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Subject: New Gangs/Groups/Homes... whatever they are called? rss

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John Moore
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Hey, My wife got me this for christmas and we were wondering if/when new gangs would be coming out. The rules make mention of spirits and miracles for shamans and blessed dudes. I know this is sorta pulled from the Deadwood game and it had a lot of other gangs.

anyone know?
 
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Jeff Reitman
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The first expansion called new town, new rules came out around thanksgiving. The second one is due out in January
 
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Steve Pow
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belibutn wrote:
Hey, My wife got me this for christmas and we were wondering if/when new gangs would be coming out. The rules make mention of spirits and miracles for shamans and blessed dudes. I know this is sorta pulled from the Deadwood game and it had a lot of other gangs.

anyone know?


New Outfits, when and if they are released, will come out in Pine Box expansions, which are larger than the Saddlebag expansions that have so far been released (at present, only New Town, New Rules). Its not known, at the moment, when the first of these will be released.
 
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B.D. Flory
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At least at first, it seems likely miracles and spirits will be invorporatedinto existing outfits.

Most people seem pretty sure Miracles will be intro'd in the first deluxe expansion after the third saddlebag, but I don't think it's fornally been announced. Strongly hinted, I believe. No word on whether it'll be with a new outfit yet, but the cards so far seem to hint at law dogs getting blessed, at least -- Abram Grothe fotd type, and their access to mad scientists means they have easy access to the holy wheel gun.

We'll see!
 
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David Boeren
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Here's what we know...

New home cards will come out before new factions (the impression I got is that new factions are a long way off, say Gencon 2016 or so).

A cycle is three Saddlebags, with a Pine Box following.

The first Pine Box will introduce Blessed and Miracles.

Shamans/Spirits will be in a later Pine Box.

None of these are really what you'd call formal announcements, just statements by AEG staff who have been interviewed in podcasts. So you can probably consider them "statements of intent at that time". Not ironclad, but probably good.
 
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B.D. Flory
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dboeren wrote:
A cycle is three Saddlebags, with a Pine Box following.


I got the impression the first PB is coming unusually fast. Normally it'll be more saddlebags between each PB, IIRC.
 
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platypus
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I thought that only the first 3 saddlebags followed by the first pinebox had been annonced. I think we have no idea what's planned after that (appart from supposing that the first "cycle" is going to be the norm).

We don't even know how many cards will be in the pinebox (appart from an interview (Mark's? or Tim's? Iirc it was on gomorra gazette) stating that it was going to be 40-ish).
 
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David Boeren
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Leading guesses are either 40 or 42. I think one podcast said 40 and the other said "twice as big as a Saddlebag". Most likely it's 40 and "twice as big" is just an approximation and not exact. I guess we'll know for sure in a few months...
 
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belibutn wrote:
Hey, My wife got me this for christmas and we were wondering if/when new gangs would be coming out. The rules make mention of spirits and miracles for shamans and blessed dudes. I know this is sorta pulled from the Deadwood game and it had a lot of other gangs.

anyone know?
Deadlands... not Deadwood. The game really pulls from the original Doomtown CCG, but... you know.

The old CCG ended up with ~11 factions: The Law Dogs, Blackjacks (outlaws), The Colegium (mad scientists), Sweetwater (a mining company), The Souix Union (with quite a few shamans), the Whatleys (hucksters and abominations), The Flock (religious zealots, including a lot of blessed dudes), The Maze Rats (river pirates), The Agency (monster hunters for the Federal government), The Texas Rangers (monster hunters, and law officers for the Confederate government), and the Lost Angels (more religious zealots from Los Angeles, who absorbed surviving members of the Flock late in the game's story line.)

Aside from the Lost Angels, most of them cycled into the game over the first year.

Now, Doomtown Reloaded picks up a few years after the story arch. Black Jack has settled down, and the gang no longer exists. Sweetwater is gone, and a Max Baine has gone to work for the Morgans. The Agency and Rangers have left the area. The Flock and Whatleys have been destroyed, though the Fourth Ring seems to be picking up the pieces from the Whatleys.

I think the Colegium was destroyed late in the story arch (as in the physical building, not the scientists themselves. Though, I suspect most of them have wandered off elsewhere, or died...

Okay, looking forward... We're not going to be seeing many, if any of those factions returning. Some are possible, but others have been completely destroyed, or scattered

It wouldn't surprise me if we do see something like the Souix Union again. Some Native American outfit, that has access to Shamans, we'll also be seeing some drifter Shamans. But, in the Deadlands setting, most Shamans are Native American.

We'll also almost certainly get another religious zealot faction. From what I remember, The Flock were one of the least popular outfits, but, at the same time, we'll need something like them in reloaded to support a miracles build.

The Agency and Texas Rangers will not be returning. I'll just keep lamenting that, but as the designers have said, they overlapped too much with Law Dogs, and in the end, the other two outfits were somewhat redundant. Which is actually a legitimate point. Though, we might get an anti-abomination faction, eventually, possibly as a sub-theme in the Blessed or Shaman outfits.

Given that mad scientists and gadgets are now scattered all over the place, I don't think we'll be seeing a specific "mad scientist outfit" again. I could be wrong, but I recall a lot of players who wanted a gadget deck, would just splash Colegium dudes to get their goods into play.
 
