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Subject: Some thoughts on the 3rd Edition rss

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Edward Woods
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Fury of Dracula has always been a favorite of mine, I have many great memories of playing the first edition with my friends back in the day. My brother Sean and I became especially fond of playing it as a two player game,which I think in that edition was the best way to play.

Then came second edition, which I liked but was still unsure whether I preferred it over 1st Edition. The new day/night rules made the combat less random. In the 1st edition you rolled for day or night right before combat which was thematically weird. Dracula decides to ambush Van Helsing, oops it's daytime, how did that happen… In the second edition that didn't happen but the days and nights were bizarrely long. The trail mechanic in both 2nd and 3rd was a bit of an improvement with older encounters falling away. That made it easier to deduce Dracula's possible location based on the position of the revealed city on the trail. In 1st edition only the city Dracula had just left gave you that information.

Oddly enough 2nd edition was never as popular among my friends as the 1st Edition. It seemed to try to correct some of the things wrong with first but also created some other issues. I never felt it was great multi-player (with more than 3 anyway) as on your turn as a single hunter you could be completely out of the action. Time between hunter turns could be long and if you were delayed by a bad dice roll for train travel more than once it could feel very frustrating.

3rd Edition seems to have fixed all these problems.
The turn structure reduced the time between player turns, although the game is still not a short one, it doesn't drag or feel unexciting. The train ticket mechanism, I think is a huge improvement over the die roll. It rewards planning and reduces frustration, there are still Bats and Fog and other Dracula events to annoy and delay the hunters, the ticket office randomly messing with you is not missed.

The new combat system is very enjoyable and a bit faster. While at first I was disappointed that you would never fight Dracula's agents or other minions, it is more thematically fun to fight his vampires, something you really didn't do in the previous editions. Also the game rewards hunters who can gang up on Dracula, something that is much more likely in this edition because of the altered turn structure.

Balance; I'm not sure about this yet. I am only 5 games in and Dracula has won 2 of them. 2 other games were close and in one Dracula got staked very quickly (bad choices on my part). The games where Dracula won were very tight too with him very close to death both times. I think the game is a little harder on Dracula, especially if he is less experienced, but I think that's OK.

Time; the game is long, especially the first time you play and the first few moves are not that interesting. The 3rd edition like the earlier ones starts slowly, but the pace and tension builds so by the end of the game it is really a tense race against time. After a couple of plays, the first turns go by quite fast as the decisions the players make in them will seem pretty straightforward.

There are, surprisingly enough, not that many great vampire themed games out there, so I'm very happy to report that this new edition is really worthwhile. If you are not afraid of games longer than 90 minutes, I highly recommend it
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David Williams
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Re: Some thought on the 3rd Edition
Quote:
Balance; I'm not sure about this yet. I am only 5 games in and Dracula has won 2 of them. 2 other games were close and in one Dracula got staked very quickly (bad choices on my part). The games where Dracula won were very tight too with him very close to death both times. I think the game is a little harder on Dracula, especially if he is less experienced, but I think that's OK.


Glad to hear this. There has been a lot of speculation that this edition is too easy for Dracula. We are approaching the end of our first game, and if it weren't for me attacking one of the hunters during just to see what happened and give my son more chance to win, it felt like I was going to win fairly easily. And this was without rumours, lairs or Dracula's powers.

Of course, it was just a learning game and I think controlling 4 hunters is a lot to think about for a new player. He definitely fell into the trap of sending the hunters in the same direction, I think he would have benefited greatly from input from another player.

I fully expect this debate to continue on these forums for a loooong time.
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Edward Woods
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Re: Some thought on the 3rd Edition
We have played all our games save the first (where I lost as Dracula) using
rumors and every game was played with powers. I think the game is a bit more unforgiving for Dracula, a single mistake can spell disaster in the later part of the game. I think as we have more experience playing Dracula it will be pretty even. In 3 games in our group, which I did not participate in, Dracula won 1 time and lost twice. One Dracula loss was due to an error which, when he was penalized, slew him. The european rail system has a very strict "no vampires" policy…

The new event deck is quite different with some of cards with the same titles as they had in previous editions having subtle or sometimes major differences. There are some interesting new cards as well. I have not made a thorough examination of the deck as I liked to surprised by a game for as long as possible. IMHO opinion the new event deck is a huge improvement over the last one.

