Have you ever thought to yourself, “man, I want to kill (insert name here)?” I’m sure most people have had those dark thoughts from time to time. Speaking of murder, I have a nice outlet for those most foul feelings, CheapAss Games, Kill Doctor Lucky: Deluxe 19.5th Anniversary Edition (will hence be referred to as Kill Doctor Lucky). You play a random house guest roaming the remote and sprawling Lucky Manor, trying to murder Dr. Lucky. Does Kill Doctor Lucky sound like a way to exercise your demons? Read on!
Kill Doctor Lucky is a hand management card game for 2-8 players and between 20-40 minutes per play. It plays best with 5-6 players.
Your player needs to kill Doctor Lucky before the other house guests do. Players will use cards to move around Lucky Mansion, use murder weapons to increase their murder attempt and to give Dr. Lucky “luck” to foil other player’s attempts. Players must also find the ideal room in Lucky Mansion where no other players can see them to make a murder attempt. Players will grow stronger after failed attempts and increase their chance for future success. The first player to successfully kill Dr. Lucky, with no witnesses, wins and the last player to not foil that successful attempt is the loser.
Since this is the Deluxe Kill Doctor Lucky edition, it comes with components that are not typical of the original version. These components are a much higher quality. For example the centerpiece of the components is the two-sided color game board…not the pieces of paper you’re used to seeing with this classic game. The board gives you Lucky Mansion, but with some different sight-lines from previous versions. The other side of the board actually is the new Doctor Lucky’s Bed and Breakfast map with more rooms and a more complex layout with an actual upstairs and downstairs.
Most players will interact mainly with the 72 Game Cards and the 8 Character Cards. All the cards are very good quality and will hold up without sleeves but I like my games to stay nice, so I sleeve them. The Character Cards are two-sided and give players the option to play a male or female guest with a flavor text giving their unique motive for wanting to kill Dr. Lucky.
The last components are the 8 different wooden player pawns that are color coded to the player cards. These again are of excellent quality and accurately color-match the player cards.
I have to say since I played and once owned the original Kill Doctor Lucky, I’m glad they upgraded the components for this edition and made this a game worth keeping. I know CheapAss Games originally intended to make the price-point for this game as low as possible to make it accessible for all, but having a game that had the look and feel of glorified photo-copies did not appeal to me and I didn’t keep it.
How to Play:
Once the game is setup, you’re ready to begin. A random player will go first and each player will get 1 turn. Player order may change as Dr. Lucky moves after the first round.
Each turn has two stages for the players: Movement and Action.
Movement: You can take one free move and can play card(s) to increase that. It’s important to note that a free movement will take you to an adjoining room (hallways do not count as rooms) where a move card could jump you to the room on the card.
Action: You’re only allowed 1 action and you can spend it to either attempt to kill Dr. Lucky or draw a card if no other player can see you. This is why sight lines are so important for the player’s action. Sight lines run perpendicularly through all doors, rooms, hallways, and stairs. They don’t go diagonally though.
After each player ends their action, then Dr. Lucky moves (yes, he will move after each player’s turn).
Moving Doctor Lucky: Dr. Lucky will move to the next numbered room in sequence. It’s important to note that when Dr. Lucky moves into a room with a player in it, that player takes the next turn and this will change player order. This means you could potentially take several turns in a row.
Murder Attempts: The strength of the murder attempt is a combination of the player’s strength and the weapon card (if any). All characters start with a base strength of 1 and weapons usually range from 2 or 3 (higher if you’re in a specific room). Once the player’s total strength is determined, players can play cards to enhance Dr. Lucky’s “luck” to foil the attempt. Each player can discard as many cards as they wish. If the luck is equal to or greater than the attempt fails. A failed murder attempt gives a player +1 strength on their next attempt.
Killing Dr. Lucky: If the total luck is less than the murder attempt strength, then that player successfully kills Dr. Lucky and is the winner. The last player to not foil the successful attempt is the loser.
As I mentioned above, I owned the original game and got rid of it. That’s not going to be the case with this edition of Kill Doctor Lucky because I’m keeping this one. For the record, it’s not just some nostalgic thing for me; this is a great game with quality components. There are many positives and a few negatives with this game.
The first is the quality of components makes this game a keeper for me. I liked the original version because it was an inexpensive game and it was fun to play. This Anniversary Edition is not too pricy, but the production values in the board, cards, and game pieces what you’d expect from this edition. Plus, this edition has not lost its humorous edge in fact that it’s been improved by additions to cards and rules. The last thing to note is this edition comes with variant Dr. Lucky pet rules and Escape from Lucky Mansion after Dr. Lucky has been killed. This increases the replay value.
Second is the new board which is the centerpiece of this game and rightly so. CheapAss changed some of the sight lines of Lucky Manor, making some of the rooms more and less isolated than previous versions. But the biggest change is expanding the board to be two-sided. The Doctor Lucky’s Bed and Breakfast side is a more complex map due to the different floors and that ups the difficulty. Both attributes of the board increases the replay value because each side plays so differently.
The third is the multi-use Move and Weapon Cards. These were another big change and improvement from the original. The majority of these cards now also include “Luck”, so you can play them as normal Move or Weapons, but also to boost Dr. Lucky’s Luck on murder attempts. This gives players a chance to foil attempts with cards other than failure cards. This does increase the length of play and adds some of the difficulty planning for what cards to play and keep in this hand management game.
I did have one negative about the new cards though. The original game provided Move cards that allowed players to move Dr. Lucky and there’s no way to do that with this edition. While in my opinion, the original seemingly gave you too many chances to move Dr. Lucky, I wish this Kill Doctor Lucky edition gave you some. This was not a deal breaker, but it would have upped the level of difficulty and added some more variety in the game play.
Another negative to me was in the 3-5 player count rules state that you’re supposed to close 1-2 wings of Lucky Manor. This is can close about 1/4 -1/2 of the board and the rules state using 5 cards per wing off of the player deck to cover up the room. This does shorten the game, which is not dire, but what I found to be flawed was that there were 4 Move cards that aren’t multi-use that become useless because these rooms are now closed. You don’t need or want cards that are useless in a hand management game, especially given that getting additional cards has become more difficult in this edition.
I think Kill Doctor Lucky: Deluxe 19.5th Anniversary Edition should appeal to most gamers because the game play is fairly fast paced, easy to learn, lighter on strategy, and high on replay value. It can be frustrating when your murder attempts are foiled but don’t worry, you will have more than one chance and you’ll get stronger in subsequent attempts.
Kill Doctor Lucky has retained and expanded on its humorous tone and the production values alone make this game a head turner. The multi-use Move and Weapon cards add to the game length and overall complexity. Even though you can no longer change Dr. Lucky’s movements, and some cards become useless when you close wings, it’s still a fun game that’s worth checking out.
If you are interested in getting a copy of Kill Doctor Lucky: Deluxe 19.5th Anniversary Edition, you can pick it up for about $30.
Final Score: 4.0 Stars – A humor filled hand management card game with great replay value. This game is for any gamer who is looking for something light on strategy and heavy on fun.
• Can’t change Dr. Lucky’s movement
• Some useless Move cards when blocking wings at lower player counts