Is the return of the hidden-movement classic fang-tastic or lacking bite?
Fury of Dracula has been a hidden movement classic for more than three decades. Its fourth edition – the game’s first update since 2015 – marks a very welcome return for the epic one-versus-many vampire hunt across Europe, despite some production missteps and few significant changes for existing fans.
The game itself remains a standout experience, as up to four hunters chase the Count between cities, trying to catch his trail as he spreads despair, seeds new vampires and lays traps for the troublesome humans.
At a couple of hours minimum it runs long, but the tension of working together to continually close the net while loading up with garlic, stakes and other items – moving at night is too dangerous, but supplying after daylight risks giving powerful abilities to Dracula – makes the time whizz by. A few lucky card draws can swing the favour one way or the other – particularly in the rock-papers-scissors-ish symbol-matching combat – but with the right players on either side it’s a thrillingly close-run thing.
If you already own the third edition, there’s no need to pick this up. The only notable additions are pre-painted miniatures – well done, and delightfully thematic in a game already dripping with atmosphere – and slightly bigger cards.
The other noticeable changes are, unfortunately, not so good. Misprints on all but one of the character boards may confuse newcomers, while the contrasting colours of the hunter and Dracula event cards (previously only the middle symbol differed) means that the risk-reward of drawing from the bottom of the deck at night can be undone by a slightly exposed edge.
These are disappointments, not deal-breakers. With the game’s past editions previously out-of-print and only available at an inflated cost for a long time, the fourth edition makes a bloody fang-tastic game easy to find once again. That's furiously good news.
PLAY IT? – YES
Designer: Stephen Hand
Time: 2-3 hours
This review originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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