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Deadlands: Doomtown» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Challenging Play and Deckbuilding rss

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Just another Steve
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Deadlands: Doomtown is an out of print collectible card game that you can often pick up cheap on ebay or at various liquidators.

Components
There are many products that comprise the Doomtown series. There was the original Doomtown which featured the initial release of sets 1 & 2 and then 7 expansions numbered 3-9. There were 8 other sets, culminating with Do Unto Others which had neither starters nor boosters. Two sets to watch for in particular are Pine Box and Boot Hill which were supplemental base sets including cards with errata.

Setting/Theme
The game is set in the same universe as the Deadlands Roleplaying Game. The basic idea is that you are in the wild west, but magic has returned. In addition to the characters of the old west, there are abominations (monsters), harrowed (intelligent undead), hucksters and shaman (spellcasters), and mad scientists.

There are also all the trappings of an old west boomtown, plus mining interests and a few other out of town deeds. If you like westerns, this might be the game for you.

Rules
The rules are pretty well laid out, but way too complex to try to explain in a review. The basic idea of the game is that you have dudes (cards) that you put into play. Dudes typically have influence and bullets. There are also buildings and mines, which have control points. If you have more control points in play than all the other players have influence, then you win. You control buildings by putting them in play or by taking them from your opponents by having more influence in their building than they do.

Sometimes these things are settled with a shootout. When that happens, players can form posses and shoot each other using their bullet ratings. The shootouts are resolved using a poker mechanic. Every card in the game has game text and a normal poker value. The best hand wins the shootout.

The game is basically played in three phases. During the lowball phase players draw a hand from their discard pile and whoever has the lowest hand gets to go first that turn and wins all timing questions that turn. He also gets some money (ghostrock) from the other players. During this phase, players pay upkeep for anything that costs money each turn.

After lowball is High Noon. Players take turns playing actions until everyone has passed. Actions include starting fights, moving dudes, casting spells, shopping, building deeds, performing jobs, building gadgets, and a few more depending on the cards you control.

After High Noon comes Nightfall. At nightfall players unboot all their dudes, refill their hands, and (with luck) declare victory).

The game is played with constructed decks and the construction is a nice challenge because powerful cards may not have useful poker values. Players have to balance the cards they want to play with the poker values they need to make their skills work and to win gunfights.

Production
The cards in Doomtown usually had very good art. There are a few exceptions, but I’m not sure you could find universal agreement on even those. The cards are of excellent quality.

Recommendation
Doomtown is my favorite ccg and I’ve played a lot of them. I’d recommend picking up a few starters and seeing how you like it. If you like westerns or good deck-building games, I think Doomtown will be right up your alley.
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