As if Doctor Who fans needed another great pandemic distraction alongside all the watchalongs, new material and video reunions, a new craze has been sweeping the community of Whovians online – a truly addictive web puzzle called Thirteen.
The rules are simple, albeit easier to learn through playing. Working with a board of tiles representing different Doctors, players must use their computer arrow keys (or swipe on their phones) to move the tiles up, down, left or right, with the aim of smashing together two of the same Doctor tiles to “regenerate” them into the next incarnation (see the gif below).
In other words, two Patrick Troughton tiles make a Jon Pertwee, two Pertwees make Tom Baker and so on, all the way up to the current Doctor (assuming you get that far – we’ve barely made it past John Hurt).
But there’s a catch – with every move you make a new William Hartnell tile appears, meaning the board will rapidly fill up and end the game if you can’t keep regenerating the Doctors.
Maybe the person who get to Thirteen becomes the Fourteenth Doctor pic.twitter.com/0ZEqtZz4vL— TARDIS Benni Time (@TardisTime2) June 29, 2020
As many fans have noted, this makes it nearly impossible to get all the way to the end, with few even getting close to unlocking Jodie Whittaker.
The whole thing is basically just a reskinned version of popular mobile game 2048 with a Doctor Who-y twist – but all over the internet Who fans are completely addicted, complaining and wondering whether it’s even possible to make it all the way to the end.
Finally got Thirteen! I'd share my strategy, but a champion has to keep some secrets pic.twitter.com/XZVonude10— Max Curtis (@MaxCCurtis) June 28, 2020
In case it was unclear, yes, if you play this game you might get obsessed, waste loads of time and still get no closer to smashing those Peter Capaldi tiles together to complete the whole thing. Truly, the BBC has ensnared us all.
Second time getting to Twelve. God, I hope I can get Thirteen pic.twitter.com/IcyP9656LN— Violett Fabiana (@ViolettHunter) June 29, 2020
So has anyone got to the end of the game? And what’s their secret?
One recommended trick – to just smash the up and right arrows repeatedly, then shift to the left, then start again – got us as far as Paul McGann before the Hartnells descended, and at time of writing we couldn’t spot anyone online who’d actually made it all the way to the end.
You thought the game would end when you made it to Thirteen??? You were all mistaken pic.twitter.com/IPw8WwC1WN— Antonio the funky memer (@KrynoidRoots) June 27, 2020
All we know is, we’re hooked. And once they finally add that Morbius Doctors DLC, our spare time will truly be gone forever…
Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks comes to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021 – check out what else is on with our TV Guide