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Fury of Dracula (third edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Short game variant rss

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Matt Kruse
United States
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I was thinking about ways to shorten game time while still maintaining the feel of the game. I'd like to do something simple like reducing hunter and draculas starting health. And then maybe if necessary spotting dracula some influence points/days of the week or basically some combination of those things.

How do you guys think this would influence balance and game time? And what do you think a good ratio might be?
 
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Matt Kruse
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For example.

Dracula starts with 10 health instead of 15
But it starts with say 4 influence.

Thus giving hunters an easier kill of dracula, but dracula is that much closer to victory.
 
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Jeffery Hudson
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the issue i've found is the end of the game, not the beginning. Usually the first week flies by and if Drac can mature a vampire with a Rumor token on it then he's half way to victory and has pretty much won. If the hunters can find his trail before then they can usually catch up with him and wear him down and will either defeat drac and win or run him ragged for the remaining two weeks until he runs the clock out. Either way, one of the two sides is usually demoralized and then it's just a two week waiting game until time 'runs out'.

If your going to mess with the formula, I'd do it after the 1st week.
When i've played, it's always the hunters that are demoralized because they've not found the trail yet. Maybe when each week ends and the despair token is placed the hunters should get a free supply (free item/event or discard the drac event without effect). Or maybe reveal the last hideout on the trail when a vampire matures? Something to give the hunters a 'catch up' advantage if needed.

If you really want to help shorten the game remove the artificial 5 rounds of combat limit. We had a game where drac ended up losing because the 5th round was hit and he'd whittled the hunter down to 1 health. One round would have done it and he lost it. Shortly after that he got involved in multi hunter combat and was obliterated. It could have easily gone the other way. But we've had plenty of games that should have ended in combat not end because of the 5 round rule.

Amway...there are some ideas. I'd be very interested to see what others think.

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Jeffery Hudson
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That's not a bad idea. Not sure how it would work, but is worth consideration.
 
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Randal Divinski
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Barronmore wrote:
If you really want to help shorten the game remove the artificial 5 rounds of combat limit. We had a game where drac ended up losing because the 5th round was hit and he'd whittled the hunter down to 1 health. One round would have done it and he lost it. Shortly after that he got involved in multi hunter combat and was obliterated. It could have easily gone the other way. But we've had plenty of games that should have ended in combat not end because of the 5 round rule.

Even under the existing rules, you are short changing yourself one round of combat. It's really a SIX round limit. Going by the COMBAT section of the Rules Reference, you play out steps 1-5 during which combat cards are placed and resolved -- only then do you count the # of cards Dracula has played. If six cards have been play, meaning 6 rounds of combat have been completed, then combat ends.
 
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Jeffery Hudson
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Yeah, i messed that up. I'd not played in awhile and mispoke. Yes, we did our 6 rounds of combat. and I guess daybreak forced drac to flee before killing a hunter off.

My point is still the same though. If combat continued until one side was killed/ko'ed or managed go escape you could shorten the game down considerably, it least from the plays i've seen.
 
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Matt Kruse
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I agree with your point about how the last few weeks of the game tend to be what bogs it down.

Perhaps instead of spotting Dracula the 4 influence points it might be better then to shorten the number of weeks before his fury event kicks in. Perhaps starting the game with one despair token already laid, but no influence points. This way the game is shortened by at least one week before Dracula can start winning due to the clock running out.

At the same time the hunters get the advantage of 5 damage (or more if he is too powerful) being removed from Dracula at the very start with him only having 10 health... and then perhaps to give a little more advantage to them, if need be, they could all start with 1 random item. The despair token would also probably work in their favor in some ways as well because it makes it that much harder for Dracula to flee given his pride ability.

This basically results in a condensed version of Fury of Dracula that lasts 2 weeks rather than 3.

The main problems I can see with this setup is that Dracula will likely be playing a bit more scared and the hunters will be bolder. If that becomes too much of a problem, however, you could just tweak it a bit by maybe taking off a little bit of the hunter's health or add to Dracula's health. Another issue might be that it becomes difficult for Dracula to win before his fury ability kicks in. If this becomes a problem, again it might be a good idea to weaken the hunters' health a bit more.
 
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Jeffery Hudson
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I'm not sure shortening weeks will improve the game though. Yeah, it will make it shorter, but i really do think the hunters really will need the 3rd week to seal the deal.

The most 'lopsided' game i ever played still took 2 weeks for Drac to have a complete blow out victory (and it was still a 2 1/2 hour game). The Hunters literally had no chance. First event I got as Drac was the one that allows me to draw events and discard hunter events while keeping drac events. 5 of the 6 ( I think it was six, the point is all but one) were drac events, and 2 of them were the ones that either skipped hunter phases or gave drac two night phases in a row. It was a very brutal (and fun for me) game. Drove my hunter players nuts to the point they nearly vowed never to play again. If it hadn't been for the fact I owned 2nd edition and they knew the overall 'feel' of the game they would have quit it. But the point is, i needed a full two weeks to do it. i think if you cut the game down to two weeks you'll make it feel to short.

