Inspired by the interviews of some american VtES players, published some months ago on the White Wolf website, I conducted an interview with Italian VtES player. Emiliano has played in a lot of different european countries (and not just in tournaments), mostly because he has lived in many of them. But with further ado here’s the questions and answers with Emiliano:
Name: Emiliano Imeroni
Year of Birth: 1977
Occupation: Researcher in theoretical physics (string theory)
Residence: Brussels, Belgium
Question: Describe yourself … What’s your current occupation? Where do you live right now? ..
Answer: I am a postdoc (researcher with fixed term contract) at the Université Libre of Brussels, Belgium. I am a theoretical physicist: my research is in string theory, a theory that aims to unify all forces of nature into a unique description. I have moved around quite a lot following postdoc jobs. I did my PhD partly in my hometown Torino, in Italy, and partly in Copenhagen, Denmark. Then I moved to Swansea, Wales, for another two years. I have lived in Brussels since last October. And I have met VtES players in all these places and more.
Question: How did you get to VtES? For how long do you play it?
Answer: I entered the world of CCGs sometime in the late nineties with the long forgotten game “Doomtrooper“, enticed by a friend I used to roleplay with. The same friend introduced me to VtES at the end of 2002: he brought me to the weekly game night in Torino and gave me a nonsense Thetmes deck to play straight away. I understood nothing and was ousted in minutes. Luckily Camarilla Edition had just been released so I could easily buy core cards for a more gradual approach, even if the first deck I built was a completely hopeless Malkavian stealth bleed… with neither dominate nor dementation! In any case, since then I have kept playing wherever life brought me.
Question: What do you like about VtES?
Answer: First, the people: I have been welcomed by fellow VtES players wherever I travelled, and got to know a wide range of interesting and enjoyable people. Of course, I also like the thrill that I feel every time I build or play a new deck, knowing that, thanks to the inherent social complexity of the game, the next game will be a different story from anything I have played before.
Question: Do have a favourite clans/decks/strategies?
Answer: I used to identify Tremere as my favourite clan (and Aisling Sturbridge as my favourite Vampire), but in retrospect I haven’t played many Tremere decks. I used to have a penchant for wall decks, but now I try to change decks and strategies all the time, and even if most decks I build are sketchy at best, this keeps my interest high. However, experimental evidence shows that I tend to play a hell lot of Obfuscate in all my decks lately, while I hardly ever play Lasombra or Tzimisce. Diversity in building decks has also increased a lot in Swansea, were most players didn’t buy cards or build decks, so I had to provide interesting and challenging decks to almost everybody.
Question: What do you think a player needs to win a tournament (beside a deck, of course)?
Answer: I think the ability to “read the table” and play the right card at the right time are crucial. This is also the reason why I will never be a great player – I play too instinctively and I tend to get nervous or excited depending on how the game progresses. I notice that people who really know how to play this game can win even by playing just a card or two, but at the right time.
Question: What was your greatest moment in your VtES Life (not necessarily as a player)?
Answer: There have been many. I remember when I reached my first final in a qualifier, in Essen in 2004. I was overwhelmed: it was completely unexpected! The final turned out to be a very subtle game, in the hands of two old-school Belgian players, Jo and Ruben, with a very attentive and silent public around. I had no chance, but it was a lot of fun. Then, as far as overall atmosphere goes, my first experience at Gen*Con Indy was probably the best. Finally, from the point of view of personal feelings, I also fondly remember my “farewell” tournament in Utrecht in 2005: someone (remember?) even brought me a nice booklet, the “Xenophobe’s Guide to the Welsh“, as a gift ;-)
Question: You have lived and played in a lot of different countries. Are there any noticable difference of playing/deck styles in the different countries (e.g. Italy, Netherlands, UK)?
Answer: Definitely. In Torino, for example, breaking a deal is considered almost unethical, so my initial playstyle developed somewhat “rigidly“. Sometimes I feel that in Italy there are many excellent players but the overall scene is a bit, so to speak, self-referential. I improved a lot in Utrecht, where the small playgroup features very good quality players, free to experiment with dealing and dealbreaking, and where I started playing in tournaments with people of different nationalities. The British scene is again very different, and taught me a lot, with a few players (such as Hugh and Ant) who are way above anyone else, then a huge gap and then may people competing at the same level. Belgium used to have a very strong playerbase (with a mania for table control and lots of timeouts), but now all the old players have “retired” and most of the new ones have very little tournament experience. I love all this diversity, it makes me like the game even more.
Question: Do you have any preference when it comes down to playing Constructed or Draft formats?
Answer: I like constructed, but I would like more attention devoted to draft, because I remember some of the funniest moments of my VtES life as being linked to draft events, particularly at Gen*Con Indy, or a very big draft tournament in London when I lost the final, as usual, to Ant Coleman. I also love having draft games at home when I open new cards. In fact, one of the funniest periods in my playing career was when the Utrecht playgroup created “draft piles” from a bunch of unused cards to play draft games.
Question: How do you organize your cards? Do you have an inventory of cards? Do you use a deckbuilding utility? Which one?
Answer: I don’t have an inventory, but all my cards are sorted by type and then organized in alphabetical order. I keep them into VtES display boxes, while always postponing the adoption of more rationally organized boxes. As for deckbuilding, I have used ARDB since the beginning of its existence, also because I am a Mac user and basically there aren’t any valid alternatives. Unfortunately, with the release of Twilight Rebellion, the unmaintained Mac version of ARDB has encountered problems. One of my dreams is to create from scratch a deck builder application specifically for Mac (and iPhone?), but I am no programmer and I don’t think I will ever find the time.
Question: Does your study of Physics affect your deck building / playing style in VtES or is it a total separate thing?
Answer: This is an interesting question, I have never thought about that. can definitely say that some mathematics knowledge can help (for instance I use some statistics formulae to compute ratio of cards sometimes), but as for direct influence… I wouldn’t say so. Besides, of course, my “Follower of Strings” create-a-clan deck played at Gen*Con, where I depicted all the big shots of my research field as vampires, of course with dementation (and even recklessly showed the cards to one of them)!
Question: You hosted the Welsh ECQ qualifier, the Dutch ECQ Qualifier, the Belgian ECQ Qualifier … What’s with this multi-national thing? What’s your motivation to do all this?
Answer: Well, the first motivation is quite egoistic: I like to play wherever I am! And I like organizing tournaments, a bit because I am a sort of control freak, and mostly because I love it when people can meet, play and have fun also thanks to your work! I don’t like much to stay out and judge, though – I think multi-judge rules should be extended to qualifiers, at least to the small ones. Qualifiers apart, though, from the point of view of organization things in Belgium are turning out to be much harder than ever before: with the old players having entered “Golconda“, creating a playgroup in Brussels looks almost impossible!
Question: Last words?
Answer: Thanks for having me here, I really enjoy your blog, it’s one of the nicest VtES resources around!