During last year’s European VTES Championship, I had one conceptually very interesting deck to play against. Unfortunately it is one of those decks that is very, very frustrating to play at the same table, .. and I am not talking about Malk’94 or Weenie Dementation. The deck I was up against was a Baali/Striga deck which used a lot of Scobax (and I mean a lot), to control the table and eventually to halt any action at the table.
I am ranting against this type of decks, because VTES (as a multi-player game) is a game which has a lot of social interaction, which makes a huge part of the game. And what these types of decks do, is monopolizing the game time and hamstringing any interaction in one way or another. A game of VTES lasts up to two hours, giving each of five players 24 minutes of (active) playtime on average. This is not entirely true, because players are ousted earlier, when it’s not your turn your participating as well. e.g. by attempting to block or casting your votes in a referendum, but you get the point. But what these anti-social decks are doing is taking away game time from you and you co-players.
I have listed the decks I would consider falling into this category. Your mileage may vary, but these are the decks I have seen so far ..
- First Tradition — When used excessively, it only let’s the player of the First Tradition play his turns. He has build his deck around this, and compensate for the loss for the First Tradition (e.g. by using Parity Shift). The other decks, especially those without heavy bloat, usually must very soon or even immediately skip their turn.
- Reversal of Fortune — This deck reverses direction every other turn, and leaves only himself and his prey (or predator) play.
- Una Freakshow (or anything similar, e.g with Gerald Windham) — This deck does not let you skip turns, but rather prolongs its own turn for an unreasonable amount of time. I have seen players taking easily 30 to 45 minutes for one turn, which in one case I remember, made the other players leave the tables and get some drinks and food in the meantime.
- Scobax Denial — Once setup (which doesn’t take to long), plays 2-3 Scobax each action (mostly of his prey and predator), to eventually disallow his prey/predator to take any (successful) action.
I am not arguing for a ban of these cards (at least not at the moment), since actually you don’t see too many of these decks, but rather appeal to the VEKN design team (and to a lesser degree the playtesters), to have this kind of abuse in mind when looking at new cards and ideas. What happens when half of your deck consists of these cards, how can this card be abused, is it a problem if there’s recursion involved, etc. On the other hand, a lot of these cards can be easily fixed if they have some kind of limitation, e.g. if Scobax could only be used once during an action, or only against certain types of actions, the card would be reasonable.