Our opening moves for FoD have gotten pretty formulaic, as we've decided that we've found the "best" strategy:
- Always start either on the coast or within one space of the coast
- You want to have a Bride* and one movement-hindering encounter, ideally Bats or Fog
- play Dark Call if you do not have these tokens
- play the Bride encounter
- take one step toward or along the shore, or, more ideally, Hide along the shore
- play the non-Bride encounter
- so far, you've eaten up three turns, making it nighttime, and only moved one step
- jump into the sea, even if they have the anti-sea ally out
- waste time in the ocean (keeping it frozen at night) until the Bride falls off the track
- land and get ready to do this again, though at this point, you'll likely have to spice up your strategy based on what the Hunters have been up to
The trick is to Hide, Hide, Hide as often as you can. Loop back around yourself (either normally or with the card). Keep your footprint small. And if they do run into you, make sure the encounters are tough. Learn the battle system: the assassin can kill someone who is at full health if they're equipped to fight Dracula and not henchmen.
Also remember that the Feed card allows a turn to pass without moving. Sure you don't get to place an encounter (and they know it), but by not lengthening your footprint, you stay hidden, which is key.
* we call the "New Vampire" encounter tokens "Brides" in our game - we know it's technically wrong, but the name has stuck, partially because it sounds cooler