Coming to Appreciate Peace: Entrepreneurs in Too Tough To Die

Coming to Appreciate Peace: Entrepreneurs in Too Tough To Die

by Robert Campbell

With Doomtown: Reloaded’s  story moving from Gomorra to Tombstone, the Morgan Cattle Company now becomes part of the broader Entrepreneurs faction. Individual homes will continue to represent particular facets of philosophically aligned groups, such as the Morgan Cattle Company itself or Morgan Regulators. Too Tough to Die brings new Entrepreneur dudes to the game as well as two gadgets that will find a place in many of the faction’s decks. There’s money to be made in Tombstone, and the Entrepreneurs are willing to take the risks necessary to seize control of the town.

Horses have been a feature of Entrepreneur cards since Doomtown Reloaded’s base set, and Vida Azul builds on this theme. She’s an ideal support character, providing reasonably priced influence with no upkeep. Her ability unboots your horses, or even your stronger dudes themselves if you discard a Goods card. Discarding a card has benefits such as removing an unwanted joker or an expensive card you’re not ready to play yet. Vida works well with Maggie Harris as this combination allows you to discard a Horse Goods to unboot a strong dude. Then you can run Maggie’s job to fetch the Horse back from your discard pile. This expansion also brings with it the game’s first horse on Three of Hearts to complement Vida. The Quarter Horse helps keep your dudes at useful locations even after running a job, complementing the next Tombstone stalwart we’ll introduce you to.

Takahasi Jinrai provides the always useful combination of influence with no upkeep. Not only that, he provides the means to boost your production and fund more deeds, dudes, and goods. Your opponent might decide to interfere with Takahasi’s improvement projects. So to face the dangers of the Weird West he’ll frequently need to be escorted by tough enforcers. “Handsome” Dan Deeds serves a similar function, albeit booting at a risky location rather than running a job and costing one ghost rock in upkeep per turn. He may, however, bring the extra control point needed to force victory. Both dudes encourage a more interactive, higher risk-reward style for the Entrepreneurs. You have to speculate to accumulate!

While Too Tough To Die may not feature any new Entrepreneur Mad Scientists, Gadget fans still have shiny new toys to play with. Electrostatic Pump Gun helps give you the edge in shootouts by improving your own bullets while reducing your opponent’s. It is the first Gadget Weapon to appear on the Five of Hearts value, and helps unlock a new aggressive deck style using powerful shootout actions such as Pistol Whip. The Analytical Cognisizer while subtle, helps boost the reliability of existing cards, such as Miasmatic Purifier and Aetheric Shockwave Inducer. Better yet, it unboots Mad Scientists, freeing them up to invent more gadgets that turn.

Discover the fourth Entrepreneur dude from Too Tough to Die and the rest of the expansion by visiting:

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…and Hell Followed with Him: Fear Mongers in Too Tough To Die

…and Hell Followed with Him: Fear Mongers in Too Tough To Die

by Robert Campbell

The Fear Mongers is the new broad name for the Fourth Ring faction. In Pinebox Entertainment’s upcoming release for Doomtown: Reloaded, Too Tough To Die, they receive a variety of new dudes to round out existing themes. Plus the set features the return of a familiar face. The narrative’s move to Tombstone also means several of our new Fear Monger dudes in this expansion work for Baron LaCroix’s sinister Bayou Vermilion railroad company.

Papa Marias is a novelty for the Fear Mongers – a three Ghost Rock cost Huckster with influence and zero upkeep. He’s an ideal backup Huckster for your starting gang, giving you some staying power if an early aggressive job or forced callout removes your main Huckster. His low cost helps Fear Mongers experiment with previously expensive starting gang combinations. Not only that, but his ability gives you some handy movement options. Your opponent now has to think twice before booting Out of Town, as Papa Marias can boot to follow them out there, then use his ability to bring in one of your unbooted Hucksters for an unrefusable callout against a booted dude. There are many other situations where a seemingly minor ability can prove vital, and hopefully  players will enjoy discovering these.

Next we come to the Fear Mongers’ two new new Abominations, as the Bayou Vermilion railroad adds some terrifying muscle. These bad boys should find a home in both Abomination and Huckster decks, as their high values help ensure your Hucksters can pass their spell pulls. Skinwalker makes up part of Baron LaCroix’s force in Tombstone, and plays up the tactical movement element of Doomtown by allowing you to boot him, or indeed any of your other Abomination dudes to trigger his ability. The Tonton Macoute can use its brute force to lower an opposing dude’s bullets or crush their weapon, booting it and denying your opponent a dangerous opposing ability for the remainder of the turn.

