Today marks my first post about great print and play content brought to you by someone other than me. I am an avid board and tabletop gamer; I love getting my game on and trying out anything I can get my hands on. But I also live in the real world and don’t have a lot of free time or extra cash to put into gaming. That’s what drives me to look for cheaper alternatives or print and play versions of games. It’s hard to sink $50 into a board game that you rarely get a chance to try before buying and then get enough plays in to make it worthwhile. Since getting into gaming, I’ve always kept my eyes and ears open for cheap or printable games, and one of the best free printable games I’ve encountered is Kill Doctor Lucky.
Game Premise: The premise of Kill Doctor Lucky is [spoiler alert!] to be the first player to off the fortunate physician. The board, which depicts Doctor Lucky’s mansion, consists of about 20 or so rooms (there are multiple maps) that the good Doctor wanders through during the game. He moves to a new room at the end of each player’s turn, and players position themselves to try to murder Doctor Lucky without other players bearing witness to the crime. Players use cards on their turn for various ends: Movement cards to move additional spaces, Room cards to advance either you or Doctor Lucky to a specific room, Weapon cards for killing Doctor Lucky, or Failure cards to foil other players’ attempts.
My Take: Kill Doctor Lucky is a fun and light-hearted game that’s great to play with even the most casual of gamers. It’s simple to learn and has more depth to it than you’d think at first glance, which is what I think makes a game great. There’s a fair amount of strategy involved in plotting your moves to strike Doctor Lucky at the right moment while keeping the other players from succeeding in their murder attempts. And despite the game being about murder, it actually has really funny flavor text on the game’s Failure cards like “A flock of bats engulfs your head. You are powerless to evade them.“, “For a moment you believe yourself to be someone else. It is alarming.“, or my favorite “You are stupid, stupid, stupid.” That one gets me every time. 🙂
I originally played the game as published by Cheapass games. For about $5 you get cardstock squares that form the board and cardstock game cards. The game left it up to you to come up with your own game tokens (Clue, anyone?). A clever way to put out a game that, despite the small price tag, is a lot of fun. You can still buy the inexpensive Cheapass version or a pricier deluxe edition, but the game’s creator has also released a (100% legal) free print and play edition that includes all the cards and two different maps. Why would the creator, James Ernest, give away his game for free? In an excerpt from the rules PDF of his game, he addresses this very question:
“[…] the value in a board game isn’t the manufacturing cost. It’s the play value. Unfortunately, this means that some games are priced way out of whack with what they are worth. And because the big gamble doesn’t always work out, some of your money helps pay for the stuff that goes straight to the dump.
I’ve decided to try a different gamble. I’m giving my games away for free. This way, you can read the rules, make a copy, and even play the thing, before you decide what it’s worth.
If you do like my games, I hope you will send me some money. But I’m also hoping you will share this experiment with your friends. You are my sales force, my marketing department, my demo team.”
Quite a revolutionary idea, if you ask me. James’ model of “give it away for free and let others decide what it’s worth” is what helped me decide to start this blog.
To download the free print and play PDFs for Kill Doctor Lucky, visit http://www.cheapass.com/freegames/kdl.