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Fury of Dracula (Second Edition)» Forums » Strategy

Subject: As Dracula, I suck (pun intended) rss

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Mike Heine
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So I've played this game five times now and after the first two as Hunters, I decided I wanted to try being the big man himself. Alas it has not gone well. It seems like the Hunters almost always know exactly where I am. This is mostly due to event cards (ones such as Newspaper Reports and Hypnosis are especially horrible). I don’t even count my first outing as Dracula that much, because I made two mistakes that cost me dearly in being punished for cheating (unintentional). I actually defeated Mina in that game, however, and that’s been the only time I’ve defeated a Hunter since.

In the other two games I couldn’t stay hidden. Is this normal? Do the Hunters normally get such great cards, that Dracula is constantly fighting and escaping his way out of trouble? Do the Hunters normally know where Dracula is for the most part and he just needs to slip through their nets? I’ve read some strategy here, but it hasn’t seemed to help much. In the last game I tried starting in Ireland after the Hunters placed no one in the British Isles, but Hypnosis with Mina on the third turn gave me away immediately. Am I just having bad luck? Is there some way to mitigate the Hunters’ cards (that seem so overpowering)?

I’m looking forward to having another go at it as Dracula ASAP, so any help and/or tips are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Gary Tanner
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Keep at it. Playing Dracula is tough. The hunters, if halfways decent players, will be finding you over and over. Just use your powers to escape, the card that counters their card, and keep dropping minions to slow them down. Fog and bats are good to buy you some time. You will always have the hardest time out of all the players, because you're outnumbered and there's so many ways to find you.

Look at some of the combos of attacks and items in the forums, see what to avoid and what ones you should be using. There's places to stay away from and places that are harder to track you in. It'll just take time to work it all out.

And take turns playing as a hunter, to look at the ways you can catch and kill Dracula. Remember those when you're playing as the big guy.
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dave
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Being found as Dracula isn't necessarily a bad thing--as long as it's during the night and/or you have protection with encounter(s). My advice to you is forget trying to mature a new vampire (use them for biting and discarding stakes) and focus on killing at least 1 if not 2 hunters. This certainly isn't trivial, and it takes considerable planning and execution, but it's by far the best strategy.

And of course it's best to defeat them with your encounters with a long trail of garbage dinging them at every chance with just enough maturable encounters to force them to keep your trail clean. And in order for them to encounter your encounters, well they have to uncover your trail. And don't try to be too tricky--keep your options open with your trail, especially early in the game. A narrow trail is a good way to get killed as D.

If the situation is right, well take a chance and go for it with Dracula, but it is risky with the die rolls. Stack the odds in your favor as much as possible. The key is timing it so it occurs at night when the conditions are right.

As to hypnosis, well sometimes you just get screwed, but there are some good defenses to it: Simply sailing; hiding under good encounters, hiding with Sensationalist Press, Double Back to a good encounter, or there's always Devilish Power. And don't forget your minions and hoax are great ways to relieve the hunters of hypnosis (and other events) before it gets played!

It certainly is hard to win as Dracula, even against average hunters but especially against sharp hunters, but victory is just all the more sweet so stay at it!

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Daniel Blumentritt
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Quote:
In the last game I tried starting in Ireland after the Hunters placed no one in the British Isles, but Hypnosis with Mina on the third turn gave me away immediately


Well, this isn't that bad. They probably aren't near enough to get to you immediately, you have plenty of blood to make a cheap sea escape, and in the meantime they probably don't have the other events (such as Money Trail or Stormy Seas) to halt this.

