What to Expect from 7th Sea: City of Five Sails

What to Expect from 7th Sea: City of Five Sails

A 7th Sea: City of Five Sails Playtest Article

I’m Max, one of the playtesters on the new 7th Sea: City of Five Sails card game under development from Pine Box Entertainment. Today I’ll provide a partial overview of what you can expect from the upcoming game. 

But first, let me introduce myself, a game player from a rainy ol’ island known to you all as England. I’ve been playing card games for the last 12 years – I started, like most, with Magic: The Gathering and did my time travelling around for Grand Prix and Pro Tour Qualifiers. In 2012, I discovered Android: Netrunner, and the whole game changed, as I discovered LCGs in a big way. Since then, I have played almost all of them in some way, shape, or form. I’ve also done my time with some non-LCG games throughout the years, primarily Pokémon and AEG era L5R. So, don’t be surprised when, for context, I reference various other card games. So, with the boring introductions done and dusted, let’s talk 7th Sea: City of Five Sails, and some of the features you can expect. Please note all mechanics are still in development and you may find changes in the final product.

Approaches

Approach cards are fundamental to 7th Sea: City of Five Sails for determining initiative for the turn. They also set your starting Panache – the stat that determines how many cards you will draw at the start of the turn. If you are familiar with the Game of Thrones LCG, this is similar to the Plot Deck. Although the effects are less dramatic, Approaches tend to enhance your game plan for the turn rather than define it. 

You’ll be coming to your games armed with 7 of these Approaches selected, forming their own mini-deck. You choose one Approach each turn, and then you’re off to the races (or a deadly back-alley brawl, at the very least)!

Locations

You won’t face off against your opponent in some imaginary, theoretical battlefield. Oh no, you’ll duel it out at three locations across the City of Five Sails. These are less like the Deeds in Doomtown, and more like planets in the old Warhammer 40,000 Conquest LCG. 

At each of these locations (The Docks, The Forum, and The Grand Bazaar) you will deal Neutral Cards from the Search Deck (more on that below). Control these locations to earn “Hero Points,” and also use them as the base to launch your noble (or nefarious) plans. 

“Search Deck” (Playtest Term)

The Search Deck really sets 7th Sea: City of Five Sails apart from other games. Between you and your opponent sits a Neutral Search Deck. This deck is fixed, it will be the same for everyone playing the game around the world. During the game you’ll be dealing one card per Location each turn. 

The Search Deck contains events, characters, and attachments for players to lay claim to. Some decks rely on the Search Deck to get their game plan going, whilst some for the most part operate independent of it. All players, however, will need to be aware of what is coming out of it each turn, as it really is full of treasures. Even if you don’t want a particular revealed card, you might just want to stop your opponent from getting their hands on it.   

Skulking and Scheming

The heart and soul of the game takes place in the Skulking and Scheming phase. Here you will tussle with your opponent at each location, with you and your opponent alternating taking actions.

These actions form the core of the game, ranging from challenging your opponent’s characters, playing Risks (action card), and moving your characters around Five Sails in an attempt to dominate the city! The alternating action taking (I go, U go in classic gaming parlance) is core to the game. To reference the short lived Star Wars Destiny game, sequential flow makes the game feel fast and engaging to play. 

Riposte, Parry, Thrust

Combat in 7th Sea is, dare I say it, flippin’ fantastic. You see, every card in your deck has a Riposte, Parry, and Thrust value (RPT from here on out). 

Once you and your opponent are locked in combat, you’ll alternate playing these cards in a deadly, swashbuckling duel. Play a card with 1 Riposte? Deflect a damage, and send it back to your opponent. Parry? Get that damage away from me! Thrust? I’ll take the hit, but I’m slinging some of my own damage back at you. Combat only ends when there is no more damage ‘incoming’ at either player, and some of these combats become epic battles of back-and-forth card play.

Just like the Poker Hand mechanic in Doomtown, this combat system drips with theme. You feel like a Musketeer or a swashbuckler every time. It also makes deckbuilding both fun and challenging. Maybe there is a really powerful card, but its RPT values aren’t great, or there’s a lower powered card but when you’re in combat, its high RPT values allow you to dominate and win the battle. Oh, and yes, some cards have points in each RPT stat, and you get to use all of them when you play them into a duel. 

