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I just learned about... Doomtown: Weird West Edition

Christian Heckmann
Rheinland Pfalz
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Microbadge: Black Lives MatterMicrobadge: Good Luck TrollMicrobadge: Doomtown: Reloaded fanMicrobadge: Persona 4 fanMicrobadge: Clive Barker fan
That's a lie. I learned about Doomtown: Weird West Edition roughly two weeks ago, when it was first announced. But I had to delay this post for a good reason. So finally, here it is.

From gallery of Harblnger

Doomtown: Reloaded is my favorite board game of all time. And it's great to see it doing well. I mean, all of us were a bit bummed out when AEG announced five years ago (five years?!? Wow, I didn't think it had been this long) that they were withdrawing from publishing the game any further at the end of the first expansion-cycle. Like most people, I was like "Well, I guess that's it then. Yeah, sure, the fine folks at Pinnacle Entertainment could pick it up and continue it but what are the chances?". But to my endless delight, they did just that, handing over the duties for the game to the newly created company Pine Box Entertainment and the game seems to thrive ever since. Yes, the timespans between releases grew longer with roughly one new set a year from 2017 until 2020 (although apparently there were two in 2020, I don't know, I got my copy of Doomtown: Welcome to Deadwood some time this March), the general graphic design of those expansion boxes changed, some rules were amended (like scrapping the meaning of the Confederate and Union keywords), but generally speaking, it was still the game that AEG had originally published and that we fell in love with.

But now, Pine Box Entertainment are fully taking back the reigns. This August, they will launch a new Kickstarter-campaign for Doomtown: Weird West Edition, a new base-set that - while still compatible with everything that came before - will serve as the foundation for Doomtown: Reloaded going forward. According to the revelatory news-post on the official Pine Box Entertainment website, the reasons for taking this step were twofold. First of all, cards designed by the team at AEG were proving to be problematic. They cite both "Unprepared" and "Calling The Cavalry" as the worst offenders and... yeah, gotta agree. I've spoken about my personal grievances with "Unprepared" before and now that I think about it, "Calling The Cavalry" is just bonkers. Secondly, the old AEG-era expansions were getting more and more elusive, which didn't help with expanding the player-base. So this is where the new base-set and the new tournament rules come into play.

Here's a couple of facts: Yes, you can still play with the old cards to your heart's content. Pine Box Entertainment isn't gonna start an "Ol' Fashioned Hangin'"-job on your collection. They will just restrict the cardpool that can be used for official tournaments to the new base-set and all of the expansions that they have designed (that's Doomtown: There Comes a Reckoning, Doomtown: Too Tough To Die, Doomtown: Out For Blood, Doomtown: Hell's Comin' With Me and the aforementioned Doomtown: Welcome to Deadwood). The new set will contain a mix of older cards, partially rebalanced and retooled for this new version, and a whoppin' thirty new cards, one of which the fine folks at Pine Box Entertainment sent to me to exclusively reveal in this post. More on that in a second. Apart from that, the new set comes with a couple of new variants, some of them adapted from things that were already present in Deadlands: Doomtown (like the fear-level mechanism). There's also gonna be specific scenarios to play, some of them suitable for solo-players, some part of a new "2v1 Boss mode", which sounds friggin' excellent. These will also feature event-cards that aren't built into the players' decks but are separate and will shake up the proceedings of the game.
Then there's some minor changes. The Kung Fu mechanism was overhauled to make it more in line with how spells and gadgets work. I'm a bit ambivalent when it comes to this change. Because while this change will probably make the whole thing more intuitive, it could also make Kung Fu feel less unique. The way it worked up until now, it was quite distinct from spells and gadgets, so making it more alike to them might rob this element of the game a bit of its own identity. Then again, I'm not a Kung Fu player, so... doesn't affect me that much. Next up, deed costs and production have been tweaked to make it easier to get more dudes into play. Sounds great. I've always liked to be able to have loads of dudes. Token dude statistics have been overhauled and finally, core deeds (deeds you can bring into the game as part of your starting posse) no longer count against your starting dude limit. That last one is something that I'd have to see in action, because to be honest, I've never actually had a problem with exceeding the starting posse size, because that's also governed by your starting ghost rock, so if they haven't changed anything substantial about this in the new version, I'm not sure that this'll be a significant change. But maybe that's just me.

So yeah, all of this sounds pretty excellent if you asked me. I mean, I was gonna be all-in on this no matter what, if they had just made a set where they reprinted all of the cards there were but turned all of the dudes into friggin' bears with cute cowboy-costumes, I'd have politely asked them to shut up and take my money. But if you need more persuasion to support this, I present to you...

From gallery of Harblnger

Ursula, the Worm Queen. When David Lapp from Pine Box asked me what kind of card I'd like to introduce to you, I was like "Do you have a really badass spellcaster?". And boy, did he deliver. Sure, nine ghost rock ain't nothing (although as said, this new set will have tweaked deed-costs and production, so maybe nine ghost rock isn't that much anymore) but the possibility to reduce that cost by the number of Hucksters you already control - if you're playing the Fearmongers - should help you to get this awesome abomination to the table with ease. I mean, what's not to like? Two stud bullets? Cool. Three influence? Awesome. That makes for a total grit of 18. This worm-lady isn't gonna get soul-blasted any time soon. She's also a Huckster 2 and an Abomination, the later of which isn't necessarily a boon in itself, but she's probably gonna be a nice addition to every Abomination-focused deck out there. And her ability... wow. Take a Hex from one of your other Hucksters, attach it to Ursula, discard a card, unboot said Hex and have it ready to be used again? From anywhere to anywhere? I mean, the fact that you can discard a card is already pretty great (that might sound weird, but that's actually a really good thing in Doomtown: Reloaded, where cycling your hand can sometimes become quite hard to do) but the rest of this ability? Absolutely through the roof. Plus... is it just me or is she pretty attractive? If you're into that kind of thing, I mean. Erm... don't mind me.

So in case you're interested now, the Kickstarter for Doomtown: Weird West Edition will launch on August 17th and can be found here. Also in August, they're planning to launch the officially sanctioned Doomtown Online platform, which is bound to help those of you still on the fence to dip your toes into the game. I've tried it during the development phase a couple of times and while it was still quite buggy then, it already showed a lot of promise and it looks like a lot of work has gone into it since then. So this is great. Once it's launched, feel free to send me a message and I'll show you first-hand how very, very bad I'm at this game that I love so dearly.
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