Board Games

A Lonely Vampire

DISCLAIMER: Thousand Year Old Vampire is a game that is not for everyone. The game is a solo Role Playing Game that covers mature and sometimes disturbing themes. I wanted to highlight a game for October that indulges in horror tropes, so this game will not be for everyone! 

“How many years has it been?” you ask yourself as you rise from your coffin. It has been years since you have woke, and the world has undoubtedly changed during your slumber. Your gaze falls upon your belongings. You try to remember why you are so attached to the gold band on your finger. 

Thousand Year Old Vampire (TYOV) is a role-playing game by Tim Hutchings and Cerberus Games. It is a solo game that can last anywhere from 2-4 hours to several months. The gold-foiled cover and antique-looking pages invite the player to dive into the world of antiquity and magic.

In TYOV, players will start the game as a mortal who just transformed into a vampire. How did that occur? The player decides! Each player writes their backstory for their vampire plus any mortal or immortal acquaintances. Part of the game’s fun is researching history to understand better how your vampire came to be and how to behave. I’ve spent plenty of time scouring over Wikipedia articles as I crafted a brother to French King.

To play the game, you will roll one D10 and one D6 and subtract the number you rolled on the 6-sided die from the number you rolled on the 10-sided die. You will then move forward or backward that number of pages and answer a writing prompt on that page. 

The prompts are the meat and potatoes of the game. Each prompt will provide you with a gordian knot or curiosity that your vampire stumbled across. For example, “Your dwelling is under siege by the townspeople. How do you respond?” For each prompt, you will write your response and how that made your vampire feel. “I come to the window and attempt to calm the crowd down; Their vitriol makes me believe it is time to move again.” This sentence is known as an experience. 

Once you have this experience, you have to store it into one of five memories. Each memory can only hold three experiences. If you need to write down an experience and there is no room, you will have to erase one of your previously held memories. Not all memories are the same. Forgetting you ran into someone at the market starkly contrasts losing your mortal family’s last memory. You also could realize that it has been several years, and perhaps one of the human characters you once knew has lived out their lives and passed away.

In TYOV, you become attached to your vampire and their story. It also highlights that you are a brilliant storyteller! People have been apprehensive about digging into this RPG because they are unsure if their writing will be up-to-snuff. However, I’ve found the game helps drive the narrative, and you are just there to fill in the blanks.

I love the experience I had with TYOV and the difficult decisions I had to make while living out my vampire’s life. The significant part about TYOV is how simple the interaction of memory and time passage affects the narrative. Never before had I been so emotionally attached to a character I helped bring to life. If you are looking for a mature solo experience this Halloween, TYOV is one you should not miss!

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