Concluding Thoughts

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into the game as it currently stands. I’ve not delved too deep into the details, as we’re still thrashing some of them out during playtesting. Hopefully this has let you know some of the things you can expect. At some point, I hope to share with you all more insights about 7th Sea: City of Five Sails’ Factions, along with tips about deckbuilding and general game play strategy. 

 

Moods of the Mad King: Revised Design Diary

Moods of the Mad King: Revised Design Diary

by Designer Jessey Wright

When I was asked to develop an updated version of Moods of the Mad King, Alan gave me a lot of creative freedom. So much so, that what was originally planned to be a little bit of polishing turned into a near ground up redesign. The spirit of the game has remained the same from the original to the new version. The core mechanics of playing cards for effects and collecting a trio of play cards to form the three acts of your play remained the same. Almost everything else was tweaked or adjusted in order to create a more thematic experience.

The biggest change to the game, which helped make it feel more thematically consistent and brought something novel to the tabletop, was the change to the win conditions. In the original version of the game, there was one winner. In the new version, any number of players can win (and that means it’s possible for everyone to lose! The King is just that mad!). Having to balance your Patron’s desires with the (unknown) desires of the Mad King is exactly what the theme of the game calls for! This also creates a unique style of game play. The open-ended victory conditions mean that your own mood will set the tone of each game! Any given game you play could be a cutthroat race to please the Mad King, a co-operative effort to keep everyone alive and well funded, or something in between.

The next major change I made was to the basic action flow. Each player has some information about the king’s play preference, and I wanted to make sure that the behavior of the other players could provide clues about what they know (or don’t know). This lead to the main action system: on your turn you get a play card and either keep it or give it away. If you give it away you are able to play one of the unique action cards from your hand. If you keep the play card, well, it gets added to your play (hopefully it’s a type you needed!).

I’m really proud of what we achieved with this little game!

Learn more here.

A Legacy Reexamined

A Legacy Reexamined

by Robert Campbell with Konstantinos Thoukydidis

After our interview with the current and previous design team, Playtest Lead Robert Campbell spoke to previous design team member Konstantinos Thoukydidis to discuss his design process, favourite cards and more. Known by his online handle of “db0” to many community members, Thoukydidis also provided us with a haul worth of any of Silas Aims’ robberies: a cache of old design diaries considered lost when AEG’s Doomtown articles were taken down. Our thanks to him for his previous design work, the articles, and partaking in this interview.


(The following interview has been lightly edited for clarity)

Q: How did your design process work – did you tend to start from theme or mechanics?

The theme was mostly handled by the story team but a lot of the time they did get ideas from the card names I thought to go with my card designs. Typically, I started from the card design. Quite often that started from me wanting to either cover an existing gameplay hole or provide a new archetype to play with, such as experimental gadgets, grifter tech, or sidekick tech, and so on.

As I was thinking of card ideas at all times, I usually kept a massive document of potential ideas to choose from. As I would implement ideas out of it, I would prioritize new ones from that document as per the needs of the game and its various archetypes.

When addressing overall weaknesses in the game, I tended to be more reactive. It’s not always easy to see problems in the metagame, due to the small scale of playtesting and us leading the published cards by 2 sets or so. So I had to pay a lot of attention to the meta and address potential issues before they started frustrating the community too much. If I waited until a deck archetype dominated to take action, it would take too long to fix without nerfs. I believe it’s primarily this aspect that allowed us to avoid any bans during my run as lead designer.

When promoting new archetypes, I usually had the concept running in my head and new ideas to fit that archetype would pop-in constantly. However, setting up something new can be quite tricky, as seen by how difficult it was to get experimental gadgets off the ground. My plan there was typically to start with overall useful cards of an archetype, that would work good enough outside it. Then I’d start adding more and more synergies, where a deck built around it could form when a lot of synergistic cards could be added together.

Q: Which card design are you most proud of?

I feel like Yagn’s Mechanical Skeleton (also a sample where story used my card concept without much changes btw) was a very important card as it put gadgets on the map, but also elegant enough in its design to easily slide into most gadget builds while also supporting quite a few possible archetypes (horse tech and gadget dudes to name two).