Kevin Wainwright is now Experienced , which should come as no surprise given all the chaos and death he was part of in Gomorra. The Fourth Ring Circus was Kevin’s family, but his experienced version now extends to supporting a broader range of Fear Monger themes. His new ability triggers when an Abomination or a Huckster is present, not just the latter. Not only that, he also plays in to the Fear Mongers’ grit hunting theme by giving you additional cards when in the presence of a high grit dude. If there isn’t suitably impressive prey available, both Black Owl and Rosenbaum’s Golem from There Comes a Reckoning can boost an opposing dude’s grit during a shootout. Finally, Kevin can also trigger his ability during a shootout, so you’ll no longer be caught without one of your studs if your opponent forces a gunfight before you take a noon action.

The exciting new toys for the Fear Mongers aren’t confined to dudes, as you can now arm your abominations with terrifying Claws, turning even meek Pagliaccios into studs. Your expensive Hucksters with influence can send abominations into conflicts via an arcane Gateway , while remaining safely at home. With Too Tough to Die, your opponent will never be safe from the terrifying things that lurk in Tombstone’s shadows!

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Every Town Has a Boss: Anarchists in Too Tough To Die

Every Town Has a Boss: Anarchists in Too Tough To Die

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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The Law in Tombstone: Law Dogs in Too Tough to Die

The Law in Tombstone: Law Dogs in Too Tough to Die

by David Avery

Doomtown: Reloaded starting gangs shape your whole game plan. While the faction leaders can have a big impact, their expense normally renders then unviable for a few turns. Backup dudes may be cheaper, but if they go by in your low ball hand you will need to fall back on your trusted starters. All of DT:R’s factions get some exciting new starters in Too Tough To Die, but if there is one faction more than the others who have been stuck in a starting dude rut it’s the Law Dogs.


In the beginning, Tommy Harden, Philip Swinford, plus three others others formed the prototypical Law Dog starting gang. You saw the occasional experiment with Judge Harry, Sister Mary Gideon, or Wendy Cheng. Nevertheless, it always came back to Tommy and Philip. Then came Blood Moon Rising and suddenly Law Dogs got not one, but three new starters in “Thunder Boy” Nabbe, Hattie Delores, and Father Tolarios. The latter represented an affordable starting blessed 2. Now with 2T2D, Law Dogs get another trio of power starters that shake up the starting gang and open up previously unviable deck types.

For any skilled deck you really need at least two starting skilled dudes with a sufficient skill level to pass your pulls. Starting only one such skilled dude risks a first turn Kidnappin’ before you can get setup and thus making all the hearts in your deck dead cards. In Dr, Erik Yaple and Quincy Washburne, 2T2D introduces two such scientists without upkeep and with influence for a reasonable price. Dr. Erik fuels dudes like Thunder Boy and Hattie without needing to play the Law dogs original home, always a problem for MS decks who are already booting dudes to invent. While there are plenty of good utility gadgets that unboot your dude, none of them are weapons. So whenever your dude wanted a gun with a little extra ghost rock power, one of your mad scientists ended up out for the turn. With Quincy, this is no longer a problem. Quincy also enjoys leading the technological exhibition as he unboots after the job finishes and ready to use his shiny new gun. Things are looking good for the former residents of the Arsenal. What could possibly go wrong?

Quincy slots well into a Hellstromme deck, letting you invent multiple weapons in a turn to help your Law Dogs take the town. This deck takes advantage of 2T2D’s new job, Curse of Failure. This is a good alternative to Kidnappin’, especially for skilled decks which can’t run low values or may want to play shootout actions on 7. This deck uses Hattie, Faster on the Draw, Electrostatic Pump Gun, and Holy Wheel Gun to help keep your opponents bullets down and hopefully push them into cheatin’. If they do, you have Huckleberry, one of 2T2D’s suite of new cheatin’ punishment cards which should hopefully deter routine cheatin’.

The new dudes allow Law Dogs to do a version of the Morgan hand ranks manipulation deck. This deck aims to present a low but legal hand which it raises using LeMat and/or Force Field. After which you can use Decimator Array, Devil’s Six Gun and Coming up Roses to change the suit or value of the hand to make it a straight flush or a full house raised to Dead Man’s Hand. If you give this a try, you need to be aware of the change to the ruling on attire which means you can no longer attach two Decimator Arrays.

