[Note: I received a free copy of this game in exchange for a fair, unbiased review. Due diligence, full disclosure, and all that.]
Some board games are known for their iconic characters. You know the Monopoly guy, all the folks from Candyland, the mouse from Mouse Trap, the cast of suspects from Clue, and more. But one of the flagship characters from Cheapass Games might be new to you. His name is Doctor J. Robert Lucky, and players have been trying to kill him for twenty years now.
The game Kill Doctor Lucky has taken many forms over the decades — including several versions where players tried to save the infamous doctor instead — but the newest variation takes things in a spookier direction.
In today’s review, we look at Doctor Lucky’s Mansion That Is Haunted.
[Just half of the new game board.]
This expansion includes a new game board and new instructions, but that’s all; everything else you need to play is contained in the Deluxe 19.5th Anniversary Edition of Kill Doctor Lucky, including cards and tokens.
The endgame is also the same: kill Doctor Lucky before another player does. And while the same rules apply — you have to be alone in the room with Doctor Lucky and out of sight of every competitor — this expansion adds one curious wrinkle: all of the players are ghosts.
You see, in Doctor Lucky’s Mansion That Is Haunted, Doctor Lucky is trying to sell off his famous mansion, but the ghosts who also reside there wish for Doctor Lucky to stay, and they’ll go to any lengths to keep him around.
And you might not think that one curious wrinkle could radically change a game, but you’d be wrong. The fact that you’re a ghost means you can pass through walls, ceilings, and floors. That is a huge alteration in both strategy and game mechanics.
You can more quickly maneuver into a room with the Doctor, but you can also thwart your opponents by sneaking into a neighboring room and spoiling their murder attempt by observing the proceedings through an open door.
After all, it saves a lot of time to pass through a wall instead of leaving a room, moving down the hall, and entering the next. (Passing between floors is an even bigger time saver! Slipping through the ceiling and dropping in on someone is a marvelous feeling.)
Factor in the secret portals connecting several of the rooms, and suddenly the mansion is much more accessible.
This expansion harkens back to the early days of Cheapass Games — when they would send you the necessary pieces for their game and encourage you to harvest the extra bits (like dice and tokens) from games you already owned, thereby saving money all around — while adding new touches and revitalizing a game you already know quite well.
Plus, if Kill Doctor Lucky seems less family-friendly than you’d prefer, you can always call this Spook Doctor Lucky and give it a Scooby-Doo-esque twist.
Doctor Lucky’s Mansion That Is Haunted (and the Deluxe 19.5th Anniversary edition of Kill Doctor Lucky) are available from Cheapass Games. And the expansion is also featured in this year’s Holiday Puzzly Gift Guide!
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