Dr. Kildare from Ideal (1962)

Company: Ideal | Release date: 1962 | Ages: 7-14 | # of players: 1 or more | Where to purchase: eBay

“The Medical Game for the Young.”

In 1962, Ideal released Dr. Kildare, a board game based on the popular TV show of the same name. Players ages 7-14 assumed the role of the fictional physician, completing rounds in the hospital and diagnosing patients.


The gameboard’s design mimics a hospital complete with corridors, patient rooms, an operating room, laboratory, and X-Ray area. To reinforce the game’s tie-in to the TV show, photos of Blair General Hospital and actor Richard Chamberlain, who played the titular physician, were strategically placed on the board and packaging.

After selecting a pawn, each player drew a Diagnosis card. The card included a code number and a series of 13 smaller numbers. Using a spinner, players moved about the hospital corridors, sequentially visiting the various rooms corresponding to the list of numbers on their Diagnosis card. In each room, players acquired a Doctor card as proof of their visit. Once a player visited all 13 rooms and collected 13 Doctor cards, they called out, “Dr. Kildare.”

Play was suspended while a player attempted to use the game’s Analyzer to diagnose their patient. The Analyzer used a simple letter-number cipher players would use to map the numbers on their Diagnosis card to letters of the alphabet.

The first player to complete their rounds, decode their diagnosis card, and analyze their patient’s illness correctly was declared the winner.


A complete game included 1 hospital game board, 4 pawns of different colours, 1 spinner/analyzer, 12 red Doctor cards, 40 blue/green Doctor cards, 40 Diagnosis cards, and printed instructions.

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