The religious side of the Law Dogs got a significant boost in There Comes a Reckoning with three new power miracles to get control points, bullets and punish the unrighteous. In 2T2D they get a second starting priest as Padre Ernesto de Diaz joins Father Tolarios in the defence of the souls of sinners. Ernesto’s big strength is his versatility. He has the same numbers as perennial 4R starter Valeria Batten, plus a trait which combos well with the Law Dogs anti-cheatin’ theme. His trait is a big deterrent to cheating as it triggers in the same window as Philip Swinford and can be used regardless of presence. If your opponent cheats in a shootout, you can see two more cards which should hopefully put them off. In low ball, he can take particular advantage of Consecration which does not boot for its ability. A stud, a card, +2 influence, +2 bullets? Yes please.

Too Tough to Die also includes a pair of Miracles in Exultant Translocation and Retribution. The former gives law dogs more movement actions. Exultant Translocation along with Soothe, Rev. Perry Inbody, and Abram Grothe XP2 gives Law Dog blessed further unboot options to carry on late into the turn. Its low value means that you may need to splash it into a higher value deck and use Father Tolarios to fetch it. Retribution is one of a suite of on table cheating punishment in 2T2D. As it is not a cheatin’ resolution, you can use multiple copies of it  and a as well as a cheatin’ resolution. If this does not make your opponent think twice about cheating through the pain, nothing will.

This deck uses card advantage through Ernesto, Philip, and Tolarios to get set up quickly. Then move into town square with Sentinel and Election Day Slaughter. If you don’t get Confession in your starting hand, search for it first turn as it is essential to keeping Father Tolarios running. After that, make cheatin’ punishment and Intercession your top priorities.


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Worlds 2018 Champion’s Report

Worlds 2018 Champion’s Report

Howdy Cowpokes!

The fine folks from the Tombstone Epitaph requested a Trail Guide to Manchester, England, site of the wild n woolly 2018 Doomtown: Reloaded World Championships. The followin’ events are truthful, to the best o’ my recollectin’. This ain’t no rumour-rag like the Tombstone Nugget…

Friday: The Journey / Social Gatherin’

My trail to the Manchester World Championships began at Euros 2017 in Huddersfield, and continued through GenCon 2017. I had too much fun at both events. I resolved to make it out to Worlds this year to reconnect with old friends, make new ones, and play a bucket-load of Doomtown!

Preparations began in January, when the Grand Ginger Pubah (David Lapp) announced dates and posted a preparatory thread on the Pinebox forums. Scott Wisely, one-half of the Scott and Heidi Tournament Organizing tour de force, organized accommodations and hospitality for out of town (and country and continent) players. Particular thanks again to Heidi Cook for wrangling slots in a Pathfinder Society game for Sunday evening and introducing me to Ian, Pathfinder Society Venture Lieutenant (pronunced Lef-tenant, ie. correctly. ;)) While my wife isn’t much for the cards, she enjoyed a great evening RPG session while I failed to scrub out of the DTR T8 to come join her!

May, 2018, rolled around and our train chugged into the station on Friday afternoon, a mere 20 minutes late. We found a veritable posse waitin’ for us. Heidi served as lookout for this operation, while Scott wrangled stray players from the station foyer. Russell Smith from London, David Hogg from York, Zac from California, and Christine and David Lapp were on site and lookin’ for trouble. Meanwhile 2/3 of the Danish Contingent (Anders and Benni; Mads was to arrive later by hired coach) were already playin’ Doomtown!

Our lodgings were convenient and comfortable, right by the train station. One major plus to the Bunkhouse was the kitchen facilities: it kept the drinks cold, and food costs down! We also later discovered around back of the lobby is a restaurant seatin’ area that is pretty well deserted in the wee hours of the mornin’. Oh, and the desk staff and security didn’t mind a passel of Doomtown players sittin’ down at the tables for some last minute practice.

After droppin’ our packs, we all needed refreshments. Prior to the organized social at 7 PM at the Port Street Barrel House, the Lapps joined us for a walk around downtown Manchester, culminatin’ in some forgettable Brazilian grub. The Lapps then rode off straight to the social, while I detoured via our hotel to quickly rejigger my gadget deck. I debated turnin’ in early to stockpile a gunslinger’s secret weapon (sleep), but I wanted to spend more time in the company of friends. Plus I needed to shake off a little Doomtown rust. Besides, the pub was only 5 minutes away.

