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Subject: An Overview of How To Play for the Complete Novice rss

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Eric Jome
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Introduction

Doomtown is a game played with cards. Thematically, it simulates at least 2 factions of a Wild West boomtown struggling to take control of the destiny of that town. Each player provides their own deck of precisely 52 cards, optionally adding 2 Jokers to make it 54. In addition to your deck, you have 1 more card, your Outfit. When the game begins, this extra card will be your starting location. It also provides your starting resources. During the course of play, you'll play cards from your hand to build the town. You'll add people and locations and other things. Cards representing people, called Dudes, will move around the locations in play. Players use these Dudes to take control of locations and eliminate opposing Dudes.

Winning The Game

Dudes provide Influence just by being in play, indicated by a red Poker chip on the card. Locations played from hand, called Deeds, provide Control just by being in play. It is indicated by a blue Poker chip on the card. If you have more Influence at a Deed with Control than the other player, you count its Control as yours. In a tie, the player who played the Deed counts the Control as theirs.

If any round of the game ends and you have more Control than your opponent has Influence, you win.

So, the basic strategy of the game breaks down like this;

1) Find ways to get more Control points.
2) Find ways to remove your opponent's Influence.

In the first case, you could just play lots of Deeds with Control. Or you could use your Dudes to take over Deeds in play that have Control on them. Sometimes special actions or cards might make Control points too.

In the second case, the game may provide some special actions that remove or reduce Influence. The basic way, however, to remove opponent's Influence from play is to engage his Dudes in a Shootout and cause them to leave play as casualties. If the Dudes aren't in play, they provide no Influence.

What's A Shootout?

Suppose you send some Dudes to take over a location, giving you the Control. Suppose if the round ended, you'd have enough to win, more than my Influence. I am compelled to take that location back. So, I move a Dude there. Our Dudes are now at the same location. In true Wild West fashion, you decide to use your Dude to try to kill my Dude - you call me out to a gunfight!

I must either accept or chicken out for my Dude. If I chicken out, I have to leave the location and go home. And you'd likely win - you have more Control, remember? So, I accept. Now we may both add other Dudes at the location to the posse for the Shootout. And then we may play Actions to modify the situation further, each swinging it to our favor. When we're done with this set up, we both draw cards from the top of our deck and select 5 of them to make the highest Poker hand we can. Then we reveal hands.

The player with the higher hand wins. The difference is the number of casualties the opponent takes. That many Dudes on their side leave play. And Influence goes down, leading to a win for one player.

For example; Suppose you have a Full House, 2 Sevens and 3 Eights. I have Two Pair, 2 Sixes and 2 Threes. If High Card is level 1, then I have level 3 (Two Pair) and you have level 8 (Full House). I take 5 casualties and 5 of my Dudes in this shootout leave play. That's likely game over and a win for you.

What's Cheatin!?

So, all cards in your deck must be used for two things! First, they could be in play. A Dude. A Deed. Something like a special gun or a magic spell. But they also have a suit and a value, too, useful in resolving a Shootout. Want to win a lot of Shootouts? Put lots of the same card in! Every hand will be a Full House or Five of a Kind. Remember, you select the 52 cards with which you play.

But, there are special Actions called Cheatin! cards. If you reveal a hand in a Shootout that could not come out of a normal deck of cards, that's called a Cheatin! hand. You aren't cheating of course; you're following the rules just fine. You can show a Full House that is 2 Seven of Clubs and 3 Eight of Diamonds. But if you do, I might play a Cheatin! Action on you. You'll likely go from winning the shootout to losing it - and more. Perhaps the whole game, too!

Basic Game Play

So, you've got a lot of tensions. You need a deck with the cards good in play. Cards good in Shootout hands. Don't be caught Cheatin! too much. Don't draw really weak hands.

But you'll also want more cards in play. Dudes with Influence to take Control. Dudes who are good in a Shootout. Deeds with lots of Control you can defend. To put cards in play, you have a hand of 5 that refreshes each round. And you start with some Dudes in play so the game doesn't end right away. You pay for those starting Dudes and most cards later on with Ghost Rock, which is what money is called in this setting. You make some at the beginning of each round. Your Outfit makes some. But Deeds will make more. And more means more power in play.