Be sure to save bats and especially fog for when the hunters are right on top of you and likely to bring you to a fight at day. If Sister Agatha isn't in the game, fighting at night is awesome as it's incredibly cheap to escape (Mist ALWAYS works unless it faces Holy Water and loses the roll, and you have two powers that can give you a free 2-space teleport, one of which accompanies a bite as well) with little to no damage to yourself if you don't like the way things are going.
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Mike Heine
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I appreciate all the comments and help. I guess I just thought I should be able to stay hidden more, but it seems like you will eventually be found and probably sooner rather than later. And I guess that's ok, if it's day you can normally escape and if it's night you can maybe do some damage. I will definitely give it another go as the big man. Thanks again and may it always be nightdevil
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Zsolt Nagy
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Playing well as Dracula has a longer learning curve than playing the Hunters well. Don't worry too much about being discovered. With the 5 Newspaper Report in the event deck, plus two Hypnosis, plus (I think) three Hired Scouts, plus Money Trail the Hunters will have a pretty good idea which area you are during most of the game. It also means that your best chance to mature an encounter is right at the beginning or right after the playing of the Evasion card. At other times some Hunter will always be close to you to reach the encounter before it can mature. So your encounter should be more about weakening the Hunter than striving to be matured.

Usually you spend more time in the game about evading the Hunters, who generally know where you are and trying to reach you. Here your biggest worry is Sense of Emergency and Stormy Seas, plus potentially the hallowed cities. The last two are limiting your movement options, the former one helps the Hunters to catch you. Here you have to mostly rely on your encounters. Save a Fog or Bats (maybe Saboteur) for daytime. These end the Hunter's movement, so they can't reach you.

Your last line of defense is the combat system. There are good tables for all the card interactions here on BGG. Also, knowing as much about the cards of your enemies as possible are crucial. Vampiric Influence and Spy is very good for this. And of course you can wear down the Hunters' items by Lightning, Thief and the very powerful Customs Search. These tactics can be used not only defensively, but when you plan to take down a Hunter. A well-equipped Hunter is a strong opponent even at night. You usually need to weaken them first in the mid-game or later to be successful.
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Pieter
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It is VERY common for the hunters to know more or less where Dracula is. It is very hard for Dracula to muddle his trail so much that they are unsure and really need to start spreading out and searching.

This is not a game wherein Dracula fights the hunters. It is a game in which Dracula is always on the run, trying to mature new vampires -- because he will never survive six cycles.

As Dracula, try to postpone the moment that the hunters discover you. The start in Dublin, Ireland can be great if no hunter is in the neighborhood. Unless you start with a New Vampire and Fog or Bats in hand, first of Dracula's actions should be "Dark Call" (which is usually a good idea, as there is no need to move and it gives a great choice of tokens), and take all the Fogs, Bats, and New Vampires. Move to Galway, and place a New Vampire. Turn after, Hide, and place Fog or Bats. If you did not need to do the Dark Call yet, do it now, so that the number of locations in the trail remains 2 for a turn. Next turn, dive into the Atlantic. Dracula can now go to Spain, Northern Europe, or even the UK, depending on where the hunters are. If the hunters manage to discover that Dracula started in Ireland, they still have to move at least one of their group there to see if a New Vampire was placed. It is unlikely that they make it in time before the New Vampire matures, especially with the other token protecting it.

Use your special powers. Dracula has many ways to escape, especially during the night. Wolf Form is great. Use Fogs and Bats to hamper the hunters -- if you do not hold those, consider using Dark Call if there is no need to run fast. Do not be afraid to go to sea. If you get events that help you escaping, retain them until you really need them. Do not attack hunters unless it is early night, they have been softened by Minions, and they are without weapons while you are stocked up on helpful events -- attacking will give your location away, so only do it if you have really, really good chances to kill a hunter and gain 2 points. And even then, only do it if the other hunters cannot close in quickly (or you win the game by killing the hunter, of course), because chances are about 50-50 that the hunter you attack immediately escapes unharmed.