A full hour later, I find the Port Street Pub and the Gadget challenge well underway. Lacking a Guide Horse, I missed a crucial street sign. Those not familiar with England may not be aware of the English practice of placing street signs on the corner of buildings, in places more-or-less visible from the street-corner, rather than posting them on traffic light fixtures. Those only moderately acquainted with England, such as your humble correspondent, might make the mistake of assuming that this is always the case, blithely overlooking the occasional sign posted somewhere in the roadway. The company was full of cheer and merriment, , and I am still managed to get 2 games in before the pub closed down for the night. At this point, the Danes, Zac, Adam, and I decided to get some food and play more Doomtown. Without locals to guide us, we made our way to a perfectly adequate chippie for some overly-dry lamb and decent chips. We finally booted to our respective hotels before Saturday’s big shin-dig.

Saturday: Deadlands, Guests, and yes, Doomtown!

After making up for some residual jet-lag, my better half and I wandered on down to Fan Boy Three for the morning RPG Roll Call. As a true blue Lawman at heart, I went straight for Marshal Lapp’s Law Dogs ‘n Cattlepokes table. Meanwhile my wife, a redblooded scoundrel, moseyed on over to Russel’s Sloane session.

I won’t provide a detailed account of our Deadlands hijinks since some of the game sessions relate to published and pending Pinnacle products, I don’t want to spoil any surprises. Second, writers far more eloquent than myself are handling the official story write-up for all the tables, and I certainly don’t want to steal their thunder. I do have a confession to make: before this past Saturday, I don’t think I’d ever actually played at a Deadlands RPG table. Thanks to these RPG sessions during Saturday’s events, I can now confidently say that Savage Worlds: Deadlands is a fun system!

I can say, however, that several familiar faces have found themselves drawn to Tombstone, for various reasons. Barton and the Gang, were after a big score. They’re also fallin’ in with the no-good, dirty rotten, yellow-bellied Cowboys. Meanwhile, the righteous forces of law and order have met the Earps, and have been dragged back into fightin’ for peace and justice. Oh, and a certain mad scientist, along with the Handsome Mayor of Priceless were along for the impending showdown.

To be honest, I didn’t rightly know what them 108 “Righteous” robbers were up to alongside them so-called “Eagle Wardens”. I heard rumours of a gun battle at the Bayou Vermillion rail-head, and I suspect they might have been involved in that. As for the Fourth Ring, all I knew is that, if it involved a Whateley, it ain’t good.

On the bright side, thanks to some mechanical ingenuity, initimidatin’ starin’, smooth talkin, and a good ol’ fashioned shotgun-butt, us big darn heroes managed to quell them troublesome Cowboys, at least for now. Last I heard, Virgil, Virginia, and Wyatt [Earps] were headin’ for a stroll on down to the OK Corral. Heard some ol’ friends from Gomorra might have been headin’ there too. Think I might join ’em, seems like a nice day for a reunion… For the record, at the point of me puttin’ down the Character Sheet for the cut-scene wrap-up to the session, Wendy was still alive. The same is true after the final ballotin’ for the Doomtown: Reloaded tournament on Sunday.

After a short break, a number of my compadres settled into a pre-tournament Doomtown tournament downstairs. I prefer to do my killin’ after dinner, so I signed up for some more Deadlands action with special guest Owen Lean! He kindly came down to Marshal one of his published Deadlands scenarios, “A Taxidermist’s Tail.” If you are interested in demoing Deadlands for a local group, then mosey on over to Pinnacle’s site and download this free Savage Tale:

The convention was also graced by special guest Ralph Horsley. You might know his work from Pathfinder, Dungeons and Dragons, Shadows Over Brimstone, and other fine gaming products. Full credit to Heidi for pushin’ me to overcome my reservations and ask whether I could commission a playmat featuring a trio of Pathfinder Society characters (mine, my wife’s, and our Owlbear companion). Working with nothing more than a very general description and answers to three or four insightful follow-up questions, Ralph produced a first-class piece of art for a very reasonable price. I was absolutely delighted by the result, and would heartily recommend Ralph’s art and artistic services to any and all!

A common theme of my Doomtown experiences was fun and friendship formed at impromptu social gatherings, usually involving food. Saturday was no exception: after the RPG and Doomtown wrapped up for the night, all of us Doomtown folk were invited to a birthday celebration for two fine compadres from Fanboy Three at a downtown waterin’ hole. Various groups ended up splitting off to look for food on the way there, and we ended up snagging burgers next door to the bar. After fine conversation over some loud music (a genuine Manchester experience, so I’m told), my darling and I figured that some quiet sleep would do us both good.

