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Fury of Dracula (third edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Please help! dont get why this game is great... rss

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dave Snell
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Hi everyone,

I feel like I am missing something here, but we just picked up FOD 3rd, and our first game ended with the three of us who were playing dropping out with boredom. Dracula was spending most of her time waiting to play two cards onto a board each round, whereas the hunters were fumbling around the board aimlessly without direction.

When one of the hunters did pick up the trail, Dracula managed to fog that hunter into a port for two turns, and still had enough backup cards to effectively neuter the other hunters from closing in on her position. To make it worse, Dracula then got annoyed when she realised she couldn't actually get away in entirety as we had closed off her routes, although combat proved to be mostly on her side. By that point the influence tracker had hit six, and Dracula hadn't taken a single hit.

In short, we all got a bit frustrated; I'm not sure that being long term fans of Letters From Whitechapel didn't get in our way a little?

Please can you guys help us; I'd really like to try again but I'm wary the same will happen. What makes this game good, and do you have any tips or things you wished you had known I. Your first game to improve our chances?
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Tim Earl
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I'm sure you'll get some better answers from others, but here's my take.

We find the chase very exciting, especially as we play more and see different Dracula tricks for where to start and how to avoid the hunters. The Dracula player is always trying to come up with a new trick.

Meanwhile, the hunters are gearing up for their first encounter with Dracula, which they need to make count. We've found that that first battle sets the tone. If Dracula beats you down, you're going to have a tough time recovering, but if you deal a decent amount of damage, he's now on the run and limited in how much time he can spend at sea trying to escape.

In our last game, the hunters setup on the perimeter of the board and tried a closing net strategy, converging in the middle, but taking time to gear up first. This meant more cards on the trail, so a higher chance of finding one. In fact, we found Dracula too early and paid for it in the first combat. So we were fairly doomed at the start, but still made a good effort to get multiple hunters into combat.

Finally, 6 influence without any damage is not that uncommon, especially if you're playing with rumor tokens. I still think Dracula has a decent advantage, but it's not impossible to kill him.
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Randal Divinski
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FoD has a very steep learning curve, both in absorbing the game mechanics and just the play time. Hunters must understand that they need to be equipped before engaging in battle, and have exponentially better odds the more hunters can get to the fight (which means having train tickets on hand when they are needed).

In my opinion, for FoD to be successful as a game experience, the hunters need to take responsibility to make their turns QUICKLY. If you want your game to finish in under 3 hours, hunters should average no more than 30 seconds per move. To accomplish that, group discussion, which is needed, should also be fairly brisk, and then actual turns made very quickly (deliberate on other player's turns).

If hunters can't do that, then Dracula will be bored indeed. If the Dracula player isn't entertained by the cat and mouse interaction with the hunters, they are not going to have fun. There is a LOT of downtime for Dracula.

The game is not for everyone. Unless your whole group is experienced with the game, or Dracula makes a fatal mistake early, the game will run at least 3 hours.

If you do give up on FoD, the good news is that the resale value of the game is currently skyrocketing as it has just gone out of print - for good (for this edition, due to FFG losing the license). You should be able to get more than you paid for it.
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Mark Jackson
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the main thing to know going in is that its just a really really long game. too long? that depends on your group's tastes. if you are entertained by the cat and mouse style gameplay enough to carry you through 4 or 5 hours then great! i like it pretty well, but my wife just hits a wall after like 3 hours and doesn't ever want to play it again. its definitely on our sale pile due to the length, though we do both like the mechanics and gameplay.
 
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Ivor Bolakov
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Quote:
whereas the hunters were fumbling around the board aimlessly without direction.


They do need to actually work as a team. It's unlike most games where you can go off and do your own thing and the 'team' will still succeed. They need to co-ordinate and organise.

Quote:
To make it worse, Dracula then got annoyed when she realised she couldn't actually get away in entirety as we had closed off her routes,


Worse for Dracula but better for the Hunters, no? It sounds like you were closing in on Dracula and, barring terrible card play, were going to win.
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David Williams
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Quote:
whereas the hunters were fumbling around the board aimlessly without direction.


This sounds like where you're going wrong. The Hunter players need to actually discuss what they are going to do and coordinate themselves.

The fact they must do this means Dracula will listen in on what they are saying and base their moves on what they overhear.

I can imagine if the hunters were sitting in silence and moving seemingly at random (or at least without telling each other their plans) the game would be pretty boring.

