The Twelve Blogs of Christmas: Six

A Doctor Who Mod for Apples to Apples.

A couple of things have happened since yesterday. For one thing, a blizzard has descended on my house, turning today's walk to the post office into a story of courage and survival (and cream cakes, actually). CBR'S series of DC Writer's Relay interviews has concluded with me interviewing Scott Snyder. And the Dirty Whoers Podcast has released an episode in which they talk to me, Nev Fountain and some Daleks.

Today's blog is going to be a bit boggling for those who haven't played Apples to Apples, a wonderful party card game that I was first introduced to at Convergence (the world's best convention TM). Since the game's now being sold in the mass market in the UK, and indeed, being pushed a bit in the Christmas rush, I feel rather more confident about presenting the basics for an absolutely non-official, no money to be made, Doctor Who version. Apples to Apples works by using two packs of cards, green cards, which have adjectives printed on them, and red cards, which show nouns or phrases. The game is about finding the green card which best describes a played red card, and that's where the hilarity lies. Doing a Doctor Who version would be less hilarious, I feel, if the green cards were changed to be more Who-ish, with adjectives like 'dimensionally transcendental', so my version keeps the green cards as is, also reflecting DW's mainstream nature. So a player will indeed have to decide if the Sensorites are 'quaint'.

Thus, my 162 red cards, complete with their 'flavour text' descriptions (which don't really describe the subject unless it's very obscure), would be:

