Not all is rosy in the world of Doctor Who game-playing. There were many initial comments online criticising the game, and even its staunchest supporters are not that pleased with MMG’s handling of issues like support and faithfulness to the TV show.
This section of the FAQ is designed to highlight these issues to demonstrate that Doctor Who fans are not suckers ready to buy any piece of inferior product which comes their way. We know what the problems with the game are, but like it anyway.
Hopefully these comments will get back to MMG (and the BBC) and help make the next Doctor Who game a better product.
The following are the deficiencies of the game in relation to superior collectable card games such as On the Edge, Shadowfist, Middle Earth, Vampire, Illuminati, and so on.
6.01 No colour text. This decreases the atmosphere and texture of the game.
6.02 Bad image printing. What the heck have they done with all of the photos to make them so dark? Most of the Doctors look like they’re suffering some type of time hangover.
6.03 Unreadable typeface. It is difficult to distinguish important numbers from one another without comparing several of them.
6.04 Fake graphics. What’s with all these blobby and swirly things? Looks like someone just discovered PhotoShop. Whooee!
6.05 Silly card rules text. Most of the cards have nothing to do with their TV counterparts.
6.06 Sloppy rulebook. This is not uncommon in the CCG world, but is still a detriment.
6.07 No game support. Inexcusable when all you need is an e-mail account, phone number, and web page.
6.08 Punitive card rarities. Collectors like to collect, that’s why CCGs have differing card rarities. However, there is no justification (except greed) for ultra-rare cards. Especially when the most popular card in the set (Tom Baker) is an Ultra-Rare.
6.09 Redundant cards. Starbase and Brain Transformer are identical in terms of game play. So are many creatures.
6.10 Useless cards. Why have a Bendalypse Gas (which destroys all Humans) when there’s Viral Destruction (which lets you choose between Humans and other groups)? Why have a Dalekenium Bomb (which destroys one resource) when there’s a Cyber Bomb (which can destroy resources or characters)? And then look at all the useless creatures (again).
6.11 Little card interaction. A few cards have traits and a few others refer to them. But there’s very little true card interaction that would lead to interesting strategies, card combos, and all the intrigue that makes a game fun.
6.12 No card costs or requirements. This is an immediate giveaway that MMG don’t know what they’re doing designing a game. Why should a 4/2/0 creature be as easy to play as a 1/1/0 creature? If there was a greater cost associated with the former, the cards would be balanced.
6.13 It’s a power game. Because there are no costs, little card interaction, and limited game mechanics, the bigger the numbers, the better the card. Boring.
6.14 It’s a money game. Because better cards tend to be rare, the more you spend, the better your deck.
6.15 Game mechanics don’t reflect source material. Imagine if all the cards had pictures from Time Tunnel (an ancient bad SF show for those who were lucky enough to have missed it) and relevant text, but the rules were left EXACTLY THE SAME. Would the game be any different? No. That’s because the game mechanics have little to do with Doctor Who.
In some ways this is the game’s biggest flaw, so let me expand upon the point. MMG HAVE attempted to recreate the time travel aspect of Doctor Who. Unfortunately that’s about all they’ve done.
Compare this with Star Trek: TNG, in which characters assigned to ships attempt to solve missions. Sounds a lot like the show doesn’t it? Or Mythos in which your investigator visits locations, picks up allies, discovers horrific Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, and tries not to go mad in the process. Sounds a lot like a Lovecraft story, doesn’t it?
In Doctor Who, The Doctor adventures through time with his trusty Dalek sidekick stomping enemy UNIT personnel with Cyber Bombs and rescuing his friend The Giant Robot from the evil Curse of Fenric. Sounds a lot like Doctor Who, doesn’t it? <big grin>
It would have been easy to have the structure of the game mirror the show. ME:TW provides one possible template. On Player A’s turn their fellowship, composed of good-guy characters, attempts to fight the forces of Sauron, played by Player B. On Player B’s turn, the roles are reversed. Both players get to be the good guys and the bad guys in the same game. This really works and is lots of fun!