by Robert Campbell

President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Doomtown’s newest expansion Out for Blood gives The Fearmongers plenty of new tools to strike terror into their opponents’ hearts. With Abominations that send a shiver down the spine, their first Huckster dude on the J value, and a fierce shapeshifting hunter to lead the pack, the Fearmongers are truly Out For Blood!

This expansion continues the Tombstone-centric theme of Too Tough To Die, showing off the wide range of dudes under the broader Fearmongers faction icon. Those that want to build theme decks can now serve the Bayou Vermilion railroad company’s wicked plots by including a range of appropriate Hucksters and Abominations. Bayou Vermilion Railroad is a worthy addition to the already strong lineup of Fearmongers Outfit cards. The discount on your first Mystical card each turn accelerates your setup, and will only get more useful as further Mystical cards are released. Being able to attach Knight’s Chasuble or Stone’s Colt Dragoons for free saves your GR for other uses. Playing cards cheaply and cycling through your hand helps you find the right cards to build up a strong position. Even better, this card works with all Mystical cards, not just Goods, letting you experiment with a Mystical dude such as The Wretched.

This new Outfit also lets you use your Mystical cards to harass opposing deeds, booting them to deny your opponent control points and income. This lets your dudes cover more opposing deeds as they can use this ability and then move to a second location. This can also fuel a “hit and run” strategy, moving your dude away when your opponent comes to hunt you down for haunting their deeds with your Mystical tricks! The Bayou Vermilion Railroad watermark beneath the card’s game text adds a nice flourish to accompany this card’s striking artwork.

Auntie Sinister provides Fearmongers with their first ever J value Huckster. She may cost 8GR, but as players collect income and pay upkeep from the first turn onward she is effectively 1 ghost rock cheaper than a dude with upkeep. This advantage only grows throughout the game, so she is worth consideration as a starting dude. Her value also makes her ideal for high difficulty spell decks as a backup Huckster on value with Forget and a new Hex, Malison, which provides a way to boost your shootout hands and potentially gain some influence if you can remove your victim from play.

Previous Fearmonger themes are not forgotten. The Full Moon Brotherhood finally gets the King-value apex predator it deserves in the form of Mason Adler. He’s pricey, but only has one upkeep, so as a starter he can fuel decks that want to aggressively hunt opposing dudes. His job will frequently have at least one target among starting posses and is great for removing opposing late-game big hitters.

While Mason’s job prevents your other dudes from joining he still brings his attached Sidekicks with him to provide an element of protection from shootout casualties. Your opponent might use Pistol Whip to defend their dudes or even make the hunter become the hunted by turning the tables on you with Sun in Yer Eyes. Hiding in the Shadows feels thematically apt and keeps Mason safe from opposing abilities. A canny quarry of Mason Adler may leave their highest grit dude out of the posse defending against his job, preventing Mason from turning in to a Stud Abomination. Cards like Bowie Knife or Murdered in Tombstone can be used to grant him stud status in such situations. Another option is Mason’s signature Weapon, Adler’s Needle. This card ties in to his theme and card mechanics. If your opponent tries to play around Mason’s ability you can use his harpoon to generate control points and potentially even lower their influence.

The Faceless One may appear to be a blank canvas but it is a sinister Abomination indeed, copying your opponent’s hard-earned bullet rating. This unsettling experience can cause opposing dudes to falter, capping their bullets at four. This flummoxes decks that seek to boost a single key dude. Similarly, it can save your other dudes from a high bullet Shotgun wielder. Such a use will leave the Ace-value Faceless One vulnerable, but save a more valuable dude with influence. As the Fearmongers know, cheap Abominations can always be brought back from Boot Hill with cards like Raising Hell, Soul Cage, and Ivor Hawley.

The payoff from targeting a dude with The Faceless One or other “high grit” hunting cards can be elusive at times, so Out For Blood introduces Lorena Corbett. This sinister falconer enables abilities that target high grit dudes. She also fits well with Bayou Vermilion Railroad, as while her ability does not require a Mystical Goods it is improved if she has one. Booting an opposing dude prevents them from using abilities that require booting. Tactically, booting a dude at an inconvenient location bolsters your control of the town.

This expansion isn’t just about new faces. Pinebox’s 2017-2018 “Servitor Series” global storyline event gave fans the chance to corrupt or redeem a character, with Fearmongers’ starting line-up stalwart Valeria Batten winning the vote. Fans chose to complete Valeria’s redemption story arc and her Experienced card returns her as a neutral drifter. She nonetheless makes a tempting option for Fearmonger players keen to drag her back into the fold. She can still invent Mystical gadgets, and therefore works well with Bayou Vermilion Railroad. Valeria can also stymie hand rank manipulation and bolster your influence. A heroine of the Weird West, cards like Calling the Cavalry, Hexslingin’ or  Outgunned don’t faze Valeria. She may be pricey at 7GR, but overlaying her after starting her non-experienced version saves you from paying her hiring fee. Her art is a fittingly evocative piece from previous Marshal winner David Hammond, doing justice to a popular character.

Building on the Mystical Goods theme, Valeria and other Hucksters get a terrifying new Mystical weapon to invent in Magnum Opus Tenebri. This mighty gun needs to boot both itself and its wielder to unleash its dark powers, but when it does it certainly lives up to its lengthy name.  Sacrificing one of your Abominations to feed its hunger for blood will spell doom for many an opposing hero.

Out for Blood is available to pre-order now and will also be available directly from Pinnacle Entertainment and at retailers.