Fury of Dracula Board Game Review. Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games Designer: Stephen Hand, Kevin Wilson and Frank Brooks Price $199.00
Passed Inspection: tense game play, beautiful components, easy to learn and fast to play, Board Game Geek has a great solo play rule set
Failed Basic large footprint, Fantasy Flight should have included solo rules, why is the price so freaken’ high?!?
I am a huge fan of all things vampire. As a little kid back in 1970, I cut my teeth (fangs?) on Dark Shadows during its initial run and became of fan of its guilt haunted vampire, Barnabas Collins. I grew up on both the Universal Dracula played by the immortal Bela Lugosi and in later films by John Carradine and Hammer’s Dracula series starring Christopher Lee (the only actor who I was nervous with when I met him). In the late 1970s, I received an interesting Christmas gift – Steve Jackson Game’s Undead. In that Micogame, you either play Dracula or the vampire hunters stalking him in London of the late 1800s.
Now, Fantasy Flight has put out their version of the hunt for Dracula but instead of just hunting him through London, all of Europe is threatened by the master vampire who has returned 8 years after his supposed destruction. Fury of Dracula is a game whose components are so beautiful that they also can serve as a work of art but, unfortunately, the game’s price reflects this.
As you can see from the picture of the components, there are a lot of them! They are all very high quality and will likely last for a century of playing.
The five highly detailed, nicely sculpted minis of the hunters and Dracula are just screaming out for painting!
The game includes a 16 page Learning to Play book and a 16 page Rules Reference. Unfortunately, the game does not include solo rules. Why the designers didn’t include solo rules is beyond me because the game is screaming out to be solo playable. Luckily, Board Game Geek has a solo rule system. See the link at the end of this review. The solo system is very challenging and nearly beat me during my afternoon play through. After Dracula killed Mina and incapacitated Dr. Van Helsing, it was a lucky attack from Dr. Seward which killed Dracula and kept him from winning that very turn!
If not playing the game solo, Fury of Dracula accommodates up to 5 players. One person can play Dracula and up to 4 other people can play the vampire hunters. The hunters include Mina Hawker, Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. John Seward and Lord Godalming.
Dracula’s goal to is travel around Europe leaving death, destruction and vampires in his wake in order to raise his evil influence to 13 on the Influence Track. If the Influence Track gets to 13, Dracula has won the game. Dracula moves by an easy to understand hidden movement system.
The hunters must destroy Dracula’s minions and eventually figure out where he is hiding and then corner him and attempt to destroy the master vampire once and for all.
What is the turn sequence? Enter freely and of your own will and let me tell you.
Each turn is divided into day time actions and night time actions. It goes without saying that Dracula is limited to night time actions but he has minions who may or may not be vampires and some of these minions may perform actions during the day. Hunters – be aware – the day light doesn’t always diminish the threat of the Cult of Dracula!
The hunters take action first with the daytime turns. They can travel by carriage or railroad or ship from city to city (the game uses a point to point movement system). They can acquire items such as crosses, stakes, guns, garlic, etc. They can search the city for rumors and evidence of strange, supernatural occurrences. They can rest to heal wounds. And, if attacked by human servants of Dracula or other animals, they must fight them.
Then the turn is advanced to night time. The hunters get another action as above. But if they encounter lesser or greater vampires, they may try and destroy them. If they find Dracula’s hideout – the battle begins.
Then Dracula gets to act. He can move from city to city or take a ship across the sea. When he moves in to a city, he can populate the city with servants of the Cult of Dracula or even make more creatures of the night like himself, just not as powerful. He can also decide to take a lesser vampire and make it in to a more powerful vampire. If he wishes, he can also ambush the hunters and attempt to end their threat to his existence.
The game uses a variety of cards to determine results of actions, combat or events. When a battle occurs, Dracula and his minions draw from their own set of combat cards. For example, Dracula can attempt to mesmerize and then bite the neck of a victim. If he successfully drinks their blood, he regenerates any damage he has taken from previous combats.
The hunters can use a variety of weapons in combat. They can attempt to burn a vampire with a crucifix or use a gun to shoot a wolf commanded by Dracula to attack them.
Each of the combat cards has a variety of symbols. If the symbols on Dracula’s attack card match a symbol shown on a hunter’s card, Dracula’s attack is negated. Each successful attack subtracts hit points from the combatants. When their hit points reach zero, they are destroyed.
Each character has special abilities which he/she/it may use during game play as well.
Fury of Dracula is rich in atmosphere. The game play is tense as each side tries to influence the world around them. The hunters start split up in different cities and it is at this point, that they are very vulnerable to the Cult of Dracula. After gathering items and clues and defeating threats, the hunters will begin to work out where Dracula is hiding. It is at this point that the hunters must try and band together before Dracula picks them off one at a time. If they can form a group, they may have a chance of defeating the Lord of the Undead.
While playing Fury of Dracula on a rainy, stormy Sunday afternoon, I turned down the lights and turned up the soundtrack to Hammer Film’s Taste the Blood of Dracula. I was completely drawn in to the game. Be warned, the game has lots of components and a huge mounted map board so it takes a fairly large gaming table to play.
If you like gothic horror, you’ll love Fury of Dracula! It’s the perfect game to play on Halloween night or anytime really.
Fans for reading this review. (I couldn’t resist. It drove me batty.)
Armchair General Rating: 92% based upon the insanely high price – if it were priced in the $70 range it would be at least a 95% (1% is bad, 100% is perfect)
Solitaire Rating: 5 with the aftermarket solo system found at
(1 is not suitable, 5 is excellent solo play)
About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer. He designed the games Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Expansion and Sherman Leader for DVG and has designed the solo system for Forsage Games’ Age of Dogfights. Currently Rick is designing T34 Leader for DVG. In addition, Rick can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!