V:EKN Clan Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter, January 1999, Part I In this Issue ..... THE YEAR OF UNLIVING DANGEROUSLY [FICTION] THE DUEL - A NEGLECTED ASPECT OF THE ETERNAL STRUGGLE BALANCE AND POWER THE YEAR OF UNLIVING DANGEROUSLY On the south coast of England the land falls away in crumbling chalky hills, the last of which looms over the island city of Portsmouth like a lion, gathering itself to spring. The sun is setting and the wind is rising .... the light is beautiful, reminiscent of a painting by Turner - as well it might be, since he painted many of his scenes hereabouts. The wind hurls itself at the gaunt towers of Legbiter Mansions, animated perhaps by the hatred of the unredeemed, or "snacks" as we, the occupants, call them. And here I am, sleepily leafing through the paper, just waking up for a night of prowling among the streetgirls of the city. My chamber-ghoul respectfully brushes the dust and cobwebs off my suit and gives my fangs a good polish. MUCH better. Lady Legbiter drifts in and I rise and bow, placing the latest edition of the Sunday Sport on the oak table. "Sweet Prince, I trust your repose was undisturbed?" "Madam, I slept most comfortably. Will you take breakfast with me?" "No my lord, I believe I will make my own arrangements in that direction ... pray be so good as to pass me the guys-seeking-gals section of the Sunday Sport, that I may make my choice." A few companionable moments later .... "Hmmm, i believe I will investigate Miss Busty's Massage Parlour first this evening ... have you found aught to your taste, my toothsome one?" "Indeed, such a great pool of loneliness from which to drink. How VERY farsighted you were to promote the personal alienation of the industrial revolution, my darling. But actually, I was looking at my horrorscope .... it says here that we are all in for a very hot time this year .... curiously enough, YOUR horrorscope says the same thing." "Ah yes, it seems that Gehenna may actually be upon us this year .... interesting times, my love, interesting times ....." VTES DUELS Duel is a much-misused word, in my opinion, in relation to collectible card games. In a real duel scrupulous fairness is observed in balancing the two sides. In the disagreeable bar-room scrap of competitive Magic we see nothing of the kind ... and having played a lot of different two-player games i really can't subscribe to the idea that Jyhad duels are worse than Magic duels [though if you press me on it, i have to say that Eagles CCG, sealed-deck Netrunner and Crimson Skies [FASA's new air-combat board-game] are all exceedingly good two- player games, at LEAST equal in that respect to two-player Jyhad]. Lady Legbiter happens not to like any of the alternatives, so she and I play a lot of two- player VTES and Sabbat, and we find that the Sabbat duels are easily the best two-player card fun that we can have. We manage this by creating decks that we can have balanced games with, rather than decks that are designed reliably to win. Over Christmas we experimented with Jyhad versus Sabbat decks - she played a vote-bleed Pretty Vampires Jyhad deck and i played a combat Ugly Vampires Sabbat deck. We had a lot of real talon-biters, which brings me to the theme of ..... BALANCE AND POWER My new year resolution for 1999 is to spend a lot more time on the FUN aspect of vampires. Everyone who reads this newsgroup is already a pretty good VTES player, and we are all busily organising and playing in tournaments, partly because we want to get better but mainly because we want to promote our game. But, dear blood-brothers and sisters, let's not lose sight of the main purpose of Jyhad, which is to have FUN. And let's remember that the key point about a fun deck is that it should give you a reasonable chance of winning without hammering the rest of the players so badly that they get fed up and refuse to play with you anymore! Alright, that's enough rambling for now. Truth is, I am still a bit groggy from New year and had forgotten that it was newsletter time, so sorry for the stream- of-consciousness nature of this little offering. I've built a couple of really unusual decks recently and i'll post those eventually, but probably not till March because i want to use at least one of them in an upcoming tournament. As Xian says in his excellent January 99 newsletter [MORE stories, matey! More! More!], we have been working on decks based around "crap" cards and vampires, and as some of you will know at least one of these, the Betrayer deck, kind of works. We think the Betrayer deck can be made tournament-competitive, and we think there may be other weird-but-effective decks just waiting to be invented. Watch these spaces!