The first few rounds should go pretty quick, with Dracula's first few moves probably planned from the start and the hunters usually not moving much until they have geared up a bit and have more trail spaces to hit when they do move. Moving from the start and hoping to blunder across the trail is a bad strategy (early on daytime actions are better spent supplying in safety, IMHO), and a lack of communication between players means Dracula will feel socially isolated as a player.

Listening to the Hunter players out-think themselves then go completely the wrong way is half the fun as Dracula.
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corum irsei
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Ah_Pook wrote:
the main thing to know going in is that its just a really really long game. too long? that depends on your group's tastes. if you are entertained by the cat and mouse style gameplay enough to carry you through 4 or 5 hours then great! i like it pretty well, but my wife just hits a wall after like 3 hours and doesn't ever want to play it again. its definitely on our sale pile due to the length, though we do both like the mechanics and gameplay.
That doesn't sound encouraging.
I'm okay with the game taking that long when I'm playing it for the first time, but after that I'd expect play time to go down to max 3h. Especially since the box says 2-3h.
I'm starting to understand why asking for ways to get a shorter game is such a common thread topic here...
 
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Tim Earl
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jhaelen wrote:
I'm okay with the game taking that long when I'm playing it for the first time, but after that I'd expect play time to go down to max 3h. Especially since the box says 2-3h.
I'm starting to understand why asking for ways to get a shorter game is such a common thread topic here...


I don't think we've ever had a game last more than 3 hours. The people who are taking 4-5 hours for this game probably need lunch and dinner breaks to play Terra Mystica.
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dave Snell
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Thanks for all the feedback guys. We will try again as it seems everyone is suggesting we gave up just as it should have gotten great. I think the tips I'm seeing here are:
Hunters work together and talk out loud about the plan
Hunters hurry up on their turns to prevent drac getting bored
Stop thinking it is LFW
Everyone - have a plan!

I think if we approach it with a little direction, like how we can narrow down the trail, we might be getting somewhere.

Thanks!
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Randal Divinski
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H1ppyDave wrote:
I think if we approach it with a little direction, like how we can narrow down the trail, we might be getting somewhere.

A common new hunter mistake is to put too much emphasis on physical searching. Early on, stock up on items and tickets, and EVENTS - which can give you the first whiff of the trail. Then FOLLOW up with movement.

Play aids may also help. Our group had several piles of colored cubes at the side of the board (ours came from Lords of Waterdeep). The hunters used them on the map to rule in and out certain cities -- that can speed up deliberations. (Dracula also had a screen with the mini-map, and used cubes to mark the trail there, so as not to have to peek at the cards to remember.) There are also online multiplayer timer apps if that helps to keep players from taking too much time (just feedback, no consequences.)
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Richard Sampson
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If you guys couldn't find Dracula, why weren't vampires maturing, ending the game for Dracula?

Essentially if the hunters are bad, Dracula should end the game relatively quickly. If Dracula is bad, the hunters should be able to find and kill him also ending the game relatively quickly. If both are bad, it's going to be a long boring game because no one is accomplishing their goal.

I don't think I have had a game go over 3 hrs after our first game and the games are tense. It is long, but once people know how to play, it shouldn't be that long and it should be engaging. I would say try it again, focusing on your goals. If it falls flat again, sell it.
 
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David Williams
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randiv wrote:
H1ppyDave wrote:
I think if we approach it with a little direction, like how we can narrow down the trail, we might be getting somewhere.

A common new hunter mistake is to put too much emphasis on physical searching. Early on, stock up on items and tickets, and EVENTS - which can give you the first whiff of the trail. Then FOLLOW up with movement.


Very much agree. There is a temptation for hunters to want to move and physically stumble across Dracula's path. That's only going to happen if you get very lucky AND Dracula took the risk to start close to a hunter. Add to that the fact you cannot supply safely and you have a really risky strategy that will feel like guesswork. If you supply in safety there's a reasonable chance an event will give you a lead on Dracula without even moving.

It's counter intuitive but, assuming he does start far from the hunters, the longer you wait the easier it is to catch him; firstly he has a longer trail, but also if he started somewhere remote he can really only get closer to you as he moves.

All that said, catching Dracula is still not an easy task. The hunters will need to use a lot of deduction and work out how best to cut off his escapes, while also trying not to let his Encounter cards mature.
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Jason Nachtrab
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The game really wants this to be a chase, not a hunt. There are numerous cards in the Event deck that will reveal parts of Dracula's trail, the Hunters do not need to rely on actually finding his trail on the map.

