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Review: Doctor Who: The Card Game

2015 May 1

 

Doctor Who: The Card Game

Doctor Who: The Card Game

I’m a huge Doctor Who fan. Martin Wallace is also my favorite game designer. Doctor Who: The Card Game has to be a match made in heaven, right? Keep reading to find out.

Designer: Martin Wallace

Playing time: 60 minutes

Ages: 13+

Number of players: 3-4, 2 with an official variant

Publisher: Cubicle 7

In Doctor Who: The Card Game, you get to play as The Doctor and his friends as well as his enemies in the hopes of defending your locations while attacking your opponents’. The game is filled with direct conflict. Even though Martin Wallace typically does euros, which often invoke indirect conflict, Doctor Who: The Card Game is all about direct conflict.

Defenders

Defenders

The game starts off with a shuffled draw deck in the middle of the players, with the one “game end” card 21 cards up from the bottom. Each player also receives tokens in their color, as well as a randomly selected starting location, placed face up. Each player also receives 5 cards to start, except for the player sitting to the right of the start player; that player only receives 2 cards.

Locations

Locations

Locations have a number of blue circles in the upper right – these circles are what you are going after in the game. At the end of the game, for each location in front of you that is not under attack by an opponent and for each location of your opponent that you are attacking, and have one of your Dalek tokens on, count up the blue circles on those cards, these make up your score at the end of the game.

How to play:

On your turn you have a number of actions you can perform…

  • Play an action card – lay down an action card in front of you
  • Play one or more defender cards – play 1 or more defender cards on one of your locations; if there are no attackers at this location, play these cards face-down; if there are attackers on the location a conflict ensues. More on conflicts later.
  • Play one or more enemy cards on an opponent’s location – lay down one or more enemy cards on an opponents location cards; this can only be done if there are no other attacking players and if the location is already under attack, only the same type of enemy can be used here; if there are defenders on this location, a conflict ensues.
  • Place cards in your reserve – You’re only allowed to have 2 cards left over after your turn, so to keep more, you can place up to 2 cards total, in a space near you that you designate as your reserve; at any time during your turn you may play a card legally and under the normal rules from the reserve pile
  • Buy cards with time points – time points is another type of currency in the game; you get these by laying location cards down; each location card (except starting) as a number in the upper left of the card; take this number of time point tokens – the action allows you to buy a card off the draw deck for 5 time points
  • Discard one or two cards in exchange for time points – just like it says, discard up to 2 cards to be able to draw up to 2 cards; if you discard one, you get to draw one
A game in session

A game in session

The real challenge in the game isn’t playing against your opponents, which it still is, but deciding what cards to keep and pass on. You see, at the end of each turn, you are free to play as many actions as you want, but one rule is, you must be able to pass 3 of your cards in hand, to your opponent on your right. Even though you are passing these cards to the right, play proceeds clockwise.

Conflict:

Game in session

Game in session

A conflict occurs when either you play your defender cards on one of your locations that is under attack, or when you play your attackers on a location of an opponent’s that’s being defended. When you’re attacking a location and there’s defenders there, the defenders and your attackers get turned face-up and players add up all the defenders vs attackers, if your attackers number is higher than the defenders, you win, and the defenders get discarded and you place a Dalek token on that location. This area is now under attack by you and you “own it,” somewhat.

Player tokens

Player tokens

You want to keep your attack/Dalek token out as long as you can as you get points at the end of the game if it’s still there.

If your defending a location and there’s a conflict, you win if the attacker is lower or tie to your attack level. If this happens, all of your cards still get discarded, but you get to put a Tardis token out on that location – this means it’s protected by the Doctor. You want these out at the end of the game. An opponent can make this token go away with an enemy card played on the location card, but the attacking card is discarded and another attack will need to happen for them to put a Dalek token out.

Game end:

The game ends when 1 player either has 5 Dalek tokens or 5 Tardis tokens out on the playing area. Or, the game ends when the “end of game,” card is revealed in the draw deck. Players count up their points and the player with the highest points, wins!

Summary:

Overall, I liked Doctor Who: The Card Game. It helps immensely that I’m a fan of the series, if I wasn’t a fan it wouldn’t have been as good, obviously. In playing the game however, it seems that something was a-miss in either our understanding of the rules or maybe we are thinking too much into it. All about the defenders, attackers getting discarded after attacking/defending a location. This rule seems a bit fuzzy.

The quality of the components is very nice. The cards are easy to shuffle and feel nice; the chit tokens are nice stock; the rulebook is nice and compact as has examples.

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor

The gameplay is fun. I admit it’s not a spectacular game, even though it’s by my favorite designer, it’s a good game. I would recommend it for any gamer that’s a Doctor Who fan.

Thank you Cubicle 7 for providing this review copy.

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