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Fury of Dracula (second edition)» Forums » Strategy

Subject: strategy for fury of dracula rss

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Spencer Rathbun
United States
Indiana
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I recently bought this game and have had the chance to play a few times. I've seen the comments on the board about the hunters being overpowered but it didn't seem that way in the games I've played.

I'd like to hear people's comments on why they think the hunters are overpowered, if ya don't mind reiterating it again. I'd also like to say some stuff I noticed while playing the game.

First, Count Dracula strategy:

The count has quite a few advantages: encounters, four card hand size, access to all abilities, claws, 15 blood, supernatural powers, and he starts hidden. A great deal of the game involves successfully applying these advantages while minimizing your disadvantages and the hunters advantages.

For encounters, the possibilities are quite large. In many cases they involve the weakening over time of the hunters, by slow health loss, item loss, and even getting dracula some points.

Hand size and access to all abilities are not that major, but still important to realize. In a fight at night, dracula doesn't need to have found any worthwhile equipment, he is always dangerous.

Claws are vital to dracula. Why? Because they allow him to do damage during the day or night without any major weaknesses, such as strength requiring you to have not taken damage the previous turn, and against a hunter without any appropriate weapons you are invincible! Once, I caught van helsing without a weapon during the day and all he had was punch. Against claws it merely causes a continue! Will you be able to kill a hunter, maybe not, but they aren't as weak as some people seem to think.

Finally, starting hidden anywhere on the board and having access to all your powers are obviously advantageous.

For Hunters:

There are four of you, each of you has two special abilities. These may not seem like incredible advantages, especially when weighed against dracula. However, examining them more closely reveals that they actually work.

You can be four places at once, hold four sets of items and events, draw cards four times, and examine four cities for dracula's trail. Your special abilities are obviously useful and shouldn't require a great deal of explanation.

In another post I'll go over some more specific strategies for each side as I see it. Anyone who can punch holes in my ideas is welcome to do so,
but please note that I'm not interested in "this one strategy always works and there isn't anything to counter it" posts. Besides being completely untrue, its totally useless to me. I want to better my game, not get into a flame war.

That said: zombie for quincy!
 
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Zsolt Nagy
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Dracula's greatest advantage over the hunters is that he can win the game on more than one way while the hunters' only option is to find him and kill him. This limits them as behind every move they make this is the ultimate goal. Dracula can opt to be agressive and collect points by killing hunters or being sneaky and go for the victory with matured vampires and bidding his time. Plus he can change between these two major strategies even during the game, keeping the hunters guessing. Depending his event cards (which he can not really influence) he can set up his encounters (with Dark Call) to fit for his actual style if needed than go for it. That's why Dark Call costs 2 blood, because it allows a strategical shift for Dracula. Many players don't understand this and think this cost too high. It is not. The power of Dark Call is subtle but absolutely not weak!

An other interesting factor is that subtlety which is all over the whole game. Many game elements can seem underpowered but with the right strategy and/or in the right situation they can be game turning. A few things are downright nasty and brutal, like stakes on Dracula, the Evasion and Hypnosis cards, etc. Many others seem weak or limited use and you have to play the game many times or dig yourself very well into it to find those. Typical example is Holy Water. A one shot item, can cure maybe a bite, but that's it. No, this is the only thing which can block Dracula if he is escaping in mist form. Surely, it won't come out in every game. But when it does it is a blast. Such little nuances are prevalent in the game and make it quite a fun.
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Spencer Rathbun
United States
Indiana
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True, the hunters ultimate goal doesn't change but actually, neither does Dracula's. He just has multiple methods of reaching that goal. Whereas the hunters always have to find him. One thing that the hunters need to consider though is the timer. If they are careful and don't let dracula kill them or mature a vampire, they actually have quite a lot of time. They don't have to fight dracula once they find him. Wait until you think victory is assured or at least defeat is impossible.

One of the things I most enjoy about this game is that it is so fluid. Depending on what equipment you get and where dracula is the strategy can change dramatically. Many times a side gets defeated not because they didn't follow a strategy properly, but because they followed the same strategy over and over even if it is no longer appropriate.

Many hunters assume that the stake is the ultimate weapon and dracula does the same thing. Yet it isn't in certain circumstances. At night dracula can use strength which has an even chance of destroying the stake, and with a trap card or castle dracula this goes up. Plus, rage allows Dracula to destroy an item before combat even begins! Even if a hunter has two stakes, one is guaranteed destroyed and the other has a good chance of destruction.

