Home Game Reviews Vampire the Masquerade Rivals: The Wolf and The Rat Expansion Review

Vampire the Masquerade Rivals: The Wolf and The Rat Expansion Review

Board Game Review by: :
George Bothelo

Reviewed by:
On Sep 14, 2022
Last modified:Sep 14, 2022


We review the Vampire the Masquerade Rivals : The Wolf and The Rat Expansion from Renegade Games. This expansion adds two new playable factions to Vampire the Masquerade games.

Vampire Wolf and RatSome Vampires have close associations or attachments to animals. The Wolf and The Rat expansion for Vampire the Masquerade Rivals add this aspect with two brand new decks: The Nosferatu and the Gangrel. While you can play the two decks included in the box against each other I would highly suggest picking up the core game as well so you can integrate them into your collection. In this review, I want to focus on the unique mechanics and cards that can be found in the expansion decks, so if you want a rundown on the core game mechanics you should check out my original review first.

Expansion Overview:

As expected with this expansion most of the new mechanics for the game revolve around animals. New abilities allow you to attach animal cards to your vampires and even allow your vampires to transform into beasts. This allows for powerful abilities to be triggered from detaching animal companions during games. Particularly in this expansion, the included animals are alley cat, mongrel, murder of crows, sewer rats, and the swarm.

While both decks focus on animals and animal based attacks/abilities, they do have their own unique mechanics and victory conditions.

Vampire Wolf and Rat Cards
The Nosferatu’s agenda focuses on creating vagrant retainers in order to win. Their vampires also become stronger the more retainers they have.

The Gangrel clan focuses on direct animal control and usage as well as transforming to become more aggressive. Their victory condition directly revolves around attaching animal cards while they are in the streets. Some of the support cards included in their deck become empowered the more animal companions you have. Most of the vampires in the Gangrel deck have direct synergy with animal cards which helps achieve the agenda faster. The Gangrel are a hyper-aggressive style of play that has you throwing animal companions at your foes constantly.

The Nosferatu clan focuses on vagrant retainers that can be taken from the city deck. The more mortals you take on as retainers, the more powerful your vampires and support cards become allowing you to amass an army next to their insect swarms and sewer rats. While the vampires included aren’t particularly powerful on their own, they shine when in a party with multiple retainers. Think of the Nosferatu as waging a shadow war with mortals against the other clans.

Vampire Wolf and Rat Gameplay
Attaching animal cards help protect and enhance your vampire party. It is also the victory condition for the Gangrel vampire agenda.

Game Experience with the Expansion:

For my games, I decided to try out both decks against each other with no modifications from the pool of extra cards. I played two games, one where I controlled each deck, and my opponent controlled the other.

Vampire Wolf and Rat Cards
Sometimes keeping your leader back in your haven is really useful. Especially with the Gangrels being able to fish from the top of the deck for animal cards.

Playing the Gangrel was by far way more fun. They have more of the new animal cards in their deck and I had a blast sending out my vampire party from my haven to attach animals to. I kept my leader in the back allowing me to fish out animals from the top of my deck. I was able to counter the slow and heavy punches of the Nosferatu by detaching my animal companions that I would then be able to grab back on my next turn out of the discard pile. You must play aggressively in the streets to keep the Nosferatu from gaining too many retainers. Being able to stay in the streets longer with animal supports such as Alley Cat and Hiding in Plain Sight allowed me to rack up the agenda points to win the game.

I found the pacing of the Nosferatu deck to be a bit slower. I was a bit more durable with some awesome counter cards such as Bad Reflection and Cornered Rat (which allowed me to bounce some of the attack damage back to my opponent). My biggest problem with them is they are at the mercy of the city deck. If you can’t find enough vagrant retainers a lot of your cards become a bit weaker, and if you are playing against a player that knows this they know to target and eliminate the vagrants that show up before you can get to them.

Vampire Wolf and Rat Gameplay
In a head-to-head the Nosferatu clan felt a little bit slower than the Gangrel clan. Two vampire parties are out in the streets attempting to take down the Gangrel party and acquire some retainers.

In both games, we played the Gangrel clan and emerged victorious. The ability to keep attaching animals to your vampires in the streets as a victory condition outpaced the Nosferatu in both cases. When I played Nosferatu, I tried keeping up basic aggression, but it was getting countered by my opponent using Mongrels to block some of the damage and then taking out potential retainers on their turn. Overall, it was a fun game experience.

Final Thoughts:

The Wolf and The Rat expansion is a lot of fun and a great addition to the core game of Rivals. While fun though, it may not be necessary if you are still enjoying the customization and clans of the core game. You are essentially getting a hyper aggressive animal-based deck and a tempo (pacing) deck within this expansion. I will be looking forward to seeing how they interact with the core decks in our future games. I personally think the Nosferatu seemed a little weaker but could be incredibly deadly in a multi-player game.

Expansion OptionalHits:
• Both decks felt fun to play and had their own stregnths.
• Each deck is highly unique and uses new mechanics.
• Great gameplay value.

• May not be super necessary if still exploring core game decks.
• Nosferatu deck felt a little weaker in a direct head on game.

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