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B.D. Flory
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StarkeRealm wrote:
It wouldn't surprise me if we do see something like the Souix Union again. Some Native American outfit, that has access to Shamans, we'll also be seeing some drifter Shamans. But, in the Deadlands setting, most Shamans are Native American.


It wouldn't shock me if we saw another Native American faction, although there's nothing to say that Native American dudes (including shamans) can't be drifters, or members of other outfits. Given the way hexes and mad science are playing out so far, I'd be very surprised if Shamans wound up in a single outfit, even if a Native faction is forthcoming.

Personally, I'm pretty uncomfortable with the way the Sioux Union represented Native Americans the first time around, and would like to see that avoided this time out.

Quote:
We'll also almost certainly get another religious zealot faction. From what I remember, The Flock were one of the least popular outfits, but, at the same time, we'll need something like them in reloaded to support a miracles build.


I'd be really suprised if we don't get a miracles build out of Law Dogs. Doesn't prohibit another outfit being introduced, of course. But we don't "need" them to represent miracles -- we could as easily see Law Dogs get blessed as a major theme, and the other factions get minor blessed support.

Quote:
Though, we might get an anti-abomination faction, eventually, possibly as a sub-theme in the Blessed or Shaman outfits.


Already seeing a bit of this in Law Dogs, with Abram. Supplemented a bit with the Holy Wheel Gun, which seems to fit Law Dogs best (in-outfit access to Mads, and lots of natural studs).

Quote:
Given that mad scientists and gadgets are now scattered all over the place, I don't think we'll be seeing a specific "mad scientist outfit" again.


I'm not sure that 2 outfits with access and a drifter are really "scattered all over the place." Hexes are more available, w/3 outfits and a couple drifters.

I wouldn't be super-surprised to see, when things are filled out a bit post-blessed, for each skill to be readily accessible by 3 outfits with one having access only to drifters.

It also wouldn't surprise me if each outfit got another mechanical theme by then, as well. Fingers crossed we also get new homes for the existing factions in the Pine Box (which I would much prefer vs. a new outfit).
 
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B.D. Flory
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platypus51 wrote:
I thought that only the first 3 saddlebags followed by the first pinebox had been annonced. I think we have no idea what's planned after that (appart from supposing that the first "cycle" is going to be the norm).


Well, we know saddlebags are intended to be 2 quarterly, so if we stick with 3 saddlebags followed by a pine box as a regular schedule, that'd be 8 saddlebags and 2.66 pine boxes per year. More than 2 PB per year would be *really* aggressive, both in terms of design and in terms of the marketplace.
 
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Dennison Milenkaya
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bd flory wrote:
Personally, I'm pretty uncomfortable with the way the Sioux Union represented Native Americans the first time around, and would like to see that avoided this time out.

Yeah. It wasn't a fair representation of Native Americans. Or the Civil War. Or the Chinese. Or Abraham Lincoln. Or Western life. Gambling. Mining. American history in general. Hoyle. Religion. Demonology. Penny farthings.

In fact, it was a deplorable representation of reality altogether. A kick-ass game, though, with an insurmountable story line, and a helluva lotta fun.
 
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Michael Schwarz
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bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
It wouldn't surprise me if we do see something like the Souix Union again. Some Native American outfit, that has access to Shamans, we'll also be seeing some drifter Shamans. But, in the Deadlands setting, most Shamans are Native American.


It wouldn't shock me if we saw another Native American faction, although there's nothing to say that Native American dudes (including shamans) can't be drifters, or members of other outfits. Given the way hexes and mad science are playing out so far, I'd be very surprised if Shamans wound up in a single outfit, even if a Native faction is forthcoming.

Personally, I'm pretty uncomfortable with the way the Sioux Union represented Native Americans the first time around, and would like to see that avoided this time out.


Honestly, this touches on one of the hardest parts with the setting. We're talking about an era in American history that was rife with racism and xenophobia. If you downplay it too much, it looks like you're whitewashing history. Play it too straight, and you can be accused of endorsing that kind of racism. It's not an easy position to be in.

If I'm honest, The Maze Rats always bothered me more than the Souix Union. It's arguably worse in the tabletop game, since Indians are responsible for the entire schism from actual history, and set in motion the apocalypse that the characters are fighting to delay.

bd flory wrote:
Quote:
We'll also almost certainly get another religious zealot faction. From what I remember, The Flock were one of the least popular outfits, but, at the same time, we'll need something like them in reloaded to support a miracles build.


I'd be really suprised if we don't get a miracles build out of Law Dogs. Doesn't prohibit another outfit being introduced, of course. But we don't "need" them to represent miracles -- we could as easily see Law Dogs get blessed as a major theme, and the other factions get minor blessed support.


I keep getting this worried feeling that the Law Dogs are getting turned into a de facto "the good guys" faction, as opposed to peacekeepers. Giving them access to the monster hunting abilities, and easy access to blessed dudes, would kind of fuel that.

bd flory wrote:
Quote:
Though, we might get an anti-abomination faction, eventually, possibly as a sub-theme in the Blessed or Shaman outfits.


Already seeing a bit of this in Law Dogs, with Abram. Supplemented a bit with the Holy Wheel Gun, which seems to fit Law Dogs best (in-outfit access to Mads, and lots of natural studs).


