Now on Kickstarter – Vampire: the Masquerade Rivals

Normally this is an occasional series in which I gather together a small selection of Kickstarter projects to highlight. Today I’m just showing off the one, because it’s so up my alley and I want to spend more time than usual on it.

Vampire: the Masquerade Rivals – I love the Vampire: the Masquerade tabletop roleplaying game. And I’ve played (and we’ve covered) a lot of games in the LCG/ECG space (Legend of the Five Rings, Android: Netrunner, Doomtown, Star Wars, the list goes on). ECGs are just great at delivering the experience of a customizable card game without the inflated cost of my Magic: the Gathering habit. So when Renegade Game Studios announced at Gen Con 2019 that they were working on a Vampire ECG, I was incredibly excited. And now, a year later, it’s finally available to back on Kickstarter (with an intended delivery date of the end of the year).

In VtM Rivals, each player (the game supports 2-4) takes on the role of a coterie of vampires vying to advance their agenda in San Francisco. Each player has a standard “library” deck and a smaller faction deck of their vampires. There is also a central city deck, which produces events, victims, and other matters for the players to interact with. On each turn, that player gets two actions to recruit more vampires, draw cards, claim Camarilla titles, or attack one of the other players’ vampires. An important measure of a vampire’s power is, of course, the Blood, and a vampire left without will succumb to torpor – but they might rise later in the game. A player can win by accumulating 13 agenda points or by reducing their rival to rubble – one other faction randomly chosen at the start of the game for particular enmity. The whole draft rulebook is available if you want to check out the details.

The base set contains four preconstructed decks for the four included clans – Brujah (combat-focused punks), Malkavian (conspiratorial visionaries), Toreador (the beautiful and those who create beauty), and Ventrue (social dominators). And, as one would expect for a customizable game, there’s also a pack of 63 more cards for customizing the decks. Although the prebuilt decks are single-clan, customized decks are not required to be.

As an ECG, Rivals is designed with expansions in mind. In my own personal estimation, we will see more clans and more cities in 2021. And, of course, just more of everything. Renegade also plans on supporting organized play, with an organized play kit actually being included in one the higher-end pledge level. Speaking of pledge levels, there are probably only two to check out (the others are a different language and a retailer pledge level). Your basic entry fee is $40, which gets you the game. Fankid that I am, however, I had little difficulty springing for the $100 Methuselah package. That pledge level will definitely also include custom card sleeves for four decks and the city deck, a city playmat, upgraded plastic blood and prestige tokens, and card dividers (plus the organized play kit). But that pledge level also includes all unlocked stretch goals. It remains to be seen what will be announced and unlocked (or not), but it looks like that pledge level will at least include a playmat, token bag, and alternate art version of the default leader vampire for each of the four clans. It is possible that one might want to get additional copies of the core set – they don’t appear to be necessary for just building exactly the deck you want, but they would be if you wanted multiple decks together at one point in time that use the same cards.

Vampire: the Masquerade Rivals is fully funded. The project runs through August 20, 2020.

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