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Fury of Dracula (Second Edition)» Forums » Reviews

Subject: The revamped Dracula rss

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Neil Parker
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It had been a while since i played this until yesterday and now I figure its about time for a light review.
First impressions and components: I've played the old version which i like but this new version is much more pleasant to the eye. The components are good quality with nice thick chits and gameboard with a good number a cards, including the event and items cards and also extras such as Dracula's power cards, tactics and play aids. Generally, the components are good quality and made me feel effort had been put into the game - a good sign.

Comparisons between this new version and the old: Well apart from the newer superior quality components, without misprints (at least as far as i can tell), the newer game introduces some new concepts as well as 'revamping' others.
Movement. Gone is the screen and instead you have location cards for each location bar the hospital (which Dracula cannot enter). The sea zones are colour-coded blue so its obvious when Dracula has gone to sea and because Dracula can only play a location card from his deck, he cannot ordinarily cross his own trail (or at least he cannot do so legally and remain hidden as he would become revealed and generally this is bad news). When i first saw this game being played i only got a glimpse and i wondered how it would work in practice, but since buying and playing the game i reckon it works quite nicely. Dracula's Trail. Co-comitant with the location cards is the trail. This is a trail of up to 6 cards (and potentially up to 6 locations) representing the last 6 or less locations Dracula has visited. This improves the hunters chances of crossing D's trail and closing the net. Each new location requires an encounter card so no leaving gaps. There are ways to confuse the hunters though. D can use powers (more later). Day/Night. Each round represents 1/6 of a day - 3 day and 3 night segments so no random rolling. The day advances at the start of each of D's turns (unless he is at sea). Combat. Combat has also been improved. Initiative is important to win as this determines which tactic gets the edge. The result depends on the opponents choice so thats something to bear in mind especially if you think you may lose a given round. If scores are tied, then the initiative value of your chosen tactic is used, with the advantage generally given to minions but hunters with dogs get a large bonus. D is more difficult to kill outright but as i've found out at least twice, one the allies does serious damage to D. Allies. Each side has potentially 3 allies that can come into play, although only one can be in play at any given time. Sister Agatha is awesome once you can start to pin D down as he loses blood if he uses certain tactics. Resolve. Each new dawn is marked with improved chances a D winning, but as this happens so does the hunters resolve increase. Representing the hunters' determination and steel to track down and destroy D, resolve gives powerful one shot abilities to steal an advantage including the ability to travel at a incredible speed forgoing the risk to health to catch up with D. Powers. Dracula has 5 powers to use giving a significant counter-balance to the all the rules tipping the balance in the hunters' favour.
Hide is a useful and sneaky way to stay in the same location, reinforce the location with another encounter and 'lengthen' the trail without moving, Feed is a limited but potentially vital boost to blood and it means D doesnt move, Dark Call is a good way to try at least to get a good supply of chits, Double Back allows D to cross his trail and remain hidden and Wolf allowing a double move. All except Hide are open tactics which the hunters will be aware of. Maturing encounters and catacombs. Generally, when a location card drops off the edge of the trail, the encounter disappears (and the card goes back into the deck for future use). Some encounters mature eg vampires which are weak until matured and then they count as victory points and disappear. Instead of maturing an encounter D can place the encounter with its location in the catacombs thus ensuring its indefinite status on the board (although theses cards and encounters can be removed/replaced later).

Overall. I much prefer this version. I've read a lot a comments on the geek and elsewhere including about how difficult it is for Dracula and in the 5 games i've played, D won once when i was playing him in 4 attempts and D lost when i played the hunters once. However, i like the game because i think it should be difficult (the old game was too bias in favour of D). I think of it as a challenge, there is enough for Dracula to do to hide and evade and the hunters must be well prepared. When D has lost its usually because of well known tactical errors. Essentially, these are the do's and dont's:

As Dracula. Combat is deadly - even at night. Avoid it unless you know or suspect you'll get an edge or cause panic. Avoid getting boxed up in Spain or Italy, but also be careful with the Balkans and Britain. Leave yourself an escape route and keep the wolf power (useable at night) back for this. Use devilish power cards sparingly. If in doubt stay hidden, be discreet and where possible confuse the hunters with the odd Hide. I often like to start in northern Germany - central France - good for options.

As hunters. Be prepared, you have at least 3 rounds where D is unlikely to attack you each day. Don't be afraid to attack D and whittle him down, it hurts him especially if he has to go to sea to escape causing more blood loss. Remember to look out for vampires.

Generally, apart from the local rumours card which is hardly used, the only significant practical problem with this game is its slow start. Otherwise i enjoy the challenge as Dracula, its tough, but thats part of the fun.
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Chris D

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Friendly perspective on the Local Rumours card: I have seen local rumors used effectively in games. Two key situations:

1. An unrevealed encounter (with location either revealed or unrevealed) is nearing the end of Dracula's trail. Is it a New Vampire, or perhaps another maturing encounter like Desecrated soil? Without local rumors, the hunters must spend valuable movement and positioning if they want to ensure they don't let e new vampire mature (and as a potential 2 victory pts for Dracula, most hunter groups i've seen make this a priority). Even if it's only one hunter tasked to check it out, that's one less hutner hot on Drac's trail, and less of a net to corner him with.

2. Hunters are closing in on dracula and have narrowed down the options of where he could be. Using this card to reveal an encounter can provide valuable information about which hunter should check out which of the options. (For instance, a hunter with low health and no guns may not want to encounter a pistol minion - send in Godalming with his 2d bonus; or in another example, maybe it's best to send in the hunter with a 'forewarned' to clear fog out of a city and avoid delay).

Depending on one's style of play and the game situation, a hunter may indeed want to listen in to glean this kind of information from the local citizenry, and use it to his or her advantage...
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Neil Parker
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You're right there Fangs, Local Rumours can be a very useful card, but hunters seem to neglect it. In at least two games i've played as Dracula, the card could have been useful, but usually hunters discard it immediately as not being of use at the time they pick the card. In practical terms the card hasn't seen much of the light of day.
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