Dracula's Feast Game Review

7
A surprisingly complex hidden role game, set at Dracula's masquerade.

Dracula is throwing a party... and there's a healthy cast of creatures invited. The Boogie Monster, Dr. Jekyll, Van Helsing, and even Alucard are all invited to Dracula's masquerade, and are tasked with determining who every guest is. In this hidden role game, every player has their own role, and they (with some exceptions) need to guess everyone else's role. While there are unlimited guesses, guests need to reveal their own card when they make an attempt -- thereby making it easier for everyone else. Guests can "dance" with each other (swapping cards) and query each other with "yes" or "no" questions.

Complicating this is the fact that some cards have special abilities (the Trickster answers "yes" to every question) and some cards have different win conditions (the Zombie only needs to identify the players to their left and their right). 

Playable with up to eight players and with some advanced roles to increase replayability, Dracula's Feast is fairly fast to pick up, easy to setup, and appealing to most. Because of its rather expansive theme (who doesn't know Dracula?) and its quirky gameplay (Alucard just wants to be accused of being Dracula), it's a good game for any group.

However, it's also not the light game that it would appear to be. During our gameplay, most players were taking copious notes, consulting their phone, and even sending text messages to themselves. Because of the sheer number of roles and different behaviors (Boogie Monsters, Zombies, and Werewolves cannot refuse dances) and the complicated gameplay of some individuals (Dracula cannot reveal their identity or risk being outed by Van Helsing), it actually becomes extremely complex very fast. 

We found some members taking up to five minutes with their turn (which is just asking a question, dancing with someone, or making an accusation) simply because they were trying to derive a conclusion from the knowledge gained so far. We also found some members getting confused by their roles -- and one person getting confused by their role throws off the entire game, as it means that everyone is working with flawed knowledge from then on, and no one knows it till the end.

Ultimately, it's a fun, casual party game that actually requires some heavy lifting and pattern recognition. Pick it up if you love hidden role games and often have large groups -- but set aside some time and some note paper.