Saturday, October 01, 2016

Halloween in '16: Fury of Dracula (Third Edition) review

For this year's special run of Halloween posts, Shangrila Towers is spotlighting those infamous creatures of the night - vampires. Keep your crucifix handy, and pray for dawn...

My friends and I generally enjoyed the second edition of "Fury of Dracula", but the game did have a few problems that kept it from hitting the table more often. The biggest issue was game length: sessions could often stretch past the three-hour mark, turning what should have been tension-filled chases into murderous slogs.

Well, Fantasy Flight Games heard everyone's complaints and (ahem) revamped "Fury of Dracula" with a new third edition:



By and large, the experience is largely the same: the game still features vampire hunters travelling across Europe, hoping to run across the trail of Count Dracula. The Dracula player, as before, uses traps, misdirection, and occasionally brute force to evade them. If Dracula sires enough vampires and causes enough chaos, he wins. At first, it doesn't feel that different.

All that goes out the window, though, once you actually engage in combat, either with Drac himself, or with his human and monstrous minions. The old edition had a clunky dice-rolling combat system that was often indecipherable to new players. This edition is entirely card-based, with new rules that enhance the bluffing aspects of the fights and minimize the effect of chance. Under this new system, you can defeat or avoid a foe even if you are overmatched, as long as you can guess what cards your opponent will play. Most importantly, the card-based system is much faster to play.

There are also a bunch of minor tweaks to streamline the experience. A new "advancing doom" mechanic that propels Dracula closer to victory the longer the game runs, ensuring that you'll never be stuck in a four hour slugfest. Many of the character traits, items, and vampire powers have been changed to make them more fun. All in all, the third edition of "Fury of Dracula" finally fulfills the promise of the original 1987 version - it's a perfect choice for some Halloween gaming.

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