And realize that Dracula is always at a disadvantage. Dracula is more depended on luck than the hunters. Dracula needs both good strategy and good die rolls to win. The hunters can generally make do with just good strategy. (I never lost a game as Dracula against mediocre hunters, but when playing against experienced hunters, I found the role of Dracula quite frustrating, because at some points you HAVE to rely on die rolls, and if they do not go your way, you're doomed -- for the hunters, a bad die roll is usually no more than a temporary setback.)
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dave
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
It is VERY common for the hunters to know more or less where Dracula is. It is very hard for Dracula to muddle his trail so much that they are unsure and really need to start spreading out and searching.

This is not a game wherein Dracula fights the hunters. It is a game in which Dracula is always on the run, trying to mature new vampires -- because he will never survive six cycles.

As Dracula, try to postpone the moment that the hunters discover you. The start in Dublin, Ireland can be great if no hunter is in the neighborhood. Unless you start with a New Vampire and Fog or Bats in hand, first of Dracula's actions should be "Dark Call" (which is usually a good idea, as there is no need to move and it gives a great choice of tokens), and take all the Fogs, Bats, and New Vampires. Move to Galway, and place a New Vampire. Turn after, Hide, and place Fog or Bats. If you did not need to do the Dark Call yet, do it now, so that the number of locations in the trail remains 2 for a turn. Next turn, dive into the Atlantic. Dracula can now go to Spain, Northern Europe, or even the UK, depending on where the hunters are. If the hunters manage to discover that Dracula started in Ireland, they still have to move at least one of their group there to see if a New Vampire was placed. It is unlikely that they make it in time before the New Vampire matures, especially with the other token protecting it.

Use your special powers. Dracula has many ways to escape, especially during the night. Wolf Form is great. Use Fogs and Bats to hamper the hunters -- if you do not hold those, consider using Dark Call if there is no need to run fast. Do not be afraid to go to sea. If you get events that help you escaping, retain them until you really need them. Do not attack hunters unless it is early night, they have been softened by Minions, and they are without weapons while you are stocked up on helpful events -- attacking will give your location away, so only do it if you have really, really good chances to kill a hunter and gain 2 points. And even then, only do it if the other hunters cannot close in quickly (or you win the game by killing the hunter, of course), because chances are about 50-50 that the hunter you attack immediately escapes unharmed.

And realize that Dracula is always at a disadvantage. Dracula is more depended on luck than the hunters. Dracula needs both good strategy and good die rolls to win. The hunters can generally make do with just good strategy. (I never lost a game as Dracula against mediocre hunters, but when playing against experienced hunters, I found the role of Dracula quite frustrating, because at some points you HAVE to rely on die rolls, and if they do not go your way, you're doomed -- for the hunters, a bad die roll is usually no more than a temporary setback.)
Probably as a testament to how good the game is, you can get wildly different strategies by experienced players. While Peter and I agree that it's very difficult for Dracula to survive 6 days, we disagree on many other things.

The running game is pretty much doomed in my opinion against half-way decent hunters. It just doesn't work and all it does is drag the game out but they end the same way as Dracula dead. Postpone discovery? Well maybe a little, but depending on the cards, but why not attack Mina that first night? Dark Call? Awful move imo and should only be used if for some reason you need to stay in the same place and have no other options. There is almost always something of value to put on your trail so there's no reason to waste a turn, effectively shorten your trail, and take a 2 blood loss. Learn how to use all of the encounters--they are your best friends and quite powerful collectively as the hunters have very little defenses against them. Going to sea? Sure but try to do it sparingly as it's costing you Blood and you're not putting down encounters to ding the hunters and churning your hand. Starting in Ireland? God knows I see the appeal with this (nobody will suspect it, and then, well nobody will expect me to do it again! Good grief I wish I could go back and slap myself), but it is definitely not a strong opening. The NV is almost always found and then you've spent very valuable time messing around trying to defend it and sailing while all along you could have been putting down encounter to actually hurt the hunters. And even if the NV matures, well so what? Does that guarantee victory? Absolutely not--all it does it is make it easier for hunters to jump you, and now all the hunters are well-armed and still at full health since you've not dinged them. Fog, fog, fog? All this does is slow down the hunters--you need to ding them. Sure if you're sweating it in the daytime, but that just means you haven't been playing well as your trail is narrow and they know where you are. And finally if D is at a disadvantage luck-wise, it is only because he does not control drawing of Events. If the deck is stacked for the hunters, they can stop drawing and D gets screwed. Otherwise, both sides are reliant on luck--maybe the hunters rely on it more so as they actually have to kill D in combat whereas D doesn't necessarily have to put himself at risk of a dice roll at all.

