Our Week in Gaming (Recap #3)

  
Hello! This week’s Gaming Recap is from TJ (aka. the Political GAmer.) This time around we’ll get to hear about a hidden movement game as well as a very popular Legacy game.

Fury of Dracula (3rd edition)

I recently got this old classic to the table. Sadly, this relatively new rebooted edition (a third one, given the full FFG treatment) might soon go out of print since FFG and GW are no longer. Regardless, this lush piece of production is not only gorgeous on the table but also steepedĀ in the theme from the original novel with great attention to detail.

In FoD, several players take the role of hunters and one player controls the evil Count as he runs and hides around Europe. In what is one of the original hidden movement games, Dracula moves around using a deck of cards, leaving a trail of locations he recently visited. Every turn he pushes the trail further and adds a location, and the hunters fumble around Europe trying to stumble across his 6-card-long tail (known as ‘the trail’).

The game is delightfully tense, and particularly stressful for Count Dracula that’s on the run. Yet unlike other such games, Dracula isn’t super scared of being found as he is pretty tough to kill and can do some damage. However, when he is caught by several hunters at once the odds start shifting quickly. Here are the dynamics of the game: earlier on, the hunters try to spread out to maximize their chances to stumble into the trail but also stay close enough so that they can converge if and when the time comes. At the same time, the hunters want to find Dracula quickly before he sows despair and becomes powerful, yet not too quickly because they might not be strong enough. Dracula waltzes around them gleefully, listening in on their discussion and fights the temptation to pounce on a relatively lonely hunter.

This is how it feels when the noose starts to close on you

Playing as Dracula, I had a blast feeling clever when my friends bumbled around in frustration as they couldn’t find me. When the tables turned and they had me cornered, they were exclaiming ‘the game is afoot’ and I felt like it was all over. FoD, however updated, definitely shows it’s age as a design: too long, too fidley and too many cards have a ‘take that’ feel (you cancel my card? I cancel your cancel!). But they don’t make games as deeply thematic anymore; if you’re into a hidden movement game that lets you be powerful as well as clever. I had a ton fun playing Dracula even if I found myself biting into garlic one too many times.

Pandemic legacy

Even though season 2 is almost out, I’m still only halfway through season 1. Chugging along with our adventure, we finally got through the month of June in the game – which I can’t tell you about as it’s full of spoilers. But I can tell you that – if you’re looking for someone to push you off of the hype train, look somewhere else. The number 1 game on bgg definitely delivers a playing experience that no other game does. It’s good on so many levels that I can’t do justice to it other than by saying that everybody who said it was the best game ever were understating it.

If you haven’t heard about the concept of legacy yet… we’ll, its all over the internet so I’m not going to explain if in depth. The basic idea is that the game changes from play session to play session – as things happen in your game, you’ll be adding stickers to the board, tearing cards (or just tossing them) and opening secret envelopes/boxes that have more components, more rules and more stickers. It’s exciting and fresh, and PL ties the story of the campaign together with the developing mechanisms more tightly than I’ve ever seen. Rather than give you booklets with long stories before every mission (as in Mice & Mystics), the narrative grows out of your interactions with the evolving rules. I know this sounds fairly abstract but that’s because I’m trying to avoid spoilers. Trust me, it’s fun. It means that the game doesn’t really try to tell you a story or force you to go certain places to get the plot going. The game builds a structure for you to play in that inevitably pushes the plot forward. But which direction the story goes – that depends on what happens in your game.

Another strengths of PL is that its based on a really solid cooperative game: Pandemic. But even if you weren’t a huge fan of the original pandemic, you should check out pandemic legacy because its such a unique experience that you sometimes forget what game you’re playing.

I’ll show you pictures but… you know, spoilers.

@tpoliticalgamer

PyroFrog is a gamer through most every medium as well as a father, novice blogger, hopeful game designer, and hopeless Kickstarter supporter. His blog is dedicated to gaming news and tends to focus on interesting and high value opportunities. He regularly organizes game nights where he and 3-8 friends frequently try out new games, playtest new IP's and enjoy popular favorites.

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