Who wrote 1979 Doctor Who story “The Creature From The Pit”? Clueless? Don’t worry, you’ll still have a chance of winning this easy-to-play family boardgame. (It was David Fisher, you fool!)
That’s due to the clip-based questions on the DVD that comes with it, which allow you to choose one of three categories: expert, casual or observational. Expert can require some pretty esoteric knowledge. Casual requires the ability to identify, say, Captain Jack or the sonic screwdriver. Observational makes the questions on This Morning phone-in quizzes look tricky, and favours the recently concussed. Since you don’t get rewarded with extra moves for choosing tougher categories, this basically functions as a handicapping system, allowing the hardcore Whovian, casual fan and complete ignoramus to all play together.
That’s just one means of moving your TARDIS-shaped counter around, in a race to the centre of the rather bland fold-out board. There are also Trivial Pursuit-style question cards (528 questions in all) and Time Travel cards; the latter can send players backwards or forwards, adding an ability-levelling Snakes & Ladders aspect.
There’s no strategic element, and a game doesn’t last long: a breezy, unchallenging 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the number of players). It’s also a shame that it’s possible to win merely by getting a good die-roll on your final move - the fact that you don’t have to do anything to clinch victory does slightly undermine the sense of triumph. Not that it stopped us screaming, “Yes! In your face!” The screensaver of a flying TARDIS that plays in a loop in-between clips rather gets on your nips, too.
Two things make the game pleasing: the fact that, although biased towards new Who, it covers the series’ entire history (unimaginable when the show first returned), and the DVD. For fans, that provides a sneaky way to introduce less interested loved ones to eras they’ve never seen, using small doses. Sadly, we can’t promise that a quick glimpse of Matthew Waterhouse in “Castrovalva” is going to inoculate them against Adricphobia.
Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman
Read our Doctor Who DVD reviews .