Fantasy Flight Games is having a streak of very successful reworked versions of their previous games such as Game of Thrones, Mansions of Madness and Fury of Dracula.
Fury of Dracula has been in my collection for many months but I've not had the time to write a review until now. Having played the 1st edition several times I liked the original game well enough but it also had a few quirks and annoying features, such as combat and travel being randomly determined by rolling of dice.
I was at first hesitant to buy the second edition, but having watched long videos of gameplay I was very excited to get a copy for my collection.
At the core the game is the same, 4 vampire hunters (Mina Harker, Jonathan Harker, Lord Godalming and Van Helsing) travel through Europe searching for clues about Dracula's whereabouts with the goal to stop him before he grows too powerful. Dracula mainly has to stay hidden, and uses hidden movement by playing location cards and laying traps to slow down the hunters.
In the third edition the game lasts 3 weeks, with Dracula gradually becoming more powerful each week. The closer to the end of this 3 week period the faster Dracula accumulates victory points. Should Dracula reach 13 victory points he wins the game. Points are scored for defeated hunters, maturing vampires and just staying alive.
Hunters now have fixed starting locations, one in each corner of the map which, as opposed to free placement like in the first edition. To balance this the map has undergone some important changes with the addition of "regions" and hunter abilities. In the second edition Mina Harker has a very powerful ability that lets her and another hunter undergo hypnosis to tell if Dracula is in her current region. This speeds up the game and makes it increasingly difficult for Dracula to stay hidden.
Train travel is now also no longer randomly determined by rolling dice. Instead you pick train tickets similar to Eldritch Horror. The tickets are picked randomly but at least have standard values for travel in west and eastern Europe printed on them. This is a small but very welcome change, removing one of my nitpicks from the previous edition.
Combat is also remade to only include cards and no combat dice, combat also has a max number of turns instead of fighting to the death and is much more fun and intense than in the previous installment. Dracula drafts a number of cards to keep on hand and play one card each round, while the hunters counter with their standard cards (punch, flee, evade) and equipment cards. Cards now have symbols on them and the idea is to negate the symbols on Dracula's cards with the combat cards the hunter plays.
The vampires that Dracula creates and leave behind work similar to Dracula but lack his special abilities.
Some cards and rules have changed, in the third edition due to reworked game mechanics. Going to sea and combat, newspaper report etc but imo all the changes that you find in the 3rd edition make for a far better game than the previous installment had to offer. The artwork and quality of the components is very high - except for the miniatures which have become smaller and uglier than in 2nd edition (the only negative).
Caroline and I have played several games by ourselves and it works very well for a 2-player game. The question is whether you would buy this game if you already had the 2nd edition? I'm in the same boat when it comes to Dead of Winter and Dead of Winter the Long Night....
While 3rd edition offers improved gameplay it is not that dramatically different from the 2nd edition. I don't think I would invest in a copy of the new edition if I already had the previous even if the latter is better. At the same time I would have no interest playing 2nd edition after having played 3rd edition. I guess this is one instance where you curse the manufacturer for not getting it completely right first (or in this case second) time around!
Fury of Dracula 3rd edition 9/10
You can also check out my old review of 2nd edition from 2010 HERE