Two good players, two radically approaches to the game--which just shows how intricate the strategies are. There are so many subtle decisions that you make that have profound impacts on the game which largely go unappreciated imo (naw, let's just blame the dice, not the 100 decisions that lead up to this unfavorable situation). Yes, this is why this is one of my favorite game. I'd be surprised if anyone could ever truly figure out all of the subtle strategies.

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Pieter
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Heh heh. Interesting post Dave. I do agree with much of it.

dave65tdh wrote:
The running game is pretty much doomed in my opinion against half-way decent hunters. It just doesn't work and all it does is drag the game out but they end the same way as Dracula dead.

In my view, as Dracula you can expect to run two or three cycles before you die. Which logically means that you either have to mature two New Vampires, or mature one New Vampire and kill a hunter. Killing two hunters is not something that you should count on.

dave65tdh wrote:
Postpone discovery? Well maybe a little, but depending on the cards, but why not attack Mina that first night?

Oh, I've done this. I have done this successfully. But Mina starts with 8 health, and Dracula is unlikely to whittle that down before she escapes. So he has to try to bite her. But if Mina tries to flee, and no further cards are played, she has over 50% chance to succeed and Dracula has given away his position without getting anything in return. Even worse, she might have an event that allows her to escape immediately, and then Dracula has given away his position for not even a chance to get 2 points. So I still think it is rather a risky move. I much prefer to do a hunter attack in the late game, when the 2 points give me an immediate victory, I have some good events to support me, and after a tactically placed Customs Search.

dave65tdh wrote:
Dark Call? Awful move imo and should only be used if for some reason you need to stay in the same place and have no other options. There is almost always something of value to put on your trail so there's no reason to waste a turn, effectively shorten your trail, and take a 2 blood loss. Learn how to use all of the encounters--they are your best friends and quite powerful collectively as the hunters have very little defenses against them.

Here we disagree. I really think there are several encounters which are much more important and much more valuable than others. New Vampires are a must in the early game, IMO. If I don't start with one, I Dark Call very quickly.

dave65tdh wrote:
Going to sea? Sure but try to do it sparingly as it's costing you Blood and you're not putting down encounters to ding the hunters and churning your hand.

Just saying that because I have seen Dracula players being very afraid of the sea, while it is a great way to muddle your trail. It becomes painful with Rufus Smith in play -- though I still prefer the hunters having him over Sister Agatha.

dave65tdh wrote:
Starting in Ireland? God knows I see the appeal with this (nobody will suspect it, and then, well nobody will expect me to do it again! Good grief I wish I could go back and slap myself), but it is definitely not a strong opening.

I completely agree and I never do it. I just said this as a comment on the original poster's strategy. Against newbies who leave Ireland undefended, this will often be a good start. Against reasonably experienced players, you can be assured that they have left Ireland undefended as a trap, and immediately have someone go to sea to check it out.

dave65tdh wrote:
The NV is almost always found and then you've spent very valuable time messing around trying to defend it and sailing while all along you could have been putting down encounter to actually hurt the hunters.

If the hunters take to the sea almost immediately after the game starts. Otherwise, they are usually too late.

dave65tdh wrote:
And even if the NV matures, well so what? Does that guarantee victory? Absolutely not--all it does it is make it easier for hunters to jump you, and now all the hunters are well-armed and still at full health since you've not dinged them.

