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A new deluxe edition of Kill Doctor Lucky, a classic board game from Cheapass Games.
A new deluxe edition of Kill Doctor Lucky, a classic board game from Cheapass Games.
2,711 backers pledged $210,086 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Cheapass Games was founded in 1996, and our very first board game was Kill Doctor Lucky. It's a "pre-mystery" board game, where players compete to kill a very lucky old man.

Kill Doctor Lucky has been through several versions and variations over the years, and it is currently out of print. To celebrate the 19.5th anniversary, we are re-releasing Kill Doctor Lucky in a special edition, with new art and updated rules.

Today is the final day! People seem to like the new "Accessories to Murder" level, which has all the new KDL-related products for $85. 

About the Pledge Manager: Shortly after the campaign ends, we will open up the pledge manager at After the Crowd, so that you can give us your address, allocate any extra funds you might have given us, and add more if you need to. Kickstarter can take as long as three weeks to get us all the backer data, so please be patient. You'll receive an email from ATC when the manager is up and running.

Kill Doctor Lucky and all its extra rewards will ship in March 2016, and you will be able to return to change your address, until the week before we ship.

If you're new to the Kill Doctor Lucky campaign, please read through the updates for more information about the game and the project. And, as of yesterday, there is now a full play-through video, if you'd like to see the game in action!

Kill Doctor Lucky is a fast, easy board game. The goal is simple: to kill Doctor Lucky. You'll sneak around Lucky Mansion looking for good weapons and hiding places. To make a murder attempt, you must be in a room with Doctor Lucky where no one else can see you. And of course, he's very lucky, so he's quite hard to kill.

Some Details:

  • Players: 2 to 8
  • Playing Time: 30-45 Minutes
  • Game Type: Light Strategy Board Game
  • Ages: 12 and up
  • Contents: Board, 72 cards, 8 character cards, 9 pawns, rules.
  • Designer: James Ernest
  • Artist: Israel Evans

For testimonials and reviews of the new edition, scroll to the bottom of this page. Also, watch the play-through video here.

History: The first edition of Kill Doctor Lucky was released in late 1996, and it won the Origins Award for Best Abstract Board Game of 1997. Kill Doctor Lucky was also listed in the GAMES 100. This great response was despite the fact that the first edition came in a white paper envelope, with cheap components and no spare parts.

Cheapass Games later released two upgraded white-box editions, including a "Director's Cut" with an alternate board, before licensing the game to Paizo / Titanic Games in 2006. The last of Paizo's deluxe edition sold out in 2014, and the rights to the game have now come back to Cheapass Games.

This 19.5th Anniversary Edition will have all-new art by Israel Evans, who also illustrated the card game, Get Lucky. It has thoroughly revised rules, which you can see in the open beta at cheapass.com.

For more information about what's different in the rules, check out Update #12

We're keeping this campaign fairly simple, with just a few reward levels, including one level exclusively for our EU customers

$5: The Basics. If you don't need a copy of the game, but you want to support us in our efforts, this is the level for you. The basic level gives you access to our pledge manager, where you will be able to add items from this campaign in whatever assortment you choose. If you do order any add-ons, the total cost including shipping will be calculated by the pledge manager.

$15: The Freebies: If you have a better way to get the game (or just want the little stuff), this level gives you the cool stuff that will come with the Kickstarter version: a "funvelope" with:

  • A Kill Doctor Lucky sticker
  • A new 39mm collector coin
  • A Lucky Mansion Embroidered Patch
  • Patience the Cat (a custom white gaming token)
  • Eight photo character cards
  • Eight villain character cards for use with the Secret Lair expansion
  • Other free things too small to mention

$50: The Game. This pledge level gets you a copy of Kill Doctor Lucky, along with the free stuff mentioned above. Note: if you are in the EU or Switzerland, you might consider selecting the German Edition (below). Your total costs, including customs fees, may be lower.

The core game currently includes the following stretch goals / upgrades:

  • (At $65k) Double-Sided Character cards
  • (At $70k) Improved Playing Card Stock
  • (At $85k) Patience the Cat (alternate rules)
  • (At 100k) A turned wooden pawn for Doctor Lucky
  • (At $110k) Rules for "Escape from Lucky Mansion"
  • (At $120k) Card with Zombie Lucky (for "Escape")
  • (At $150k) An alternate mansion on the back of the main board
  • (At 3000 backers) Full set of wooden pawns!