This shows one of the hunter's greatest strengths and their greatest weakness. Items. They have a lot of versatility and can change their item sets as needed. Each item has different uses even when they don't directly hurt dracula. The pistol and rifle are excellent minion killers and make it far easier to escape dracula by repelling him then using the escape card.

I am curious what other item sets people like for the hunters. My preferred set would be holy water for the mist prevention and the excellent defensive properties, stake, and pistol or perhaps sacred bullets.
 
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Zsolt Nagy
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I usually try to get the crucifix/pistol/knife combo which is quite versatile and gives a good all around protection against encounters. For Dr Steward the dogs are coming as a plus. This can be further modified when the hunter has a more concrete goal, like when he tries to get a jump on Dracula than the knife can be replaced with a stake.

Heavenly hosts I try to place down for blocking on strategical bottleneck cities like Zagreb, Vienna, and Saragosa ASAP. They worth much more as blockers than a general protective item in combat in my experience.
 
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Daniel Edwards
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Some of the many hunter advantages or potential advantages - many already stated above:

1. All it takes is one decently armed hunter fighting drac during the day to take him out (either by killing him outright or making him lose so much blood he can no longer play effectively and just gets worn down). Theres a much smaller margin of error for drac while he has to get all of his 6 points. Even a drac on the verge of victory can get outplayed or simply unlucky and staked in the last day time.

2. Plenty of findy cards combined with teleports lets 1 or more hunters achieve 1 (although the erata helps drac out a bit by preventing multiple uses of resolve for teleports in the same turn). Hunters have plenty of time to assemble their combos as long as they can simply play to deny VP's to drac. Add advance preperations to the combo and even fog/bats doesn't help.

3. It doesnt take long for hunters to assemble decent equipment just by hitting big cities at the start. It take a major effort usually involving some of drac's better cards to disable the hunters hand and he has to actually be in a position to take almost immediate advantage or the hunter can simply draw them back.

4. Hunters (particularly mina who is most at risk) can easily assemble items sets which prevent drac from hurting them. Its easy to be defensive. Hunter deaths almost always happen with the hunters being reckless and picking or staying in fights they shouldn't(or very unlucky). Each drac attempt at an attack on a hunter comes at a large cost of revealing his position and not getting to plant an event chit - if it doesn't result in 2 vp he is going to find it tough. Even if a hunter is defeated the game still at least continues if drac isn't at 6 vp. In the original game it was pretty much game over.

5. Cancel event cards are critical. Drac gets 2. Hunters get 2-4 with the two recover event cards making it much easier for them to force through or deny decisive plays.

6. Hunters can progressively fence off bits of the board (particularly seperating west and east europe) using heavenly hosts and consescrated ground. This really doesn't take much effort at all and substantially lowers drac's movement options. Good hunter groups do this novices don't.

7. Hunters get to control the flow of event cards. Thus they get to control the potential that drac will draw his escapey cards particularly evasion. If the hunters are on drac's trail they can simply stop drawing cards. If the hunters have a good hand size and drac's is low they can simply stop drawing cards. This way the effect of evasion (if it is drawn) can be minimised by the hunters.

8. Hypnosis - ouch. The forced move is just insult to injury.

9. The hunters allies: well agatha and the shipping guy, are heaps better than drac's. Both may force him simply to play the game in a way other than how he wants or needs to. If drac uses a cancel card on the ally he gets even further behind in the inevitable cancel war.

10. Drac's a bit more at the whim of random chance that the hunters. He NEEDS multiple vampire, bats, fog event chits to have a chance and he can only dark call so many times to get them (and of course dark call costs in time and blood). A good drac can cycle his event chits effectively but the hunters will invariably cycle through to their good equipment with just a little time.

11. Very importantly while time is often seen as being on dracula's side it generally isn't. Its very very rare for drac to survive 4 days so he needs 4vps from maturing vampires or killing hunters to win. If the hunters can deny him those vps while assembling their hands they can generally pull of some sense of emergency gang bang shenanigans on drac during the day time when hes revealed and win. Its not necessarily easy for drac to achieve enough disruption to the hunters to prevent them from doing this.

Overall my experience has been that the hunters have a steeper learning curve than dracula. Drac only has so many possibilities after all and has to do his best to maximise the use of the events the hunters give him. A cunning drac can fairly easily bamboozle novice hunters but with skilled ones who dictate the tempo of the game he finds it much more tough.

Fortunately its an easy game to tweak if your group thinks one side has an unfair advantage. I'd simply wait though until your group understands all of the possibilities available before you go down that road.
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