Best Gothic Board Games

Fantasy Flight Games Fury of Dracula

Gothic Board Games Fury of Dracula
Gothic Board Games Fury of Dracula

Dracula’s rage … an imagination fostered by computer slashers convulsively paints a picture of the epic bloodbath that Dracula and his associates arrange for the mortal human race. Nothing like this. In the board game “Dracula’s Fury” in an open battle with the great vampire, only four professional hunters will risk their health, and Dracula himself is not omnipotent, although he has a rich arsenal of “talents and fans” at his disposal. In order to come together in battle with the terrible count, the hunters will have to seriously strain the gray matter: it is not easy to search for traces of the count throughout Europe. But after all, these people are no strangers to the role of saviors of careless humanity – Mina Harker, Lord Godalming, Doc Seward and old man Van Helsing once drove a vampire into his Transylvanian nest and even seemed to destroy him. It turned out that it seemed in vain …

First published in 1987 by Games Workshop, the board game Dracula’s Fury has long been a classic detective game west of the Carpathians. In this updated edition, the developers have made many of the rules more logical and modern, and the illustrators and sculptors have put all their skills and inspiration into the chic design of the game components.

Dracula’s Fury is a semi-team game. One of the players will still have to break out of the team and take the reins of control of Dracula into their own hands. However, all other players (and there can be from one to four) must act as well as possible in order to succeed. In principle, the actions of four hunters – there are always four of them, for any number of players – are easiest to coordinate for two players. One player, if he is not a seasoned strategist with a phenomenal memory, can easily get confused in his maps and plans, and three or four players sometimes spend a lot of time arguing and condemning the fatal actions of their hunting colleagues.

The game has all the necessary components for a fun and not at all stupid rest in the company of smart and risky people. The elegant Victorian detective is filled with an atmosphere of adventure and has a strong character, ruthlessly punishing players for erroneous actions. In addition, the rules provide for the possibility of adapting the game to the team: the game can be made more intense for both hunters and Dracula. And do not forget – with Dracula (at least in the first game) it is better to put a person with experience in board games, because a beginner may not cope with the role of a great villain.

Composition

  • Playing field
  • Rules of the game
  • Directory
  • 5 character boards
  • 5 plastic figures
  • 70 maps of locations
  • 75 event cards
  • 28 encounter cards
  • 38 item cards
  • 13 battle cards of Dracula
  • 12 combat hunter cards
  • 5 cards of power
  • 4 hunter memos
  • 1 mini-map
  • 6 storm tokens
  • 4 fog tokens
  • 2 tokens of bats
  • 3 tokens of hopelessness
  • 4 bite tokens
  • 16 tickets
  • 1 Holy Land token
  • 31 wound tokens
  • 8 obstacle tokens
  • 3 tokens of the Heavenly Host
  • 4 Rumor Tokens
  • 1 influence token
  • 1 time token

Betrayal At House On The Hill

Gothic Board Games Betrayal At House On The Hill
Gothic Board Games Betrayal At House On The Hill

There were various legends about the old house on the hill: someone complained that the ghosts of the old owners of the house were roaming there, someone talked about vampires or zombies or mummies. People used to say different things, but only one thing can be said for sure: there is not a single person who could confirm at least one of these rumors, because so far none of those who entered the house have returned. Perhaps to test their courage or knowledge, or simply out of curiosity, people nevertheless always tried to get into the house on the hill. The next heroes (or victims) were already standing on the doorstep, when suddenly a door opened in front of them and a stale air blew from there. The companions had the feeling that no one had entered this house for many years. They lit their lanterns and stepped forward.

