Game Review : Fury of Dracula

, in Board Games

Some time after the events of the eponymous novel Dracula returns, and he is furious! No longer content to lurk in London, the count spreads his evil throughout Europe, pursued by 4 hunters hot on his trail.

Fury of Dracula figures
Fury of Dracula is an odd board game that reminds me a lot of the old Scotland Yard game familiar to anybody that grew up the the 80s. One player takes the role of Dracula - their goal is to stay alive for long enough to see their nefarious plans come to fruition. All the remaining players take the roles of one or more hunters determined to bring Dracula down for good (there are always 4 hunters so a given player may be playing more than one - we only had 2 players so one person played all 4 hunters.) Each turn the players move around a stylised map of 19th century Europe, the hunters move openly on the board but Dracula's position is hidden from the other players.

Dracula is always hungry
Dracula moves by placing location cards face down on a track, leaving a trail of old locations behind, each one possibly containing a surprise that the count has prepared to harry his pursuers. If one of the hunters stumbles across the trail, the surprise is revealed - usually some sort of combat ensues (Dracula has allies) or something else bad. On the bright side, at least the hunter knows they are on the right track.

If Dracula manages to leave a long enough trail, the oldest card drops off and the encounter "matures", often helping Dracula come closer to his goal. It is in the hunter's interests to keep on Dracula's coat tails once they see any sign of him.

Once the hunters have found Dracula, they can engage him in combat to weaken or hopefully kill him using any of the items they may have picked up on their journey. However Dracula has terrifying powers and combat is dangerous, 3 out of every 6 turns occur at night when Dracula is especially powerful! Timing is everything when trying to kill a vampire.

Fury of Dracula is an enjoyable romp with excellent atmosphere - Dracula is outnumbered and constantly on the run during daylight hours, but may brave a frontal assault during the nighttimes. Combat is done with dice and cards, and works very well once you figure it out. Dracula starts off with a large advantage, but this slowly wears away as the hunters gather items to use against him. The game seems fairly well balanced overall, although in our game Dracula went down early under the weight of a series of terrible dice rolls (or that is my excuse anyway.)

The main flaw of the game is it's complexity. There are 5 different decks to take care of, and a plethora of counters and tokens. I can't say I didn't get my money's worth, but there is an awful lot of stuff to keep track of. Many of the rules have odd exceptions that apply only at certain times or to certain characters, exceptions that are only found scattered around the rule book not on the cards themselves. The rule book is pretty good, but the rules do not lend themselves to easy explanation - this is not the kind of game you just pull out and play.

Having said that, Fury of Dracula is a fun game assuming that you want to put the effort to learn something new.