Greetings BGG community! I have to admit that until about eight months ago, I would not have known what that acronym meant and now I'm happy that I do. I'll apologize in advance for the rant. I know some of you are expecting some variations for Fury of Dracula, but give a guy a break...this is my first post on BGG. I have used the site a good bit for the last eight months and only recently signed up. I still come on often without signing in, so maybe someone can tell me if there is a reason to sign in every time?
If you are too busy for my rant just skip down to FURY OF DRACULA below.
A little about growing up: I really liked board games, but there's only so many games you can find in the local department stores and catalogs that come to your house. To give you an idea, my strategy for Clue became so developped that no one amongst my family or friends could ever win. I could deduce information from what people didn't have, and learn valuable clues even when it wasn't my turn. I know everyone is rough on the old-school Monopoly, Risk, PayDay, Sorry, flavour of games...but with enough tweaks and the right crowd they can still be fun. Or at least that's how I justify my childhood. Mind you I still think that Parker Brothers' Stop Thief (1979) and Milton Bradley's Broadside (1962) are a little under-rated on BGG.
What happened to me: About a year ago I was looking up some of the old graphic adventure computer games (King's Quest, Monkey Island, Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis, you probably remember the ones) when I stumbled upon the Days of Wonder website. I thought it all looked so cool. I forgot about it for awhile and then, while away on holiday, picked up Ticket To Ride: Europe. I liked it and wanted more. So over the last six months I've gotten 1/2 dozen or so new games (eg: Fire & Axe, Shadows over Camelot, Carcassonne, Lord of the Rings (2000), Loot, Mr. Jack, Fury of Dracula).
One more thing: I don't know if I classify exactly as a geek. I like games, I really do. And whether it's by a warm winter wood fire or in a quaint country cottage in the summer, I like to play board/card games. But that being said I don't like to live too vicariously. I'm the type of person that would (and already has) grabbed a backpack and travelled for weeks at a time, sleeping outside and making friends. Any thoughts?
FURY OF DRACULA:
I'll try not to make this a review or a session, but I do want to give a bit of background. I would not post this if I had played two or three games of Fury. I would guess I have more like 25 games under my belt. And they've ranged everywhere from about 20 to 150 minutes...probably averaging about 90 minutes. I think the length of the game depends on your type of Dracula player. I've seen about six different ones (myself included). I believe that the best strategy for Dracula is to always try to sneak in a new vampire right away (even using Dark Call on his first 'real' turn if necessary) and then plan a second new vampire and/or become a more offensive player. In my experience the Dracula player that makes this a waiting game doesn't win. I don't think I've EVER seen more than three actual days (sundial rotations) go by, before either Dracula is defeated or wins the game with new vampires/defeated hunters. That being said the Dracula player that just jumps out at a random player (even if only at night) does not seem to win either. A healthy (or deadly) dose of defensive/offensive, usually in that order, seems to be the best strategy.
In my opinion, I like the game as is...and when I play Dracula I don't want any special treatment. I play the base game as defined in the rules, and I can't even think of a single modification that I would want to make. That being said I have some friends who like to play Dracula but 3/4 of the time get destroyed quite easily (maybe because I have good tactics as hunter too...but it's hard to make general comments about how to win as hunter because every game is different). So I spent several days digging things up on the internet, mostly on BGG, trying to find variations. The following is a list that is copied (and for the most part modified significantly) from so many different sites and places that I don't even remember. Can someone help me out here? Am I suppose to cite when I borrow something from someone else's comments? Or is the BGG community not really that strict about who said what? Any guidance here would be helpful.
Most of my variations favour Dracula, although Hasty Escape/Nooks and Crannies could favour anybody. Some of these I have NOT tried. Most of them have been put into effect at the beginning of a game, but since many are powers that Dracula COULD use, still some of the ones that we 'implemented' were not actually used, if you gather what I'm laying down.
Fury of Dracula: Variations
(Feel free to mix and match, but be warned: most of them aid Dracula)
-Whenever the Count bites a hunter he restores one blood token, but no more than his maximum.
Quite The Might (Sometimes Dracula has two dice):
-Dracula has an additional power called Unholy Might. It CANNOT be used at noon when Dracula is most likely to be asleep or exhausted. Before a combat begins, after all event cards (combat modifiers) have been played, Dracula may sacrifice TWO blood to powerfully advance on his opposition. This means that Dracula rolls the TWO white dice and his opponent rolls the black die. This advantage continues for up to THREE combat rounds. To use this power Dracula MUST show four of his current encounters (his hand encounters). Note: Dracula may use either die result, at his own discretion. This power cannot be used in conjunction with Grave Terror or Fury.