As simple as this card looks today, it was also something out of a “proof of concept” card for me, as I was hearing a few people in discussions complaining that “gadgets can never be good due to their extra costs over other skills.” I set out to prove them wrong because another way to look at the cost being too high, is that the effect is too weak. So I set out to design a gadget which provides such bang-for-the-buck, that one cannot undervalue its usefulness-to-cost ratio. As it turns out, I managed to strike (imho) precisely the golden balance of gadget-cost/usefulness as I didn’t have to tweak the card almost at all before it went to print.

An interesting point about Yagn’s however, is that it crystalized for me the direction to move for a core aspect of gadgets.

Note: you can link to my design diary for gadgets here if you want.

(EDITORIAL NOTE – this is now archived in one place with other original design diaries. For the gadgets, search for: The philosophy of science )

 Namely, multipurpose; whereas other goods tend to cover one aspect of your gameplan (shootouts, influence, control, etc), gadgets are allowed to do more than 1 thing at once in the same card. Therefore they save you card space in your deck for more versatile cards. Yagn’s handles this like a pro, providing Shootout strength, Shootout defense, Influence, anti-Control, and ‘Tech’ in one card. 

Q: Are there any cards you designed that you feel were underutilized?

Hmm, quite difficult to tell as I’m omniscient so I can’t really know if I’m just not seeing it myself. I want to say I expected Signing Over the Stores would see a lot more play as the benefits it gives out of one card are massive. It has a big risk (Job in the town square) but it also gives massive benefits: 3x “Tutor” effect + cost reduction + unboot on non-defense. It worked amazingly well for me in my playtest builds, but I never saw it hit the table against me. But as I said, maybe I just wasn’t playing in the right meta. A deck built around this and someone like Byrne could be quite brutal.

Q: Are there particular cards or decktypes that were a pleasant or unpleasant surprise to you?

I definitely did not see Spirit Fortress coming! The initial design was that the Totem player would be spreading spirits around, but combining cards like Nicodemus opened a can of worms! Fortunately as far as meta-warping effects go, it was not a disaster like something that caused an unchecked landslide would be, and people could tech against it enough until we could provide more tools to deal with it in later expansions.

I also did not foresee the Showboating becoming such a linchpin card! We did playtest for that exact scenario but we deemed it too weak to base a deck around. How wrong we were!

Q: What are some of your favorite cards you designed and why are you fond if them?

Hmm, I would like to say

  • Calling the Cavalry for making Horse Tech not just viable, but a force to be reckoned with.
  • Morgan Regulators for giving MCC straight up fighting power and for being a card with such a powerful meta effect, that just its existence is enough to scare people out of making non-interactive slide decks.
  • Behold White Bull for walking an extremely fine line with an effect that can be inherently unfun to face, using a stat that is otherwise useless in shootouts, and going through a ton of playtesting arguments, to provide a finisher for an already really difficult-to-design kung-fu Tao.
  • Travis Moone for being the first Grifter and the way I managed to cut through the Gordian Knot that was at the time the two bitter arguments in the design team over having Mulligan at all, or not. To be fair, if I would design TM against today, his ability would not require a boot 🙂
  • And of course, the Fixer who is literally based on a ‘shopped picture of myself at a Heavy Metal concert 😀

Q: What did you enjoy playing for casual matches?

That would totally be my “I Can Dance All Day” deck which I was running since “beta” days. It plays to Doomtown’s strengths by masterfully playing the maneuvering game, but also not being afraid to duke it out at the right moment.

Q: What did you enjoy playing for competitive matches? 

I honestly was not much into competitive matches as there was no scene where I was. The only tournament I played in was the Final  EU Marshall event where I played a near-bicyle deck in a vain attempt to not do to well in the ranking. 

But given my previous experience, I always liked to play unconventional and new decks in tournaments and attempt to disrupt the meta. AKA I could always win with jank, but jank that I trained myself to play to perfection!

Q: Are there any questions/topics you wanted to bring up that didn’t come up from the interview questions?

