Doomtown Reloaded in Summer 2017

Doomtown Reloaded in Summer 2017

As everyone eagerly awaits the continuation of Doomtown: Reloaded, here is a summary of this summer’s scheduled DT:R events. These  gatherings celebrate the return of our beloved game, while giving playgroups an opportunity to rebuild and expand upon existing playerbases.

Doomtown: Reloaded European Championship 2017: July 1st
Find out who will take the title of UK Marshal in Pine Box’s first official tournament. Players at both this event and GenCon can win and/or receive the following cards. The winner of this event will choose where the Doomtown story continues, as we follow the denizens of Gomorra into new environs. While Gomorra represented the Reckoner of Pestilence, the winner will make one of the following choices:
1. Dodge City (War)
2. Tombstone (Death)
3. Lost Angels (Famine)

 Doomtown Reloaded Epitaph Series: Running from July 1st to August 6th
Coinciding with the upcoming Tales From the Epitaph Kickstarter, this series can run as either single day tournaments or Leagues. The goal is to get Doomies back together once again to fight for control of Gomorra, sling lead, and participate in general camaraderie. The faction most represented in these events (you will align yourself to a faction for Leagues) will guide us into the next setting, as determined by the European Championship. Check with your Tournament Organizer regarding further details on these upcoming gatherings. Featured below are the promos associated with this event. Stay tuned for our upcoming retailer focused articles as we discuss further availability of these and other promotional items.

We have a slew of casual gatherings for you folks at this year’s celebration of GenCon 50 (A full guide can be found here) . To cap off the end of our Summer Series, we feature two competitive events as well:

Doomtown Reloaded: Evil Is A Choice Doomtown: Reloaded’s next supplement, Tales From the Epitaph, will feature a new card type: Legends. The first of these Legends are the four Servitors of Deadlands lore. Players will construct a deck that utilizes a Servitor of their choice. PBE will provide an alternate promotional version of the Servitors. Want the other three alt-art Servitors? You can receive these by attending the casual events listed above. The winner of this event will have the option to choose the name of a Legend that will appear in an upcoming release! This event will include Top of Servitor prizes as well.

Doomtown Reloaded: World Championship 2017
Doomtown Reloaded continues the tradition of the US Marshal event as PBE hosts the 2017 World Championship. The winner of this event, like previous years, will work with design to create a card that will appear in an upcoming release! This event will also feature Top of Faction and Top 8 Prizes as well.

Rest assured we will continue support in the Fall as we add even more Events for that upcoming Series, including a major storyline event at PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia this November!

In closing, we present you with the Devil’s Six Gun, a fierce weapon gadget in the TfTE expansion. Enjoy!

108 Worldy Desires Ban: Effective June 30, 2017

108 Worldy Desires Ban: Effective June 30, 2017

To: Doomtown: Reloaded players
From: Emre Guzelsu, Doomtown: Reloaded, lead designer
David Lapp, Doomtown: Reloaded, community manager

After careful consideration, Pine Box Entertainment is making a change to this Summer’s tournament season. For purposes of transparency, we’d like to explain how PBE considers this ban the right decision for fostering a healthy tournament scene.
Per the responsibilities bestowed on us from Pinnacle Entertainment, PBE revised the FAQ, rulebook, and floor rules. We also made three errata changes to accompany the ones previously established by AEG. As an example, we believe that the change to Rico put him on par with other Grifters and addressed concerns regarding blitz decks. After reviewing more recent tournament data that includes all errata (PBE and AEG), one card continues to perform above and beyond the rest of Doomtown: Reloaded’s 600+ cards: 108 Worldly Desires.

108 Worldly Desires definitely provides a lot of advantages that most other outfits cannot compete with. Some of the concerns that we attempted to address include:

-Lowball wins for 108 WD become near-automatic if you can get the WD react to kick off. This becomes dangerously unbalanced as two equally stacked decks should split lowball 50/50, instead of one side always winning. Even loose decks have a tough time winning against moderately stacked WD decks. This has 2 effects. First, it basically means a 108WD player has an outfit production of +4 and the opposing player has an outfit production of +2 when including the GR impact of winning/losing lowball. This gives WD an incredible economic advantage over the course of the game. Second, it provides incredible synergy with cards that rely upon getting the first action (e.g. Legendary Holster). The consistency of always getting the first action, almost ignoring how stacked a deck is, causes severe problems in terms of designing a balanced game environment.

-When it triggers, the react also basically functions as having a +1 stud bonus during shootouts. This skews the risk/reward of shootout strength that posses bring to the table. Combined with Longwei’s +1 stud bonus, a WD player can go into a shootout with a +2 stud bonus without risking any of their big shooters. Even worse, WD winning lowball a disproportionate amount of the time pretty much takes care of Longwei’s 1 upkeep (while forcing your opponent to having only +2 production on their outfit). Thus, WD players can easily keep a +2 stud bonus at the ready for the entire game. WD players commonly stuffed their decks with disposable 1GR dudes who end up shooting quite effectively because of this the cumulative effects of these bonuses. In addition, the non-interactive nature of the stud bonus, causes frustration for players. Each advantage is powerful, but in combination, both give WD players an incredible amount of flexibility and firepower.