The First Doctor: Not a mountain goat, and he prefers walking to any day.
The Second Doctor: Oh my word!
The Third Doctor: A cosmic yo yo.
The Fourth Doctor: What?! Ah!
The Fifth Doctor: Interesting!
The Six Doctor: Repeat three times, loudly.
The Seventh Doctor: Burnt toast and bus stations.
The Eighth Doctor: Half human on his mother's side.
The Ninth Doctor: Coming to get you!
The Tenth Doctor: He likes a little shop.
The Eleventh Doctor: Geronimo!
The Master: That jackanapes.
Davros: Made the Daleks in his own image.
The Daleks: Exterminate! Do not deviate!
Skaro: From the Lake of Mutations to the Petrified Jungle, the Dalek home planet.
The Kaleds: Kind of fated to become the Dalek race.
The Cybermen: You will be like us.
Mondas: Cyberman home, Earth's twin, with it's own Isle of Wight.
The Tardis: With a swimming pool, a boot cupboard and a typewriter control surface.
The Tardis food machine: You can get goo that tastes like bacon and eggs.
The Key to Time: A crystal that can stop everything so the universe can be fixed.
K-9: The shooty dog thing.
Playing Doctor Who in the playground: Who were you?
The Fourth Doctor's Scarf: Made by a witty little knitter.
The Song of the Ood: Ood mood music, made psychically.
The Blinovitch Limitation Effect: You can't mess with your own history (except when you can).
Luke Smith: He's not a real boy. But he is Sarah Jane's son.
Captain Jack Harkness: Does time travel the long way round.
Torchwood: Have never bothered with a pension plan.
The Slitheen: Always just a zipper away from revealing themselves.
The Sontarans: Sontar-ha!
UNIT: United... Something... Intelligence Taskforce.
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Enjoy saying his full name.
River Song: The Doctor's wife... oh, isn't she?
Rory Williams: No longer a Roman, or made of plastic.
Rose Tyler: Bad wolves like chips.
Martha Jones: A proper doctor.
Mr. Smith: Sarah Jane's computer partner.
Gallifrey: Seems to produce its share of renegades.
Christmas Special: A BBC institution.
The Archimandrite's Hat: From 'Androids of Tara', extraordinary millinery.
The Scarecrows: There's got to be a word for that lolloping they do.
Amy Pond: Come along, Pond!
The Sensorites: The Ood must hate it that their neighbours are psychic.
Spoilers: It sounds better coming from River Song.
My First Episode: You're old enough to have seen 'An Unearthly Child', right?
My Sonic Screwdriver: Could it be a bit more sonic?
My Favourite Companion: Who would you take on adventures?
My Favourite Story: Or the one you'll admit to.
My Doctor Who Fantasy: Could be a what, could be a who.
My Squee Moment: When you screamed at the screen in delight.
My Fan Fiction Experience: Do we want to hear about your Adric fic?
My Opinions on Dalek Design: No, go on, tell us.
My Doctor Who Impersonations: Your Mum says they're very good.
My Merchandise Collection: Do you have a special shelf?
My Convention Experience: What, really, in the elevator?
My Cosplay Moment: As Captain Jack, in the library, with the lead piping.
My Green Cathedral: I could play all day in it.
Bessie: The Third Doctor's car. I'm betting 'yellow' isn't in the pack.
Allons-y: Redirects to 'Tenth Doctor' on Wikipedia.
Donna Noble: Watch it, spaceman!
Executive Producer: One day it'll be you.
Question Mark Umbrella: The Seventh Doctor never seemed to need it for rain.
The Rod of Rassilon: Controls great power on Gallifrey.
Doctor Who Annuals: Used to be the only book about the show.
Terry Nation: He created the Daleks, and Blake's 7.
Silurians: The Earth's theirs, we're just squatters.
The Peking Homunculus: Otherwise known as Mr. Sin in 'Talons of Weng Chiang'.
The Pandorica: A trap for a Time Lord.
The Meddling Monk: Didn't seem bothered about the laws of time.
Adric: He had a badge for mathematical excellence.
The Zygons: Enjoyed life in Loch Ness, organised local charity functions.
The Ogri: Every stone circle is probably them.
The Zarbi: An actor inside every ant.
Venom Grubs: The grubs don't work, as The Verve nearly said.
Jelly Babies: Would you care for one?
UNIT Dating: Well, we don't know what they got up to, do we?
Running Down Corridors: About a whole episode's worth in the old days.
The Last Great Time War: They'd know it's the last one.
The End of the World: The episode or the concept.
Jago and Litefoot: The impressario and the doctor from 'Talons of Weng Chiang'.
Being Exterminated: You can get a cream for that now.
Sonic Lipstick: Careful with the settings.
Multi-Doctor Stories: So there are five of me now!
Regeneration: When two becomes three.
Venusian Aikido: hai!
Quarries: Sometimes not standing in for alien planets.
The Fall of Troy: Is there a Doctor in the horse?
Time Paradoxes: I hope I never have to write another one.
Quarks: They had strangeness and charm.
The Weeping Angels: Don't look away from this card.
Alternate Universes: Where there are always dirigibles, for some reason.
Vincent Van Gogh: Go on, describe his troubles with a funny noun.
Kroll: Kroll! Kroll! Kroll!
Harry Sullivan: Only qualified to work on sailors.
Movellans: Like the seventies never ended.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow: Can solve anything.
The Miniscope: The galactic zoo from 'Carnival of Monsters'.
Getting Knocked Unconscious: Tom Baker does it three times an episode.
The Fast Return Switch: Written in biro on the Tardis console.
The Destruction of Atlantis: You choose which version.
Target Novelisations: Often by Terrance Dicks.
Kissing the Doctor: Yuck, soppy stuff!
Screaming: Something companions used to do.
Waistcoats: Most Doctors favour them.
Spraining Your Ankle: Only happened three times in the whole series.
Slash Fiction: We've all written some adult fiction involving series characters.
Chameleon Circuit: He could fix it if he wanted to.
A Junkyard in Trotter's Lane: Where we first met the Doctor.
The Cloister Bell: Goes boom when there's doom.
Event One: The start of the universe.
The Panopticon: Named after a prison.
The Next Doctor: Carried a real screwdriver.
The Ark: At least they preserved a small elephant.
The BBC Radiophonic Workshop: Where bleeps come from.
The Spacetime Vortex: Seen in the title sequence.
Omega: Born Gallifrey, Died Amsterdam.
Frock Coats: The Doctor tends to favour them.
Hypnotism: The Doctor's skills in this vary wildly.
Autons: Plastic but fun.
Traken: Where Nyssa comes from.
Russell T. Davies: The man who brought back Doctor Who.
Steven Moffat: Current Executive Producer.
Rani: At least three characters called that.
The Eruption of Vesuvius: You have to save somebody.
Bigger on the Inside than the Outside: To put it simply.
Queen Elizabeth: We think we've worked out what happened.
The Doctor's Dancing: He could have danced all night.
Madame De Pompadour: The girl in the fireplace.
Ianto Jones: Made the coffee.
Retcon: The drug that... erm...
Question Marks: On the Doctor's clothes, sometimes.
Wearing a Fez: He does that now.
Giant Maggots: They're on the slag heap. I think they're breeding.
E Space: Not like our own universe. Cheaper.
The Mara: Not just a big snake prop.
The Mona Lisa: Or possibly in the plural.
Pete Tyler: Always crashing in the same car.
Cat Nuns: Armed and fabulous.
Hello Sweetie: Should be on a t-shirt.
Sally Sparrow: The angels have the phone box.
Being Ginger: The Doctor would like to be.
The Vashta Nerada: Stay away from the shadows.
Sarah Jane Smith: The defender of Earth.
Gold: What Cybermen are afraid of. Well, one of the many things.
Talking Straight to Camera: Tom and Matt both do it.
'Doctor in Distress': A charity record to save Doctor Who.
The Great Fire of London: The Doctor's responsible for almost everything.
Janis Thorns: What Leela uses to kill things.
Bad Wolf Bay: Looms large in Rose's legend.
Mickey Smith: Not just a tin dog.
Wilfred Mott: Was in the Paras, you know.
The Adipose: Made of fat, like so many good things.
The Shadow Proclamation: Were the law in the universe.
The Judoon: Fo Mo Po Ro Sho!
The Matrix: Not that one, where Time Lords go when they die.
DVD Easter Eggs: Just click all over the menu.
The Family of Blood: Not unjustly dealt with at all.
The Not We: How the Kinda tribe describe outsiders.
Paris: 'City of Death' as we call it, to the French tourist board's chagrin.
Pure Historicals: Stories with no monsters.
The Yeti: The ones with the spheres in their chests.

