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Subject: Why Dracula is stronger in 2006 than ever... rss

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Philipp Klarmann
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Well, here you go...another Games Workshop classic gets redone by the guys at Fantasy Flight Games. And this time, they have taken on one of the few really good ones, meaning: one of the playable and enjoyable GW titles, Fury of Dracula.

Now, into the details of the differences:

If you are familiar with the old version, which is pretty hard to find nowadays, you will of course be surprised that the screen for movement is gone. What? No screen for the Dracula player? Yes, this time he uses cards and that works even better. To be honest, the old game lacked one thing for sure, that was the skill part. Mostly, the hunters depended on finding the encounters Dracula has left and praying for the one event card which revealed the current location of the Count always hoping he could not negate this card with his Devilish Power card. There was not much deduction and frankly, not much strategy involved in finding the Count. The combat system was very good, but without finding Dracula, how could one fight him?

The new game does this much, much better. At first, we very skeptical of the trail laid down by Dracula...would that really work? Sliding the cards to the left and creating a trail. It works, and like a charm. The game now has tremendous deduction possibilities for the hunters and makes things quite tough for good ole Vlad. Due to new powers for the hunters, strong event cards and such, there will rarely a moment, where the hunters are longer than 4 turns in the dark about the possible whereabouts of Dracula. He will have to use his powerful Wolf ability to move fast away in case of the hunters closing down on him and sea travels, which he used to loathe, are a must.

The game is much faster than the original. 3 hours seems to be a maximum with experienced players. There is no downtime for the hunters as they all try to guess the next moves of Dracula, who can in the meantime plan his turn. The new countdown function of the day/night track makes combat better to foresee but poses a very strict time limit on the hunters. If Dracula can mature a Vampire encounter (a new term: in the old game, you could simply leave encounters forever on the mapboard, now Dracula has to decide if he wants to keep 3 encounters in his "catacombs" at max, the rest simply falls off after having moved six locations, with encouters on it "maturing"), he is already 2 points into the 6 point victory which he needs. Let him kill another hapless hunter (another 2 points) and just two days remain to catch him (2x6 turns) as each new day gives Dracula one victory point.

The hunters will be relieved to know that there are more weapons to fight the evil Count than ever. But not all of them are that powerful. Of course, meeting Dracula at day with a stake is a good way to victory (which is achieved by killing him), but would you succeed at meeting him on these unfavourable odds? Dracula will try to be aggressive in the 3 night turns and more timid in the 3 day turns which make up one day.

The event cards which were one of the prime-movers of the old game are still there and they are athmospheric.

A difference then is in combat: Gone are the chits, now, you try to outgess your opponent by playing down a card (for Dracula his special powers, for the hunters the basic 3 (dodge, escape and punch) plus their item cards (garlic, stake, knife and so on). Then both players roll their dice (we had that in the old game IIRC), then the high roller succeeds with his action. Again, the combat system is a nice variation of the old theme and coupled with the good graphics and the new weapons, certainly better.

There is a new hunter, Mina Harker, who starts the game bitten and with low stamina. You will want to use her bite though with the important Hypnosis card which now is REALLY powerful as it can be used from the first moment.

There will be always 4 hunters on the board, therefore 33% more actions for the hunters.

People with only a mediocre English be warned...there is a lot of text on the cards which needs to be read and understood. So, maybe it´s worth to wait for translations.

All in all, I would only keep the old version as a nostalgia to look upon. If in doubt about which version to play, I would not hesitate to pull out the new Fury of Dracula version.
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Magnus Hernegran
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Thanks for the review! I'm quite curious about this game =: ) Thus I have a question to those of you who have played it: Is it well balanced? What are the chances to win the game playing the count or the hunters?
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Philipp Klarmann wrote:
To be honest, the old game lacked one thing for sure, that was the skill part. Mostly, the hunters depended on finding the encounters Dracula has left and praying for the one event card which revealed the current location of the Count always hoping he could not negate this card with his Devilish Power card. There was not much deduction and frankly, not much strategy involved in finding the Count. The combat system was very good, but without finding Dracula, how could one fight him?


Phillipp,

I always enjoy your reviews, and generally agree with them, but must note that I strongly disagree with the section above. Having played the original Fury of Dracula well over 100 times, I assure you that there is a great deal of skill involved.

I'm glad you like the new game, and hope I will as well. But I must stick up for the old version, as it is one of my all time favorites.

Regards,
George
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Vincent Frattali
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Fury of dracula has been always in my top 10 games af all time. Somewhat of a Euro (before I knew what a Euro game was)in the 80's. This game has no pasted on lame theme that most Euro's have. This was a meaty gamers game with A lot of strategy and skill ( I agree with you George on this), and by the way George I would have loved to have the chance to play this 100 times as most of my gamer friends find the orginal too long or tedious. Of course I remeber Alan Moon's strategy of attacking with Dracula right out the gate hoping to cripple one hunters early. Anyway off tack a bit great review Philip and I have the game on order. Sounds like the tried to keep close to the orginal, I look forward to play the new one.
 
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Jason Welch
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Wilkans wrote:
Thanks for the review! I'm quite curious about this game =: ) Thus I have a question to those of you who have played it: Is it well balanced? What are the chances to win the game playing the count or the hunters?



I've only played a couple of games so far, but it seems pretty well-balanced to me. Dracula definitely seems to take a bit more skill and experience to play well than the hunters, who can benefit from sudden windfalls of information (there's already been some pretty good posts regarding strategies for the Count, though). Ultimately, though, the designers seem to have left it up to the individuals playing the game to decide that for themselves, as the rulebook lists different ways to make the game easier or harder for either Dracula or the hunters, in case one side or the other seems to be having too easy or hard a time of it, or should they deem it necessary to give more experienced players a handicap.
 
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Brad Miller
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Wilkans wrote:
Thanks for the review! I'm quite curious about this game =: ) Thus I have a question to those of you who have played it: Is it well balanced? What are the chances to win the game playing the count or the hunters?


OK, so sense of Emergency sucks if you are Dracula, but Evasion sucks worse as a Hunter.

I've played three games so far, all as Drac. Lost the first big-time, (trapped in Italy), had a die roll-off combat that decided Drac's fate, which, had he won, he was off scot free for a win. Third game, victory for Drac in a long-drawn out affair, with my missing the chance to have sired a new vampire, the Hunters taking away my Vampire point, one hunter defeated, two Evasions played, etc.

I've learned, STAY AWAY FROM ITALY!!! Bad, bad place to land your ship...

So i think it's pretty darn balanced. Now that I know Drac's combat cards better, I think Drac may have a bit of an edge.
 
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Jack Wraith
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Played yesterday for the first time since the late 80s (session report coming.) I completely avoided Italy for a variety of gametime reasons (Hunters nearby), but also because I recognized that it's in the middle of the map and easier to reach than other corners like the Balkans or Spain. I had great fun in the first 6 or so turns in the Balkans, even after Hired Scouts exposed my starting point in Bucharest (random guess!) I moved to Sofia, then Valona, then Athens, Hid for a turn, then Doubled Back to Valona, moved to Salonika, and finally hit the Ionian Sea. With the Hide and the Double Back, I had made at least one of the Hunters argue that I had moved north to Berlin somehow and had embarked upon the North Sea.
 
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Play Games - Interact - Have Fun!
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Great Review! I can tell that my sight unseen purchase will not be a poor one. My copy is due to arrive... tomorrow!
 
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