Looking at these issues, we conclude that WD has two overwhelming advantages that make this such a dominant outfit.
Unfortunately, with a short period of time between ending Tales From the Epitaph testing and finalizing dates for the upcoming European Championship, Epitaph Series, and GenCon events, we had to review Pine Box’s options regarding the outfit. Those options are to either: Leave it unchanged, attempt an errata of the outfit, or ban the outfit.

We eventually settled on banning the outfit for 2 key reasons. First, the logistics of erratas hinge upon getting revised versions of the cards to the players ASAP. The simplicity of the errata plays a large part in its feasibility to ensure that players do not end up with substantially different versions of the card which can lead to confusion. Unfortunately, any errata we could come up with that balanced WD either made it a completely new card, or changed it beyond what was realistically an “errata.” This basically took erratas off the table. While this means that 108 now has 2 legal outfits, we remain committed to expanding 108’s outfit options to equal that of the other factions. That said, the current version of WD also negatively interacts with design space. It’s very difficult to design cards that hinge on getting the first action when one and only one outfit drastically skews the winner of lowball. In addition, lowball is a key balancing component of the game where looser decks that have more challenges shooting get some support, making shooting decks more cautious about how to handle going second and having economic constraints. WD caused headaches by breaking this paradigm. Going forward, cards that cause lowball manipulation in terms of the probability of winning will be eyed with extreme caution. This also means we’ll take a critical eye to some other cards that fit this bill to see if any actions need to be taken. After considering all of these factors, PBE decided that banning 108 Worldly Desires was the appropriate course of action.

In conclusion, I hope you understand our decision to no longer allow 108 Worldy Desires into tournament play. We hope that by taking an active stance, we demonstrate PBE’s commitment to providing a healthy and fun environment for Doomtown players to enjoy the game. We intend to provide a replacement card, given the gravity of banning an outfit, to players in the future.

108 Worldy Desires Ban: Effective June 30, 2017

Doomtown: Reloaded and the Player Environment

Emre Guzelsu

Emre Guzelsu

Design Lead

Doomtown: Reloaded and the Tournament/Competitive Play Environment

I want to bring up something that I believe is worth discussing, as it pertains not only to Doomtown: Reloaded, but really any tactical card game or even any form of games. I think as a community, we may want to consider what “too much emphasis on competition” may actually mean and the inherent ramifications it has on games.

It may be surprising to hear this from the lead designer, but I think card games in general present a very “antiquated” version of having fun in the 21st century (and I’m speaking primarily about playing analog style – you know, in person). You spend hours building decks, looking over tournament results, and driving to your local game store BEFORE you even play a single game in many instances. Once at your game store, most people maybe can squeeze in 2 or 3 hours of playing, before repeating the whole process over again. As Calvin once said, “Having fun is a lot of work!” I don’t point this out to diminish the fun that people have in the process of all of this, but from a certain perspective, it’s kind of insane in a world where I can boot up a game of Overwatch and get a game going within 15 minutes. This is probably more relevant to the older crowd that has real world (boring) obligations like kids, jobs, partners…you know “grown-up stuff.”

 The question I want to get at though, is what motivates people play weekly lifestyle games requiring a large commitments of time and money? While we all enjoy a game of Doomtown: Reloaded, I’ve noticed that a greater percentage of people’s time seems to be dedicated to “tournament style” play. I want to be specific here, I don’t just mean only playing in tournaments, but also in preparation of tournaments. It’s not uncommon for a play group’s activity to ebb and flow around tournaments, with the weeks leading up to big tournaments having high activity, and the weeks afterwards to have low activity. Part of this is natural. You just spent weeks (if not months) preparing and you may want to take a little breather! However, I worry if we are perhaps hitting a critical point with competitive play in general.

I’ve noticed a growing population of people seem to be playing games either solely for the game’scompetitive aspects or seem to be solely galvanized by competition. As to the cause of this, I don’t know, but I worry what the slanted emphasis on competitive play will do for a lot of games that aren’t as large as something like Magic, where the community is so large that you can always find casual players. That’s not to say people can’t find fun in tournament play, but I think we’d all be remiss to not acknowledge that part of the fun of tournament play is winning (and I’d argue that a lot of empirical research has shown that winning equals fun for a lot of people, or at the bare minimum, showing progress by continuing to perform better at tournaments).

With games that have smaller audiences, if we are all playing to win, it can be very difficult to be welcoming to newer players. If a new player is looking just to try things out and start out casually, but can’t do anything but play in tournament-focused environments, it will naturally be unwelcoming. In addition, I worry that the joy of just playing can be lost when we focus on winning all the time. As a man wiser than me once said about tournaments, “The objective is to win, the point is to have fun.”

