Adam Steele
United States
Wisconsin
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I've had this game highly recommended to me. I really enjoy playing 1 vs. a group. We've played several rounds of Mansions of Madness, but we're pretty turned-off by how depressingly heavy the balance is toward the Keeper. Even I feel awful as the Keeper, because I can see how hopeless it is long before they do. When I asked about a potential substitute, this was most commonly suggested. I loved watching it on Tabletop, and it's consistently made high marks on Dice Tower's top 10 lists for its theme. From what I read on here, it's fairly balanced, so I can be a powerful mastermind while still challenged by the group.
So, going in with such high hopes, what can I expect to be common errors? I don't mean strategically, of course. I mean where are we likely to mess up in the rules (probably me more than them)? I already expect that I'll have to keep good track of where I've been, but it will probably be a good habit to check my trail each time they finish a move.
 
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C Sandifer
United States
Lutherville
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Try this thread:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1493879/most-common-newbie-...
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michael edwards
United States
South Carolina
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What threw us off in the beginning was we did not understand how day/night and dusk/dawn works in regards to the power cards and some other things that mention "at dusk/dawn" mostly because on the cycle dial, there is only day/night.

Basically, dawn is treated as day, dusk treated as night.

Also, vampires can still mature after being revealed/used to ambush with until the hunters kill them. Everything else usually gets removed from the trail if it is used to ambush/found via searching from the hunters.

Enjoy, it is a great game! After one or two games we do not even need to look in the rule book for things, partly why we enjoy it so much.
 
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Randal Divinski
United States
Natick
Massachusetts
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1. No encounter card is placed on Dracula's starting location. (Tabletop got that wrong.)

2. Dracula does not use rail lines. This is a common source of "inhuman error" during play: misreading the map. (Note that each location card shows the valid routes to and from it - if Dracula looks at this as he places each card, he can verify that the movement is legal.)

PREPARATION (not mistakes):
1) BRISK PLAY. Player have to take their actions "briskly". If every hunter takes 2 minutes a turn, the game will go 5+ hours!

2) HUNTING: Hunters need to stock up (events, items, tickets) before they encounter Dracula. Events can uncover the trail. Everyone should know and use their abilities (especially Mina).

3) COMBAT: Going into combat cold puts the hunters at a big disadvantage IMO. Play a few rounds of mock combat to get a sense of how the cards interact. STRENGTH, MESMERIZE, FANGS, PLOTTING, ESCAPE. How do they interact with hunter attack (incl. weapon), dodge, escape, (other-item) choices?

During the first few actual combats, have the Rules Reference open and go through it step by step.
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Marlene Thornstrom
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On a tangent, Mansions of Madness 2e is really good! The app takes over the role of the Keeper making it full co-op and the scenarios have difficulty ratings so at least you know when you're likely to lose. Owning 1e will also add investigators, monsters (there is a conversion kit that comes in the base box) and alternate tile layouts to 2e.
 
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Kelly B
United States
West Fargo
ND
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I highly recommend printing these:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/127815/detailed-3rd-e...

See Randal's comment for instructions:
For those printing at home, set printer to double sided, then in the PAGES box enter "1,9,2,9,3,9,4,9,5,10,6,10,7,10,8,10,11,9,12,10".

You won't need to constantly reference these, but they do cover a lot of the edge cases and questions that will come up.
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George
United States
Pennsylvania
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You can take my game… when you pry my cold, dead fingers off the board!
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traemyn wrote:
I highly recommend printing these:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/127815/detailed-3rd-e...

See Randal's comment for instructions:
For those printing at home, set printer to double sided, then in the PAGES box enter "1,9,2,9,3,9,4,9,5,10,6,10,7,10,8,10,11,9,12,10".

You won't need to constantly reference these, but they do cover a lot of the edge cases and questions that will come up.


I was about to recommend these as well. They really make the turn structure clear as well as what each action does at each step (specific to each hunter).
 
