This is an old article by Paul Peterson and Tom Wylie describing the transition from Jyhad to VTES, and accompanying changes, that took place in 1995 under the Wizards of the Coast leadership. The article is from Duelist #7 (1995), which also features an article of the newly released Dark Sovereigns expansion and a complete list of VTES card, that had been published up to that point.
It has taken over a year for the unlimited version of Jyhad(TM) to hit the streets, but for fans of the game it’s well worth the wait. The rules have been reworked to make them clearer, and there is a new basic game that is easier to learn. A few cards have been replaced, and most of the others have been reworded. All of these changes have been made to give novices and veteran players a more accessible and more enjoyable game: Vampire: The Eternal Struggle(TM).
The New Rules
One of the biggest problems with Jyhad was that players, particularly new players, found the rulebook difficult to understand. In the unlimited edition, the rules have been reorganized and rewritten to make them more accessible. The information about the atmosphere and setting of the game, formerly at the beginning of the rulebook, has been moved to an appendix, to be read after the player is more familiar with the rules of the game. The rules themselves have been clarified and simplified, many of the sections have been rewritten, and the more complex phases of the game have been broken down into outline form to make them easier to follow.
V:TES: The New Card Mix
- Camille Devereux
- Concealed Weapon
- Monocle of Clarity
- Movement of the Slow Body
- Shadow of the Beast
- Rowan Ring
- Archon Investigation
- Elder Intervention
- Justicar Retribution
- Protected Resources
- Dominate Kine (was Kine Dominance)
- Gangrel Atavism (was Gangrel De-evolution)
- Wooden Stake (was Stake)
There are also two important rules changes. First, the term “paralyze” was dropped because it required an obscure and confusing rule that only applied to two cards in the set. The second major change concerns aggravated damage. In Jyhad, the first point of aggravated damage did not remove a blood counter from a vampire, but merely sent the vampire into torpor. This rule was more confusing than helpful, so it was changed: in V:TES, the first point of aggravated damage inflicted removes a blood counter from the vampire and sends that vampire to torpor. Thus, if the aggravated damage taken by the vampire exceeds its blood supply by 1 point, that vampire is burned. (In Jyhad, the vampire needed to take two extra points of aggravated damage to be burned.)
The biggest change to the rulebook was the inclusion of a set of Basic Rules, a simplified version of the game designed to help teach a new player the core rules. Under the Basic Rules, all of the cards that deal with maneuvers, presses, additional strikes, intercept, and torpor are removed from your deck. In addition, all types of damage are simply treated as normal damage.
The Basic Rules are not designed for more advanced players or for constructed decks. Certain strategies are more powerful in the basic game than in the advanced game. For example, there is no intercept in the basic game, but there is stealth. This means that any action that is performed at an increased stealth is essentially unblockable. If constructed decks were played under the Basic Rules, decks relying on stealth would have an unfair advantage. The Basic Rules are best played with the random mix of cards in an untuned starter deck.
The New Cards
With the unlimited edition of the game, the card mix has been altered. Certain cards were removed because of the changes in the rules. For example, Rowan’s Ring was removed because the rules for paralyzing were dropped. (The Stake card, which also used the term “paralyze,” became the Wooden Stake card and was reworded to mimic the paralyze rules.)
Some cards were removed because they were inferior versions of other cards. The Chainsaw was just a Sawed-Off Shotgun that didn’t do ranged damage, so it was removed to make room for a new card. Disguised Weapon and Movement of the Slow Body also were removed because they were inferior to other cards.
Other cards were removed because they were too confusing. Monocle of Clarity was constantly raising questions about the types of questions you could and could not ask. This card in particular was removed because it was ripe for abuse.
Also, many of the cards have been reworded. In cleaning up the wordings, we tried to clarify exactly what a specific card does when played and when the card is played. We also made sure that all of the cards that have similar effects are similarly worded.
While most cards in the unlimited version play exactly the way they did in Jyhad, some of them are functionally different. For example, most of the cards which used to say “2 hand damage” have been changed to read “+1 hand damage,” making all such hand damage cumulative. Now a Bastard Sword can help a vampire like Zack North, who already has increased hand damage; in Jyhad, equipping Zack with the Sword wouldn’t have been useful, since it could not have increased his already-enhanced hand damage.
Note that not all of the cards that have been reworded have functional changes. For example, several cards that deal damage outside of combat now say that the “damage may not be prevented.” However, this is not a functional change to the set, as the rules only allow for preventing damage during strike resolution.
We hope that these changes will make the game easier to understand and more accessible to beginners. This new edition is part of our continuing effort to improve Vampire: The Eternal Struggle so that fans of the game can continue to enjoy it.