A to Z Gaming: Fury of Dracula

We tried to hunt down and destroy Dracula before his influence could spread across Europe in Fury of Dracula, the next game in our A-Z game shelf play-through.

Basic Info: Fury of Dracula
Players: 2-5
Time: 120-180 Minutes
Designer: Frank Brooks, Stephen Hand, Kevin Wilson
Artist: Chris Beck, Samuel Shimota
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games 

Fury of Dracula is a hidden movement game where one player takes on the role of Dracula, hiding in the shadows to spread his influence across Europe while the hunters, who are controlled by the other players, attempt to capture and destroy him.

The game is played in days, with each hunter getting a day action and a night action followed by a Dracula phase. On their turn the hunter players can take one of several actions: travel on roads or railways (daytime only), reserve a train ticket, rest, search Dracula’s hideout (if they’re in a city Dracula has been in recently), supply, trade, or use a special action from a character card, event, or item.

The Dracula player has a deck of location cards – one card for each location on the board – and a deck of encounter cards. During the Dracula phase, they place a card representing their location (which must be adjacent to their previous location) and an encounter card face down on their location track on the side of the board.

In addition, the Dracula player may have a hand of event cards, which can be gained when players supply-up during the night. When they take supplies, players also take an event card – during the day they take them from the top of the event deck, discarding ones that have a bat on the back; however, at night, they take one from the bottom, giving it to Dracula if there is a bat on the back.

At Dawn and Dusk, fights can occur between Dracula and the hunters or Dracula’s agents and the hunters. The hunters battle Dracula if they end up in a city with him. They can find themselves fighting his minions if they are in a city on his trail and he has left vampires in their city (in the form of encounter cards). These fights are how the hunter players can take out Dracula. At the same time, Dracula or his minions can injure the hunters, sending them to the nearest hospital where they must spend a turn getting back into the city before tracking down Dracula.

If the hunters fight Dracula and reduce his health to zero, they win. If Dracula’s influence track reaches 13 — which is is done by “maturing” vampire encounter cards (if they fall off of his trail track), biting a mesmerized hunter, or defeating a hunter — he wins.

My husband picked this game up a few years ago, I believe when the Third Edition (?) was getting hard to find. He’s a horror and Dracula fan, so we wanted to give it a try.

It took us a while to get it to the table, but we finally got in a 2-player game, which worked well – one player being Dracula and the other being the hunters. However, it felt a little lonely – at least for the hunter player (me!) – since there were no others to talk to about strategy or direction.

In our latest game, we grabbed a few friends and did a 4-player play-through. It was definitely less lonely for the hunter players, but our Dracula got bored and eventually decided to just allow himself to be shown when the hunters got close. We clobbered him, and wrapped up the game.

In the end, we found the game just too slow-moving for our taste. It seems like it should move quickly because players get just two actions per day – one day and one night action. In practice, however, it plays fairly slowly. Maybe if we became more familiar with the game it would move faster, but we didn’t enjoy the experience enough to get to that point.

Part of the problem was that our Dracula player wasn’t getting cards that would allow him to spread influence, so he couldn’t see an end-game unless he survived at least three weeks of game-time. Since it took more than an hour to get through the first week of game-time, the game just felt plodding and slow.

I feel like the game was more fun for the hunter players…however, even then, it was so slow moving, that I think we were all glad Dracula showed himself. I’m not saying it’s a bad game – just not the right game for our group.

How is it as a 2 player game? This played fine as a 2-player game. It becomes a 1-against-1 game, with one player being Dracula and the other playing all of the hunters. Somehow it’s still a slow-moving game at that player count, and the hunter player doesn’t have others to bounce ideas off of. I preferred it at higher player counts.

How about the art and component quality? The art is fine – not necessarily my favorite style, but appropriate for the game and the time period. The cards and chits were good quality. The minis were cool (though I often struggled to figure out who was who – I suppose I’d need to paint them to really see the differences easily).

Will this stay in my collection?  No, we’ll be trading this. It’s a slow-moving game that can take several hours and just doesn’t hold our game-group’s interest for that long. It is unlikely to get back to the table again.

Have you played Fury of Dracula? Does your game group enjoy it? Do you prefer to play Dracula or the hunters?

One Reply to “A to Z Gaming: Fury of Dracula”

  1. I really wanted to like this game. I thought I would because I love the theme. Dracula is one of my favorite books. However, after playing this game and several other hidden movement games, I’ve determined that hidden movement games are not for me. Add to that that this game unfolds so slowly and it’s a just not fun. I do like the theme a lot and I liked the way the weaknesses of each hunter were in line with how those characters are portrayed in the book.

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