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Subject: Fury of Dracula - Revised Fan Edition rss

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Victor van Santen
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Hi,

I've created the Revised Fan Edition of Fury of Dracula, which can be downloaded here:
http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/103297




The short description is:
Quote:
Fury of Dracula - Revised Fan Edition - v1.0

This modification of Fury of Dracula tries to improve the game play experience and the balance between Dracula and its Hunters. Lets start with the major points, which were addressed:
• Re-Balancing Fury of Dracula, i.e. change of overpowered cards, which created „I win“ situations as they were drawn, with thematic and interesting solutions.
• No teleporting of Dracula/Hunters as it is highly unthematic and reduces the cat-and-mouse between the 2 sides within Europe to simple card play.
• No cheap travel of Dracula over the sea, as with cheap sea movement, Dracula could escape very easy even out of tough situations, while at the same time assure that new vampires are only found during the night (if he started during the night), due to the lack of passing of time, while Dracula is on sea.
• More interesting battles, due to less luck and more emphasis on the decisions of players (card selection).
• Improving the effect of the play of multiple cards in a turn, which was either useless or to strong in certain combinations.
• Removal of almost all event card cancel effects, to allow great plots to unfold on the base of secure event play, instead of always taking the safe route, as relying on events was too dangerous.

This modification bases itself on great ideas provided by others and tries to combine the best of the various variants suggested by other people into one document to form a play-tested and well-balanced package. So credit and my special thanks goes out to:
• Items from BGG User lucrada:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/30068/new-item-cards-f...
• Alternate rules by japg:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/48865/alternate-rules-...
• Hypnosis Card by gjertsen:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/458665/hypnosis-house-ru...
• Rules by squash:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/72393/squashs-fury-of-...
• Rules Summary by UniversalHead
http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/16006/universal-head-fury-...

This is not just a document with a set of rules, but instead:
• Complete Cards with in-game graphics and layout
• Player Aids with the new rule changes incorporated for fast look-up
• New Items for Item Deck
• Single A4 Page with Rule Changes


A longer description, with all the changes and a explanation of why I consider these changes to be a improvement to the game, can be found within the document.

Now I'd love to hear from you guys, what you think about the changes, what problems occured during play and suggestions of what could be polished or changed. I'm sure this ruleset won't work in all game groups as well as it worked in mine and I'm sure I've overlooked some details, in which you can help and improve this variant.

So please post reviews, feedback and suggestions here and I'll try to help to the best of my ability.

Regards,
Victor
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Mark Finch
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Rule changes for tonight's game:-
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This certainly looks very interesting and I applaud the obvious effort that's gone into it.

I own FoD but have never played it. Would you advise playing this mod from the first game?
 
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Victor van Santen
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Would you advise playing this mod from the first game?


Yes!

FoD has a steep learning curve in its original format. Knowledge of some event cards was crucial as they could easily decide the game (see the numerous discussions about Hypnosis and Evasion) and the game could potentially be very frustrating for both sides, due to a very high degree of luck.

In this variant things evened out and luck has been reduced to a manageable level, which both should ease the learning of the game and make it less frustrating in the first game.

However the variant has been balanced to people who know what they are doing and a completely new group might have some troubles in the beginning, but as I said I think it is better than the original game. Just keep it in mind, when you play the game.

Another Suggestion:
Play the game with 2-3 players, multiple times in a row on different sides (i.e. different dracula each time) and discuss the feeling of each side after each game. This greatly helps to understand the game and to get to know the abilities of each side, as each player will try a different strategy and this allows the group to see more possibilities and different reactions to similar situations. A Dracula player with great knowledge of the abilities (cards as well as hunter abilities) will act different and more wisely. Hunters, who know what Dracula is capable of, will act wisely during the night and aggressively during the day.

At last:
Don't tinker right away. Learn the game and the balance will swing in the beginning due to both sides learning how to use their abilities to the best of their advantage, i.e. how to react to certain situations effectively and how to avoid hairy situations at all. After a while the balance will settle at a point and then you can do whatever you do see fitting to correct the balance if it is necessary.
 
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Mark Riley
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What a fantastic piece of work - thanks for this. My main problem with FoD is the length of time it usually takes to play! I'm looking forward to reading how regular players find this version plays.
 
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Daniel Blumentritt
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goatleaf wrote:
What a fantastic piece of work - thanks for this. My main problem with FoD is the length of time it usually takes to play! I'm looking forward to reading how regular players find this version plays.


This may not be the case for your group, but most of the time people complain about length of time, the main issue is that Dracula is trying to play Scotland Yard and spends the entire game running. That is the safest, but also the least efficient, way to earn points, and against experienced Hunters the odds of Dracula surviving 6 full days is just about zero, and that's even before factoring in Vampire Lair. It sounds like this may be more viable in this variant though, but it's hard to tell just at a glance.
 
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Victor van Santen
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My main problem with FoD is the length of time it usually takes to play!


With experienced players, FoD revised takes about 2h play time (excluding setup and takedown time (so 2h:20m in total)).

With new players, FoD revised takes about 3h play time.

If People discuss the heck out of the game, it can turn into a 5h game, but that's very dependent on the length of those discussions. If you don't over-analyze you should be able to reach 3h game time easily!

If the overall length of the game came from a running Dracula, the game will be shorter as your current vanilla games.

Quote:
It sounds like this may be more viable in this variant though, but it's hard to tell just at a glance.


