Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Kill Doctor Lucky Deluxe 19.5 Anniversary Edition

One of the very first games that I remember playing a child was Clue. At the time, I thought it was a very clever game of deduction and problem solving. While I still own a copy and will occasionally play it, I have moved on to different games. Recently, I was introduced to a game called Kill Doctor Lucky. On the surface, Clue and Kill Doctor Lucky have a lot in common. They both have a mansion, a murder, and colorful players/pawns. However, where the two games differ is VASTLY different. In Clue, you are trying to solve the murder. In Kill Doctor Lucky, you are trying to commit the murder. Kill Doctor Lucky has recently been re-released in a Deluxe 19.5 Anniversary Edition. It is designed for 2-8 players, ages 12+.  It takes about 30-45 minutes to play and retails for $40.

Setup - This is regular setup. For variants of setup, consult the rule book.
1. Lay out the player board. Close off a number of rooms, depending on the number of players.
2. Choose a pawn and the matching color card. (Note: The cards are double-sided.)
3. Place the Doctor Lucky pawn in the Gallery and all player pawns in the Drawing Room.
4. Remove unused player cards, and then shuffle all the other cards together to form a draw deck.
5. Deal each player six cards. Then set, the deck next to the board, leaving room for a discard pile.
6. Starting player is random, and play goes clockwise, unless Doctor Lucky causes the order to change.

Game Play - Each turn has two stages - Movement and Action.
1. Movement - You may take one free move (a step from one room to any adjoining room) or stay put. Hallways and stairways don't count as rooms and can be stepped through freely. You can play as many Move cards as you want to add one or two steps to your movement or simply move you directly to a specific room.
2. Action - You may only take one action per turn, and sometimes none.
a. Draw one card if you are in a room where no one can see you, including Doctor Lucky.
b. Attempt to kill Doctor Lucky if you are alone in a room with him and no one else can see you. When you attempt to kill him, you may play cards to increase your strength. Other players may then play one card to lower and eventually thwart your attack. You then discard all the cards, except one, and place it face down under your character card. This increases your killing strength by 1.
3. After your turn ends, Doctor Lucky moves to the next highest numbered room, i.e., from the Gallery (22) to the Master Suite (23). If he moves in a room occupied by someone else, it becomes that players turn.

The game ends when you are able to successfully kill Doctor Lucky and the other players can't play enough cards to thwart your attempt.

If you are a fan of The Simpsons, like myself, you are very familiar with the evil billionaire C. Montgomery Burns. When they did an episode about him being shot, everyone was a suspect, because he was so universally disliked. Kill Doctor Lucky made me immediately think of this episode. If you read your character card, you will see that Doctor Lucky has harmed all the people in some humorous way or another. One guy wants to kill him, because he gave away the secret to his magic trick. A paperboy wants to kill him, because he is weeks behind on payment. All of them are nonsense, in a funny way. However, he is called Doctor Lucky for a reason, and the reason is that he is just so hard to kill. When you do finally get him alone in a room to attempt the murder, you will most likely fail your first several attempts because other people are trying to foil you. Yes, they want him dead, but they want to be the one to do it.

The game smacks of flavor text on every card. The humor is a mix of subtle, corny, and silly, so there is something for everyone. The game play itself is simple to learn, and the board is not only double-sided but scales well, no matter the number of players. It does this by playing with fewer rooms and/or adding in Doctor Lucky's pets, which make it a bit more challenging to kill the miserable old man. Now, I don't condone murder at all,but after playing through this game several times, it is clear to me why this game has a cult following and has stood the test of time for 20 years. The game is a clear spoof of Clue, doesn't take itself too seriously, and has a high replay value. Unfortunately for me, my wife didn't like the game as much as I did, but I'm hoping I can get her to play it a few more times and win her over. If you like this game and want even more variety, check out the expansion called the Secret Lair of Doctor Lucky, which gives you an alternate board with a spy theme.