Black Lives Matter

In light of the atrocities committed continuously against Black lives in the world, and the continued calls for justice and reform, Pine Box Entertainment stands in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Pine Box Entertainment prides ourselves on the diversity of our workplace and the content creators we work with. That does not mean we can’t do better. And to be forthright, too many gaming spaces have not been truly welcoming to Black peoples and other people of color.

We can do better to support our community, and particularly our supporters and fellow gamers suffering from their own experiences with racism. Our company is committed to further educating ourselves on how to be the best Allies we can be. We recognize that there will likely be mistakes in our path as we struggle against systemic racism. We can only hope to learn from our mistakes to be a better company and individuals in support of others. It is not enough for us to be not-racist; we must be anti-racist.

We will continue to speak out in support of this movement and diversity. We embrace player-driven stories and gameplay, and our community always comes first. We want to make sure it’s a community where Black gamers are welcome. If you ever feel or hear that our community is failing in this regard, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We want to be a company that you can have a dialogue with to make things better in this world.

Thank you to those on our team and in this community that pushed us to speak out and will always push us to be better.

Pine Box Entertainment recommends checking out this great list of Black creators you can support, noted here: https://www.highlevelgames.ca/blog/great-games-black-rpg-creators-and-publishers

Sincerely,
The Pine Box Entertainment Team

Around the Deadlands: Doomtown Story in 2020

Around the Deadlands: Doomtown Story in 2020

As we previously presented Pine Box Entertainment’s plans for 2019, we’d like to now take the time to discuss the plans for Doomtown fiction in 2020. If you haven’t read it yet, head on over the Gomorra Dispatch and check out the standalone tale, “The Temptation of Brother Petrovic,” based on decisions made by you, the players, at GenghisCon.

Earlier this year, we featured a three story continuing the Tombstone storyline after the events that occurred at the Doomtown Destination Event in Tombstone, as detailed in “Falling Star.” Act I: The Aftermath, April 1882, Act II: The Search for Coot Jenkins, and Act III: The Castle, continuing the hunt for Lucy’s killer. 

The following is our plans for the Doomtown fiction team for the rest of 2020.

Jason Pere will continue these post Doomtown events that last left us with a posse heading to Gettysburg. Join us as the story leads back to Tombstone. At this point, Jeff Bailey will usher in a new chapter for the town too tough to die.

Owen Lean, in coordination with the UK Marshall Badge event, will bring us the first fiction on the path to Deadwood as we follow Jonah Essex and his new posse, determined by the players at GenCon 2019: Christine Perfect, Allie Hensman, Tonton Macoute. This fiction will also introduce a new character, “Dynamite” Jacc, created by Gen Con winner Chase Causey, and debuting this fall in the next Doomtown expansion, ‘Welcome to Deadwood.’

With COVID-19 currently placing organized play on hold, we continue to plan for fiction that will be based on the interactions this game offers it’s players, and thus plan further stories accordingly based on what events can occur later this year. Stay safe everyone and thank you for continuing to follow us around the Weird West.

Doomtown Update: COVID 19

Doomtown Update: COVID 19

Greetings Doomtown Players,

In the wake of everything going on in the world, we just wanted to say be safe. We’re very connected to our player base, and we’re here for you if you need anything. Regarding upcoming organized play with the Savage Lands Series, we will constantly update our calendar with entry dates moving to TBD (Rescheduled) in the initial column. Already, the Doomtown UK Marshall Badge Event has been rescheduled for August 22 and the Doomtown Texas Ranger Badge Event at ChupacabraCon has been postponed to August 15. For the upcoming conventions, we’re working on brand new demo decks to start giving out to all greenhorns willing to enter the world of the Weird West. We have contacted all the round-up organizers to advise them to use discretion and keep us informed in the coming months as their events are rescheduled. The Copenhagen Destination Event is very much being monitored, as it is the only Badge event on the schedule not tied to a convention. We urge you all not to make plans to attend until such time as we can definitely confirm that this event is indeed a go; there is a possibility it may change dates and location.

So, what have we been up to recently? If you’re following us on Patreon, you’re getting updates on our trip to GAMA Trade Show, some progress and background on My Little Demon: The Unglittering. Soon we will have some additional projects to talk about along with an upcoming Backwater fiction. We’re also hard at work finalizing art choices for the next Doomtown expansion, tentatively titled, “Welcome to Deadwood.” If you’re stuck at home with friends and family, drop us a line at pineboxentertainment@gmail.com if you’re interested in playtesting Doomtown, MLD, Backwater, or any of our other upcoming projects. In addition, we are in the process of reopening the online store at pineboxentertainment.com, which will soon feature Doomtown products and beginner/faction themed bundles.

We encourage all of you to game responsibly and hopefully we can join you sooner than later and get back in the physical community of gaming. Remember that Doomtown can also be played online via OCTGN, which has a dedicated channel on the Doomtown Discord server, with folks happy to help wrangle in new drifters.

With love,

The Pine Box Entertainment Team

Hell’s Comin’ With Me’s Homebrew Heroines

Hell’s Comin’ With Me’s Homebrew Heroines

by David Hogg

I’ve got a couple of cards from Hell’s Coming With Me! to spoil in this article, but first I’d like to go into the history behind them. I discovered the Deadlands RPG while studying at the University of York in the early 2000s. The gaming society there would hold weekend ‘conventions’ every term and people would bring RPGs, board games, to play with others. The iconic Deadlands rulebook cover caught my eye as I was combing through a table of stuff, looking for something to play. As I leafed through the book I thought that the setting sounded super cool, along with thematic mechanics. Alas, I didn’t get round to trying the game that day, but it stuck in my mind. 

