The Fury of Dracula
|A Boardgame of Gothic Horror|
Box cover of 1987 edition
|Publisher(s)||Games Workshop (1987)
Fantasy Flight Games (2006)
|Players||2 to 4 (5 for 2006 version)|
|Setup time||15 minutes|
|Playing time||1 to 3 hours|
The Fury of Dracula is a board game designed by Stephen Hand and published by Games Workshop in 1987. Fantasy Flight Games released an updated version in 2006 as Fury of Dracula, and a third edition in 2015 by the same name.
The game takes place in Europe during 1898, eight years after the events in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. One player takes the role of Count Dracula while the remaining players take the roles of Hunters Abraham Van Helsing, Dr John Seward and Lord Godalming. Fantasy Flight Games added Mina Harker as a fourth hunter in the 2006 release. Seeking revenge for the past, Dracula attempts to build an army of vampires throughout Europe. The Hunters, following clues Dracula has left behind, have joined together to destroy Dracula before he can succeed.
The Hunter players move openly across the game board, which is a stylised map of late 19th century Europe, while the Dracula player moves in secret. In the original, this is done using a small board of his own hidden behind a screen. In the new version, the player uses a trail of face-down cards, each representing a location on the board. By various means the Hunters deduce and uncover Dracula's path, hopefully overcoming whatever obstacles he has placed along the way (including wolves, rats, bats, armed minions, fledgling vampires, fog, storms and plagues) and gathering weapons and equipment (such as rifles, stakes, garlic and holy water) for the eventual showdown.
The Hunters can move by sea, road or rail, while Dracula is permitted to move by sea or road only. Moving by rail permits the Hunters to cover a greater distance than they could by road, but requires a die roll, which can result from them being delayed a turn (held over by travelling papers) to moving up to three towns connected by a railway.
Combat is performed on a round by round basis. Combatants first choose a combat option in secret then each side rolls a six sided die for initiative. Chosen combat options are revealed and the results of the options and initiative are cross referenced on the appropriate chart to determine the winner for the round. The second edition moves this information onto the combat options themselves, which are now small cards instead of cardboard counters, removing the need to consult a chart. If any of the protagonists are still alive, the procedure repeats itself until one side is dead or successfully retreats.
The basic combat options are Fist, Dodge and Escape. In addition, the Hunters and Dracula's mortal agents get an additional combat option for each weapon they possess. Dracula's combat options vary greatly depending on the time of day; if caught during the day, his player only had access to the basic options. During the night, his available options more than doubled to reflect his supernatural powers.
Players are not permitted to use the same combat option twice in consecutive rounds (although a hunter with two weapons of the same type would be permitted to use them alternately in consecutive rounds).
In the first edition, the time of combat was chosen by die roll, although various cards played by either side could force a particular time of day. The second edition includes a day/night cycle that advances incrementally each turn. Combat is conducted according to the time of day indicated on the track.
Wounds/Blood and Bites
Each Hunter has a number of Wounds, representing the amount of injuries they can sustain. Combat, encounters and certain event cards can cause damage to the Hunter, causing them to lose Wounds. Wounds can be recovered by using event cards or by resting. In the first edition, all Hunters started with 12 wounds and would be eliminated from the game if their Wounds were reduced to zero. Each Hunter in the second edition has a different wound total; if their Wounds are reduced to zero the hunters must recuperate at the Hospital of St Joseph and St Mary, but may continue to play.
Some combat or encounter results with vampires or Dracula can give a Hunter a Bite Token. While under the effects of a bite, certain event cards become playable. These events can be beneficial or detrimental. In addition, the Hunter suffers penalties in combat against Dracula. Being bitten a second time results in the hunter becoming a vampire; he is eliminated from the game and given to the Dracula player as a generic vampire encounter. (In the second edition, being bitten twice no longer eliminates the character from the game; they are sent to the Hospital of St Joseph and St Mary to recover.) In addition, the character Mina Harker begins with a Bite Token (received in the novel) and as such these "bitten only" events are usable from the very beginning of the game. Van Helsing is resistant to bites and can withstand three before being sent to the hospital.
Dracula has 12 Blood Points (15 in the second edition), the equivalent of Wounds. Again, combat and certain event cards can cause him to lose blood, but the player can also spend Blood Points to activate special abilities. In addition, whenever the Dracula player embarked on a sea voyage, he lost a Blood Point, reflecting his weakness to running water and the lack of easy prey to feed from while at sea. In the first edition of the game, when the Dracula player lost all their Blood Points, he enters Blood Death. Blood Death represents Dracula's base survival instinct; he must retreat to Castle Dracula by the quickest route possible and he must escape every encounter as soon as possible. He can no longer win the game (although he may be able to force a draw) and if he takes an additional 12 points of damage while in Blood Death, he is destroyed, resulting in a Hunter's major victory. In the second edition of the game, the Dracula player is simply destroyed when he is reduced to zero Blood Points, although a variety of events and special abilities make it much easier to recover blood than in the first edition. In addition, Dracula can no longer be killed outright by a single attack. Suffering a killed result in combat reduces his Blood Points to a predetermined amount on his character sheet (0, 5 and 10 blood) and combat continues.
