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Doomtown: Reloaded» Forums » News

Subject: Glossary posted... some neat tidbits. rss

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Bithlord Fake
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http://www.alderac.com/doomtown/talking-gomorra/

Things we can take away from this post... "Strike" isn't in the glossary, but Ranch is. Looks like cattle are the focus now instead of mining.

"Grifter" is a brand new trait that gives abilities that occur if he's in your starting posse. Hopefully there's a good variety of them to allow for choice.

Wanted -- confirmation that boutnies now scale, with each act that would make someone wanted increasing their bounty.

Few other neat things too.
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Nathan Earl
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I noticed the absence of Events, and with no Event cards spoiled thus far, perhaps those are going away too.

I thought there was one Dude that was a Grifter in Doomtown Classic (Mr Bones) but I don't remember his ability and if it had anything to do with pregame shenanigans.

Also no other spell types or spellcasters mentioned, but I imagine this glossary would only include cards from the base set, and I am sure there are no Blessed and Miracles, or Shamans and Spirits.
 
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David Boeren
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I like the Grifter concept. It's too easy to fall into the starting characters all looking the same because you just have certain things you want at the start of the game. We've seen this in AEG's 7th Sea game where basically everyone wants one guy with enough sailing to move the ship, some cheap guys that generate Influence (to hire new crew in that game), one guy that's good at soaking up hits, etc...

By giving a bonus Grifter ability on characters that *don't* match the default starting character templates you can encourage people to branch out a lot more.

Also looks like they did simplify "control points + victory points" to just "control points". Good move.

It does seem odd that there's no mention of Strikes, Mines, or some other similar term. Ghost Rock is still the currency, so it would stand to reason that somebody would be wanting to go dig it up.

Event cards seemed like an interesting idea but they're dead in your hand so I would think that you didn't use many of them. I'd like to see this retired as a separate card type and just become an extra ability that could be on ANY card. Sort of like in L5R they now have cards which do something extra if used as a Focus effect, you could create an Event or Lowball keyword that lets a special effect trigger if the card is in your Lowball hand. Seems like that would work well.
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B.D. Flory
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dboeren wrote:
I like the Grifter concept. It's too easy to fall into the starting characters all looking the same because you just have certain things you want at the start of the game. We've seen this in AEG's 7th Sea game where basically everyone wants one guy with enough sailing to move the ship, some cheap guys that generate Influence (to hire new crew in that game), one guy that's good at soaking up hits, etc...


Jury's out on this one for me. It could easily be just another thing to add in the standard starting posse mix.

I don't love the flavor of it, personally. Not sure why grifters, of all people in a Western Horror game, should get start of game abilities.

Actually, not sure it should be linked to a trait at all, rather than just, "Some dudes can do things at the start of the game." I suppose a trait is a way to balance them by limiting them to one per starting posse, though. Still not in love with it being "grifter," but whatever.

dboeren wrote:
By giving a bonus Grifter ability on characters that *don't* match the default starting character templates you can encourage people to branch out a lot more.


This just comes from good card design, and interesting abilities. Not necessarily start of game abilities.

On the, "What's missing," front, I really don't think this is a rulebook glossary. All the card types are there, (maybe excepting events, or maybe not), but it's missing some fundamental mechanics -- calling out, for example.

That being said, some of the following may or may not be significant, but...

No mention of fear levels.

Sidekicks are common enough to get called out specifically. IIRC, in the original game, there was one sidekick, and his text detailed the mechanic.

Deputies get trait-checked, and it's indicated that some cards key off the deputy trait. This isn't mentioned for any other trait, nor are the inherent mechanical effects of many traits (huckster, for example) mentioned.

Lots of attention paid to deed traits. Casino, Saloon, Ranch, etc. Other than "Strike," these only rarely interacted with other cards in the original game. Wonder if that's changing?

No mention of uniqueness (or non).

No mention of the gambling phase. Coach Whip seems to suggest it's still in the game, but isn't conclusive. This is probably meaningless.
 
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Bithlord wrote:
http://www.alderac.com/doomtown/talking-gomorra/

Things we can take away from this post... "Strike" isn't in the glossary, but Ranch is. Looks like cattle are the focus now instead of mining.