See, here we disagree. I think that New Vampires are core to a successful Dracula strategy. Especially early ones, because they are most easy to mature whilst the hunters do not know where Dracula is, which is in the early game or after a successful Evasion.

dave65tdh wrote:
Fog, fog, fog? All this does is slow down the hunters--you need to ding them. Sure if you're sweating it in the daytime, but that just means you haven't been playing well as your trail is narrow and they know where you are.

And another disagreement. I think that Fog is the best encounter chit. It cripples the hunters' movement. Hurting the hunters is not at all a sound strategy, as it is far too easy for them to heal. And a well-armed hunter can take on many Minions without a sweat.

But maybe the conclusion is that it depends on the hunters' play how Dracula should behave. I usually play against hunters which plan very carefully, and they almost always know where I am (with a variance of two or three cities). They collect weapons and events, and then stalk me. I have to run, because while I can survive an encounter with one of them, they have at least one other hunter available to immediately jump on top of me. Now, if I was playing against careless hunters who do not care much about losing health and who run around a bit aimlessly, you can be assured that I will get more aggressive.

dave65tdh wrote:
And finally if D is at a disadvantage luck-wise, it is only because he does not control drawing of Events. If the deck is stacked for the hunters, they can stop drawing and D gets screwed. Otherwise, both sides are reliant on luck--maybe the hunters rely on it more so as they actually have to kill D in combat whereas D doesn't necessarily have to put himself at risk of a dice roll at all.

Well, killing Dracula is actually easy for the hunters if they manage to catch him during the daytime. Which is one reason why Fog is so valuable.
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dave
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Good analysis. I know you are a good player from your pbfs and I think this just shows just how great the intricacies of FoD are.

So I think our biggest contention is which is better--points from NVs or defeated hunters. So maturing a NV--2 points is great, but at what cost? For starters your trail is now 1 card so you've lost the protection (now there's nothing between you and the hunters), distraction (now the hunters only have to focus on you), and catacomb ability (now there will be none) from your trail, plus NR now gives useful information as to your whereabouts rather than ancient history. Next comes the intangibles: it's likely that you've done nothing to slow down the hunters arming themselves since you've inevitably tried to protect your NV (fog/bats, DC!) rather than ding the hunters. Finally, the hunter net is still intact so they should be in good position to find you. Thus all of the hunters are still at full health, and now it's cheap to SoE, and there's still plenty of game left--a nice recipe for disaster in my experience. And if it doesn't work, well you've got all the downsides without the 2 points. Ugg.

In contrast, defeating a hunter still gets you the 2 points. But now your trail is still intact (undoing all of the above mentioned disabilities), you've likely dinged the hunters extensively and cost them resources--both in lost chances to draw and actual loss of cards. And now the hunter net is broken as the hunter you just killed is now naked in the hospital and will be effectively out of commission for several turns. And if you've let your encounters do your killing for you, well they don't even necessarily know where you are! It's all good--and very good at that. Ok, so if you got your hands dirty and had to fight as D, well they know where you are, but Fangs is awesome at fixing this and it's likely night anyways so you've got some protection from jumpers. And now if it doesn't work, well there was no downside if you let your encounters do the work and the hunters are still dinged up. Of course if you were fighting as D, well yes, the dice could have turned sour on you, but the key is picking your fights well so this is minimized.

And there's one other point to consider as well, going from 3 to 5 points is way, way better than going from 1 to 3 points which is what that first NV will do. At 5 points, well you can (and probably should) run to win the game! It is by no means simple to defeat a hunter, but that's why you have to focus on that for the entire game to look for the right opportunity.

Finally, I don't think I've ever won by just running and maturing NVs--it's just too hard to stay ahead of good hunters and there is too many of them and they are too powerful. Plus, even if you are successful, the games drag on and on, which makes it harder to get this to the table so it's a pyrrhic victory at best (PBF eliminates this problem) so I've probably blocked this out anyways. Time is one of the reasons I started playing D so aggressively, but now it's so much better that my goal is always to kill at least 1 hunter if not 2, and I'm very successful at it since I've devoted my game to it.

