Will you be the one to Kill Doctor Lucky

Cost:$40
Players:2-8
Recommended Age:12+
Play Time:20 - 40 minutes
Guest Blogger:Jeremy Zimmerman
Contents:1 Board 80 Cards 10 Wooden Tokens
Our Recommended Age:8+ (Parents should always play first)
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post below are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Kill Doctor Lucky reminds me a lot of the classic whodunnit board game Clue. A group of strangers gathered in a mansion, all with the same goal. There’s one major difference though. Instead of trying to figure out who’s the killer, in Kill Doctor Lucky you’re trying to be the killer, but only of poor old Doctor Lucky.

Most people don’t have a problem with Doctor Lucky. Unfortunately for him, there are a few of you who do and you’ve all gathered in his mansion with the same goal… make sure he doesn’t get out alive. But, he isn’t called Doctor Lucky for nothing and killing him isn’t as easy as it might sound.

Technically, this isn’t a new game. In fact this release of Kill Doctor Lucky is the 19.5th Deluxe Anniversary Edition. The original release, also by Cheapass Games, has been updated with new visuals and game mechanics, so even if you’re familiar with the 1996 release there’s plenty of new content to keep things interesting.

cagkillluckyreview-55Cheapass Games suggests ages 12 and up although that seems to have more to do with the content rather than the mechanics. You, above anyone else, know if your kid will be ok running around a mansion trying to kill an old man with a severed Monkey Hand (yup, that’s a weapon) but I’d say ages 8 and up will be able to grasp the strategy involved.

The game itself comes in a standard type box with a lift-top lid and has a nice cardboard insert inside. Well, the insert is one strip to keep all the tokens and cards from sliding all over and the game board folds and rests nicely on top of the insert.

A colorfully-designed game board made from decent chip board is the largest piece to this game. There are enough wooden tokens for 8 players, one slightly larger token for Doctor Lucky and one small token for Doctor Lucky’s pet (used in a Pet rules variant). Along with those tokens are a stack of cards.

The cards are fairly standard card material, they can be bent or torn so it’s always good to be careful. The artwork has a nice classic feel to it that works well with the theme of the game. The Weapon and Failure cards also have a bit of extra flavor text that adds some nice (and often dark) humor. This is why we recommend adults playing a game before letting your kids…as a sort of test.cagkillluckyreview-1

Since the cards are random and the situations in the game can change pretty rapidly, Kill Doctor Lucky has a decent amount of replay value.

Adding or subtracting players can especially change how the game goes and there are a number of variants included with the rules to keep everything fresh and interesting. This includes my favorite, Escape from Lucky Mansion!, where Doctor Lucky’s ghost is out for revenge and the last player standing is the winner.

Objective:

Kill Doctor Lucky! No really, that is the goal…remember it’s just a game.

Setup:

Choose which side of the board you’re going to use: the Standard Mansion layout or the new Doctor Lucky’s Bed and Breakfast with a few extra rooms and a more complex layout. If this is your first game I’d go with Standard Mission.

Then put all the players in the correct starting room and Doctor Lucky in his starting room (both based on the board) and deal out 6 cards to each player (or 5 if you’re playing with 7 or 8 players). Randomly choose who goes first and you’re ready to play!

Play:

The game alternates between a player’s turn and Doctor Lucky’s turn. On his turns, Doctor Lucky moves to the next room in the house (in numerical order). Normally turn order passes to the left after Doctor Lucky moves, but if he ends up in the same room as another player, it immediately becomes their turn. This can even mean that one player can take multiple turns in a row if they’re able to keep moving themselves one step ahead.

The primary goal of each player’s turn is to try to get themselves into position to make a Murder Attempt on Doctor Lucky. This isn’t always easy though as you can’t try to kill him if anyone else can see you. The Line of Sight rules are explained well in the instructions and the end result is that isn’t always an easy thing to do. Those turns are divided up into two phases: Movement and Action.cagkillluckyreview-2

Movement

The movement phase gives each player one free move to any connected room. There are hallways and stairways in Lucky Mansion, but those don’t count for movement and going through them is always free. This leads to rooms that are within one movement of up to 15 other rooms. If you need more movement points there are Move cards that allow you to take one or two extra moves or will immediately take you to a specific room. Once you’re done moving, it’s time for the Action phase.

Action

The Action phase isn’t a guarantee. There are two actions you can possibly take and that depends on who can see you. If you are in a room and no one can see you (including Doctor Lucky) you can draw one card as an action. However, if no other player can see you AND you are in the same room as Doctor Lucky, you can instead make a Murder Attempt.

cagkillluckyreview-8Attempting Murder

Once you have Doctor Lucky cornered and no one else can see you, you can try to kill him. You don’t have to, but every failed attempt will help you with him later, so it’s usually a good idea. Each murder attempt pits the player’s strength against Doctor Lucky’s… luck.

Every player starts the game with 1 strength. You can use a Weapon card that will add 2 or 3 strength (or 4, 5 or 6 if played in the correct room) but only 1 weapon per attempt.

Once you’ve chosen a weapon, then each other player (starting with the player to the left of the one Attempting Murder) gets to add to Doctor Lucky’s luck. Some of the Move and Weapon cards have 4-leaf clover symbols on them and will add 1 or 2 to his luck. Then there are also Failure cards that serve no other purpose than thwarting other players. These can add from 1 to 4 luck and can definitely make things difficult.

Once each player either plays one card (but no more than one) or passes, compare the player’s strength to Doctor Lucky’s luck. If Doctor Lucky’s luck is the same or higher then he escapes and your Murder Attempt has failed. But it’s not all bad. If you try to kill him and fail, you then take one of the cards played in that Attempt and add it to your player as a Reason.cagkillluckyreview-17

Each Reason adds +1 to your character’s base strength and it doesn’t matter what card as discarded cards are never reshuffled. The rulebook suggests that: “You should therefore choose the one that fills you with the most murderous rage” and I think that’s pretty good advice.

Winning:

If, however, your strength is greater than Doctor Lucky’s luck then that’s it! You’ve won! That horrible old man has finally paid for his crimes or indiscretions or having your tree chopped down (because a significant portion of it’s root structure was under your yard) or whatever the reason was that he needed to die.

And for an extra bit of fun, Kill Doctor Lucky can have a specific loser as well. The loser is the last person who could have played a card to stop you from winning but didn’t. That is what I call incentive for playing cards to screw over someone else…I like that aspect.

Kill Doctor Lucky is a great game that doesn’t take itself too seriously but has plenty of strategy and fun. It works for as little as 2 and as many as 8 players, so it fits nicely in most groups and the games are usually fast-paced with plenty of action. It’s a great addition to any collection and always a blast to play.

Show us your Dead Doctor Lucky and the Loser! @MyGeeklings #KillDoctorLucky @CheapassGamescagkillluckyreview2

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
~ Babe Ruth

Author: sandyz

1 thought on “Will you be the one to Kill Doctor Lucky

  1. Note: in foiling a murder attempt, the other players only get one opportunity to discard cards to increase Doctor Lucky’s luck, but they are allowed to chuck as many cards as they please at that time. You usually want to pass the responsibility of saving Doctor Lucky off to other players if you can (there’s a bluffing element), but if it looks like no one else has luck, or you’re the last to play, you may have to sacrifice a lot of cards to stop the murder!

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