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Fury of Dracula Review


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#1 Tromdial

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:09 PM

Having played Fury of Dracula over a dozen times now, I can assure you the children of the night are well pleased.

Fury of Dracula is a deduction game made in 2006 and has a revised 2010 copy. I own the revised version, and so my experience is with the updated copy. From what I understand, the 2006 version is missing an errata in the back of the book and some cards may have typos. If you can get a 2010 copy, do it and save yourself some future agony, because not even I really know what you'd get with the 2006 edition.

Fury of Dracula is a sequel to Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. As I am writing this, I am now halfway in audiobook. You do not need to read the book to understand this game, but it may help you understand why the Hunters are fighting against the most iconic vampire of all time. The book is not an action romp and more a dramatic classic with harrowing experiences into the personal lives of the Hunters. As I listen to the book, playing a Hunter means something more to me, as these people have had their lives violated and the loss of many friends to this mockery of a human being.

Dracula is a fiend, but for all his dark power he is weak against the men and woman who stalk him on his unholy trek. However, Dracula's cunning and the traps (encounter tokens) he lays on his trail are what stand him against the unending tide of pursuits and assaults by Lord Godalming, Dr. Seward, Van Helsing, and Mina Harker. The game is 2-5 players, and all Hunters are always played: they are the pawns to find and ensnare Dracula. The deductive reasoning of this game can simply be stated as the thinking-man's game of hide-and-seek. Though the box says 2-5, I have posted a solo-play variant also in this forum, and it works very well. Please visit that post if that is what teeters your decision making of buying this or not. I feel you will not be disappointed if solitaire is a mandatory reason for the consideration of your purchase.

Though called Fury of Dracula, many reviews have stated this is a misnomer; if you expect to play Dracula as a powerhouse, find a variant or get ready for a shock: Dracula's main purpose is to hide from the Hunters. Dracula being seen means Dracula is almost always going to die. If you are Dracula and you are spotted, crawl under a rock and hope the Hunters don't find you again. Dracula wins the game when he receives six points. He gets 1 point every time a full Day/Night cycle is completed, and 2 points if either a Hunter is killed or a vampire matures off his trail. For the Hunters, Dracula must lose all 15 blood counters to win the game. For first time players, Dracula dies a lot. For veteran players of Dracula, some luck and good strategy go a long way to making Dracula a force to be reckoned with. I have heard other reviewers tell me no one still or barely ever wins with Dracula. I can tell you between one of my friends and myself, we have a running streak of 4 wins in a row with Dracula.

Why do I love this game? For having no expansions, this is a marvelous stand-alone game. The Hunters can either require little or a lot of thinking, whichever the player(s) prefer, but the Dracula player always has to be on his toes. There are many Event cards that Hunters draw that reveal Dracula's location. Dracula has to be fluid with his decisions and has to weigh the thoughts and expectations his enemies may have for his next move. Usually the most "foolish" moves are the ones that give Dracula the edge he needs to scurry away and clinch the extra time he needs to win. I also know that my friend who loves to play Dracula makes crazy decisions, and is bold enough to follow a Hunter as he or she wanders aimlessly searching for Dracula's cold trail.

If you are missing a deduction game in your board game library, I highly recommend Fury of Dracula. The Hunters are easy to play and Dracula gives such an adrenaline rush of "Maybe they'll find me! Mina passed right by me? The poor, frail soul. She will soon be mine..." to "Out of 60 cities on the board, Lord Godalming just so happens to Sense of Emergency right into Liverpool! I must escape. Curse you sunlight!" and there's always Evasion somewhere in the 75 card Event deck to give you hope that maybe you can disappear from the meddlesome insects that hound you.

The negatives for the game are that usually the first few rounds are slow preparation for the Hunters and Dracula, but once something is revealed in Dracula's trail rarely does it ever get dull afterward. Everything is intense and foreboding for both sides: every move could be the last and fatal error for the Hunters or Dracula. The other comment about length is I could say the game can go anywhere between 2 and a little over 3 hours, but set-up time is included in that. Very easy to set the game-up, like 5 to 10 minutes max; not by any means a short game though, but not an outrageously long one either (ala Android, Descent, Twilight Imperium, etc.). I also believe Dracula is a little underpowered even with my big winning streak. I have been deliberating on some homebrew variants to make him stronger. One that we always use is that Dracula draws his 5 encounters first and then gets to lay an encounter the very first turn, giving him the chance of getting a vampire off 1 turn sooner than the game actually allows. Still, that hasn't done much for him and with great effort am I still trying to decide what would be a fair and fun means to make Dracula challenging. However, if you like a challenge yourself, then Dracula will always be fun not just for that but his versatility and adaptability with your own cleverness really makes playing him such a delight. Honestly, I enjoy playing either Dracula or Hunters, and both sides are two completely different ways to play. In fact, I'd have to say for a decently basic game, there is an incredible amount of replay value. At the moment, it gets the most play out of all my other board/card games!

In addition, the game has an excellent map. A bonus about this game is you will learn basic Eurasia geography in no time. It also has flavor text too, which I always like.

On a 20 side, I give this game a 19 out of 20. A solid investment. Don't go vampire hunting without it.



#2 Tromdial

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:55 AM

Tromdial said:

...I also believe Dracula is a little underpowered even with my big winning streak. I have been deliberating on some homebrew variants to make him stronger. One that we always use is that Dracula draws his 5 encounters first and then gets to lay an encounter the very first turn, giving him the chance of getting a vampire off 1 turn sooner than the game actually allows. Still, that hasn't done much for him and with great effort am I still trying to decide what would be a fair and fun means to make Dracula challenging. However, if you like a challenge yourself, then Dracula will always be fun not just for that but his versatility and adaptability with your own cleverness really makes playing him such a delight...

Update: found out some rules that, if not fully understood, can make Dracula seem weaker than he actually is. Lord Godalming does not get double dice against Dracula, only agents. Bitten Hunters except Mina give +1 to Dracula in combat. Hunters lose their action phase at sea, which includes their search; you must use Event cards or other rare means to see where Dracula went by sea. Finally, Castle Dracula the location gives you 2 blood and +1 combat bonus for as long as you stay there, in addition to when you use the Castle Dracula location card to move there.

In light of these rulings that slowly revealed themselves to me over my experience with the game, I can tell would-be buyers if you are planning on buying this game because you want Dracula to be powerful, he is very powerful if you know how to use him right. Our 4 wins with him in a row only pertained to Lord Godalming does not roll double dice against Dracula in combat. My friends and I will begin to use these other official rules the next time we play, which is bound to make the winning streak only higher, I am sure. Variants are not really needed unless for fun or if you want to make the Hunters have a desperate challenge and a glimmer of hope to see a dawn without Dracula.



#3 benhilfenhus

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 01:24 AM

This is fantastic game but not perfect, 5 player game. The five player represent Dracula and four Hunters. It involves hidden movement on one side and co-operative play on the other. It was a great game.



#4 Captain 10Beers

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:36 AM

 It's a great game.  It's even fantastic as a 2 player game.  

 






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