The Game: Fury of Dracula
The Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Time: Varies. It can end in as little as an hour. I've seen it take as much as five.
Players: Me, +Sarah Dyer, +Michael Taylor, +Rob L, Jess.
Game play: One player (me, in this case) plays Dracula. The other players control the Hunters (Lord Godalming, John Seward, Van Helsing, and Mina Harker). The board covers much of Europe (the Isles over to Constanta), and the Hunters pick where they start. Dracula then chooses what city he starts in, but the Hunters don't know that. The Hunters act in sequence, moving from city to city, searching for Dracula, and equipping themselves with item cards (weapons, horses, dogs, etc.) event cards (which can give them allies, hints and special abilities...but you draw them from the bottom of the deck, because some of them go to Dracula).
Dracula leaves a trail (you can see it at the top of the board), which fills with cards as he moves through Europe. If a Hunter finds his trail, they might discover an encounter he left behind for them (fog, minions, baby vampires, rats), but should be able to figure out where he's been and track him down. If they find Dracula, they fight! Hunters don't die; they can be defeated (which gives Dracula victory points) and Bitten, but then they get shipped to the hospital to recover.
|Mike and Sarah consider their impending doom.|
Combat involves both parties picking from a hand of weapon cards (Dracula gets a bunch more, including Claws and Mesmerize, at night), and rolling a die. High roll wins and some effect happens, depending on who played what (stakes hurt!). Every time Dracula has a turn, the time marker advances, progressing through three turns of day and three of night. Every new dawn, Dracula gets a victory point and the Hunters get Resolve, which they can spend to do things like find Dracula.
The Hunters win by killing Dracula. Dracula wins by reaching six victory points. Dracula gets victory points by waiting (1 every dawn), defeating hunters, or having new vampires "mature" (they "fall off" the edge of the trail with no one finding and killing them).
|Jess is unperturbed. Rob hides from the camera.|
In this particular game, the Hunters drew Jonathan Harker as an ally early on, which I thought would be a problem (he reveals Dracula's sixth location card), but then I pulled an event card that let me move twice and push a baby vampire off the edge, netting me two easy victory points. And then I kicked Van Helsing's butt (though it was a close thing) and got two more, and at that point it was just a matter of waiting for the dawn. So I won, and Dracula triumphs again!
Opinions: I really like this game, but you need players who are interested and will stick with it. It requires patience and there's a certain degree of frustration, because if Dracula pulls Evasion (teleporting anywhere on the board), I've seen players give up. Likewise, there's a great deal of psychological warfare that goes on, because smart players can track your eye gaze and figure where you are on the map (there's actually a mini-map for Dracula to avoid this, but I find it hard to use). And, as mentioned, this game can take a few hours, so if you're playing it, settle in.
That said, I really enjoy it. I enjoy being Dracula a lot more than being the Hunters, but either's good.
Keep it? Yes.