Betrayal at House on the Hill: a little more about the game

Betrayal in the house on the hill is a specific game. Firstly, its creators are the Avalon Hill studio, which is mainly engaged in wargames, which gave the world Hannibal: Rome against Carthage, Diplomacy, Dune and Axis and allies. In addition, Betrayal can be attributed to the so-called “cooperative games” – that is, when players do not compete for victory points, but team up against a game that intrigues them. But the peculiarity of Betrayal is that a traitor will certainly appear among the players (as you can understand from its name), and he will go over to the dark side (not because there are cookies, but simply because he will be in the wrong place at the wrong time) …

Betrayal is a role-playing game in which each player chooses a character (by the way, the miniatures of which, by the way, are perfectly executed and even painted) with certain indicators of knowledge, strength, intelligence and speed, which will either increase or be lost during the game – depending on game situations. A huge plus of the game in its variability – the playing field is formed from dense cardboard tiles, which are rooms in the house. Eerie and mysterious events will take place in almost each of these rooms with researchers. For example, entering one of the new rooms, you can meet a little crying girl there (and this is in a musty dark abandoned house). The girl can become both an ally and an ominous harbinger of impending disaster.

Among the game items, in addition to a large number of tiles and miniatures, there are also three types of cards: items (item), events (event) and omen (omen). Players will have to take all of them from the decks at certain points in the game and use them later, or play them immediately.

In general, one party can be divided into two parts: wandering around the house in search of objects and events and the plot. One fine (terrible) moment, one of the players will become a traitor, and then the fun begins. Each time players receive an omen card, they must roll two dice to start the hunt. The more such cards the players have revealed, the higher the chance of starting the hunt. The game, as already mentioned, is very variable – depending on the combination of a certain omen card and the room in which the hunt check was failed, the plots will develop in different ways. In total, the game has 50 scenarios, so you can wander around the house with interest and genuine fear more than once.

The scenarios develop according to the general scheme. As soon as one of the players becomes a traitor, he gets his script book for use, the rest of the players get theirs. From this moment on, each team has its own goals, necessary for victory, its own secrets and features, which cannot be revealed to opponents. Now it only remains to unite in order to survive, or feed all opponents to carnivorous zombies, then the omen card will fall.

Betrayal At House On The Hill

  • Tile by tile, terror by terror, build your own haunted mansion – and then try to escape it alive.
  • With 50 blood-curdling scenarios, each trip to the house on the hill promises fresh horrors.
  • Players must work together to survive the nightmare.
  • Except for one player who becomes the traitor.
  • 3–6 players, ages 12+, 60 min per game (high reliability)

Mantic Games Hellboy Board Game, Multicolor

Gothic Board Games Hellboy Board Game
Gothic Board Games Hellboy Board Game

With today’s review, I will try, as they like to say now, to get out of my comfort zone. My acquaintance with representatives of the American school of game design, and in particular with dungeon crawlers, is limited to only a few games, so, you know, it will not be easy for me to draw any parallels. On the other hand, it does not mean that I will not be able to appreciate these or those advantages if they meet me. Therefore, I ask you to immediately take into account this moment when reading my thoughts on “Hellboy” and not criticize too much my limited knowledge in this genre.

I immediately liked the game because of the chosen theme: the adventures of the “hero from the hell” Hellboy and his team of agents of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigation (or BRPD). I am familiar with these characters mainly through the excellent films directed by Guillermo del Toro, although I have also read a few graphic stories. And I really like the pictorial style chosen by the creator of Hellboy Mike Mignola, used, among other things, in the design of the game. And since there is interest, why not try it? In general, I did just that.

Seed of destruction

As I mentioned, we act as agents of the BRPD, who have to investigate cases (of which there are 6 in the box) related to various occult and fantastic events. Each case is represented by a separate deck, which contains, among other things, instructions for preparing the components for the upcoming story, including a playing field consisting of various rooms-rooms, a deck of fate that will throw up various difficulties, and a deck of meetings that is responsible for which opponents and objects we will meet as we move through the rooms.

Each agent has three action points, represented by tokens, which will be spent on performing the available … mmm … actions. In “Hellboy” they are divided into basic, that is, the same for everyone, and unique, characteristic of a particular agent. The former include moving, attacking (close or far), studying evidence, interacting with objects on the playing field and clearing. Their cost is one chip. For unique actions, it can vary, but their effect will be stronger.