$52: The German Edition. Our partners at Truant Spiele will produce the deluxe German edition, Kill Doktor Lucky, shortly after our US edition. Funds from this pledge level will go directly to Truant Spiele. These games will be produced in May or June, and will ship from Germany only to EU countries and Switzerland. They will include different freebies from Truant. (We will post the English language rules at cheapass.com, of course.) Note that we have little influence over the specifications of the German edition, so it won't necessarily match ours piece-for-piece.

$85: Accessories to Murder. This level includes only the new items directly related to the core game. That's Kill Doctor Lucky and the funvelope (coin, patch, bonus cards, etc.) plus the Meeple Set and the Secret Lair expansion. Backing at this level might save you a bit of shipping, compared to adding those items individually through the pledge manager.

$148: "Everything, Almost": This is an unlimited version of the "Everything, I Get It" level below, just without the limited Doctor Lucky mini. Everything else is the same as the $150 level.

$150: "Everything, I Get It" If you'd like to get all the Kill Doctor Lucky-related stuff (and other unrelated stuff) from this campaign, including all the add-ons, games, freebies, and so on, this level is for you. It currently includes all the items below:

  • Kill Doctor Lucky (Board Game)
  • The funvelope (of course)
  • Get Lucky (Card Game, from 2014)
  • Collector Coin: Get Lucky
  • Doctor Lucky Mini*
  • Doctor Lucky Coloring Book
  • Set of nine meeples for Kill Doctor Lucky
  • Antique Pairs Deck by BJ Becker
  • Deadfall: A new bluffing card game (Update #7)
  • Before I Kill You, Mister Spy: A new edition of a Cheapass classic (Update #9)
  • Lucky Mansion Photo Pairs Deck
  • The Secret Lair of Doctor Lucky, Spy-themed expansion board (Update #13)
  • Bonus Games Gold Digger and The Big Cheese (Update #15)
  • More cool stuff because we love you
  • The comfort of knowing that you aren't missing anything

*The Doctor Lucky Mini: We have a small number of miniatures left over from the Paizo days. This is a handsome 25mm metal figurine of Doctor Lucky, sculpted by Mark Copplestone. Supplies are limited, so they are part of the "Everything" level, but not in "Everything, Almost".

Note also that the "Everything" level still isn't quite everything: it doesn't include the German edition, or anything else from Truant Spiele's version. Nor does it include the Party!

The Closing Party. We will throw a campaign closing party on Friday, November 13. We had a level that included a ticket to this party, but we have closed that level because no one backed it, and time was running out. You can still watch the party live, if the internet cooperates!

The US edition of Kill Doctor Lucky will ship with some cool free stuff just for our Kickstarter backers, as described above. (The German edition is a separate thing and contains only the core game.)

Backers may add individual items through the pledge manager at After the Crowd, which will open a few days after this campaign closes. Shipping costs are not included below, and will be added based on your total order and destination address.

Kill Doctor Lucky: Additional copies of the game can be added for $40 each.

The Funvelope: If one envelope of goodies isn't enough for you, you can add another for $10.

Get Lucky Card Game: Get Lucky is the card game version of the same story. It has some similarities to the board game, but it's a simpler, faster game. Get Lucky was created in 2013 and funded via Kickstarter. Price: $17.

Get Lucky Collector Coin: This was our very first collector coin, from the Get Lucky campaign in 2013, and a few of them still remain. It's a gold-finished 39mm coin from Campaign Coins, Priced at $5. The copper-finished Kill Doctor Lucky coin will be included in the funvelope, and you can also add extra KDL coins for $5 each.

Lucky Mansion Patch: This will be a roughly 3" wide souvenir patch depicting Lucky Mansion. It's included in the funvelope, but you can add more for $6 each.

Doctor Lucky Coloring Book: "Doctor Lucky's House" is a coloring book made with the line art from Get Lucky. Containing "precisely 20 pages" this is a delightfully odd collection of characters for your coloring pleasure. Price: $5.

Doctor Lucky Meeple Set: Nine custom meeples from Meeple Source, including Doctor Lucky and eight colorful murderers, price $19. Sketches for the first four are shown above. The rest are shown in Update #10. These are their 19mm "mega" meeples, printed with their newest high-detail process!

