Tiago Perretto
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About Fury of Dracula (third/fourth edition):

1) What is it?
Fury of Dracula (third/fourth edition), in spite of the name might induce one to think, means more that Dracula is furiously fleeing and planting his vampire seed everywhere he can, sprinkling some places with bats, wolves, fog and the sort - Dracula is the base in which every vampire trope was built on, after all.

It is the hunters job to fight the servants of Dracula, trying to prevent his influence to take over Europe, and, at the same time, tracking the path of the monster itself in order to put and end to his profane life. All of this while working as best as possible around Europe's railway system, which can suck hard in that time.

Dracula have a lot of tools to use in his vampiring spree, but so do the hunters, mostly because they are specially good in finding the proper people to talk and the right places to be, as they can unveil the path of Dracula simply by arriving in a place, no matter how big and populated it is. They have the power of script, which can make even the most improbable things happen, often even.

All of this couple together to make a beautiful game, one that is tense, thoughtful, putting the two sides in a constant battle of wits, with Dracula trying to circle around and away of the hunters, leading them to some wild goose chases, while also spreading his influence and traps on his path; and the hunters looking to triangulate Dracula's moves, his possible hideouts, antecipate his movements, destroy his servants and kill the master vampire himself.

This is what Fury of Dracula (third/fourth edition) is. And without Keanu Reeves.

2) How do you play?
Most basically the turn is:
Hunters - each Hunter, in order:
- One Day action (movement, rest, supply, trade, get a train ticket and search).

Hunters - each Hunter, in order:
- One Night action (rest, supply, trade, get a train ticket and search).

There is no movement at night. Supply also works differently: if made during the day, the player takes the top card of the Event deck, knowing if it is a Dracula card or a Hunter card. If it is a Dracula card, it is discarded. During the night, the Event card is drawn from the bottom of the deck, and if it is a Dracula card, is goes to Dracula.

When moving or searching, a combat may occur. Dracula plays for himself and his servants. Combat lasts a maximum of 6 rounds, and can end sooner if one side was able to flee or one side is defeated.

Then is Dracula's turn, and he basically only picks a place to go (choosing a city card to put on the track) and may put an encounter card above it.

The turn then passes again to the Hunters.

The game ends when Dracula is killed (Hunters win) or when Dracula reaches 13 influence (Dracula wins).

3) Which are the decisions made during play?
Lots. But the most often, for both sides, will be: to which place to move. This is the key part for Dracula to remain hidden and being able to mature its plots and gain influence. And is key for the Hunters to find Dracula's trail, foil his plans and try to kill Dracula.

The second most important set of decisions are those that involve combat: which card to use or to hold, waiting for a better opportunity. This serves both as a delay tatic, as one side just want to receive the least amount of damage as possible, or as a more violent approach, in order to avoid the cancelation of cards, to strike blows and cause damage/effects.

The third set of decisions stays around the use of Event cards, for both sides, and which Encounter card to place, for Dracula. This is important, specially for Dracula, and can have strong effects in the game, but, still, as a decision, it stays behind movement and combat, as often the use of them is either immediate or evident.

There are other decisions to be made, but these are the most relevant.

4) What are the good things in the game?
- Very thematic, serving truly as a cat and mouse chase, in which the mouse can strike back, and hard;
- Beautiful design and graphics;
- Great changes (from last edition) for the use of trains and combat;
- Constant cooperation between the Hunters players in order to decide movements and to unveil Dracula's path;
- While not much elegant in its mechanics, its flow is good and the amount of rules is rather slim for a game of this "size".

5) Which are the bad news?
- It can last for 3 hours or more of playing time;
- Is always required to play with all the 4 Hunters, regardless of number of players;
- While luck was lowered in this edition, it still has a fine part on the gameplay;
- Though the game has a small set of rules, some timming issues can arise easily.
- The person playing Dracula (probably the owner) will likely play him time and time again.

6) How do you feel while playing?