On the way back to the hotel, though, we ran into the Danes and Zac headin’ searching for grub and yet more Doomtown! We agreed to rendezvous at a particular pub. Reconnecting about 30 minutes later, we grabbed pints and settle in for a game or two.

No sooner had we sat down with our libations than we were advised that the saloon was closing “in two minutes!” Rather than disabuse the innkeeper of his strange temporal notions, we decided to try and find a more hospitable locale to hone our skills. While ice-cream turned out to be a bust, the hotel lobby proved more than sufficient to our purposes. Similarly, the Danish (and American) Doomtown skills proved more than sufficient to take me down a peg or three! Hide smartin’ and head full o’ ideas, I bid adieu at some-point in the small hours of the morning, and bedded down to internalize some hard-learned lessons.

Sunday: Main Event Time

Powered by sausage rolls from a common high-street baker, I rolled into Fanboy Three ready to take on the world! Our gracious Pinebox Entertainment Representatives supplied actual, printed There Comes A Reckoning cards to replace my totally legitimate proxies. The fancy new Doomtown Totebag was a good purchase: fits my whole collection perfectly, and rocks the new alt-art No Turnin’ Back artwork by Charles Urbachas. Swag, there was also an (electronic) shootin’ gallery for between-round shootin’ stress relief and promotional Point Blank acquisition! Props to Robbie Campbell for bringing this interactive décor to the tournament.

1st Round: Graham Donkin. “Postatron: Rise of the Quaterman…. apparently” (Morgan Gadgetorium Mad Science + Hellstromme). A gracious opponent, but I confess I do not remember too much about the play details of this match. A lack of Force Fields hindered his build-up, as I successfully mugged gadgets and hang mad scientists. The shootin’ was over pretty quickly, so we had time for a friendly match afterwards.

2nd Round: Andy Wroe, “To Hellstromme and Back” (Morgan Gadgetorium Mad Science + Hellstromme). This one felt closer than the prior match, but I turned the tide of gadget shenanigans and locked down the match. I seem to recall there was only one Force Field on the board when I made my push, and I managed to lock it down. Once again, there was time for a friendly match afterwards, plus grabbing a sandwich from upstairs.

3rd Round: Robbie “Heartbreaker” Campbell, “Top 4 Sloane 3,J,K Town Square Shan Fan!” (Sloane CP Rush). Sloane that doesn’t accrue bounties can be tough for a Law Dog to deal with, especially when a canny opponent defends the Ol’ Fashioned Hangin’ with everyone except the bountied Allie Hensman! Strangely (but perhaps appropriately, especially given poor Sheriff Montreal’s experience) Sloane cp rush seems to be my deck’s nemesis. I was knocked out of GenCon t4 by a Sloane Gang all-clubs CP rush. I was done-in at Pax Unplugged in the finals by a Raven/Protection Racket CP rush. And now at Worlds 2018 in Manchester I fell hard against a classic Sloane Gang town square blitz. We reminisced about old times, and ponder the odds of finally meeting after the cut.

Interlude: At this point, second lunch! Thanks to Zac, we ran out to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. While the downstairs gaming area was kept gloriously cool, experiencing a rare English Summer was a chance we colonials couldn’t resist. We found a lovely Tapas restaurant. The company, break, exercise, and balanced meal all were excellent complements to the day. Many thanks to mi compadre for the suggestion!

4th Round: Stephen Bushnall, the sharpest dressed dude of the day, in proper cowboy getup. “Worlds 2018 – First Top 8 Finish – EVER!!!” (Law Dogs A-2-3 LH)). I’m pleased to report my fellow Law Dog didn’t wither in the heat of his fancy duds. Full credit to my opponent: the only things sharper than his vest were his plays. I contributed to my quick demise, however, with an improvident strategic choice, an unwise tactical choice, and a gosh-darned stupid mistake.

Strategically, on Turn 2 or 3, I drew three deeds: B&B Attorneys, Town Council, and Pettigrew’s Pawnshop. I have the opportunity to Swinford cycle off of low-ball, and I know that three deeds is more than I want (especially against another aggressive deck). B&BAttorneys is the no-brainer to keep, but between Town Council and Pettigrews, I chose the cheaper deed, but playing out B&B. Big mistake: no sooner have I played B&B then Stephen played his own Pettigrew’s. He then proceeded to make bank off of the numerous goods he equips.

