Vampire: The Masquerade - Heritage

Designed by Babis Giannios, Vampire: The Masquerade - Heritage is a compelling 2-4 player card drafting game where players lead competing clans of vampires as, unbeknown to mere mortals, they secretly battle for power across multiple 'battlegrounds'.



Players each start by selecting a clan. This gives them a clan leader and 'schemes' which can be activated with the right combination of trait icons. All the character cards, including your clan leader, carry an icon corresponding to a trait...


Gameplay is remarkably simple. In each of the game's 10 rounds, you'll be adding to your coterie by picking one of the five mortal characters in the display. In addition to their trait, each character also has three symbols corresponding to each of the three 'battlegrounds' in play, and you'll move markers up or down on each of the battlegrounds to represent the impact of this new addition to your clan. It'll be rare for any of the available mortals to match your exact needs in all of the battlegrounds so this simple mechanic forces players to compromise - ceding ground on one battlefield in order to make better progress on another. Players may also have objectives they are striving to achieve in a specific battleground in order to satisfy the requirements of a mission...


In addition to the mandatory recruitment each turn, adding characters to your vampiric family tree, players can choose as an optional second action to activate one of their scheme cards for its special effects. In practice, the scheme cards are most likely to come into play once you are a few turns in and have several characters in your clan. It's the scheme cards that generate most player interaction, as several involve 'take that' measures.



Through the course of the game, you'll be exhausting cards, and collecting and spending power and infamy. At the end of the 10 round game, you'll earn points (positive or negative) from your positions on the battlegrounds and for your unspent power tokens but you'll be penalised for any infamy which you end up with.


If that was all there was to Vampire: The Masquerade - Heritage, it would be a very good game. There is more tho' - much, much more! The clue is in the 'Heritage' part of the title. You can play Vampire: The Masquerade as a fast-paced standalone game that takes about an hour. To experience Vampire: The Masquerade - Heritage at its best, however, you'll want to play it as a campaign game...


As a campaign/legacy game, Vampire: The Masquerade - Heritage is played as a 'chronicle' of 21 'chapters' (ie: individual games). These correspond to periods of history from the start of the 14th Century to the end of the 20th Century so, in effect, a complete campaign game will tell the story of how the vampire clans have tussled behind the scenes throughout Medieval and modern history. All of the character cards are double-sided and come in custom sleeves, and some of the characters you recruit will be converted from mere mortals to much more powerful vampires. To upgrade a character, you just pull the card out of its sleeve and flip it to its alternate side. Stickers add a clan icon and allow you to give the character an individual name to replace its generic descriptor. More stickers allow extra powers to be added for further upgrades. You don't get to keep the character in your next game, and anyone can still recruit it, but the character retains its allegiance to its assigned clan so can prove to be especially powerful when subsequently recruited to that clan.


The legacy game introduces specific missions that correspond to the time period as the campaign proceeds through the centuries. Different games use different 'battlegrounds'. And without giving away any spoilers, it's a nice touch from Nice Game Publishing and artist Lukas Siegmon that the images on the cards represent changing fashions through the years...


Vampire: The Masquerade - Heritage was launched on Kickstarter two years ago and should be arriving with backers around now. The game should also soon be appearing on retail shelves. As we learned with the doomed Seafall (Plaid Hat), it's notoriously hard to pull off a competitive legacy game. Vampire: The Masquerade - Heritage succeeds brilliantly with a smooth and elegant design. If you don't have a KS copy on its way to you, you should get a retail order in now. This is one you won't want to miss!


(Review by Selwyn Ward)


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