No, this was one thing which is surely fixed. Sea travel is much more expensive, Dracula has to last 7 days due to the 7 VP limit and the removal of the Fog encounter, which ensured Draculas safety, restricts his hiding abilities. The new Evasion card allows no escape to the other end of the map, so Dracula really can't hide forever now and this was never the intended way to play FoD (as mentioned it's no Scotland Yard)

Dracula has to face the Hunters and place New Vampires in a clever way. He still has a decent chance to win, but he has to have a bigger plan. Biting the Hunters (especially Mina Harker), Maturing New Vampires on places no one expects (e.g. using Wolf Form to obfuscate the Location) or bringing the Hunters down by reducing health via encounters and a final Battle against the Dark Count himself. New Vampire Encounters become very intense, as they require certain items and cannot be just countered by a simple play of "Forewarned". So even if the Hunters know where they are, Dracula knows that only a Hunter with the right Equipment can kill them during the Night (by discarding an Dracula Hunting item, which allows Dracula to strike the same Hunter a turn later). He can really rely on his event cards (e.g. Seduction), because they can't be cancelled, which allows great combinations and very intense games to happen.

In the original game, an intense game could happen if the Dracula player decided to play that way. I've tried to come up with ways, that the Dracula player has interesting options to choose from and has no access to a "secure but lame" way of winning, while retaining the fine balance of the game.

Currently the problems mentioned sound similar to the ones my group(s) had with FoD, so I think if you guys give it a shot, this variant should improve your experience. If for some reason, people think "Dracula fights every turn and never runs, his running abilities should certainly be improved" you should certainly stay away from this variant, but currently every post is very similar to the problems we had and tried to fix.
 
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Pieter
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Interesting. I looked over some of the rules, and they certainly seem to correct some elements which I consider weaknesses of the game.

However, often rule changes are proposed by people who think they know the game very well and have spotted some mistakes. But just as often they are simply not applying proper tactics. The rule changes would not be needed if they had better tactical grips on the game. Something like that might very well be the case here. It seems that the people who came up with all these rule changes did not test them. I would hesitate using quite invasive rule changes that have not been properly tested.

Moreover, the game is a pretty good game as it is. It is a lot of fun to play, and is quite popular. No doubt it can be improved upon, but if you start touching up a good game you might harm the elements that make it good. There is a reason that the game is designed as it is. The proposed changes turn the game from an event-driven affair into a more tactical one. But the game was designed to have these game-changing moments -- removing them changes the experience.

I mean, as Dracula I have been hit over the head with Hypnosis and lost a game purely because I never drew a Devilish Power, which I definitely would have saved to get out of that pickle. Does that mean that Hypnosis needs to be nerfed? No, both the hunters and Dracula have strong powers. And what I see of the proposed rule changes is that all the biggest powers get nerfed. That is pretty radical. The game might become a bland experience.

So, my advice to new players of FoD is: play with the rules as written. Do not take rule changes on board unless you yourself have discovered that you want them.
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Victor van Santen
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Quote:
Interesting. I looked over some of the rules, and they certainly seem to correct some elements which I consider weaknesses of the game.


Thanks!

Quote:
However, often rule changes are proposed by people who think they know the game very well and have spotted some mistakes. But just as often they are simply not applying proper tactics. The rule changes would not be needed if they had better tactical grips on the game.


I agree. Houseruling a game and discover later that your house rule was not necessary, because you played in another group with another group dynamic or overlooked certain options within the game is common.

Quote:
Something like that might very well be the case here. It seems that the people who came up with all these rule changes did not test them. I would hesitate using quite invasive rule changes that have not been properly tested.


I can assure you, this has been properly tested. A lot of the card changes came from experienced FoD players (referenced in the document and the first post) and I changed just very minor things (like wording to be consistent) except a few fresh own card designs. So I started on a solid well-tested base variant.

I personally have started FoD games with experienced boardgamers, stopped when certain problems became obvious, reset the game to before the problem occurred, changed a rule and saw how it would evolve with the tweaked rule. Furthermore I have the great opportunity to play in 3 different regular meetings groups, which each have their own group dynamics and so this variant has also been tested in completely different groups with no shared players except myself (and I've let people play Hunters and Dracula). Multiple full games have been played (again in the 3 groups) since I've finished the variant and nothing weird occurred.

So even if you might disagree with some rule changes, I can assure you, they have been tested properly.

Quote:
Moreover, the game is a pretty good game as it is. It is a lot of fun to play, and is quite popular.


For a certain type of people FoD is a lot of fun to play. If you like ameritrash in its purest form (event-driven thematic game with big swings due to big impact of luck in the game) then FoD a good game for you. (Yes I could should have described that more positively whistle )

Quote:
No doubt it can be improved upon, but if you start touching up a good game you might harm the elements that make it good. There is a reason that the game is designed as it is. The proposed changes turn the game from an event-driven affair into a more tactical one. But the game was designed to have these game-changing moments -- removing them changes the experience.


I agree. The rule changes change the experience of FoD significantly and the design of the game has been altered from pure ameritrash to a milder thematic game. This might harm the enjoyment of the game if you like it in its original form.

But this is exactly, where we might disagree. Out of the box my FoD experience was horrible, even though I enjoy ameritrash. Not because the game was designed in a bad way, as the game was balanced, but mainly as how certain mechanics were modeled did not match my taste. The game felt dull, bland and to some point even meaningless, were others would see the same as brilliant and tense. For me the game felt, as if 90% of all the decisions I take in the game, were unimportant, where 10% of the decisions I take in the game are important, but their outcome uncontrollable. I shouldn't think long about where I go, as teleporting will get me where I need to be or will place my goal at the other end of the map. Deciding which combat card to take felt like a side thing next to the huge impact of the dice, which decided of my card would be triggered or not.

