Saturday, December 20, 2014

Doomtown: The Town has Changed

I was one of the "unfortunates" that did not start playing Doomtown until AEG put out the Boot Hill edition, but I feel in love with the game immediately.

Doomtown had everything I loved in a game: Cowboys, Indians, spellcasters, mad scientists, zombies, magic items, cops, robbers, robber barons, pirates, priests, evil cultists, was all just so jam-packed with awesome!

I spent a lot of money, then I became a part of the demo team for AEG (Bounty Hunter was the title at the time).  Then went on to the 7th Sea TCG/CCG...then to Warlord...then AEG stopped making Doomtown, and my sad face appeared.

Now, years later, Doomtown is back, and better than ever!

Doomtown: Reloaded Base Set
Faster, more aggressive play means you cannot "turtle-up" at home until you are reduced to a straight flush (the most common degeneration I saw locally).  Interestingly, this means that decks are usually geared towards just a few values and pull Full House, 4 of a Kind or 5 of a Kind.

The old cards are not completely compatible with the new cards, although you can play them against each other, the older decks will have more durability after the first 1-2 rounds.

Reading through the design goals that AEG posted on their website really brought me back into the game.  With a focus on shootouts and card abilities to enhance gameplay, getting into a shootout is the norm, many times on the first round, almost always on the second.

While a 2-player game can be super-fast (5-10 minutes) multiplayer is still where it is at for a long game.

The Factions have changed a little.

The Law Dogs are still around, now under the direction of Sheriff Dave Montreal.
The Blackjacks have been replaced by The Sloane Gang.
Sweetrock is gone, and the Morgan Cattle Company is now the big money-maker/deed slinger.
The Whately's are gone, but not to worry, the circus is in town and the Fourth Ring is full of Hucksters and abomitions, just waiting to show the freakiness.

Starting with just the four Factions gives enough variety to the game without getting too crazy, the original did the same, but by the time Boot Hill came out, there were 9 Factions in play.

This is not to say that AEG is not planning any new Factions, because they are, but they also realize that with fewer factions the game, and expansions, will not destroy the balance of the game.

Most of the rules have not changed, Lowball, Shootout Hands, movement rules, shoppin', skill pulls, have all stayed the same, Shootout Resolutions have changed dramatically.

Instead of Acing a number of dudes to cover the difference in hands you now suffer "Casualties."  For each rank difference you suffer 1 Casualty.  Discarding a Dude in the Shootout covers 1, Acing covers 2; special note: Harrowed Dudes go home booted to cover 1, discard to cover 2 and Ace to cover 3!

Also, instead of Acing the gear on dudes that go to boot hill, the gear is discarded, allowing you to play it later, of course, this does hinder the old deck-building style in some serious ways.

Currently, as far as product goes, there is the Base Set and a single "Saddlebag" (expansion), a complete collection will run about $50 or so, although I recommend 2 Base Sets since each comes with 2 of each card.  The Saddlebags come with a complete playset (4 of each card) and cost about $10.00, the next Saddlebag comes out in January 2015, you can bet on me buying it!