Strike is in the glossary. They probably saw your post and edited it in. :)
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B.D. Flory
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daveboy wrote:

Strike is in the glossary. They probably saw your post and edited it in.


Hopefully, that confirms this isn't actually the rulebook glossary!

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David Boeren
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bd flory wrote:
Actually, not sure it should be linked to a trait at all, rather than just, "Some dudes can do things at the start of the game." I suppose a trait is a way to balance them by limiting them to one per starting posse, though. Still not in love with it being "grifter," but whatever.


I think a trait is necessary in order to limit them to one per posse, but I can agree that "Grifter" may not be the most thematic name for that trait as it doesn't seem to have anything to do with being a con man or swindler or whatever. That's a good keyword to fit thematically within the setting, just maybe not for this particular meaning.

Of course, I'm having a hard time coming up with something much better. Something like "Founding Member" doesn't quite work, as they're just there at the start of the game, not the start of the faction or of Gomorra. Company Man? Not all factions are companies. Loyal? That's got a meaning in a lot of game already that would make it confusing. I guess the simple term Starter could be used but that's already a common term for a beginner deck in most card games. Early Bird? Getting silly now... I feel like there must be a really good keyword out there, I just can't think of it right now...
 
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B.D. Flory
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dboeren wrote:
I think a trait is necessary in order to limit them to one per posse, but I can agree that "Grifter" may not be the most thematic name for that trait as it doesn't seem to have anything to do with being a con man or swindler or whatever. That's a good keyword to fit thematically within the setting, just maybe not for this particular meaning.


I don't know. I mean, I really do wonder if the limit is even necessary (assuming balanced cards).

Presumably, for that starting ability, you're giving up influence, or bullets, or a stud, or paying more in cost and/or upkeep. If the original game teaches us anything, it's that this can be a big liability.

Taking more than one grifter means giving up even more.

Of course, if the abilities are so strong the limit is necessary, it makes me wonder what kind of disadvantage posses who don't start a grifter are going to face. Would hate to have them be necessary to be competitive.

Honestly, though, it could just be that somewhere along the way in playtesting, someone was like, "Man, it's taking forever to trigger these grifter abilites. I just want to get on with the game! Limit 1!"

I actually wonder, too, if the trait is a result of a mechanical slippage. If this started out as "dudes with abilities that trigger in the gambling phase," it makes a lot more sense. Still wish it were something different, though.
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dboeren wrote:
I feel like there must be a really good keyword out there, I just can't think of it right now...


How about "Honcho" or "Boss"? Of course, this assumes that they are leaders in the outfit. Of course, I can see that something giving you an advantage before the game even starts could be seen as a con man/swindler type of deal.
 
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Bithlord Fake
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bd flory wrote:

Of course, if the abilities are so strong the limit is necessary, it makes me wonder what kind of disadvantage posses who don't start a grifter are going to face. Would hate to have them be necessary to be competitive.


Why? If there is sufficient variety that everyone isn't playing the same one all the time, why would that be a bad thing? Everyone always plays a home, how would always running a grifter be different?
 
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B.D. Flory
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Bithlord wrote:
[q="bd flory"]
Of course, if the abilities are so strong the limit is necessary, it makes me wonder what kind of disadvantage posses who don't start a grifter are going to face. Would hate to have them be necessary to be competitive.
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Why? If there is sufficient variety that everyone isn't playing the same one all the time, why would that be a bad thing? Everyone always plays a home, how would always running a grifter be different?


Game design 101. Balanced elements create options, not requirements. If I have to play a specific card, or one of a specific subset of cards to be competitive, that card or those cards are too strong.

Structural foundations of gameplay -- card types, for example -- are a necessary evil to shape gameplay and incentivize behavior. Everyone has to play a home because it's the starting point to build the town and the deck. The game fundamentally doesn't work without a home.

Likewise, card types are the foundation on which the card pool is built. In general, decks need dudes and deeds to execute fundamental game mechanics(the lack of necessity for actions and goods resulted in dudes and deeds decks, and suggests that actions and goods should be stronger to promote their play).

