Game: Kill Doctor Lucky
Publisher: Cheapass Games
Recommended Ages: 13 years or older
Average Game Time: 30-60 minutes
Board game aficionados across the world are all familiar with the famous Clue. Taking place in a sprawling mansion and revolving around the aftermath of a murder, Clue is a definite favorite. In the same theme comes Kill Doctor Lucky, an amusing take on murders and parties. This time, though, the goal is not to catch the murderer but to be the murderer. This seemingly inverse Clue, almost a predecessor, is something almost everyone will enjoy for game night.
Kill Doctor Lucky takes place in Lucky Mansion, a giant estate with dramatic rooms, crevices and of course, all kinds of weapons. The goal is to, as can be assumed from the title, exterminate Doctor Lucky.
Make up a backstory for yourself if you will – did he leave you out of his will? Was he rude to you? No matter the reason, that man must go. And he must go by your own hands! Although each player wants to kill the doctor, the winner is the one who finally commits the deed. Of course, though, murder does come with consequences so there can be no witnesses. You must commit this act when no other player can see you. After all, nobody wants to go to jail.
The game consists of moving around the mansion, collecting handfuls of murder weapons, foiling your opponent’s schemes, and trying to corner Doctor Lucky away from the others. The Lucky Mansion makes for a fine evening with strange murder attempts, laughs and of course, always looking over your shoulder.
To begin with, all players (three to five) gather in the drawing room of the Lucky Mansion for a little get-together. As you move to different rooms, so does Doctor Lucky. The first step to a successful murder is to find him alone. To do this, you can either try to follow him or wait to get a ‘Room’ card that’ll put you right in front of him. Once you catch up with him and are out of sight of the other players (in other words, if other players are not in any adjacent rooms), you can try to commit the deed with a murder weapon you have collected.
But beware, he isn’t dead yet. Every opponent gets a chance to produce a failure card to try and ruin your attempt. If the scenario on their card matches up to the weapon you used, oops! You’ve failed your attempt and that pesky Doctor has gotten away again. However, it’s not terrible to have a failed murder attempt (in the game of course), because every fail gives you a ‘Spite’ token which helps to boost the value of your further murders.
For those who enjoy detail and design, the aesthetics of the game is really something to appreciate. Each room is decorated with a different theme, which really drives home the atmosphere of ‘grand palace’. The card illustrations are quirky and fun as well, along with character representations. The overall look and feel of Kill Doctor Lucky really does seem to have a lot of thought put into it and is overall wonderfully put together. I’ve even just gone through the cards for fun when I’m not playing the game, reading all the different failure attempts or reading about each character and appreciating the artistry behind the images.
Who Will Enjoy This?
If you enjoy light to medium strategy
You’ll definitely enjoy this game if you’re one for strategy. It’s not easy to corner and assassinate Doctor Lucky. One has to plan a way to commit the perfect murder and, unlike other games that rely completely on luck, you certainly can play your hand here.
One such strategy is to keep your powerful weapons cards to yourself. Some weapons are easier to win with, as they have fewer failures that can happen. By doing so, you’re setting yourself up for the most unstoppable murder yet!
Another option is to shadow your opponents. Playing a strong defensive hand, you’ll make sure that they aren’t ever alone with Doctor Lucky and therefore, are rarely able to even attempt a murder. Be warned though, this can get annoying fast and may cause your opponents to target you as a response!
There’s a lot of ways you can win this game, but you have to be smart about it. A game of logic and strategy, combined with maybe a little luck, Kill Doctor Lucky really does put you right in the middle of a competitive game. If you really tend to dislike games that rely completely on the luck of the draw or roll, but does not require hours or deep strategy, then this one’s for you.
If you enjoy humor mixed with your game
Kill Doctor Lucky is a comical and entertaining ride, so if you have a sense of humor, there’s no way you’d find this boring. The very concept of the game is so dark and over-the-top that it just seems absurd – a whole party of guests vying to murder the host first. Not only that, but each of the failure cards outline some outlandish way you go wrong in this attempted murder. To be honest, I’ve wanted to attempt murders just to hear the whole array of failures that could apply in the situation.
Here’s an example: “A door frame hits you squarely on the head. The doctor moves on.” or “Your feet stick to the floor. The doctor escapes.” The short, ridiculous scenarios are the best part of the game, in my opinion. Character backgrounds are also skillfully written, examining deeper the various reasons different party guests have it in for poor Doctor Lucky. One particularly interesting backstory is that of Skeeter Hopkins and some of it reads as follows: “While enamored of Doctor Lucky’s wit and charm, Hopkins was insulted by the old man’s liberal politics. Since then, he has developed a strange obsession that drives him to murder.” A very compelling reason, clearly.
Or even a little roleplaying…
In the same realm, Kill Doctor Lucky can become even more amusing if players stay in character. For those who are fans of role-playing, taking the persona of the wild and wacky characters can lead to an even more amusing game. You can start off with the character cards and spin-off from there. There is no shortage of jokes and bizarre written into the game that can lead to crazy conversations. If you’ve got a group of witty friends, the banter and conversation that ensues as you continue your quest for homicide is really something that can’t be recreated. After all, following the strange motives each character has, it seems only necessary that they are a little strange and a party of strange people all in one house can get weird pretty fast. So, if you’re planning to play this board game, be sure to call up your funniest friends for the best experience.
My Reasons to Buy Kill Doctor Lucky
The game’s enjoyment does not greatly change whether you play with three or seven people. You can change the number of playable rooms in parallel to the number of players. It might seem as though having fewer players can really change up the whole game, as there will be less witnesses to your murder at all times, but this can be mitigated by adding in Doctor Lucky’s pets, which ups the level of difficulty. Since Kill Doctor Lucky really does not take itself too seriously, it’s easy to play in almost any social situation and that makes it an easy play as compared to other games (I’ve heard some scary things about Monopoly).
Player Interaction and Atmosphere
The humor and wit written into the game are a personal favorite and I’ve never left the game feeling upset at losing or annoyed, feelings many other games arouse! You should definitely invest in this game if you find yourself entertaining people on a regular basis, and a great plus is that it doesn’t get boring on the second round so you’d get a lot of gameplay out of it for sure.
It also has a lot of variations and add-ons that you can purchase if you do find yourself getting bored, so have no fear about that.
And One Reason to Not
Number of Pieces/Cards to Set-Up and Organize
Playing Kill Doctor Lucky is not as simple as just pulling the game out of the box and starting. You will need to do some pre-game arranging. More importantly, there are a number of cards and different types of cards. This requires organizing the cards post-game. Or, planning to sort them prior to the next.
If you find yourself enjoying this game, you’d probably also be a fan of other whodunnit mysteries such as Mystery of the Abbey, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, and of course, Clue.
The murder theme is apparent in all these and if that’s what you’re after, you won’t be disappointed.
Favorite Quote: Doctor Lucky pauses to examine his own thumbs. You are thrown off guard.”