English language edition
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Transylvania: a land where vampires rule the night and ply their trade without interference. But the vampire hunters aim to change that! The players, as vampire hunters, will invade vampires' favorite lairs seeking to destroy the blood-sucking beasts. Vampires gather in their favorite places unaware of the hunters. The players visit these places to "collect" the vampires gathered there. The winner is the player who collects the most vampires!
Okay, so maybe it's not rocket science, but I like this game. To me the excellent graphics are not the only redeeming quality. Being fairly new to German games, I like something simple that I can easily teach my friends. Three of us had a good time playing this the other night. I have to agree with everyone else who has said that the game really has nothing to do with Vampires, but does that matter? The game could have a Western theme, and it still would be fun! This is a perfect game to introduce others to German gaming, and would be great to play while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.
i think this game is equal to many of the other rummy like games out there and has been gggiven a bad rap because the theme has no relationship with the game...da....this is knizia here! there is strategy here, rush people along and collect all 6 colours, ending the game...wait for the cards to come and go for high scores...light but fun
Reiner Knizia games are known for the subtlety of their play, as well as the simplicty of their mechanics. He may have surpassed himself with 'Vampire,' a game that causes an immediate 'That's it?!?' reaction when you read the rules.
When I get a new game, I usually play it out against myself a few times so that I can find any hidden pitfalls, and then teach it to my friends, who absolutely detest reading through the rules of a game. What I discovered was surprising.
Players who just dive into the game will fail to see the subtlety of it, and will merely go for a quick end to the game, with short runs and hoping to cover all six colors. This is almost always a road to defeat, since those short runs of cards usually mean that the color will not be scored at game end. It is much better to work toward longer runs of cards, even if a color or two is missed.
On the other hand, if two or more players work toward long colors and another player tries for short ones, there is the slight chance that this player can sneak through with a win by picking up those colors missed by the other players.
Like Lost Cities, there is an overwhelming chance that the casual gamer will underestimate this game and give it a bye rather than a buy. If you want a simple game that calls for some tough decisions, stake out 'Vampire.'
After reading a negative review of Vampire on rec.games.board, I was a little apprehensive about getting Vampire. However, given the low price, I figured I didn't have much to lose.
Upon opening the box, I was very pleased to find that the cards were so attractive. The wonderful illustrations of vampires and spooky locales on the cards set the mood for the game very nicely.
Unfortunatley, the theme of the game never really seems to connect with the actual game play. For the most part, the game seem most evocative of Rummy. In each turn, players draw from either the deck or from face-up sets of vampires (discards, essentially) to collect sets (3 or more cards) of like vampires (according to the rules, you're vampire hunters--and collecting them is 'killing' them). Given that, the object is to collect (okay, 'kill') the most vampires.
If players draw from the deck (in which case they draw 2 cards), they must discard one of their vampire cards onto the corresponding locale. When any one player collects all 6 of the different vampire sets, the game ends. Alternatively, the game ends when the last card of the deck is drawn. Before scoring, the player(s) that has the least points in each of the six sets, must discard their set. Points are tallied and the winner is determined.
All in all, this is not Knizia's best game, but it's certainly not his worst either. Our group found it to be reasonably entertaining, but not terribly taxing. Ultimately, it's a nice, light filler.
The good side of this game is the relatively spooky and atmospheric cards, though they could have been improved with a little better artwork. The game play is not bad but is derivative of some other card games already out there (such as Titan: the Arena, which is a much better game, and, if I remember correctly, Caesar & Cleopatra). However, the game totally fails to live up to its theme. Basically this is a game of gathering and playing sets of cards of the same color representing different 'suits.' On your turn you draw two cards and discard one into a 'location' which matches its color. You can then raid a location and gather up all the cards in it and make runs or sets. The player with the fewest cards in a particular set loses all of them during the scoring part of the game.
The rules advertise that there is some danger in going Vampire hunting because 'Vampires can bite' but losing a set from scoring is the only bad thing that can happen to you. A rule in which a failed hunt would cause you to lose points or cards would have helped introduce some risk in your play, but no such rule exists. Far from incorporating any rule that makes the game the least bit risky or exciting or that attempts in any way to capture the feel of raiding a vampire nest, the vampire theme is only used in the art work, not in the conceptual play of the game itself. The overall result is lame and very disappointing to this reviewer who was expecting more.
The best part of the game is its price and if you're not expecting much, it can be a fun card game in a very simple and bland kind of way. That is the only feature that keeps it from being a one-star game in my opinion; you lose very little buying this one.
I have oddly mixed feelings about Reiner Knizia's games. Actually, let me rephrase that. [page scan/se=0172/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Medici was the first German game I played, and I thought it was great. I liked Money!, too, despite its simple mechanics and the fact that the theme has nothing to do with the gameplay. All of Knizia's other games, however, have just left me with varying degrees of disappointment, but none to quite the same degree as Vampire. I even turned down an offer to play the game with Knizia himself recently.
First and foremost, along with everyone else who's reviewed this game, I have to point out that the theme has absolutely NOTHING to do with the game. Knizia is notorious for this, but at least with the rest of his games, you can come to some sort of connection by stretching your imagination far enough. Perhaps I should have asked him to justify the theme when I met him, but it seemed rude at the time. The closest I can come with this game is picturing a bunch of vampire hunters sitting around a hunting lodge, pulling vampire heads out of giant baskets and saying things like 'Hans Gruber, while I have slain 17 vampires of varying colors this evening, I see that you have slain 8 purple vampires and 5 green ones, thus cornering that market. Thou art truly a finer hunter than I!' It just doesn't work.
This game is really nothing more than a kludgy, 3+ player version of Lost Cities (which is, oddly, the Knizia game where the theme most closely matches the gameplay, in my opinion), which simply exacerbates the faults of Lost Cities instead of adding anything new. As with Lost Cities, the only strategy in the game is to focus on just two or three colors, while relying on the luck of the draw or meticulous card counting to get you there (either method seems equally valid).
The mechanics are disappointing at best, and the tacked-on vampire theme just adds insult to injury, because it has so much potential, but delivers absolutely nothing.
Vampires are everywhere, if you believe all those horror movies. Now you can catch some, and in a splendid array of colors. Start with four vampire cards. Six gathering places are arranged on the table, each with a vampire of the color that haunts it. Draw two vampire cards or take all the cards from one of the gathering places. Then, either send a vampire to its favorite haunt, or lay down a set of three or more vampire cards of one color. You can't augment a set, but you can supersede it with a bigger one. The game ends when the deck runs out, or when someone has sets in each color. For every color, players score the number of vampires they've caught, except for the hapless player with the fewest. Garlic and stakes not included.