Design Diary – Carter Richardson

Design Diary – Carter Richardson

by Richard Carter

What sort of things are in store for the future of Doomtown? Funny you should ask. Out For Blood spoilers have begun, and included in this article is the first card that I designed, Carter Richardson, my prize card for stumbling into the winner’s circle at GenCon 2017. A variation on the personal card of mine from my Classic Doomtown days, Carter is itching to join the fray against wanted dudes, and not just in the service of the Law Dogs.

The art for this card is by fellow Marshal David Hammond, commissioned to honor another Marshal


But then what?

Well, at some point in the testing of Too Tough To Die, Emre Guzelsu, Lead Design for Doomtown, came up with the idea to have a set composed of playtester designs to follow after Out for Blood. He provided loose design goals (like “a Shootout action on Jack”) and I may have gone a little nuts. I submitted 62 cards to hit all the requested design guidelines, admittedly not all of them good. When Emre decided to move on to a new project, my prodigious submissions put me on the short list for successors to take over the reins of Doomtown.

But enough about me. What about the next set?

I cannot take credit for all the ideas that are to come, only share that credit with the rest of the playtesters. But it became my job to wrangle all the ideas, pass judgement on some, and make up new ones.

What goes in to designing a Doomtown card?

Alchemy – Science, Art, Magic, and no small measure of Luck.

After 20 years of playing this game (between both versions), I like to think that I have a good feel for how all those pieces come together. Each card in this game is whatever it is (Dude, Deed, etc.), as well as its suit and value for making poker hands. Sometimes one can balance a card by stacking it in a value with the cards that it works best with. This particularly holds true for actions and items, forcing the deck builder to choose which card effect they want most. Alternatively, placing the card on a value full of effects that are not complementary, either makes it a value splash or lacking direct synergy.

Another consideration when it comes to selecting a value for a card is competition. With the constraints of Doomtown deck design, there are only 4 cards on a value/suit that get to be in the deck. Anything new introduced needs to compete for the slot like a sports tryout or an orchestra audition. This can be obvious, “we do not yet have a Law Dog Blessed on this value”, or more nuanced, “if we put this shootout action on a 3, will it see play compared to Stakes Just Rose and Sun In Yer Eyes?” Thinking about things like this keeps all the Fear Monger Abominations from being in the same two values, and that then correlates to deck value decisions not looking like they are being spoon fed by design. As the card pool grows, the competition on values increases, and new cards might have to get interesting to earn a spot in the final 56 card set.

Some ideas come to me over the course of playing games. The game state will make me think “wouldn’t it be cool if?” – sometimes it is a combination of cards that begin to tell a story, and the card idea is the logical extension of that story. Other times I will put myself in a right proper western frame and let my mind amble about, imagine western scenes, and, to be completely honest, adopt a twang and drawl. Unfortunately I do not get to play games locally nearly as much as I would like, but I have a wealth of games lodged in my memory to draw from, and I do not fear running out of ideas any time soon.

 With this, the Pine Box team welcomes Richard Carter with open arms and looks forward to a new day in the world of Doomtown.

Jonah’s Alliance: Origins, GenCon, and European Round-Ups

Jonah’s Alliance: Origins, GenCon, and European Round-Ups

Patience, love. We will all have a role to play in the events to come. You will bring death. And from death, there comes a new beginning.”-Jonah Essex

We’ve already got quite the plans with our destination events in Denver, Austin, and Tombstone this year . But for players attending the usual gaming mega-conventions of Origins and GenCon, and/or European events, we bring the one and only, Jonah Essex to the fore.

This summer, players will make choices about Jonah’s story as we reveal what other plans he was cookin’ up back in Gomorra and his travels after. We will also find out his whereabouts and who he is with. In addition, we anticipate having Out for Blood legal and available at each of the following round-ups!

Jonah’s Alliance: Players attending our major European Round-Up this year in Edinburgh (date TBD) will make the choice on Jonah and his team’s location, choosing a new location in the Weird West for Doomtown to focus on!

