Let's talk about Kosmos' Dracula 2 Player. I got it on the cheap from a certain online retailer because I am on the quest for games to play with my wife.
Inside the box:
1-Nice game board with 10 places, a harbor, and a carriage house
1-Van Helsing wooden Meeple
1-Darcula wooden Meeple
4-VH wooden energy cubes
4-Dracula wooden energy cubes
4-wood barrier sticks
10-VH action cards
10-Dracula action cards
15-Encounter cards VH
15-Dracula encounter cards
Seems like a lot of stuff in such a small box. It is!
Each player selects 6 encounter cards. Those are shuffled together and then laid on the board at each of the 12 locations. For my first game, we started Dracula in the harbor and VH in the carriage house. The remaining encounter cards are your supply. You will have victims/coffins, hunters/vampires, and Dracula’s Amulet/VH's Crucifix.
Each player then takes 5 of their action cards into their hand and sets the remaining 5 down. After you spend your first 5 action cards, you will then take the 5 you hadn’t used as your hand.
Dracula goes first.
Players moves up, down, left, or right. Players can never move diagonally. The number of spaces players can move is dependent on the movement number of the action card.
When they stop on an encounter, they can look at it or not. If they look at it and it is one of theirs, the can leave it or swap it out. If it is their opponents, they have to resolve the encounter: kill the victim/vampire coffin, kill the hunter/vampire, or automatically lose an energy cube if it is their opponent’s artifact. If you do not vanquish the hunter/vampire, you lose an energy cube and that encounter stays in play. (Memory!)
When you play your action card, you can move a barrier corresponding to the color line on the card played. You cannot place barrier to create a prison. All 12 places must be accessible, even if it creates a super long path to get there. Action cards also have some game changing/rule breaking text on them and creat interesting situations. I'll let you discover that for yourself.
How to win, how to lose:
If the player collects 5 coffins for VH or 5 victims for Dracula, they win. If the player loses their 4 energy cubes, they lose.
My dad and I broke this out a few nights ago. I have been looking for a nice 2 player game for my wife and I to play. So, my dad was my play tester. We set up the game and started to crawl through the rules. Read them as we went.
In the end, I thought I was going to lose. My dad was VH and only need one more coffin to win. I needed 2 more victim cards to win. However, he landed on one of my powerful vampires and lost his last energy cube. So, he lost the game, I did not win.
Current feeling about this game:
I rate this a 6 by BGG standards. I will play this again with my wife. I will give it at least 2 more plays before I come down heavy handed on it. It is not a bad game for what it is: a small 2 player Dracula themed game.
Great quality components
Small rulebook - quick easy read
Quick set up
No dice rolling (YAY!)
A little too simplistic
Must use your memory
Not a fan of the Win or Lose condtion - as of this posting
Now to use the Dracula and VH meeples in a Carcassone game. "Oh, that's Dracula. He negates the farm rule and kills your meeple."
See the person next to you? Kill! Kill!!! KILLL!!!!
I'm your baby! Can you feel it?
Nice and quick review of a game I'm a big fan of!
Since you're a newbie to this one I'll just let you onto some hints that I discussed in a strategy post I posted a few years ago:
- You will most likely find that the game is unbalanced and the VH (even though he lost in your first game) will win most of the games. It's a good idea to let your wife play VH, since he is the more straight forward character. However, do not be fooled by this. In order to keep a good victory record with Dracula you will have to learn to play properly with him. Remember that either player has the option to give up one of the objective cards (virgin/coffin) in order to recover 2 cubes (something your father could have probably done in order to avoid losing the last cube).
Here you'll find a few more hints that make specific references on how to play with D, you might want to find this out for yourself, but if you start disliking the game because of the above, that might be a good time to check this out:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
- You mentioned that you didn't win but rather that your father lost. I'm pretty sure your father didn't play correctly, but it was the first time, so... However, one of the strategies I use when playing Dracula, is actually going for the hunt. I make it my aim to kill Van Helsing rather than find those Damsels. This because Dracula has the ability to resist the crucifix, but VH can't resist the medallion. Also, D's better at manipulating the board, an important advantage to win time, which is what D needs in order to make the kill. If you play it well, VH will be willing to sacrifice at least one Virgin in order to recover two cubes, this, will bring D closer to an alternative Victory (finding the Virgins) and will make VH player getting clumsier.
A great game, that deserves so much more attention than it received... but well.
Hope you'll like this game!
This was the first game I bought that I hated so much on my first play that I didn't complete it. And sold it at the earliest opportunity.
This game needs to come with a big red warning label: "WARNING: The game is completely dependent on memory!!!" If that doesn't scare people off, then maybe they'll have a chance at liking it. I can't stand memory elements, so it's not for me.
BTW, the "Pros" you mention pretty much apply to all the Kosmos 2-player games. I suggest you try some of the others, which don't have the Cons you mentioned. See here, then scroll down to the linked items and sort by rank. Although note that the #1 item, Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (Deluxe Edition), is actually a big box game, not a small box Kosmos game. Long story. Sadly, many of the games have gone out of print, and Kosmos appears content to just let them stay that way. Shame.