During a round, you'll take an action or pass. Then the opponent will take an action of pass. If you both pass, the round ends. Does someone have more Control than the opponent has Influence? They win! If not, start another round.

What are the actions? Well, playing a card is an action. Starting a shootout is an action. Moving a Dude to a location is an action. Lots of cards have actions on them. That's the essence of the game. A back and forth of small actions that build to climactic situations - gunfights for control of the town. Many people have likened it to the move and countermove of Chess.

Conclusion

That's Doomtown! Use your Dudes to take over the key Deeds in the Wild West boomtown. Gun down your opponents. Or at least outmanuever them. Look for little ways to get ahead and know when it's time to risk it all in a big play. Remember a fair fight is one you win before it starts, always keep the sun at your back and know that things worse than rustlers and con men lurk in the shadows.
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Eric Jome
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If you have questions, I'd be happy to take a shot at answering them.
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caleb G.
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Ahh man. Now this game I'm moderately interest is another game a want to buy

But I love constructing decks for games and the theme on this game looks really good
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Scott Sexton
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Nice summary. I'd also add that there are all sorts of other lovely little details that make this game such a gem:

Special Rules for "undead" characters.
Special Rules for characters who can cast magic.
Events coming up that throw wrenches in even the best laid plans.

Oh, and perhaps most importantly the living breathing storyline that is forged through organized play.
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Ian Wakeham
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Thanks Eric! I bought two or three decks when they first came out and a load of boosters. But I never got round to playing it. So when I saw yesterday's announcement of the new version I dug out my cards and started to read the rules again. This overview is just what I need; concise and giving me a good flavour of the game before I get deep into the rulebook. Have some GG.
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Amund Christensen
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cosine wrote:
If you have questions, I'd be happy to take a shot at answering them.


I see what you did there!
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Brandon Holmes
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I have been looking for a good western themed game and this has piqued my interest as it reminds me a bit of the Star Wars LCG. It's too bad they didn't use a similar pod system for deck creation though like Star Wars uses. They could have came in poker hands (5 cards) or posse's or whatever. I am just not big on building 50+ card decks and the whole min/max'ing of it all.

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Eric Jome
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It is true that building a deck for Doomtown can be hard. I think, though, that there will be many decks online you can just copy. I wouldn't be surprised either if people write helpful articles about it, too.
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Scott Sexton
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bholmes4 wrote:
I have been looking for a good western themed game and this has piqued my interest as it reminds me a bit of the Star Wars LCG. It's too bad they didn't use a similar pod system for deck creation though like Star Wars uses. They could have came in poker hands (5 cards) or posse's or whatever. I am just not big on building 50+ card decks and the whole min/max'ing of it all.



The way most factions worked in the original you already had something like this. If you are building an Agency deck, you aren't going to just put any old cards in it, you'll be using members of that faction.
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Pre-built decks, pod systems or a simplified drafting is a great way to lure in casual or non-ccg gamers

Having to go online and copy decklists is a big turnoff for some.
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David Boeren
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I have two starter decks here I got off eBay a year or so ago, Law Dogs and Collegium. I've tried to learn to play from these but failed. I think I more or less get the rules, those aren't all that complex and I've played a lot of other card games.

Where things all sort of fall apart is that without another player to show me how to play I don't know what I should be doing with my Dudes. When I've tried playing a test game (playing both sides to learn the game) usually what happens is that they either wander the town aimlessly or we all just end up in a big shootout. I don't have a good grasp of what they should be doing and what their priorities should be and how to balance defending your Deeds, going after enemy Deeds, trying to kill enemy Dudes, etc...

Any guidance of what your Dudes ought to be doing, especially in the first few turns, would be much appreciated. I'd really like this game to be a success in our group so it would be great to be able to show people how the game is supposed to work.
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Eric Jome
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monkehbwoy wrote:
Pre-built decks, pod systems or a simplified drafting is a great way to lure in casual or non-ccg gamers

Having to go online and copy decklists is a big turnoff for some.


