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Subject: Kill Doctor Lucky - Boxed set version from Titanic Games rss

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Joe Reil
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I had picked this up at a local con this past weekend. I had heard the name before, but was previously unaware of the Cheapass Games version. My comments are aimed primarily at the boxed set version, as some comments I've read seem to indicate that there may be variations in the rules.

Contents of the box include a deck of cards, a very nicely illustrated board showing Dr. Lucky's mansion, a pile of painted wooden discs (spite tokens) and playing pieces, a large pawn style wooden piece to represent the good Doctor, and an assortment of smaller ones in different colors for the players.

Thoughts on components: Nice, but a little spare. The board is very nicely drawn, much nicer than the pics I've seen of the Cheapass version (which, at an SRP of $35 for this one, it should be). I am a little disapointed in the playing pieces - maybe I'm just spoiled by all of the nicely sculpted pieces available in many games these days. The cards are nice stock and should hold up well.

Thoughts on the game itself: Fun and simple. I'll just offer a very quick summay of the game play:

All of the players start in the entry-way of the Doctor's mansion, the Doctor starts in a randomly selected room. During each player's turn they can do the following:

They can make one "free" move into an adjoining room or corridor.
They can play movement cards on either themselves, or the Doctor (these vary from "move X number of spaces" to "move to a specific room").
They can make a murder attempt on the Doctor, (must be in the same room and in a room that no other player is occupying, or can see into). A murder attempt can either be made with a murder card, which have varying strength values, or without one which has a strength value of 1.
They can search the room to draw a card. This last option can only be done if no other cards were played and no murder attempts were made.

After each player's move, the Doctor moves. He moves from room to room of his mansion on a predetermined path.

There are also "Spite Tokens". After every unsuccessful murder attempt, the player gains a Spite Token. The player gains an automatic +1 to every murder attempt for each Spite Token they own.

When a murder attempt is in progress, the other players have the chance to cancel it. This can be done with Failure Cards. Each has a Failure Number associated with it and they can be combined from multiple players to thwart the murder attempt. Spite Tokens can also be traded in here - each Spite Token used in this way has a Failure Value of 1. This is definitely a last resort option, however, as the player attempting the murder gets to add all of these tokens to his pool.

There is a fair amount of luck involved and I won't say that this is an especially deep game, though there is some strategy. I've found that most player's turns will revolve around one of two focuses: Preparing/setting up for a murder attempt, moving/drawing cards to set up for a future murder attempt, or actually getting into position and making one.

It seems like most turns (3/4 or 4/5) will be the former. I don't find this a huge problem as these turns go by quite quickly and the overall pace of the game is pretty quick. In games with more players (I played with 4), there may be more time dedicated to this as with more players on the board it will be more difficult to find an unobserved corner in which to make a murder attempt.

Overall Thoughts: As I said, a simple and fun game. Strictly beer & pretzels. I was a little disapointed in the cost of the boxed set ($35 SRP). The components are nice but not exceptional and the gameplay itself, while fun, does not make for a really deep game. For the cost I'd expect a little more. This disapointment would have been non-existent if I'd bought the Cheapass version as it's strictly relative to cost.

If you're in the market for a fun and simple game, that can be fast playing this is worth a look. If the cheap version is at all available though, I'd recommend that over the boxed set version unless you absolutely have to have the nice looking full color board, or if you can get it for a better price than I did.
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Junior McSpiffy
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Two things about your review... or one difference and one question.

One difference between the box set and the Cheapass version are the spite tokens. The Cheapass version lacks them, and it can really bog the game down when there aren't a lot of attempts to kill the good doctor and people can stock up on failure cards. The spite tokens sound like a good solution. Heck, you can even incorporate those into a strategy of just running around early trying to poke Lucky in the eye just for the spite token to improve your kill attempts later.

One thing I would like clarification on is a rule in the Cheapass version that I didn't see in your review. In the Cheapass version, when Dr Lucky moves to a room, you check to see if he meets up with anyone. If he does, then the turn order is broken and it becomes that player's turn. I know that people are very split on whether they like this rule or not. I like it because you can walk around the house with the doctor and rack up cards, but I can see where people wouldn't like it because their turn can get repeatedly skipped due to no fault of their own. Did the box set have this rule, or did they phase it out?
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Joe Reil
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I should clarify: I do not own the Cheapass version.

I gather, from what I've read about it here, that the Spite Tokens were included as an optional rule. My apologies if this was unclear.

I would not want to play the game without the Spite Tokens. They have two effects on the game:

1: They encourage early murder attempts, even if you know you're going to fail as there is a tangible, and important reward for doing so.

2: They add an additional option for stopping late-game murder attempts. This is a last-resort option as it adds to the strength of the player that they were used on.

EDIT: I'll have to double-check on the rule you mention. We did not play this rule during the several sessions of this that I did play, but it's possible we overlooked it.
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Get up, get up, get up, get down, fall over.
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GameCrossing wrote:
One thing I would like clarification on is a rule in the Cheapass version that I didn't see in your review. In the Cheapass version, when Dr Lucky moves to a room, you check to see if he meets up with anyone. If he does, then the turn order is broken and it becomes that player's turn.
Yes, you can still ride the Dr Lucky train in the Titan version. And yes, I like that rule too.
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Key Locks
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GameCrossing wrote:
One difference between the box set and the Cheapass version are the spite tokens. The Cheapass version lacks them, and it can really bog the game down when there aren't a lot of attempts to kill the good doctor and people can stock up on failure cards. The spite tokens sound like a good solution. Heck, you can even incorporate those into a strategy of just running around early trying to poke Lucky in the eye just for the spite token to improve your kill attempts later.


It isn't wrong to say that the Cheapass version lacks spite tokens, but it also lacks pawns, for that matter. Remember, it's Cheapass. It actually has the spite tokens rule listed as a variant in the rule book (or at least, the director's cut does, which is the one I have). Of course, you have to supply the actual tokens yourself, but that's easy.
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