In an attempt to try and boost attendance at socials, and just generally play more VTES, I suggested we run a league this year and see what happens. Other people also seemed to think this sounded interesting, and so, probably rather foolishly, I'm helping run the inaugural Cape Town VTES league.
We started with a 7 player game, which was not ideal, but worked out reasonably well.
The "Cap X at 5" rule we stole from the Bochum League works quite well in this situation, and helps keeps things somewhat sane.
I decided to run the weenie vote deck (which suffers from looking scary without actually being effective), which turned out to be a poor choice given the number of other decks with titles on the table.
The game setup saw Simon, playing a Black Hand bleed with light stealth deck starring Al-Muntathir bleeding me (really weenie vote) bleeding Dave (new Brujah bruise & vote) bleeding James (all Jyhad Brujah) bleeding Philip (Lasombra rush & bleed) bleeding Richard (Akunase rush with Dragonbound) bleeding Brent (Gargoyle rush with Fame).
I made my first, and arguably most serious, misplay right on the first turn. With two titles in my hand, and knowing that the deck needs to get titles early to get running, I chose to bring out a two-cap rather than two one-caps. I was able to get a title (Prince of Dublin, IIRC) down before anyone else had minions out and then bring out a three more minions, but, by the time my next turn came round, the number of votes on the table meant I wasn't going to pass anything without some serious sweet talking.
By my second turn, the table was starting to get setup - everyone had a minion out, so I followed this up with my second serious misplay - having drawn a third title, I proceeded to cycle both titles out of my hand knowing that I wouldn't pass them while looking for a bribes. This was foolish, since I should have kept 1 in hand to cryptic rider into play later. I also had my second-turn Creepshow Casino Suddened, which was annoying, but ultimately not that relevant, since almost none of my votes actually got blocked.
Dave, worried by my developing swarm of weenies, stuck on bringing out only 2 mid-caps, which meant he wasn't putting pressure on James, who happily took the opportunity to tool up, acquiring a laptop and a sport's bike. Phillip attempted a couple of rushes without being able to seriously inconvenience Richard's fortitude and Brent got out a !Tremere and Chaundice. After a couple of setup actions, Simon attracted the table's attention by bleeding me for 7 with Al-Muntathir. This actually worked in my favour a bit, as it meant the table allowed me to pass a Autakis Persecution to gain pool (the bribes helped) and that allowed me to cryptic rider a conservative agitation, which, combined with a few nibble bleeds, actually allowed me to make a significant impact on Dave's pool.
I was given a bit more breathing space by Brent Faming Al-Muntathir, and rushing. He wasn't quite able to make the rush stick, but Simon was forced to be a bit more defensive as he sought to protect his star vampire. I continued to nibble at Dave, losing a minion to one of the combats, but getting down a few Saturday Night Specials, but fully expecting to be ousted quickly. The game dynamics changed again when Richard rushed Brent's !Tremere, and was also unable to make the deal stick. Brent responded by rushing backwards and burning one of Richard's minions, leaving Simon alone for a turn. Simon bled forward, leaving me on 3 pool.
I bled Dave for the edge, losing a minion in the process, but putting down Dave's primogen thanks to a Scattershot (after surviving a Grapple by the skin of my teeth). With the votes a bit more delicately balanced, I was able to convince Richard to help me oust Dave, since that was the only way I'd stay in the game, which duly happened, giving me a VP.
The enxt couple of turns weren't that significant. as the people recovered from the previous couple of turns. I attempted to call another Autkis Persectution, but that was narrowly voted down, which left me unable to cryptic rider off it, and damage James. I ended that turn on 5 pool. James transferred himself down to three pool to bring out Don Cruez, and, had I had another turn, I may have been able to swarm bleed him out, although that was unclear. Philip had ran himself down to 1 or 2 pool as well. Simon duly ousted me with a couple of stealthed bleeds, and then James ousted Philip. Richard fell soon afterwards, thanks to a deflected bleed by Simon, and Brent, having spent too many resources tangling with the Akunase, also fell to the Brujah quickly.
Despite having gained 18 pool from 3 ousts quickly, the end game wasn't clear cut, as Simon could bleed faster than James, and was able to successfully farm with Reunion Kamut. Simon however, eventually came up a little bit short (James was on 3 or 4 pool at the start of the last turn) and fell to the Brujah swarm.
So first blood to James, and revenge plotting for the rest of us.