Cheapass Games presents Kill Doctor Lucky! In this notorious family game of cold-blooded murder, you hate Doctor Lucky. Why? We don’t quite know. Bottom line is: you want the man dead. At the same time, so do all the other players. You don’t want to get caught and go to prison, now, do you? So, you have to attempt the hit job in secret. If anyone sees you, Doctor Lucky gets to live on until next time.
The game is set in Lucky Mansion, a huge estate north of nowhere. It’s just past midnight, and the killings are about to begin. But the man is called Doctor Lucky for a reason; he doesn’t go easily. This job requires wits, cunning thinking, and a clever plan.
The first thing I noticed when I opened this game box was the board. It’s double-sided with the usual the usual mansion-esque rooms labeled from end to end. We have different, intriguing rooms around the mansion, to say the least. They are labeled as follows: Rose Suite, Servant’s Quarters, Armory, Lancaster Room, Gallery, Nursery, Trophy Room, Library, Skipper’s Rest, Master Suite, Lilac Room, Tennessee Room, White Room, Winter Garden, Pantry, Kitchen, Wine Cellar, Hedge Maze, Green House, Dining Hall, Main Hall, Drawing Room, Billiard Room, Piazza, Sitting Room, Foyer, Parlor, and Carriage House. Posh, huh? Clearly, there are a lot of rooms and opportunities to kill Doctor Lucky, as you can only kill him when you two are alone and inside one of the rooms. When you try to kill him, his luck (played by other players) will save him. However, with each attempt, you get stronger, and his luck will run out.
Artists James Ernest (also the designer for the game), Israel Evans, and James Ryman have done a fantastic job with the aesthetic of the game, the board, and clarity of the cards.
This game comes with a fairly complex, but well-understandable set of rules, and a variant game in which Doctor Lucky has risen from the dead and seeks revenge; the players must escape the mansion before being killed. Moving around such a sprawling mansion and collecting murder weapons leads me to believe this game was heavily based off of Clue, a similar game in which players have to find the murderer of a death that happened within the estate.
Truly a family game, Kill Doctor Lucky requires three to eight players. However, it holds a rather mature theme for children (even though it is ages 12 and up): murder (not to mention secrecy and deception). I’m not sure if the pre-teen age is stable enough to handle such concepts and realize that they’re just from a game.
Kill Doctor Lucky definitely takes some thinking, but once you catch on, it’s easy to get enthralled in the game. The Weapon, Failure, and Move cards push the play time along, keeping the gameplay to less than an hour, give or take. If you ask me, this is the perfect amount of game time.
Board games have always been a great way to bring people together. Trust me, I’m a huge fan of video games, but staring at a screen isn’t the same as looking around a table and seeing your friends and family having a good time—being happy. Kill Doctor Lucky is exactly what you need to make family game night a success!