Whether this is a problem or not is certainly up for debate, and I don’t want to influence anyone’s view beyond opening up a dialogue that will hopefully be constructive for all. In addition, I don’t want it to sound like competitive play itself is a problem, just perhaps maybe the way we present ourselves should focus more on the casual side a bit more. I do feel though that perhaps we should remember the fun of just simply playing (without a strict emphasis on rules) and perhaps think about how we can expand support to just casual play. It would be interesting to see if we could perhaps maybe have a couple more events that were less tournament oriented, and more events that said, “Come on down for a weekend of Doomtown: Reloaded! Meet some new people, play some games in a friendly and non-competitive environment!” And I think we can all agree that if David Lapp was hosting it, it would most likely be at a brewery! Speaking of which, I’ll turn the mic over to Sheriff Lapp who will share his views on the DT:R community and events both official and fan-based.

David Lapp

David Lapp

Community Manager

Community and Casual/Fan-based Doomtown: Reloaded Events

My previous Hellstromme Journal article focused on how a Community Manager balances competitive versus casual play. As we move forward as a company with our first tournament season this summer, I want follow up on Emre’s points and discuss how exactly how we can implement a more casual scene. We’ve seen several of this in the past few years, the first of my recollection being the Gomorra Gazette hosted after hours shindig at the GenCon release, then the Kansas City New Year’s Event. Sure, events are often presented as competitive, but when you see the community come out to dress up and gather for not just flipping cardboard, it makes you realize why you play the game.

 While we focus on GenCon because of its historical 50th Anniversary and our first major outing as a company and where we will host two competitive events, Nevertheless we emphasize coming together as a community not only at that conventions, but in game stores. To support the overall community, we are working on the presentation of print and play demo decks, learn to play videos, and the option for TOs and retailers to promote their events as leagues for ongoing play on a weekly or monthly basis. While the Epitaph Series are tournament events, we’ve decided to have the faction most represented win the story prize, therefore awarding participation, rather than individual winners. That my fellow Doomies, will be saved for our first summer event, the European Championship, as we can’t ignore the competitive players as well. Providing promos for league play is also a great way to award participants, rather than winners, and encourage just playing our beloved game for enjoyment.

 It’s a difficult balance for sure. We are not without notice that many playgroups have diminished since the game’s initial reboot, while some efforts to get others going were unsuccessful. We understand it’s going to be a difficult task to reload Reloaded. But as dedicated fans, this is what we set out to do. While it’s my role to ensure we still have events, we want you to definitely try and shift the paradigm away from the competition, and more towards the camaraderie. You certainly don’t need us over at Pine Box to sanction any of these throwdowns. There’s plenty of ways to create custom participation pieces and encourage community meetups at your local stores, libraries, homes, etc.

If you can make it out to Indianapolis, Wednesday pre-convention festivities kick off at Kilroy’s late afternoon, as we Facebook Live a few casual games and hand out the alternate art Stone Legend card. This will follow with a Bicycle Multi-player event, along with some casual games, over at the Hyatt. Casual events continue with Doomtown Classic Friday evening, where you can come by and see the Gomorra of yesteryear, and concluding Saturday evening at the Hilton with Orange and Tsubasa’s Casual Call Out. We even happened to notice a team event hosted by a fan Thursday evening. We hope these events provide examples of ways to encourage casual play and help build our community. As we prepare to move the Doomtown setting beyond Gomorra, we hope our playerbase grows and follows us on this new journey.

Alex Wirges

Alex Wirges

CEO

Pine Box Entertainment’s Vision

Emre and David discussed aspects of card games we all feel are important, both what makes them special and what can be frustrating. We’ve primarily discussed this within the context of Doomtown: Reloaded, but in reality it permeates throughout our entire philosophy as a company.

Our vision moving forward is simple, but ambitious. We aim to develop games, not just Doomtown: Reloaded, that are fun both at the kitchen table and in the card hall. We as a company aim to foster community and friendships. We strive to bring you fun card gaming experiences that are not only balanced, but also challenge established paradigms that have held steadfast since the genre’s inception.

What does that mean?

Expect larger releases, less often. We want meta-games to settle and evolve at a pace that will keep players interested and allow them to keep up.

Expect rotations for competitive play. We aren’t the first and we won’t be the last. Large cardpools drive off new players and can create broken metas where negative play experiences (NPE) further alienate new or less competitive players. We are also aware that many players enjoy those metas – so expect multiple supported formats.

Expect cards specifically crafted for casual games. We love creative formats like Bicycle and Derringer – they encourage fun plays and interesting interactions. More importantly, they encourage community.

Expect “official” community events. We don’t aim to separate ourselves from our work – our work is our passion. If you run into us at a con, or a tournament – we may be busy but make sure to ask if we’re hitting a bar after the event, because we probably are and we’d love for you to join us. And we always have decks on us, and love to sit down for a friendly or two.

Pine Box Entertainment was founded around the love of a singular game, Doomtown: Reloaded. Our scope, quite unexpectedly, has expanded since then. We’ve got multiple projects in early development and we’re excited about them. Don’t expect Doomtown: Reloaded to go anywhere as long as we can make it happen. We’ve got two major tournaments, and multiple minor events coming soon as well.  This ride is just starting, and we’re glad you’re with us.

With that we leave you with our latest spoiler for Doomtown: Reloaded. Enjoy.