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Vampire: the Masquerade, the Board Game

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Dictum Mortuum
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Alright, this is supposed to be a game that tries to catch the essence of a V:tM game: political backstabbing to the death in order to further your own purpose.

This is just a sketch of the game - the document is not even finished yet, but I'd appreciated if you could give it a read and share with me your thoughts.

My thoughts are here: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/20183245/VtMBoardgame%20%281%29.pdf

larienna
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By the way, did you know that

By the way, did you know that there is currently a Vampire Board game. Not that it is necessarily better than yours, but just to make sure that you do not clone this game without knowing it.

Dictum Mortuum
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Yes, I do :) However the

Yes, I do :) However the setting is for Vampire: the Requiem, not Masquerade. I like cWoD more than nWoD for some reason (possibly because I know the system more, we've been running adventures on it for ages). I quickly went through the rules and thankfully the games are not the same.

larienna
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I did not know how much the

I did not know how much the system were different. Apparently vampires are less likely to travel between cities. Personally, I am a fan of mage the ascension, I heard a bit how the new mage system worked. But considering that I stoped playing RPG before they switched the system, I never had a chance to learn the new system.

By the way, I do not know if it's me but the link seems to be broken.

Dictum Mortuum
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M:tA is a wonderful game,

M:tA is a wonderful game, but, not the purpose of this thread :) Sorry for telling you, the only one that cared to answer to my thread, that you're offtopic, I don't mean to be mean.

I tried the link and asked my girlfriend to open it, too, and it worked fine. It's a .pdf file, just fyi. Try to right click and open in a new tab, if your browser supports that.

AnEvenWeirderMove
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Read the .pdf, here are my

Read the .pdf, here are my thoughts.

The existing Vampire game also has a board of hexes, and even has some of the same locations you described. I'd take care to avoid similarities.

Your game, despite using a scaled-down system of the RPG, still has a wide variety of statistics, more statistics than most board games would have a player keep track of. That begs the question: who is this game for? If one wants to play something that is very deep and allows them to have a customizable character and is set in the V:tM universe... why wouldn't they just play Vampire itself? I don't think you've scaled it down enough to attract new people, or enough to be SHORTER than a simple one-shot style RPG adventure...

Compare to the D&D boardgames, which have a significantly smaller amount of stuff to keep track of per character, and don't really do anything along the same lines with character customization/creation. Those provide a very scaled back experience.

Additionally, I think that from reading this PDF I only have an idea of the statistics and a number of roles, but I do not have an idea of how the game works or how resources are really gathered, how domains are defined, how retainers are placed/moved... I think that to get more feedback that should be fleshed out more than the stats/resources each character can have.

No matter what the game is, if I were dealt a card that said "my actions were determined randomly" I would quit the game. Then I would find the designer's house and burn it. Even in the RPG Malkavians aren't RANDOM, they're chaotic... why would you restrict one player to essentially playing Goth Candyland from the start of the game, such that nothing is really under their control and they cannot plan? Does that sound fun? Maybe thematic, but to me it sounds very unpleasant. Perhaps it is just me.

A final caveat: You don't work for White Wolf, so designing a game that is married to that theme is basically dooming yourself to never being able to publish that game outside of certain circumstances which I hope you don't mind me saying are extremely unlilkely (especially since Prince of the City didn't do that well, I believe) so I'd take care with using large amounts of naming/thematic elements from that system if you plan to put a lot of effort into the game and try to publish it... which will just make it more difficult to retheme later.

Dictum Mortuum
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Thanks for reading my idea! I

Thanks for reading my idea! I really appreciate you commenting on it, too.

1) About similarities: Well, almost any city has those locations. I'll take a look at prince of the city again though in order to avoid any striking similarities.

