The chair creaks as you settle onto it. The candlelight flickers. All around you the ravenous faces of your so-called friends twist in delight as you slowly open the box laid out on the table. Welcome to Dangerous Games! Each week, we'll feature a horror/thriller/monster tabletop game you should be playing. Don't be scared… roll the dice… what's the worst that could happen?
'I Am Vlad: Prince of Wallachia' - Real Wallachian Games (2012)
You are Vlad the conqueror, Vlad the Impaler, Vlad the terrible. They will write histories and fantasy based on your bloody legacy. You will leave your foes slaughtered on the battlefield, and your people will respect you the way they would respect a god. You are Vlad, the Prince of Wallachia, and no one will take your title away from you. Except… of course, for the other players at the table, who are also vying to become Prince Vlad!
In 'I Am Vlad: Prince of Wallachia' two to four players compete against each other in a tactical struggle to become the true Vlad. Each player has several small figures that they move around a board (and a separate "underworld" board), plays spells that they purchase with money they collect, and must navigate the local guards, werewolves, and other such troubles. The last one standing (or first to three kills) is crowned Prince Vlad and wins the game.
This is a very tactical game that involves lots of moving pieces. Literally. There are wheels that turn to signify the movement from day into night. There are wheels to track ones life and the life of your opponents. And there are paths to keep track of your advancement. You move your heroes around the board, gaining resources, killing foes, and building up you strength against your enemies.
Each player controls Vlad, an Archer, and a Wallachian Knight. You want to keep these guys alive, because if they die they head into a separate board called the Underworld Board, where they must move around a track before they can be resurrected. The board for this game is huge, and there are tons of little rules too finicky to mention here, but the goal of the game, essentially, is to use all of your assets to become the last player standing.
This isn't the type of game you're going to finish and say "We've got to play that again, right now." It's a slow burn of a game, with intense set up and break down. This is a "special occasion" type of game. You don't want to break it out all the time. As such, this doesn't have great replay value, and you'll find yourself playing it once in a blue moon.
This game is epic. But epic does not always mean good. You may see this game on a game shelf and think that it's the perfect horror game. Tactical, with great illustrations and board design, but there's a lot lacking in this game. It's not a bad game, by any means, but it's a bit too big for its britches. As mentioned above, there's so much set up involved in this game, and the rules feel a little bit too fractured. Sometimes you're moving units, and sometimes you're playing cards. They were going for a "little bit of this, little bit of that" feel, which I respect, but it comes off as scattered. Still, if you love Prince Vlad and all the mystery and folklore around him, you'll still probably want to check this game out.