Monday, February 9, 2015

A surprising first look at Doomtown: Reloaded

There were a lot of surprising things about the day I went to see the Doomtown tournament on January 31st, 2015.  I was surprised at how nice the day was, considering that it was the end of January in the northern hemisphere.  I was surprised at how much one fog bank can freeze you when not properly equipped for it.  And I was surprised about pretty much everything about Doomtown: Reloaded.
Please meet Xiong Cheng.  That's hard to pronounce, so we call her "Wendy."
Doomtown: Reloaded is a re-boot of a card game of a similar name.  The re-boot debuted at Gen-Con 2014, and released in September shortly thereafter.  The first Doomtown was a collectable card game, meaning that players would purchase booster packs of randomly assorted cards and try to collect the cards they wanted to use.  Unable to fight the 800 pound gorilla in the room, it folded and re-booted into a game that releases fixed card packs from time to time.  That seems familiar to me, but I'm not sure why....  (Note: this is not a "Living Card Game" because Fantasy Flight Games holds that title.  AEG publishes Doomtown: Reloaded, so it's called an "Expandable Card Game.")  There are two expansions on the base set right now.

The town that is apparently doomed in this case is called Gomorra.  Players take different actions to recruit dudes, form a posse, call out opponents, and initiate shootouts in the town square, all in the search for "ghost-rock," a coveted material found in Gomorra.  One player wins when they have more control than the other player has influence.

The games resolves a lot of the conflict by drawing poker hands.  Each card has a rank and suit in the corner in addition to its other abilities, but since the decks are constructed by the players, you could have a several of the same card in the deck, meaning that standard poker probabilities don't apply here.  Also, there are mechanics for cheating, which can trigger other abilities, but it's all within the rules, not like the other kind of cheating I wrote about here.  Be careful before you pack your deck full of aces, because some conflicts are resolved with "low-ball" rules, also known as golf scoring, where the worst hand is the winner.

I spoke to Sky, who was kind enough to take time in between rounds to talk about the event she organized.  She plays in the South Bay area normally, but brought this event up to Heretic Games to build the community.  The event was 6 players, with one game per round, and a certain amount of confusion about the tournament ranking software used.  She thoroughly enjoys the game now, but did express some remorse for the way that her favorite faction was done away with in the previous edition of the game.  Like Legend of the Five Rings, Doomtown changed the background story line based on tournament outcomes.  I have heard that this device was popular with just about every L5R player I have ever known.  AEG could do the same thing with Doomtown and expansions, but with the expandable format, people might not like the way that cards cease to be useful.  Eventually, I think that this format might wind up with block events, where you can only play with some of the expansions and not all of them, but Doomtown is far from there.

The Doomtown Deluxe box.  Malcom Reynolds initiative tracker not included.
Sky and her opponent said that there were two main styles that people play competitively, Aggro (short for aggressive) and Control (short for.... umm....   controlling..... yeah.....).  Sky said that there are other types of decks, like Clowns and Mad Scientists (I know, right?) but most people don't develop competitive decks around those ideas.  This event was set up to promote the game, recruit new players, and teach people to get better.  The format of this event could have promoted the goofier decks like clowns (fucking clowns, man), but with only 6 players and new people playing with standard decks, I didn't see this happen.

Seth Oakley is an educator and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who lives in Daly City, CA. He loves costuming, analog gaming and role playing games. He got this job in a bar after making poor life choices and has to work through 87 more articles before Mike will give him his soul back.  If you want Seth to cover an event in particular, leave a comment to let him know.

Did you enjoy this article? Follow us on Facebook to get more great content! We have a weekly podcast you can find on our main site. Also follow us on Twitter and Tumblr!  

No comments:

Post a Comment