Tactically, I made a big play mistake when I chose to use B&B to up the bounty that I threw down onto his Thunder Boy, rather than remove the bounty he put on my Thunder Boy. I realized this on the next turn, but by then I’ve lost the opportunity to keep the opposing T.B. bounty-free. This negated the opportunity for me to copy my prior opponent’s plan of keeping bounties away from shootouts involving my opponent’s (wanted) Thunder Boy.

The killer mistake, though, was running an Ol’ Fashioned Hanging into a Thunder Boy equipped with a Legendary Holster. I had Unprepared, but Stephen was the Winner and therefore was ‘faster on the draw’. I also had a Mugging in hand, which was the job I meant to run. Stephen wisely chose to shoot before buffing Thunder Boy. By doing so, he upgraded his lowball win into a match win.

On the bright side: dying quickly left plenty of time for a friendly rematch!

Brief Interlude: Sugar Time via Cream Soda from the upstairs cafe. More importantly, I also to obtained a prized autograph on Erin Knight from the young lady herself! Also had the artist herself sign my new Avie Jokers. I feel a 4th Ring deck coming on, but for now, back to the tournament!

5th and Final Round of Swiss: David Woof, 108 Pure Slide (deck not posted to DTDB at time of writing). With each of us being 2-2 at Table 5, this was the nail-biter round for both of us. In many respects, this was my closest match all day. With each of us rockin’ 13+ Influence on some turns, and with me contributing 3 or 4 deed-based control-points to David’s ever-expanding town, every removal job was a tense calculation of benefit vs. cost. I saw the Judge around turn 4 or 5, which enabled me to threaten to remove 2-4 of David’s influence every turn from then-on (depending on whether I had a Hangin’ as well). The threat was equal to myself, however, since the Judge job would involve tying down 4 of my influence (x3 for Judge, x1 for Wendy) at home!

I think David sensed my anxiety about the clock, and full credit to my honourable opponent for not slow-playin’. While there were tough decisions to make, I felt he made them in a thoughtful but timely manner. I took down the victory just in time as I reached the TO’s counter to report when time was called! In our post-match debrief, we both agreed that it could have gone either way. My camping on his orphanage to potentially decrease my 2nd Bank plus an unbooted Judge to chess around town, I’m confident the deciding round would have been forced back another turn rather than flipping at Sundown.

One extra bit of random esoterica came to mind: if my memory served, this match played out similarly (though without Steven Wiles shenanigans or a Hangin’ Brute) to our Swiss match at Euros 2017.

Top 8!

Stephen Bushnall, redux. I was in equal measures disappointed, pleased, worried, and excited to sit across from Stephen once again. Disappointed because the regrettably inevitable blue-on-blue match occurred so early post-cut. Pleased, because I faced off against a sporting opponent whose deck I admired. Worried, because I’d just had my posterior handed to me in Swiss by this opponent and deck. Excited, because I wanted a chance to redeem myself after my epic blunders in our prior match! This game, revenge was indeed mine. As I recall, an early Legendary Holster play left my opponent starved for cash/deeds. Also, Unprepared works much better when you are the Winner!

Top 4!!

James (Joe) Merideth, “Decimating with 8s & Straights – Worlds ’18 – Top 4

Footage of the match can be found here.

Joe was an old friend from across the pond. We last formally squared off against each other back in November, in the t4 match at Pax Unplugged. A formidable and friendly opponent every time we play, I looked forward to this match. Not only would it be fun and tense, but I felt I had the upper hand, having taken out two other Regulators decks already this day.

Things nearly went very, very wrong.

My deck has good tools to take on gadgets. Mugging is the long-term solution that turns off some gadgets before a fight starts, while Unprepared and Faithful Hound are the heavy lifters come shootout time. Sun in Yer Eyes and Hattie are also good at blunting big studs without nasty abilities, of which gadget decks often produce an overabundance. When Force Field hits the table, I also know the importance of trying to fight with at least two means of FF shutdown in hand, thanks to Mad Scientists’ skill in making Slight Modifications to their gadgets. (Incidentally, the same tools can be good at dealing with spells; swapping out Faithful Hound for the advantage of not having to deal with Slight Mods.)