On the other hand, when to draw or stop drawing event cards was incredibly important. This important decision, however was obvious and uncontrollable. I cannot control the risk from drawing an event card (opposed to e.g. 2 decks, a weak deck and a powerful deck for either side, where I could take a small (draw weak cards) or big (draw powerful cards) risk) nor can I modify my chances of drawing my own cards. This made the decision obvious: If you have a good hand as Hunters, stop drawing and make your move (or draw items if you are not ready yet). If you have no good event cards, draw them and don't waste effort in cornering Dracula. If you corner Dracula (not by clever movement, but by simple card play!), the final battle is then strongly dependent on the dice rolls, where +1 modifiers can be played, which have almost no impact due to the rolling of D6 and because it is obvious for both side to play the card in these situations (i.e. both sides get +1).

My game experience came basically down to "important situations are mainly decided by luck and barely by the kind of decision I make".

I saw huge potential in the game and I liked some unique ideas (draculas trail, hidden movement with combat, day/night effect on combat/encounters, maturing encounters, etc.) so I changed the game radically to tailor it to the game I wanted FoD to be, as there is nothing quite like it. A lot of people don't seem to like certain design decisions in the game, as the threads in this variant section suggest. A lot of threads cover the Hypnosis and Evasion events and a lot of threads modify the combat system. Also outside of the variant section, a lot of negative experiences regarding these points (combat system, powerful event cards) circulate (review section, general section).

So in summary (TL;DR):
Everyone who likes the game as is, should play vanilla and I hope you have a blast while playing, but everyone who is part of the big group of people, who would like the game and its unique features but are bothered by the "standard complaints" in FoD, should try my variant, as those points will be addressed in a well-tested and thematic manner.


Further explanation:
I saw that combat card selection mattered as cards with high potential damage from my side also meant a high risk (damage/bite) if it went wrong, but I had no way of letting my combat card come to fruition instead of hoping and praying the dice gods would be in my favor. Outwitting my opponent was not important, just the question if I would take the risk right now (concerning the situation on the board) and handle the loss. Furthermore I am aware that with event nullification cards on your hand you can potentially draw event cards without worrying so much (the other side can also draw event nullification cards or multiple powerful events). I am also aware that encounters are location specific and therefore movement is somewhat of importance. I hope these comments show, that I am aware of the tools given by the game design, but the disappointment and bad feeling was nevertheless there.

Quote:
I mean, as Dracula I have been hit over the head with Hypnosis and lost a game purely because I never drew a Devilish Power, which I definitely would have saved to get out of that pickle. Does that mean that Hypnosis needs to be nerfed? No, both the hunters and Dracula have strong powers. And what I see of the proposed rule changes is that all the biggest powers get nerfed. That is pretty radical. The game might become a bland experience.


As explained above, for me the vanilla game is a bland experience. You sound like bad luck (no devilish power drawn) screwed you. I do mind if I lose a 3h game entirely because of bad luck, which I could not influence in any way. If you don't mind, then you look for different things in a game as I do. I love to lose a game because I've been outwitted by someone and I've tried to change the game to match that preference. Guessing which combat card my opponent played or where he is hiding is my kind of "tension" or "intensity" I look for in a game, so for me, your bland experience is a very tight and intense experience for me.

Also please note, that with the removal of event nullification, the game still is event driven. Seduction became powerful, due to a new Forewarned, which does not nullify New Vampires and because the event itself cannot be cancelled. This was a concern in my mind, but playtesting showed, that is just a cool combination (especially with Bats triggering the New Vampire in the next turn), because Mina Harker is almost certainly not affected, as she is last in turn order and other have discovered the New Vampire before her. This gives a bite on an Hunter which intensifies the further development of the game significantly. This combination however requires clever play (meeting New Vampire by night, by an unequiped Hunter) of Dracula and can be mitigated by anti-vampire-items.

Quote:
So, my advice to new players of FoD is: play with the rules as written. Do not take rule changes on board unless you yourself have discovered that you want them.


As mentioned previously, I consider vanilla FoD to have a very steep learning curve, as good knowledge about the game (especially the event deck, e.g. evasion is play immediately and these kind of cards exist) is absolutely essential to estimate risks and to prevent the typical evasion disappointment frequently read. Furthermore the standard complaints are so extremely frequently mentioned (in a game forum, i.e. in an area where people are more likely to like the game as is), so it seems that my variant also fixes things not just for a minority, but a considerable amount of people. So I consider this variant to be better suited as a start with FoD and you can change back to the original experience any time, if you like the other experience.

edit: Typos.
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George Triantafyllidis
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Victor,i just got my hands to a FoD copy.No one from our playing group has played the game before.I liked your revised rules as a concept and would like to try them out right from the beginning.
A few clarifications if i may ask:
You suggest to discard some of the items used in combat.Do you discard them after the combat round they were used,or after the full combat is over?
Do the Hunters get the +1 during Day for any combat or just against Dracula?
As i mentioned,we never played the game and in your suggestions you recommend to play without the Fog encounters.Does in your experience the balance of the game changes too much if we opt to play with them?(they are kind of cool and i like the thematic touch mainly)
Thanks
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Victor van Santen
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Hi,

I'm glad you give it a try. I hope it will enhance your experience as it did mine.

Quote:
You suggest to discard some of the items used in combat.Do you discard them after the combat round they were used,or after the full combat is over?


After the combat round, regardless if the card was activated or not (i.e. if the combat roll was won or not).

Quote:
Do the Hunters get the +1 during Day for any combat or just against Dracula?


