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Doomtown: Reloaded» Forums » Strategy

Subject: The School of Hard Knocks, Lesson 3 - Dudes & Deeds rss

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Eric Jome
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This then is a series of articles helping new players learn some finer points of surviving and thriving in our dusty little frontier town. Sometimes the lessons will be easy. Sometimes you'll have to apply the results yourself through practice. Hurry now... the school bell is ringing! Don't want a switchin'!

History Lessons

When the old game got started, among the first few outfits was classic Sweetrock Mining. It essentially dominated almost all early tournament play, especially under the guidance of pro players like Andrew Davidson and Kerry Breitenstein. There was never really a time when Sweetrock didn't dominate, though later methods were different from early. Early on, a named was coined for the strategy it used. That name was "Dudes & Deeds".

At it's core, Doomtown is Influence versus Control. A player usually gets enamored of shootouts or some particular Action, Goods, or other card, but the game is won or lost on red and blue chips. So, wise people at the start determined they would need as many of each as they could lay hands on - even pillaging other faction's dudes for the best of the best. Structure was not important. It was all economy. Win lowball, play deeds, make rock, drop cards from hand into play... repeat. What's one casualty here or there? There's more where that came from. Keeps you in the game, after all. Pretty soon there's so much Control floating around, one bad move and someone's out of position. You move your pawns around, maybe send a few home booted, and viola - 8 blue to their 5 red and a win. None of the hard work of slapping leather or jobs or arcane bargains. Just boom the town and hire everyone worth their cost.

That Was Then... Is This Then Now Too?

This sort of strategy is hard to play, make no doubt! It takes talent and practice. You do a lot of chickening out of shootouts. Timing is key. Patience is essential. But don't make the mistake that it can't win or won't work. It'll look odd on paper... "No structure?" "Dudes from other factions?" "No Hearts or Clubs?" I hear your indignation already. But have faith. Build and practice.

And remember the past. Or you'll be doomed to repeat it.

Here's an example;

"Dudes & Deeds" - The Morgan Cattle Company

Starting Posse (4)

1 Irving Patterson
1 Jon Longstride
1 Jarret Blake
1 Clementine Lepp

Net starting rock: 18 - (3 + 4 + 5 + 3) = 3 remaining
Net producion: (3 - 1) = +2 income
Influence: 5
Best shooting: 2 stud, 3 draw (Jarret Blake leads)

A solid, normal looking posse. We're looking to win most of our lowball hands, so even on the go we should see solid performance economically.

Fives (16)

4 Barton Everest
2 Charlie's Place
2 Pearly's Palace
4 Mustang
4 Pistol Whip

A minimal structure, but it's full of power cards we'd just as soon have in play as hold out on. Pistol Whip is a workhorse here... but could we do it better with Rumors? With Take Ya With Me?

Dudes (16)

1 Philip Swinford
1 Tommy Harden
1 Xiong "Wendy" Cheng
1 Prof. Eustace True
1 James Ghetty
1 Lane Healey
1 Harold Aimslee
1 Rémy LaPointe
1 Max Baine
1 Olivia Jenks
1 Ramiro Mendoza
1 Steele Archer
1 Androcles Brocklehurst
1 Steven Wiles
1 Dr. Dawn Edwards
1 Clint Ramsey

Deeds (16)

1 Bank of California
1 Pony Express
1 Yan Li's Tailoring
1 B&B Attorneys
1 Dead Dog Tavern
1 Killer Bunnies Casino
1 Blake Ranch
1 Cattle Market
1 Circle M Ranch
1 Bunkhouse
1 Morgan Research Institute
1 Carter's Bounties
1 The Union Casino
1 Jackson's Strike
1 General Store
1 Railroad Station

... and 2 Jokers, of course.

High efficiency dudes and deeds looking to hit play as soon as they can be afforded and are needed. That's the hallmark of the thing. If you had to back down to 12 and 12 and use 8 free slots for easily played game swinging actions, you could do so. But you get reliability and focus this way. Duplicates get in the way of playing through, so we're avoiding them. Note, we'll never make a pull here, so no gadgets or spells.

That's the bell. Class dismissed.
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Eric Jome
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A good opening hand might make a lot of difference here... or maybe you can just make due? You want to buy it all anyway. So, Travis? Maybe he should sit the sidelines this time. Better in something that needs an early specific card, after all.
 
