Cheapass Games has brought a new project to Kickstarter in an attempt to bring pack their very first game with a new coat of paint. It was first released in 1996 and they have undoubtedly learned a lot since then so this is a great opportunity to revitalize a well loved game.
Take a look at the KickStarter video below for their pitch.
The Engaged Family Gaming staff was lucky enough to get our hands on a beta version of the game from the Cheapass games PR team. We gave it a few playthroughs and we loved every minute of it.
The first thing that struck me when we opened the box and set the game up was that the game board was very evocative of Clue. What was interesting about the Clue observation is that Kill Doctor Lucky is inverse Clue. Clue STARTS with someone’s death whereas Kill Doctor Lucky ends with one. They aren’t even a little bit similar otherwise, but man is it hard not to make comparisons right off the bad.
The board is essentially a mock floor plan of a massive 1920s mansion. The palatial home is sprawling and the floor plan is awful, but that makes the moment to moment gameplay that much better as each player is competing to get a chance to be in a room with Doctor Lucky alone
The Kickstarter campaign calls this a light strategy game and I think this is a valid description. Each room is numbered and Doctor Lucky moves from room to room after each player’s turn. His movement is predictable as he simply steps through his rooms one by one in numerical order, but you can only take one step at a time without discarding movement cards. This means that while you will definitely be able to predict his movements you need to predict where your opponents will be going as best as you can. That is, frankly, where the real challenge lies.
All strategy aside, the absolute best part of this game is the ongoing tension being built as the game progresses. It is inevitable that different players will get their time alone with the good doctor. When someone attempts to kill him other players have to help thwart these attempts by discarding “luck” cards from their hands. There are so many cards in everyone’s hand and you can only draw one card per turn IF you are alone and no one can see you. This means that early kill attempts are a great way to pull luck cards out of your opponents.
Hands are hidden so it behooves each player to bluff their way through each kill. The goal is to have everyone else expend more cards than you in order to stop the kill. The tension that builds with each hand leads to some great opportunities for skillful play.
The Kickstarter campaign lists the game as being rated for 12 years old or greater and that definitely makes sense. The theme is somewhat macabre to begin with, but it is really the gameplay challenges that push the Buy Steroid Cycles age upwards for me. There are a lot of moving parts to keep track of like Doctor Lucky’s movement, yours, your opponent and that is on top of hand management. It would get very overwhelming very fast for all but the best younger gamers.
The Kickstarter is already funded at the time of this writing, but now is a great time to get in on it to help unlock stretch goals. Head on over to the page and support them if you can!