Yeah, see above. I get why the developers don't want to bring back the Agency and Rangers because, with the Law Dogs, there was a lot of overlap between them, without the kind of friction you'd need to keep them distinct. But, again, I worry about the Law Dogs ending up as being too diverse, and in the process, losing any real distinct identity. That might be unfounded, but, you know, personal concern.

bd flory wrote:
Quote:
Given that mad scientists and gadgets are now scattered all over the place, I don't think we'll be seeing a specific "mad scientist outfit" again.


I'm not sure that 2 outfits with access and a drifter are really "scattered all over the place." Hexes are more available, w/3 outfits and a couple drifters.


Compared to the original game where initially only one faction had Mads? I don't even remember any drifter mads until much later in Classic, though that could just be selective memory, and poor card distribution.

If Morgan comes out with insane ghost rock fueled beef abominations though... that would make sense, be kinda savvy social commentary, and potentially hilarious.

bd flory wrote:
I wouldn't be super-surprised to see, when things are filled out a bit post-blessed, for each skill to be readily accessible by 3 outfits with one having access only to drifters.


Yeah, I'm torn on whether it's better for factions to have one or two themes they hold to themselves, and everyone else has to pull from drifters, or mechanics like that being in two or three factions.

There is a major design difference between Classic and Reloaded, though, and this might be where my age is showing.

In Classic, each outfit had one thing they did. There were 10 outfits, and that kind of specialization made sense. If you're playing this outfit, you're going to be using that specific mechanic. In a game with 4 outfits, that might never see more than 6 or 7 playable factions during it's life, and with the number of mechanics in the game, that kind of specialization isn't really an option.

bd flory wrote:
It also wouldn't surprise me if each outfit got another mechanical theme by then, as well. Fingers crossed we also get new homes for the existing factions in the Pine Box (which I would much prefer vs. a new outfit).


One thought there, which wouldn't have worked in Classic, would be a faction of harrowed that have returned for vengeance and focuses heavily on assassinating specific opposing characters.
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B.D. Flory
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FlatOnHisFace wrote:
Yeah. It wasn't a fair representation of Native Americans. Or the Civil War. Or the Chinese. Or Abraham Lincoln. Or Western life. Gambling. Mining. American history in general. Hoyle. Religion. Demonology. Penny farthings.


Spare the straw men (barring the representation of the Chinese, which is a related issue). The Civil War and Abraham Lincoln and so forth aren't an ethnic group that have historically lacked representation in media, or been misrepresented (particularly in the Western genre).

Representation (or lack of it) and misrepresentation of minorities in stories and art has a particular history revolving around race and ethnicity. Doomtown revolves around a story, and the people telling that story (and designing cards and painting/drawing/whatever art) make choices about whom to represent and how to represent those people. The fact that the design, story and production teams are predominantly white male adds an extra layer of concern. Of course, white men *can* present fair portrayals of minorities, but given the lack of input from the cultures being represented, an extra degree of scrutiny is not unreasonable. Hell, a member of design has even acknowledged this (db0, I believe), so hopefully that's a good sign.

At any rate, it's not a question of historical accuracy. It's a question of fair representation in a setting where "history" is very malleable, and can't really be used as an excuse for dodging the issue (especially considering that the game on which it's based explicitly cuts against that with a sidebar noting that due to the twist of history anyone can be anything).

That being said, note that, in this thread, I haven't said story or design or art on Reloaded have done anything other than make best efforts.

Hopefully, design and story realize the issue of lumping the vast majority of Native Americans into one outfit, much less ignoring their differences when choosing the name of that outfit.

And really, why *not* have Native American Law Dogs and outlaws and ranchers (shout out, John Longstride!) and evil circus people? (Well, okay, maybe on the last one, let's be tread carefully and make sure we have plenty of variety in representation first!).
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B.D. Flory
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StarkeRealm wrote:
Honestly, this touches on one of the hardest parts with the setting. We're talking about an era in American history that was rife with racism and xenophobia. If you downplay it too much, it looks like you're whitewashing history. Play it too straight, and you can be accused of endorsing that kind of racism. It's not an easy position to be in.


I'm well aware. I've been in the position of writing the setting (for the RPG), so I know well the pitfalls. I'm sure my work wasn't perfect in this regard either, but better to have the conversation and try to be better than ignore the issue. And discussion never hurts, so long as it's civil and fair.

StarkeRealm wrote:
If I'm honest, The Maze Rats always bothered me more than the Souix Union. It's arguably worse in the tabletop game, since Indians are responsible for the entire schism from actual history, and set in motion the apocalypse that the characters are fighting to delay.


Well, a *specific* shaman and his followers are responsible, and people of all ethnicities fight for and against the forces of evil. (He said vaguely.)

StarkeRealm wrote:
I keep getting this worried feeling that the Law Dogs are getting turned into a de facto "the good guys" faction, as opposed to peacekeepers. Giving them access to the monster hunting abilities, and easy access to blessed dudes, would kind of fuel that.


Definitely fair. I think they could mix it up a bit with some hellfire and brimstone types, and a good-hearted blessed or two in the other outfits would balance things out a bit, also.

StarkeRealm wrote:
Compared to the original game where initially only one faction had Mads?

I don't even remember any drifter mads until much later in Classic, though that could just be selective memory, and poor card distribution.