Take advantage of drawing good Event cards from the top of the Event deck during the day. Be wary of drawing Event cards blind from the bottom of the deck at night, especially if you have a Hunter anywhere close to Dracula. Use the night for trading, resting, or reserving tickets.

H1ppyDave wrote:
Dracula then got annoyed when she realised she couldn't actually get away in entirety as we had closed off her routes, although combat proved to be mostly on her side. By that point the influence tracker had hit six, and Dracula hadn't taken a single hit.


Wanted to point out just in case - we misread one major aspect of combat the first couple of games. The rules make a big deal about the Hunter trying to match the icon of Dracula's combat card, to cancel it. If that happens, great. If not, unless Dracula's combat card specifically cancels the Hunter's combat card, the Hunter's card still takes effect. In many combat rounds, both sides will use their cards to deal damage. Unless Dracula gets really lucky or a Hunter engages with very little weaponry, it's rare that both sides will escape unharmed. If you can get 2 or even 3 Hunters all fighting Dracula at the same time, all of their cards can deal damage.
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Davy Ashleydale
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boudreaux00 wrote:
The rules make a big deal about the Hunter trying to match the icon of Dracula's combat card, to cancel it. If that happens, great. If not, unless Dracula's combat card specifically cancels the Hunter's combat card, the Hunter's card still takes effect.


So you were playing that if none of the icons on the Hunter's card matched Dracula's card's icon, the Hunter's card had no effect?
 
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Jeffrey Speer
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Don't be afraid to draw events. Sure, Dracula might get something out of it, but more likely you will hit Newspaper Reports, cutting down the chase significantly.

Also, if you're taking longer than 2 or three minutes a turn, Dracula will get super bored, I can speak from experience. The choices you can make on your turn aren't that many, so turns should click by and you'll have more fun.
 
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Randal Divinski
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Kaworu17 wrote:
if you're taking longer than 2 or three minutes a turn, Dracula will get super bored, I can speak from experience. The choices you can make on your turn aren't that many, so turns should click by and you'll have more fun.

That has to be 2-3 minutes for the full hunter turn (all four hunters). If each hunter takes that long, each week of game time will take around 2 hours to get through, and you could have a 6-8 hour game.
 
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Erwin Anciano
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We just finished our first game playing this. We had a 3-player game with 1 player playing Dracula and 2 of us as Hunters. We played with Advanced rules, letting Dracula use his Power Cards and Rumor Tokens.

Dracula easily evaded us early and go this Influence up to 8 by maturing a Reckless Vampire and an Aristocratic Vampire. By this time we had caught a whiff of him twice, but he was able to skillfully elude us with his Wolf power and Misdirection. We were feeling hopeless as he continued to spread influence, with an upcoming Newborn Vampire with a Token on it that was 2 turns away from maturing and ending the game for us.

But then I got a lucky break as Dracula ran off to Madrid, and my Van Helsing had a train ticket that let him chase him all the way. By luck, I stumbled upon him in Madrid, and with nothing but two rifles and a Holy Host, I was able to deal 13 damage to him with clever cardplay, defeating his bat escape with a Rifle and a Holy Bullet, and smiting him when he tried to mesmerize me with the Holy Host.

It was kind of amazing as Van Helsing solo'd him and had just 1 life left after the fact. But we won... just barely.


But I found the entire game extremely thrilling as a Hunter trying to close the net on the vampire. The Dracula player had a lot of fun as well, said it was very thrilling on his part trying to evade us. He got screwed in his combat and it probably was me just meta-gaming his choices as I had a good idea how he plays. But I wouldn't say it's boring at all!
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Randal Divinski
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Mochana wrote:
We just finished our first game playing this. We had a 3-player game with 1 player playing Dracula and 2 of us as Hunters. We played with Advanced rules, letting Dracula use his Power Cards and Rumor Tokens... But I found the entire game extremely thrilling as a Hunter trying to close the net on the vampire. The Dracula player had a lot of fun as well, said it was very thrilling on his part trying to evade us. He got screwed in his combat and it probably was me just meta-gaming his choices as I had a good idea how he plays. But I wouldn't say it's boring at all!
How long was your game? (Both in-game weeks and real-world hours?]
All that damage from one hunter in one combat? Did you remember the rule that combat automatically ends after 6 rounds are completed?
 
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