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Save Doctor Lucky - Board Game Box Shot

Save Doctor Lucky

| Published: 2000
41 3

April 14, 1912.
A cold night in the Atlantic.
An errant iceberg, a titanic cruise ship, and one very lucky old man.

Doctor Lucky is a charismatic and well-respected philanthropist with a heart of gold. Of course, you secretly hate the old bastard, and you’re probably going to try to kill him someday. But killing him aboard a sinking ship would be pointless. So you’ve decided to save his life instead, and do it while someone else is looking. That way, even if you go down with the ship, you’ll at least go down in history.

And isn’t that what life is all about?

In Save Doctor Lucky, players are passengers on a sinking ship. You have one goal: to save Doctor Lucky’s life while someone else is watching. Players rush from deck to deck trying to find items that will aid them, and trying not to see anyone else who might play the hero. But as the ship sinks, the board grows smaller, bringing Doctor Lucky and the passengers together into the few remaining decks.

Save Doctor Lucky

Save Doctor Lucky is the standalone prequel to Kill Doctor Lucky, also available from Paizo Publishing.

images Paizo Publishing

User Reviews (2)

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I play green
24 of 24 gamers found this helpful
“The game can become a sinking feeling.”

Let’s start by saying the game overall is fun and overall, an okay game. It has its perks and it has the downsides.

So you’re on a ship and it’s gradually sinking, and you have to Save Doctor Lucky, surprise surprise. The ship has 4 decks, each comprising of their own set of card decks.
There are three different types of card. These are:
*Location Cards
*Save Cards
*Fail Cards

The idea is to be in the same room to attempt to save Doctor Lucky with a ‘save card’ which has a save value, but only when someone can see you through line of sight from the same or another room. If no one can see you, you can’t save him. If one or more people can see him, then you may attempt to save him. You may use a card from your hand with a save value to save him, and clockwise from the players left, all other players have an attempt to foil the attempt and play a ‘fail’ card which has it’s own value, if they have one, of course. If the players reach the same fail value as the save value, then the save attempt has failed and Doctor Lucky continues on his way, continuing onto the next player.
Doctor Lucky moves around the ship after each players go, so you’re constantly chasing after him. If you can’t reach him or don’t have a location card which allows you to move further than you’re allocated movement per turn, then you move continue around the ship, trying to predict where he is going to end up so you can try to save him. Until then, you build your deck of cards. This is where the fun begins.

Each deck of the ship comprises of its own deck of cards. When players pick up cards, they pick up from the lowest deck of the ship. When all cards on that deck have been taken, that deck of the ship sinks and no players, including Doctor Lucky have access to that part of the ship from then on. Over time all decks of the ship will gradually sink with this game mechanic, which I feel is the best part of the game. This restricts Doctor Lucky’s movement and thus creates a problem.

Each player in clockwise orders takes their turn, unless Doctor Lucky moves into a room where one or more players are already occupied. When this happens, the player order skips to the player(s) who are in the room. If one or more players are currently in the room, the player who would have their go first in clockwise order from the player who played last would have the priority. What the player can do if this is the case is move to the next room that Doctor Lucky will move into, thus have another turn when they finish their turn and Doctor Lucky moves into the room they’re occupied in. They can do the same again if Doctor Lucky will move into that room after the room he’s currently in. This is called ‘chaining’. What this does is allow this player to have constant play and stop anyone else having a turn until they cannot move into the next room Doctor Lucky will end up in and player order continues in a clockwise motion. The big flaw to this is one or more players may not have a turn due to this chaining, and can create a scenario where only a couple of players are constantly having turns due to Doctor Lucky’s movement and cards they play.

Towards the end, only one deck of the ship will be left and all the players are forced up onto the deck. This creates a fun atmosphere as everyone is trying to save the Doctor before the last deck of cards run out (if you choose to take them), meaning the the whole ship sinks, thus meaning no one wins and everyone drowns a horrible death.