I seem to remember the Agency dabbled a bit. I'm sure there were others.

Starke Realm wrote:
Yeah, I'm torn on whether it's better for factions to have one or two themes they hold to themselves, and everyone else has to pull from drifters, or mechanics like that being in two or three factions.


Personally, I think alternate homes are the way to go, rather than alternate outfits.

It seems counterintuitive, but fewer outfits with more themes actually promotes more deck variety than more outfits (assuming the size of the card pool is the same), because each outfit has easy access to more dudes.

So, for example, instead of adding a Blessed faction, if you make a suite of Blessed Law dogs and a home that supports them (but ideally, is still useful if you're not running those dudes), you've got 4 deck styles (speaking broadly):

Blessed home + Standard Dogs
Standard home + Standard Dogs
Blessed Home + Blessed Dogs
Standard Home + Blessed Dogs

Rather than:

Blessed Outfit + Blessed Dudes
Law Dogs Outfit + Law Dog Dudes

Obviously, within each of those, there'd be control, aggro and hybrid builds, but point is, there's more deck variety with fewer outfits, not more. And of course, as mentioned previously, there'd be a few Blessed drifters/Blessed dudes from other outfits in the mix.

Now, granted, making this interact with story in an effective way is a bit more challenging, but there's no reason that there can't be sub-groups with each outfit that work together, work at cross purposes, or see "Law & Order" in an entirely different light form one another, and even come to an exchange of lead rather than ideas. Thus, we can explain Law Dog vs. Law Dog games.
 
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Michael Schwarz
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FlatOnHisFace wrote:
bd flory wrote:
Personally, I'm pretty uncomfortable with the way the Sioux Union represented Native Americans the first time around, and would like to see that avoided this time out.

Yeah. It wasn't a fair representation of Native Americans. Or the Civil War. Or the Chinese. Or Abraham Lincoln. Or Western life. Gambling. Mining. American history in general. Hoyle. Religion. Demonology. Penny farthings.

In fact, it was a deplorable representation of reality altogether. A kick-ass game, though, with an insurmountable story line, and a helluva lotta fun.
But rebranding the Pinkertons as good guys huntin' evil... you were cool with that part, right?

Yeah, fun trivia, The Agency is pretty obviously a "we filed off the serial numbers" version of The Pinkerton Detective Agency, at least in the table top game, or so I'm told.

Deadlands is... problematic.

As I mentioned in the previous post, it's taking a time where there was some really deplorable xenophobia and racism present openly in American society.

For a game designer (or writer) the entire western genre is a goddamn mine field. If you depict racism, you're endorsing it. If you downplay it, you're saying it didn't happen. Also, if you're using historical cliches, then you're endorsing those.

TC is a martial artist/owner of a laundry service. Yeah, that's kinda problematic. Made worse when the only other prominent Asian characters are his Daughter (Wendy) and the Maze Rats.

Is there a legitimate historical reason not to present Chinese characters as Bounty Hunters? Maybe, but given the Reckoning, they'd probably be more acceptable then in real history.

At the same time, Doomtown turns a blind eye towards racism directed against the Irish in the 1870s (among others). Without further comment, that's kind of problematic. Historically, the Irish faced discrimination that was almost as pronounced as what was directed against Blacks and Chinese in the west.

I'd love to give Doomtown credit for pointing out that discrimination against Mexicans was far less pronounced in 1870s California than modern day... but then we get Gordo... and his art. And very few Hispanic characters, overall.

But, you know, you missed it not being a fair representation of mining interests in the old west... unless you think that was it being fair... so, I guess... have a cookie?
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B.D. Flory
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StarkeRealm wrote:
If I'm honest, The Maze Rats always bothered me more than the Souix Union.


Oh, and re: the Maze Rats.

For me, they were somewhat less troublesome for a couple of reasons. There were *very* prominent Chinese characters who were *not* Maze Rats, and there were several Maze Rats who weren't Chinese, or Asian. To say nothing of the fact that the name of the Outfit wasn't "Chinese Pirates" or some such.

I have the feeling things took a bit of a turn for the worse in this regard when Kung Fu powers showed up, but I can't remember specifics at this point, so I could be imagining things on that front.
 
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bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
Honestly, this touches on one of the hardest parts with the setting. We're talking about an era in American history that was rife with racism and xenophobia. If you downplay it too much, it looks like you're whitewashing history. Play it too straight, and you can be accused of endorsing that kind of racism. It's not an easy position to be in.


I'm well aware. I've been in the position of writing the setting (for the RPG), so I know well the pitfalls. I'm sure my work wasn't perfect in this regard either, but better to have the conversation and try to be better than ignore the issue. And discussion never hurts, so long as it's civil and fair.


To be fair, I think Deadlands is a pretty good venue to have that conversation. The context of the Reckoning shakes things up enough that you can really play with that. With that in mind, the Rats have always bugged me in a way the Union didn't.

Maybe it's a mistake on my part, but I always saw the Union as an alliance of necessity, rather than deliberate cultural abbreviation. But, even if that was the intent, the specific design for Doomtown (with a heavy focus on individual characters, rather than larger forces) makes that kind of difficult to convey.

bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
If I'm honest, The Maze Rats always bothered me more than the Souix Union. It's arguably worse in the tabletop game, since Indians are responsible for the entire schism from actual history, and set in motion the apocalypse that the characters are fighting to delay.