You should really try this--never DC and if you start with a NV, well put it down but do nothing else to protect it and instead focus on dinging and eventually killing a hunter with your garbage trail. NVs are for biting and keeping the hunters honest, not spending your time and resources protecting them. Damn this makes me want to play again...

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Pieter
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Funny. You name the reduction of the trail when a New Vampire matures a negative, while I consider it a positive.

You call it a negative because Newspaper Reports are more valuable with a short trail. I call it a positive because there is a lot less chance that the hunters stumble upon your trail -- which is what you want if you are trying to remain undetected.

I guess one reason that I do not often play this game aggressively is that I am famous for bad die rolls. I know, I am not superstitious, but in my game groups some people won't even let me touch the dice in coop games, because of my reputation as a roll fumbler.

Yeah, I also want to bring this one to the table again now. I much prefer it as an F2F game over a PBF game, because in PBF the hunters are a lot more powerful, and they are already at an advantage anyway. Besides, I find this game a bit too luck-depended for PBF -- it is irritating to spend six week strategically planning all your moves and then losing on a sequence of die rolls that should have given you 90% chance of winning (that happened to me).
 
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David Umstattd
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I don't know what you peoples are talking about. I play Dracula all the time and have only lost a couple times. Perhaps it takes a certain type of mindset to play as Dracula. Its basically all about hand management and encounter management. There is a little of bluffing with your movement but usually the least worst path can be easily descernable (which isn't necessarily that bad.)

Making sure you have fog and bats in the day (and chaining bats into fog is sweet sweet fun) and knowing when to mist form and bat form the heck out of dodge in the night time is key. Also knowing when to go on offense is key. It takes a lot more finesse to play as Dracula, but mostly that's because its four vs. 1 and not as much that the game is slanted towards the hunters.

Know your cards. Your devilish powers are precious, don't waste them. Even playing them on hypnosis can be a waste if you think evasion is coming up and you want to guard against good luck.

I'd give you a more specific strategy but nearly every time I've won its been through one hunter death, one matured vampire and two turns. Be versatile, remember that new vampires are as much for making the hunters run on goose chases as for getting points or scoring bites.

To answer your original question yes, during most of the game the hunters know your general area. Which is fine. Knowing where the hunters are moving towards is almost more helpful than having them wander around aimlessly with no indication of their trajectory.

But knowing your general area isn't that threatening until they start closing in, and by that time you should have dropped off a nice number of nasty encounters.

or if all else fails go swimming. the ocean is your friend. (most of the time.)
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David Umstattd
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Also I've commonly seen newbie Dracula players win (myself included)
 
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I come down on the same side as Pieter on this one, but then I also suck at rolling dice. (In a recent game of FOD, I managed in seven rounds of combat to roll 4 ones and two twos. Luckily it was early and the hunter didn't have anything that would hurt me.)

Dracula usually gets 2-3 points from surviving and, as mentioned, the other four points from elsewhere. Usually from maturing vampires or killing a hunter.

The Fog and Bats encounters are essential to keeping the hunters off you. An early vampire is also key, in my experience, because you have your best chance at getting it matured.

Minions are also quite useful. I've actually killed a hunter once using a minion and the "Relentless Minion" card.

Devilish Power is an important card to keep around for blocking Hypnosis and getting rid of some of the hunter's allies. I generally try to reserve Devilish Power for cards like that. (Personally I feel that that Hypnosis is brokenly good and have contemplated weakening it a bit.)

Oh, and on attacking hunters- don't. Unless it's late in the game and doing so will win it for you, or you know that the hunter you're attacking doesn't have any items to hurt you. Obviously, even then you only attack hunters at night.
 