Any combat. This may seem strong, but it helps creating tension in the game (Dracula and his Minions are weaker during the day), is thematic (dark creatures are stronger at night, not just the count himself) and is necessary to compensate for the loss of items due to the discard certain items after use rule.

For combat rolls in general:
Please note the use of a average die! (either halve the number of pips and round down or buy one http://www.spielematerial.de/en/game-components/dice/dice-wi... )
And note that minions get +1 in eastern Europe, so on a day, minions in eastern Europe are tied.

Quote:
As i mentioned,we never played the game and in your suggestions you recommend to play without the Fog encounters.Does in your experience the balance of the game changes too much if we opt to play with them?(they are kind of cool and i like the thematic touch mainly)


Fog just stalls the game. The Hunter who has the encounter loses a turn, other Hunters can not enter said City (look at the Map for critical cities (e.g. Zagreb, Vienna and Saragossa) and imagine a Fog Encounter there) which usually delays at least 1-2 other Hunters. At the same time, Dracula gets a loop-hole through the enclosing Hunters (as he may now pass a city occupied by a Hunter) and therefore can escape very easily.

With the teleporting mechanic in the original game, this was not a big issue, but now closing in on Dracula and narrowing his options is critical. Fog is the 2nd most frequent encounter (4 markers in his encounter pool) and extremely powerful for hiding purposes, especially if placed 2 times in a row.

I also like the thematic touch and I dislike discarding material which you've paid for, but as long as no one gives a great (and balanced!) idea for a Fog encounter I would strongly suggest to take it out. I'll gladly take suggestions!
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Pieter
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silent117 wrote:
I agree. The rule changes change the experience of FoD significantly and the design of the game has been altered from pure ameritrash to a milder thematic game. This might harm the enjoyment of the game if you like it in its original form.

I can say that I personally would like to see a more tactical game that uses some of the good mechanisms of FoD. The main problem that I have with the game is that as Dracula, much more than the hunters, ultimately your fate is decided by chance. Any victory or defeat in a fight (which is how almost all FoD games end) feels anti-climactic to me.

I mean, I know people who roll the game-deciding die and are excited by how the roll will fall and how the game's story will end. While I myself think: "Really? I played all this time and now have a 50-50 shot at winning, which is decided by this one die roll?"

So what I think is that there is a place for a tactical game with some (maybe many) core elements of FoD inserted, which I personally would probably even appreciate more. But it will not be Fury of Dracula. Just as I am afraid that your revised rules also make for a game that feels very different from the original.

I am not saying that it will be better or worse. Just that it will be very different. And that is why I say that new players who heard good things about this game, should try the original version first. The original is good, and is given great ratings. And if you play it and do not like it, well, then maybe you can give the game a new chance with some house rules.

But starting immediately with house rules sounds wrong to me. Of course, I am not the boardgame Overlord, so as far as I am concerned people should play how they like.
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Victor van Santen
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Quote:
I can say that I personally would like to see a more tactical game that uses some of the good mechanisms of FoD. The main problem that I have with the game is that as Dracula, much more than the hunters, ultimately your fate is decided by chance. Any victory or defeat in a fight (which is how almost all FoD games end) feels anti-climactic to me.

I mean, I know people who roll the game-deciding die and are excited by how the roll will fall and how the game's story will end. While I myself think: "Really? I played all this time and now have a 50-50 shot at winning, which is decided by this one die roll?"


That is my problem with FoD summed up. If I may quote myself:

Quote:
My game experience came basically down to "important situations are mainly decided by luck and barely by the kind of decision I make".


Therefore I would highly recommend, that you give this ruleset a chance. I started this variant as a community project, i.e. I took the best rules I could find and combined them. I'd like to continue this as a community effort, as I am limited in my abilities and creativity of a single person and other people will have great ideas for this, so suggestions, modifications and discussions are highly appreciated and welcome!

Now to your 2nd topic in your post, which is probably the more important one for you:
Quote:
But it will not be Fury of Dracula. Just as I am afraid that your revised rules also make for a game that feels very different from the original.

I am not saying that it will be better or worse. Just that it will be very different. And that is why I say that new players who heard good things about this game, should try the original version first. The original is good, and is given great ratings. And if you play it and do not like it, well, then maybe you can give the game a new chance with some house rules.

But starting immediately with house rules sounds wrong to me.


Trying FoD with the variant from first game on was a bold statement, especially from the creator of said variant. Of course I like my own work (who would not? cool), but I tried to explain in detail why I think it is better to start with the variant and afterwards switch back to the vanilla game:
The learning curve is very steep in the original game. Steep enough to provide lot of frustrations for new players.

With my variant you get a good idea about how the mechanisms interact and how everything works together, without getting smacked around by very powerful events. Afer you've played 2-3 times, you can take out the variant (as it is completely reversible), play vanilla FoD and concentrate on the knowledge of the cards, which is absolutely essential to stand a chance in vanilla FoD.

After that, everyone should decide for themselves, if they like the vanilla game, the variant or some kind of hybrid the best. Nevertheless I think the first few games of vanilla FoD are very punishing for new players and this disappointment can be severe enough that the great mechanisms and ideas are overlooked and the game is discarded. With my suggestion to try the variant first, I try to ease the entry level and thus allowing a better introduction into the game. Think of it like a "beginner" ruleset, which feel very different from the "full game" or "advanced game" in a lot of games, but nevertheless are important to slowly get used to all the moving parts in a game. Even though this variant was not made with new players in mind, it should ease things a bit, after I thought a bit about it, when I was asked some postings ago. I personally consider my variant to have deeper tactical decisions whistle, so this analogy does not hold up very well, but this is the best analogy I could come up with and maybe explains a bit why I still recommend starting with it.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Quote:
"Really? I played all this time and now have a 50-50 shot at winning, which is decided by this one die roll?"


