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Subject: First playthrough, a great game overall rss

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Hunters,
After my first playthrough (with 2 other players, me being Dracula), i have the following remarks:

* reading reviews, the game normally takes 2.5 to 3 hours. i made an error in that my strategy was to avoid hunters during the day instead of attacking them. clearly, when Dracula has an avoidance strategy it may not be the most effective strategy and makes things dreadfully boring. attacking Hunters makes more sense because if he kills a Hunter, his "New Vampire" points victory condition will be advanced by 2 points. it may make sense to try to attack Mina even when it's daytime.
* Dracula does not place encounters while at sea, nor does any combat takes place nor does the timekeeping marker move forward. we were unsure about this at first - a quick rules check clarified this
* when there is more than one hunter at one location and Dracula attacks them, the hunters fight as a group. sometimes it makes sense for hunters to team up, at the expense of covering more ground. this will probabaly occur more during the endgame.
* hunters are able to rest without Dr. Seward, they simply will draw two Event cards instead of one (with the risk of drawing red cards to be handed off to Dracula). we mistakenly thought Dr. Seward's presence was required to rest. again, rules check aided us here.
* Dracula's Wolf Form power does allow him to cross over a location he's already been in - something that's not intuitive but good to keep in mind.
* During the start of combat, Dracula begins with the option to play any power-ups in the form of retained Event cards. After that, any and all Hunters have the opportunity to do the same, not just the Hunter that is participating directly in combat. a great mechanic to keep hunter players involved out-of-turn.
* a better understanding of Dracula's encounters and Hunters' items will make the game go more smoothly. I.e, the Hunter's items such as Garlic and Holy water are great defensive tools, while Silver Bullets and Stakes can inflict heavy damage to Dracula.
* I read a few BBG commentaries and there are players that found the game overwhelmingly easy to be Dracula and others thought that the Hunters had too much of an advantage. i think it's fairly balanced overall.

* One strategy Hunters followed was to not draw event cards when they were tailing Dracula from one location away. As we saw, there's a chance that the Evasion card is dealt and Dracula would then teleport away. Of course, there are events that help Hunters too, it just depends on when and how often you want to gamble by drawing event cards. perhaps a event-stingy stategy would benefit Hunters the most.

* The trend is for Hunters to spend the first day gathering the primo weapons, then on the second day to engage Dracula. Dracula can try to run, but he can only escape as Mist or Wolf during the night. In the day, he only can escape as Man, which leaves him vulnerable to blood loss at the hands of the Hunters. Certain items like Garlic and Heavenly Host prevent him from escaping easily. Also keep in mind that Hunters can take the train to cover more ground and try to box Dracula in. Worst case scenario is Mina gets killed, but at that point Dracula's location is revealed and hopefully the other 3 Hunters can converge on him like i would on a box of Peter David comics.

* The weapons' outcome boxes take some time to learn but i think experience will make it easier for the Hunters. From what i read, Pistols are effective against Agents but useless against Dracula himself. I think it's interesting that there's some thought behind these match-ups and they seem to be consistent with the flavor of the game. Part of the fun would be to discover what works best against what.

*I think in our playthrough the Hunters ran into a bit of bad luck by drawing 3 Newspaper Reports in the beginning that effectively fizzled out. Also, the Hunters drew the Evasion card for Dracula at a very inopportune time. lesson learned: when you're hot on Dracula's trail, don't draw event cards because there's a small chance Dracula be given an immediate out.

*Reviewers for this game give it high marks, and I can see why. Our game ran long because of the learning curve and the my less-than-efficient strategizing as Dracula.

* i played a second session with one other player, with me controlling the Hunters. I had a lot of fun controlling the Hunters. With more players there's more the benefit of open discussion and more hands to physically handle cards and character sheets. the downside would be more downtime and possibly longer gaming sessions. in our particular session, the game was very close with Dracula winning. however, the game boiled down to a single dice-roll at 2 or 3 points in the game - a testament to the game being well-balanced!

* overall the game has a lot of great elements, is very thematic and suspenseful. i can't wait to play again. if i could change some things i would make combat a little more 2-dimensional and find a way to control a bit of the randomness of event cards, but these are minor comments. overall rating: 9/10

As an aside, I asked my wife to play Fury of Dracula with me 1-on-1, but she flatly refused.
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Eric Spencer
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Glad you enjoyed your first play! The game can feel a little over-long at times, especially if the hunters don't have any leads. It sounds like you got most of the fiddly rules down (I know I missed a ton my first few times, especially dogs and sea zones revealing).

I would say that avoiding the hunters during the day is usually a good strategy. When I play the count, I usually try and avoid them the whole game. It makes things slower, but I think the count's strength is in avoidance and patience. But, it also does pay sometimes to be bold.