Jonah’s Agenda: Player’s attending Origins from June 12-16, continuing last year’s convention theme of Mystery, will choose what exactly Jonah was planning by answering a series of questions through the main event. We’ve also got several multiplayer and Greenhorn events (learn to play/casual play) scheduled for this convention.

Jonah’s Allies: Player’s attending GenCon from August 1-4 will choose Dudes that are part of Jonah’s team, including the winner assisting in choosing a brand-new character to be part of this posse. Similar to Origins, the additional events will focus on multiplayer and Greenhorns.

The action will continue in the major Doomtown August 2020 Destination Event in Copenhagen, in appreciation of our international players and playtesters. We hope to make this an event that rivals the fun we had in Manchester at the 2018 European Championship and we look forward to joining our collective Doomtown family across the pond.

Updates to Round-Ups: Changes in Rulings for Doomtown

Updates to Round-Ups: Changes in Rulings for Doomtown

Occasionally Pine Box Entertainment, in addition to developing new content, reexamines existing cards and rulings to improve Doomtown’s player experience.

Our most recent changes affected Showboating (ban) and Nicodemus Whateley (maximum 3 control points), as well as rewording Morgan Cattle Company to clarify that it works as one sentence. Since then, we’ve had some updated rulings that we will collate in a new compendium change. These become effective starting at GenghisCon and the first of three Twilight Protocol Series events along with the 2019 Organized Play Round-Ups.

Force Field: There’s been some discussion on how Force Field functions. A scenario can occur in which Force Field matches your opponent’s hand rank, and subsequent cards such as LeMat Revolver further increase your own rank. The following updated wording is consistent with the original design intent of this card. To quote a member of the original design team for Doomtown Base Set:

The design intent was for you not to be able to win that hand. You need to issue errata on the original card to make it so you cannot win the hand. It was designed to cause more attrition, not to create an alternative path to win.”

Repeat Resolution, Pay X Ghost Rock: Raise your draw hand rank by X for this round. Your hand rank cannot exceed your opponent’s hand rank. You may not use any other card’s Cheatin’ Resolutions or Resolution effects.

We feel the above wording brings the card in line with that intent, as well as clarifying resolution and cheatin’ resolutions that affect hand ranks and how they function with Force Field.

Next up, in a change with how items attach, Concealed Weapons now permits booted dudes to attach cards, similar to General Store. Attachment via card effect can be to anyone, anywhere.

The following summarize recent rulings posted on the Pine Box Forums and slated for the upcoming compendium update.

It’s Who You Know: this card explicitly refers to drawing cards in the shootout, and not actual bullet rating for cards like Shotgun. This was reflected in the promo version released in the Abomination Series.

Fetch is now clarified that the cards are not taken out of the hand until the cards enter the discard pile. This was done to make sure everyone knows that taking the card out of the hand does not then change the hand rank; it was questioned whether turning it into a 4-card hand would alter the hand rank.

-Shootouts start after posses are formed for purposes of Five Aces Gambling Hall and Pearly’s Palace (posses are formed before the first shootout action).

-You cannot opt to boot to move if the rules don’t allow it. For instance, in moving from home to Town Square, you cannot choose to boot your dude, as per the rules, the dude does not boot.

Tse-Che-Nako’s Weaving: The control point lasts until the end of turn. This will be noted in a rulebook update to clarify that non-permanent CP and bullets are lost at Sundown (after Victory is checked).

-Cards such as Epidemic Laboratory and the upcoming Office of Ancestral Affairs refer to the Leader booting. Per the rulebook on jobs initiated by deeds and outfits (except Desolation Row, which specifies booting the card, not the Leader).

-Reacts are not ‘Plays’ for the purposes, for instance, of the Johnny Brocklehurst ability.

Soul Blast still costs 1: there was a printing error with the promo released in ‘There Comes A Reckoning.’ Feel free to use them in the Twilight is Upon Us events, where they will cost Zero for that alternate format.

We hope this helps new and old players with a better understanding of Doomtown and we look forward to the next major round-up at GenghisCon and introduce more players to the Weird West!