But this can happen in any sort of game where combat is decided by a die roll - it means the players were dead even up to that point.
 
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Pieter
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Statalyzer wrote:
Quote:
"Really? I played all this time and now have a 50-50 shot at winning, which is decided by this one die roll?"


But this can happen in any sort of game where combat is decided by a die roll - it means the players were dead even up to that point.

But in FoD it feels different, and a Dracula who loses that way might actually have been on the verge of winning and not at all "dead up to that point" (besides the fact that Dracula is supposed to be dead anyway).

For example, take Battlestar Galactica. I have been in games that were decided by a die roll. The humans must make one more jump, a Cylon turn is coming up next, and they know that the Cylon will kill them off unless they jump NOW, while the jump risks losing so much population that they die anyway. But they have to take the risk, so the game is decided on a die roll. However, the WHOLE game lead to that point, where they are FORCED to take that risky roll. The fact THAT the roll is risky is the RESULT of all the play that came before it. And there are many ways of achieving victory in BSG that are not relying on a die roll.

In Fury of Dracula, for Dracula it is different. After the first few turns, the hunters will have their hands full of cards and are ready to take Dracula out. Dracula may lose a few drops of blood here and there, but might retain most of his blood during the game. He may mature a New Vampire, and whittle down the life of a hunter so that he can kill him, and sit at 5 points on the Vampire track, just a few turns from winning. And then it can EASILY happen that even while Dracula is doing GREAT and clearly played a superior game, the hunters attack him and with two swift slashes of Mr. Pointy kill him off. And whether or not Mr. Pointy hits is purely decided by a roll of the dice.

This is all caused by the fact that the ONLY way for the hunters to win is to kill Dracula in a fight. And to make sure that the hunters still have a chance at winning, even if Dracula is doing well, fights are balanced in such a way that hunters might indeed take out a Dracula who is playing a superior game.

The funny thing is that fights are partially a combination of bluffing and tactics. Every round of the fight, both players involved play a card, and deciding which card to play is crucial -- you have to think about what you expect the opponent to play, and how that interacts with your card. And I think it would work MUCH better if both cards that are played have some effect. But they don't. A die roll decides which card has an effect, and which card was played just for show. (I know, not completely for show, as the effect of the winning card is adapted to the card that was losing, but still, for most cards it is "if I win the roll, I get a great benefit, and otherwise I get great damage".)

Losing a game that way feels undeserved and thus anti-climactic.

Still not saying that THEREFORE it needs changing, BTW.
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Joel Tamburo
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Well, start out by not misrepresenting yourself as representative of a "big group". The vast majority of FoD players like the game and at most want to tweak it a bit to give Dracula a better chance. Those who want to do major changes are a TINY group, not a big one.
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Victor van Santen
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Joelist wrote:
Well, start out by not misrepresenting yourself as representative of a "big group". The vast majority of FoD players like the game and at most want to tweak it a bit to give Dracula a better chance. Those who want to do major changes are a TINY group, not a big one.


I didn't say people who want chances are a majority, as I don't know the opinion of huge number of "silent readers". But still a lot of reviews, a lot of threads in the general section, almost all variants and the sheer number of alternate rule sets or hypnosis/evasion card suggestions suggest that there is a significant amount of people who are bothered by certain game design choices. Just look in the game forum here and you'll find the same questions/suggestions/frustrations over and over again.

Again, I don't know how big of a percentage that is, but these facts indicate that not just 1-2 people are unhappy with certain parts of the game.

You are free to disagree and to be opposed to any changes to the game, but arguing over the demand for changes is not constructive. See this ruleset as an option which expands the FoD-Universe, have more options to choose from doesn't hurt the original game in any way.
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George Triantafyllidis
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Do the revised resolve rule for 'Surge of emergency' supercede the basic rules restriction for rail traveling in Eastern Europe.I.e can a Hunter spend one resolve and one health to travel 3 cities even if he uses a rail route which is part of Eastern Europe? or in this case the maximum is only two cities as per the basic rules.Tx
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George Triantafyllidis
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And yet another question regarding the revised rules.Do you still discard the items after a round of a Group Combat where the Hunters were not the targets of Dracula,but participated by choosing a card?
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Victor van Santen
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Hi,

Thanks for your questions!

Quote:
Do the revised resolve rule for 'Surge of emergency' supercede the basic rules restriction for rail traveling in Eastern Europe.I.e can a Hunter spend one resolve and one health to travel 3 cities even if he uses a rail route which is part of Eastern Europe? or in this case the maximum is only two cities as per the basic rules.Tx


The Resolve Rules supersede the basic rules in this case, i.e. you can always move up to 3 moves if you spend 1 health, even in eastern Europe.

Quote:
Do you still discard the items after a round of a Group Combat where the Hunters were not the targets of Dracula,but participated by choosing a card?


Every time one of the "special" (i.e. to be discarded) combat cards is being played (i.e. selected for an combat round) it will be discarded at the end of the round. So as soon as it is placed face-down on the table, it will be discarded afterwards, regardless if it was chosen (in a group) or activated (successful combat rolls).

If you throw holy water in Dracula's face, the flask is gone, regardless if it was effective or not. Your sacred bullets will either pierce their opponent or their surroundings, but unfortunately they are gone for the further use of the hunter. This is the thematic reasoning behind it, but it's also important for the balance, as more and more powerful dracula hunting items were introduced.

