Vampires vs Werewolves, Werewolves vs Vampires, in Fangs the ancient war between the two groups of mythical creatures rages on with a couple of poor humans stuck in the middle. Isn't it always the case? We humans, we are always getting in the way. Fangs is a hidden role game and for better or worse, it is quite different to other games in the genre.
Locations, Equipment, Deduction, And Smacking Each Other In The Head
Like all other hidden role games, at the start, you are dealt a card that determines your character, group and special ability. If you are human, your card also shows your winning condition. Vampires win if they eliminate all Werewolves, Werewolves win if they eliminate all vampires and humans when they alone achieve their secret goal on their card. You can have multiple winners and I really like that about this game. It creates some strange alliances around the table.
The number of characters in each group is determined by the number of players and the game seems to scale well at various player counts. Unlike other games of this ilk though how you get rid of other players is by damaging them, hoping they are one of the characters you need to eliminate, and using equipment and locations to get snippets of info on the roles on the other players.
Player Pieces And Health
Unlike other hidden role games each character has a player piece, there is a selection of locations laid out on the table in a random order and characters have a pool of health. On your turn, you roll two dice, one of which is a strange obelisk shape and one is a D6. You add your two numbers together and move your character to the matching location. Each location has a name, a number the corresponds to a dice outcome, and an action.
These location actions correspond to the three decks of cards that make up the majority of the game of Fangs and one location you to heal or deal damage to another player. These three decks are the Oracle cards which allow you to secretly ask another player questions about their identity and both the combat and advantage decks contain equipment and random events. The combat deck is more attacking and the advantage deck contains more items and events that will help you rather than damage others.
Deduce, Deceive, Destroy Or Die!
Using the Oracle deck you must ask the correct people the correct questions. The cards will say things like "Are you a Werewolf?" and you must pass it to a player without reading it out and they must either do nothing if it's untrue or if it is, lose the amount of HP it states on the card. This will give you and you only some info on their identity. You must use this deck combined with the equipment and events contained in the other decks to identify and destroy your foes. It's a slightly different take on the hidden role game and we all rather enjoyed it. It's not perfect, don't get me wrong but it was entertaining.
What I found slightly off was the randomness to the questions and locations. You may want some equipment, or you may want to ask a certain person a certain question but what you do on your turn is largely down to chance. You may not get the location you want and therefore the action you want and even if you do, you may not get the question, equipment, or event you required anyway. It's not a massive problem but in a hidden role game, it makes the whole framework and gameplay flow feel a tad loose and luck-driven.
The components in Fangs are serviceable at most. Very little artwork, wooden tokens, and a few card decks make up what is in the box. It is not inadequate by any means but I think a little more imagination would have gone a long way. The tokens are your normal wooden circular discs, the artwork is quite generic though not being sub-standard in any way. I do like the weird-shaped dice though, that's nice, in an uncanny way.
Final Thoughts On Fangs
When Fangs is flowing, people are getting the right questions to the right people and the banter is rife, it is a lot of fun. When you are not getting what you need the game lurches along and not much is really happening. I do like these games when they are running well, the funny glances around the table when you work out who someone is are priceless!