Doomtown cannot be drafted without considerable hacking in the setup and rules. Most factional CCGs don't deal well with drafting without such things.
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Scott Sexton
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dboeren wrote:
I have two starter decks here I got off eBay a year or so ago, Law Dogs and Collegium. I've tried to learn to play from these but failed. I think I more or less get the rules, those aren't all that complex and I've played a lot of other card games.

Where things all sort of fall apart is that without another player to show me how to play I don't know what I should be doing with my Dudes. When I've tried playing a test game (playing both sides to learn the game) usually what happens is that they either wander the town aimlessly or we all just end up in a big shootout. I don't have a good grasp of what they should be doing and what their priorities should be and how to balance defending your Deeds, going after enemy Deeds, trying to kill enemy Dudes, etc...

Any guidance of what your Dudes ought to be doing, especially in the first few turns, would be much appreciated. I'd really like this game to be a success in our group so it would be great to be able to show people how the game is supposed to work.


It depends on the meta of your deck and what you think your opponent will be doing. Early game for most is focused on building your resource engine and digging though your deck for your tougher heroes. If you can out spend your opponent, you can out deploy them and force the enemy to fight you on your terms. If you can't pull the resources to give you an edge, you need to move your dudes to deprive your opponent of their resources if possible.
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David Boeren
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So is it fair to say that if you're drawing well then you're probably going to be more focused on defending your Deeds and if you're not then you're probably going to be more focused on attacking your opponent's Deeds?

Any tips on how to choose your starting Dudes and how much cash to keep unspent at the start of the game?

For instance, in 7th Sea I would say that you want to start with a character that generates Influence for hiring more crew, someone who generates enough sailing to move the ship, someone who can absorb some early hits, and then someone who fits your general deck type - whether that be Adventures, Cannon, Boarding, etc... Of course, you may not always be able to fit ALL of that. What would the common considerations be for Doomtown?
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Eric Jome
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dboeren wrote:
Any guidance of what your Dudes ought to be doing, especially in the first few turns, would be much appreciated.


Mostly nothing. Stay safe at home. Play some more dudes with Influence and no Upkeep. Play a few Deeds to generate some more income.

If you want, you can disrupt another player's growing income by taking control of their Deeds. But they are likely to resist. This will mean an early shootout, possibly without your whole posse. You'll be taking chances all your cards will be in your deck; you won't have had time to put some in play, giving you more information about what is likely to come up in a Shootout hand.

When you think you can best another player's Dudes in a Shootout, move away from home and take Control. Sometimes, you can do it without a Shootout - in the early game, save up tricks and traps to outmanuever them later.
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Eric Jome
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dboeren wrote:
So is it fair to say that if you're drawing well then you're probably going to be more focused on defending your Deeds and if you're not then you're probably going to be more focused on attacking your opponent's Deeds?


Have a plan for winning. Execute your plan. The most basic plan goes like this;

1) Play Deeds to make more Ghost Rock.
2) Play Dudes with Influence to stay in the game.
3) When you're able to draw most of your deck in a shootout, so you are sure to get a good hand, move out to take Control.

Quote:
Any tips on how to choose your starting Dudes and how much cash to keep unspent at the start of the game?


Start at least 4 Influence. Don't start any Upkeep. See if you can fit one or two Stud Dudes in there.
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Alastair Cornish
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I'm a huge Doomtown fan, and still have all my cards from the original version, I'm very excited to see it making a return I had a couple of questions:

1) By the end the FAQ for Doomtown was pretty darn huge (it fully filled a binder!) have you looked back at all the issues, exceptions etc. that led to the need for such an FAQ and smoothed them out?

2) One of the things I didn't like and didn't really understand (the two may be connected!) was the Fear Factor, some rules booklets had different fear factors, it only seemed to go up, some cards were unplayable based on it and it was all very unclear what to do when you had decks offering different fear factors. Have you guys ditched the fear factor, or at least made it something you roll for at the start!

