game because he only had one vitae remaining. This is incorrect... the vitae is lost if the game continues. (section 5.5 - Resolution Phase). This is my error in reading the rules. Fortunately, it would not have made a major difference for this game (though it would permit Easy to place second instead of fourth). It did make a major difference in our first game, so we should definitely remember this.

Where to draw from: For some reason, I told people in this game we drew from the bottom of the deck. I must have confused this game with another, because no where in the rules does it mention this. I can't recall the game where you draw from the bottom, but I know it happens somewhere. In this game, you draw from the top, and put event cards into play as they come up.

Cards in play cannot be put back into the hand. During the game, I lost two zones (harbor and mercantile district) which made it impossible for me to maintain my Labor Union Domain. Thinking it was legal, during my next Resource Phase, I put the Labor Union Domain card back into my hidden hand. This is illegal. Cards must be discarded outright or otherwise lost - they cannot be put back into the hand in normal rules. I used this card later for its one point value which enabled a event to be beaten (the one where Shemp and I were working together) so this had a moderate effect on the game. My mistake.

I am sure there are other rules we got wrong, but I was nonetheless really pleased to be able to get this one back on the table. It is very atmospheric and bloodthirsty - I'm not usually a bloodthirsty player, but one lovely benefit of games is acting out impulses that otherwise aren't socially acceptable.

A very important lesson to learn from the layout of this rulebook: Try not to use more than three to four typefaces on the same page (a generally good graphic design rule, I'm told) ... This rulebook uses five or six... a script-like (and therefore not easily scanned) font for major headings, a bolded, indented serif font for its sub-headings, Casablanca Antique (a "distressed" serif font) for headings of summaries and expositions and a sans-serif font for the summaries and expositions themselves. In addition, the examples are given in italics, and there are often very large blocks of italicized print.

This makes for a very visually dense rulebook, which makes for rapid location of certain rules difficult. Don't do this if you want an easily played game.

I'd really like to play this game again soon while the rules are fresh in our minds. Unfortunately with 5 players, the suggested play time of 2 hours for 6 turns is not feasible - even with five experienced players, I think 3 hours for 6 turns is more realistic.

So, let's play this one again soon, shall we?

Oh yeah, Bharmer won. Kill the leader is vicious in this game!

1 comment:

  1. I think the biggest problem with the rule book is that it's far too wordy. I couldn't beleive how much text I had to read in order to refresh oursleves on the influence phase! Anyway, at it's heart it's not that complicated so hopefully we can internalize it and not have to refer to the rulebook again.

    I do enjoy the game. It's definitely mean, but it works pretty well. My biggest knock on the game, other than length and rulebook, would be that it doesn't connect with me thematically. I'm a big fan of the Vampire the Maskerade/ Jyhad CCG, so I was hoping for something that would bring that world to life in a more manageable package. It didn't. The ingredients are there, but it feels mostly like a straight area influence game.

    Anyway, I agree that we should play this again sooner rather than later.