TRUST ME, I'M A DOCTOR
Half-Monster Games - Jack Ford Morgan
If you want to make a successful, small box, card game, you need to have a theme that sparks the imagination of the player age you are aiming at. The saying or phrase 'Trust Me, I'm A Doctor' has often been in comedy films and TV shows, though its actual origin is something I have been unable to find. The internet seems to suggest it came from a TV programme in the 70s or 80s but I seem to remember it doing the rounds while I was at school in the 60s. It doesn't matter though from whence it came as it is one of those phrases that is used in many situations where an irrelevance is required.
The components are two sets of cards: Ailments and Cures plus two single-sided Rules cards. Well actually only one card has the Rules of the game, that's how simple it is to Set-up and play. The other card has a 'Doctor's Note' and an explanation of the three main game icons:
Alchemical Salves and Tinctures
Mysticism, Philosophy and Psychiatry
Doctors (players) are strongly encouraged to argue with each other as they use only the very best medicine and their skills as they struggle on their way to becoming the Surgeon-General (at least until the next game), that's the type of game this is, sarcasm is expected and mickey-taking is a must.
TRUST ME, I'm A DOCTOR is one cut above the rest when it comes to exposing cringe-worthy medical problems and ancient but diabolical 'professional' Cures.
The game-play is in the genre of APPLES to APPLES and such like. One player selects an Ailment from their hand and the other players play 2 Cure cards, one of which has to have a matching symbol to that on the Ailment card. The 'sick' player (there are often times when we have thought we must be sick to play this, and then we just carry-on laughing) then chooses which Cure is best for them and gives that player the Ailment card.
The Rules are rather lite:
At the start players are dealt 3 Ailments and 6 Cures. They take turns playing the patient and selecting an Ailment while the other players select Cures. At the end of the turn Cures played being set aside, then all 'Doctors' make their hand of Cures back to six, shuffling the discards when/if required.
I assume there are three Turns per player in a game Round as there is no mention of replenishing Ailments, only Cures. The player who is the Least Worst Practitioner (has won the most Ailment cards) wins the Round. If no one has won 3 Rounds you setup and play again until someone has won 3 times, then they are the overall winner - the best, worst Doctor (or is it the worst, best Doctor?)
Another assumption is that the Patient selects an Ailment card and shows it face up to the Doctors. The thought behind this being that the Doctors have to play 2 Cure cards with at least one having a matching Ailment Symbol. The only way they can know the correct symbol to play is by seeing the card.
However, in the Rules under The Patient Reveals the Ailment, it says the Ailment is vividly described to the Doctors, so that's the way we play it - the Doctors do not see the Ailment card until they have all suggested Cures based on the description of the symptoms. Explaining the symptoms is great fun and produces the best craic and the majority of laughs in many a game.
The Patient decides which Cure to take and thus which Doctor gets the point (keeps the Ailment card). Although the game is chaotic we think a couple of possible house rules interpretations should be in place.
The first of these is actually implied but not implemented in the game rules, that the Patient can only select a Cure that has at least one of the Ailment's symbols on it. The way the rule reads is that Doctors have to play at least one card with the correct symbol, but if they are not shown the card they can only guess at what the symbol is.
The other is that the Patient places their Ailment down on the table with all but the Symbols covered over. We use another card but anything opaque will do if we play this way, and that is only when we are trying it out on new players who find the describing a little embarrassing/confusing to begin with. Then the Doctors can see the Symbols and select the appropriate cards. There isn't a rule for what happens if the Doctors do not have a correct symbol available, thus any two cards can be submitted and then discarded, they cannot be considered as Cures.
Overall this is an hilarious, ridiculous game. Anyone who is embarrassed telling their Doctor (or friends) that they have a pimple in a private place will be glowing red when they have to describe some of the Ailments.
Play it for fun and select the Cure you think more ingenious or amusing for your Ailment or play it to win, as in King Maker, and select the Cure from someone who won't win the Round/Game if you choose their Cure. It doesn't matter! This is a frivolous entertainment, naughty but nice, stomach churning and tummy rumbling all at the same time.
Prices for card games always seem high when compared to prices for board games - the bigger box often gives the impression you are getting more for your money - so at around £20.00 you might wince a bit. But as long as you enjoy banter, craic, embarrassing each other and yourself, you'll get far more game time and value out of TRUST ME, I'M A DOCTOR than you might do out of a large box game costing two or three times as much - basically this is good value for money.