by David Hogg
As Doomtown: Reloaded moves from Gomorra, California into the wider setting of Deadlands’ Weird West, it also transitions from the Maze’s greatest band of misfits, The 108 Righteous Bandits, to the broader theme of Anarchists. While the dragon-upon-jade still remains home to Kung Fu heroes, Too Tough To Die introduces a suite of cards that further flesh out some of the faction’s other themes. Primarily, the new cards focus on the manipulation and movement of ghost rock. Kung Fu fans aren’t left out, as the set contains two new Technique cards, while the Blessed get another Hymn to sing.
Several existing Anarchist cards have effects that trigger off having less ghost rock in your stash than your opponents, such as Natalya and Shizeng Lu. Their Core deed, Companhursts, allows this condition to be met in the case of a tie for the lowest amount of ghost rock. Unfortunately, the home that originally supported this strategy, 108 Worldly Desires, proved to be too game-warping and Pine Box Entertainment took the decision to ban it from use at Doomtown organised events. However, they also promised to release a new 108 home card in a future set, bringing the Anarchists back up to parity with the other factions. 108 Gracious Gifts is the successor to 108 Worldly Desires. It provides a healthy stash of 19 ghost rock, but also encourages you to spend as much as you can each day if you want to benefit from its trait. Discarding an extra card at Sundown is incredibly useful early in the game, when you’re trying to get the pieces of your strategy into play without clogging your hand with unwanted cards. Later in the game, the home allows you to cycle through your deck at a faster rate than otherwise. As Anarchists can increase their hand size via Randall and Bai Yang Chen, the extra discard becomes even more valuable. The home also features the useful ability to unboot any one of your dudes, at any location, for the cost of two ghost rock. Along with returning one of your dudes to action, the ghost rock cost may deplete your stash enough to also trigger the home’s trait.
This deck features plenty of movement and unboot effects to help you manoeuver into advantageous positions.
Property Is Theft focuses on the movement of ghost rock between you and your opponents. The home’s trait is straightforward enough, punishing your opponent economically if they cheat in a shootout and potentially rewarding you for staying legal. While you might be forgiven for thinking this sounds like a Law Dogs home so far, the ability is different. After you pay another player ghost rock, you can React to cycle a card, or two if used during a shootout. The home itself doesn’t give you an option to pay another player ghost rock, so you’ll want to bring cards with effects that do involve paying your opponents. But why would you want to give your opponent your ghost rock? This is largely new territory, as the only existing Anarchist card that plays directly with this theme is Jim Hexter. Too Tough To Die, however, includes several dudes to support it and we will no doubt see more in future releases. These dudes have abilities that grant you a benefit for paying your opponent, and using them with Property Is Theft increases the value you get from them. You’ll want to bring several cards with abilities that pay your opponent though. If you rely on just one and then lose that dude, your home’s React ability won’t trigger. What’s also noteworthy is that dudes with these abilities aren’t just useful in Property Is Theft decks. Using them in 108 Gracious Gifts, for example, allows you to take advantage of a two ghost rock swing to enable that home’s trait. Likewise Property Is Theft decks can also take advantage of the dudes with effects that trigger when your stash is lower than your opponent’s. With all these abilities that involve paying your opponent, you’ll want a sound economy and extra tricks to generate more ghost rock – suddenly that trait on Property Is Theft makes sense!
Take advantage of Property Is Theft’s ability to React to Jim Hexter and Taiyari and draw more actions in shootouts.
The first new dude is Joe Vermilion. If you move him to an opponent’s deed and pay its owner, Joe ‘works’ at the location, earning you ghost rock equal to that deed’s production. Place Joe at a high production deed to maximise your gains from him. He can really annoy your opponent if he moves Out-of-Town. He doesn’t need to control the location, so if your opponent moves a dude in to call him out you still have a chance to use his ability then run away. If you have a way to boost his influence he becomes even more useful by also denying your opponent that production during the upkeep phase. As Joe’s ability is a Noon action, and pays your opponent a ghost rock, you don’t have to risk him in a shootout to make use of Property Is Theft’s React. Take advantage of the Anarchists’ access to movement effects like Asakichi Cooke and Daomei Wang to get Joe to where he’ll make the most money.
The deadly gunslinger Ying-Ssi Chieh T’ang is known as the Goddess of Colors and belongs to the ranks of T’ou Chi Chow’s 108 Righteous Bandits. With her two stud bullet rating she adds some firepower at a value low enough to warrant inclusion in most Kung Fu decks. Her Resolution ability manipulates your shootout draw hand, potentially boosting you from a two pair to a full house. Useful indeed to have when a shootout hasn’t gone your way. Even if you’ve revealed a high rank hand, you can use her to change a cheatin’ hand to a legal one if the right card shows up. She also works nicely with Property Is Theft’s React, letting you draw two cards in the Resolution phase. If your opponent cheats and you don’t have a card to punish them, you could use her ability to try and draw a Cheatin’ Resolution. This combo can also try and dig for a normal Resolution card such as Outgunned.