Within those subsets, however, more viable options for deck construction is better. If grifters are so good that decks without grifters aren't competitive, it warps your environment to exclude non-grifter decks, narrowing the field of viable decks and restricting gameplay to no good cause.
 
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bd flory wrote:


Game design 101. Balanced elements create options, not requirements. If I have to play a specific card, or one of a specific subset of cards to be competitive, that card or those cards are too strong.


Do you feel a deck with no Deeds should be competitive? How about a deck with no Dudes?

Is Magic: The Gathering a bad game because you have to include land cards - a specific subset of cards?

Can you point me to a place where this Game Design 101 rule is cited, somewhere? Or is this just your own opinion that you're trying to cover with a veneer of academia?

I'm sure the Grifters will have lower bullet values or influence for their cost than other characters. I don't think you have to worry about that. The reason that they are limited to one is because this actually opens up more design space to experiment with interesting effects that would be game-breaking when multiplied.
 
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Also, in regards to the glossary - and maybe I missed it - but there appears to be no Events.
 
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daveboy wrote:
bd flory wrote:


Game design 101. Balanced elements create options, not requirements. If I have to play a specific card, or one of a specific subset of cards to be competitive, that card or those cards are too strong.


Do you feel a deck with no Deeds should be competitive? How about a deck with no Dudes?

Is Magic: The Gathering a bad game because you have to include land cards - a specific subset of cards?


There's a difference between mechanically necessary and strategically/tactically necessary.
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Idaho11 wrote:

There's a difference between mechanically necessary and strategically/tactically necessary.


Back in the early days of Magic I ran a no-land deck and it worked just fine. And the original Doomtown very famously had the Collegium deck which basically ignored whole swaths of the game's mechanics and just sat at home, pumping out gadgets.

So you'll have to forgive me for being real dubious about how "badly designed" the new Doomtown will be if they essentially make Grifters into a de-facto part of the starting posse.
 
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daveboy wrote:
I'm sure the Grifters will have lower bullet values or influence for their cost than other characters.


Hmm... I think we'll have to wait and see.

To me, the phrase on the glossary page evokes a simple idea. Suppose you built a Horse deck. Wouldn't you like to get a Horse at the start of the game? You can't start a Goods. Suppose you had a Dude that said, "If this Dude is in your starting posse, go get a Horse from your deck and add it to your play hand." For your Horse deck, that seems pretty solid as a starting Dude. For others? Less so. If the Dude were a modest cost, small value, and limited bullets and/or influence, it's not that big of a deal... situational, not mandatory.

Mr. Bones was a Grifter. I think it'd be something like that - get a Cheatin' card if you don't have one.

The term makes sense to me too - these people would be "stacking the deck". They're tinkering with your starting setup in some way. Find you a card. Win the first lowball. Stuff like that seems likely.
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Yeah, I have no idea what effects these Grifters might have but those seem to be good examples of what might make sense.

A lot of decks in a lot of games have key cards or card types that they need in order to function and being able to fetch one of them at the start of the game prevents you from being screwed by bad draw because once in a while you won't be able to find one until too late in the game.

So then the player has a choice to make. Do I start this one Dude who's a Stud or has good influence or whatever, or do I start this other Dude who can fetch me a card so I'm guaranteed to have one of them early in the game?

You're giving up something in order to get something else, and it's up to the player to evaluate which one they prefer for that particular deck.
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Nathan Earl
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And along the lines of Mr Bones, Grifters (from what I have seen on Leverage) are giving you information and making you think you are getting the better deal.

So revealing your hand gives the opponent something they want (information on your hand) but in response you get something you need (Cheatin card, Horse, etc)

So in that sense I feel it is the correct title.
 
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B.D. Flory
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daveboy wrote:
bd flory wrote:


Game design 101. Balanced elements create options, not requirements. If I have to play a specific card, or one of a specific subset of cards to be competitive, that card or those cards are too strong.


Do you feel a deck with no Deeds should be competitive? How about a deck with no Dudes?


See my post for comments on card types and their functions. We're not talking about card types, we're talking about traits.