Lord Godalming - Hamburg, february 3rd, 1898

Mr. Seward, Dracula surely returned to Europe through here, in the small hours of the 2nd, coming in the Dame of the Night. I got here not even sixteen hours late! Damn all this snow! I talked with the coachmen and all of them remember last night well, because one of them had his carriage stolen. The coachman, a man named Hans, was hurt, but survived, which gives more proof to back what Mrs. Harker said: Dracula is weak. I will go to Berlin, for I also have a belief - that the vampire will go east, back to the region where he feels safer and has more power. We must block his way! I pray that you take the first train to Prague, and if the vampire isn't there, at least we will meet. I will leave tomorrow, when the ship that brings Mrs. Harker is expected to arrive. We will go together to Berlin, than, if necessary, to Prague. Ah, yes, I must also say that I don't have anymore of those night shudders - so I guess the concoction completed its job at last, even the bite marks are almost gone from sight. Thanks Mr. Helsing for me, for I'm not being able to reach him in a while.

***********

Doctor Seward - Prague, february 5th, 1898

Dracula was here, Lord Godalming! But again he slipped my grasp. Every time the trap appears to be set, the hare skips from it. Facing it at night wasn't one of my best ideas, but I feared that, by morning, he would have gone somewhere that I couldn't find. I kept him under my watch for two days, then I saw that he was making arrangements to leave. So I went to talk with the coachman when the was taking Dracula's luggage out. He attacked me as if he was mad, pulling out a knife and a pistol, but I pull the trigger of my rifle faster. During this unexpected fight, Dracula escaped in the form of a wolf, leaving all his belongings behind - I checked them in a hurry: it was all news things, probably purchased after he got back to Europe. I couldn't search for more, as the police was coming and a dead man would be a tough thing to explain. Come quick, my friends! I will be waiting in the Continental Hotel, room 16.

***********

Van Helsing - Edinburgh, february 7th, 1898

Friends, I'm basically stuck in here. I was delayed many times by servants of the vampire - enthralled by the power of the monster -, both humans and beasts. The demon took his time to do this while he was hiding from me and Mina. I had to return to Edinburgh because a violent storm wrecked both ships and the ports in the south coast. I suspect that more than a finger of foul sorcery was at work in this event. I shall return to the mainland as soon as possible.

***********

Mina Harker - Vienna, february 12th, 1898

Mr. Helsing, we - Doctor Seward, Lord Godalming and I - are in Vienna, a place where Dracula went by in his way to Eastern Europe. For me is clear that he intends to return to his lair - the Castle Dracula. Lord Godalming wants to go there and break in with fire and blades. I think is a rather bold, and unwise, but we do need to keep Dracula on the move. If he finds a secure location to recover, all might be lost - and we are so close to defeat him! So we will go to Budapest and, then, to Klausenburg. I hope you can join us for the final leg of this hunt.

***********

Lord Godalming - Klauserburg, february 17th, 1898

Mr. Helsing, the chase is almost at its end, I feel this in my bones. Doctor Seward went to Galatz, so that we can close the escape routes for Dracula. We weren't able to make a deal with the locals in order for them to take us to the Castle Dracula, not even more money nor threats worked. Mrs. Harker said that, if in the next morning we fail again, we should buy a carriage or cart and handle it ourselves. It is not ideal, since neither of us know the ways here, and the tracks in the mountains are treacherous and dangerous, specially in the winter. But we might not have another option. Anyway, we don't hear from you since jan 22th. I guess you are in the sea, but wire us a message when you can. I pray that all is well with you.

***********

Doctor Seward - Galatz, february 19th, 1898

Mrs. Harker and Lord Godalming, I hear wolves last night and the people on the streets talked all morning about a lone rider, dressed in black and surrounded by mist, that crossed the town during the small hours of the night. The local folk have many stories to tell but little truth in the words. Even so, I will investigate further these rumors. Any news from Mr. Helsing?