In the original, rather than a simple winner declared by whichever side was still alive at the end of the game, the original version had a number of differing victory conditions. Once they had been fulfilled, either side could declare they had won. The victory conditions varied from minor to major in nature, with the minor victories generally being easier to achieve. For example, the Hunter players could claim a minor victory if they had forced Dracula to flee to Castle Dracula, but failed to kill him before he successfully hid; Dracula's base cowardice has betrayed him.
It was not unusual for both sides to be able to simultaneously claim minor victories. Play normally continued until a major victory condition had been fulfilled or the Dracula player was unable to continue (by entering Blood Death, then subsequently hiding successfully in Castle Dracula).
In the second edition, the varying degrees of victory have been eliminated. The Hunters win if they are able to kill Dracula. Dracula wins if he is able to advance the Vampire track to 6, by 'killing' hunters, maturing vampire encounters, and surviving a complete day/night cycle.
Other differences between 1987 version and 2006 version
In the first edition, character differences were limited: Godalming received a +1 to first round initiative against Dracula's minions and a -1 against Dracula himself, while Van Helsing received the inverse and Seward received no modifiers. Characters in the second edition receive different abilities, for example Van Helsing's ability to withstand an additional bite or Godalming's Wealth ability, allowing him to reroll any train movement die roll, plus their number of Wounds are different, for example 12 for Godalming and 8 for Van Helsing.
Due to the differences in Dracula's movement in the second edition, only his six previous locations can contain any encounters. As he moves along the map, the oldest location moves further down the track until it reaches the seventh position, where he can mature the encounter or discard it. Maturing the encounter has varying effects dependent on the encounter itself - it could discarded without effect or in the case of vampires, increase the Vampire track by two, bringing him closer to winning the game.
The second edition adds the Resolve system to the Hunters. Every time the Day/Night track advances to a new day, in addition to Dracula gaining a Vampire track point, the Hunters gain 1 Resolve point. Resolve can be spent to reveal Dracula's oldest location, allow an individual hunter to take an extra turn, or heal a single hunter.
The second edition also clearly states there should be punishment for cheating by the Dracula player, whether intentionally or accidentally. The suggested punishment is a clearing of Dracula's trail to one location, revealing his current location and suffering blood point loss equal to a killed result (leaving him on 1 blood point if this would destroy him).
Third Edition (2015) version
On July 23, 2015 Fantasy Flight Games announced a Third Edition printing, to be released in late 2015. This version is a streamlined update of the 2006 Second Edition printing.
From the 1987 Rulebook:
From the 2006 Rulebook:
|“||...it was inevitable that I would get round to designing a Dracula boardgame.||”|
|— Stephen Hand, In Search of the Real Dracula|
Disappointed in the limited availability of horror boardgames, Stephen Hand began the initial treatment of his Dracula-based horror game in 1985. He had originally conceived it as a two-game set entitled Dracula: Fact and Fiction, one part fantasy game, and one part a dry, historical simulation of Vlad the Impaler's Turkish campaigns, but Hand shelved the project after being unable to devote enough time to it. A short time later, he resurrected the project after receiving encouragement from Marc Gascoigne, eventually submitting the finished project to Games Workshop in the summer of 1986. Although Workshop liked the game, they put the game on hold while they focused on stronger products, offering Hand a choice of waiting for a suitable production gap to appear, or converting the game to fit into the Warhammer Fantasy World. Games Workshop ultimately produced The Fury of Dracula and released it in the autumn of 1987.
- The Fury of Dracula (1987)- Games Workshop
- The Fury of Dracula, Metal Miniatures Limited Edition (1987) - Games Workshop (Same as above, except the miniatures were made of tin and lead rather than plastic. A circular sticker on the front of the game box is the only outward indication of the game being a limited edition version.)
- Fury of Dracula (2006) - Second Edition, Fantasy Flight Games
- Fury of Dracula (2015) - Third Edition, Fantasy Flight Games
Anthony J. Gallela comments: "Based on Bram Stoker's famous novel, The Fury of Dracula is a breakthrough title that introduced cooperative and deductive elements to the adventure board game subgenre, while managing to retain the feeling of breathless excitement that players seek in an adventure game."
- Fury of Dracula Rules Booklet, 2006, p.25
- The Fury of Dracula Rulebook, 1987, p.14
- Game box, back, 1987
- Fury of Dracula Rules Booklet, 2006, p.29
- Gallela, Anthony J. (2007). "The Fury of Dracula". In Lowder, James. Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 122–125. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.