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Halloween Gaming, Part II: Vampires and Witches

Fury of Dracula: Oh man, so fun. This is my go-to title for Halloween frivolity. See my full review here.

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Dracula: A two-player game, with one person as the Count and the other as Dr. van Helsing. Each is searching London for their target cards (Dracula seeks victims, while van Helsing looks for coffins), and must do battle the underlings of the other. Dracula is unusual in that it has a strong memory-component: London is represented by a grid of face-down cards at which players may occasionally peek, but must simply remember what they are (and where they are) thereafter. I'll admit to liking the game despite the memory aspect, rather than because of it.

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Dawn Under: Dude, what is it with memory games and vampires? Like Dracula above, this one is also better if you're not a senile old man like me, though the mnemonic component in Dawn Under is more akin to the classic "Memory" game you no doubt played as a kid. Open graves in search of vacant ones in which your vampires can rest. But if you open a tomb in which another play has already placed a vampire (or garlic), you suffer a penalty. One of those games that you'll feel slightly guilty playing since it's obviously "for kids", but will find immensely enjoyable nonetheless. Nominated for the 2004 German Game of the Year award.

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Witch's Brew: Beautiful card game in which players strive to collect ingredients a cauldrons to create potions and cast spells. A relatively simple and short game (less than an hour), but with plenty of novel mechanisms you are unlikely to have seen before. Nominated for the 2008 German Game of the Year award.



Wicked Witches Way: Whenever I write posts recommending games, I inevitably get comments from people expressing enthusiasm for Set; folks, this is the game for you. Nine custom dice are thrown, and then everyone simultaneously searches the rolled symbols for specific patterns. Do so quickly and your witch will advance on her broom, possibly winning the race and the game. Requiring both memory and speed, this is another game you can play competitively against young children--and lose.

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Techno Witches: Another witchly race, but these jet-setters ride state-of-the-art vacuum cleaners. Indeed nearly everything about this game is untraditional, from the fact that it's a boardgame with no board (wha-?), to the programmatic nature of movement (your witch doesn't budge until you've plotted out his next five moves--and then he does them all at once, possibly crashing into the other players as his does so). I'm not the first to observe that this is essentially a Harry Potter racing game without the license.

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See also: Halloween Gaming, Part I: Zombies, Halloween Gaming, Part III: Miscellaneous Malevolence

Posted on September 24, 2008 to Games





Comments

I would recommend "Vampire Hunter" as a cool game for kids that is fun for adults the first couple of times. You play it in the dark, with the central tower providing the only light. Depending on whether it is day or night, you can see different board elements that are hidden at the other time of day. Neat idea; boring for adults after the novelty has worn off.

Posted by: ahtitan on September 26, 2008 9:07 AM

I would recommend "Vampire Hunter" as a cool game for kids that is fun for adults the first couple of times. You play it in the dark, with the central tower providing the only light. Depending on whether it is day or night, you can see different board elements that are hidden at the other time of day. Neat idea; boring for adults after the novelty has worn off.

Posted by: ahtitan on September 26, 2008 9:08 AM

Just to note (if anyone else is in the Chicago area) there is a) actually a reasonable board game store in the city limits as of this month (Cat and Mouse Games) and b) they are having a 20% off sale on any game involving Halloween characters on the cover on the 29th and 30th of October. I don't work for them or anything, I'm just excited about the store being here. And also like sales.

Posted by: rabbit on September 26, 2008 12:46 PM