***********

Van Helsing - Constanta, february 22th, 1898

Friends, forgive me! I was in a long voyage in the ship Sea Foam, coming all the way from Edinburgh to Athens. From Athens I took another ship - the Navigator - to reach Constanta. You messages came to me when we took port on the way here, rest assure. I knew - or hoped - that the vampire would, yet again, try to escape by the sea, crossing the Black Sea to Turkey. So I encourage the capitain of the Navigator to use all the coal he had so that I could arrive sooner. I had with me a pair of bloodhounds, that I bought in Scotland. They are fierce and loyal, and I trained them to search for the smell of the vampire - not an easy task, since the dogs, for a good while, tried to run away from the smell. It must be said, my friends, that sometimes, seldom, sure, but sometimes luck smile for a person. Why, you ask? Well, because, while I was taking my belongings out of the Navigator, my dogs started to bark in a wild manner. I had to let them go, because they would suffocate or break the leashes. The dogs sprinted away and I went behind them. And then, lo and behold, the dogs were following the vampire! The demon was making arrangements for his transportation when the dogs attacked. He hissed and call for a wave of rats to attack us, and the rodents appeared from everywhere, but the dogs kept most of them away, for time enough for me to take on the vampire himself. He tried to flee again, but not this time! I don't know exactly how, but as we rolled on the ground, my stake found its way to the beast black heart. The demon contorted his body in impossible ways, kind like a worm when taken out of the ground, and soon there wasn't nothing there - nothing more than a heap of clothes. My frieds, we freed the world from this curse! A new day rises!

This is what player should feel while playing. Some won't, sadly, seeing only a set mechanisms active as clockwork. But some will, and it will be great.

Anyway, Fury of Dracula (third/fourth edition) made some good changes, particularly in some parts, and two of them being ones I truly wanted: movement by trains and combat.

For the combat, before it was all on the dice. No matter how great the hunt was, nor how well Dracula has used his powers and servants to hide and escape, but once a hunter and Dracula are in the same place, all came to the dice. Roll poorly and you will lose, get bitten, die or Dracula will escape, no matter how great your hand is. I knew the combat could be so much better, but inspite being somewhat novel (with its many relations between the cards used and its effects), I found it to be lackluster and disappointing - considering all the movement strategy that the game requires previous to the encounter. Now, they get rid of the dice and left only the cards, adding symbols - when two symbols colide (being present on Dracula's and the Hunter's card), Dracula's card is cancelled. If not Dracula's card goes first. Simple and effective. Dracula's attacks and of his minions is also tougher to predict.

For movement, before you had to roll while using trains. Now you take ticktes to use later. The tickets have values going from 1 to 3, and can't all be used anywhere (there are a 1 white, which can only be used in West Europe, for instance). But the movement you get is definitive: you can count on it when you want to use it (sure, Dracula has some Events that mess with the tickets, however, it is a person doing it, not a die), therefore you can strategize your turn, and with the others, in order to reach places, planning is stronger now.

There were also changes to the Encounters that Dracula's put in his hideouts - making them, usually, better to be used, as now they all have effects when matured. The use of some Event cards were changed in order to contain more options and become useful in more situations. Dracula can also gain points easier and in more ways, which is very good.

In the end, Fury of Dracula (third/fourth edition) is simply a superior game than its predecessor, as all the noticeable changes were for better, while still keeping the same feeling, thrills and excitement of its former self. Therefore, although i liked the 2nd edition, I always kept a resistence to it, since I often get myself frustrated with the dice in what was, in other parts, a very strategic and controlled game. This was left in the past, and I can recommend the 3rd edition fully.

Regards,


Image credit: W Eric Martin



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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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tiagoVIP wrote:
In the end, Fury of Dracula (third/fourth edition) is simply a superior game than its predecessor...

Being better than 2nd edition is a pretty low bar. Being as good as 1st edition, now that's a challenge. devil
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What would interest me is the difference in components/cards as I am a stron believer in anti-obsolescence and thus won't buy this FFG product.

So: can you upgrade? Homegrown?
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Upgrading will be pretty hard. The general map is the same and they use the same miniatures, but everything else is different.
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ionas wrote:
What would interest me is the difference in components/cards as I am a stron believer in anti-obsolescence and thus won't buy this FFG product.

So: can you upgrade? Homegrown?


While there are plenty of changes, the two I liked the most (combat and movement) can, indeed, by print and added to the game, as for the combat the hunters cards are basically the same (rifle, pistol, dogs, stake, etc), one would need the new cards in order to add the proper symbols. The Dracula deck would present more of a challenge, but, at least, it would be just this one to print.

The movement tokens are easy to be done and to substitute the die.

Many other things have changed, but the others could mostly stay as they were in 2ed.

Regards,
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tiagoVIP wrote:
ionas wrote:
What would interest me is the difference in components/cards as I am a stron believer in anti-obsolescence and thus won't buy this FFG product.

