The Components (Bits):
Typical of American board games the components are a mixed bag in Vampire Hunter.. Dracula’s castle is an amazing piece of work, a functional bit that plays an impressive role in the game. The board is of good quality with decent good artwork, and the player miniatures are quite well done.. The game also features tiles that are slightly thinner than most euro games but very passable. The major downside here is the box quality is awful with no insert, and the cards are so flimsy they curl up.
The Setup and Rules:
Rules are fast and simple, and setup is rather painless. We read the rules from cover to cover in less than 5 minutes, and spent another 5 minutes discussing possible areas of confusion. Despite the complex looking board and bits, setup was over in only a few minutes and the lights were switched off and we were ready to play. This game is played in total darkness believe it or not.
The theme in this game is extremely strong, not unlike most American games. The board, bits, and giant Dracula castle are absolutely phenomenal for creating a strong themed gameplay. The fact that this game is played in total darkness really adds to the overall “Horror” theme of the game, and can be quite scary for young kids.
This is a fully cooperative game where players must work their way through Dracula’s castle and attempt to kill him before his ship arrives to take him to the new world. Adventurers encounter pitfalls, obstacles, and monsters of various types in their journey to slay him. Players must also collect one of each weapon in order to kill Dracula. At various locations throughout the castle there are “Obstacles” such as giant webs and traps that block or impede your progress. In addition some areas have tiles on them that must be revealed, these tiles can show either villagers OR werewolves depending on if it is night or day (and this requires encounter resolution). Some tiles contain weapons that you collect for killing dracula. A player turn consists of drafting a card, these cards control night/day phases in the game and Dracula’s ship movement. Players then roll the dice and move their hero across the board, flipping any tiles they uncover along the way. The board, tiles, and even cards change depending on the day or night cycle of light emanating from Dracula’s tower – and the system works amazingly well!
The Depth and Tactics:
Movement is a dice roll, completely random. Combat against Dracula, werewolves and other monsters is resolved via dice roll. As such this game has a very high “Luck” element not untypical of traditional American board games. The card drafting that controls Dracula’s escape is also luck based. In fact, this entire game is completely based off the “Luck” premise, there is very little actual skill involved or any deduction required. There is a good measure of tension in the game as players struggle to overcome the odds and kill Dracula, and the game is effective at escalating this tension.
Vampire Hunter isn’t a gamers game, it is a kid/teen/family game with a strong theme and cooperative gameplay. At the core of Vampire Hunter is the unique game concept of playing in the dark with the board illuminated by the light from Dracula’s castle. The game is very good at creating tension that grows as the game progresses, and this keeps the game fun for the 30 minute duration. The game is quite fun, but the high luck element means it will get repetitive quickly and likely won’t see much table time. As a light, thematic and tension filled game that kids really enjoy, this one fits the bill quite nicely. I won’t request this game on game night, but I won’t turn down a quick game or two, therefore this game has a place in our game library. We paid only $5.99 for this game brand new and at that price point, this is a real bargain. We've logged about 18 plays, or 33cents per session.
- Last edited Fri Dec 2, 2005 6:11 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:29 am