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Bithlord Fake
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You have no idea how much I miss deputize...

On the topic of jokers: What purpose do the joker's serve in this deck? To my understanding if we're shooting, we're already losing in this deck. Not necessarily lost, but losing. With that in mind, aside from clogging your hand and preventing you from drawing dudes and deeds, what do the jokers do?
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David Boeren
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I was wondering the same. You don't expect to win shootout. In fact, you aim to avoid as many as possible. But, sometimes you have to stick in there and they might help limit your losses.

Is that worth it though?
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Eric Jome
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dboeren wrote:
In fact, you aim to avoid as many as possible.


You could certainly go without.

In practice, you won't avoid every shootout. When you can put 4 stud and a draw against a 2 draw posse - say a booted dude alone at a location? - you put them down. You count cards in your deck and know when a Joker is around the corner, coming up in this draw hand... you are watching where your Jokers are, right?

You won't generally be able to afford all the cards in hand all the time. This does make almost 2 rock for every 1 it needs, but you won't end up sitting on a Lode paying all that upkeep.
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Chris Stevenson
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cosine wrote:
You count cards in your deck and know when a Joker is around the corner, coming up in this draw hand... you are watching where your Jokers are, right?

How are you meaningfully tracking your Jokers?
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David Boeren
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You know how many are in the deck, you count the ones that go by, and you have an idea on what level of deck penetration you're at.

Not sure what you can do beyond that. So you might know whether the remainder of the deck is comparatively Joker-rich or Joker-poor but with a max of 2 in the deck (and less as time goes on) this doesn't seem like it would be all that reliable.

Tracking cards that are 4x and don't leave the deck seems more reliable to me.
 
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Eric Jome
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Daramere wrote:
How are you meaningfully tracking your Jokers?


You watch where they are - deck, hand, discard, Boot Hill - and modify your play accordingly. For example, going into a shootout drawing 10 cards when you haven't seen one Joker and you only have 8 cards left in your deck. You know you'll see both Jokers in that draw hand and be able to make a good shootout hand.
 
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Bithlord Fake
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cosine wrote:
Daramere wrote:
How are you meaningfully tracking your Jokers?


You watch where they are - deck, hand, discard, Boot Hill - and modify your play accordingly. For example, going into a shootout drawing 10 cards when you haven't seen one Joker and you only have 8 cards left in your deck. You know you'll see both Jokers in that draw hand and be able to make a good shootout hand.


On the same token, assuming your opponent is paying as close attention as you are, they will know this as well. You're unlikely to catch someone's top end guys doing this. But, it's not impossible.
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Arne peters
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Keeping track of where your cards are is essential in a deck like this. Most of the time you chicken out of shootouts. But when you know the joker is comming and your opponent didnt pay attention and calls you out....

And late game you try to outmanouver your opponent. So when he makes the mistake of leaving one key dude booted somewhere you shoot him.



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Sean Geraghty
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cosine wrote:
At it's core, Doomtown is Influence versus Control. A player usually gets enamored of shootouts or some particular Action, Goods, or other card, but the game is won or lost on red and blue chips. So, wise people at the start determined they would need as many of each as they could lay hands on - even pillaging other faction's dudes for the best of the best. Structure was not important. It was all economy. Win lowball, play deeds, make rock, drop cards from hand into play... repeat. What's one casualty here or there? There's more where that came from. Keeps you in the game, after all. Pretty soon there's so much Control floating around, one bad move and someone's out of position. You move your pawns around, maybe send a few home booted, and viola - 8 blue to their 5 red and a win. None of the hard work of slapping leather or jobs or arcane bargains. Just boom the town and hire everyone worth their cost.


Considering the new casualty rules, there's even more truth to this "What's one casualty here or there? There's more where that came from."
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Bithlord Fake
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Odds are,though, if you are leaving a dude alone to lose in a fight - an you've accepted that barring insane luck that is what will happen - you aren't going to be within one rank of their hand.

If the beat you by two or more ranks, the new rules don't make much difference for your lone shooter.
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Sean Geraghty
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If it's early on, unless they're cheating hard, they might not be able to draw any better than you in a fight.
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spags
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How well can this handle a 16x3 aggro deck?
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Bithlord Fake
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spags wrote:
How well can this handle a 16x3 aggro deck?