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Adam Steele
United States
Wisconsin
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Awesome suggestions! I agree, the combat definitely should be reviewed first. I think it'll feel especially thematic if I have all of them together for a "first scene" like in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. You're expected to win that encounter there, and this will give them something to look forward to. I will definitely print out those documents, as well. They look very helpful.

EDIT: Rather than together, probably more like sequentially, so that escapes are valid options.
 
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michael edwards
United States
South Carolina
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Another tip, Drac only has 2 copies of his combat card icons. So when your fighting him and say he already used both claws, you know he cannot play anymore of those.
 
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Randal Divinski
United States
Natick
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PLAY AIDS:
It's helpful for Dracula to have a screen that he can put the minimap behind, possibly with cubes or draw-erase markings for his trail.

We like to have colored cubes (e.g. Lords of Waterdeep) that Hunters can use on the map to mark where they think Dracula can (or cannot) be.

OPTIONAL RULES:
You need to decide before the game whether Dracula uses Powers, Rumor Tokens, and/or Lairs. A common choice is to skip tokens and lairs, and make Powers one-use (or skip), for the first game or two.
 
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Mr Suitcase
Canada
Burlington
Ontario
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I'd suggest you go farther than Randal suggests.

No powers, rumors or lairs for the first game or two. Even an inexperienced Dracula can be a powerhouse against new players.

If Drac wants to "role play" it a bit and make it more fun vs play hardball, then I'd consider adding the powers as extras for flavor.
 
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Adam Steele
United States
Wisconsin
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Kinda sessions-ey, but I thought it might be nice to show how this has worked out for me. I've played 3 games, all of which against 1 player (first my roommate, then one friend at one LGS, then another at another LGS, none of these people ever have anything to do with each other).
First game, I figured I could get tricky with him and start in England. He had absolutely no idea until that first vampire. Unfortunately, he brought out Rufus very early, and I ended up taking a lot of sea damage running away. He still barely ever found me, but when he did, Mina took a great shot with some holy bullets.
Second game, I think the guy just hadn't played a stealth game before. I started 2 spaces away from Lord Godalming, and just followed him traveling westward. Once the first vampire was revealed, I slithered through his people traveling east, and made a cross-country journey over to Spain. He never found me, just found a couple trail pieces, it was kind of a blowout. Fortunately, he's among my regular group, so we look forward to playing it with more people later and it will be more enjoyable.
The third game we didn't get to finish before store closing, but he effectively had 3 days left before my victory. Healthy as I was, spread out as they were, I probably would've had it. I went gutsy, starting in that one Italy city that is adjacent to France and (Prussia? My European geography isn't great enough to really know the names of regions). I was found within the first week, and they were consistently on my trail throughout most of the game. There was one horrible combat for Van Helsing, where I basically guessed right for everything, but other than that, he was generally doing pretty well. They just rarely found my current location. This is also where I learned Mina's Hypnosis card shows the region, not the [/b]location[/b], though with the power of Dracula, I feel the location probably would be warranted.

I enjoyed all of these games, but I feel I'd enjoy them more with more players. Fortunately, I have more multiplayer sessions scheduled, and I get to watch the drama as they lose their minds. My regular group loves co-op games. We really enjoyed playing Mansions of Madness, just not the imbalance.
 
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Randal Divinski
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Natick
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Organous wrote:
Kinda sessions-ey, but I thought it might be nice to show how this has worked out for me.
Thanks for the mini-reports. Can you tell us whether you used power cards or rumor tokens -- and about how long did the games go?

P.S. One player as hunters has the advantage of perfect (item, event) information, and can make plans without having to discuss in front of Dracula. The drawback is not having several points of view to brainstorm the hunt.
 
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Adam Steele
United States
Wisconsin
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I went with the basic game. Set starting points, no powers/rumors. There's a lot of game there, still. When I see "advanced rules," I typically think it's advanced in terms of rules, but this is definitely advanced for strategy. Unfortunately, this makes that southern island almost completely useless without the advanced rules, because if I go water to land to water, that's literally the only place I could be. With Hide, I can at least make you guess which island I'm on.
 
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