As we’ve talked about in the past, Doctor Who doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to downloading the power of its brand to interactive media like Apps or video games.
But when it comes to board games, the Doctor has segued nicely into adaptations for Risk, Monopoly and Clue, all of which are selling well and providing Whovians something non-sticky to do with their friends in the basement.
And it’s not just the new series that knows how to rock the board walk; during the Classic Years, the Time Lord and his companions featured on many fun board games and role playing variations. Here’s 5 you may never have heard of…
WAR OF THE DALEKS – This 1975 offering was fairly straight forward; the game involves moving card Who figures around a playing area trying to get to the “control center” whilst avoiding the Daleks.
The Daleks themselves are faithful plastic renditions slotted into circles around the board. The only quibble Whovians might have had was with the game’s conclusion; when a player makes it to the central hub, they have a chance to destroy the control centre by lifting it up to find the “King Dalek.” Of course, a bit of research on the part of Strawberry Fayre (who published the game) would have revealed that while the series featured an Emperor and a Supreme Dalek, there was never a King. But even the hard core fans were probably won over by this nifty TV advert.
PLANET OF THE MONSTERS – Another 1975 release from Strawberry Fayre, this version sounds a bit more layered than the War of the Daleks, as players race one another to get back to Earth while avoiding monsters on different worlds, with the playing piece a punched out version of Tom Baker.
The game’s most interesting aspect is landing on a blue space, which allows the mini-Tom Baker to take control of the TARDIS and grants the player double movement next turn. And in keeping with the spirit of the show, only special cards (or a TARDIS) allows players to move from planet to planet.
BATTLE FOR THE UNIVERSE – This game had the unfortunate distinction of hitting stores in 1989 (the same year the original show was axed) so needless to say without a TV series to support it, it wasn’t exactly a best seller. Which is a shame, because the premise of the game was terrific; one player takes the role of the Doctor while the others assume the role of the Doc’s enemies (The Master, The Daleks etc.) and each player builds up a team of allies to challenge the others until there are only two teams left. Lots of iterations and details included in the game (extra baddies such as Shockeye and the Black Guardian) make it true to the show and offered additional players the chance to join in.
DODGE THE DALEKS – The first ever (official) board game to feature everyone’s favourite Time Lord, it was published to capitalize on the show and it’s most popular baddie at the height of the Hartnell era in 1964. A simple roll and move game, where players advance their avatars and obey instructions along the way. If you encounter a Dalek, you are knocked out of the game.
As a side note, this game’s a rare find for Who collectors and if found in good condition can fetch close to $1000 on the web markets. So check your Grandparent’s attics and basements.
DOCTOR WHO RPG – And finally, though it’s not precisley a board game, the official Doctor Who Role Playing Game from 1985 (oddly featuring Tom Baker and Louise Jamieson from 1977 on the cover) rounds out our list.
Published by FASA (followed up by another RPG and two subsequent Choose Your Own Adventure style books) it was noteworthy for providing a detailed character history of the Master, which included identifying the Meddling Monk as a previous incarnation. It also took a stab at resolving the UNIT dating controversy by stating that Mawdryn Undead “present day” sequence is set in the near future. And as if that wasn’t enough cannon altering, a supplement to the game stated that Adric had not died and that a Time Lord had rescued him in a later model TARDIS than the Doctor’s.
Did you (or do you) own any of these long lost board game gems? Let us know if we missed any!