On Game Design in general:

In case anyone was wondering why I kinda dropped off the face of the earth after AEG cancelled the game: Even though I love the game to death, I was also doing a massive amount of effort when leading DTR design. On top of the aforementioned design duties, I was project-managing the playtest teams, writing articles, crafting the OCTGN client for online gaming (and PT), discussing the game on Facebook (a lot of arguing why Gadgets don’t really suck), and of course, just playing online now and then. It was kinda all-consuming for me for 3 years, so when the game got cancelled, I was so burnt-out that I honestly didn’t even want to think about the game anymore, nevermind play it. I have still not really played a DTR game since that time.

For people who want to get into game design, as rewarding as it is, you need to make sure you’re not overdoing it. Stick to your role and try to get other people to handle other parts.

On new DTR design:

I like the direction the game is going, even though I’m really out of the loop lately. One thing I worry is that I see a lot of the same mistakes we did with the gadgets back in the day, where we were effectively creating slightly better versions of existing goods, with a massive increase in costs (booting, skill check etc). I have not played with the new gadgets of course, but this is just my impression on reading the cards and comparing them with the early gadgets with had like the flamethrower.

on DTR design in general:

When I joined the DTR team, I was not really there to design, so I didn’t have that much input from the get-go. Initially I was there just to provide the playtest client. I kinda took over when other devs dropped out and AEG realized I was decent at it. Unfortunately, because I was not there from the start and we had very little time to adjust the game once I joined, a lot of the rules of DTR stayed the same from the Doomtown Classic. 

I really wished I had pushed further for some things like mulligans and more factionalization. One thing that I don’t like about Doomtown is how you have all those cool dudes in your deck, but in 80% of the game, you’re stuck playing with your starting posse only. Making the faction leaders discount was my last attempt to make them see some play. 

Had I been designing the game from scratch again, I would have really liked to find a way to make more dudes hit the play each game. I also think the economy of DTR is very old school design and it could be significantly streamlined to allow for more card playing and less worrying about Ghost Rock upkeep and so on.

Play for Blood – Outlaw Grifters in Welcome to Deadwood

Play for Blood – Outlaw Grifters in Welcome to Deadwood

by David Lapp

In 2019, Pine Box Entertainment revived the Doomtown Badge Events. This included the Marshal round-ups at major conventions as a carryover from the AEG era of the game. PBE also introduced three new events: The Agent, Ranger, and finally Marshal of Tombstone for the major destination event in Tombstone itself. To coincide with these events, the cast of Saving Throw WildCards portrayed Doomtown characters in a three-part act known as the Twilight Protocol Trilogy (Act I linked). To thank the cast for their contributions to providing live fiction for the Weird West world of Doomtown set in 1882, Pine Box wanted to honor the cast’s characters from the original WildCards 5-season series on Twitch, by inserting them into the Doomtown game itself. This started in the expansion, ‘Hell’s Comin’ With Me,’ with the debut of Gabriel Prior. We even honored the Marshal himself with the Marshal Caves Callarman card. That left us with four remaining cast members, the next of which appears in ‘Welcome to Deadwood.’

 

 

Rosaleen Saorise Byrne is a character appearing in Wildcards videos set in Deadlands. Created by Meghan Caves, Byrne is the posse’s huckster with an intense loyalty to Gabriel Prior. She made her first appearance in Episode 0 – Character Creation. You can engage with the cast of WildCards and their fans on their Discord channel. Rosaleen was first spoiled during Meghan’s Savage Mysterium game here.

As the fifth grifter to be featured in our playtest articles, Rosaleen follows the trend thus far of card cycling/fetching. Arthur Dingler provides a peak into upcoming cards for a mulligan and Entrepreneur twist to lowball. Yasmin Tian allows a discard and draw while providing dual options for a Blessed/Kung Fu starting gang member. Sifting Squirrel provides the potential for additional cards with Shaman/Kung Fu First Peoples players, and Dr. JT Goodenough lets you start the game with a gadget in play. Rosaleen Byrne assists to help provide a more ideal starting hand by simply discarding and drawing exactly two cards. Providing one influence and the Huckster keyword, she can help cycle to a starting hex, cheatin’ resolution, deed, or whatever tool you seek at the time.