2) About complexity: Because Vampire is a roleplaying game, not a dot-collection game. Those who want to roleplay will play V:tM, those who just want to play a thematic game will play the boardgame. And about the statistics, not all players have to get all of the backgrounds; during play of course, they might get access to most/quite a few of them. Tracking down your attributes, your blood rating, your Path and a couple of Backgrounds is not so shocking - I mean, Arkham Horror has more things to track down, even initially. However, looking into D&D games is a nice idea, it might provide some inspiration.

3) How the game works: You're right about that. There is nothing (well, almost nothing) about improving your backgrounds and how Retainers work, because even though I have some ideas, they are not complete yet. It's something that I could use some help, too. I'm thinking of an experience gathering system, where each player would get experience points according to his actions and to his controlled locations.

4) Indeed, that's a bad flaw to have, but do not forget that the whole thing is just an idea - not a finished game. Would you care to suggest something else that fits the madness theme? The first thing that poped into my mind when I read your Malkavian entry was to provide them with certain "bursts" of clarity, such as "when using the Dementation discipline you focus your madness; the effects of your weakness are suppressed for the next round".

5) The board game is supposed to pay homage to the original rpg and I want to stay true to that. If I want to publish it I will have to re-theme it, but for now, I'm not really worried about that. If I manage to get the game to a publish-ready state, I'll do whatever is necessary.

AnEvenWeirderMove
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For Malkavians, their

For Malkavians, their weakness could be something like, they can't take the same action twice in a row? So they're "unpredictable" in that sense? Having them be truly random seems... really really unfair to their player.

I understand that the difference does come down to wanting to roleplay or not. I think that to make a good boardgame you may still want to streamline further, but that may just be my preference.

Another thing I think you may want to look out for in this style of game is snowball effect; If increasing rank grants access to better areas to increase ranks faster, then a small lead could quickly turn into a larger one. One easy way of fixing that is to introduce some benefit which consistently goes to the player with the least ranks; games as diverse as power grid and munchkin have a mechanic like this, because both games would otherwise share that snowballing problem.

Considering the setting, I think finding ways to include negotiation/intrigue and uneasy truces among the game mechanics would serve nicely.

I think it'd be more interesting to see the ideas you have about retainers and such than to see the intricacies of the stat system! If you just started posting brainstorms in here you'd probably get a lot of feedback on them that way!

Sorry to sound harsh; I tend to focus on negatives in critique posts because, well, they're the things that will be changed... I think there's certainly a place for this type of game.

Dictum Mortuum
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First of all let me say: I

First of all let me say: I don't mind you (or anyone for that matter) sounding harsh when critiquing my ideas. This is why I posted this here in the first place - to make it better.

About Malkavians: That's probably better. It may lead to some tough decisions, too and some further

About the snowball effect: You are right about that. I'm planning to use the experience system from V:tM: getting the higher background levels means that you'll have to pay more - new rating x 2 in experience (so that the first dot costs 3, the second 4, the third 6, the fourth 8 and the last 10). But that suggestion, that the last player at least gets something, is a nice idea.

About the negotiation element: I thought that the element is already there, although a bit sublime: the player with the highest rank determines the order that the actions take place. However, a boon system can be implemented - it's a good idea and it's a common theme in V:tM.

About Retainers: My idea is to have a day/night mechanic. During the day the retainers would take over and do some errants for their master and during the night the vampire would be free to roam. Now that I think about it, a mechanic that uses a time point system for hours, would be interesting.

AnEvenWeirderMove
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This day/night idea sounds

This day/night idea sounds interesting because you can strike a neat balance:
During the day, players who invested more effort in building up allies and retainers and such would have the advantage, getting to do more things
During the night, players who instead built THEMSELVES up to be more powerful would have the edge, able to bully weaker vampires around through force
And of course, each could interestingly affect the others.

You're right about negotiation being there, with the player determining turn order... what resources are there that can be traded/offered in exchange for favor during this phase? If players also receive benefits based on their turn order, there might be more incentive to wheel and deal for these turn order spots. Perhaps one player is always left out of the action, (though he gets something else as consolation) so players who want to perform the action must have something to offer to make sure they aren't left out?

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