Kill Doctor Lucky Board Game Review (Cheap Ass Games)

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Now released by Paizo Publishing, Kill Doctor Lucky bills itself as "the family board game of murder in the dark." In that respect, it's absolutely accurate: a darker version of Clue, Kill Doctor Lucky is a shallow, easy game with few mechanics. Surprisingly, there is more going on beneath the surface than it appears; if you wanted to play it multiple times, you might actually find yourself developing a strategy. Unfortunately, the replayability of this game is virtually nil for moderate to serious gamers, as there just isn't a lot of content (and this version of the game is quite shoddy).

Game Details

Players: 3 to 7

Game Time: 60 Minutes

Age: 12+

Genre: Movement / Strategy

How is Kill Doctor Lucky Played?

Doctor Lucky is a man of habit. Over the course of the game, he'll traverse through his mansion's numbered rooms one by one. Players, on their turn, can choose to play cards, move, or draw a card. Their cards will either be murder cards, movement cards, or failure cards. Though any player can attack Doctor Lucky as long as they are out of line-of-sight of another character (with strength 1), murder cards give them more strength. Movement cards let them move more than a single area at a time (and let them move Doctor Lucky, sometimes), and failure cards are used to fail the attacks of other people.

Thus, a player might play the "Loud Noise" card on Doctor Lucky, giving them a +2 to murder. With a total strength of +3, they will succeed at murdering him (and win the game) unless other players can play fail cards up to a strength of +3. As players need to take an action to draw cards, they may run out of fail cards quickly.

As a variant, players can add Doctor Lucky's faithful dog. In some of these variants, we needed to kill the dog. This led to us simply supplanting the dog with the chef, creating a murderous dog and an incredibly loyal chef. When the dog is added, the dog follows Doctor Lucky around, and can interfere with attempts to murder him. If it is the chef following him, we assume it's to get him to eat his meal before it gets cold.

How Does Doctor Lucky Look?

Doctor Lucky looks, in every respect, like a generic family game that's designed to be a shelf staple. Doctor Lucky is one of those few games that actually could have benefited from miniatures, or really anything; the components of Doctor Lucky are so cheap that we briefly wondered whether it was counterfeit before realizing that no one would counterfeit this game. Initial versions of this game came with wooden tokens. They would have helped.

As a game, Doctor Lucky simply feels sparse; there are only a few different cards in the game, and in a game like this, that really matters. We found we had the most fun reading the ridiculous flavor text on the murder and failure cards. It absolutely cannot be emphasized too much how important the theme and aesthetic of a game really is to its enjoyment. There's a very dark and silly undercurrent to this game, which felt like it was never fully explored.

What's in the Box?
Game board * deck of 96 cards * 30 spite tokens * rule book * stands for seven players * doctor lucky * loyal dog

How Does Doctor Lucky Feel?

As Doctor Lucky traverses his mansion, players need to manipulate themselves so they are in the right place at the right time. The first few murder attempts will invariably fail, but a failed attempt gives you a spite token which boosts your next attacks. Consequently, you will build up spite over the game and will eventually be able to win the game through attrition.

The problem with Doctor Lucky is how it handles its turns. Players go around counter-clockwise except if someone ends up with Doctor Lucky in the same room as themselves. Then that player becomes the new first player, taking two turns in a row. This mechanic is intended to make it so that you can move to a place and then, in your next turn, Kill Doctor Lucky.

Through the way that players were positioned throughout the board, it was very easy for some of the players to not get turns for a significant portion of the game. There was nothing they could do to get a turn themselves, they simply had to wait until everyone else had finished maneuvering. 

Kill Doctor Lucky is a shallow game and it has some problems, but it doesn't bill itself as a serious game: it bills itself as a casual game for families. For that, it could be quite good.

Kill Doctor Lucky Game Review
  • PRO: A clean, easy to learn game that's designed for families who are tired of "Clue."
  • CON: This is actually a shoddy re-print of the original, which is a little soulless and corporate.