Well, a *specific* shaman and his followers are responsible, and people of all ethnicities fight for and against the forces of evil. (He said vaguely.)


Yeah, I was spacing on who specifically performed the rite. It was a (mostly) lone madman, as I recall.

bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
I keep getting this worried feeling that the Law Dogs are getting turned into a de facto "the good guys" faction, as opposed to peacekeepers. Giving them access to the monster hunting abilities, and easy access to blessed dudes, would kind of fuel that.


Definitely fair. I think they could mix it up a bit with some hellfire and brimstone types, and a good-hearted blessed or two in the other outfits would balance things out a bit, also.


I'm going to chalk this one up to my recent reading. But a kind of hellfire and brimestone monster hunters faction would be pretty entertaining. I can't remember if that was what the Lost Angels ended up being, but, either way.

bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
Compared to the original game where initially only one faction had Mads?

I don't even remember any drifter mads until much later in Classic, though that could just be selective memory, and poor card distribution.


I seem to remember the Agency dabbled a bit. I'm sure there were others.


Agency, Rangers, and Dogs all got Mads later on. I don't remember any of them getting ones as part of their initial lineup. Though, Agency might have. *shrugs*

bd flory wrote:
Starke Realm wrote:
Yeah, I'm torn on whether it's better for factions to have one or two themes they hold to themselves, and everyone else has to pull from drifters, or mechanics like that being in two or three factions.


Personally, I think alternate homes are the way to go, rather than alternate outfits.

It seems counterintuitive, but fewer outfits with more themes actually promotes more deck variety than more outfits (assuming the size of the card pool is the same), because each outfit has easy access to more dudes.


This one makes perfect sense to me. That might be because my CCG history is heavily influenced by B5 (which gets heavily into alternate builds for individual factions), and that I ended up passing on Reloaded in favor of 40k Conquest, which specifically uses alternate Warlords to differentiate two decks in the same faction.

Right now with Conquest, the two Marine Warlords result vastly different decks. (One pulls enemies out of position to weaken positions, while the other assassinates your opponent's warlord (which is a victory condition.))

Also, the sheer number of factions was a major weakness for the original game. But, at the same time, fewer factions frequently results in less flavor, in a CCG.

bd flory wrote:
So, for example, instead of adding a Blessed faction, if you make a suite of Blessed Law dogs and a home that supports them (but ideally, is still useful if you're not running those dudes), you've got 4 deck styles (speaking broadly):

Blessed home + Standard Dogs
Standard home + Standard Dogs
Blessed Home + Blessed Dogs
Standard Home + Blessed Dogs

Rather than:

Blessed Outfit + Blessed Dudes
Law Dogs Outfit + Law Dog Dudes

Obviously, within each of those, there'd be control, aggro and hybrid builds, but point is, there's more deck variety with fewer outfits, not more. And of course, as mentioned previously, there'd be a few Blessed drifters/Blessed dudes from other outfits in the mix.

Now, granted, making this interact with story in an effective way is a bit more challenging, but there's no reason that there can't be sub-groups with each outfit that work together, work at cross purposes, or see "Law & Order" in an entirely different light form one another, and even come to an exchange of lead rather than ideas. Thus, we can explain Law Dog vs. Law Dog games.
I know the uniqueness rules were changed for the mirror matches, but... it feels so wrong to me, to have a game with two copies of the same character in play.

Sorry, that's probably not the most constructive comment, but... this one just bugs me.

What might actually work better are drifter homes that buff drifters that meet specific prerequisites, or microfactions, where you have a home that specifically allows you to start with dudes from another faction, allows you to play dudes from that faction as if they were members of your own. But also provides a few unique cards to work with.

At that point you've got, say, a Blessed Home that allows you to cross with Dogs. So you get your normal Dogs, and a few Blessed Dudes, or you could splash some of them into your normal Dogs deck. This would also allow you to flip their allegiance later, for example, giving that micro-faction an alternate home that provided sanctuary to Outlaws.

Microfactions might be the way to go for that theoretical harrowed outfit I mentioned earlier.
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bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
If I'm honest, The Maze Rats always bothered me more than the Souix Union.


Oh, and re: the Maze Rats.

For me, they were somewhat less troublesome for a couple of reasons. There were *very* prominent Chinese characters who were *not* Maze Rats, and there were several Maze Rats who weren't Chinese, or Asian. To say nothing of the fact that the name of the Outfit wasn't "Chinese Pirates" or some such.

I have the feeling things took a bit of a turn for the worse in this regard when Kung Fu powers showed up, but I can't remember specifics at this point, so I could be imagining things on that front.


The only counter examples I remember were TC and Wendy. Which, I mean, on one hand that's kind of great, on the other, the entire mechanic with TC is he's a Shaolin master disguised as a laundryman. And that's another cliche.

And, that's where the entire genre becomes problematic. Because, you're trying to do some of the cliches, because that's what people expect, but at the same time, some of those cliches are inherently problematic... and... ugh.



I honestly don't remember the Kung Fu powers showing up in Doomtown. I think I remember them being in Deadlands, but that could just be power of suggestion.
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B.D. Flory
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StarkeRealm wrote:
I'm going to chalk this one up to my recent reading.


