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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 46 – Toys and Games > BATTLE OF THE BOARD GAMES


Doctor Who board games have been around for more than 50 years. We decided to play-test examples from each era…

Board games and Doctor Who have something in common – they’re both forms of entertainment that bring families together, whether round the television on a Saturday night or round a table at Christmas.

But in an age of tablets and smartphones, when gaming and TV viewing are not so much communal activities as individual experiences, can Doctor Who board games still unite families with some good old-fashioned fun? To find out, I get my family together for a day of Doctor Who board gaming. My Mum, Dad and Grandma are easy to recruit. My teenage sister Josie? Not so much.

“Do I have to?” she sulks. “Board games make you bored.”

“But these are Doctor Who board games,” I point out, presenting a pile of six Doctor Who-themed games spanning five decades.

And so the five of us start playing – in strictly chronological order, of course.


Family assembled – and tea and biscuits supplied – we select our first game, which is based on the 1964 story The Dalek Invasion of Earth. “This was the first Doctor Who board game ever produced, in 1965,” I inform everyone.

“Your Dad would’ve been two years old,” calculates Grandma. “1965? Woah, that’s ancient!” gasps Josie. “I prefer the word vintage,” Dad says.

“That board certainly looks vintage,” observes Mum as we set up the game. The bright yellow board displays colourful illustrations of the Daleks and a winding track which leads to the Secret City. I read out the rules: ‘If a player lands on a red spot, he must follow the instructions printed on the board. If a player lands on a black spot, he is captured by the Daleks and must go to the Magnetic Core of Earth in the centre of the board.’

The centre of the Dodge the Daleks board.
Emily prepares for her Doctor Who board-game challenge.
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About Doctor Who Magazine

In 1964 Dalekmania led to the birth of Doctor Who licensing, and it’s been with us ever since. The return of the series in 2005 prompted an even bigger range of merchandise, which this time invaded supermarkets as well as toy shops. In 2017 the popularity, and ingenuity, of these products continues unabated. This is the surprising story of Doctor Who toys and games – told by the people who make, sell and collect them.