"Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans – The list of threats is endless and no place in the universe is ever truly safe from danger, but there is one man who has made it his mission to defend the defenseless, help the helpless, and save everyone he can: a mysterious stranger, a force of nature who has seen his own planet die, a madman with a box."
Given the popularity of Doctor Who, it comes as a surprise that the franchise hasn't yet had a standout board or card game adaptation. It's not for lack of trying though, as there are plenty of lackluster Who-themed games. At this year's Gen Con, publisher Cubicle 7 came armed with a serious one-two punch: the Doctor Who license and revered (and appropriately British) hobby game designer Martin Wallace.
The biggest question facing this game was whether the use of Wallace would be overkill, as he is mostly known for deeply strategic and unforgiving economic games. Those fears have proven to be unwarranted, as the Doctor Who Card Game has proven to be an accessible game that you could expect your non-gamer friends or family to jump right into. It's what most gamers would call a casual or filler card game, but you can tell that Wallace had his hands on this one simply because it raises the bar for future Doctor Who games to come.
Thematically, the game is all about defending a portion of the universe that your Doctor is trying to protect, while simultaneously sending enemies to conquer your opponents' planets. A wide variety of cards featuring the shows icons such as River Song, Weeping Angels, and Fish Fingers and Custard have abilities that won't immerse you in theme, but to their credit each affect the game in ways that make sense given what is depicted.
While the game isn't overwhelmingly complex, it does manage to introduce some basic tenets of hobby gaming to a more casual audience. For instance, if players wish to do well, they will have to understand card drafting: the concept of using some cards on your turn and then passing your hand on to a different player.
Cubicle 7 holds the license to create Doctor Who card game expansions as well as RPG content, so Whovians have much more to look forward to. In the meantime, the full Doctor Who Card Game rules have been posted online for anyone who would like to read up before they buy.