My one problem is the rules. They aren't as bad as some comments suggest, but the Rule book & Reference book system which I liked so much on previous FFG releases, seems less cohesive this time. There are card interactions and definitions which are harder to track down and understand. Not a deal breaker by any means though.
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Mr Suitcase
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Re: Some thought on the 3rd Edition
Orion3T wrote:
Quote:
Balance; I'm not sure about this yet. I am only 5 games in and Dracula has won 2 of them. 2 other games were close and in one Dracula got staked very quickly (bad choices on my part). The games where Dracula won were very tight too with him very close to death both times. I think the game is a little harder on Dracula, especially if he is less experienced, but I think that's OK.


Glad to hear this. There has been a lot of speculation that this edition is too easy for Dracula. We are approaching the end of our first game, and if it weren't for me attacking one of the hunters during just to see what happened and give my son more chance to win, it felt like I was going to win fairly easily. And this was without rumours, lairs or Dracula's powers.

Of course, it was just a learning game and I think controlling 4 hunters is a lot to think about for a new player. He definitely fell into the trap of sending the hunters in the same direction, I think he would have benefited greatly from input from another player.

I fully expect this debate to continue on these forums for a loooong time.


My first game situation was similar to yours. All players were new. We played no lairs, rumours or power cards.

I was Drac and absolutely she-lacked the players. The only damage I took was due to going to sea.

I am naturally devious, so I started at Galatz, and basically followed one of the hunters around for a bit (Lord Godalming who started in Constanta). They always received news at the wrong time (one on the first turn of the game), and everything they received was awful luck. E.g. when they were actually close to my trail in the 3rd week, the hunter would hit a fog I had placed 4 turns earlier.

Only one player got into combat with me (albeit 4 times), but they always chose wrong with their cards. I broke 3 weapons with my strength by guessing at the right moment.

So everything that could go wrong, did absolutely go wrong for them. I won after 3 weeks with the Fury of Dracula ability triggering additional influence to win.

I just may have been too naturally sneaky. I recall after the first five turns they mentioned that if I was in England I'd have to go to sea, so my very next turn I moved from Constanta to the Black sea for a turn, and then back to Eastern Europe the next. This lead 2 of the 4 hunters to start booking it for England.

Fun game, but would have been more fun for the hunters I think if they hadn't had such bad luck.
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Dillon Flaherty
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Re: Some thought on the 3rd Edition
Great review and addressing points of difference between the versions - that's really helpful to hear and interesting to read about the evolution.

You mentioned not being afraid of games over 90 minutes, in your experience, how long are the games taking for your group?
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Edward Woods
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Out of the games I've played, which were all 5 player games (except one with 3) the longest was a tad over 2 hours including rules explanation.The others were between 90 minutes and 2 hours.
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Nick Stables
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drstrnge wrote:
Out of the games I've played, which were all 5 player games (except one with 3) the longest was a tad over 2 hours including rules explanation.The others were between 90 minutes and 2 hours.


Wow that is quick and a MAJOR improvement over 2nd Edition...
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Dillon Flaherty
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drstrnge wrote:
Out of the games I've played, which were all 5 player games (except one with 3) the longest was a tad over 2 hours including rules explanation.The others were between 90 minutes and 2 hours.


Awesome to hear! Most of our group loves Specter Ops, so I'm anxious to try this one out but was worried about ~3 hour playtimes. Under 3 sounds just about right as something a bit heavier than Specter Ops, so a perfect addition! Thanks!
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Joe Reil
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Orion3T wrote:
Glad to hear this. There has been a lot of speculation that this edition is too easy for Dracula.


Interesting. From the two games I've played so far, it does seem to favor Dracula, but IME most of that comes down to the combat system..... because in both cases we managed several combats with Drac but never managed to put him down.

I suspect that has more to do with having not fully grokked the new combat system more than an actual imbalance. I'll have a more confident opinion once I've played a few more games.
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Joel Tamburo
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I don't think it favors Dracula all the time. With inexperienced players yes, but with more experienced Hunters the balance swings. In Second Edition it was an issue as with experienced Hunters Dracula stood little chance but so far Third Edition feels much more even in that scenario.
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Edward Woods
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To be fair these were all games with experienced gamers except the the three player one which was with my brother and nephew. My brother and I are Dracula aficionados and my nephew is pretty sharp for a youngster. Play times will definitely vary by group and the game benefits from one player keeping the turn sequence flowing, reminding people its their turn etc…

If the game end quickly it usually is because Dracula is defeated. Time is on Dracula's side not the hunters, the longer the game goes the easier it is for him to win. This was true in 2nd Edition but is even more true now with the despair tokens giving a real bonus in points to Dracula.It also oddly discourages him from trying a strategy my brother and I sometimes used. At the start of the game when the hunters have only had one chance to supply themselves with weapons, we used to have Dracula attack the hunter most isolated from the group. While you can still do that the point benefit is not as tempting. Each defeated hunter scores Dracula 2 points plus 1 additional point for each despair tokens. So defeating a hunter later in the game while more dangerous scores more points.


