Sometimes, it’s like they make games especially with me in mind. Doctor Who mixed with Martin Wallace? I’m intrigued.
Doctor Who: The Card Game Classic Doctors Edition (Cubicle 7, 2016) should, on paper, be my most favorite game ever, combining my love of all things Who with an appreciation for the designs Wallace comes up with. And yet, I can’t help but feel that the theme here is pasted onto a fairly simple filler game.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a filler game to take up the time between plays of more elaborate games, but this license deserves something grander than reducing the Doctor (all of them from the First through the Eighth) to a numerical value to be played against enemies (Daleks, Cybermen, and other old-school baddies like the Macra (!) and the Sensorites) who are likewise just numbers.
Some of the companions and other cards do have special abilities that attempt to bring some of the show’s unique flavor to bear, but on the whole, the game would not be changed if the cards were patterned after Babylon 5 or Space: 1999. The experience just doesn’t make for very compelling gameplay once the novelty of pairing up Nyssa and the Third Doctor against the Primords at the Temple of Yetaxa wears off. It’s a fine game, but not much more.
Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, as any focus on the original run of Doctor Who makes me happy (even as I cringe at thinking of it as “classic Who“). The components are up to standards, with nice quality playing cards and a handful of decently thick counters. I’ll certainly throw it in the bag for a filler, and if even one person is intrigued by the original series, then the game has succeeded in that regard.
One can only wish, though, for a Doctor Who game on the scale and complexity of Wallace’s A Study in Emerald. Now that would be a thing of beauty.