Sunday, September 26, 2010
My Favorite Board Game: Fury of Dracula
This week's item from Calvin's list comes with a caveat: My favorite board game is always the last one I got. That said, I'm a huge fan of strategy games and my previous favorites are Betrayal at House on the Hill, Pirate's Cove, and Mwahahaha (though that's more of a complicated card game than a true board game). Right now though, it's all about Fury of Dracula.
I understand that it plays similarly to Scotland Yard, though I've never played that game. One player is Dracula and the others are vampire-hunters from the novel: Lord Godalming, Doctor Seward, Van Helsing, and Mina Harker.
The object for the Dracula character is to collect points while eluding the hunters, moving in secret around a map of Europe. He gets points for creating new vampires, defeating the hunters in combat, and just surviving the day. Once he reaches a certain number, he wins. The players work as a team to find Dracula and destroy him before he gets all his points. If they succeed, they win as a team.
I've only played a few times, but it's a much more balanced game than it first appears. Every time I play with a new group of people there's some distrust that things are easier for Dracula than for the players. That only lasts for a while though and the hunters are usually able to locate him after several turns. Once that happens, it's much more difficult - but not impossible - for Dracula to disappear again. It takes a lot of skill and strategy to play either side.
One of the things I love most about it is that it doesn't matter how many people play or who plays which hunter. All four hunters are used regardless of if there's one person playing them all or several people working as a team. The game tells you that you can't have more than five players (one for Dracula and each hunter), but that's not true. You can have an unlimited number of folks on the hunters' side, putting their heads together to come up with the best strategy. And if someone has to leave the game - it does take a few hours to play - it's not a disruption to either bring in a replacement player or just have one of the other, current players take over that character in addition to her own. That flexibility is unique among strategy games. It's also a good training game for kids who are attracted to strategy games, but not that good at them yet (so long as the adult members of the team are patient and willing to teach).