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Review: Fury of Dracula Third Edition Board Game

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.

Tags: board game, review

Categories: gaming, review

(All original content on this site is licensed under the Creative Commons License Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0.)

Setting up a Raspberry Pi 2 Samba server (in early January 2016)

The following is how I configured a Raspberry Pi 2 as a samba server, using a Seagate Backup Plus Slim, 1TB, drive.

For ease I purchased the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 2 Complete Starter Kit. It runs about $70 and includes enough to get up and running with the Raspberry Pi 2, with the Pi itself, a nice case, power supply, HDMI cable, WiFi adapter, and SD card with NOOBS/Raspbian installer.

For the hard drive I opted to purchase a Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive, since I've had good enough luck with Seagate in the past, and reviews are generally favorable. This ran me $60. I confirmed that it worked fine on my Windows 10 machine, and was already formatted to NTFS.

Unfortunately, once I received the Pi and drive I found that the power supply/Pi wasn't putting off enough power to keep the drive running. After looking at the options, including tweaking the Pi to pass through more power through the USB connector, I opted to pick up a powered USB hub instead (especially since I was considering setting up a camera at some point in the future).

For this I went with the AmazonBasics 4 Port USB 3.0 Hub with 5V/2.5A power adapter for about $17. Reviews are quite favorable, and I didn't see any indication that it wouldn't work. Once I received the included manual does note that Windows 2000 through 8 are required, or Mac OS X. However, as you'll see there were no issues.

Before powering my Raspberry Pi 2 up I went ahead and plugged the USB Hub into the Pi, and the Seagate Backup Plus into the HUB. I powered up the HUB first, and then powered up the Pi.

While it was a couple years old, How to Turn a Raspberry Pi into a Low-Power Network Storage Device worked fairly well for the setup steps.

Setup commands

Unless otherwise noted, all commands were run on the Raspberry Pi 2 itself, at the command line, outside of Raspbian.

While the guide suggests installing ntfs-3g, this was already installed on my Pi.

sudo apt-get install ntfs-3g

Getting a listing of the disks, sudo fdisk -l, returned /dev/sda1 for the name of the Seagate drive. So, despite a moment of worry, the Amazon USB Hub worked perfectly fine.

The next step was to setup the drive. I opted for all lowercase when doing so.

sudo mkdir /media/usbhdd1

Next was the mounting of the drive.

sudo mount -t auto /dev/sda1 /media/usbhdd1

Within the directory I setup a new shares directory.

sudo mkdir /media/usbhdd1/shares

When I first tried to install Samba I received a number of errors. A quick update resolved the issues.

sudo apt-get update

Then I was able to install Samba.

sudo apt-get install samba samba-common-bin

Backup the Samba configuration, just in case, and then open the config in nano.

sudo cp /etc/samba/smb.conf /etc/samba/smb.conf.old
sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

My Windows 10 machine was already on the WORKGROUP workgroup, so I didn't have to touch this, but verify workgroup is set as needed.

Contrary to the guide I was unable to find a security line in the Authenication section, so I skipped that for now, and promised to try to get in without authenticating before I went too far.

At the bottom of the config I added the following:

[Backup1]
comment = Backup Folder
path = /media/usbhdd1/shares
valid users = @users
force group = users
create mask = 0660
directory mask = 0771
read only = no

CTRL+X will exit, and allow you to save. Press Enter to just overwrite the existing file.

Restart the Samba service:

sudo /etc/init.d/samba restart

Now setup a user account in UNIX and then for Samba. Yes, this means entering the password 4 times. Personally, I'm a fan of Preshing's xkcd Password Generator and storing the credentials in KeePass.

sudo useradd backups -m -G users
sudo passwd backups
sudo smbpasswd -a backups

For ease I then determined the ip of the Raspberry Pi.

ifconfig

And then I just browsed to that directly in Windows explorer (\\192.168.x.x). Thankfully I was prompted for credentials when I tried to access the Backup1 directory. Entering the credentials I had created above worked great.

The next step was to put some data in the directory. Over my wireless network speeds weren't fantastic, but it worked fine.

I verified the files had been copied over:

cd /media/usbhdd1/shares
ls

Next was a step I almost forgot, which was to have the Raspberry Pi automatically mount the drive after rebooting. The config first needed to be opened in nano, sudo nano /etc/fstab, and then I had to add the following, which I did so at the end of the file.

/dev/sda1    /media/usbhdd1     auto    noatime     0       0

Ctrl + x as usual to exit, save, and overwrite the existing file.

Finally, restart the Raspberry Pi itself to verify that I could still get to the share after it came back up.

sudo reboot

(All original content on this site is licensed under the Creative Commons License Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0.)

Google Services on the Amazon Fire HD 8

xda-developers has a post, Installing Google Framework/Playstore without Root (5th Gen Amazon Fire 2015), that includes a couple different sets of instructions.

What worked for me was grabbing the mega.nz zip download and then:

  1. Make sure you're a developer and you allow apps from unknown sources.
  2. Install ES File Explorer via the Amazon Appstore. It's something I install on all my Android devices.
  3. Extract the contents of the zip you downloaded from Mega somewhere.
  4. Connect your Fire tablet to your computer via a USB cable.
  5. Copy all the files to the Download directory on your tablet.
  6. In ES File Explorer navigate to the Download directory.
  7. Install com.android.vending-5.9-12*.apk
  8. Install com.google.android.gms-6.6.03*.apk
  9. Install GoogleLoginService.apk
  10. Install GoogleServicesFramework.apk
  11. Turn off and then turn back on the device.
  12. You can try opening Google Play. If it automatically closes (it did for me), install com.android.vending-5.9.12*.apk again. When I did so it asked me if I wanted to install the update, and referenced one of the other services.
  13. You should be able to run the Google Play application now.
  14. When prompted, you can safely update the Google services.

With Google Play installed I was able to login to Google, as well as install YouTube and Chrome to my Fire HD 8.

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