That depends... what is a 16X3 aggro deck? (3 values, each included 16 times?)
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Eric Jome
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spags wrote:
How well can this handle a 16x3 aggro deck?


In my view, I think this should dominate such a deck. But this is much harder to understand and play. Shooting decks are in general one poor shootout draw away from losing the whole game.
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Eric Jome
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Bithlord wrote:
(3 values, each included 16 times?)


Yes. Something like this;

"Killer Robot", Law Dogs

Starting Posse (4)

1 Philip Swinford
1 Tommy Harden
1 Xiong "Wendy" Cheng
1 Ramiro Mendoza

Net starting rock: 19 - (3 + 5 + 6 + 3) = 2 remaining
Net producion: (3 - 2) = +1 income
Influence: 4
Best shooting: 5 stud, 1 draw

Aces (16)

4 Lucinda "Lucy" Clover
2 Bank of California
2 Pony Express
4 Pair of Six-Shooters
4 Lady Luck

Fours (16)

4 Prescott Utter
2 B&B Attorneys
2 Dead Dog Tavern
4 Whiskey Flask
4 Ambush

Sevens (16)

4 Androcles Brocklehurst
4 Blake Ranch
4 Pinto
4 Kidnappin'

... and 2 Jokers, of course.

First turn Kidnappin' on their high influence dude - some might consider that so important they re-tool to use Travis Moone. You go for all confrontations you can manage - if they leave home, you call them out.

This kind of thing is easy to play but it's hard to win with against an experienced player. You come Kidnappin against Dudes & Deeds? They let you do it. You're home booted and they buy a Deed... they grow, while this keeps shooting craps hoping for good luck.

Remember this has always existed in the game. Just like Dudes & Deeds. Indeed far worse than this existed... and Dudes & Deeds won tournament after tournament against a field of this.
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spags
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I agree. In the hands of a skilled player, D&D is better. To the unwashed masses at the first GC tourneys, 16x3 will do well.

Just wondering if the lack of Cheatin' cards in your D&D will hurt.
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Drew Fox
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Has there been an effort to curb the effectiveness of this strategy in reloaded? If ends up being the "only way" to play competitively again, then coming up with new strategies becomes less rewarding and takes away some of the fun of deck building.

Thematically it does make sense for M.C.C. to try to buy out the town and hire/bribe all the dudes they can. I think that interfering with jobs, hot lead and controlling deeds should be a valid and practical option.

I plan on mostly playing casually so I guess the meta of competitive play doesn't really affect me. Still it would be sad if one strategy became the entire tournament scene.

Drew
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Chris Stevenson
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foxblue wrote:
Has there been an effort to curb the effectiveness of this strategy in reloaded?

Well, there aren't very many out of town deeds anymore, and IIRC none of them are worth control points. Having all of your deeds in town forces a lot more interaction.
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David Boeren
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You should go read the designer articles posted on AEG's page which address these sort of concerns.
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Eric Jome
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foxblue wrote:
Has there been an effort to curb the effectiveness of this strategy in reloaded?


We shall see. Part of the solution in my view is making people aware of this, of the history of the old game.

If you're concerned, build something like this and play against it. See what you can do; you may find at first you can't even win a game with it. It's not obvious how it works... but it's based on fundamentals of how the game is played and its mechanics, influence and control.

We shall see if this kind of thing has legs in the new game. Indeed, it may take a few expansions for it to see serious play.
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Eric Jome
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spags wrote:
Just wondering if the lack of Cheatin' cards in your D&D will hurt.


The deck list above is illustrative, not definitive. Want to hurt the Cheatin? See that as your primary opposition?

Bottom' Dealin'. Or Coachwhip.
 
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Eric Jome
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A version of this kind of thing won Gencon 2014, although my understanding is that it used fewer Dudes and more Actions to control the board.

I played something like this myself on Saturday and went 4 wins and 3 losses.

I played something like the killer robot on Friday and went 3 wins and 2 losses, finishing in the top 16.
 
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Eric Jome
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cosine wrote:
A version of this kind of thing won Gencon 2014, although my understanding is that it used fewer Dudes and more Actions to control the board.


Here's a link to a write up about it, showing the use of Actions over Dudes;

http://www.alderac.com/doomtown/2014/08/22/gen-con-winning-d...
 
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