Bad Doctor Review


Quick Look: Bad Doctor


Designer: Eric Magnan and Dan Germain
Publisher: Mayday Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2–4
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 30–40 minutes
Find
more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Review
Being
a doctor is hard work, as you do your best to heal your patients. Being a Bad
Doctor is about doing just enough to keep from having your patients die on your
shift.
Bad
Doctor is a parody game of working in a bad hospital in bad conditions. It
isn’t about who can save the most lives; it’s about making the proper
appearance that you are doing what you can to save the most lives.
Not
all patients are going to make it out alive in Bad Doctor. In fact, few will.
Seldom can all of the patients’ conditions be treated during your shift (turn),
and complications will set in.


The starting patients

Three
of us played a couple of games of Bad Doctor and found it had an interesting
twist to the strategy for gaining points. We enjoyed it and found the second
game to be different from the first because of the use of a puzzle mechanic
that requires matching treatment types where the tiles may lead to the need of
more treatments.


Setup
Each
player has a number of Doctor Markers (the number of markers depends on the
number of players) and 2 Treatment Tiles, placed face up, to go with their
Doctor Board (player’s aid card).
The
game starts with 4 predetermined starting patients, which are placed in the
middle of the playing field. These will likely need to be slid around as
treatment cards are added, so make sure you have a little extra room. The rest
of the Patient and Treatment Tiles are stacked face down for later draws. The
Complication Cubes, used to track patient health, are also placed in the
middle. On each of the Patients, place a Shift Token for tracking during a
player’s shift.
The
first turn of play for each player is a little different, but the gameplay is
essentially the same.

Treatments

Gameplay

Each
player’s turn consists of four phases.
Take
2 Actions
This
is a must—take 2 actions. Actions include placing and drawing Treatment Tiles.
There is no passing.
Playing
treatment tiles requires that the type of Malady matches the treatment. There
are four types of Maladies and most Treatment Tiles don’t treat all types. When
you play a Treatment Tile, you place a Doctor Marker on the connection space of
the Malady to show who treated it. These are used for scoring later.
Each
of the Treatment Tiles has a bonus which is also performed when
the tile is played. These bonus actions are important for helping you make your
rounds and check in on patients.

Additional patients

Remove
and Score Cured Patients

Any
Patient who has all of their Malady spaces treated (this includes the ones on
the Patient and any that were added by playing Treatment Tiles) are cured.
The
player who cured the Patient removes the Patient from play, collects their
Doctor Markers and places them in their score pile, and returns the other
players’ Doctor Markers to be placed back in their available supply.
Add
Complication Cubes
Any
Patient that went unchecked during the player’s shift gains a complication. The
cubes are placed on the Patient Tile in the heartbeat boxes. If the boxes are
all covered, that patient died on that player’s shift.
Patients
that die are also removed from play. The doctor who lost the patient returns
other players’ Doctor Markers which are placed in their score pile. The player
who lost the patient removes one of their Doctor Marker from the game. All of
their markers on the deceased are returned to their supply.

The starting patients after some treatment

Prepare
for the Next Shift

If
a player has 8 or more Doctor Markers in their score pile, the game ends, and
the player with the largest score pile wins.
If
not, flip the Shift Tokens to the unvisited side, and if there are fewer than 4
Patients, draw additional ones until there are 4.
Theme
and Mechanics
The
theme is a little macabre for some. You have to let some patients die, and most of
your time is spent strategizing to have a patient die on another player’s shift
so you can score. More points were scored through death than through healing.

A cured patient (no treatment spaces available)

The
tiles create a puzzle mechanic that can lead to additional tiles needing to be
played to heal more maladies than the treatment solves. The bonus actions also
lead to making sure you play your tiles in the correct order. Because all of
your Treatment Tiles are face up, everybody knows what other players can treat,
which also affects strategy.


Artwork
and Components
The
artwork was created by Bill Holbrook and Kristina Arwood. It reflects the
humorous nature intended for Bad Doctor. The comical style shows the patients
and the treatment are not meant to be taken as actual medical conditions or the
work of real doctors.
The
components are well made. All of the playing pieces are in a tile stock that
will withstand a lot of playing.

The
Good
  • A
    twist on strategy

Final
Thoughts
I
had fun playing Bad Doctor. The change in strategy of working to keep patients
alive for someone else to falter on provided a nice change. The design of the
number of patients to the number of actions taken by a player means that almost
every turn leads to complications being added. This means you have to not only
play tiles in a way that match the malady, but you also need to look at the
bonus action to see if it allows an additional tile to be played or if
complications are affected.

Players
Who Like
  • Puzzle
    strategy


Check out Bad Doctor on
                

Daniel Yocom – Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.


See Daniel’s reviews HERE.

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