Tombstone Wrap-Up and Results

Tombstone Wrap-Up and Results

Fresh back from Tombstone, Pine Box Entertainment looks back on each day of events in “The Town Too Tough to Die!”

Wednesday: A Coach Comes to Town: First to arrive was the Berkeley, CA playgroup, who had the largest showing from any area and had the most members in Top 8! Outings were had to the Wyatt Earp Oriental Saloon, Tombstone Brewery, and Big Nose Kate’s while waiting for others to arrive into town.

Thursday: Design an Auction, Pine Box Meet & Greet Dinner, Multi-Player Round-Up: Players competed on the outside patio of the Four Deuces Saloon to see who will work with Lead Designer Richard Carter on a new Auction card! Zachary Seldon took top of Swiss, earning the new Peacekeeper playmat!

Following the games, everyone joined together for dinner at the Crystal Palace Saloon, a card featured in the next expansion, Hell’s Comin With Me! At that time players did short presentations about their deck, and David Winner was voted “Best Theme Deck,” titled Dora the Explorer, earning him an engraved Doomtown gavel and the card prize!

That evening players joined actors at The Oriental Saloon, as featured from the Kickstarter, There Comes A Reckoning, where Pine Box gave demos to the actors, filming began on the Doomtown documentary, and players engaged in multiplayer games including the use of a poker table from the venue shows!

Friday: Touring “The Town Too Tough to Die” & O’s Call Out: Players and their families toured the town stopping at the OK Corral & Historama, Tombstone Epitaph, Bird Cage Theater, Courthouse Historic State Park, and Boot Hill!

After a group dinner at the Longhorn Restaurant, several players attended a Deadlands game with Shane Hensley himself while others headed out to Johnny Ringo’s for David Orange’s Thieves Call Out event. Players challenged others to gain bounty for notoriety! Lee Patrick Fair was our top bounty followed by Tomas Ramirez as top Outlaw and Will Herrmann as top Law Dog!

Saturday: A Fight They’ll Never Forget: On the 138th anniversary of the street fight behind the OK Corral players gathered for the main event, receiving a special participation prize of a Tombstone-themed bicycle deck, along with promos of art provided from the city of Tombstone for a card titled “Murdered in Tombstone,” as well as special Pedro and Twilight Legion cards! Players competed and voted based on the current fiction on Gomorra Dispatch on who would survive the fight at the Clanton Ranch.

While the sides of the Law Dogs (17 players) and Bayou Vermillion (12 players) fought in this epic showdown, the law succeeded in eliminating Ike Clanton, Johnny Ringo, and Curly Bill from the fight, but little did they know, following the plot from Deadlands: Stone and a Hard Place, the Deadly Drifter himself arrived to take out Wyatt, Virgil, and Doc, as Wendy stared in horror, noticing Lucy was still wearing her badge….

Not only this, but the Cackler himself made it through to Top 8 the next day! Players wondered nervously what would happen if the side of the law or evil would take hold of Tombstone.

Wildcards Twilight Protocol Act III: The Twilight Legion and Twilight is Upon Us: Following a long break into town, players enjoyed a live performance from Saving Throw’s Wildcards, continuing the fiction they began at GenghisCon and Chupacabracon, for Act III, the finale of the series! This will be available online, as the other two acts are, for players to view. During the event, players engaged in the Twilight is Upon Us side event, where Lee Patrick Fair won top of Swiss and tallying up the previous convention events, the side of the Heroes (vs. Reckoners) were up by 1 point, solidifying that the town of Tombstone will receive a relic for the side of the heroes to help against evil.

Sunday: The Duel: In an epic finale, The Cackler (represented by David Hogg), faced against the Law Dogs (represented by Lee Patrick Fair), in a Full Moon Brotherhood v. Law Dogs matchup for the fate of Lucy, who was even in Lee’s starting posse! In the end, Hogg was successful and is our Marshal of Tombstone!


This means in the upcoming fiction by Jeff Bailey, the fate of Lucy will be told, and this will have ramifications on the world of Deadlands itself, as David Hogg will collect data from all that happened in Tombstone and present it to Pinnacle Entertainment Group for use in the upcoming Deadlands supplements!

