Vampire's Harvest was originally designed with three to five players in mind. Recently I thought of some minor changes that could make the experience translate well for two players. I haven't playtested it yet, but I am optimistic.
Changes from the basic game rules:
1. During setup, remove any Event cards that close an Area for the turn.
2. Two Areas will be used.
3. At the beginning of every turn (i.e., the Prepare phase), roll 1d6. On a result of 1, Area 1 is unavailable for the turn. On a roll of 2, Area 2 is unavailable for the turn. On rolls of 3-6, both Areas are available.
One way that the basic rules scale with number of players is by adjusting the number of Areas used — one fewer than the number of players. This rule guarantees competition as players vie for the Opportunities they want. However, carrying it over to two players would make it too tight — twice as many players as Areas. I hope that using two Areas and having the die roll occasionally close off one Area will strike the right balance.
In Vampire's Harvest, a player starts with low levels in the four skills - Harvest, Speed, Blood Fury, and Glamour.
The Harvest skill helps the Harvest action. A vampire needs Blood for several reasons: paying Tribute, paying for the Train action, powering the Blood Fury skill, and allowing redraws from the Seduction deck. However, the Harvest action does not score points, so players are motivated to minimize the number of times they do it over the 12 turns of the game. The extra Blood from the Harvest skill also reduces the negative impact of other players choosing to Harvest at the same time.
Speed is the primary skill for Slay Opportunities. Enemy strength ranges from 1 to 6, so on average, Speed at level 0 barely suffices for even the weakest enemy. Higher levels of Speed provide more combat dice and a lower threshold to hit.
Blood Fury is a supplemental combat skill. Even if Speed is at level 4, a player can expect only 4 hits on average. Being able to reroll combat dice helps a great deal, but it comes at a cost. Before the combat dice are rolled, the player must pay the activation cost in Blood in order to benefit from Blood Fury for the rest of the turn. After the roll, if the dice do not produce enough hits to Slay the enemy, the player may pay the reroll cost in Blood to reroll as many dice as he or she wants - except 1s at lower levels. At higher levels, Blood Fury, when activated, also allows critical hits - a die showing 6 counts as 2 or 3 hits.
Glamour is the skill used with Seduce Opportunities. The Seduction deck consist of 60% Success cards and 40% Failure cards. Being able to draw and/or keep more cards increases the chance of scoring more points on the Seduction track (as well as gaining Skill points and possibly a Bloodstone). If the player doesn't like the first draw, he or she may spend Blood to make a second draw. Nothing from the first draw is kept, and the second draw is final.
Players are newly made Vampires. They must harvest blood, pay tribute to the Elders, slay enemies, and seduce humans in order to advance through the ranks of Vampire society.
Three score tracks show progress in the three status-gaining activities.
• Tribute: points for paying Tribute to the Elder Vampires
• Slayer: points for killing the enemies of Vampires
• Seduction: points for seducing humans
The game ends after 12 turns have been played.
At the end of the game, for each player, multiply the two lower track scores and add the highest track score. The total is the player's score. Ties are broken by the amount of Blood owned.
For example, Alyssa has 4 Tribute, 7 Slayer, and 5 Seduction. Her total score would be: (4 * 5) + 7 = 27. Bob has 6 Tribute, 2 Slayer, and 8 Seduction. His score would be (6 * 2) + 8 = 20.
Summary of Turn Sequence
1. Advance the turn marker. Add Blood to the Blood Pool. Reveal a new Event.
2. Secretly select Action cards. Then simultaneously reveal them.
3. Resolve Actions.
1. Give every player a set of Action cards, a Power Broker card, a Skill board, 10 Blood, and 1 Bloodstone card.
2.The number of Areas used in a game is the number of players minus one. Cover up any unused Areas, and players should set aside the corresponding Action cards. Place one Opportunity card from the Early Opportunity deck (for turns 1-6) face up in each available Area.
3. Put tokens for every player on the 1 spaces of the three score tracks.
4. Players may distribute 4 Skill points in their Skills and/or take Skill tokens for any unspent Skill points.
5. Randomly determine which player starts with the Initiative marker.
6. Put the turn marker at 1 on the turn track.
7. Roll 1d6 per player and put that much Blood in the Blood Pool.
8. Reveal an Event card.
Detailed Turn Sequence
1. Prepare (For Turn 1, substitute Setup instructions for this phase.)
1A. Advance the turn marker.
1B. Pass the initiative marker to the left.
1C. Add 1d6 Blood per player to the Blood Pool.
1D. Reveal a new Event.
1E. Players may spend Skill Points to increase their Skill levels.
