Jacob Schoberg
United States
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let's go.
when i get home, i'm so tired. just roll over, please, i'm so tired.
This is the third edition of Fury of Dracula, but was my group's first experience with the game. It combines asymmetrical gameplay, hidden movement, deduction, and a bit of adventuring to create a memorable experience.

This game follows the rulebook format found in current Fantasy Flight games, in that it includes a How To Play guide and a Rules Reference guide for later. I am a large fan of this format, and believe that for the most part it lends itself to easy game learning. That being said, I felt like the How To Play guide left a little bit to be desired in terms of getting going. Not that it's entirely poorly written, but compared to other previous Fantasy Flight products I've learned (Runebound, Eldritch Horror, Battlelore, etc.) it seemed a bit muddy. Also, the Rules Reference left a lot of unanswered questions, and we had to dig a bit online to find answers.

All of that being said, the game itself is quite fun. One player acts as Dracula and the other four are hunters. Dracula secretly moves about the board using face down cards, wrecking havoc about Europe. If he manages to gather enough influence (through a variety of different activities), he wins the game.

The four hunters will spend the game moving about the board (not in secret) trying to find out where Dracula is, and eventually defeat him. To become powerful enough, they'll need to use their special abilities, purchase new equipment cards, and hopefully find a way to weaken him. If the players manage to defeat Dracula, they win.

Once the game got rolling, we found most of the actual mechanics to be pretty straightforward. All of the actions a player can take on their turn are easy to teach and understand. There is quite a bit of strategy involved, and when the players do get to face Dracula (or another vampire-- part of Dracula's schemes!), they do so with a combat system that revolves around simultaneous card selection. We found the combat system to be very tense, and it let to some very close battles. Apart from the few rules uncertainties mentioned above, it was a pretty smooth experience.

The theme is very solid and is very well represented. We felt like the aesthetics of the board and the artwork all worked well together. I did feel like the game ran a bit longer than it needed to (around 3 hours), but I can easily see that going down with future plays with experienced players.

If you're looking for a game thick with gothic theme, or an asymmetrical hidden movement game with some adventuring, then I'd definitely recommend this game. It's not a 'gateway' game, by any means, but I don't think experienced gamers would have any trouble picking it up. If anything, I think the only reason I wouldn't recommend this game would be if the theme turns you off, or if one of the main mechanics really doesn't click with your group. Apart from that, it's a solid game and some good fun could be had with it.

This copy of the game was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
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