I continued my game from last night on Easy (by extending the event deck timer for a longer game) using the 2 vampires Laszlo and Imre. Laszlo is a dominant fighter-type and Imre uses blood magic to expose agents or restore blood to other vampires. There are others but these two are recommended for first play.
Smile for the camera…or not.
The game is very easy to set up and tear down. It also has an excellent manual allowing you to jump into the game immediately while it walks you through your turns. Each day phase sees one or more events on the board resolve, then the arrival of agents, then possibly said agents ganging up on and attacking your poor little blood-suckers. As the game progresses new debilitating effects can take place, crippling your vampires and slowing your progress while the presence of agents continue to increase.
Who let these guys in?!
During the night phase, the vampires come out to play. Basically, your goal is to expose and then kill agents so that you can grow in power. Then, when strong enough, summon a dread sigil (with each vampire) to eventually perform some kind of blood moon ritual to establish control over the region, thus winning the game.
I enjoyed my play-through, and did not find the game overly challenging as some people complained about on BGG. I imagine this could change as I use different character combinations on higher difficulties. Also, play was pretty short for my first time. I only made one minor mistake because the rules are very straight-forward.
This game cannot be played True Solo. It is cooperative and very easy to manage each vampire. It may even be more fun/challenging at higher character counts. I could easily see myself using three for my next game, and eventually maybe more.
Contrary to public opinion, I don’t believe you play as the “bad guys”. In all technicality these are individuals who are struggling to survive, in much the same way as any other species according to the Principles of Natural Selection. As far as I am concerned, the agents take on a more sinister approach, while the vampires act like any other family/clan throughout history just trying to eke out their miserable existence. They just need blood, lots of it, and humans are on the menu, unfortunately.
Drinks are on me…
Vampires are a tired and overused trope, up there with the likes of Tolkien’s Elves. This game manages to push the envelope by creating unique characters to play as, that look every bit like a real person would, minus the sharp fangs. I felt like I was playing a game of Peaky Blinders with vampires instead of Brits. Overall, I recommend this game for its accessibility, thematic approach, and fair price point. The art is nice, there is a feeling of progression as your vampires grow in power, as well as rising tension from your enemies. The game was not some giant overweight monster that required me to abandon my family for a week, with play time lasting anywhere between 1-2 hours. If I could, I would back this on kickstarter just for the added gameplay and deluxified content (not the minis). That, to me, is usually my highest form of praise.