A Gravely Serious Terror (Sometimes unbitten hunters reroll sixes):
-Only at midnight Dracula has a power called Grave Terror. By sacrificing TWO blood at midnight before a battle (after combat modifiers), Dracula radiates supernatural fear that causes any unbitten hunter in battle to reroll any sixes for THREE full rounds. Bitten hunters have had a taste of the grave and are immune to this otherwise scary effect. Dracula may not play Escape (Man, Bat, Mist) for these three combat rounds. This power cannot be used in conjunction with Unholy Might or Fury.
True FURY (Losses sometimes give Dracula an edge in successive rounds):
-Once per day (from dawn through small hours), Dracula may send one new vampire from his trail, catacombs or encounter hand to the encounter pool AND sacrifice ONE blood to go into a Fury. This may take place before any combat round (not just the first one), but if he does not have a new vampire he cannot use this power. Note: A new vampire location in the trail or catacombs does NOT receive a new encounter. Dracula is furiated by the loss of his new vampire, hence every time Dracula loses a combat round his next roll has a +1 combat modifier. This applies for the ENTIRE combat. Since Dracula becomes angrier with more losses, the effect is cumulative. Thus if Dracula loses two combat rounds, he receives a +2 combat modifier on the third round. When Dracula wins a combat round there is no modifier on the next combat round. Note: It is a good idea for a non-combattant to keep track of this. This power cannot be used in conjunction with Unholy Might or Grave Terror.
Harder Hypnosis (Must be in the same city to play hypnosis):
-Hypnosis can only be played when the card holder is in the same city as another hunter and one of the two is bitten. To balance this, a die roll of two means reroll. A different or additional option is that hypnosis can only be played at dawn or dusk.
Hasty Escapes (Ending a battle with only two continues):
-Any player (hunter or Dracula) in combat can sacrifice ONE life point (blood in Dracula's case) to make a Hasty Escape. To make a Hasty Escape roll the die after two back-to-back continues in combat. On a result of 1-2 combat continues, although the continue markers are not discarded. On a result of 3-6 combat ends as if the third continue marker was drawn. Note: After one player has attempted to escape and failed, another player (or the same player) may not attempt to escape. Yet, if the continues are removed and reappear later in the same combat the same or another player may attempt a new Hasty Escape, i.e. as long as there are two continues ONE player may attempt a Hasty Escape. If Sister Agatha is in play Dracula does not lose two blood for choosing a Hasty Escape. Dracula may make a Hasty Escape even if an event or item card prohibits him from playing an Escape card.
A Dreaded Howl (Dogs can be ineffective & Dracula can escape by horse):
-At the start of any round during a midnight battle, Dracula may sacrifice TWO blood to use a power called Dreaded Howl. Any hunter in the battle that has a hidden dogs card must place it face up. All dogs in battle become scared and are rendered useless until dawn arrives (note they can be discarded at any regular and appropriate time). Dreaded Howl also forces a hunter (in that battle) to reveal any fast horses they possess. If any of the hunters have a fast horse Dracula scares it into subservience. Any other fast horses in the battle are scared away hence placed into the item discard pile. When the battle ends (if Dracula is still alive) he may either bite the horse to get one blood OR ride the horse in the same fashion as the hunters could (this is similar to escape as Bat...he cannot go to a city where there is a hunter or pass a Heavenly Host or Consecrated Ground and MUST IMMEDIATELY move TWO cities away by road). So if Dracula CANNOT move TWO cities away he must bite the horse (if this would exceed his maximum blood the horse is simply discarded). Dracula places the horse down on his trail the same way he would place the Wolf card, with a new facedown location card on top of it. He does not place an encounter on this card and only when the horse is removed from his trail is it discarded. Note: In this variation a hunter CANNOT ever use a fast horse when it is midnight, if they do Dracula may IMMEDIATELY move them back to their city of origin and the fast horse is still discarded. Once Dracula declares that he is either present or not in the destination city (when a fast horse is played at midnight) he forfeits his right to move them back to their city of origin.