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David Williams
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Well after me taking pity on him and Drac's damage going up to 12, Drac still managed to win, although he only had 1 health left and was going to be caught very quickly. If Mina had managed to kill a vampire she found I probably would have lost.

A really big part of this game will be getting multiple hunters to attack Dracula at once. If that happens late game, they could probably take him out in a single combat especially if there are 3 or 4 hunters. Dracula will be forced to play for 3 rounds and one hunter card per round will go straight through, so that's at least 3 cards of damage with only 2 hunters.
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David Williams
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drstrnge wrote:
It also oddly discourages him from trying a strategy my brother and I sometimes used. At the start of the game when the hunters have only had one chance to supply themselves with weapons, we used to have Dracula attack the hunter most isolated from the group. While you can still do that the point benefit is not as tempting. Each defeated hunter scores Dracula 2 points plus 1 additional point for each despair tokens. So defeating a hunter later in the game while more dangerous scores more points.


Absolutely. Attacking a hunter later on (as I did, though I knew it was risky) is tempting but risky. For a start you will be forced to fight during the daytime, meaning you cannot use Escape as Bat to move away from the combat site, and will still be there for the hunters to gang up on the next evening. So if the first combat doesn't go well, you might still get ganked the following dusk and by more hunters.

In our case, after a couple of combats which didn't go Drac's way and he finally managed to escape, my son had a chance to catch Drac 2v1 with him only having 3 health left. I think that would have meant certain victory for him. However he missed the opportunity and checked the wrong location first.
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Matt
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I ran 12 games as Dracula at BGG.con, and went 8-4. That was with an experienced Dracula player and all hunters learning the game. At least 3 of those wins, as well as 1 loss were extremely narrow.

Feels pretty balanced to me,especially given some experienced hunters.
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Pavel Kourganov
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I have played 3 games so far, all as Dracula. My impression is very positive as expected - will not repeat all that others have already mentioned about game being streamlined and so on.

There are 2 minor things that I don't like so far.
1. It is great that Hunters now have choice whenever to Supply at day safely or do it at night and risk. But with this choise Hunters may keep Dracula in great hunger for events. On my first game I only had 2 events to play. On my last game I had five: three from Hunters and two from two Desecrated Soil Encounters. Hunters just keep supplying at day and then spend night to reserve a ticket.
To me that affects thematics of the game.

PS. And later I found out that Desecrated Soil allows to draw Encounters - not Events. So that is only three Events that I had to have. There should be a strategy against Hunters that don't want to Supply at day!

2 This one is minor. I found Dark Call to be even less profitable then in 2nd edition. Yes, Dracula uses it usually when he is in bad luck with Encounters. He gets +5 Encounters. And he can still be in bad luck with all 10. But anyway - he well not rotate his Encounters until he is back to five. And then suffer 2 damage for that?! No way! Staying in the same location is already a penalty. Potential improvement that would "heal" the power: "Draw 5 Encounter cards and then discard up to 5 Encounter cards".
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David Williams
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1. By supplying during the day the hunters are seriously hampering their ability to move, as they can only move during the daytime. Hunters who never supply at night will be moving very slowly around the board. I think this is a fair trade off in pure game balance terms. An argument could be made that this might make things a bit less interesting for Dracula as he has less fun things to do. It seemed fine to us but then we're only 1.5 games in.

Not had chance to use Dark Call yet.
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Pavel Kourganov
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The Hunters still move sometimes. They use night action to draw good train tickets and move by Railroad often and quickly. Then they also have Fast Horses and some event cards that allow them to move quicker. And once well equipped they may just move without bothering about Supply.