As for combat, the thing that made life easier for me was to find and print a good combat chart from the files section here on BGG. That way you can just consult the chart and see what, if anything, is broken and what happens. It streamlines things immensely.
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Joe Reil
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stratag wrote:
* reading reviews, the game normally takes 2.5 to 3 hours. i made an error in that my strategy was to avoid hunters during the day instead of attacking them. clearly, when Dracula has an avoidance strategy it may not be the most effective strategy and makes things dreadfully boring. attacking Hunters makes more sense because if he kills a Hunter, his "New Vampire" points victory condition will be advanced by 2 points. it may make sense to try to attack Mina even when it's daytime.


2.5 - 3 hours is about right for experienced players. It can extend out to 4 or so depending on how things develop. Re: Dracula play-style I tend to play a fairly conservative and avoidance-heavy Dracula. If you're too good at this, or the Hunters are just unlucky (or if both happen at once) it can make for a poor session.

Attacking Hunters is always risky, more so in the day-time. It CAN make sense to do this, but it's very situational.

Quote:
* Dracula does not place encounters while at sea, nor does any combat takes place nor does the timekeeping marker move forward. we were unsure about this at first - a quick rules check clarified this


This is correct - also Dracula's location at sea is not revealed automatically if a Hunter moves into the same sea zone.

Quote:
* Dracula's Wolf Form power does allow him to cross over a location he's already been in - something that's not intuitive but good to keep in mind.


Yes. He can also run through a Hunter's current location without revealing that he has done so. Neither of these are true for his other fast movement card: Unearthly Swiftness.

Quote:
* I read a few BBG commentaries and there are players that found the game overwhelmingly easy to be Dracula and others thought that the Hunters had too much of an advantage. i think it's fairly balanced overall.


Agreed.

Quote:
* One strategy Hunters followed was to not draw event cards when they were tailing Dracula from one location away. As we saw, there's a chance that the Evasion card is dealt and Dracula would then teleport away. Of course, there are events that help Hunters too, it just depends on when and how often you want to gamble by drawing event cards. perhaps a event-stingy stategy would benefit Hunters the most.


Not generally - 2/3 of the Events are for the Hunters and they can also hold more Event cards in total. The last time I played Dracula I had a VERY hard time and was killed pretty quickly because Evasion was drawn in the first turn, and the Hunters drew aggressively through the rest of the game, causing me to discard quite a bit. The cards I had were good, but all 4 Hunters had strong hands as well and they overwhelmed me.

Respect Evasion, of course, but don't let it make you afraid to draw cards all the time.

Quote:
As an aside, I asked my wife to play Fury of Dracula with me 1-on-1, but she flatly refused.


I've seen some folks who prefer it as a 1-on-1 game. It's not my preference - I like it with 3 or 5.
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Thanks for the comments. We'll take your advice regarding drawing Event cards and Combat sheets and play through a few more sessions.
 
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Brian Mc Cabe
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Hurricanespence wrote:
Glad you enjoyed your first play! The game can feel a little over-long at times, especially if the hunters don't have any leads. It sounds like you got most of the fiddly rules down (I know I missed a ton my first few times, especially dogs and sea zones revealing).

I would say that avoiding the hunters during the day is usually a good strategy. When I play the count, I usually try and avoid them the whole game. It makes things slower, but I think the count's strength is in avoidance and patience. But, it also does pay sometimes to be bold.

As for combat, the thing that made life easier for me was to find and print a good combat chart from the files section here on BGG. That way you can just consult the chart and see what, if anything, is broken and what happens. It streamlines things immensely.


I agree it's a bad idea for the count to attack during the day; but, I can't stand the avoidance strategy. Our first game was pretty quick, with the investigators zeroing in an Drac and dispatching him in sort order.

A different player was so desperate to win ad Drac that he spent almost the entire game at sea, where we couldn't touch him. The timeline didn't advance, but he would hit shore long enough to advance the time track one level and then took to sea again. It was unplayable and the hunters were glad when it was over.

Brian
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Eric Spencer
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apatheticexecutioner wrote:

A different player was so desperate to win ad Drac that he spent almost the entire game at sea, where we couldn't touch him. The timeline didn't advance, but he would hit shore long enough to advance the time track one level and then took to sea again. It was unplayable and the hunters were glad when it was over.

Brian


That does sound awful. FoD can end up being rough if the hunters are nowhere near the count. For me, I love the game when it feels like a solid chase. Even playing as the count it's not fun for me if there's no tension.
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I'm not sure how that could be a great strategy, since Drac would be losing a lot of blood that way, and would have to be careful since he can't backtrack easily. The hunters would have plenty of time to stock up on items and by the time he landed, it's likely one of them will have a hypnosis; they could then send a well-equipped hunter in with some stakes and garlic during the day to finish him off.
 
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