Dracula Gets With The Times (Dracula can travel by train):
-If Dracula has less than SIX blood he knows that his Undead Life is in danger and may swallow his pride to take a Chartered Carriage. First a hunter must play a Chartered Carriage, which Dracula must cancel with a False Tip Off. If Dracula is in a city with a track, he MAY use the card IMMEDIATELY; otherwise it is immediately discarded. If Dracula is in a city without a track he MUST discard the Chartered Carriage (same as ordinary rules). Note: The hunters may play a Good Luck to cancel Dracula's False Tip-Off. Dracula plays the Chartered Carriage the same way he would play the Wolf card. He places his new location on top of the Chartered Carriage card and he DOES place an encounter on it. He may hide or move up to three cities away if in Western Europe and up to two cities away if in Eastern Europe. Note: Although, the official rules are unclear, a hunter who rolls anything but X on the train die may choose to stay in their current location for their action phase since Dracula is allowed to hide.
Three Ain't A Crowd:
-This variation is great when there are four players. Play the entire game with only THREE hunters but all hunters start with an item matching the weapon that each figure holds. Example: Mina Harker starts with a pistol and Doctor Seward with a crucifix. Note: Dracula could start at 13 blood and have a maximum of three event cards (without ally help), in order to equilibrate the loss of the hunter.
Three Blood Rule:
-Dracula CANNOT go below THREE blood unless he is at THREE blood. Note: This is different from the red values of five and ten blood.
Weak Newspaper Editing (harder to reveal with a short trail):
-Each time Newspaper Reports is played (as an event card) calculate the number of unrevealed cards in Dracula's trail (not including his current position) and add this value to a single die roll. If the total is six or higher then flip that card over. Therefore it becomes progressively more likely that as you get closer to Dracula's current position that you'll fail to reveal more parts of his trail.
Nooks and Crannies (Dracula hides a few items around the board):
-Since Dracula has a fear of certain items he has gotten his minions to hide them in remote European cities. Dracula chooses THREE items from the deck before the game starts and before the item deck is shuffled. Next Dracula picks THREE cities on the map to start in his Catacombs. Each Catacombs location is assigned ONE random encounter from the pool (Dracula may look at it but not change it) and one of the three items (Dracula can choose which item goes in which city). If Dracula EVER removes one or more of these cities from the Catacombs, the item(s) is(are) moved to the TOP of the item deck (to be drawn next). Otherwise, once the encounter is permanently removed, the hunter in that location receives the item.
Shadows and Catacombs (Dracula's trail is only three cards):
-Dracula uses a shorter trail than normal. Switch the Trail and Catacombs sites on the board. Any card that slips off the new trail (of THREE cards) MUST be placed in the Catacombs, and no additional encounter is placed on it. Dracula cannot remove a location from the Catacombs until all NINE locations are filled. Dracula can rearrange the cards in the Catacombs as much as he desires, without mixing up the encounters. Note: This makes maturation VERY easy, so it is best if you only add ONE to the vampire track when a new vampire is matured AND reveal Dracula's current location. Recall that when a new vampire is matured, the trail is trimmed to one card; until the trail is a full three cards, no cards can be removed from the Catacombs so it would be necessary to play Double Back to go to any location in the Catacombs.
A Non-Stop Flight to Transylvania (Dracula still has a chance after a final blow):
-When Dracula drops to zero blood remove all Heavenly Hosts and Consecrated Ground from the gameboard. Also trim Dracula's trail down to one card-his current location. Turn the Dracula character sheet towards the gameboard and give Dracula five blood. Once these five blood are gone Dracula has lost the game. Also Dracula must IMMEDIATELY go towards Castle Dracula via a nearly direct route, using at most ONE sea location. Each hunter player counts the shortest number of spaces from Dracula's current location to Castle Dracula (using at most one sea route). Each player reveals their number (they should all reveal the same number) to confirm the shortest number of steps possible (Dracula must agree with the number as well). If in Western Europe Add TWO to this number and if in Eastern Europe add ONE to this number for the maximum possible steps Dracula can take to Castle Dracula. If he fails to arrive there in this number of moves, he loses the game. When Dracula arrives at Castle Dracula he is trapped there for the remainder of the game (he does not have a movement phase and, on his turn, must fight any hunter at Castle Dracula) and must survive two more movements of the sun dial, winning the game upon moving the sun dial the third time. Dracula still gains two blood when ending his turn on Castle Dracula, to a five blood maximum. Note: To promote a non-stop flight Dracula CANNOT use hide, feed or dark call on his flight to Castle Dracula. Thus, after the normal game would end, Dracula can only use Double Back and Wolf form on his return to the steep cliffs of his peculiar abode.
Ile de France
Some ideas are really worth a try. Good job.