Antique Pairs Deck: Pairs is a "New Classic Pub Game" that you can read about here. We love doing new decks for this game. This one is an antique version of the original Fruit Deck, illustrated by Doctor Lucky himself, BJ Becker. The deck will be exclusive to this campaign, and will be printed by DriveThruCards, so it will come without a box. Price: $10.

Deadfall: A Pairs-based bluffing game described in Update #7. This is a new card game from Cheapass Games, a full production game (with a box and rules) scheduled for release in May 2016. You can add this game for $10

Before I Kill You, Mister Spy: A classic Cheapass Game in a new $10 single-deck format. Players are super-villains capturing spies and trying to resist the urge to taunt them for extra points. This will be a full production game (with rules and box) slated for release in June. Described in Update #9. You can add this game for $10.

The Secret Lair of Doctor Lucky: A spy-themed expansion board for Kill Doctor Lucky, where you're all Lucky's henchmen trying to kill a spy who's trapped in the place, described in Update #13. You can add this expansion board for $16.

German Edition: Kill Doktor Lucky. Backers may add the German edition of the game in the pledge manager, but only if their delivery address is in the EU or Switzerland. The game will be priced the same as it is in the campaign: $52 for Germany, +$6 for shipping to other EU countries, and +$11 for shipping to Switzerland. This game will ship from Germany.

Note: The German edition of Kill Doktor Lucky, and other products from Truant Spiele, will be available only from them, and Truant will not have access to the US-based add-ons. 

Truant Spiele also publishes German editions of Get Lucky, Pairs, Give Me the Brain, and many of our other games, and you should check them out here.

We've far exceeded our funding goal, and that's fantastic! Through stretch goals, we have made several improvements to the game, and added a few fun side games as well.

A simple upgrade to the character cards: let's put an alternate character on the back! Now each pawn has two options for the bloodthirsty murderer it represents. This is an upgrade to the core game, unlocked at $65k.

Cards are a critical component in this game, and we don't want to skimp on the production quality. At this funding level, we are able to print more copies of the core game, and we can spend the cost savings on better paper: a smooth-finish 11-pt Stoplight playing card stock, the same paper found in card games like FLUXX. This is another upgrade to the core game, unlocked at $70k

A set of nine custom meeples, created by Meeple Source, including eight players and Doctor Lucky. These will be 19mm "mega" meeples, similar to the set that we made for Stuff and Nonsense (shown below). These are unlocked as a $19 add-on, and included in the Everything levels, at $80k. (The preview image is in Update #10)

The rules for Kill Doctor Lucky include a variant for Patience, Doctor Lucky's cat. When we unlock this stretch goal at $85k, we'll add a custom cat meeple to the funvelope, made by our friends at Meeple Source. You can learn more about Patience in Update #3.

A Pairs Deck in an Antique Style: Illustrated by Doctor Lucky himself (BJ Becker), this Pairs deck features the themes from the original Fruit Deck but in an antique style. Pairs is a "New Classic Pub Game" with many different decks and variant games. This deck, to be printed by DriveThruCards, will be a $10 add-on, and will be included in the Everything levels, when we reach $90k.

A Custom Pawn for Doctor Lucky: Our player pawns will be RolCo's large wood-filled plastic pawns, but we'd like to create a custom pawn to represent Doctor Lucky. This will be a 1.75" high turned wood piece, resembling Doctor Lucky in his bowler and tailcoat. We can now add this piece to the core game, unlocked at $100k.

Escape from Lucky Mansion: A game variant that takes place immediately after the main game. In Escape From Lucky Mansion, Doctor Lucky has risen from the dead, and is chasing the characters around the house. All bets are off as players can attack each other and even move Lucky into attack position. The last survivor wins! Game variant rules unlocked at $110k

Zombie Lucky Card: Specifically used for "Escape from Lucky Mansion," this is a character card for Doctor Lucky, who racks up Reasons with each murder attempt that he makes! One side is just Doctor Lucky, handsome devil, but the other features a Zombie Doctor Lucky! Card art unlocked at $120k.

Photo Character Cards: Another bonus item for the funvelope: eight alternate character cards with photos of the actors who inspired them! Unlocked at $130k. (Details in Update #11)

Lucky Mansion Pairs Deck: This is a Pairs deck with photos from Lucky Mansion, available exclusively through this campaign. This deck from DriveThruCards will be included in the Everything levels, and will also be a $10 add-on, unlocked at $140k. (Details in Update #11)

Alternate "Old Consulate" Board: We can add a second board on the back of the main board, based on the Old Consulate Inn. This board is an upstairs-downstairs layout, designed to fold in half (to hide the unused rooms) for a smaller group of players. Described in Update #13, unlocked at $150k.