Gadgets can take a little while to tool up, and James didn’t seem eager to bring the fight to me. This gave me time to establish an economic base while fishing for those crucial Unprepareds/Faithful Hounds. When I had one of each, it was time for a Mugging. As expected, the Unprepared was hit with a Slight Mod. I then threw out bullet penalties on my opponent’s dudes, and we drew our hands. When deciding whether or not to aim for a cheatin’ 5-o-a-K vs. a legal hand, I weighed my casualty choices and saw my nice, unbooted sidekick. I was gutted. I figured I couldn’t risk cheatin’: the extra hand ranks wouldn’t help when my opponent could Force Field them back, while it also exposed me to the much nastier Cheatin’ Resolution on It’s Not What You Know. Further, a Coachwhipped dude with the Hound would spell doom for the remainder of the shootout, and possibly the game. So, I kept it legal and bit the bullet as my opponent Force Fielded, then dropped my hand rank. I then sprang my ‘cunning surprise’ second-round play, Faithful Hounding away the Force Field. And that, as they say, was that.

The Finals!!!

David Hogg, 108 Deadman’s Hand: “#2@ Worlds – Dead Man’s Handits 2: Aces and Eights Boogaloo.”

Footage of the match can be found here.

For the finals, the judges offered a choice between timed best two out of three or an untimed single game. Seein’ as how I was a greenhorn wanderin’ into Death’s domain, I figured I’d let Stone David Hogg decide which he preferred. Death only comes for a gunslinger once, and a straight-up faceoff at Town Square has only one ending. So it was indeed a single duel to the finish.

After the initial lowball (t1 @ 1:30), I looked through the discard pile to find a pile o’ Aces and 8’s. I believe my reaction was: ‘oh, bother’. Having been smacked about by Anders’ “Golddigger!!!” degenerating Dead Man’s Hand deck in previous warm-up matches, I knew the importance of forcing early pressure before my opponent could reliably pull three consecutive Dead Man’s Hands.

I got a lucky break t2 (@~5.30) when I started a shootout with only Phil against my opponent’s Asakichi Cooke. I have a Faster on the Draw, which limits my opponent to 6 redraw 2 to my 7 cards. A fair fight… but my opponent has a Pedro, where I’ve staked real influence in the fight. I dodge a bullet when my opponent only pulls 2 pair, rather than a full house. David had Pedro, Xiaodan Li, and Daomei Wang to cover the four casualties. Crucially I didn’t lose Phil, and I burned through my opponent’s “buffer” for subsequent shootouts.

I saw my key deeds early. My preferred setup for this deck is a 2nd Bank of Gommora on one side of my home, and B&B Attorneys on the other side of the home. Those provide a reliable supply of ghost rock, a stable and defensible number of control points of my own on the board, and bounty escalation against decks that chess around the board.

Speaking of decks with movement tricks, I’d recently experienced the 108’s ability to cluster at home in my R5 game vs. David Woof. I’d recognized that keeping Hamshanks bounty-free is a crucial piece of making my deck work, given how his annoying trait can gum up my bounty-placin’ / bounty raisin’ / Ol’ Fashioned Hangin’ tricks. I am pleased when my opponent starts manoeuvring lone dudes across the board. While it starts pulling my dudes out of town square, it also leads to opportunities to throw down bounties on high-influence targets rather than Hamshanks (e.g., @~10:50, @18:00).

Shortly after bootin’ Phil to help bounty-up Randall, my opponent drops Steven Wiles. This is a dangerous situation for Phil, so when David moves Steven into the Gommora Parish I need an exit strategy. Enter Mugging on Steven: ideally, I can get that dude discarded or booted home. Worst case scenario, I lose a Brute and save my Phil. While I don’t win the shootout hand (my Cheatin’ 5 ran into a Legal DMH), the loss is manageable and my dudes with influence live to maneuver another day.

The next day, I draw Wendy Cheng, and the Ol’ Fashioned Hangin’s can begin in earnest! One of the many reasons I like Ol’ Fashioned Hangin’ over Kidnappin’ is that the job’s leader does not boot. When combined with Wendy and a lowball win, I can lower the number of dudes I need to bring and boot home on an unopposed job. Over this turn and the next, Wendy performs yeoman’s service in this match, ultimately Hangin’ 4 influence and accumulatin’ 2 CP to tip the game in my favour.