The first deck type that Rosaleen supports is any starting gang for Den of Thieves. The errata on Rico Rodegain hurt the original starting gang for this deck with the loss of influence. With Rosaleen, you have the chance to create an even better starting hand, have a solid second Grifter for use with your Outfit ability, and increase your starting influence. The decks ‘Jordan Caldwell’ and I played in the finals of GenCon 2016 can both be updated with Rosaleen. Here you’ll find an example of updating this playstyle to switch from a blitz to a swarm deck. Milt (or Fred Aims if you suspect landslide), Makeio, and Rosaleen (replacing Pete in the link) are your locked in starting dudes. Jake Smiley and Travis Moone swap out for Allie Hensman, Willa Mae, or Virginia depending on what you feel is best for your matchup. You can even bring in Barton Everest if you want to blitz.

Rosaleen is equally great in the ‘Sluckster’ style deck, replacing or adding to the general starting gang that includes Maria Kingsford and/or Antheia Pansofia just for the starting influence Huckster. Try her in this build from the Name-A-Card Online Event instead of Maria or this one from Origins 2019.

 

Spoilers!

At the time this article was initially written, I had mistakenly posted the linked list noting that Rosaleen replaced Gina, having thought she was value 3. Upon further review of the deck, I’d like to provide you with spoilers that include a couple of the heavy hitting actions in ‘Welcome to Deadwood,’ along with a new experienced dude. 

 

 

Honoring Name-A-Card prizes awarded at PAX Unplugged, both Bad Beat and Play for Blood have their names derived from that round-up in 2018. Play for Blood is guaranteed to make an environment changing splash with the ability to increase your hand rank on ties. Alternatively, you can use the Noon action instead, should you not expect an upcoming Shootout or are trying to dig for a specific card. Bad Beat provides players with a second cheatin’ resolution on value 7 with a Bottom Dealin’ feel to it. With Bad Beat causing a player to replace their hand with the top 5 of their own deck, this allows you to not have to run a looser draw structure you generally find from running Bottom Dealin’. The ability to steal ghost rock if they’re still cheatin,’ makes this card appealing to play in lowball as well.

 

 

In the above referenced Twilight Protocol Events, players and the Badge winners helped influence both the Doomtown storyline and upcoming cards. As a result of the Ranger Badge event, Willa Mae MacGowan joined the Ranks of the Texas Rangers. The Experienced version of this card allows you to save a dude that had been targeted by Pinned Down or Black Owl. Additionally, Willa Mae can save a dude in her posse and end a shootout if that was your only other dude.

The following updates the linked Den of Thieves list with the additional cards to try out:

Den of Thieves
Dude (19)
1x Jake Smiley*
1x Rosaleen Byrne*
1x Travis Moone*
1x Makaio Kaleo, Esq.*
1x Milt Clemons*
1x Allie Hensman
1x Fred Aims
1x Buford Hurley
1x Funtime Freddy
1x Genesee “Gina” Tailfeathers
1x Lawrence Blackwood
1x Ol’ Howard
1x Black Owl
1x Marion Seville
1x Barton Everest
1x Virginia Ann Earp
1x Willa Mae MacGowan (Exp.1)
1x Travis Moone (Exp.1)
1x Antoine Peterson

Deed (10)
1x The Orphanage
1x Notary Public
1x Yan Li’s Tailoring
1x Hustings
1x Clanton Ranch
1x B & B Attorneys
1x Town Council
1x Gateway Station
1x Ike’s Place
1x Hunter Protections

Goods (10)
2x Bowie Knife
2x Shotgun
4x Tusk
2x LeMat Revolver

Action (13)
2x The Stakes Just Rose
2x Sun in Yer Eyes
3x Coachwhip!
1x Play for Blood
3x Kidnappin’
1x Bad Beat
1x Ricochet

 

Whatever style of Outlaw deck you prefer, Rosaleen is sure to find her way into many Outlaw deck builds in a post Welcome to Deadwood environment.

You can pre-order Welcome to Deadwood, shipping in November, through your FLGS or directly from Pine Box Entertainment here.

Gleaning Weapons for the Law Dogs

Gleaning Weapons for the Law Dogs

by David Avery
(with an introduction by Tamsyn Goodnow)

Our layout designer and graphics-user interface expert, Tamsyn Goodnow, has always had a soft spot for gadgets, and decided to name this card in commemoration of herself and her father. Believe it or not, Goodenough is a variant of Goodnow, and the J comes from her dad’s first name (John). The T is obviously from her own name.