Villain Character Cards: Eight new cards for the funvelope, designed for the Secret Lair board, but also usable with the core game. These dastardly characters from Before I Kill You, Mister Spy were illustrated by Cheyenne Wright, and will be a fun alternate murderer set no matter where you do your killing. Described in Update #16, unlocked at $175k.

All Wood Pawns: Rather than the cheaper option of wood-filled plastic pawns, we can substitute a full set of turned wood pawns in custom paint colors, if we reach a goal of 3000 backers. So tell your friends!

This may seem like a long shot on the final day, but we have a backup plan. If we don't manage to get wooden pawns into the core game, we will make them available as an add-on for a modest price. (And yes, if that happens, they will be added automatically to the Everything levels, as well as the Accessories level.)

What's Next? 

This is the last day of the campaign, and we'll be broadcasting the closing party from Lucky Mansion (if the internet cooperates). 

After the campaign closes, we'll put all the final components through another round of playtesting, print everything, ship it to you, and get to work on more games!

The pledge manager at After the Crowd will open a few days (possibly a few weeks) after the campaign closes. We need to get backer data from Kickstarter, which can take two or three weeks by itself, then make sure all the pledge levels and add-ons are set up correctly in the system.

You will get an email from After the Crowd when the pledge manager is ready, and we'll also announce it in an update here. You'll need to log in to the pledge manager to give us your shipping address. You can also allocate any extra funds you gave us already, and you can add more if you need to. 

Kill Doctor Lucky has always been an evergreen product, and thanks to your tremendous support on this campaign (and the testimonials below) we know we have a winner. You can expect a lot more great fun in the Kill Doctor Lucky series over the next months and years.

If you haven't done so already, please subscribe to our newsletter for all the news about Cheapass Games.

Thanks again for an amazing campaign!

Before the campaign, we sent out a few review copies of the beta version. Below is some of the feedback we received, and it sounds like we have a winner.

From Cory Doctorow (BoingBoing): "Man, I've had some enjoyable evenings killing Doctor Lucky! Cheapass is one of the great games companies of all time, and I love everything about this."

From Father Geek"I am very pleased to award you the Father Geek Seal of Approval. This is an award we only offer to designers and publishers if their game was approved by our Child Geeks, Parent Geeks, and Gamer Geeks. These games are found to be entertaining to a wide group of players with diverse background experience and skill levels. Well done!"

From Colin O'Boyle (GeekSmash): "Much moreso than Clue, Kill Dr. Lucky gives players a chance to enact clever strategies, to plot out their moves, and to gnash their teeth in frustration as another player heads to the room where you were planning on doing the titular doctor in. The cards are clever, the gameplay is engaging, and I can say, without the shadow of a doubt, that I would recommend this game to anyone who wants to play a combination of Clue and Munchkin."

From Gameosity: "We had a great time with Kill Dr. Lucky. The game plays fast and the cards have a great sense of humor. Some of the Failure cards in particular (used to thwart murder attempts) are hilarious in their tone and implications. We laughed our way through the game, gritting our teeth every time Dr. Lucky slipped through our fingers because of a misplaced banana or errant child’s toy. It’s a really good time."

From Adventures With My Geeklings: "All in all, Kill Doctor Lucky – the Anniversary Edition is a fun, quirky game with enough depth to stick around our game nights for a long time."

From Robert Searing, Dice Tower News: "Having designed over 100 games since the original Kill Doctor Lucky, James has refined the rules to make the game even more enjoyable... It was easy to teach my kids and we had quite a bit of fun."

From Game Gumshoes: "If you get a chance to contribute and/or buy a copy the 19.5th Anniversary Edition of Kill Doctor Lucky, DO IT!"

From Bower's Game Corner: "I really enjoyed this game...The theme comes across really well--with the artwork, with the flavor text on the card, with the character cards...Big thumbs up."

From Jeff at Happy Mitten Games: “Kill Doctor Lucky is clever, clean, and well thought-out. Both the steady pace and little downtime kept everyone engaged for the entire game.... This game is an easy-to-learn, thematic, and fun blend of social and strategic gaming. It’s great to see James Ernest and the Cheapass team improve an already solid game.”