Color me curious. Whatcha readin'?

bd flory wrote:
This one makes perfect sense to me. That might be because my CCG history is heavily influenced by B5 (which gets heavily into alternate builds for individual factions)...


Really fun game, as I recall! I didn't continue much past the base set, so I don't really know what came after, but there were some good options even in the base set, especially with the agenda cards in the mix.

Quote:
Also, the sheer number of factions was a major weakness for the original game. But, at the same time, fewer factions frequently results in less flavor, in a CCG.


I think you can have additional "factions" without new "outfits." Keywords help with this. See the plethora of "Deputies" in the Law Dogs. Hypothetically, there could be Blessed dudes who aren't deputies (and maybe one or two who are both), who don't synergize as well with deputy cards, representing a distinct faction whose aims are still more or less aligned with the broader "Law Dogs" outfit. Another example, hypothetically, could be a suite of Law Dogs dudes with the "Texas Ranger" trait, who come out with a home that synergizes particularly well with them (but would also work with deputy or blessed builds).

Quote:
What might actually work better are drifter homes that buff drifters that meet specific prerequisites, or microfactions, where you have a home that specifically allows you to start with dudes from another faction, allows you to play dudes from that faction as if they were members of your own. But also provides a few unique cards to work with.


Could be interesting. Have to be wary of cross faction synergy, of course. I'm sure it's not for nothing, for example, that the dudes who benefit from being wanted are not in the outfit that can make any dude (including its own dudes) on demand.

I feel like a drifter home runs the risk of just becoming a drifter "outfit" by default, a la Toturi's Army for Ronin in L5R.

I like the idea of homes treating dudes with certain keywords or skills as "in outfit" though. That could be a cool thing.
 
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StarkeRealm wrote:
bdflory wrote:
I have the feeling things took a bit of a turn for the worse in this regard when Kung Fu powers showed up, but I can't remember specifics at this point, so I could be imagining things on that front.


The only counter examples I remember were TC and Wendy. Which, I mean, on one hand that's kind of great, on the other, the entire mechanic with TC is he's a Shaolin master disguised as a laundryman. And that's another cliche.

I can't say for sure there were other dudes beyond that (and you're right, there probably should have been if there weren't). But I think there's credit due for Wendy assimilating and T.C. not as much -- it displays a degree of nuance that was less apparent dealing with Native American characters, for example. And let's not forget, T.C. was a deputy, too. (I don't think the keyword was a thing in classic.)

I wish I more clearly remembered the full cast of the Maze Rats, but speaking generally to the outfit, part of the consideration should be context and historical media portrayals. I don't feel like there's been a problematic thread in Western media of portraying Chinese people as pirates, has there? The Captain seemed like kind of a fun-loving guy, too, not a stereotypical "yellow peril" type threat. Sure, there was also the kung-fu first mate (or wait...second mate? What was the right-hand woman's name?), but some cliches are fine, as long as they don't dominate.

Contrast that with the Sioux, whose leader and many dudes fit the "noble savage" stereotype to a T.

Quote:
I honestly don't remember the Kung Fu powers showing up in Doomtown. I think I remember them being in Deadlands, but that could just be power of suggestion.


They were introduced in the very last set, IIRC. They worked kind of like Harrowed powers, where a dude would have the Kung Fu trait, and you could play a Chi Power (or whatever) action on him to give him the printed ability listed on the Chi Power action card as if it were printed on the dude.
 
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StarkeRealm wrote:
Yeah, fun trivia, The Agency is pretty obviously a "we filed off the serial numbers" version of The Pinkerton Detective Agency, at least in the table top game, or so I'm told.


In the beginning, the serial numbers weren't even filed off. They were explicitly the Pinkertons. They became the Agency when WotC legal decided that they probably shouldn't include a modern corporation's historical counterpart in their card game.

Quote:
For a game designer (or writer) the entire western genre is a goddamn mine field. If you depict racism, you're endorsing it. If you downplay it, you're saying it didn't happen. Also, if you're using historical cliches, then you're endorsing those.


It's really not that difficult to tell when a someone's educated themselves on the issues at hand and is making an effort. And if they're serious about that effort, pointing out problems in a reasonable way is helpful, and shouldn't be considered an attack.

It's hard both ways, though -- difficult to phrase criticism in this arena in a constructive way that won't be taken as an attack, and difficult to hear it and take it to heart without being defensive.

So it goes.

Quote:
At the same time, Doomtown turns a blind eye towards racism directed against the Irish in the 1870s (among others). Without further comment, that's kind of problematic. Historically, the Irish faced discrimination that was almost as pronounced as what was directed against Blacks and Chinese in the west.


An interesting and pretty complex point. A major thing to remember is that modern storytellers are telling this story to a modern audience, and that particular brand of racism has pretty much faded. Irish immigrants have assimilated and integrated in ways that weren't really available to immigrants of color, and for some time now can "code switch" pretty much at will, celebrating Irish heritage one day and simply being white with all the privileges therein the next.

That's not to say that genuine historic racism against the Irish should be forgotten, nor is it to say that Irish-Americans can't be discriminated against today, but it doesn't carry the same historical weight and context, or continuing impact, that people of color faced historically in the period, and face to this day in both modern life and portrayals of history. It's just not the same. Context matters.
 
