The ninth season of Doctor Who premiered last weekend, and to celebrate the Doctor finally returning to my TV screen, I figured he could also make his debut in another aspect of my life: game night. Doctor Who Clue, from USAopoly, offers a new version of the classic game of Clue that will get fans of the sci-fi series excited, and revitalize a classic game for fans and non-fans alike.
As with all incarnations of Clue, players must answer the three timeless questions of who, what, and where. In this game, the Doctor has been abducted, and one of his companions is the culprit. Under Dalek control, one of the Doctor’s most trusted friends has lead him astray, and players must figure out who it is.
So, what weapon was used to kidnap the Doctor? River’s hallucinogenic lipstick, the vortex manipulator, and, of course, the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver are among the six metal replicas of weapons used by friend and foe alike. Players should be mindful that Clara’s Cyberman gun and Strax’s gun are quite similar looking and easy to mix up when in the heat of an intergalactic investigation.
The board itself is broken up into various worlds the Doctor has visited dating all the way back to the very first season, including the Dalek’s dreaded home planet, Skaro, and even the famed Galifrey. Players can jump from planet to planet by going the long way around and maneuvering through the game board, or by using the secret passages that lead from one planet to another.
Each player chooses a pawn—one of the Doctor’s six friends and potential perpetrators of the crime—and a corresponding personality card, which gives each character a special power of some kind to use during the game.
Just like in classic Clue, one player puts a suspect, weapon, and location card in the envelope to begin the game. The remaining cards are distributed evenly among the players. The players then mark off on their scorecard which cards they have in their possession, which will help narrow down the pool of possibilities. Players roll the die and move their pawn to a destination that they think the Doctor was taken to (Was it to the Moon? Trenzalore, perhaps?) and bring along the character and weapon they think committed the crime. Upon landing at their destination, the player can then ask one other player if a particular character, weapon, and location was responsible for the Doctor’s disappearance. The player being questioned must then reveal one of his or her cards to prove this accusation false.
Players have the option to play the game the classic way, or they can add in Intrigue Cards. A player gets an Intrigue Card if he or she rolls the die and it lands on the “?” side, or if he or she lands on a “?” symbol on the board. That player can draw an Intrigue Card, and a variety of game-changing possibilities will ensue. Of the 21 cards, 13 grant abilities to the player, like moving to a different planet. The other eight, though, immediately eject the player from the game. Intrigue Cards are risky, but the level of risk they offer brings a new level of excitement to the classic game.
As the game progresses, the possibilities of who, what, and where will become limited. Once a player is confident that he or she has discovered all three components of this whodunit game, that player must get their pawn back to the TARDIS and make the accusation.
While the game does not highlight specific plots from the show, some of the locations and weapons are from fairly new episodes. Anyone who watches Doctor Who but is not up to the seventh season may question these features of the game, some of which are part of major plot points, so if you fear learning anything too soon, you may want to avoid this game until you’re fully caught up—or, as River Song would say, “Spoilers!”