Published on October 28th, 2013 | by Luke Turpeinen
What It Takes To Get Lucky
Summary: Get Lucky is a great game that earns its place with other smaller pick up games easily.
Cheapass Games has a strong legacy in the board game community. From the late 1990s into the 2000s, Cheapass Games produced very inexpensive board games independent of the main publishing/distribution model of the time. Their games sacrificed production for the sake of getting innovative games into the hands of consumers, often printing their games on what appeared to be normal printer paper in basic envelopes and without components such as dice. At the time was a very unique business model, and though it wasn’t followed by others, it did succeed in getting people to play their games, which often cost under $5 retail. It was during this time, around 2003, that I was exposed to the game Kill Doctor Lucky: a game that shared thematic similarities to Clue, where you goal was to kill your host. The Doctor Lucky franchise still exists in multiple games, including two board games published by Paizo. While at GeekGirlsCon ’13, Nicole and I ran into James Ernest of Cheapass Games at his demo table and we were able to preview the next game in the Doctor Lucky series.
Nicole and I played two of James’ games that are currently in the prototype stage: one was a pub-style card game and the other was a new game called Get Lucky which recently launched a Kickstarter. Get Lucky is set in the well-known Dr. Lucky franchise. Once again it’s your mission to kill the unfortunately named Dr. Lucky while at a party in his mansion. All of the Dr. Lucky games are superficially related to Clue in theme, and this one is no exception. The task of killing Dr. Lucky will not be easy, as each of the other players are also trying to get the doctor into a position where a ghastly murder can be committed.
(This is not final card art, these pictures are of a prototype copy of the game.)
There are 15 characters who are each trying to kill Dr. Lucky and each of these characters have their own preferred weapons, motives and opportunities to commit the crime. Each player is dealt two character cards face up and a hand of action cards, three more character cards are put into a pool face up and the rest of the characters are removed from the game. The characters cards are all numbered 1 – 15, and turn order starts with character #1 and proceeds until character #15. When a character of yours has a turn you are able to do one of three things: attach an action card to either of your characters, trade either of your characters (along with all of their attached cards) with one of the characters in the pool, or have the current-turn character attempt to kill Dr. Lucky. Turns move quickly and decisions are fairly simple, though paying attention to other players actions is very important for doing well.
Get Lucky’s tactics mostly involve paying attention to which characters other players have and counting cards. When choosing to attempt to kill Dr. Lucky as your action, the player adds up the bonuses on the character and that number is the amount of luck symbols the other players have to discard in order to stop the murder so that they can do it themselves. In addition, there are 15 character cards, and each one has an associated Motive, Opportunity and Weapon card. When a character has their specific card attached to them, the bonus they get to kill Dr. Lucky is increased by one, but on the other hand, discarding a card associated with someone attempting to murder Dr. Lucky instantly thwarts the attempt, regardless of the amount of attachments. In this sense, it can be smart to try to keep control of a character that you have a lot of specific cards for, but it can also be good to trade them away in that case because then you would have trump cards for an opponent’s character. Either way, Get Lucky has a surprising amount of depth for a game with so few rules.
Get Lucky was a really fun game to play with four people. The set up is simple, the rules are easy to explain and the pace of the game is quick. Nicole and I played Get Lucky three times while at GeekGirlCon ’13 and had a really fun time with it. If you haven’t already backed the Kickstarter, I highly recommend doing so.