In that vein, I think it would be equally silly if I couldn't be competitive unless I included casinos, or saloons. Even strikes, though significant, weren't required to be competitive in classic Doomtown, and it could even be argued had significant disadvantages.

daveboy wrote:

Is Magic: The Gathering a bad game because you have to include land cards - a specific subset of cards?


Again, not an apt comparison. This would be like suggesting that I be able to build a competitive Doomtown deck without income of any kind.

daveboy wrote:

Can you point me to a place where this Game Design 101 rule is cited, somewhere? Or is this just your own opinion that you're trying to cover with a veneer of academia?


Years of experience as a professional game designer. Game Design 101 is intended to suggest a basic principle of good design, which I explicitly stated -- it's a foundation in the same way that 101 courses at university are a foundation for more advanced and interesting courses.

Interesting gameplay is about choice. Card design, or the design of any element is about choice, within a gameplay structure established by various elements.

It's always a design decision on which elements should promote choice and which should be defined by structure. Chess, for example, has a rigid structure in terms of initial setup, which has a definite impact on the structure of a game. That's perfectly fine for chess.

But in a game that is in part structured around deckbuilding, creating a suite of cards so powerful that they limit your options by forcing you to include them to be competitive is a design flaw. And note that the power of a card is distinct from its function -- we're not talking about the need to play deeds to accumulate control points or the need to play dudes to fight for them. It'd be more like needing to play a Casino because Casinos are just better than other cards.

Likewise, in Magic, land structures gameplay -- it's required to be successful, and limited to one per turn. It's also a core element of the game, around which the rest is structured. However, early dual lands provided additional options at no drawbacks, and were therefore obviously more powerful. There's a reason they're the most expensive cards, and the most competitive constructed decks *all* included them. They warped the environment, which is why dual lands now have some drawback, such as coming into play tapped.

Likewise, dudes and deeds are core elements of Doomtown, a game explicitly about dudes fighting for control of a town made up of deeds.

Additional card types (goods and actions), as I mentioned, should be strong enough to promote variety in game play while bringing tactical variety and *options.*

Suggesting that being required to include land to be competitive in Magic (or even being compelled to included dudes and deeds in Doomtown) is equivalent to being forced to include a specific type of dude is a bit silly.

Comparing it to the need to include dudes who can shoot and dudes with influence is somewhat more accurate, but in that case, I would again argue that controlling dudes and having shootouts is central to the Doomtown's premise in a way that having a grifter is not.

If I'm fighting for control of a town in the old West, I need people who can shoot, and people who are leaders. I can take or leave a con man -- useful for some approaches, not so much for others. My hope is that this is where these cards land -- useful for some decks, not so much for others. If so, then the principle of creating options with these cards bears out. If this isn't the case -- if I need to play a grifter to be competitive -- then it's a problem.

daveboy wrote:

I'm sure the Grifters will have lower bullet values or influence for their cost than other characters. I don't think you have to worry about that.


Hopefully that's the case!

But your phrasing suggests you don't know this for a fact, which I only bring up because the following suggests that you do have some inside knowledge:

daveboy wrote:

The reason that they are limited to one is because this actually opens up more design space to experiment with interesting effects that would be game-breaking when multiplied.


Obviously, discussing the impact of specific effects is a bit premature, as we don't know what they are yet (or, perhaps, you have me at a disadvantage).

That being said, creating specific limits to manage potentially game breaking abilities rarely works out well. If there's a danger of an ability being game breaking in concert with specific other cards, the nature of an expandable (or living, or collectible) game, by its nature, creates the risk for abuse with cards that are not similarly limited.

There's precedent for this across a variety of games, but in a particular, consider the headline rule in Doomtown Classic. Demonstrably a stopgap measure introduced to contain the impact of events. But because the events themselves were the problem, they could be abused through interaction with other cards not restricted by the headline rule, and continued to be a problem (as evidenced by their apparent exclusion).

If the abilities are balanced to be able to interact with each other without breaking the game, it's far less likely they'll break the game in concert with other cards that are not so limited.