Doomtown was my fav CCG of all time, so I know the above questions may read negatively but that's only because everything else was just about perfect!

SNEAKY 3rd QUESTION!
3) Are there still the concepts of out of town locations (I loved needing to use horses to get there untapped!) and is there the concept of the town-square (always fun to call dudes out into that deadly no man's land!)

Thanks!
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Eric Jome
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I think we'll have to wait to get those answers, Al. This is just a best guess on my part from the old game. Without what I outlined above, it's just not really Doomtown to me.

Will there be a Fear level? Out of town? I guess we'll find out soon.
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tigermuppetcut wrote:
I'm a huge Doomtown fan, and still have all my cards from the original version, I'm very excited to see it making a return I had a couple of questions:

1) By the end the FAQ for Doomtown was pretty darn huge (it fully filled a binder!) have you looked back at all the issues, exceptions etc. that led to the need for such an FAQ and smoothed them out?

2) One of the things I didn't like and didn't really understand (the two may be connected!) was the Fear Factor, some rules booklets had different fear factors, it only seemed to go up, some cards were unplayable based on it and it was all very unclear what to do when you had decks offering different fear factors. Have you guys ditched the fear factor, or at least made it something you roll for at the start!

Doomtown was my fav CCG of all time, so I know the above questions may read negatively but that's only because everything else was just about perfect!

SNEAKY 3rd QUESTION!
3) Are there still the concepts of out of town locations (I loved needing to use horses to get there untapped!) and is there the concept of the town-square (always fun to call dudes out into that deadly no man's land!)

Thanks!


1- Think of the original game as an extensive playtest for this new game. I'm sure they will use the lessons form the FAQs/Errata to make a better game this time around. AEG isn't stupid.

2- The moving fear factor was due to the developments of the storyline. It was meant to fluctuate overtime. At the outset of the story, the weirdness was at a minimum. By the time of Knicknevin's arrival and Kingdom Come, the whole place (the city and the maze) was basically a giant Deadland with all sorts of problems. IF they have the fear factor, I suspect it will likely be something that also changes for storyline events, but it may have default settings for casual games.

3- We don't know for sure, but I suspect the answer is yes.
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With you drawing 5 cards everytime there is a conflict, I have the following question.


When you run out of cards in your deck, do you get to reshuffle?
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Fear Level seems to me like something that could easily be removed from the game, we do already know that AEG intends to do some streamlining.

I'm going to presume (until proven otherwise) that this game is important to AEG and they want to do a good job with it. That includes applying all the lessons learned from:
1. The old game
2. Years of additional experience in general
3. Learning from FFG's examples of non-collectable card games
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Alienated One wrote:
With you drawing 5 cards everytime there is a conflict, I have the following question.


When you run out of cards in your deck, do you get to reshuffle?


Yes.
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Jeff Bogle
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Gameplay Videos would be very helpful not to say this thread is not but more people these days tend to learn from watching someone else play thus showing them HOW
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David Boeren
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Just being a video doesn't make it good though. I've seen a video on "how to play" a card game that ran 100 minutes long. No way I'm going to watch that!
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Alienated One wrote:
With you drawing 5 cards everytime there is a conflict, I have the following question.


When you run out of cards in your deck, do you get to reshuffle?


Although if you are 'just' drawing 5 cards to shoot, you're definitely going home in a pine box. Good shootout draws should have the base 5 plus 5 to 10 card draw modifiers. 15-20 cards drawn (and then redrawing a couple at your option) is pretty solid

And that's not getting into multiplier bonuses such as the old 'drawing a bead'. Yes, you could draw your whole deck to find that straight flush or Dead Man's Hand

It'll be fun to see what the base set shootout modifiers top out at and what we could reasonably expect as a 'good shootout draw'.

On the spoiled cards (or old DT cards)-silver bullets are STUDS which ADD to the number of cards drawn and copper bullets are DRAWS which let you redraw cards afterwards to tweak a hand (or improve w/o cheatin'). It looks like that mechanic (Bullet ratings) survived the makeover.
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