RPG Game Review: Doctor Who
Review of the Table Top Role Playing Game Doctor Who, published by Cubicle seven Entertainment.
There have been almost as many Doctor Who role playing games as there have been regenerations of the Doctor. FASA had the first one, a box set put out in 1985 that covered the first 6 incarnations, and lasted a couple of years before fading into obscurity. This was followed in 1991 by the “Home Brew” game Time Lords, that started out as sort of a rather strange beast in that it had no character generation whatsoever (GMs were told to let players be one of the characters from the show and leave it at that) but was later changed to allow folk to make PCs. This game covered everyone up to the Seventh Doctor and eventually had stats for the Eighth.
Now comes the newest version from Cubical 7, and while there are some references to the Ninth Doctor, the internal imagery makes it clear this game belongs to the Tenth Doctor and the friends (or cosmic riff-raft, if you rather) and enemies he gathered during those exploits. (Rumors have it when the game is reissued sometime later—as of this writing—the new Doctor and Amy will take their place front and center.)
So what is to be made of this wibbly-wobbly ball of timey-wimey stuff? Depends on what you make of Doctor Who, the show. If you hate it you would likely find a print out of the PDF simply to piss on and never bother playing. If you do like it you would likely want to find your local group of bizarre—I mean, you weekend gaming group and give it a run. It’s like every game based upon an entertainment license: if you like the show the game is based upon, you will likely give the game a chance and have a ball. If not, you’ll very quickly crawl back to the happy elves and singing dwarfs.
That said, on to the game.
Mechanics-wise, it’s every simple. Character generation can likely be done in an hour or less if you don’t have to do a lot of writing concerning all those blasted good, bad and special traits. All task resolution is done on 2D6. You have your standard 6 Attributes and a butt-load of skills. You don’t have to play a modern human: you can be from some time in the past (though too far back in the past and you’re likely end up like Katarina) or from the future (where you best be ready to dance in strange and different ways). You don’t even have to be human if you rather try something different. (Player whom try to scam the GM into allowing them to play a friendly Dalek are instantly relegated to the status of Captain Jack’s punk.) And you have Story Points that allow you to, well, change the story.