Design space can be preserve with balanced cards much more effectively than with specific and exceptional limits on card types.
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B.D. Flory
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dboeren wrote:
So then the player has a choice to make. Do I start this one Dude who's a Stud or has good influence or whatever, or do I start this other Dude who can fetch me a card so I'm guaranteed to have one of them early in the game?

You're giving up something in order to get something else, and it's up to the player to evaluate which one they prefer for that particular deck.


Right, this is great, and desirable. If this is the kind of thing we're talking about, awesome. As someone (possibly you) mentioned up threat, this means more choice, not less.

The limit of one, however, suggests that these cards are more impactful, to a degree that a unique limit has to be imposed. I don't think it's a huge leap to wonder if they are disproportionately impactful.

Hopefully this isn't the case!
 
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A lot of card games limit you similarly.

Only one Identity card in Netrunner. Only one Stronghold in Legend of the Five Rings. Only one Agenda in A Game of Thrones. And so on...

It's generally pretty simple to convert the rules to allow multiples of these. Instead of an Netrunner Identity saying that it gives X Influence it can be a modifier. This card gives -3 Influence compared to the base value. There, now we can have more than one without a mechanical conflict. Then you could have as many as you wanted and each can carry it's own benefits and drawback to balance them out.

And yet, these games are designed with a limit. Does that automatically make them all bad games because they are ignoring Game Design 101?
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bd flory wrote:
That being said, creating specific limits to manage potentially game breaking abilities rarely works out well. If there's a danger of an ability being game breaking in concert with specific other cards, the nature of an expandable (or living, or collectible) game, by its nature, creates the risk for abuse with cards that are not similarly limited.

Isn't that fundamentally par for the course in CCGs, and all their successors (LCGs etc.)? The (in the case of Doomtown) four of a given type of card in a deck is an explicit admission that there needs to be some kinds of limits placed on any cards to prevent degenerative combos. If Grifters fetch a particular kind of card, or do just about anything else at the start of the game, I can see the limit on them as a perfectly reasonable bit of game design. It doesn't necessarily imply that the mechanism is inherently game breaking within the framework they are creating. But I can imagine that is does allow the designers a freer hand in designing interesting Grifter cards without having to conceive of multi-Grifter combos that can end the game before it's even begun.
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That limit reminds me of the Doomtown Classic where only one Event per player's Lowball Hand resolves, or only one Cheatin card may be played against a Cheatin Hand. So the limit of one is not unprecedented.
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daveboy wrote:
Idaho11 wrote:

There's a difference between mechanically necessary and strategically/tactically necessary.


Back in the early days of Magic I ran a no-land deck and it worked just fine. And the original Doomtown very famously had the Collegium deck which basically ignored whole swaths of the game's mechanics and just sat at home, pumping out gadgets.

So you'll have to forgive me for being real dubious about how "badly designed" the new Doomtown will be if they essentially make Grifters into a de-facto part of the starting posse.


I have no idea about the original DT, and I don't think we know that Grifters will be de-facto.

However, to create a no-land deck requires you to go out of your way to do so. The issue here is more cards/card types that become a necessary part of the game for strategic considerations. Sure, you can go out of your way to avoid it - but you're either running something that's weird, or something that's suboptimal. I doubt you can find more than a handful of "no land" Magic decks that won championships.

This has come up in a number of the FFG LCGs in particular, where you see most competitive decks running the same plot card (from the core set, no less). Or running a few copies of the event cancel card. When you create a card that is the most efficient way to accomplish something that needs to be accomplished, you've limited options. You might as well just make that card a "Rulebook Effect" and free up the play space.
 
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bd flory wrote:

The limit of one, however, suggests that these cards are more impactful, to a degree that a unique limit has to be imposed. I don't think it's a huge leap to wonder if they are disproportionately impactful.


Alternatively, it suggests that starting the game with -0 or one grifter is part of the framework of the game.

Is it a "problem" that we have to start the game with dudes with influence or we might lose on the first turn? How is "dude with influence" any different / better of a classification than "dude with grifter"?

Even if there is a "best grifter" that everyone competitive plays, how is that a bad thing? You say it violates game design 101, and sure. I believe ou on that, I guess, but I don't see how building a framework for your game is a bad thing...
 
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