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The Edge is off, or why I love dead games

B. G. Kubacki
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AEG has recently announced that Doomtown Reloaded, will be ending its run upon completing the current expansion cycle. It’s a sad time for all fans of the game. So, why am I overjoyed?

From gallery of irondeav

I am a fan of Doomtown, with a collection consisting of two core sets, and all expansions up to date. I love Gomorra with all its lore (in fact, I used to play Deadlands as a teenager), and I vastly enjoy the quirky, somewhat counterintuitive mechanisms of the game. So, once again, why am I happy?

Because the edge is off.

Collectible, customizable, and expandable games have a specific dynamic. The core player base that starts with a healthy mix of those who were drawn by a mix of theme and mechanisms, and those who are there to crunch the numbers, uncover all the secrets, and conquer their opponents, will inevitably shift towards being dominated by the latter group.

When this happens, players who want to stay in the game will have to make regular investments, allocating both funds and (sometimes even more precious) time to being able to follow the meta. For those who are more inclined towards slow exploration of the game and towards enjoying its theme, that pace is usually too high, and the competitive environment becomes even more cutthroat, as they slowly but inevitably leave the game.

Board Game: Doomtown: Reloaded

Now that Doomtown is about to ride off into the sunset however, its player base will change once again. The most competitive players will walk away, sell their collections and find a new game that is alive, and that provides them with the type of challenge and thrill they seek. Soon, finding a Doomtown game group will become a bit more difficult, but also more satisfying in terms of finding like-minded individuals who are staying more because of their love of the game, and less because of its highly competitive dynamic.

I know your mileage may vary on all of the above. I am now speaking from my own experiences, looking back at my days of being a Warhammer Invasion player, starting out as a fan of the theme, going deep into competitive scene, being on the brink of leaving the game completely, and finally celebrating the day I bought the last expansion. Since then, I was able to explore the game at my own pace, and play it occasionally with people who stayed – people who simply loved the game, and not the thrill of constant competition.

Board Game: Warhammer: Invasion – Hidden Kingdoms

Hidden Kingdoms - final expansion for Warhammer Invasion

So, if you’re a competitive player, I can only say I’m sorry for your loss, and I wish you well. I am not a part of your tribe, but I really have nothing against you. I just like to play different games. And if you’re someone thinking about coming back, or about taking your first plunge into Gomorra, now is the best time. While it’s not really good news for AEG, the game will live on (like many discontinued card games) among its fans.

Soon you’ll even be able to find some great deals on core sets and expansions, and in a few months, you’ll be able to say that you have a complete playset. And that is something the completionist in me is also celebrating, because… well… because I’m petty that way.
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