From Stephen Conway at The Spiel: "The new edition of Kill Doctor Lucky is both familiar and fresh. If you love the original, the silly humor shines through even more with backstories and motives provided for each character. As a game, the pace and mechanics have been streamlined to add more tension and tactics. Put simply, you get to the fun part faster - finding ridiculous weapons like the Tight Hat or Bad Cream and trying to maneuver yourself into the perfect position for murder and mayhem."

From Erik at Indie Cardboard: "I’m excited that almost twenty years on this game is still around as we skulk through the halls trying to put away that dastardly doctor. Kill Doctor Lucky has come a long way in the years since that original envelope, and with revised art and rules this latest edition smooths out the experience, distilling it into a refined game of cat and mouse."

From Engaged Family Gaming: "We loved every minute of it.... All strategy aside, the absolute best part of this game is the ongoing tension being built as the game progresses."

From Mike at 40 Going on 14: "I have played "Kill Doctor Lucky" with my lovely daughters, Katie and Sophia. I have learned that my offspring are sneaky, conniving, and spiteful when need be. I could not be more proud.”

From Let's Level Up: "Cheapass Games takes an already great game and makes it better, which is a difficult process in itself. The 19.5 year anniversary of Kill Doctor Lucky brings all the fun its predecessor does but with a streamlined rule set, which will get players attempting to Kill Doctor Lucky that much quicker. A+ and a must back from the folks at Let's Level Up!"

From Dungeon Crawlers Radio: "The new edition of Kill Doctor Lucky is a brilliantly designed game that will have you engage for an entire night of gaming while you and your friends try to attempt to Kill Doctor Lucky. You will quickly find yourself laughing at the silly humor that really shines through the character's back stories and motives. The game is fun and easy to learn. The pace and mechanics are easy enough for beginning board game players and challenging enough for more experienced game players. This is one game that you won't regret picking up for your next game night!!"

Risks and challenges

This will be our eighth Kickstarter campaign, and so far we have shipped every one pretty much on schedule. The core game design is finished and we have already started on the art.

However, delays can always happen. Printer schedules and paper supplies can sometimes add weeks or months to a well-planned schedule, art can take longer than expected, and extra Kickstarter promises can add time to a production schedule.

But these risks, at worst, represent delays of a few weeks. We have a pretty well-tuned machine here at Cheapass Games, thanks in no small part to our supporters on Kickstarter!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Thanks for your support! Backers at this level and higher gain access to the pledge manager, so you can order any assortment of goodies and games from this campaign. (Prices and shipping will be calculated in the pledge manager.)

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Just the Freebies: You're planning to pick up Doctor Lucky at your local game store, but you'd like to get the freebies. Our "funvelope" will include a sticker, a collector coin, and a Lucky Mansion patch, plus more cool stuff as the campaign grows.

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    87 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Kill Doctor Lucky: Backers at this level will receive one copy of Kill Doctor Lucky, along with the "funvelope" of cool freebies described above. For the full contents of the funvelope, check the description on the campaign page.

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    Pledge $52 or more About $52

    Kill Doktor Lucky: German Edition (Europe). The German language edition will be produced by our partners at Truant Spiele, and will ship from Germany in June, to ONLY the EU and Switzerland. This level might be a preferred option for backers in those areas, but it does not include the same list of freebies as the US edition.

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    20 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    Accessories to Murder: For your convenience, this level includes only the core game and those new products that are directly connected with it. That includes the funvelope, the Meeple set, and the Spy-themed Secret Lair expansion board.

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    326 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $148 or more About $148

    "Everything - Almost": Our limited "Everything" level was popular, and this is an unlimited version of the same level, but without the Kill Doctor Lucky mini.

    We will offer many add-ons and extras in this campaign, so this level is designed to keep your life simple: it includes one of every Doctor Lucky related item that we offer in this campaign (except for the German stuff and the mini). This level will grow with the campaign, so look for the full list on the campaign page.

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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    "Everything - I Get It": We will offer many add-ons and extras in this campaign, so this level is designed to keep your life simple: it includes one of every Doctor Lucky related item that we offer in this campaign (except for the German stuff). This level will grow with the campaign, so look for the full list on the campaign page.

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    Reward no longer available 250 backers
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Funding period

- (31 days)