In accordance with school traditions, the success of an action will depend on the roll of the dice. By the way, in Hellboy they are not standard, but made specifically for the game. Regardless of the skill being tested, the player uses three dice, the color of which depends on the skill level, to which a blue effect dice is always added, which can improve or worsen the final result. Before the roll, the dice are modified according to the situation on the field. For example, you decide to shoot at one of the opponents standing in an adjacent area square. In this case, each character – both the enemy and the other agent – who is in the area with your target will degrade one die. Thus, the level of the skill used and the probability of a successful hit decrease, because the worse the cube, the more empty faces or faces with lower values ​​on it.

After the roll, the effect die is checked first. Depending on the face dropped, you can get an additional strengthening of the check dice, roll any number of them, or lose the dice with the highest value.

The game continues over a number of rounds and is divided into standard phases: first, the villains move, then the agents. Then the agents can take a break during the rest phase (only if there are no enemies on the playing field), where they perform one of the following actions: heal, clear the room and study the evidence. However, such an opportunity comes at a rather high cost: the marker on the inevitability track, which counts the time until the boss appears, moves one additional space forward. After that, a card from the deck of fate is played, the current situation on the field is checked, and preparation for the next round is made.

The main progress in the investigation will occur due to the fulfillment of one or another condition indicated on the cards of the case deck. She is also responsible for big tricks that can complicate your life. The fate deck is responsible for additional difficulties, a card from which is drawn at the end of each round. Its main task is to throw all sorts of new nasty things on you: either a curse is imposed on one of the agents, then new opponents appear.

Investigation and the fight against minions sooner or later come to the same result – a boss appears on the field, which will be controlled by a separate deck. As expected, the Glavgad has more health, thicker armor and more painful attacks. Actually, here the conditions necessary for the final victory open up, only the boss will actively interfere with the achievement of our goal.

The right hand of fate

Well. After a short description of the gameplay and some rules, I will pass on to my impressions. And here I would again like to emphasize my inexperience in the games of the American school, because I may like something that for someone is perfect routine.

So. At first glance, Hellboy seems to be a fairly typical representative of the dungeon crawler genre. And in some aspects, it probably is. In our subordination are up to four characters – the actual hero from the hell of Hellboy, his hot companion Liz Sherman, cold-blooded partner Abe Sapien and darling Johan Kraus. Each of the agents has its own characteristics and abilities, for example, Hellboy is not particularly sensitive to fire, but has remarkable strength, which allows him to knock back and stun enemies who have turned under his stone fist. We have to wander through the “dungeon” in search of answers to questions, revealing sinister (and what else?) Plans, as well as actively shoot back and fight off the frog monsters encountered on our way. And yes, we will also roll dice during various tests. All in all, everything seems pretty ordinary, right? Maybe not really. It turned out that old Hellboy still has something to offer.

The first thing that caught my eye even when reading the rules was the sequence of actions. She is not here! Hellboy was my first co-op game, where the players decide in which order they will act. And how great it is! It seems to be a trifle, but how much it changes. In those cooperative games that I have tried, you can only choose the order of the move in the corresponding phase. Therefore, when the first player began to perform his actions, he had to first do everything he could, and only then the move was passed to the next one. For me, such a structure often only complicates an already difficult task, further limiting the possibilities.

At Hellboy, we will act as a team. One player throws a stunning grenade, neutralizing opponents crowded in the area, the second moves closer and opens fire at them, reducing the number of monsters, then a melee fighter approaches the remaining poor fellows and hits them with his stone hand. It would seem that they managed to do so much – and still have action points left. Here’s a little thing, but how much fun it can bring.

Of course, such a picture is still ideal, and it will not always work out. The culprits of this will be the constant companions of the games of the American school – cubes. Of course, they add their share of randomness and unpredictability (at the most unnecessary moment). Here, probably, nothing can be done, after all, the laws of the genre. But I did not want to say about this, but about the system of modifying cubes, which seemed to me interesting, quite thematic, but not without flaws. It would be fine if everything was limited to the standard set of changes associated with the presence of enemies in a particular area, but the authors overdid it a little (in my unenlightened opinion). As the game progresses, more and more new conditions may appear here and there, affecting your cubes, which you will forget about in the heat of the struggle. Of course, it may well be my limited experience. However, perhaps this should be kept in mind. The most important thing to remember is that each plus and minus affects only 1 cube and no more. Probably, over time, this all fits into my head and does not raise any special questions. I periodically forgot to add here and here to subtract.