The player who wins is someone who attempts to save him and the other players can’t match the save value with their combined failed value.

Overall, the game is fun if you have the maximum 7 players, but can also get quite frustrating if one or more players are chaining and you have to watch and are unable have a turn due to this.
A fun family or social game to play. I’ve played it on several occasions with different players on each occasion and have had mixed responses. Not a bad purchase overall but it doesn’t get chosen regularly to play.

Player Avatar
Intermediate Reviewer
17 of 19 gamers found this helpful
“Savin' him isn't as good as killin' him!!!!”

The box is shiny and makes a funny (in an immature sense) noise when you slide the lid off! Heh! The cover art is similar to that of “Kill Doctor Lucky” but the players characters are showing concern for the doddery old codger instead of malice as shown in the prior title. The back of the box shows the contents held within and has a little blurb about the games theme and play style.
Under the lid we firstly find the rules of play, which are simple to understand and explained in a formulaic way which makes them easy to read.
The board, or boards as the case is, are really nice and well made. Each of the single fold boards represents a different deck of the ship which is slowly sinking around you as you play and each one has a number of rooms which players will move through throughout the course of the game, chasing Dr Lucky in an attempt to save his life. The cards are arranged in equal piles next to the four decks and are drawn from the lowest deck first, when that pile is depleted the deck is removed, being totally submerged and any players on that deck are moved onto the next deck up.
The playing pieces, as in Kill Doctor Lucky, are card standees depicting the fellow passengers you will be playing as and are printed on nice, dense card with plastic “feet” that they slot into. The fit is a little too snug for my liking and one or two of the player pieces received a small amount of damage when trying to gently force them into the bases, but on the other hand, they ain’t going anywhere now!
Lastly we get onto the cards. Quality wise they are excellent, they have a smooth coating on them and feel really nice in the hand and shuffle well once the initial cling has been sorted with the first stiff shuffle that is! They are broken down into three distinct types and are shuffled together, split into four equal piles and placed by each of the four decks, the types are:

Location Cards: These have a room aboard the ship printed on them and can either be used to move immediately to that room or move sequentially through rooms up to the amount shown on the card, either of which can be used in conjunction with the players one space move per turn.

Save Cards: These are used to attempt to save the doctors life and have a save value number printed on them, some of which gain a boost if used in certain rooms.

Fail Cards: Finally these cards are used to scupper the plans of your friends as they attempt to save the eponymous Doctor and each have a fail value which needs to match or exceed the save attempt value. These cards can be played any time a save is attempted and each player can add to the fail value with their own cards as it is in each players best interest to make sure that everyone else fails and they are the ones to save Doctor Luckys life.

The contents are really well made, aside from the tightness of the plastic stands, and I would say a little better than the previous title whose board is not as well made.

The game plays in almost the opposite to Kill Doctor Lucky in that this time you are attempting to perform a heroic save on him while within line of sight of your fellow passengers, for the glory and all that! This means that a slightly different game of cat and mouse is played, trying to keep out of the others line of sights until you decide the time is right to play a save card and you can move into view. The mechanic of chaining moves makes a return, that being if the doctor moves onto your space at the end of your turn (as he moves sequentially through the rooms at the end of each players turn) you receive another go immediately, meaning that if someone plots their course carefully they can “run the board” and gather a handful of cards and make a save attempt multiple times, for example one player in one of our early games made eleven turns in a row managed three save attempts and made the rest of us exhaust most of our fail cards.

The game is fun for the most part but can become frustrating at times, the game receives a mixed response from my group and we tend to find that five players is the optimum number as with less you have a hard time lining up witnesses for save attempts and with six or seven players the cards deplete rapidly and you run the risk of the boat sinking before any one succeeds.

6/10 the game is fun for an every now and then laugh but it doesn’t suit all gamers. Good family game but not really recommended for gamers who prefer a deeper experience.


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