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Mike Heine
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David Umstattd wrote:
Also I've commonly seen newbie Dracula players win (myself included)


Maybe newbie Dracula players that have experience overall with the game, but I doubt so if they are new to it. It seems essential that Dracula is familiar with his encounters and if he isn't, I just don't see how one gets lucky enough to beat the hunters unless they are complete newbs as well.
 
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Ed Mackey
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I fell in love with this game instantly. Being able to play as a one man army totally intrigued me. I have absolutely no appeal for playing the hunters, but cannot play Dracula for crap for some reason. I have only played it three times, once as a hunter, and I was slaughtered both times as Dracula. I am in the same boat as you, it is far too easy to find Dracula and in combat he seems so useless. Both times as Dracula, I was utterly destroyed by only one hunter (granted the second time was daytime and that really shafts Dracula). It just seems so impossible to win as Dracula, he seems way to weak to me when it comes to fighting. The players should be scared to fight Dracula, but he is a total pansy. If it is so easy to overcome me in battle, how am I ever supposed to kill the players besides luck with traps like "New Vampire." I suppose I just need to play more, and play harder.
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As I said before, I think the best strategy is to avoid fighting as much as possible UNLESS you have a 4 VPs. Then it might be worth it to go after Mina Harker, since one bite kills her. Even then, you will want to probably use a card or two to weaken her item collection because by that point she'll have a pretty vicious arsenal of items. Events like Rage or Customs something or other will discard item(s) from her hand. And obviously only at night.
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Mark L
United Kingdom
Belfast
Northern Ireland
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Sometimes it's worth attacking early on, if you happen to have good cards, because they might not have good cards to use against you yet.

The longer you wait, the more prepared they're likely to be to take you on. And they'll be more likely to have Resolve points they can use to move the strongest hunter to your location.

Of course you need to be ready to get moving quickly and try and shake them off after the fight too!

Has anyone considered removing the cards from the deck that give the hunters +1 to a combat? Good Luck, I think they're called? That might swing things a little more in Dracula's favour.
 
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Dan Drontle
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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Remember, if you are at 4VPs and manage to kill the hunter, you don't need to hide- you've just won the game.
 
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Mike Heine
United States
Minnetrista
Minnesota
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Okay it finally happened. I won as Drac.

I have you all to thank as I took any and all advice to heart. It wasn't easy, but luck was with me. I credit my victory to luck with the cards, adopting a much less confrontational strategy as D and a little luck with the dice.

I matured a vampire early on and due to cards was able to move about pretty much unmolested in the early game. After the hunters found my general location they had bad luck (wasting a lot of newspaper reports and doing poorly in combat). After awhile the luck of the dice turned and I went from all my health to eventually one health remaining. I did this as the day/night track kept moving (I never once went to sea). The worst was that the hunters got Sister Agatha as their ally. Eventually I escaped eastern Europe for western and was never again found. I won the game because of the day/night track with two health points remaining.

Pretty exciting game.
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Agri Fan
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I've seen the debate about whether Dracula should be better in combat come up on forums before. I've always subscribed to the view that if Dracula was much better the hunters would have too tough a time as they HAVE to defeat Dracula in combat in order to win. There would also be no incentive for Dracula to run and hide at all, so most of the game would be ignored and it would just be a string of searches and combats.

Regarding the run/hide vs fight debate with the rules as they stand, I usually play a hybrid strategy: try to mature either a vampire or desecrated soil early, then look to try to kill a hunter in the mid game and survive for the win. It's worked against new and new-ish players but rarely against experienced players.

Recently I introduced 2 new players to the game and managed to win because they didn't rush to find my early new vamp and then played the combats too aggressively. We re-racked and tried again and I decided to go offensive as Dracula, thinking that it would be more exciting for them and put me at more of a disadvantage. It actually worked really well! The hunters spent loads of time dealing with my encounters and resting, losing the chance to tool up on events and equipment. It really made me re-evaluate the aggressive game but, as has been said by others, I think the key is to ensure your encounters are working for you and you're not just ploughing into the hunters with Dracula.
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