For the rest, by the way, the rules seemed to me simple to understand and devoid of nuances overloading the game. For comparison, the card “Arkham Horror” caused me much more difficulties. Apart from mods of cubes, nothing in Hellboy will take you away from the main thing. The only thing I would like to add – be careful when reading the conditions on the case cards – yes, perhaps, on all cards – so as not to do yourself a disservice and potentially ruin the experience of one scenario or another. Again, unlikely, but I ran into a similar one. True, thank God it was a teaching script.

There are many other interesting finds in Hellboy. For example, collecting evidence is not just for show and filling the process. On the contrary, their value is considerable, although it varies from case to case. Depending on the scenario, the Collected Information Tokens obtained from the study of evidence can give you a certain advantage in the fight against the main bad guy (don’t expect an easy walk in the park). Therefore, you should not ignore them or deliberately destroy them. True, it must be admitted that not in all scenarios they seemed to me equally useful. One case comes to mind where I am not sure that collecting evidence is so necessary. Although it is possible that I have not yet figured out how best to use them.

I also liked the implementation of the wounds. When one of the characters takes damage, the player controlling him draws the corresponding number of markers lying on the dark side from the prepared pile and places them on the health bar. After the scale is completely filled, when taking new damage, the player turns over the appropriate number of laid out tokens. Thus, injuries turn into injuries, which entails certain penalties. For example, you will receive one less action token at the beginning of each round, or you will need to reduce the level of a skill, thereby degrading one die on a corresponding check. If you are somehow being treated, then, accordingly, perform the above sequence in the reverse order.

Hellboy’s replayability is great. Although there are only six scenarios in the box, including the training one, the principle of preparation used will provide a variety of situations. Each case uses a certain set of encounter cards that come out in a random order, so as you progress through the “level” the opponents and objects you meet on your way will vary. A variety of dodgers will also throw cards of fate, hanging curses, introducing new opponents or transforming existing ones, or even simply speeding up the track of inevitability. And the degree of success in advancing on a case can lead to different situations. In addition, there are four agents and various equipment cards to choose from in the game, adding additional variety to your options.

What you can find fault with (if you still want to) is a small set of opponents. With the exception of bosses in all scenarios, we will face four types of minions – variations of frog monsters with the usual classification: one is weak in all respects, the second is stronger, the third is with a ranged attack, and the fourth is with a strong melee attack. Not enough for my taste. On the other hand, it is clear that this drawback is easily eliminated by additions. Those in “Hellboy” are available, so it remains to be hoped that the game has shown itself to be quite successful, giving the publisher a reason to take a closer look at the possibility of release and additions in Russian.

A box full of evil

In general, despite the lack of much hype, “Hellboy” seemed to me a very pleasant dungeon crawler. This exciting (and, I will emphasize again, flexible in its cooperativeness) game has incorporated a number of proven ideas, but did not forget to add some interesting ideas of its own. Its undoubted advantage is its simple, clear rules, devoid of too many nuances. Well, except for the frequent modifications of the cubes, of course.

Of course, I repeat, “Hellboy” could seem interesting to me, an inexperienced person in the games of the American school, while an experienced board gamer will only make a contemptuous “fi”. However, one should not deny that the game is a strong representative of the genre.

Mantic Games Hellboy Board Game, Multicolor

  • Inspired by Mike Mignola’s graphic novels
  • Become a member of the Bureau for paranormal research and defense (bird)
  • Explore Gothic locations, hunt down clues, discover artifacts, fight horrific creatures and face off against terrifying bosses
  • For 1 to 4 players
  • For 1 to 4 players
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