Doomtown is an expandable card game set in the Weird West of Pinnacle Entertainment’s legendary Deadlands setting. Players control of one of six unique factions as they fight for dominance and sling lead in town square. It is typically played with two players, but multiplayer variants allow more players to get into the game.
What is an expandable card game?
Unlike card games that distribute cards via randomized booster packs, Doomtown has no booster packs. Every set has four copies of every card, meaning that all players have access to all of the same cards. There’s no rarity system or scouring secondhand markets for the card you need! Promotional cards offered as prizes at organized play events are all alternate artwork cards that play the same as the original cards.
What is Deadlands?
Deadlands is the award-winning “Weird West” role-playing game setting from Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Mysterious beings called the Reckoners have given life to monsters and magic, causing history to divert from July 4th, 1863 forward. The South has won its independence, California has shattered into a labyrinth of flooded sea-canyons, and a mysterious super-fuel called “ghost rock” has spawned as much war and strife as it has “steampunk” devices.
Characters are steely-eyed gunfighters, card-slinging sorcerers called hucksters, mysterious shamans, savage braves, mad scientists, and more who battle against evil and attempt to prevent the “Reckoning”.
What are the factions?
Law Dogs: “White hat” deputies and sheriffs bringing order and justice to the untamed West. Their decks tend to be based around awarding bounties to their opponents and having “legal” draw hands in shootouts. They can make use of mad scientists and blessed in order to help bring peace to the frontier.
Outlaws: “Black hat” criminals on the wrong side of the law. Their decks tend to be based around racking up bounties on their own dudes and having “cheatin’” draw hands in shootouts. They sometimes dabble in magic through Hexes to pull off their crimes.
Entrepreneurs: Ranchers and profiteers willing to do whatever it takes to make a buck…and eliminate the competition. Their decks tend to be based around playing deeds and outmaneuvering their opponents, and often make use of horses and mad science gadgets.
Fearmongers: Forces of evil seeking to spread fear and despair, largely responsible for bringing the “weird” to the west! Their decks tend to be based around controlling their opponents through magical Hexes and recruiting abominations. Sometimes they find or invent mystical items and gadgets.
First Peoples: Native Americans and their allies seeking to bring balance to the world and drive off those who oppose their way of life. Their decks tend to be based around controlling the Town Square at the center of the play area and planting Totems for their Shamans to use. More recently, some of them have started to learn the secrets of Kung Fu.
Anarchists: Individuals who don’t care much for rules and wan the west to stay wild. Their decks tend to be based around outmaneuvering their opponents and using Kung Fu. A surprising number of Blessed from various faiths have joined their ranks as well.
How does Doomtown play?
Most cards in Doomtown have a suit and a value, just like a traditional poker deck. Spades are “Dudes”, Hearts are both “Goods” and “Spells”, Diamonds are “Deeds”, and Clubs are “Actions”.
The goal of the game is to have more Control Points (usually gained from Deeds) than your opponent has Influence (usually gained from Dudes). This is accomplished by playing your own Deeds while taking over your opponent’s Deeds and gunning down their Dudes in shootouts!
Before the game, each player builds a deck containing 52 cards and optionally two Jokers that can be used as wild cards during shootouts. Decks cannot contain more than four cards of the same suit and value (e.g. 8 :spades:), leading to tradeoffs for what cards to include.
Additionally, players select one of the six factions and an Outfit representing their faction’s overall strategy. They begin each game with up to five Dudes from their deck on the table, who occupy their “home” location represented by the Outfit.
Players alternate playing cards from their hand and moving their dudes to deeds placed on the table, or to the town square at the center of the play area. If a player moves dudes with Influence to an opposing a deed, they take it over and gain its Control Points. The original owner can send their own dudes over to take it back over, which might lead to forming posses for a shootout!
When the bullets start flying, players draw a minimum of five cards from their deck. Dudes present in the shootout may allow the player to draw more cards at the outset, or redraw cards after they discard ones they don’t want to keep. Each player makes the best five-card poker hand they can, and the player with the stronger hand wins the shootout, with the loser having to discard dudes from their posse or “ace” them to Boot Hill.
A player’s hand can be a “cheatin’” hand if it contains cards of the same suit and value (e.g. two A :spades:). Playing a cheatin’ hand may result in a higher hand rank, even a Five of a Kind! But their opponent can play cards to punish them for cheatin’! Do you risk cheatin’ to get a better hand? Or play a lower “legal” hand to play it safe?
Check out our Learn to Play section for more info on how things work!
Ready to Play?

A Legacy Reexamined

by Robert Campbell with Konstantinos Thoukydidis After our interview with the current and previous design team, Playtest Lead Robert Campbell spoke to previous design team member Konstantinos Thoukydidis to discuss his design process, favourite cards and more. Known...

Thanksgiving the First Peoples

Pine Box Entertainment maintains a Discord Channel for Doomtown fans to discuss the game. Our players are a lively and diverse group of people. One of our playtesters and online tourney organizers summarized a recent discussion of Indigenous Peoples and their role in...

Play for Blood – Outlaw Grifters in Welcome to Deadwood

by David Lapp In 2019, Pine Box Entertainment revived the Doomtown Badge Events. This included the Marshal round-ups at major conventions as a carryover from the AEG era of the game. PBE also introduced three new events: The Agent, Ranger, and finally Marshal of...

Gleaning Weapons for the Law Dogs

by David Avery (with an introduction by Tamsyn Goodnow) Our layout designer and graphics-user interface expert, Tamsyn Goodnow, has always had a soft spot for gadgets, and decided to name this card in commemoration of herself and her father. Believe it or not,...

Worship and Wushu

By David Hogg he upcoming expansion for Doomtown, Welcome to Deadwood, contains a suite of dudes designed to shake up starting gangs as each faction gains access to a new Grifter dude.  This week we’re going to look at the Grifters from the Anarchist and First Peoples...

Community Classics: Booted Dudes Episode 1

On July 1st, 2020 – Pine Box Entertainment celebrated our third anniversary. With the world being what it is, and our focus on our upcoming projects – we sort of forgot to celebrate. No worries though, we’re still going to do so, and in style. Over...

Hosting Effective Doomtown Demos

by David Orange An effective demo BRIEFLY introduces a new player to a game. Demos should last no more than 15-20 minutes.   What follows is a sample script for introducing Doomtown. This script uses the Learn to Play decks found at:...

Around the Deadlands: Doomtown Story in 2020

As we previously presented Pine Box Entertainment’s plans for 2019, we’d like to now take the time to discuss the plans for Doomtown fiction in 2020. If you haven’t read it yet, head on over the Gomorra Dispatch and check out the standalone tale, “The Temptation of...