Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Anatomy of a VtES Crypt Card

VtES cards, as cards from other trading card games, are the living proof, how much information you can cram onto a rather small piece of cardboard.

There are generally two types of VtES cards, library and crypt cards. Crypt cards can be identified by the amber marble card backs (in contrast to the green marble of the library cards). At the start of the game you have crypt (card stack) consisting of at least 12 crypt cards. After the start of your game you immediately put the top four cards of your crypt into your uncontrolled region (face down). Once you put more or equal blood counters than the vampires capacity (usually from your pool) to a crypt crypt , he is moved face up into the ready region (during the influence phase). In general, a crypt card represents a vampire (or in some cases an Imbued, a mortal vampire hunter), which the Methusalem (the player) can use to attack other player's resources and defend his own resources.

A VtES crypt card usually consists of the following elements:
  • Card Name -- the name of the vampire (or the Imbued).
  • Clan -- the name of the clan the vampire belongs to. Like the disciplines some cards require a vampire belonging to a certain clan. The card background is also clan-specific.
  • Disciplines -- each vampire has a set of disciplines which allow him to play cards that require one (or more) of these disciplines.
  • Group -- technically you're only allowed to have vampires in your crypt from two consecutive groups. During an ongoing game there are no further effects of the group number.
  • Card Text -- this is description of the vampire extra abilities, e.g. the sect the vampire belongs to, the title of the vampire (if any) and additional abilities (if any).
  • Capacity -- the number stands for the capacity of the vampire. The higher the capacity is the more powerful the vampire generally is, but at the same time you need to put more blood counters on him before you can move him to the ready region.
  • Card Image -- in the oval central area the depiction of the vampire can be found.
  • Expansion Symbol -- this shows the VtES expansion this card is from. The symbol has no actual meaning in the game.
  • Copyright -- the copyright statement of White Wolf/CCP.
  • Artist -- the name of artist.
In the example shown above, you see the vampire Alsonso Petrodon (card name) from the clan Nosferatu (clan). This crypt card is from the expansion "Keepers of Tradition" (expansion). The vampre has the disciplines Fortitude and Thaumaturgy on inferior level, and Animalism, Dominate, Obfuscate, Potence at superior level (disciplines). Alsonso Petrodon has a rather high capacity of 10 (capacity). He belongs to the group 5 vampires (group), and therefore and only be combined with either vampires from group 4 and 5 or alternatively from group 5 and 6. He's a member of the Camarilla sect, and he's the Justicar of the clan Nosferatu. Additionally when he bleeds successfully, each anarch controlled by the target takes 1 unpreventable damage. He also has an inherent +1 bleed modifier. The artist who made the card picture in the oval area is Tony Shasteen (artist). The card was printed in 2009 by CCP (copyright).


Gerentt said...

One thing that crypt cards lack, compared to library cards, is flavour text.

Ironic that the crypt cards don't have a thing or two that brings out their personality. Library cards themselves have been printed with flavor texts about VTES vampires.

cf: Flurry of Action text for Tara and Blood Weakens for Karen Suadela

Caller_in_Darkness said...

I guess the designers had to decide between a rectangular, small image with a bigger textbox (like the library cards)and the large, oval-shaped image with a small textbox (no room for flavor text).
They went for large character portraits to be able to give a big deal of information about the Vampire through artistic depiction. Petrodon, in his vanity, is a perfect example. Or the defiant and seductive Lucita (basic). Well, there are other minions were this went horribly wrong, but all in all it worked out quite good.
In most cases, Vtes players have enough WoD-Lore to know about their favourite vampires. Sad thing that the "new" vampires (that never appeared in official novels) are quite dead...well, you know what I mean.

Gerentt said...

I like the big portraits to be sure, especially for the later expansions when the art is more descriptive and less... shall we say abstract? I never played VtM and I think some of the newer VTES players (after VtM) would also appreciate some tidbits about the vamps they play.