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Game Review: Doctor Who The Card Game

The latest season of Doctor Who just started, so I think it’s the perfect time to review the brand new game release, Doctor Who: The Card Game. I got a copy of this at GenCon and, as a fan of The Doctor, was thrilled to finally get a chance to play over the weekend.

The basic premise of the game is a lot like the premise of an episode of the show. The Daleks, Weeping Angels and assorted bad guys are trying to take control of various locations. The Doctor, Rory, Amy and River Song are out there trying to stop them.
You start with a deck of 130 card that include Enemies, Defenders, Locations and Support. Each player starts with one of four starting locations and five cards and the rest of the deck is placed face down in the center of the table. 

There’s also an End of Game card that is placed 20 cards up from the bottom of the deck. If other game ending conditions aren’t met by the time this card is reached, then it serves to wrap-up the game before cards run out.

Each player chooses a color and gets a corresponding set of five TARDIS tokens and five Dalek tokens. If any player gets all five of either token type out on the board, this ends the game, even if you haven’t reached the End of Game card.

On your turn you can take a variety of actions with no limit to how many, as long as you have at least three cards left in your hand at the end of your turn to pass to the player on your right. This is the most important mechanic of the game and can be tricky.

It’s not just a matter of handing over three cards that you don’t need. They all do something, and even if they don’t help you, they may help your opponent. A lot. You have to pick very carefully and be sure to use any cards that would give too much of an advantage if passed, even if they don’t help you as much as other cards in your hand.

There are seven different actions you can take during your turn before you pass cards to your opponent. If you have a Location card, play it by adding it to the display of Location cards in front of you and immediately collect the Time Points on the card to save and use later. The card also has Victory Points that you tally at the end to see who wins the game.

You can choose to play Defender cards on your locations to beef them up against attacks or Support cards which give additional help and may affect a location, a specific Defender, or all of your locations. Lastly, you can play Enemy cards to try to take over your opponent’s Locations and gain their Victory Points.

The Defender and Enemy cards are initially played face down. Enemies also get a little Dalek token on top of them to show which player is contesting that location. Once a location has both Defender and Enemy cards, there is a conflict and the cards are revealed.

The winner is determined simply by adding up the points on the Enemy cards and Defender cards with the highest count winning the location. Ties always go to the Defender. If the Defender wins, the Enemy goes into the discard pile as do the Defender cards and a TARDIS token is placed on the Location to show that the area is protected by the Doctor.

The TARDIS token automatically defeats the next attack, but is then removed so the Location is open to new attacks. If the Enemy wins the round, then instead of a helpful TARDIS token the Dalek token and enemy cards stay put and those victory points will go to your opponent at the end of the game, unless you win a later battle. 

Once you’ve played the cards you want to play, you can put up to two in reserve for your next turn, as long as you have three to pass to the opponent on your right. Once you’re done, you draw two cards back into your hand and the next player takes their turn.

You can also choose to buy additional cards with the Time Points you collect during the game or exchange up to two cards for additional Time Points if you don’t like the hand you’ve been dealt and want to mix things up.

It’s designed for 3-4 players, takes about an hour to play, and is very quick to learn. This is definitely not a complex card game, although the mechanic of handing three cards to your right definitely adds a challenging twist. The box says it’s for kids 13+ although kids a few years younger than that who are fans of the show could easily play.

Fans of Doctor Who are going to love the artwork. It includes familiar images of our heroes like Matt Smith as The Doctor along with Rory, Amy and River as well as our favorite villains. There are also fun cards like the sonic screwdriver, psychic paper and jammy dodgers that keep up the theme.

If you’re a fan of the Doctor and you’re looking for a fun game that you can easily teach all your friends, even those who wouldn’t call themselves gamers, then you’re going to enjoy Doctor Who: The Card Game. It’s set to release this month and is currently available for preorder at Cubicle 7 so order now and join the battle to save the galaxy!

I received a copy of this game for review purposes.


6 Responses to “Game Review: Doctor Who The Card Game”

  1. MandaPanda says:

    Just ordered a copy. Great review and thanks, would not of known this existed without your recommend.

  2. eric says:

    I will get it, but I hate there is no old school characters. I donT know if they have a license for them, or they think only younger (30 and under) will buy an be confused by the ols stuff. Maybe an expansion.

  3. Yay! Glad I wrote this up and hope you enjoy the game!

  4. I hear you, but I think it just wasn't the intent of this game. There are other games that feature all the Doctors, though, so you're not totally out of luck!

  5. natasha says:

    I just ordered this – can't wait to play it!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I'm considering this game. Not sure if I should buy it. It looks fun, but I don't know…

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