Did you like the new ruleset overall?
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George Triantafyllidis
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This is our first game of FoD so i cannot really compare how the revised rules change the basic ruleset and what impact they have in terms of game play.In our first game the Dracula player opted for an aggressive strategy.The trail cards were almost always revealed,the average dice and the many discarded items led to a lot of inconclusive combats which dragged back and forth without sides taking too much damage.Interesting game play,i am sure it makes for a more controlled/tight play than using the standard rules.It seems to me but i cannot though really say as we are noobs. Long game as we are still learning the rules and the concepts of gameplay.
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David Bostwick
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I purchased this game a few years ago because I was looking for a hidden movement game and had heard good things about this one. We played it a few times and concluded that Dracula was a bit of a wimp, routinely losing to single hunters at night. A big part of the problem was that the hunters decided that Dracula needed event cards more than they did and refused to do anything that might give him one, relying almost completely on items. Games were very long and not very interesting. After a few plays the game stayed in the box.

So, while we don’t have a huge amount of experience with the game, we were left with an unsatisfied feeling that did not encourage further plays.

Recently, there was interest in the group for trying it again, but fixed (whatever that means). I found your revision on BGG and played it exactly as you wrote it.

With that background, here are some comments and observations:

Overall: I felt that your revision improved the game. We are more likely to play the game again with it than without it.

The PnP package: Nice job on putting this together. It was nice to pick up complete set of changes that fit together. In fact, you did such a good job that I’m now going to complain about it because I want it to be better.

• The Dracula power cards didn't scale right, they are too small; and there should be 2 copies of each since we have to change the front and back.
• The Map overlay did not scale right.
• When I print the cards unscaled, most are sized right, but part of the bottom row gets cut off. A little more white space around the borders would make it easier to handle printer variation.
• Hired Scouts has a typo in the fluff text: :out” should be “put”
• Add a note to the heroic leap text that it also uses the average die.
• Add the mini map to your package and update with the new road.
• Modify the Dracula cards to include the proper bold/italic notation for the new discard items. Remove the note from the play aid. This only applies to Heavenly Host, Stake, and Crucifix, as the others handled. Silver Sword will take a special note since it is only discarded when used by Dracula.
• Add an overlay to the vampire track so that it goes to 7 (or add a start location so the existing 0-6 spaces would work).
• Rufus Smith needs a rewrite as his ability is based on the now changed cost of sea movement. I suggest “When this card is in play Dracula must pay 1 blood when he disembarks.”
• Please revise the hypnosis text to make it clear whether or not a hunter can play it themselves. I would prefer not.
• Find something to do with Fog, Escape as Mist, and Vampire Lair. I hate having unused components. I suggest the following:
o Fog: Treat Dawn and Dusk as Night in this location. Allows play of Escape as Mist.
o Escape as Mist: Can only be played in Fog and only at Night (i.e. not at Noon, since Dawn and Dusk are considered Night when Fogged).
o Vampire Lair: “If Dracula has no New Vampires in his trail, there is no effect. Otherwise you may attempt to destroy 1 of the vampires he has planted around Europe. Dracula must expose 1 New Vampire in his trial (but not the location). Conduct a fight as though you are facing Dracula, but any wound or killed results you score against Dracula means that the New Vampire Encounter is discarded. If Dracula escapes this card is discarded. Note that Dracula cannot move or be killed or wounded as a result of this card.”
The Game:
• Combat was much more interesting with your revision. A wider variety cards were played in each combat and hunters more likely to need to recharge after a fight.
• Events were more common and did not seem to be unbalanced.
• Dracula still seems weak. I would like to see a +1 to his combat die at night. You could also drop the +1 for the hunters during the day, but I would prefer a +1 on both to add greater emphasis on the day/night change. Another variation would be to have it only apply to Hunter vs Dracula, not Hunters vs agents.
• The cost of sea movement seems very high. I appreciate you are trying to discourage it, but ouch.

Thanks for all the work on this. I hope to see an update.
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Victor van Santen
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Zarquon wrote:
Recently, there was interest in the group for trying it again, but fixed (whatever that means). I found your revision on BGG and played it exactly as you wrote it.

With that background, here are some comments and observations:

Overall: I felt that your revision improved the game. We are more likely to play the game again with it than without it.


First of all:
Thanks for the extensive feedback, this is better than what I had hoped for! thumbsup

It's great to hear, that modifying the game paid off.

Quote:
The PnP package: Nice job on putting this together. It was nice to pick up complete set of changes that fit together. In fact, you did such a good job that I’m now going to complain about it because I want it to be better.


This feedback is really helpful, as I was certain that I've overlooked details, which clearly showed as I missed 2 cards entirely whistle. So I'll do my best to fix them and address them.

First the physical changes:

Quote:
• The Dracula power cards didn't scale right, they are too small; and there should be 2 copies of each since we have to change the front and back.
• The Map overlay did not scale right.


I'll update those to match the components of the game. Don't know what went wrong here, but I'll check.

Quote:
• When I print the cards unscaled, most are sized right, but part of the bottom row gets cut off. A little more white space around the borders would make it easier to handle printer variation.


Maybe this was not 100% clear, but the intention is to cut the cards 1mm within the black border. This way the white edge of the print-out won't be visible from the sides or back of the card, as the print-out is smaller than the physical card. I even cut directly next to to artwork and thus removed the black border entirely, which worked fine.

Maybe I should clarify via some instructions on a separate page or cutting marks.


