Review: Renegade Game Studios – The Heart of Europe (Vampire The Masquerade – Rivals)

The Heart of Europe
The Heart of Europe is an expansion for Vampire: The Masquerade – Rivals expandable card game, designed by Matt Hyra and published by Renegade Game Studios.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about The Heart of Europe here
Purchase The Heart of Europe here (paid link)
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The Heart of Europe is a new city expansion for Vampire: The Masquerade – Rivals, effectively replacing the San Francisco city deck with a Prague city deck. At first I thought this was along the lines of Magic: The Gathering when a new core set comes out, but it’s only kind of like that. The Heart of Europe does replace the core cards of your core set with new ones, but they are thematically geared towards Prague and expand their scope from the 4 core clans to every clan released up to the time this expansion was released (see the previous reviews for more information on that). So not only do you get the Prague city deck, you also get a 96-card crypt deck that includes actions and vampires for every clan and cards for customizing your deck to coincide with the new themes provided.

This Prague expansion feels a bit more controlling/manipulating to me – like one of the themes is aimed at a player’s ability to control either the game or another player, including the ability to influence on a wider scale. There is less focus on attacking and more focus on influencing; effectively emphasizing the dramatic potions of Vampire: The Masquerade instead of the direct conflicts of vampires vs. vampires. But then, that’s a big part of World of Darkness anyway. For example, The Heart of Europe introduces Traps and Curses, paving the way for even more indirect influence (not mechanical, just thematic) over the gameplay. Although this is a guess, I have a feeling that expanding these themes on the game will open the door for new exciting expansions that focus more and more on the indirect game versus the direct game. Although direct conflicts may seem the easiest way to play a non-cooperative card game, veteran gamers and those who love World of Darkness may tire of it quickly. This becomes the next stepping stone in opening up the game to a lot more exciting things to come.

There’s another reason to update your core set to the The Heart of Europe expansion – all the new and revised rules that came with subsequent expansions. Even if you don’t have those expansions, you may gain access to those keywords, concepts, and rules that you didn’t have before. If you only own the core set, these last notes alone could convince you to grab this expansion. If you have all the other expansions, or even just some of them, then you should definitely take advantage of what this expansion has available!

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