I mean, it is surely a drawback for the Hunters to avoid Supplying at Night. But it is not that huge comparing to Dracula not able to use Events. The Hunters are in better position with this strategy.
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David Williams
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Dertarr wrote:
The Hunters still move sometimes. They use night action to draw good train tickets and move by Railroad often and quickly. Then they also have Fast Horses and some event cards that allow them to move quicker. And once well equipped they may just move without bothering about Supply.

I mean, it is surely a drawback for the Hunters to avoid Supplying at Night. But it is not that huge comparing to Dracula not able to use Events. The Hunters are in better position with this strategy.


But by moving this way they are missing a lot of locations, so their search will be less thorough. They can only discover Dracula's trail by moving, and no matter how far they move they can still only discover 1 location per move. Add onto that that searching is also better done by daytime and I think daytime actions are sufficiently valuable that they can't afford to spend too many on daytime supplies.

Of course there is a balance to be found here, but I don't think it is realistic that they only ever supply during the daytime. So Dracula will always get some cards, though perhaps not many.

And considering not many players so far have argued the game favours the hunters, I'm glad they have some strategies which may not have been fully explored.
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Heath Stockburn
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Some alternative thoughts on the 3rd Edition
A terribly boring game, a few things that I found frustrating:

1)It is actually quite hard to find Dracula and engage him.

2)When you do he slips away and then you have to wait another 5-7 turns to maybe, only maybe, find his trail.

3)There's no game between the times you find Dracula, you move then take cards. Or you take cards twice. That's the whole game.

4)I didn't feel any tension, just frustration interspersed with boredom.

5)This game is far, far, far tooooooo loooooong for what it does.

6)You have to plan everything openly in front of Dracula, as he goes last he just counters everything you say/do.

7)Sea moves are way overpowered for Dracula.

8)The only reason we did evenly remotely well (Dracula had one life left) is because by the end we just planned everything in secret. We still lost.

9)Half-way through week two I realised how long this game was going to take and spent the rest of the time just wanting the game to end.

10)Please don't make me play this game ever again.

11)I think this game is a much more fun, tense and interesting experience for the Dracula player.

Sorry. not for me.
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Jim Sheridan
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Finally got to play this game after hearing so many good things about it, and was really excited. What an utterly horrible let down. This game is so completely unbalanced I can't see how it ever gets a positive comment....as hunters you do literally nothing for 90% of the game...at night your only real choice is to supply, which will, more than likely, do you far more harm than good. If you manage to find Dracula, he simply stuns the hunters, uses hidden movement to go 4-6 spaces away without any trail, and disappears. I really can't see how anyone ever loses as Dracula, unless you choose to attack the hunters out of sheer boredom (instead of staying hidden), are insanely unlucky, or completely inept.
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Bubbazippy wrote:
Finally got to play this game after hearing so many good things about it, and was really excited. What an utterly horrible let down. This game is so completely unbalanced I can't see how it ever gets a positive comment....as hunters you do literally nothing for 90% of the game...at night your only real choice is to supply, which will, more than likely, do you far more harm than good. If you manage to find Dracula, he simply stuns the hunters, uses hidden movement to go 4-6 spaces away without any trail, and disappears. I really can't see how anyone ever loses as Dracula, unless you choose to attack the hunters out of sheer boredom (instead of staying hidden), are insanely unlucky, or completely inept.


Your hunters need to be better prepared when they find Dracula. Getting rail tickets at night and tooling up one day, moving the next means you can cover good ground until you are fully loaded and find the trail. Use Mina obvs. Then plan it so that your hunters can attack Dracula together and he won't stand a chance.
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Chris Merritt
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Bubbazippy wrote:
Finally got to play this game after hearing so many good things about it, and was really excited. What an utterly horrible let down. This game is so completely unbalanced I can't see how it ever gets a positive comment....as hunters you do literally nothing for 90% of the game...at night your only real choice is to supply, which will, more than likely, do you far more harm than good. If you manage to find Dracula, he simply stuns the hunters, uses hidden movement to go 4-6 spaces away without any trail, and disappears. I really can't see how anyone ever loses as Dracula, unless you choose to attack the hunters out of sheer boredom (instead of staying hidden), are insanely unlucky, or completely inept.


Okay, what? You'll have to go a bit more into your description here. What do you mean by "stuns the hunters"? Ambushes them with Fog or Bats? He can't really stun them, but can make them lose turns or move them away with these.

Then, what does "uses hidden movement to go 4-6 spaces away without any trail" mean? I can't think of any mechanic in the game that allows this. Are you sure you were playing correctly? Can you elaborate on these?
 
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