Theme and What is it?
The game Bad Doctor is a very light tile laying game in which players act as doctors in the neglected and short-staffed Central City Hospital. Players compete by visiting, treating and curing patients on their turn to obtain points. Unfortunately, you cannot visit, treat, or cure them all and patients could die on your shift. You will then be disgraced as a bad doctor!
There are always at least four patient tiles in the middle of the table in the “hospital”. On these tiles are different maladies (colors). On their shift (turn), players use treatment tiles that also have these maladies and match them to the patients. When they have a match, they place one of the doctor markers on this malady showing they have helped in the treatment for this patient. This also marks the patient as visited. There are other various things that can consider a patient visited.
At the end of a players shift, they check to see if they have cured a patient. If a patient has all of their maladies covered by doctor markers, then the patient has been cured. The player that placed the final doctor marker takes all of their doctor markers and places them in their score pile. All other players return their doctor markers to their supply.
Then, the player checks to see if they have visited all the patients on their shift. All unvisited patients receive complication tokens. If a complication token cannot be added because all spots are filled on the tile, then the patient dies. For each patient that died on a players shift, they have to remove that many doctor markers from their supply. Any doctor markers from other players are moved to their score marker. At this point, patients are refilled to four with new patients.
When a player has collected 8 or more doctor markers into their score marker, the game ends at the end of their shift. At that point, the doctor with the most doctor markers wins the game. There is a tie breaker.
To be completely honest, Bad Doctor did not initially appeal to me. After reading the rules, nothing still stood out to me that was very different mechanic wise about this game. It appeared similar to a lot of other games but just with a different theme.
Game Build Quality
The game consists of various cardboard player boards, tiles and tokens. All of these are thick cardboard. Everything fits in the box with no issue. My complaint would be the rulebook. Initially reading the rules, they were very easy to follow. However, once setting up the game and playing, there were a lot of questions. Mainly, how the patient tiles were to be setup. The picture has them lined up but very close together. We then assumed that the patients were to be lined up staggered but that did not seem to work because no matter what, patients were dying on each players turn because it was next to impossible to visit all of them. Then, we decided they were to be lined up and spaces in between where a treatment tile could technically treat two patients at once. This seemed to make the game flow better but then I viewed a picture on Board Game Geek where it was played at Gen Con and the patients were all over the place. So, I don’t really know if we played it correctly because the rules were not clear.
The artists knocked the artwork out of the park. It was the driving point for us to finish the game. They made it look like comic strips in the Sunday newspaper and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The humor taken with the art is fantastic and I give it two thumbs up. The reason to play this game is for the comedy.
As mentioned before, the rules were very unclear with certain things. This made the game difficult for us. One player seemed to always setup all the other players to score and by the time it got back to his turn, three patients died and he would be setting another player up to score. It made the game very unbalanced. After making a couple of changes on what we thought things should be, the end of the game became very close. Two of us were enjoying the funniness of the game regardless of the outcome or gameplay, unfortunately the other two were way too serious and did not enjoy themselves at all. When that happens, it pretty much makes the game unenjoyable for all.
Age Range & Weight
Not understanding the rules does make it difficult to play; however, I do not believe this is a hard game to play once the rules are clear. The turns went fairly quickly. The age suggestion is 10+ and I think that is dead on. The humor may be slightly over a child’s age level but nothing adult in nature.
This game is not for everyone. If you are looking for a new game mechanic that you have never seen and want something different, Bad Doctor is not for you. If you just want to cut up and laugh at some amusing and entertaining artwork, then try this one! But, my suggestion is to make sure all players want to play for fun and not with players that are serious about winning, etc. However, I feel like this could become just like any other games like it. Once you have exhausted the humor, the game would never be played again.