Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fury and Betrayal

ulatFriday night. Played Fury of Dracula (FOD) again, and my third game of Betrayal at the House on the Hill (BATHOTH).

FOD holds up as a great example of co-operative strategy and finely balanced adversaries. Once again, Gino played Dracula. Once again, the hunter-players were on his trail from the beginning, and three-quarters of the way through we'd cornered the fiend in Eastern Europe ... but this time, Gino played a few new cards that allowed him to jump over our net and run for his un-life.

Again, it was exciting, ended with a confrontation with Dracula over the course of dusk to twilight, across the English channel &, this time, with victory for the Hunters.

As for BATHOTH. Well, see the comments thread in the link above for more. BATHOTH is beautifully designed, it's interesting and tense as you explore the house, generating mood reasonably effortlessly. Then the Haunt starts - one of the players becomes a Traitor and plays the forces of the House trying to kill all the other (non-traitor) characters. There are 50 different Haunts in the game (aliens, zombies, angry servants, evil plants, and more and more) so there's a lot of variability in every game.

But that's what I think it at the heart of the controversy. Because of the variety of Haunts, there's no consistency to the gameplay BETWEEN games. Some Haunts seem tougher than others, attributes are randomly penalised, and some Haunts require you to explore more of the House than you have. This lack of consistency means some Haunts'll be easy to defeat; others, impossible. Some Haunts will be tense and fun; others, boring.

Whereas FOD has delivered a consistent experience each time I've played it, BATHOTH has been highly variable, more reliant on luck than player skill, and up and down in terms of fun. I've heard (and can believe) that there are great Haunts that are really fun to play through, but my point is that that should be the case every time you play, not just every fourth time it happens (or however often it does).


BubbaJay said...

Fury of Dracula - I dunno dude, he wasn't very furious (even when we stomped his lilly white arse in London). I don't know about the replay value of that game, it has only 2 inevitable endings. It sure is visually appealing and there was good fun criss crossing Europe. But I dunno, I guess it missed an element... (perhaps the hunters should battle each other??)

Betrayal etc - This one did have a creepy mood (or maybe it was the fact the fire had died out and my legs were freezing). But kind of a scripted ending, walk around house until ye Haunt, resolve Haunt.

I still don't get how you could continually convince people to go into that house.

Seraph said...

I'm still enjoying FOD. Mind you - I've only played as said Lord of Darkness. It would be nice though, to be able to stay hidden for a little longer. Say - a turn !
Bubba - you managed to 'stomp' me as it was the middle of the freaking day ! I had NONE of my cool vampire powers ! That's good for the hunters - but very VERY bad for Drac ! It didn't help that you were all armed to the teeth with various blessed items ( crosses, bullets ... I'm pretty sure one of you had a RPG launcher that was sanctified by the Pope too ... ). Still - a fun game.
I'm having a go at being a hunter next time though ...

Anonymous said...

FOD is lots of fun. I find that the Dracula player has a huge impact on the game. Normally, Dracula struggles for the entire game, always only one step ahead. However, if played by someone with a good grasp of the rules, I have seen Dracula play through most of the game uncovered.

A lot of the game is about expectations. It really hurts those who play tactically and always choose the "statistically" best option as this becomes very easy to predict. It really pays dividends to those who are able to be erratic and take risks.