In the side event during Top 8, a Fear Level Variant event, Joe James took top of Swiss, also earning a new Peacekeeper mat! The action continued as players played Doomtown well into the night followed by another community dinner.

Stay tuned for the epilogue to this fiction after the PAX Unplugged event: Somethin’ About Some Bullets, as we find out how Wendy will respond. Going into 2020, Owen Lean will bring us updated fiction as we follow Jonah Essex to the town of Deadwood!

Pine Box Entertainment thanks Saving Throw, Pinnacle Entertainment, and all the players who joined us for this amazing destination event! Our 2020 Destination Event will be in Copenhagen with the Deadlands: Dark Ages theme!

Bluffing in Doomtown

Bluffing in Doomtown

by Joe James

With the 2019 Doomtown World Championship in Tombstone, AZ just around the corner, there’s no better time to talk about arguably the most crucial poker mechanic: bluffing! Most games with some aspect of hidden information can lend themselves to bluffing. Simply defined, bluffing is an act of deceit to misrepresent ones abilities or intentions. Sometimes you want to represent strength when you are weak, and sometimes you want to appear weak when you are actually strong. Whether you wish to employ bluffing tactics yourself, or simply be on the lookout for bluffs from other players, knowledge of bluffing strategies in Doomtown is crucial to success.

Bullying with Weak Dudes

Perhaps the best example of bluffing in Doomtown is being aggressive with a weak dude against one or more strong dudes. You move your single, low bullet draw dude to a spot with one or more big stud dudes, hopefully resulting in a callout. Or perhaps your draw dude calls out a big stud dude at a deed where your dude has no adjacent friends to join his pose. Similarly, that draw dude initiates a job such as Kidnappin by himself against a scary posse of potential stud dudes.

In any of these cases, your opponent will have some thinking to do, because there are a lot of reasons one might do this:

– You may have cards in your hand like The Stakes Just Rose to pull stud dudes into the shootout, or make your draw into a bigger stud with a Bowie Knife.

-Your hand may contain powerful shootout and cheatin’ resolution actions to decimate any stud opposition, thereby leveling the playing field. If your deck is tightly structured, you could even swing the advantage to your favor.

– Perhaps more nefariously, you have a card like Takin Ya With Me, and you expect your dude to take out an opposing dude along with himself.

-Maybe your opponent needs to boot most or all of their dudes into the shootout in order to join, thus pulling a bunch of their dudes out of position. Possibly you could have some Unprepared’s in your hand, and you simply want to boot down the opposition. This is where tracking board position, control, and influence become important. Your opponent may win the shootout, but if you can stroll into their deeds unchecked to deny their income, or even seal a win with captured control points, then your (potentially small) sacrifice was very much worth it.

– Depending on the game state, it may simply be a last ditch effort ‘Hail Mary’ because all other options have been removed. This is usually very obvious, and is a follow up to previous losses.

-The last reason is a pure bluff where you hope your opponent assumes one of the above scenarios will happen. Fearful of such results, they simply go home booted. Of course, that is a very risky play to make, as once you issue a call out or run a job, all they have to do is accept or oppose. Unfortunately, by then it’s too late for you to back out (unless you have a tricky card like Make the Smart Choice ).

Sometimes it is in your interest to simply move a dude unbooted into a location to feign strength. If I’m planning for all my dudes to remain at my home for the turn, I will often put a dude into the Town Square or an adjacent deed. IÕm banking on the assumption that my opponent will either not want to chance a shootout because they aren’t ready yet, or that they will fear tricks in my hand and don’t want to risk the shootout. If they call my bluff and call out my dude, I’ve lost nothing other than my dude being booted at home instead of unbooted. But since I didn’t plan to use that dude anyway, I’ve really not lost anything. In fact, I’ve only gained information that my opponent is signaling that they feel strongly positioned for shootouts, or at least strong enough to deal with my little draw dude and any tricks I may have in hand. Of course, they could also be bluffing, but calling out a bluff with another bluff is a risky play. My bluff cost nothing more than a booted dude at home, whereas theirs could result in a shootout. This is where information like cards in discard (both individual cards and draw structure), number of cards in hand, game state, and any previous shootouts all factor into how you can read your opponentÕs choices.

