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The following is a review of the Fury of Dracula Third Edition Board Game, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program.
So many pieces, but easy after a week
I haven't played any of the previous editions of Fury of Dracula, so I can't speak to the changes made in this third edition. However, as I understand it, the game has changed for the better.
This supports 2 to 5 players, with one player controlling Dracula and the others controlling one or more of the hunters. This does mean that in a two player game one person is controlling all four hunters, which is how I played it for the purposes of this review.
The game has an approximate run time of 2 to 3 hours, which is why I'm reviewing it from a 2-player perspective; it was difficult to find others to invest that much time, with the perceived difficulty, given the amount of pieces in the box. However, to some extent the difficult is lessened since certain cards that one would think are different, are actually the same. For example, while there are hunter and Dracula event cards, these are combined into a single pile during play. After playing a week of rounds in the game, we had it down pretty well.
While I've seen them played, I haven't played a hidden movement game like this before. I rather enjoyed how it worked, with location cards being used to track where Dracula has moved, instead of using some sort of sheet and writing locations down. It also lessens the ability for Dracula to move backwards (although he can still be tricky to locate).
The game works with the hunters playing once during the day and then once at night, with Dracula then going at night. This cycle repeats for each day of the week, until either Dracula is defeated, or he wins. However, if the game doesn't end after a few weeks Dracula starts gaining influence (his way of winning) at a very steady rate. So the game does have some maximum number of turns, based upon how the players do.
The game itself seemed relatively balanced, which I understand wasn't the case in earlier editions, with Dracula having a slight advantage. At first I found this to be slightly interesting since Dracula has a number of disadvantages, having less turns and allowing the players to find where he's been, since Dracula's last six locations can (generally) be discovered. He also can't backtrack, since the last six locations aren't part of the location deck he uses to move.
However, as was evident when Dracula was discovered to have moved into Italy, it's still possible for him to evade capture, as he did when he traveled by sea for three turns, opening up the number of possible locations he could have landed at. He can also leave behind encounters at locations he visited, which may either cause immediate harm, or if left as-is, help him slow down the hunters or finish the game.
One last note is that unlike some games, in Fury of Dracula no player is completely out of the game. While hunters can be defeated, they eventually recover health and can continue on the quest. Each hunter has their own advantages and disadvantages, so no one hunter necessarily dominates over the others.
Finally, the board components themselves are of quite nice quality. The game includes five figures, which are of nice quality (and could potentially be painted), a nice quality board and cardboard pieces, and nice cards. The artwork is of note since it matches the style of the game relatively well. We did find that two of the figures were easy to mistake at a quick glance, which unfortunately did lead to combat happening with a character that should not have been in combat. However, with three or more players, closer attention, or perhaps a paint job, this wouldn't be an issue. It also only happened once.
In conclusion, the only downside I found was the amount of time it took, which was closer to four hours, but was also our first time. Otherwise, when I can find people that will play it, much like Betrayal at House on the Hill and BioShock, Fury of Dracula, Third Edition will be a game I'll recommend we try. 5 of 5 stars.