1F. Players may use a Power Broker card.
2. Select Actions
All players secretly select an Action card (Train, Harvest, Chance Encounter, Area 1/2/3/4, or Late Decision) and place it face down in front of them. Then they simultaneously reveal their Actions.
3. Resolve Actions
If any players have chosen Late Decision, they must choose and reveal another Action. The Late Decision card must be discarded after use.
Starting with the player with the initiative marker and proceeding clockwise, resolve the chosen actions.
If more than one player has chosen Harvest, they will divide the Blood Pool into equal shares. Any remainder stays in the Pool. Harvesting players also receive any Harvest skill bonus from the common supply of Blood tokens.
If an Opportunity card has been resolved successfully (i.e., a player scored points), remove it from play and replace it with the next Opportunity card from either Early Opportunity deck (during turns 1-6) or the Late Opportunity deck (during turns 7-12).
The Blood Pool represents blood that can be easily taken from the human population without attracting too much attention to Vampire society. Every turn, dice equal to the number of players are rolled, and the resulting total of Blood tokens are added to the Pool. Players who choose the Harvest action split the Blood Pool into even shares, with any remainder staying in the Pool.
Events are ongoing developments that change the situation temporarily. An Event card is revealed at the beginning of every turn. Some Events have a one-time effect, whereas other Events have effects that last the whole turn.
Initiative determines the order in which Actions are resolved. The player with the initiative marker has the highest initiative, and the order continues clockwise.
Each player starts the game with a Power Broker card, which may be used once. In the Prepare phase, Power Broker may be played to trigger an auction for the initiative marker. The one who plays Power Broker must open with a bid of at least 1 Blood. In clockwise order, players must either raise with a higher bid or drop out of the auction. The winning player pays the final bid and takes the initiative marker. Only one Power Broker card may be played in a turn – i.e., the auction winner cannot be challenged immediately by a second auction.
Paying Tribute to an Elder
One way to advance in Vampire society is to pay blood tribute to the Elders. When a player chooses an Area with a Tribute Opportunity, he or she may pay the Blood amount indicated to receive the offered rewards.
Slaying an Enemy
When a player chooses an Area with a Slay Opportunity, he or she may fight the Enemy depicted. The player rolls a number of dice determined by the Speed Skill and must get at least as many hits as the Enemy's strength. Success yields the rewards indicated on the Opportunity card.
When a player chooses an Area with a Seduce Opportunity, he or she may try to seduce humans to become concubines. The player draws cards from the Seduction deck and keeps some of them, as determined by the Glamour skill. Each card labeled Success gives rewards. If the Seduction deck is exhausted, shuffle the discard pile to refresh the deck.
Opportunities and Areas
Tribute, Slay, and Seduce are the three kinds of Opportunities to advance in Vampire society. Opportunity cards are placed face up in Areas. The Early Opportunity deck is used during turns 1-6. Starting on turn 7, any new Opportunity cards in the Areas should be drawn from the Late Opportunity deck, which has more challenging and more rewarding Opportunities than the Early deck.
The number of Areas used in a game is one less than the number of players. During the secret Action phase of each turn, players may choose to go to an Area.
The Chance Encounter Action card creates a temporary Area that lasts until the end of the turn. A new Opportunity card is placed in this Area, and only the player who used Chance Encounter may resolve that Opportunity.
Players have four skills relevant to their Vampire activities.
The Harvest skill yields extra blood from the common supply whenever a player chooses the Harvest action.
The Speed skill determines how many dice are used in combat and what result is required for a hit.
The Blood Fury skill allows rerolls of combat dice and, at higher levels, allows critical hits (on a roll of 6) that do more damage. Before the first roll, the player must declare use of Blood Fury and pay the activation cost in Blood. If a reroll is desired, the player pays the reroll cost. Each reroll may consist of multiple dice – except that any result of 1 cannot be rerolled at lower skill levels. Consecutive rerolls are limited only by the ability to pay.
The Glamour skill determines how many cards a player draws from the Seduction deck during a Seduce Opportunity, as well as how many cards are kept.
The skills may be increased by spending Skill Points. Each level increase requires Skill Points equal to the new level number. For example, going from level 2 to level 3 requires 3 Skill Points. All Skills start at level 0, and players start with 4 Skill Points to spend. Unspent Skill Points may be saved for later as Skill tokens. Skills may be upgraded during the Prepare phase of any turn.
Bloodstone cards represent gems infused with blood magic. Their one-time effects can be played at any time, within the constraints of each card's text. Each player starts with one Bloodstone. Some Opportunity cards provide Bloodstones as part of their reward.
Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:23 pm