By David “Neramoor” Avery
Doomtown is not all black and white. Evil comes in varying shades of grey, the muddiest of which is the Sloane gang embodying those in the west who live beyond the law and steal for a living. Sloane dudes tend to be cheap with lower influence, but high bullets. Sloane herself is the biggest base shooter of any dude in the game. Sizeable studs mean that Stone works well with all of the Sloane Gang outfits. As for the other Servitors, Grimme can support your hucksters, and Raven has great synergy with Protection racket. The Sloane Gang is one of most aggressive factions in the game. If you want to run into town square and shoot a man just to watch him die, then Sloane is your faction. Sloane Gang effectively employs the themes of Bounty, Cheatin’, and Hucksters.
Almost every Sloane Gang deck involves gaining bounty in some way in the other. What’s the point in being bad if you are not getting up the nose of the local sheriff? Gomorra has a slightly bizarre approach to bounties. Gun a man down in town square? No problem. Shoot someone trespassing in your home? No problem. Summon an unspeakable abomination in the basement of the Whateley estate to destroy the town? Not a crime. But if you break in and try and put a stop to that, you better believe that’s a bounty.
Den of thieves, Desolation Row and Protection Racket all raise your dude’s bounty in exchange for money, with the latter two also giving you control points. Combined with Allie Hensman and the control points from either Stone or Raven, a Sloane deck can quickly accrue CP’s. Sloane decks also benefit from wanted status via additional Ghost rock from Milt Clemons, or extra bullets on Silas Aims, Marion Seville, Jonah Essex and Miranda Clarke. Bounties reduce costs for Sloane and Morgan Lash. Many dudes benefit from not just one bounty but a whole pile. Framed can help you out here by rushing you to 4 bounty and allowing access to You had ONE job! to turn your dudes into studs. All of these dudes are helped by the Sloane Gang’s Lawyer who can move bounties around, as can Pancho when he enters play.
The big advantage of using bounties to get CPs is that you don’t need to run deeds to win the game. Shekky Ducky pushed this idea to its limits while placing second at the 2017 Gencon Marshal event. This deck contains 44 actions and no deeds.
Some themes have forty or fifty of cards to support them and still they struggle. By contrast the Sloan gang have a theme so powerful that it only has four cards, two of which don’t even work together and that’s Cheatin’. For those new to the game, if you reveal a hand in either low ball or a shootout where two or more of the cards have the same suit and value, then you are cheatin’ and your opponent may punish you for it. on the other hand is you have Barton Everest your cheatin’ five of a kind becomes a Dead Man’s Hand. Den of Thieves also lets you raise your hand by one ran. If your hand was legal, it now becomes Cheatin’, if you are already cheatin’ no problem. It’s worth noting that a legal hand made cheatin’ by Den does not trigger reveal effect like Barton, Tommy Harden, and An Accidental Reunion. By contrast a hand that becomes Cheatin’ by a devils joker is cheatin’ on reveal and triggers all of the above. The downside to Cheatin’ is of course cheating resolutions which can be pretty bad. In playtest, however, we have a phrase “cheat through the pain.” If your opponent only has one cheating card, play through it and then with a tight deck and lots of stud you should end up crushing them. If you want to get out ahead of them why not scout them out using Sight beyond Sight or cookin’ up trouble. There Comes a Reckoning brings further support from the Oriental. Supporting both bounty and cheating concepts, it’s a must for every Sloane deck.
Most Den decks rely on monte bank to create more grifters ramping up the bounty on those dudes. This deck increases the huckster skill of Maria Kingsford to cast some awkward hexes.
The magic of the huckster can be subtle as a slip of a card and a man’s mind is no longer his own. That’s fine for Ivor and the forth ring, but in the rugged world of the Sloane gang sometime you need to shoot a man right through the soul. Hucksters in Sloane (aka slucksters) tend to focus on shootout hexes with big boosts to their huckster skills during shootouts. That’s not to say they can’t do the other hexes, but you will either need to stack your deck or be prepared to take some risks.
Maria Kingsford is the faction’s basic huckster who becomes a powerful caster as her bounty ramps up. Dave Gorman can ruin your opponent’s day moving into a shootout using shadow walk and then acing it to turn their whole posse into draw. Follow him up with Angelica Espinosa and you can take down even the biggest dudes. With a few hexes, Emila can be both Huckster 4 and 4 stud throwing down with the toughest shooters in the Weird West. Mirror Mirror is a great utility hex depending on who you face. Corporeal Twist plays well into the Sloane trope of CPs on dudes followed up with either a Shotgun or a Soul Blast. Nightmare Realm synergizes with Stone, forcing your opponent to stay in a shootout they might want otherwise want to get away from. Heartseeker is another staple of the Sluckster as it forces opponents to risk their best shooter or hedge their bets by selecting a suboptimal shooter.
This deck is particularly nasty with some big shooters, direct acing, and the real possibility of bodies on the floor following a mugging “gone wrong.”