The one remaining surprise is on the last turn, when (@ 28:15) David sends Daomei Wang to town square. I was sure he was going to start trouble at Circle “M” Ranch where booted Steven Wiles and booted He Fang were glaring at my booted Constance Daughtry. When I call out Daomei, my opponent’s last unbooted dude Forster Cooke boots in to join the posse. I’m thus able to safely use my Faster on the Draw to drop Daomei’s bullets. With the influence loss caused by the ensuing casualties, the game is over!

But not, as it turns out, the gaming. Every time I head out to a tournament, it amazes me that the Doomtown game and community are both so fun and strong that I’ll still want to actively seek out casual matches after what amounts to nearly 48 hours of constant Doomtown. Today is no exception. After congratulations all around and the final death toll is noted, Anders and I grab a table and have one last friendly match between two aggressive casual decks (Law Dogs vs. Des Row). Scores are settled and bodies pile high in the streets. I can’t remember who won in the end, but I remember it being fun. I even scored some sweet Danish jokers such as my Final Match opponent was stylishly sporting!

With others headin’ out in search of grub, I sheepishly make my way upstairs to the Pathfinder table to await the conclusion of the scenario that I am now ~3.5 hours too late to join. Strollin’ back to the Bunkhouse, we encounter the remains of a tasty spread and share great conversation until the wee small hours with Scott, Hedi, David, and Christine. Plans are made, secrets are revealed (I can’t wait to see that other Law Dogs Mad Scientist hit the table! :)) and good cheer rules the evening.

The Aftermath / Road to Euros 2019…

Alas, dawn comes way too early as there is a 6:15 AM train to Aberdeen to catch, With a groggy head and happy heart I stumble off down to the Railroad Station and out on the trail once more. The next week features chance encounters of Doomtown and Pub Quiz with David Avery in Aberdeen, more causal Doomtown, and chatting with David Hogg in York, and much scheming about what deck I’ll be taking to Origins in June now that the time has truly come to hang up my spurs on the World Champion 2018 Ol’ Fashioned Lawdogs.

Many thanks to each of you who came out: each of you helped make Doomtown: Reloaded Worlds 2018 the smashing success that it was!

This also seems the right place to express my thanks to our gracious hosts, Fanboy Three in Manchester, UK. If you are in the neighborhood, I highly recommend stoppin’ in. The store itself has a great play area downstairs for organized events (like our tournament). Upstairs offers more tables for RPG and boardgaming play. Their boardgame, roleplaying game, and miniatures gaming selections are extensive, and the staff are knowledgeable and friendly. There’s even an on-site cafe with excellent and inexpensive sandwiches and hot drinks.

I’ll close with a short list of ‘pro tips’ for those of you thinking of attending a similar get-together in the future:

1. Come on over! Seriously, do it. Of course, come on out for the main event, if you can, but also try to make it to the socializin’ at least one night. Sometimes after a long day of travel and Doomtown and deckbuildin’, I need to push myself to leave the hotel room and make it out to the pub. I’m always glad when I get there, however, and I hope you will be too. Sleep is also good, and there’s no need to stay until the wee small hours with us crazy folk who just can’t stop Doomtowning… but an extra hour or two among friends puts a shine on the whole event in my experience.

2. Join the Bunkhouse! If there’s the opportunity for shared billeting, I found it to be an enjoyable experience and a great way to keep costs down (and thereby make it out to more events!) It helps everyone if you can RSVP early, too.

3. Play Doomtown! If you haven’t had the chance to play many matches in the months/weeks/days leadin’ up to the Big Event, I highly recommend getting’ in casual games the day/night/morning before the tournament. Just shakin’ the rust off can be a huge advantage in mental readiness when the time comes for first-round pairings, regardless of whether you’ll be playin’ an old reliable deck or a new epic construction.

4. Pack at least one casual deck! Building on the above, I recommend bringing an ‘heir and a spare’ to events. This way, you and your opponent can mix things up if there is time after your round. You can also play more Doomtown without the repetition that sometimes comes from playing the same deck through the Swiss.

5. Get out and get food! If there is time, during the break try to find some sunshine and fresh air. Whether by yourself or with a friend, clearing your head, getting a little exercise, and fillin’ the tanks all help make sure a long day is a long, fun day.

6. Post your decklist! Mad props to my fellow competitors for posting their decks to DTDB after the match. Your thoughts/tournament reports are welcome reading, both for fellow competitors and for spectators at home. It helps keep the conversation going through the next big event, and hopefully will encourage useful discussions/deckbuilding thoughts for you too!

Now, if y’all will excuse me, I need to go pick up a warrant from Judge Somerset…