Quote:
• Hired Scouts has a typo in the fluff text: :out” should be “put”
• Add a note to the heroic leap text that it also uses the average die.
• Add the mini map to your package and update with the new road.


Good suggestions, I'll correct the cards and include an updated map.

Quote:
• Modify the Dracula cards to include the proper bold/italic notation for the new discard items. Remove the note from the play aid. This only applies to Heavenly Host, Stake, and Crucifix, as the others handled. Silver Sword will take a special note since it is only discarded when used by Dracula.


I never liked the bold/italic notation of the game, as it was frequently missed by new players. The player aid is clearer for new players and the notation on the cards became superfluous by then. But nevertheless, I'll include the cards with the new notation, as going the "old way" then becomes a valid option.

In short: Note in player aid will stay, cards will be included.

Quote:
• Add an overlay to the vampire track so that it goes to 7 (or add a start location so the existing 0-6 spaces would work).


Falling of the track as a winning condition feeled right, as maturing a encounter was also falling physically of the board. But I'll add a 7th space for all who don't like that choice.

Quote:
• Rufus Smith needs a rewrite as his ability is based on the now changed cost of sea movement. I suggest “When this card is in play Dracula must pay 1 blood when he disembarks.”


Thanks for pointing this out! I have forgotten 2 cards from my notes when finalizing the updated graphics for the game. According to my notes:
Rufus Smith
While this card is in play, Dracula must reveal his location as soon as he disembarks into a city. The encounter on the location remains hidden.
(Note how this can be canceled by sensationalist press!)
Blood Transfusion
Play this card at the start of your while in the same city as another Hunter. One of you loses 1 Health and the other recovers 4 Health.
(Getting a bite is tough enough and it has interesting game decisions (due to +1 in combat against Dracula), so instead make it a strong healing card)

Hypnosis:
Quote:
• Please revise the hypnosis text to make it clear whether or not a hunter can play it themselves. I would prefer not.


It is a collaboration between 2 Hunters and anyone of the Hunters can play the event card, even the bitten Hunter. As the Hunters must meet in a city, Dracula can usually foresee this move, as usually Hunters are spread out.

A Hunter alone cannot play this card, there has to be another Hunter. This should be clear by the way the card is written, due to the word "another".

Allowing only the unbitten Hunter to play this card is not necessary, as the Hunters could easily use the trade action when the second Hunter arrives and play it as usual on the start of the next turn.

Did that clarify the card or did you mean something different?

Quote:
• Find something to do with Fog, Escape as Mist, and Vampire Lair. I hate having unused components.


I want to use all components too, but I couldn't come up with something which fits the theme of game without breaking the balance. I'll comment on your suggestions.

Fog:
Quote:
I suggest the following:
o Fog: Treat Dawn and Dusk as Night in this location. Allows play of Escape as Mist.


I like the Fog idea, but I would simplify it to: "This location is considered night at all times." to follow the Kiss principle and because noon is just a single step more (5/6 -> 6/6 is just a small step). Balancing wise I see this critical regardless if Noon is valid or not, because this allows Dracula to play Fog in any field where he expects a battle (e.g. when Dracula is cornered) and thus a good Dracula player would never fight in daylight (as Fog has 4 Encounter markers and it is thus likely to have one at all times as a backup). Furthermore I see a problem with the combination of Draculas Powers, as a well played Feed or Wolf Form during the Day can severly affect balance.

As a Alternative I suggest:
"Remove the +1 combat roll advantage of the Hunters during the day." or slightly stronger "Dracula gains +1 on combat rolls in this location" (helps Dracula also during the night) or even stronger than that "Dracula and his minions gain +1 on combat rolls in this location", as this allows no use of Draculas powers nor his better combat cards during the day, but still helps him slightly in combat. I currently don't know which one I like more, maybe you guys have an opinion on that.

Fog affects the balance in a delicate manner, as it is a frequent encounter, thus it should be designed carefully. Maybe these suggestion can trigger a fruitful discussion.

Escape as Mist:
Quote:
o Escape as Mist: Can only be played in Fog and only at Night (i.e. not at Noon, since Dawn and Dusk are considered Night when Fogged).


Very situational and thus it will be hardly used. Your suggestion makes Dracula almost invincible, as he can use his powers, better combat cards, hunters lose their +1 advantage due to Fog->Night and now he can additionally escape very easily without any danger from even the most powerful weapons. I would play this anytime I was cornered during daytime and ensure I will not be encountered during noon (e.g. by going 1 step in their direction). I would never travel by sea but always "pass" through the hunters who encircled me with 2 combats in fogged cities and escape by mist or even go for a bite.

The Problem with Escape as Mist is that it cancels ALL weapons, which is very frustrating for the hunters as they must discard powerful items and is problematic for balance as escaping should come at a cost. This cost is usually that escape as man/escape as bat have powerful results on the item cards of the hunters (kill, 2-3 health, etc.) while escape as mist just cancels everything. So item cards should be changed and escape as mist should move to another row, where something happens (e.g. light results like continue or 1 damage). This involves all Hunter cards and is very tedious work, with almost no benefit in strategy or options for Dracula. So as long as you have no strong suggestion which will really improve the game, I would suggest taking that single card out.

If you really really want to keep that single card, here is an alternative:
Ideas from my gaming group were related to a blood cost (2 during day/1 at night) on using this card, but playtesting showed that the card wouldn't be used then, as suffering a blow from even the powerful weapons is often equivalent to the blood costs. You can try something like that, as it won't have a big impact on your game and thus retaining balance.