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bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
I'm going to chalk this one up to my recent reading.


Color me curious. Whatcha readin'?


I just finished the Mathias Thulmann: Witch Hunter omnibus by C.L. Werner. It's a Warhammer tie in. Though, a surprisingly good piece of modern pulp, almost reminiscent of Robert E. Howard at times.

bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
This one makes perfect sense to me. That might be because my CCG history is heavily influenced by B5 (which gets heavily into alternate builds for individual factions)...


Really fun game, as I recall! I didn't continue much past the base set, so I don't really know what came after, but there were some good options even in the base set, especially with the agenda cards in the mix.


Later on there were alternate versions of the ambassadors (though the alternate B5 Human ambassadors were versions of Sheridan, rather than Sinclair). The four major races also each got a new "home faction", representing groups like President Clark, the Warrior Caste, and so on. The Humans got a third Psi Corps faction, led by a new version of Bester. On top of that, a fifth player race (the Non-Aligned races) with a stupidly long list of potential ambassadors.

bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
Also, the sheer number of factions was a major weakness for the original game. But, at the same time, fewer factions frequently results in less flavor, in a CCG.


I think you can have additional "factions" without new "outfits." Keywords help with this. See the plethora of "Deputies" in the Law Dogs. Hypothetically, there could be Blessed dudes who aren't deputies (and maybe one or two who are both), who don't synergize as well with deputy cards, representing a distinct faction whose aims are still more or less aligned with the broader "Law Dogs" outfit. Another example, hypothetically, could be a suite of Law Dogs dudes with the "Texas Ranger" trait, who come out with a home that synergizes particularly well with them (but would also work with deputy or blessed builds).


Decipher's second swing at Star Trek ran with a similar concept. The various headquarters cards let you run specific combinations to form your factions.

It was normal to have a Headquarters card that just let you play, your race and non-aligned (neutral) cards. But for things like Deep Space Nine, it filtered based on if the characters had a DS9 icon, and didn't care if they were Federation or not.

It effectively resulted in three different Federation factions in the first set. One focused on DS9 (with access to non-Federation DS9 cards like Kira, Odo, and Garak), one focused on DS9's command staff on earth, which limited the player to Earth icon cards and Federation DS9 icon cards (this had slightly better firepower, overall, but a less flexible set of personnel), and a TNG focused Earth which allowed access to TNG icon cards and Earth icon cards.

The game also did some filtering for sub-factions other ways, such as Klingons with Honor or Treachery having access to slightly different card pools. There was also an HQ that considered any Federation character with Treachery (a fairly short list) in faction.

bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
What might actually work better are drifter homes that buff drifters that meet specific prerequisites, or microfactions, where you have a home that specifically allows you to start with dudes from another faction, allows you to play dudes from that faction as if they were members of your own. But also provides a few unique cards to work with.


Could be interesting. Have to be wary of cross faction synergy, of course. I'm sure it's not for nothing, for example, that the dudes who benefit from being wanted are not in the outfit that can make any dude (including its own dudes) on demand.

I feel like a drifter home runs the risk of just becoming a drifter "outfit" by default, a la Toturi's Army for Ronin in L5R.

I like the idea of homes treating dudes with certain keywords or skills as "in outfit" though. That could be a cool thing.
The other neutral faction that comes to mind is the Franchise from Spycraft. Which was one of the things I was thinking about... and also a game I wish AEG would re-release in this format. :\

The critical idea with a kind of drifter home would be to make sure it's very sharply focused. You can do one specific thing with it, and not much else. Easier said than done, though.

One simple solution would be to tie drifter homes to specific drifters. For example, a Home that requires you start with Stoker. You can also start with a Law Dog, but Stoker needs to be one of your starting posse. It would've been a pain in classic, but in Reloaded, because of the format, you can make sure that you never have a situation where someone has a Home, but doesn't have the Dude that is tied to it.
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bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
Yeah, fun trivia, The Agency is pretty obviously a "we filed off the serial numbers" version of The Pinkerton Detective Agency, at least in the table top game, or so I'm told.


In the beginning, the serial numbers weren't even filed off. They were explicitly the Pinkertons. They became the Agency when WotC legal decided that they probably shouldn't include a modern corporation's historical counterpart in their card game.


I could have sworn that was a change during the early days of the RPG. Either way it was well before Wizards started publishing the game. They picked up the line after the original episodes. Not that it really matters.

bd flory wrote:
StarkeRealm wrote:
For a game designer (or writer) the entire western genre is a goddamn mine field. If you depict racism, you're endorsing it. If you downplay it, you're saying it didn't happen. Also, if you're using historical cliches, then you're endorsing those.


It's really not that difficult to tell when a someone's educated themselves on the issues at hand and is making an effort. And if they're serious about that effort, pointing out problems in a reasonable way is helpful, and shouldn't be considered an attack.

It's hard both ways, though -- difficult to phrase criticism in this arena in a constructive way that won't be taken as an attack, and difficult to hear it and take it to heart without being defensive.

So it goes.

Quote:
At the same time, Doomtown turns a blind eye towards racism directed against the Irish in the 1870s (among others). Without further comment, that's kind of problematic. Historically, the Irish faced discrimination that was almost as pronounced as what was directed against Blacks and Chinese in the west.


