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Fury of Dracula (third/fourth edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: An Easy Rule to Speed Up the Game rss

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Grant Farnsworth
United States
Idaho
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If there is just one thing about this game that I could alter, it would be to pick up the pace a bit. It tends to drag the most during the day phase, when the hunters are planning out their moves, and coordinating with each other. I have come up with an idea to shorten the game, yet maintain it's integrity and balance; however I have not yet tested it. Here it is. I look forward to any feedback.

You will need a timer, preferably a countdown timer with a pause and reset function. If it had the ability to go off at two different times, that would be the best.

The intention of this rule is to encourage the hunters to speed up their day phase by offering an incentive during the night phase. Of course, having less time to plan the turn will probably be a disadvantage to the hunters, (unless they are very quick players) hence the need to make up for it with a reward later. This does not set a time limit for the day phase, nor does it punish the hunters for taking too long, it simply dangles a carrot in front of them to encourage quick playing.

The timer will need to be set to go off at two different times; say 5 minutes and 6 minutes. At the end of the Dawn phase, the Dracula player will start the timer. That begins the day phase. Immediately upon completing the day phase, the hunters will stop the timer, and will award themselves two bonus actions to be used during the night phase in the same round if they finished before the first alarm sounded, but only one action if they only finished before the second alarm. They will receive no bonus actions if they stop the timer after both alarms sound. Only one bonus action can be used by any one hunter during a single night phase (the hunters will decide as a group who will receive them). When using a bonus action, no action can be used twice, and the Rest action cannot be used before another action, only after; if a hunter uses the Rest action, his turn will end immediately. Bonus actions must be used during the following Night phase; they cannot be accumulated.

I think that two bonus actions will be sufficient to make up for the loss of planning time, but more than two, I fear, will give too much of an advantage for the hunters. It will have to be tested and adjusted to your play group. For the timer settings, I think that 6 minutes and 5 minutes would be appropriate quantities for my play group; two actions awarded for completing the day phase under 5 minutes, and just one for completing the phase between 5 and 6 minutes.

One thing to keep in mind is that Mina's turn may often be rushed, so it will be important that she be played by a quick and decisive player.

Let me know what you guys think.
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Jon Hook
United States
Lenexa
Kansas
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Yeah, I'm going to add a one minute sand timer to the game. Each player, (Hunters and Dracula), will have one minute to decide what action they are going to take. Failure to decide will result in a "Pass" action for the Hunter. The Dracula player can't really do a "pass," but he will be under pressure to select his next movement location or power card.

I'll also grant the Hunters a one minute group discussion period both at Dawn and Dusk, but hopefully they will have continued discussions as the game is being played.
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Randal Divinski
United States
Natick
Massachusetts
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A realistic (perhaps) goal would be to keep games to the 3 hours mark. What would that involve? If the game lasts 3 weeks (21 days) with two moves a day per hunter, if each hunter averages 1 minute per day turn and 30 seconds per night turn, that's 2 hours 6 minutes. Allowing 2 minutes (average) for Dracula's turn AND combat (dawn/dusk, ambush/search), and you are right up against the 3 hour mark.

Put another way, a "brisk" game of FoD takes about 1 hour a week. (In practice, it is not uncommon for a first game to move at half that speed, based on experience and session reports.)

Successfully implementing either suggestion above (a group timer or individual 1 minute timer) would not necessarily even manage the brisk pace.

This is a game of micro-actions with team coordination. Players are not used to a game where they may have 42+ individual turns (with their team having 168 turns to Dracula's 21 turns). It seems DRAConic (sorry) to pressure players to take 30 seconds instead of 60 to make their move -- and yet over the course of 3 game weeks, the game will be 84 minutes shorter if they can do so. It's hard for players to make the connection between their individual turn and overall game length, but that needs to be done in some fashion.

The second level of the problem is that a good deal of the time the Hunters take is not from their individual actions, but the group DEDUCTION discussion. Where's Dracula? This discussion is the fun part, and necessary. I think you have to frame solutions in minutes per Hunter phase (all 4 collectively) rather than individually.

Offering some sort of carrot for Hunter's moving at a brisk pace is worth a try. However, I think 1-2 actions has two problems:
1) The reward it too big, it will unbalance the game.
2) It's counter-productive. +2 actions makes the night phase 50% longer, not counter the discussion time to assign the actions.

So, if there is to be a reward, it needs to be "smaller" and group oriented. Some ideas:
1) A peak at the bottom of the Event deck (to see card type).
2) A one-for-one item/ticket trade (blind, no discussion allowed)
3) A "partial scan" of one city adjacent to a hunter. Dracula must tell the hunters whether there is any suspicious activity there (i.e., it is either on his trial or a lair). However, Dracula does not reveal WHERE on the trial it is, nor whether he is there personally.
4) Next combat, Dracula must reveal 2 cards (randomly) from his combat hand. (Cumulative perk)
5) Dracula puts a power card of the Hunter's choice on the 5th slot of the trail. (He can't use it until it falls off the trail.)

Along with those sorts of "carrots" which help the hunter, I suggest one radical "stick". Track cumulative hunter time used. At the 60 minute mark, finish the current turn (up to the next dawn). Then, if you are still in Week 1, advance the time marker to Monday-Dawn of Week 2. (That is, if it took over 60 minutes to get through Friday of Week 1, skip Saturday and Sunday, and begin Week 2.) Add despair token and rumor token (if used). Start the clock over for Week 2.

I think this framework of micro rewards and macro punishment to the Hunters has the most promise for speeding up the game. The carrots can be strengthened/weakened depending on the relative skill/experience of the two sides.
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Tim Earl
United States
Portage
Michigan
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I can understand the desire for this. So far we haven't had a big issue, but I think it depends on the players. Our last game a few nights ago went quickly because the other hunter and I play a lot of games together and needed little table talk to coordinate.

I also think player count affects it. One hunter player slows it down because he has to process everything. Two hunter players seems ideal. With 4 hunter players, they may get into long strategy debates.

That's just my opinion based on our plays. We're loving this game.
 
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