mercredi 19 mars 2014

Sensory deprivation and its little friends

Hello guys,

Starting from today, I will try to publish more small articles instead of a few big ones. It will be easier for me and more readable for you. 

Those articles will often be top five, or ten, or list of advices, stuff to improve your game, and a lot of interviews as well. I am pretty happy from the feedback I get from people who read all the blog, even recently, and I can’t underline enough how much I appreciate a kind word, a nice comment or a food for thought. So don’t hesitate to leave a token of your journey when landing on my blog shores.

(I won’t be advertising my other blogs since they are all written in French but for the French-speaking people that are curious, contact me, I got other stuff to speak about that you can find on the Internet)

So, today, to introduce the new way of doing things, I have a very special guest, who happen to live in the town nearby, but we still did the interview by chat, it’s Pascal Bertrand, a.k.a Floppyzedolfin, who is the current rules director, so who is responsible for all changes of rules, and helps the design team to design the new sets, has his word in the game decisions, in addition to help answering all tricky forum questions when possible.

The theme I will grind today, and Pascal will give his best to answers my questions without knowing what wrote myself on the different topics, is the
TOP 5 OF THE CARDS THAT ANNOY MOST PLAYERS (for good or bad reasons)

1           1 -      Sensory deprivation

I have not heard of any player who does not either adore or dislike this card the most. I have memories of games completely stuck at Turn 2 without being able to do anything because of a stupid 4-Capacity Ravnos passing by, especially when I was playing Enkidu or Sutekh. I am all the more surprised to see it so often heavily played as results have shown that running multiples of it generally doesn’t bring victory after all.

Pascal, don’t you think that sensory deprivation is a card so uncool that we should ban it right away?

-         It’s a rather vast question… Cards cannot be banned for a motivation of lack of fun because fun is a totally subjective criterion.
The fact that a minion is « blocked » during at least one turn is a theme that we encounter a lot in Vampire (Rötschreck, Mind Numb, Mind Rape, Pentex Subversion, Banishment, ..) and if we start removing one of the cards that use this mechanic because it’s not fun, I don’t see what would prevent us from banning other cards from the list. Then, one day somebody will tell you, sensory deprivation is so much fun because the illustration shows a sewed mouth.

2 – Pentex subversion
I am a big fan of Pentex Subversion myself and I think it is the most defining card of Vampire. It is not a card that prevents most decks from being played, but it gives an edge to the better players that will manage to play it successfully, or more important manage to not play it when it is not needed.

Pascal, there is a vast debate about Pentex Subversion, tell us your best story with this card.

-         Funny story: Kamel, Jerome, Stone, Benoit and Floppy are playing a friendly game in Prague. On turn 2, Benoît plays Anson. On Turn 2, Floppy puts a pentex on Anson. 2hours later, Benoit is still whining for anyone to break the Pentex.

-          3 – Kindred Spirits
Speaking about kindred spirits also means the whole package of the weenie bleed. You all died at least once to a stupid deck, generally played by a guy who looks like he spent too much time watching reality-TV, a weenie dementation, or weenie dominate, or 52-computer hacking decks. I accepted to bear with that. If I die to them, that’s life, I won’t ruin my day playing decks just to survive as they don’t win much tournaments.

Pascal, what is your opinion about the KS decks running like 20x of the same card?

Personnally I am playing 22. It does not shock me more than 14 Governs in Vignes or Carna.
It’s a type of deck that presents one of the main problems of the game – it is extremely difficult to create new interesting cards when there are some power houses like KS, GtU, Majesty, Freak Drive or Parity Shift. At the end, all card will get compared to them and judged worse. Cards like Neonate Breach offer a totally viable alternative to the established standards.

4 – Sudden reversal/ Direct Intervention

Well, it is just a simple fact. You’re playing a card, not for yourself, but to deny your opponent a way of playing. Sudden reversal breaks your balls even more since it’s taking care of your only master of the turn. But I feel like this card invades your territory, thus upsetting you for more than it should in fact, mostly because we have all been victims of “I play my sudden reversal just to cycle”

Pascal, which do you find stronger, Sudden or DI?

Direct Intervention.
It is far more difficult to play (and not to play). Sudden has huge main targets: Pentex, Parthenon, TOGP, and sometimes the « card that breaks my ball just now, but I play Sudden to cycle ». There are far more opportunities to play DI (GtU #1, Faceless, Elder, Conditioning), and well played, it gives or prevents one victory point.

                5 – Una

You’re playing. Alone. Like one hour. Worse than a turbo or a reversal of fortunes deck. Nobody gets to do anything once you’ve started. If you’re a fast player, people will just get bored, if you’re upsetting from the start, or they did not get enough sleep, they might even feel violent. I got the craziest stories playing Una, including people wanting to hit my face, for real.

Pascal, should we limit the time of a player’s turn?

No, because it’s totally impossible to gauge, with all debates on who should block or not, during votes, the talks “play your card/ don’t play your card” and stuff like “But, but, but, what does your Imbued card do? Is it breakable? It would be quite interesting to know how much time players spend /not playing/ (where playing includes asking/answering about votes, thinking, reading cards, ...) during a vtes game. 

To conclude, many cards could have made the top of the list. 
What I realize is that it is more often a matter of players than a matter of cards. I am not annoyed by a mere sudden reversal; I am annoyed by a guy playing it “to cycle”. I am not annoyed by a deck long to play, I am annoyed by a guy slow playing intentionally. 

Last question to Pascal: Is there any card you specially dislike and why?
-        I don’t like to see at the table Heart of Nizchetus mainly. Ashurs Tablets also. Mostly because those cards need too much time to be managed correctly.

 Have a good game... TTC.

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