An interesting and pretty complex point. A major thing to remember is that modern storytellers are telling this story to a modern audience, and that particular brand of racism has pretty much faded. Irish immigrants have assimilated and integrated in ways that weren't really available to immigrants of color, and for some time now can "code switch" pretty much at will, celebrating Irish heritage one day and simply being white with all the privileges therein the next.

That's not to say that genuine historic racism against the Irish should be forgotten, nor is it to say that Irish-Americans can't be discriminated against today, but it doesn't carry the same historical weight and context, or continuing impact, that people of color faced historically in the period, and face to this day in both modern life and portrayals of history. It's just not the same. Context matters.


Sorry, I was drawing a blank last night, something was bugging me, but I was a little too tired to put it all together.

The part where the Rats bother me less than the Union is out of the RPG. In the tabletop game, the Union isn't meant as a stand in for all Native Americans. It's a slightly shaky alliance of desperation between northern Nations trying to oppose Federal and Confederate forces. It's also not "all Indians," there's also the Coyote Confederacy in the south, that's working towards a similar goal.

Because the Civil War is ongoing, neither the north or south can afford to send troops to fully quell the Native American Nations, but lone tribes can be picked off. So, the Souix Union and Coyote Confederacy formed to avoid being wiped out.

The card game abbreviates all of that, though. I mean, it's a format where we're limited to a couple sentences of flavor per card, and a handful of cards to represent groups that sprawl across hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of miles. It is horribly prone to starving out the necessary context. It's also where the Souix Union... which was originally mostly made up of the various Souix nations, hence the name, becomes a stand in for everyone, even though it's really not supposed to.

It's also part of where we get a disproportionate number of characters falling into the noble savage range with the Union. Some of it's out of the RPG, but some of it is just selecting the "appropriate" characters for the Union's presence in Gomorrah further skews the context.

So, even though my frame of reference for the Union is spotty as hell, it's more coherent than the CGG.

It's not perfect by any means, but it is slightly more coherant... and then we have the Rats, where... I don't know them at all from the RPG. I mean, they're probably in the Gomorrah sourcebook, but I've never actually read it, and I'm left with the, "oh, but the Chinese are just layabouts and criminals, except for the Chengs" impression. It might not be valid, or even intended, but it's a result of the way the CCG works.

*shrugs*

Anyway, again, sorry I couldn't parse that out of my head last night.
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StarkeRealm wrote:
The part where the Rats bother me less than the Union is out of the RPG. In the tabletop game, the Union isn't meant as a stand in for all Native Americans. It's a slightly shaky alliance of desperation between northern Nations trying to oppose Federal and Confederate forces. It's also not "all Indians," there's also the Coyote Confederacy in the south, that's working towards a similar goal.

Because the Civil War is ongoing, neither the north or south can afford to send troops to fully quell the Native American Nations, but lone tribes can be picked off. So, the Souix Union and Coyote Confederacy formed to avoid being wiped out.

The card game abbreviates all of that, though. I mean, it's a format where we're limited to a couple sentences of flavor per card, and a handful of cards to represent groups that sprawl across hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of miles. It is horribly prone to starving out the necessary context. It's also where the Souix Union... which was originally mostly made up of the various Souix nations, hence the name, becomes a stand in for everyone, even though it's really not supposed to.

It's also part of where we get a disproportionate number of characters falling into the noble savage range with the Union. Some of it's out of the RPG, but some of it is just selecting the "appropriate" characters for the Union's presence in Gomorrah further skews the context.

So, even though my frame of reference for the Union is spotty as hell, it's more coherent than the CGG.

It's not perfect by any means, but it is slightly more coherant... and then we have the Rats, where... I don't know them at all from the RPG. I mean, they're probably in the Gomorrah sourcebook, but I've never actually read it, and I'm left with the, "oh, but the Chinese are just layabouts and criminals, except for the Chengs" impression. It might not be valid, or even intended, but it's a result of the way the CCG works.

*shrugs*

Anyway, again, sorry I couldn't parse that out of my head last night.


TBH, I think that the Union in Doomtown was a bad choice of name. They were only loosely connected with the actual Sioux Union at all. In theme and character, they really seemed bent on including members from Native tribes all over the place, aligning them not around the actual Sioux Union, but around the vision of Joseph Eyes-Like-Rain. Which is in large part why the outfit floundered so much story-wise after Joseph was gone.

That highlights one of the major difficulties in using Native or First Nations characters as an outfit ... what the heck do you call them? We want to see an outfit that views all Native peoples equally, yet their identity is almost always wrapped up in the identity of a particular tribal people. So you're either stuck trying to fit them into something that already exists, or trying to make up an entirely new tribal name and identity with absolutely zero frame of reference in doing so.

I imagine the CCG used the name "Sioux Union" because it was easily recognizable with the RPG, but in reality they had little to nothing to do with the actual Sioux Union located hundreds of miles away in the Dakotas. But ... what else could they have chosen that would have been more fitting? "Joseph's Eyes?" "Joseph's Vision?" "Token Indian Group?"

I don't think anyone has found the right way to approach these questions yet that works well for everyone and everything. In the meantime, all we can hope for is the effort.

BTW, the Rats were a specific group, unique to the CCG, employed and supported by Kang all the way back in the Black Hills to secure ghost rock lines and sabotage his opponents in any way possible.
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