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January 3rd, 2007

Kill Doctor Lucky

A few years ago I started a holiday tradition–actually, does it still count as a tradition if you still have to explain to your wife that it’s a tradition when she looks at you funny because you thought she knew?–where I’d buy a couple of games for Christmas as “family gifts.” It’s usually one board game and one card game which I’ll spend at least a week researching on sites like Board Game Geek and then buying from Fun Again Games. Fun Again, it should be noted, is an amazing site in its own right with tons of great content and podcast partnerships that make it easy to waste away a whole afternoon exploring.


This year, after much deliberation I decided to go with a Wil Wheaton recommendation. The game: Kill Doctor Lucky, originally released about ten years ago by Cheapass Games in minimalist packaging for under $8. I opted for the new version of the game with the complete game board. Expensive, but, man, is it purdy.

The game itself can be most easily described as everything that happened before Clue. You and your friends are in Doctor Lucky’s mansion and you all want to off the old man. I won’t rehash all the rules here, but basically you’re moving around the mansion and trying to murder Doctor Lucky when no one else can see. And every time you fail, it makes it a little easier the next time you try thanks to “spite tokens.” While we kind of botched our first run-through of the game, our second game lasted close to two hours and was immensely fun. Lots of power shifts, unexpected turns, and missed opportunities. And more than once we found ourselves saying, “Wow… this game is brilliant.”

And it is. From the rules, which allow for a lot of variety and keep you from ever getting in a loop where everyone’s doing the same thing, to the board layout, which is far more intricate and interesting than Clue’s basic format.

If you get a chance to give this game a shot, don’t pass up the opportunity. It’s honestly one of the most entertaining board games I’ve played in years.

Posted in Board Games, Pop Culture

COD January 3, 2007, 1:51 pm

I’ve been doing the same thing each year. This year it is Settlers of Catan – also due to Wil Wheaton’s recommendation, and a bunch of fantastic reviews at Board Game Geek.

Marc B. January 3, 2007, 4:34 pm

I’ve added Kill Doctor Lucky to the list of games I’m thinking about. It sounds fun!

Dave Walls January 3, 2007, 11:18 pm

I’d like to put in a personal plug for You’ve Been Sentenced!, a word/card game by McNeil Designs that I’m involved with.

Simple to play, addictive and funny every time. Great for teaching vocabulary and sentence structure to kids, too.

Merle January 4, 2007, 1:35 am

Fun Again Games is *amazing*. The last time I was in Oregon, I happened to stop in at a small (-looking) game store, just to glance around. After talking to the people at the register for a while, they said “come on in, take a look at our warehouse!”. I have never seen so many games. They only had a dozen or so copies of some of the more obscure ones, but I found five or six amazing things just wandering around in there. Great folks.

Gloom is a really fun game, if you’re into the slightly macabre. You have a cast of five characters, and you play cards trying to kill yours off when they are the most unhappy, and grant boons to your opponents’ characters to try to make them happy when they die. The transparent cards are really sweet, too.

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