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Vampire: Prince of the City» Forums » Reviews

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Jason Orman
United States
California
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After having run through a play of the game I figured with it being new I should probably through together a review on the game.

Components
The pieces themselves are fairly basic:
-Cardboard counters representing things such as blood, prestige, and influence.
-Cards that provide events that take place in game, as well as equipment, retainers, allies, holdings, etc.
-5 plastic miniatures, one for each player.
-5 Character Cards, one for each clan/player in the game.
-The board is a mid size game board easily fitting on a standard table.
-Dice, the same as the official Vampire dice.

The pieces for the game are of strong stock, punch easily and look as though they will last quite a while. The cards are a little hard to shuffle due to the thick stock they are printed on, but after playing many of the euro games and wearing through pieces fairly fast, its a nice change. The board is your standard board, well made and folds down pretty small. The artwork in the game is well done and fits the mood and theme for the game. The board itself is divided into dozens of zones, each within domain, represented by color clusters. The financial sector contains several zones, each of which is of a specific color, etc.

GamePlay:
Setup
The setup for the game is extremely fast and easy. Each person gets a clan card of the 5 available through random assignment. Each player starts at their maximum capacity of blood (6) and pulls their influence tokens to the side next to their card. Place your piece on the "Neutral" elysium zone and you are ready to start.

The game constists of five phases, each of which is taken in order starting with the currently winning player and going clockwise (an optional rule puts turns in the order of current highest score to lowest score, one we chose to use).

The first phase is your resource phase in which each player takes two actions and then passes to the next player. Actions consist of things such as hunting for food (something essential in the game), drawing cards and a few special actions such as returning from torpor (and undead coma basically). The card drawing is the most interesting action as it can lead to equipment, allies, all sorts of benefits, etc. In addition, each time a card is drawn it has the potential to reveal an Event card, marked on its card back as such. When one is revealed it comes immediately into play and "changes" things just slightly. Each one puts a hinder on some effect of the game, causing problems for the players. To remove them you must meet a challenge rating, one that is often impossible for a single players to accomplish.

Having completed the resource phase, you begin the movement phase. Each player may move to any spot on the board. There are many, many implications based on where you move to. Are you planning to try to capture the zone on which you now stand? Looking to attack another player? Just threatening? Looking to assist someone and make a short term ally? etc.

The third phase is the Challenge Phase. This is where things get ugly, allies are made and betrayed, wars are started, and the city stabilized. There are two types of challenges you can make, the first is an event challenge, an attempt to clear a negative city wide event that may be in play from a previous resource phase. The second is a personal challenge in which you may challenge another player that is in the same or an adjacent zone to you. Personal challenges fall into Physical, Mental and Social challenges, each clan being better than another at certain ones and allowing you to steal items, blood, prestige, etc from the loser of the challenge. Following rules based on the "range" to other characters anyone can call for allies in a challenge, and in the case of events is almost *always* needed. Events are where you start to earn prestige, the "winning" factor of the game.

The fourth phase is the influence phase where your character takes over zones on the board and tried to claim entire domains. Each character is given three influence per turn and an additional one for each full color domain they control. In addition you may have more or less based on previous mental challenges. The phase consists of bids to take over zones, with other players potentially able to contest and fight over these locations based on how much other influence they previously had in the domain, and how much of their current influence they are willing to risk to stop you. Again this is based on where you hold previous territory and where your character is currently located on the board.

The last phase is the resolution phase where points are counted based on the zones you control (city prestige) and your personal prestige you have earned through defeating events or helping to do so, in addition any you may have stolen in social challenges. Each turn this is tallied and marked on the boards score track to determine the starting player for the next round. A blood is consumed by each player and another round starts.

Thoughts:
The game is very fun. The potential for negotiations, alliances, backstabbing, etc leads to a very fun social game as well as the strategy level within the game itself. Smart plays can make or break your powerbase, lose you parts of a turn or even end up catapulting your enemies ahead of you in prestige. The game contains a strong element of both social engineering as well as strategic movement and decision making. The first 3-4 rounds of the game are generally a land grab, everyone rushing to establish their beach head. From there the minor take overs begin, players fighting to snipe territory from each other and remove potential threats. starting around turn 6 alliances and betrayals are getting to be pretty common. By turn 8 we had no concept of allies any longer, everyone else was a tool.

Overall I give it an A- because there were a few rules questions that could have been clearer.

I hope this review helps

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Robert R
United States
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Thanks! I've been begging for a review for a while.
 
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John W
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How long do you estimate a game would play, once you know the rules?
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Jason Orman
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Our game was very close to the "suggested" play time...

Generally it is 1 hour per 3 turns. I would honestly suggest 9 turn games, which is a general estimate of 3 hours. If you know the rules well and depending on the speed of the players, the amount of negotiating, etc... it could probably be trimmed to 2/3's of that time.
 
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Nick Ashton
United Kingdom
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The game explicity allows you to choose a game length in turns to fit what you want to do, and the times given above are pretty accurate (though it will in reality depend a lot on how much time players spend bargaining and pleading with each other). You might think a two hour game (only 6 turns) would be a bit abrupt, but all that really happens is that everyone adjusts their play to snap into the endgame sooner.
 
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Luis Fernandez
Venezuela
Caracas
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As you explain the game it makes more attractive to me, i like the negotiations, social engienering and backstabbing, also i do love requiem background. I shall comment how the games goes when i try it out.
 
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