This is a new much improved edition of the old Cheapass Games budget game. The basic premise of the game is that each of the players is trying to kill Doctor Lucky at his mansion home. If you will it is the prequel to Cleudo.
The game is beautifully presented with a large heavy weight board showing the mansion with its many room and corridors. The pieces are lovely large glossy wooded pawns. There is a set of wooden ‘spite’ counters, and a large deck of glossy bridge sized cards.
Each turn the player moves and is then given the opportunity to attempt to kill Doctor Lucky, so long as they are in a room which no one else can see into and probably a suitable weapon. Once the player attempts the murder the other players in turn lay cards or counters to attempt to foil the attempt. In the early stages of the game the attempts are likely to fail, but as cards are played to foil attempts they are then removed from play for the remainder of the game. Every time a player is foiled in their attempt they acquire a spite counter. These counters assist that players future murder attempts, or alternatively can be used to foil another players attempt, whereupon they would be given to the other player.
The cards come into play as weapons, foil cards, and movement cards (of either the play or Doctor Lucky). These can be collected if no other cards are played in a turn, or no attempt is made to kill Doctor Lucky.
With all the player movement and player movement of Doctor Lucky, the Doctor also moves himself around his mansion. After each players turn he moves to another room in a sequential order as identified on the board. Player turn order may be changed by Doctor Luckys movement, which adds another dimension to the game as players seek to get multiple turns in a row to set up their murder attempts.
The game should last somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour for 4 to 6 players. This is a beautiful game which smells and feels of quality. The game itself is fairly basic in the underlying rules, however the game play does have some interesting sophistications which become apparent as the game progresses. It was well received by the group of adults I tried the game out with, and I think it would be a pleasant family game. The rules are easy to pick up, and the game sets up very quickly. We were able to get our first game underway within 5 minutes, with only occasional clarifications of the rules being required.
I would recommend this game for groups of 4 to 6 including families. At £25 it represented good value. I’m unsure as to its lasting repeated play attraction, and believe it is more likely to come out in friendly evening sessions with non-wargaming/boardgamers.