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Fury of Dracula (2005) - How do you play it?

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Whitter:
I picked up Fury of Dracula a few days ago, and I've played it twice now with two different groups. Both games were quite underwhelming. This was mostly because I played Dracula very defensively and avoided the hunters as much as I could. We're set to give the game another go this wednesday and I want to make sure we get it right this time.

So, my question to those who own this game, what makes it work? Playing aggressively? Playing loose and random? Elaborate strategies, i.e. carefully planning ahead and keeping your options open?

I feel like there is a very promising game there, that I just haven't got to work right yet.

phoamslinger:
I haven't looked at the new edition yet.

the old edition (probably very close) it was fun being Drac, but eventually the hunters would work their way through the deck of cards and min-max their hands to be able to beat me.  I could always pitch my counters looking for vampires to create for a quick win, but where's the fun in that?  the original game had a lot going for it in terms of game flavor, but the mechanix were always kind of weak.  

so in other words;
the fun of the game was being the vamp, setting elaborate traps, playing the fox being hunted and taunting your opponents for the maximum amount of time.  actually winning was unlikely.

it will be interesting to see what they changed in re-release.

Emryys:
A friend just picked this up, and we're gonna have a go...
I'll post how it turns out.
You could check on the Boardgamegeek forums for strategy.

Whitter:
Third time is as they say the charm. The game worked much better this time around, partly because I only played it against two players as opposed to four. The fact that they were fairly committed to playing this game, might have helped as well.

I think the biggest difference was how I played Dracula this time. My mistake was playing very defensively and waiting for the days to pass to get my six vampires. This totally kills the game. As the Dracula I really only need to mature one New Vampire encounter - which is worth two points - and defeat one hunter - which is also worth two points, and I have practically won the game. This gives me 4 out of 6 points. Since it takes about six turns to mature a New Vampire-encounter I also get a point for completing a whole day. Now I'm only one point short of winning the game, which I can spend hiding or teasing the Hunters by running circles around them.

Granted, it's not easy maturing a New Vampire encounter, nor is it particularly easy to fight a well-equipped hunter, but that's where strategy comes in. But in order for the game to work, I've learned that the Dracula player needs to be aggressive early on, weakening the Hunters through encounters and slowly turn to hiding about half-way through the game.

I'd be interested in any experiences you have had.

@Emryys - I tried avoiding the BGG strategy tips. I feel reading them gives me an unfair advantage over my players. It also takes away some of the fun of the game, since I don't have to come up with strategies by myself.

Phantom Stranger:
Hmm kind of reminds me of an old Steve Jackson pocket game
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/4060

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