The E Gui is a spirit from Chinese folklore brought to life by the Reckoning. With its two stud bullet rating it can certainly threaten opposing dudes in a shootout. Its two influence makes it a good candidate for controlling opposing deeds. Three upkeep makes it expensive to keep around, but if the E Gui occupies an opponent’s deed before discarding, you can use its React to gain ghost rock equal to that deed’s production. If you send it to a deed with three production, it effectively recoups its cost in the next upkeep phase. It also gives your opponent something to worry about in the meantime as it will also deny them production if they don’t move to reclaim their deed. In a 108 Gracious Gifts deck, the initial three cost could reduce your stash to the lowest to enable the home’s extra discard. When the E Gui leaves play next upkeep phase you get some of that cost returned to you. As with Joe Vermilion, take advantage of the Anarchists’ movement abilities to get the E Gui to where it will annoy your opponent. Bringing it into play with He Fang for two ghost rock less makes it even better value for the money. As an eight of spades card likely to cycle back into your deck, this dude slots well in to a Dead Man’s Hand deck.
If your opponent has a low stash, then sending some Buskers to perform at a location can give you an edge in the movement game or help refill your coffers with ghost rock. Moving this flamenco band into town square or a key deed when your opponent’s ghost rock reserves are depleted and unable to pay you forces them to boot their dude. This could prevent a cheap bullet-catcher from making it into a shootout, placing greater risk on dudes with influence in the opposing posse. Circumstances could also force your opponent to move a dude with influence to the Buskers’ location, potentially leaving them booted in a vulnerable location. This could be game-winning in a late-game ‘chess’ situation. To take advantage of this aspect of their ability, you certainly want to bring Companhursts as it relies on both you and your opponent being low on ghost rock. If your opponent isn’t low on ghost rock, they have to pay you two if they move a dude to the Buskers’ location. This can buy you more time to make plays as they spend time paying for cards before moving to deal with the Buskers. If your opponent isn’t worried about losing the rock and just moves to their location, you still get two ghost rock! Playing the Buskers alongside dudes with abilities that pay your opponent allow you to set up opportunities to take your ghost rock back again. As their effectiveness depends upon their location, packing cards with movement effects helps get the most out of them.
Taiyari rounds out the new dudes. With zero draw bullets and zero influence, he serves purely as cheap support. As his shootout ability requires paying your opponent, include him in Property Is Theft decks as a low-cost way to activate the home’s React. His ability is similar to Jim Hexter’s, but Taiyari isn’t limited to making himself a stud. He could be used on a zero or one bullet dude to provide an extra backup stud, or if you have ghost rock to burn even a three or four bullet dude to make them into a fearsome shooter. He allows a dude to regain their stud status after being hit with Sun in Yer Eyes or similar effects. If you have a way of boosting a dude’s bullets mid-shootout, such as Zhu’s Ferocity or using Doomsday Supply to attach a Weapon, then you can make a dude a stud before you increase their bullets and save yourself some ghost rock. That dude’s bullets cap at four.
The Anarchists contain amongst their numbers a dude who specialises in Miracles with the Hymn keyword, Stevie Lyndon. The new Miracle Exultant Translocation is incredibly useful in his hands, as his bonus to his Blessed skill rating means you can easily build a deck that will always succeed the casting test by six, allowing you to switch his position with a booted dude and unboot them in the process. With this trick in play you can boot dudes like Joe Vermilion, E Gui, and the Buskers to a location. Then, if they come under threat, perform a switcheroo with Stevie to move them to safety and have them ready to redeploy. An unbooted Stevie can always run from a callout, and if he sings Amazing Grace, he gets an opportunity to refuse the callout and move somewhere else.
Jade King Stance is the first of two new Techniques. Only booted dudes can use it, but it unboots them and gives a nice bonus to both their bullets and Kung Fu rating. That said, they can’t move from their current location. While this protects them from effects such as Pistol Whip, they can’t refuse callouts by going home booted or flee in the Run and Gun step of a shootout either. It can help chase after dudes who boot to your out-of town deeds and are isolated from support, or late in the day to surprise a dude who thought they were safe from a callout by moving to the location of your booted dude. Bringing backup dudes, Sidekicks and Miracles that reduce your casualties taken can offset the downsides of this technique.
Monkey Goes to the Mountain is the other new technique. It lets you move your unbooted Kung Fu dude and an opposing dude to an adjacent non-home location during a shootout. If an opponent boots low-bullet dudes with influence into a posse to provide backup to their shooters, you can use this to remove one of those dudes and call them out at a later opportunity, when they might not have any protection. If you have a dude with high Kung Fu, you can even remove your opponent’s main stud dude from their posse, harming their chances of drawing well in the shootout. The advantage this has over Rabbit’s Deception is that by not sending the dude home, you can later pounce on them and call them out. Combining this with cards like Pinto, Rabbit’s Lunar Leap and The Stakes Just Rose enables your Kung Fu dude to rejoin the fight if they’re also the dude you’re relying on to do your shooting.
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