Cards in Hand

Speaking of cards in hand, this is one of the most necessary tools for bluffing. If you look at all the reasons above on why a solo draw dude plunges headlong into an army of studs, most of those reasons require specific cards in hand. In fact, without any cards in hand, most bluffing options are removed. If you have cards in hand you wish to eventually play (such as a deed or costly dude), then keeping them in hand until the absolute last minute is generally the best play. As noted above, having no cards in hand means your opponent can cheat to their hearts content (assuming no on-the-table cheatin punishment). For that reason alone, having no cards in hand is risky unless you can safely avoid shootouts for the rest of that day. Other than keeping your opponent guessing if you have cheatin’ cards in hand, cards in hand affords you bluffing options. Even if you have no intentions of bluffing, it’s always good to keep your opponent guessing! In some cases where your opponent is being very conservative, they may pass up more opportune plays in fear of what you may have.

Discard Pile

Depending on what cards show up in your discard pile, you may be afforded opportunities for bluffing. If my first lowball reveals a 4 or 5 of a kind, I may be able to act as if I’m very confident in early shootouts, even if I actually have a loose draw structure. Normally in a loose deck I may need to first build up attachments, or if I’m playing a slide deck I may want to avoid shootouts all together. But having a few turns where the opponent hasn’t caught on yet might let me position myself as if I’m ready and willing to shoot out of the gate.

In a different example, say that I’m only playing one or two of a card like Takin Ya With Me, or only 1-2 cheatin punishment actions. If those cards show up relatively early in the game in lowball, I may attempt to act like there are more in the deck and they are in my hand. You can get away with some serious bullying of dudes if they suspect a Takin Ya With Me, or you might scare your opponent into not cheating at all costs, in these two cases. That is, at least until your opponent has gotten to see more of your discard, or gotten to experience a shootout or two against you.

Starting Gang

You can also bluff with the dudes you choose in your starting gang. Shooter decks tend to start the most studs with lowest cost and upkeep possible, while packing enough influence to not lose early to a flood of control points. For slide decks that don’t want to immediately appear as slide, or decks that want to feign aggressiveness, you don’t necessarily want to start only dudes optimized for slide. For instance, if I see Androcles Brocklehurst in my opponents starting posse, I immediately assume they are playing slide, and will be absolutely shocked by any other possibility. Some factions, such as the Anarchists, can be sneakier about their slide status. DoomdogÕs runner-up deck from Worlds 2018 serves as a good example. The starting posse indicates a potential slide deck:

– no starting studs or upkeep
-decent influence
– reasonable amount of starting ghost rock
-starting a deed that slide decks can immediately utilize.

 

This deck can quickly generate studs, but upon first glance an opponent could easily mistake this deck (which is nowhere near slide status, and can shoot very well) as weaker than it is.

Here is one of my decks that at first looks like a shooty deck, while actually intending to generate lots of ghost rock and pump out deeds. It takes the exact opposite optics of DoomdogÕs deck, and with the presence of Jen, looks like it could be a typical shooty gadget deck from the Gadgetorium. In fact, it has a very loose structure dependent upon building up lots of ghost rock, and at least one Force Field and other supporting gadgets. If I got into an early shootout, that usually meant bad things for me, as I needed to first build up lots of economy and gadgets. I would have much more strongly preferred to start Arnold Stewart in place of Jen, as that removes my upkeep and allows me to fish for the out of town deeds that are crucial to the deckÕs economy. I explicitly put Jen in there instead to appear more shooting capable than I was. It was my hope that this would buy me some time for my deeds to go uncontested. I will say that in a majority of my games this bluff paid big dividends, as most of my opponents gave me a much wider berth than they could have, leaving my deeds uncontested. A 2-bullet stud Jen with Decimator Array is normally a potentially scary thing with any decent draw structure.

Countless Other Bluffs

Depending on the game state, cards, and deck archetypes used, there can be a variety of bluffing opportunities that can arise during a game. I tried to cover the main areas where bluffing is most common, but what did I miss? I’d love to hear on the Pinebox Forums about your favorite bluffing stories. Until then, I look forward to slingin’ lead with those of you fortunate enough to make it to Tombstone this year. And, of course, I can’t pass up the opportunity to play at least one game of poker (with plenty of bluffing) in the town made famous by Doc Holliday and company – hope to see you there!