Vampire Lair:
Quote:
o Vampire Lair: “If Dracula has no New Vampires in his trail, there is no effect. Otherwise you may attempt to destroy 1 of the vampires he has planted around Europe. Dracula must expose 1 New Vampire in his trial (but not the location). Conduct a fight as though you are facing Dracula, but any wound or killed results you score against Dracula means that the New Vampire Encounter is discarded. If Dracula escapes this card is discarded. Note that Dracula cannot move or be killed or wounded as a result of this card.”


I really like the thematic approach here, however I don't like the impact on the game. Dracula will take high risks (getting close to the Hunters) or high costs (sea movement) to plant a New Vampire at some obscure location no Hunter will think of and destroying these efforts by a single card seems very brutal in this sense. As a Hunter I would keep this card until an encounter which could be a vampire becomes critical, like some sort of "backup plan" and then play the card. In my games, Dracula barely manages to squeeze 1 new vampire through to adulthood, so in my group this card would ensure 2 VP less for Dracula as no new vampire will make it to adulthood.

I really like your Idea with the battle against Dracula for his new Vampires. How about some rephrasing and changing the consequence:
"You've encountered a vampire lair. Battle the guardian of the lair to see if you can raid it. The Guardian of the vampire lair has the same abilities as Dracula except he has just 3 hit points. If you manage to kill the guardian, Dracula has to remove 3 new vampires from his encounter pool and reveal all new vampires in his trail as they scream in agony about the loss of their brothers and sisters. If the guardian or Hunter(s) escape, the vampire lair will move to another city to never be seen again."

This would halve the chance to draw new vampires and reveal the encounters on it's trail, without destroying any efforts of already placed new vampires as their locations are still unknown. On the other hand, a Battle at night could also result in a bite or severe health loss for the Hunters, which would create tense decisions for the Hunters as to escape themselves or fight the guardian. Also the card would be useful even if no new vampires are in the current trail.

Like the Idea? Sugesstions for improvement? Can you spot balance problems?

Quote:
The Game:
• Combat was much more interesting with your revision. A wider variety cards were played in each combat and hunters more likely to need to recharge after a fight.
• Events were more common and did not seem to be unbalanced.


Glad it helped!


Quote:
• Dracula still seems weak. I would like to see a +1 to his combat die at night. You could also drop the +1 for the hunters during the day, but I would prefer a +1 on both to add greater emphasis on the day/night change. Another variation would be to have it only apply to Hunter vs Dracula, not Hunters vs agents.


Dracula can be very strong at night, if he plays his high risk cards (e.g. Fangs, Mesmerize) for a Bite (which will give him +1 on combat later!) or his cards which will impose a severe health loss for the hunter (strength, claws).

At Day he has to be weak, as otherwise the Hunter would not stand a chance.

Quote:
• The cost of sea movement seems very high. I appreciate you are trying to discourage it, but ouch.


It depends on the Drac-Player, but as soon as he moves only in critical situations you'll be glad. In our games, long sea travels could basically reset the game to start. If Dracula decided to do this now, this should come at a cost and really hurt arrrh


Quote:
Thanks for all the work on this. I hope to see an update.


Thanks for your Feedback, I'll update the document soon. It would be great if we could come up with some good ideas for the unused components by then.

edit: Typos, Typos and some bold Text to structure the wall of text.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Quote:
A big part of the problem was that the hunters decided that Dracula needed event cards more than they did and refused to do anything that might give him one, relying almost completely on items


Interesting - I think in that case Dracula could apply the "Don't fight, just run" tactic and be successful, since if Hypnosis, Newspaper Reports, Hired Scouts, Telegraph Ahead, Money Trail, Stormy Seas, and a few others don't come up, Dracula at least theoretically should be able to stay away from Hunters enough to plant a New Vampire or two, but I've never actually seen a group follow this strategy in a dedicated manner for a whole game though.

Quote:
routinely losing to single hunters at night


I'd imagine Sister Agatha wasn't out if the Hunters weren't drawing events. In that case Dracula can usually avoid doing much fighting at Night whatsoever if that's what he wants. Escape as Mist is nearly impossible to counter - Holy Water has to be timed perfectly, then you have to win the roll, and even then it's used up (plus there are only 3 of them). Even with Garlic, which you won't have every fight, you still only keep Dracula around for 3 round and he can generally play defensively for those 3, he doesn't have to try and go for the jugular.
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Victor van Santen
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Updated Ideas for missing Components:
Fog
Quote:
"Remove the +1 combat roll advantage of the Hunters during the day." or slightly stronger "Dracula gains +1 on combat rolls in this location" (helps Dracula also during the night) or even stronger than that "Dracula and his minions gain +1 on combat rolls in this location", as this allows no use of Draculas powers nor his better combat cards during the day, but still helps him slightly in combat. I currently don't know which one I like more, maybe you guys have an opinion on that.


New Idea:
"Dracula may force the Hunters to re-roll combat die in every round of combat"

or more limited:
"Dracula may force the Hunters to re-roll combat die once in combat"

This seems more thematic and has less of an impact on balance as the previous idea.

Quote:
I think in that case Dracula could apply the "Don't fight, just run" tactic and be successful


And create a tedious and long game in the process... shake

I know this is viable strategy in vanilla Fury of Dracula, but this 5-6h game is not enjoyable and scared some of my players away from this game until I've ensured them, that it won't happen in my rule set.
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David Bostwick
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Sounds like a good idea to me.

I also do not what a game where Dracula runs all the time.

He should be afraid of the hunters by day and they (or at least single hunters) should be afraid of him at night.
 
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