Instead, i think the issue is the 'hot' first week, then the cool down 2 weeks that follow. 2nd edition made up for it with the hunter resolve rules, but those were criticized for allowing "teleporting hunters" and other strange mechanics.

There's nothing like that in 3rd edition for the hunters (Drac gets plenty of bonuses) and i think that is the issue. the only thing I've seen counter this is the hunters trying to suck up events in order to get something to get back on the trail. Without being on the trail so late in the game the hunters feel demoralized. Yeah, it sucks for Drac to be hounded every moment but he does have ways to avoid, counter, etc. If the hunters aren't on the trail, the game lags and people stop having fun.

So, how do we bring that hot urgency back into week 2/3? or is that the point? Hunters, in their desperation, are supposed to suck up as many event cards as needed to get back on the trail? this is usually what happens late in our games. But cautious hunters hate doing it.

 
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Jeffery Hudson
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harvest4 wrote:
For example.

Dracula starts with 10 health instead of 15
But it starts with say 4 influence.

Thus giving hunters an easier kill of dracula, but dracula is that much closer to victory.


Seem to be having a 2 person conversation, but that's cool :)

Ok, the issue with this is if Drac start with 4 influence and then matures a vamp WITH a rumor token for 7pts, he's already at 11. One combat or vampire bite on a search and he's won. Every game i've played boils down to drac needing three victory point generations to win (Maturing Vampires, KO'ing hunters, etc) out right or winning within the first 3 days once his fury ability kicks in. This is HUGE, especially considering most of the games ive played of 3rd edition have had no combat with Drac (one had no combat whatsoever).

Yeah, it would shorten the game, but I think it would put for to much pressure on the Hunters, and i think they are already under enough in 3rd.
 
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Matt Kruse
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I'm still game on my idea of 10 health dracula, despair token already on the board, and hunters start with 1 random item each.

Do they really need the 3rd week if they already have an item to start and Dracula is already so low in health? They don't need to be too cautious given how low Dracula's health is. It seems to me that if they still need a third week then they were likely going to lose by that point anyway. If they still can't beat him with 10 health then perhaps lower his health even more.

You seem to be saying that the problem is not so much Dracula's health taking too long to go down, but rather the finding of dracula to fight. I have only played a few times, but from what I've experienced, once dracula has been initially found he really isn't able to completely shake the hunters ever again. At least not to the point where the hunters have ever completely lost his trail. I think if he's able to do that (especially given his low starting health that will prevent him from utilizing the sea very much) then he deserves to win. I haven't found him too difficult to find at all, he's always at least within two-three towns away after he has been initially found.

The way the game drags out in my experience is the number of combats it takes to bring Dracula down to dead once he has been found and cornered. My experience is the first week the hunters are gearing up and closing in on where Dracula is located. Then the second week and third are a long chase with frequent battles back and forth. I propose to just shorten the length of those battles by making the health required to defeat dracula a bit lower.

I like the game as it is, but for those times when I don't have the time for a full game, I would like a shorter variant.
 
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Jeffery Hudson
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My experience has been slightly different with the game. We've had about 75% of our games with no combat with Dracula. Usually Sometimes in those games it taken 13+ Turns for the hunter to find his trail.

I will agree with you that once the trail is found its really hard for Drac to shake the hunters (only one drac player has really done it, and it took about 4 turns to really find it again). I think is actually a good thing. It gives the hunters drive.

Your idea of 10 health, despair token, and 1 random item i think could work. If the item isn't enough then i'd change it to one random event. But this is defiantly playable.

The only question is would drac have enough blood to run his powers/go to sea? I'd be interested to see how this variant plays out.
 
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Matt Kruse
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The random event would definitely help the hunters if finding Dracula becomes an issue. The only tricky part about it at the start is if you draw a play immediately card you'd have to reshuffle it.

Ooh I didn't think about how he needs to use damage for his powers. On the one hand I'd worry that this would be pretty restrictive for him... but on the other hand I kind of like it because it then makes dracula really think about how he uses his powers and the sea. Again making it easier for the hunters to find him if that's the issue.
 
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Jeffery Hudson
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It would give him a reason to use "Feed". :)

I'll have to try it sometime, but my next game is a 'full' game with my brother in law who's not played yet. He's only played 2nd edition and is interested to see the changes.
 
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Matthew Scott
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For some reason our games take much longer than what is on the box. The last game dragged for about 6 hours but that was largely due to a player being Dracula for the first time.

Just as a thought how about starting the game with more than 2 locations on the trail?

I have read elsewhere on these forums about some using a sand timer to keep the pace moving along.
 
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Jeffery Hudson
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I've noticed we do better when one player is kinda the 'captain' of the session and reminds players who's turn it is, etc. Just helps keep the action moving. The only when it bogs when we do that is when the hunters are discussing strategy.
 
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