So: can you upgrade? Homegrown?


While there are plenty of changes, the two I liked the most (combat and movement) can, indeed, by print and added to the game, as for the combat the hunters cards are basically the same (rifle, pistol, dogs, stake, etc), one would need the new cards in order to add the proper symbols. The Dracula deck would present more of a challenge, but, at least, it would be just this one to print.

The movement tokens are easy to be done and to substitute the die.

Many other things have changed, but the others could mostly stay as they were in 2ed.

Regards,


Thank you for your elaboration.

Which new cards would require to be added? Can the combat cards stay? If not what do they require to be added ontop? I could use sleeves and inside transparent plastic sheets and ontop stickers... that should be cheap and fast to make.

If there is a list of cards required for upgrades of combat and movement - that would make it easy to create a community upgrade pack.
 
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ionas wrote:
tiagoVIP wrote:
ionas wrote:
What would interest me is the difference in components/cards as I am a stron believer in anti-obsolescence and thus won't buy this FFG product.

So: can you upgrade? Homegrown?


While there are plenty of changes, the two I liked the most (combat and movement) can, indeed, by print and added to the game, as for the combat the hunters cards are basically the same (rifle, pistol, dogs, stake, etc), one would need the new cards in order to add the proper symbols. The Dracula deck would present more of a challenge, but, at least, it would be just this one to print.

The movement tokens are easy to be done and to substitute the die.

Many other things have changed, but the others could mostly stay as they were in 2ed.

Regards,


Thank you for your elaboration.

Which new cards would require to be added? Can the combat cards stay? If not what do they require to be added ontop? I could use sleeves and inside transparent plastic sheets and ontop stickers... that should be cheap and fast to make.

If there is a list of cards required for upgrades of combat and movement - that would make it easy to create a community upgrade pack.


Basically, you can get away with reusing the location deck, although you would have to adjust a couple of the sea zones and Dracula's power cards. You could also reuse some of the tokens, but would need to make others.

All of the item and event cards would require changing to a lesser or greater extent, although you could do this with cards in sleeves with stickers as you suggest. You would need a new deck of cards for Dracula's encounters. The character cards are also all different.

The board layout is changed, it may be possible to use the old layout but I'm not sure how much that would affect the game. At the very least you would need to add hospitals.


To get more idea of the chnages there is a file in the file section detailing the worlding on all the cards by user
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Fury of Dracula - Cards Reference
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Hm that's a lot. I don't mean like a total conversion. I mean more like
- What did change that you did like the least in FoD 2nd Ed that got (in your mind) changed in FoD 3rd for the better.

And then if that list is rather small and only requires some component overhauls... maybe those are worth it!
 
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tiagoVIP wrote:

Now, they get rid of the dice and left only the cards, adding symbols - when two symbols colide (being present on Dracula's and the Hunter's card), the two cards are cancelled. If not, both activate, with Dracula's going first. Simple and effective.


Just wanted to point out that this is incorrect. If the symbols match, only Dracula's card is cancelled and the Hunter's card works normally. Some of Dracula's cards can, in turn, cancel the Hunter's card.
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Sphere wrote:
tiagoVIP wrote:
In the end, Fury of Dracula (third/fourth edition) is simply a superior game than its predecessor...

Being better than 2nd edition is a pretty low bar. Being as good as 1st edition, now that's a challenge. devil


Seeing as we're of a mind on the 2nd edition, I'd be interested what you made of 3rd. Originally I thought it was the best of the three: after a good few plays I've settled at as good as the first, but different, trading one set of minor issues (excessive randomness) for another (excessive downtime).
 
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Excessive Downtime is probably THE WORST thing any game can have; aside maybe very thinky non-tournament 1vs1 games.
 
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ionas wrote:
Excessive Downtime is probably THE WORST thing any game can have; aside maybe very thinky non-tournament 1vs1 games.


That's a matter of opinion. The problem with FoD is that there are effectively ten hunter actions to Dracula's one. But I have a fine time watching, gloating and anticipating when I'm playing Dracula so it's not an issue for me. YMM, of course, V.
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Yeah understood, but as I played a lot of 1vsMany games that total up to probably 200h+ I am really not interested in that. Fixing that would have been great. If its not I can just play Scotland Yard instead (that has got enough downtime).
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