Our “Beer and Pretzels” series features a group of light, fun games that can be picked up in about five minutes in a more relaxed style. These are simple games that–combined with snacks–create an entertaining evening with friends.
Today’s featured game: Trust Me, I’m a Doctor from Half Monster Games.
Trust Me, I’m a Doctor: What’s It About?
In Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, 3-8 players take turns presenting with Ailments to a crowd of doctors, or offering various Cures as one of those eager physicians.
A really neat and oftentimes either chilling or hilarious twist to both the Cures and Ailments is the fact that all of them are based on reality. All of the Cures were at one time believed efficacious; from the well-known uses of cocaine and leeches to the bizarre applications of dung juices and dried white thost (I had to look that one up when I drew it).
How Do You Play?
The Ailments are treated much like the green cards from Apples to Apples that all other players play Cure cards upon, which are akin to the red cards in Apples. The doctor whose cure is chosen scores the Ailment card, and the first to three wins.
There are two big distinctions between games like Apples to Apples and Trust Me, I’m a Doctor. The first is that each doctor must play at least two Cure cards on every Ailment, and the symbols on the Ailment card must be covered by those on the presented Cure cards.
So in the example below, if Pistol Wound is the Ailment, your Cure cards must have at least one Alchemical Salves and Tinctures symbol and at least one Anatomical Barber-Surgery symbol represented across them. (The last symbol is the Greek letter psi which stands for Mysticism, Philosophy, and Psychiatry)
You can have multiples of each symbol and you can even have symbols on your Cure cards that aren’t represented on the Ailment card so long as the Ailment card’s symbols are covered.
The second thing that really sets this game apart is that the Cure cards are not submitted anonymously. And this is where Trust Me, I’m a Doctor really begins to shine!
Doctors are encouraged to argue the merits of their proposed remedies while shaming the other doctors and their cockamamy cures. Your cure might not look best on paper, but can you convince the patient otherwise and defend your medical opinion against the venom of the other professionals in attendance?
Having to match symbols on the cards means that you’re going to have to peddle some real bulls#)* at some point; trust me. Even you’re not going to be convinced that you have the answer in-hand. But a well-presented and defended argument just might net you the win!
[Side note: The rules don’t outline what to do if the cards in your hand don’t allow you to satisfy the symbol requirements of the current Ailment card. We house-ruled that in that event you just drew from the Cure deck until you hit the card(s) you needed, and it worked just fine. There are only three symbols, so this should only happen on a rare occasion.]
Trust Me, I’m a Doctor: Look, Feel, Fun?
I wouldn’t consider Trust Me, I’m a Doctor a child’s game for two reasons:
- Some of the contents of both Ailments and Cures can be just a tad risqué. Medical terminology is used throughout (so no graphic slang), but while the game box suggests 12+, I’d say that if you’re playing with someone younger than 14 (or perhaps even 16) I’d give all the cards a good looking-over and make a decision beforehand. You could easily remove any you found indecent and still have plenty of cards to play with.
- The real star of this game is the arguing, and most preteens and even younger teenagers might struggle with doing more to state their case than reading the text on the cards.
But if you can round up some fun-loving adults, this game is an absolute blast!
You’ll probably end up cycling through the Cure cards during a single game, but a) there is plenty of variety with no repeats amongst them, and b) the real variety in Cures comes from combining them (which you must). Believe me when I say you’re going to have to get reeeeeeeally creative at times!
Some of the folks I’ve played with disliked the lack of anonymity as they felt it cost them Ailment cards their cures rightfully deserved (because one more Ailment card would net them the win, for instance), but I’ll be honest: I reject that criticism, ha! Here’s why:
Arguing for your cure and against all others is the very lifeblood of this game. You strip that out by an anonymous Cure card submission process, and it falls flat. Plus, that arguing keeps everyone fully engaged at all times. You might still get disappointed when your cure isn’t chosen, but you’ll have a darned blast contending for it against all others.
Trust Me, I’m a Doctor quickly rose in favor in my gaming groups. Many, many laughs were had as we wagged our tongues and peddled our snake oils and such. It takes less than five minutes to set up and explain fully, and…for some reason…almost everyone who played it with me (myself included) ended up adopting quirky voices as we argued which turned the hilarity up to 11.
Turn your head, cough, and purchase yourself a copy of Trust Me, I’m a Doctor today for about $22 USD ($30 AUD).