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Subject: A Review For A Game That May Never Be Printed rss

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Thomas Hornemann
United States
New Jersey
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Malpractice is a decidedly light, highly interactive, and, in the end, almost entirely luck based card game. The goal of the game is to either cure three patients or cause all the other players to be eliminated. The game states that the game is for 4-6 players but played just as well, if not better with three. The reason for that is why the game, for me, didn't work.

The game is, essentially, a player elimination game in which the eliminated players 'remain in the game' to grief the opponents still in the game. Technically there is a way for the eliminated players to return: If three patients overall are cured, not by a single player since that would end the game, then all eliminated players are returned to play. That does not scale for number of players. Curing one patient is a pain in and of itself and the game is far more likely to end via all other players losing than you yourself winning.

The reason I say that is the way the turns work. First the current doctor can try to heal the patient with up to two cards, then ALL of the other players get to play cards to make the patient more ill, then the first doctor can try to play one more card. Not to put too fine a point on it but that's a maximum of five bad cards a turn versus three good cards. And that's if you're lucky enough to have three healing cards.

Yes, it's possible that your opponents won't all have cards with bad effects but the cards are pretty much even in number. So it becomes a luck of the draw game. If your opponents draw better cards than you (the cards don't vary much in total so, ranging from roughly +/-0 to +/-6) you are eliminated during your first turn. The game actually improves slightly with fewer players because there will eventually be fewer griefers for you to worry about.

The theme is a little on the weak side. You are doctors in a hospital. Apparently there will only be one raise given out, so you are out to sabotage your competition. Obviously this raise is worth sabotaging your coworkers, abandoing your hypocrtic oath, and becoming responsible for manslaughter.

The artwork, which was not temporary, is non-sprite pixel artwork apparently made in MSPaint. The card names and pictures mostly tie the theme of what may be the universe's worst hospital (which at least seems appropriate). The patients are generally amusing with a few being obvious homages to famous people (the Black Knight and Walter White made an appearance) and the names of the cures/plagues you can place on them is amusing, though sometimes disconcerting.

The price listed on Kickstarter seemed reasonable for the components (number of cards) that came with the game. The quality I cannot firmly attest to. He did not have a professionally made deck with him at the time I played with him so I cannot say what the quality of his final product would have been.

Learning the game was simple, with a few snags. One type of card, surgeries, can only be played as your first card of the turn, but there's only a small symbol to differentiate it from the others. It might be easier to just write it onto the text as a reminder. The game can run incredibly fast, with players being eliminated and then working to eliminate others. There is practically no waiting in the game, it comes down to playing a card or two then every other player playing cards against you so every player has a turn every turn. I can't say much for replayability, I might have gotten it as a PDF to look at the artwork, but I don't think I would want to play it again.

Overall, I cannot recommend this game. It has too many deep flaws in core gameplay, at least in it's current form for me. And seeing that it's Kickstarter failed, this game may be DOA.
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