Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’re looking to get your fix of Doctor Who, a new roleplaying game has just arrived that may be just the thing for you.  Whether you want to step into the shoes of a Time Lord yourself, become a member of an alien species (join your own Paternoster Gang!), travel anywhere to the past or future, journey into outer space, or accompany a Doctor as a Companion, the Doctor Who Doctors and Daleks Player’s Guide is a giant guide to a new RPG for three or more players.  Grab your friends and take your own time machine to explore the universe and history, help others solve problems, and share your fish fingers, just like in the six decades of the Doctor Who series.  And you’re not required to use existing Doctors and Companions–or alien races–you can make up your own.  Or play without a Doctor, like UNIT and Sarah Jane Smith in the show.  How about Captain Jack Harkness and Torchwood?  Pull them in, too.

Filled with photographs from the franchise’s six decades, Doctors and Daleks Player’s Guide is available now in PDF, with pre-orders now being taken by publisher Cubicle 7 Games for the hardcover and a Collector’s Edition.  Check out links to order below.

The sharp book design makes for a great Doctor Who collectible in itself.  Virtually all the major Doctors and Companions are integrated into page after page of imagery.  Gameplay follows the rules of the previously published fifth edition of the Doctor Who: The Roleplaying Game, first released in 2009 (not required for gameplay, and the Doctors and Daleks Player’s Guide points to many documents available online for those who want to review them at the Resources tab at cubicle7games.com).  The words “fifth edition” should spark a response from frequent gamers, but note this is officially licensed on all fronts (both BBC’s show content and Wizard of the Coast’s open game license).  So with the common rule framework, this will be easy to shuffle-in between Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, and any differences are highlighted in the Player’s Guide.

As with the TV series, the game avoids extremes, scares but no horror, no killing, for example, and is suitable for all ages.

And as with the show, the game is not about combat but conflict resolution, so “Plot Points” are swapped for the “Hit Points” of other games.  These work along with Quips–special abilities your characters have that can offset injuries.  Five chapters are devoted to building characters, another helps you build your own TARDIS or similar time machine, three chapters serve as the Gamemaster’s Guide, and two chapters detail gameplay rules, including sample scenarios.  Another chapter gets players up to speed on time travel, and another features equipment objects: tools, weapons, and gadgets to incorporate.  Psychic paper or a long scarf, anyone?

Which Doctor do you want to be more like?  Pick a “Class”–you can be a Charmer, a Thinker, an Empath, a Stalwart, a Trickster, or a Protector.  As with the tie-in movie The Five Doctors, everyone can choose to play as a Doctor, too.  Pick a Concept for your character (a Doctor is “Gallifrey, Tech Level 8,” or you could be “21st Century Earth, Human, Tech Level 5,” or “Stone Age Earth, Curious Neanderthal, Tech Level 1,” etc.), a Species (Sontoran, the Silence), Feats (cyborg, shapeshifter), Background (a hiker, an investigator, a soldier), and get your time ship together (will yours be sentient or not?).  Even communication with other species is covered.  Connections are clever features to tie characters together through a common experience (a table of examples is provided).  Many story prompts help the character-building process and will speed the Gamemaster’s planning along.

Most of the key characters can be used to create similar characters–not all Companions are detailed, but can be easily created with reference to the most popular into similar Class Features, including Attributes, Proficiencies, and corresponding Plot Points.  Doctor Who is an ideal setting for an RPG tie-in.  With the years of audio books the enormity of the world-building means a pool of thousands of characters and situations are possible.  Incorporated “Motivations” strengthen or weaken your character.  Quips are key to the action of gameplay and are similar to Spells in other RPGs (the book includes a handy converter of Spells from the 5th edition rules).

Paradoxes, escaping time loops, time wars–the sky is the limit on where you can take your gameplay.

The system is prime now for something akin to D&D’s Monster Manual to host all the characters and creatures of Doctor Who with character sheets, stat blocks, and even more detail on tools and sonic screwdriver variants.  It looks like that’s coming in an Alien Archive volume (mentioned below as part of a combination set).  Adventure books could spin out of every incarnation of the Doctor or even from the most popular episodes.  What will be next?

Other than the Player’s Guide itself and the optional adventure The Keys of Scaravore (available for pre-order here), a campaign only needs a standard RPG dice set consisting of a D20, D12, two D10s, D8, D6, and D4, plus note pads, and character sheets that can be printed out (also available free online).  The focus of Doctors and Daleks over past Doctor Who RPGs is getting the players to feel more like they are experiencing their own episode of the TV show.  Chapter 9 is a particularly good synopsis of the history of… history, at least the history of travels on the show.  It’s most useful for the Gamemaster, but also a good review for any fan.  And the section on being a Gamemaster has great adventure ideas, including a table to help develop the Doctor’s trademark technobabble (helpful when you need a “quantum particle relay” or “inverted feedback extrapolator”).  The more you know the show and incorporate your knowledge of history, peoples, and imagination, the better play can get.  Maybe that means incorporating Daleks, or Cybermen, Weeping Angels, or the Master.

You can preorder the Collector’s Edition here, the Doctor and Daleks: Player’s Guide here: (purchasers will get the PDF of the Player’s Guide right away with any physical preorder), and you can buy the PDF of Doctor and Daleks: Player’s Guide separately here (redeemable through DriveThruRPG).

An exclusive Doctors and Daleks Collector’s Edition Set contains the Player’s Guide, the adventure The Keys of Scaravore, plus the Alien Archive and the Gamemaster’s Screen.  The three books feature tie-in artwork with spot UV highlights.  While the book content remains the same as the standard editions, the Collector’s Edition presents all three books, plus the Gamemaster’s Screen in a slipcase that reflects the exterior of a TARDIS.

Pre-orders are expected to ship during the second quarter of 2023.  Follow publisher Cubicle 7 Entertainment on Facebook for updates and its website for more information.  Doctor Who fans and RPG fans will not want to miss this new RPG.