And that's it! Consider this a play test, let me know if there's anything wrong with the above list (I'll edit the blog entry) and do tell me how you get on if you make up the cards and play this version.

All this led Laurie Pink to wonder about a Tardis Cluedo board...

And to John Kovalic, the original artist on Apples to Apples (and the creator of Dork Tower), sending us this lovely note:

'So here is Paul Cornell, professional Clever person, coming up with a very clever idea - a Doctor Who version of Apples to Apples.

I worked on Apples to Apples for over a decade: more than simply drawing the Apple and the logo, I was - amongst other things - pretty much the guy directly responsible for the foolish "flavor text" idea on the bottom of each card. (If you're unfamiliar with this, the flavor text allows anyone who may believe - say - that "Charlotte Bronte" is a budget brand of cake mix, to nevertheless play a Charlotte Bronte red apple card with confidence, style and verve in the game.)

Flavor text was probably my cleverest contribution to Apples to Apples, which was an enormously clever game to begin with. So as somebody who occasionally comes up with clever ideas, and who is also fanatical about the galactic cleverness of Doctor Who, I have to say Paul's Doctor Who version idea really is Extremely Clever.

Oh. And I also drew this. Just to show I can draw things other that damn apple."



Thanks very much for that, John. Until tomorrow, Cheerio!


11 Response to "The Twelve Blogs of Christmas: Six"

  • Anne Says:

    Awesome :)

    btw, I'm catching up on Dr. Who (I'd never watched it, really) in stints while nursing my daughter. "Father's Day" made me cry! That's a really great script.


  • Nightsky Says:

    I love A2A, and note that the game really comes alive when you start to add your own cards. I played with a group where one card was "Steve's enchiladas".

    >Autons: Plastic but fun.

    This must, absolutely MUST, be "Your plastic pal who's fun to be with."


  • Lee Blauersouth Says:

    First we loved you for your work on Dr Who.

    Then we loved you for loving our favorite convention.

    Now, we will also love you for giving us Dr Who Apples to Apples.

    Which will certainly be played at next years CONvergence.

    In case you'd like to drop by.


  • Jo Says:

    Ahhh, I want the Doctor Who version of the game so much. The ability to modify Apples to Apples to suit one's fannish self is one of the best things about it, in my opinion.

    That said, don't leave your friends alone with sharpies and blank cards and ever expect to be able to play the game with your family ever again...


  • Teresa Says:

    OMG! I'm having a Doctor Who party for Christmas (celebrating Christmas with fam on the 26th), and now I may just have to get a new A2A set (my old one got lost in my recent move - tragedy!) and make these cards! :)


  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thanks, Anne. Indeed, Night, that's what attracted me to changing it. That's very kind of you, Lee. I'm taking a year off from Convergence to do Anime Detour with much the same gang. Jo: I can imagine! Ter: do tell me how it goes.


  • Craig Says:

    I've pointed Doctor Who RPG fans towards this, because my main experience of A2A is "debating" with fellow geeks over whether an oil slick really is calm.


  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Great! And I think an oil slick is calm. You know, pouring oil on troubled waters.


  • cosplay Says:

    Nice blog post, thanks for sharing this. We are also the Japan based cosplay costume manufacturers.


  • kshandra Says:

    Second Nightsky's recommendation on the Autons...and how much fun are you going to have saying Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart's name if it isn't all on the card?


  • Paul Cornell Says:

    I'm not sure if you're spam or not, Cosplay, but if you are, you're pretty harmless! KS: I think fans may say it anyway!