Plus, when coming up with the card name, she discovered John Goodenough is the name of a Nobel-winning chemist and physicist! Her dad has a passion for physics that was passed down to her, so how could she NOT name a mad scientist in honour of her father?


 

Dr. JT Goodenough joins the high-minded academic inventors who support and assist the Law Dogs. Based on his ability to create weapons we can assume, or at least hope, that he holds a PhD rather a medical doctorate. Likewise, Dr. Goodenough will likely conduct most of his tinkering at the Law Dog’s Arsenal or Fort 51 locations.

Law Dog mad science has always had the vexing problem of what do you do if you don’t draw a gadget weapon in your starting hand. All Law Dog decks in general tend towards aggressiveness, and want weapons with which to enforce the law. If you are based out of the Union’s top-secret weapon test facility at Fort 51, however, gadget weapons are essential to make your deck function. Thus Dr. Goodenough and his ability to jump-start the Law Dog’s weapons programme.

Akin to the Fearmonger’s Funtime Freddy, the good doctor allows you to keep a weapon that you retrieve from your deck. While Dr. Goodenough is an obliging chap, his selections are imperfect, as your opponent has the final say on which weapon you keep and which goes to discard. If you play your cards right, however, the discarded weapon may not have gone far. 

Alas, fetching weapons is a full-time job and Dr. Goodnow ends up booted from exertions. To support Dr Goodenough, you may want to start at least one other mad scientist to invent subsequent weapons in your deck. Quincy Washburne and Dr. Erik Yaple are both good choices. You may want also want to consider Dr. Dayl Burnett if you are trying to invent particularly difficult weapons like Yagn’s Mechanical Skeleton or the Bio-charged Neutraliser

The final mad scientist to consider is Janosz Pratt. Janosz works particularly well with Dr. Goodenough, as Janosz can use his ability to play whichever gadget your opponent discarded at the start of the game. This can leverage two card weapons combos such as Yagn’s Mechanical Skeleton and Hydro-Puncher or the Electrostatic Pump Gun along with a Net Gun. You can also use Doomsday Supply, Technological Exposition, or even a reformed Pete Spence to get back the discarded weapon. 

None of the scientists I’ve mentioned above are great shooters. In fact, they are all draws and only two of them are deputies that take advantage of the ubiquitous Faster on the Draw. Thankfully, the Law Dogs have a variety of good starting shooters. “Thunderboy” Nabbe with a Yagn’s is a terrifying immovable 6 stud. Here is an example deck running out of Fort 51. Just swap Padre Ernesto For Dr. Goodenough and select Hydro-Puncher and Yagn’s for JT at the start of the game if you can. Ideally you want the Yagn’s, but even if your opponent tosses it, the Hydro-Puncher lets you come out swinging. Your primary ways of making dudes wanted are the outfit ability for low influence dudes and Dr. Yaple for anyone with more than a 1 influence.

Another possible shooter is Hattie DeLorre armed with an Electrostatic Pump Gun, who can thus turn even the biggest shooters into quivering zero draws. This deck out of the Law Dogs original outfit uses this tactic to try and strip away all your opponent’s bullets. Again, swap Padre Ernesto for Dr. Goodenough. The deck uses only two weapons, Electrostatic Pump Gun and Net Gun, making Dr. Goodenough’s choices both obvious and useful. It doesn’t really matter which one your opponent selects, because you should plan to use Janosz Pratt to play the other. Faster on the Draw is a key card in this deck as you don’t have any mobile studs. With Nightmare at Noon, however, it may not matter. You can use the gadget weapons, Hattie, and Nightmare to turn the opposing posse into a ragtag band of 0 draws. You have aggressive cheatin’ punishment in Coachwhip and I’m Your Huckleberry, hopefully leaving your opponent in an unwinnable situation. 

Finally, Prodigy used this deck to win the GenghisCon: Agency Badge Event this year. Try swapping Dr. Goodenough in place of Dr. Yaple and use Dr. Goodenough’s ability to retrieve an Electrostatic Pump Gun as well as a Hydro-Puncher. Prodigy explains the deck in detail in the notes, but in summary its main focus is an aggressive shooter using The Arsenal Noon ability to start fights. 

