Have you ever had one of those days when everything went right for you? They are rare but when they do happen it is such a wonderful feeling. Last Thursday was such a day for me. I received so many parcels that morning you'd think it was Christmas and my birthday rolled into one. From Amazon, I receive two plastic storage boxes that I keep figures and boardgame counters in. I received 12 miniature merchant starships from Brigade Models as well as five 28mm scale sci-fi figures from Space Vixens from Mars, and two big Kickstarter parcels. The first was everything produced for Dracula's America and the second, which came in a huge box, was everything that was produced for Massive Darkness, the new dungeon crawl game from Cool Mini Or Not. To top it all I had two hospital appointments that afternoon for check ups and both went amazingly well with the two consultants being delighted at my progress since my major operation in 2013. It was just a great day. Anyway, in this post I want to take a closer look at Dracula's America.
I was very impressed by the quality of the products when I received them. the rulebook (shown to the left) is hard-backed, in full colour and runs to 140 pages. It is very easy to read and the rules are simple and easy to learn. The basic rule is if you roll a 5+ you have scored a success. On a roll of 1-4 you have failed. Characters come in three classes - novices, who roll d6s, veterans who roll d8s and heroes who roll d10s, so you can see, the more experienced your character is, the greater the chance he has of scoring a success. Some tests require one die being rolled, whilst others require three dice being rolled. Modifiers add or subtract the number of dice you roll but you can never roll less than one die. The more successes you roll, the greater the degree of your success is. That is the basic rules in a nutshell. Very simple.
The rulebook is split into three sections. Part 1 is The Rules, which cover the core rules, advanced rules, building your posse and 7 simple scenarios. Part 2 is Campaigns, which goes beyond one-off games into linked games that form a campaign. Part 3 is Dracula's America, which introduces the supernatural elements to the game. In here you will also find details of the six main factions of the game. The Twilight Order are the forces of good and light who have access to blessed weapons and ammo. The Red Hand Coven are the thralls of Dracula and his Shadow Union. The Skin Walker Tribes are native Americans who become shape-shifting guardians of nature. The Crossroads Cult are demon worshippers. The Congregation are sworn to stop the Dark Confederacy and to protect the remnants of the Free South with the power of Voodoo. The Dark Confederacy are made up of necromancers who raise the dead so that the Southern states may rise again in power.
I should point out that it is entirely possible to play this game as a straightforward Wild West skirmish game without using any of the supernatural elements... but where's the fun in that? This game is called Dracula's America and that is the setting I want to play in. I can't wait to get started. I can see crossover potential with THW's High Moon rules and maybe with Shadows of Brimstone, but that would require more work.
In the back row are the summoned creatures. In the fourth row from the front are The Congregation. In front of them in the middle are the Dark Confederacy. In the second row are from left to right, two Crossroads cult members, four Red Hand Coven vampires and two free exclusive figures I got for backing the Nickstarter, a Chupacabra and a Jackalope. In the front row are the forces of good - the Twilight Order and a single Skin Walker at the far right.
I'm a big fan of the Weird Wild West genre and I'm building up quite a collection of figures for this genre. I'm also slowly building up my collection of Wild West buildings and scenery. I think you can expect to see a lot of Weird West posts on this blog in 2018, by which time I should have enough painted figures and buildings to do it justice. I have to say that I am very impressed with the Dracula's America rulebook and setting. I see no reason to convert it to one of my other systems but to play it as written. But what has really impressed me is the quality and sculpting of the figures. Indeed, some of them are so good, they have jumped to the front of my painting queue. My favourite figure out of this range may well surprise you but I shan't say who it is until I have painted him or her. Yes, I am a tease!
The rulebook, dice and figures are all available from North Star. See here - http://www.northstarfigures.com/list.php?man=248&page=1
Highly recommended if you are at all interested in the Weird Wild West.