A trip to the darkness

What can be said about Richard Garfield that hasn’t been said before? There’s not much we don’t know about him, creator of games like Magic: The gathering, Netrunner and of course Jyhad (aka V:tES), but in 1995 when I discover jihad it was a total stranger to me. And so the games start to pop up around, the CCG (Collectible Card Games).

I remember that what they were, and discover them through the rpg Vampire:The Masquerade. You may wonder how the curiosity about this world of darkness came up? At that time, around 1995, they premiered the movie Interview with the vampire and the world of Anna Rice, and other worlds like the Necromantic Chronicles from Briam Lumley, and so many more titles where the main focus was the vampirism ( Night Hunters, Music of the vampires, the dream of Fevre, The year of Dracula, the stake, Dracula, etc…) so the next logical step was to get to that world I began to discover on those manuals, and the more I read the more interesting and captivating it was, and at least for me unrepeatable.

It was at my local shop, where I used to buy manuals that they talked me about the card games based on world of darknes.. and so the first boosters and decks felt into my hands… and the surprise on my face cause I couldn’t understand how to combine them, my firsts games, the apprenticeship, the decks impossible to imagine nowadays (just to mention, my first deck was a gangrel-malkavian, with Basilia and the two allies more interesting of both clans, Muddle Vampire Hunter and Renegade Garou).

An so, step by step, I began to discover the game, but more than the rules I got the chance to meet new people and share a common passion.

It’s hard to describe now, the feelings I got when I was discovering new cards, those drawings, that now may seem vintage but that at that moment fit perfectly with the world I have been discovering. And when new collection list came out, wondering what the new cards would do and how would they be. For example it took me quite a long to have a Praxus Seizure, nowadays everyone has some now. At those days it was hard to get information on the cards.

And when you visit the local shop you were the odd one, while everyone was playing Magic.

And the first year at collage went by, when I found what nowadays it Hill be VTES, and the change was not only on the name, it also CAME with new cards, others that did not re-editated and with a new design, but the best was yet to come, and it was the first 2 expansions, Dark Sovereigns and Ancient Hearts, new clans, new disciplines, new vampires for the camarilla clans. I remember wandering around the shops searching for boosters to buy. Buying boxes will come later.

VTES was still my favourite game, the one I share with friends and the one that I teach to others.

And in 1996 it came out a big expansion that leaves all of us with hunger for more, because it showed things that we haven’t seen before… SABBAT.

That feeling hasn’t come back, of having a box of boosters in my hands. The design of the booster, black and red, and the content that had more cards in it that any other game. As said, unrepeatable.



But not everything could be perfect, the three following expansions had the same problem, the difficulty of creating competitive decks from the new clans: Giovanni, Ravnos, Assamite, Followers of Seth, Lasombra, tzimische, Malkavian antitribe… And the majority of antitribe played only as a suport, almost non was the principal vampire, I recall that Jacko or Richter becoming part of the brujah decks…but at that moment you could only think at the thrill of discovering new things and the new expansions that will complete the clans that had just came out… but then silence came.

V:TES disappeared from the shops, if you were lucky you could find some basic edition or some booster, but I was looking for SABBAT, and it became impossible.

At that point of the story, I was also a collector, so I had the urge to collect apart from improving the decks we made. Time passed by, and my love for V:TES was a constant al along, I find new playgroups and stores, even exchange some card at a rake in Madrid.

And in 1999, two big changes came to my live, I got ADSL at home and a computer that let me install and work, hours and hours on a program that enjoy me… Photoshop, and don’t forget the scanner, that I bought with just one purpose, to scan the original cards and create my own.

We didn’t know if new expansions will come, I start checking manuals searching for new abilities and disciplines and I create my own cards, print them and glue them on top of regular cards. I still keep them, and nostalgia brings back good memories of all the time I spend creating those cards… A total of 87 new cards, everyone with it’s illustration from other games like kult or heresy, cause when I played those games I always imagine it in the WoD universe.

And the things keep going, until 2000, when I consider that the golden age of V:TES started (2000-2010) and the time I was totally involve (2000-2005), not only as player also as Prince, tournament organizer, judge, an active member of the community. I had the luck to meet great players, I played 3 European Championship,3 Conclave, and visiting cities like Salamanca, Valladolid, Bilbao, Barcelona, Palma, Vienna, Paris, Lisbon… and organizing the Iberian Championship 2003.

Not much can be said about all the expansions that came out during that time, only that it turned the game to what it’s today, gave them depth, there is not any part of WoD that it hasn’t been reflected, blood lines, Black Hand, the Red list, African vampires, imbued…. Also the novels came out, and we could control the vamps which we read about.

My live change during that days, you get independent, build up a family… and you don’t have so much time to spend on V:TES, and slowly your friends turn the same way, it gets harder to meet to play, until when you realise that your last game was 1 or 2 years ago.

All that I was as a player and collector….I couldn’t play, but I expected new cards and imagine deck with it, and the cards I will need for everything when I got time to get back to the game.

In 2010 two big things happened, my daughter was born and Heirs to the Blood CAME out, and what it seems to be the end…

It was very hard to get the boosters and starters to build the decks, the rumour that the license was ending spread like wild fire, and that CCP will not make any more reprints, there was only left what was in the market and nothing else.


At that point I really went to torpor and all my collection stood in the shelves at home, the only thing left was to watch them from time to time and remember the good moments I had.

But 7 years after, the EC at Berlin popped up, and a reprint was announced! My life had made another twist, I was divorce, and despite being odd, you have free time again, and I didn’t doubt it for a moment, I had to go!

I showed the game to my regular play group in Vigo, where I live since 2008, and even one of them had a Jyhad starter, I could only smile seeing the mix of cards that it had…and the good feelings came back and started to search for the cards I needed…

And then May came up, and I had the luck to met great people, to meeting old friends again, and recovering the feelings from playing the game, quite rusty I have to admit. My decks were full of groups 1,2 and 3 vampires and I kept seeing vampires from 4,5 and 6… cards I had forgot what they do or that I never had the chance to discover, finding a meta-game what I know nothing about, and talking about decks lost in the depths of a web and that are no longer played, summarizing…WONDERFULL.

And now in 2018 we find with the notice that a group of players have had the courage to start a company, that White Wolf take s a brave decision and that V:TES is back on print, and that new cards will come; I see that every day more players came back from torpor and that new tournaments appear. For the second time the game came back to live, and this time from the hand of the players that for so long have kept it alive. My most heart full thanks to them for not letting that this great game went to waste.

I hope that the journey I had explain wasn’t to long for you, from the beginning, from 1995 until today, my life has gone hand to hand with this game, and how 23 years after, with all the twists and plot changes, I still find thrilled, with hunger for collecting moments, memories like the ones that make me so happy in first place.


Author: Gonzalo Cámara

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