Dr. Goodenough is likely to become staple for post Welcome to Deadwood Law Dogs gadget decks.

Welcome to Deadwood is available for preorder through your FLGS or Pine Box Entertainment here.

Worship and Wushu

Worship and Wushu

By David Hogg

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

Yasmin Tian is the self-appointed guardian angel of Deadwood’s Chinatown, protecting the inhabitants from criminals and industrialists looking to exploit them.  In-game, she provides great versatility.  As a three-cost dude without upkeep, one bullet and influence, she’s a good value body to fill out a starting gang. On top of that, she also has the Blessed and Kung Fu keywords.  Both are rated zero. While she’s unlikely to be the star player of your deck, she presents a solid, well-priced backup option when building around those keywords.  Being of low value, she will have a hard time mixing the high pulls required to cast Miracles with the low pulls she needs to succeed at Kung Fu Techniques. As such, she is most likely to see use supporting one or the other.  That said it’s not impossible to mix the two.  For example, the Raking Dragons Technique can be used to lower an opposing dude’s value, and the Miracle Retribution uses a target dude’s value as its difficulty. Thus you could use one to set up the other.  Taking advantage of cards like Nunchucks and Tlaloc’s Furies to raise her Kung Fu or Blessed rating also opens up the possibilities.  Her Grift is a straightforward and simple ability, allowing you to clear an unwanted card from your opening play hand and replace it.  If you have a hand full of good options, but can’t play them all early on, then using her alongside House of Many Faiths will let you replace a card and then add it back to your deck with the outfit’s ability.

Here is the Blessed deck pilot by Jordan Pridgen that reached the finals of the online Ranger event. The deck aims to take advantage of the extra options provided by Walk the Path and Amazing Grace to outmaneuver its opponents, while House of Many Faiths and the Joker’s Smile work together to retrieve and place Jokers back in the deck to bolster shootout hands. Try it replacing Asakichi Cooke with Yasmin TIan and drop Doris Powell to start Willa Mae MacGowan over Stevie Lyndon. For some additional updates, you can also try dropping the 3, King value cards to add a second General Store, a second Twilight is Upon Us, and a Ranger’s Bible.

This Kung Fu deck starts Yasmin and uses its Kung Fu dudes to fight for control of town square. From there it builds up control points by playing deeds and hiring Allie Hensman.  Starting Companhurst’s and using the Drunken Masters outfit ability helps Yasmin succeed at Techniques even when she pulls one of the Coachwhips.  With a couple more deeds in play, even the sixes will allow success. Try it starting Yasmin instead of Hiram.


Sifting Squirrel is a young Sioux Nations shaman who regularly converses with the Spirits, trying to glean information about goings-on in Deadwood from their chatter.  Similar to Yasmin, Squirrel also costs three sans upkeep, and provides one influence, making him a viable addition to your starting gang.  He differs, however, by having zero bullets.  He has the Shaman keyword, increasing the number of cheap Shaman dudes with influence available to First Peoples skill decks.  While only skill rating zero, he can boost this via cards such as by St. Anthony’s Chapel or Fire of Nanahbozho. Both cards happen to play well with the faction’s defensive strengths.   As several of their outfits make use of Spirits in some way, having access to another cheap Shaman with influence to fight alongside Mazatl further opens up their starting gang options. At the same time, his Grifter ability also offers support to Kung Fu decks.  Squirrel’s Grift is similar to Yasmin’s. Instead of discarding first, however, you draw first, giving you more options to choose from when deciding what to discard.  If you discard a Spirit or Technique you get to draw an additional card, giving you a larger play hand for the crucial first turn.  Tao Technique cards can be played from the discard pile through Combos, and if you are using the Office of Ancestral Affairs, you may be able to put a Totem Spirit into play from your discard pile.  The card you discard to trigger the ability may not necessarily stay discarded for long.

Here is an example Shaman deck that starts Squirrel.  The deck aims to build up control points on its deeds with the aid of the Office of Ancestral Affairs, and features a mix of Spirits and Totems to help defend those deeds. Try it replacing Butch Deuces with Sifting Squirrel.

Welcome to Deadwood is currently available for preorder from your FLGS or Pine Box Entertainment here.