Wednesday, June 19, 2024

‘Fangs’ is a Delightful Version of Well-Loved Mafia

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If you like Mafia, also known as Werewolf, the social deduction game where you have to survive being killed by the werewolves or mafia, then Fangs from Thames and Kosmos and author Yasutaka Ikeda is the game for you. This time though, as a human you’re also fighting against vampires and werewolves.

Fangs is a thrilling social deduction party game and re-release of Shadow Hunters that challenges players to determine which one of these three secret roles each other player has assumed. Since you don’t know who you can trust when the game begins, you must attempt to conceal your role from the other players while working to identify your allies and your enemies.

Of course, werewolves are trying to get rid of the vampires, who want to get rid of the werewolves. As a human, you aim to avoid detection entirely and survive until the end of the game. Add in the secret weapons and ulteriror motives, and this game for 5 to 8 players is perfect for a party.

What’s in the Box?
cards and pieces from fangs

Fangs comes with 86 playing cards divided up into 8 playing cards, 20 character cards (8 human, 6 werewolves, 6 vampires), 16 oracle cards, 18 advantage cards, 18 combat cards, 6 location cards, 2 dice, 8 game pieces, 8 damage markers, and 1 damage track.

As expected from a Thames and Kosmos product, everything is well produced and will hold up to play after play. The illustrations by Unger and Fideler Transmedia Studio are very atmospheric, especially the characters and look more cohesive than the original game.

How’s it Play?

With lots of information to suss out and analyze, Fangs elevates the social deduction game to the next level. Each player has a specific role with unique goals and win conditions, forcing players to act in ways others might not expect. On a player’s turn, they choose between multiple actions, but limiting factors make it so there are justifications and excuses for any action. The addition of a strong storyline gives this social deduction game the added feeling of a role-playing game. The design of the gameboard makes the game easy to learn and play, so all your friends and family can get in on the action.

Players have three action options for each turn. You can roll the dice and move your character, you can carry out new location instructions, or you can attack against another player. The various oracle, advantage, and combat cards help players to figure out what another player is. For example, if you pick up an oracle card that asks another player if they are a vampire or human, they must do something in return to answer. If the other player is a vampire or human, they must give the asking player an equipment card or take damage. Now that player knows the other player is definitely not a werewolf.

6 cards from fangs to show the art
Assorted cards from the game.

Various locations also prompt actions. If you land at the Stone Circle, you can steal an equipment card or if you end on the Chapel you can pick an advantage card and follow the directions on the respective card. These locations and taking damage lead to eliminating different characters from the game. Since each character has a different goal, the game has a lot of room for hilarious moments and strategizing.

The Verdict?

Like most immersive party games, Fangs does have a learning curve when you’re first playing. Once you know how it works, the game is a lot of fun, and playing through as different characters allows the game to stay interesting and entertaining. Each character has a special ability that adds to the intrigue, in some cases it helps, and some cases it can be problematic. This, of course, requires players to really think about their strategy for play. Landing on various locations also expands play since the players have to avoid damage and/or inflict it on others, all the while trying to deduce who is who.

A great addition to Fangs is that multiple people can win in specific situations. If the last vampire or werewolf is eliminated than the werewolves or the vampires all win depending on who is eliminated. Humans have different goals beyond surviving the game, so there can be several winners in that case as well. I really enjoyed playing this game and know it’ll be one of my first go to games when I have people over!

You can pick up a copy of Fangs for $19.99. (Also available on Amazon.)

Images courtesy of Thames and Kosmos
9 Reviewer
Fun game that takes a bit to learn, but once it is learned, great for parties and large groups

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