Some time later I was browsing the shelves at my local game store and found the then new Deadlands: Reloaded book. Remembering how much I liked the look of the setting, I bought it and a copy of the Savage Worlds rules. After getting home and devouring the setting and all the options and possibilities, I started throwing together ideas for a short campaign. I gathered some friends and we had a total blast adventuring in The Great Maze and thwarting the Mexican Army of the Dead’s attempts to invade the territory. This simple campaign continued weekly for four years as the posse ventured throughout the Weird West. I wasn’t aware of the Deadlands metaplot at this point and just ran with the setting as presented, generating stories from the hooks and characters included in the book. The posse got involved in all sorts of adventures and built their legend, escaping from Stone, foiling Raven’s schemes, and attempting to redeem Hellstromme. Finally these brave and intrepid adventurers took on their nemesis, Reverend Grimme, in an apocalyptic showdown. We loved the setting so much that one of the players from my game started her own campaign. I then got the opportunity to play through another different interpretation of the setting.

When Doomtown: Reloaded was announced, I ordered it straight away. After running through the ‘learn to play’ scenario a few times to have some idea of what was going on, I approached some of my old Deadlands group and we ended up playing a weekly multiplayer Doomtown game. I enjoyed it so much I decided I’d venture out to a Deputy event to meet other players. I had a great time, learned what I’d been doing wrong rules-wise, and subsequently went to the next event and was hooked! Through playing in the UK Tournament scene I got to know several of the playtesters and ultimately joined the team towards the end of the AEG era.  When Pinebox took over the reins and were forming a posse to work on There Comes a Reckoning, Scott invited me to join their playtest team due to my enthusiasm for Doomtown and knowledge of the Deadlands setting. I’ve since got involved in art direction and card flavour in addition to playtesting.

When design-a-card prizes for Doomtown were first announced, I decided that if I ever won one I’d want to create something to pay tribute to the playgroup that first ventured into the Weird West with me in both RPG and card game formats. When Pine Box offered the opportunity to the playtest team to submit designs and ideas for the set that became Hell’s Comin’ With Me!, I knew what I had to do. I came up with ideas for dudes based on the characters from the RPG I ran. Unfortunately not all of the posse made it into the final set, but two of its members did.

Arielle Moriah hailed from New Orleans and was from a line of powerful Voodooist Blessed. She was dedicated to the loa of healers and plants, Loko, and had taken a vow of pacifism. To represent this in Doomtown she’s only a zero draw, but comes with a high value, Blessed 1, and has an ability that works well with healing-themed spells such as Lay On Hands and Soothe. Four cost, zero upkeep, and one influence make her an option for your starting posse while her high value means she can be included in your deck without risking failed pulls. She also fills a gap by being the first Jack value Blessed.

Dr. Delphi Wallis was a City o’ Gloom native whose family worked for Hellstromme Industries. She created a variety of useful gadgets but had an accompanying set of quirks and eccentricities, including being extremely absent-minded and being unable to see the color red. I liked the idea of Mad Scientists with abilities that represent one of their trademark Gadgets. For Delphi I picked something to represent ‘The Loose-Endinator’. It was a hypnotic gizmo based off the RPG’s Puppet spell that Dr. Wallis used to distract and disorient foes, even allowing for limited mind control and memory erasure. Doomtown’s Puppet spell on a dude would be far too powerful, so instead Delphi’s ability offers a Shootout control option that prevents an opposing dude from using their ability. She’s able to help in various ways, such as protecting your stud dudes from Hattie DeLorre’s bullet penalty or preventing Jacqueline Isham from becoming a stud. The chosen ability cannot be used until next turn, so one can also target dudes with strong Noon abilities if you can lock them in a shootout early game. Dr. Wallis can also shut down “Thunder Boy” Nabbe’s Repeat ability.

Arielle’s player, Ayesha, is an artist. She used to draw doodles of the characters during the RPG sessions (I still have old character sheets and the like full of art). Her style is different to that of the regular artists we use, but it was how I visualised the two characters. When it came to procuring art for these two dudes, I submitted a request to the rest of the art team that we commission her for them. This was graciously approved, and I’ve got to thank Pine Box for allowing these two cards to have the look that I wanted.

 

Lacy O’Malley – A Newsworthy Legend

Lacy O’Malley – A Newsworthy Legend

by David Avery with an introduction by David Lapp

Lacy O’Malley was born in Ireland and subsequently raised in New York. He joined the Tombstone Epitaph in 1875, writing stories on the supernatural occurrences of the Weird West. Lacy is a prominent figure in the Deadlands universe and a member of the Explorer’s Society, a league of heroes involved in the Twilight Legion. Lacy aims to bring truth to the common people expose the Reckoners and join heroes together in the fight to save humanity.

The four servitors in There Comes a Reckoning serve as embodiments of Deadland’s Reckoners. They provide significant benefits such as ways to buff bullets, gain control points, or find and attach spells. These benefits come at a price in the form of added starting cost along with a detrimental trait that a skilled opponent can exploit. The heroes of the Weird West are less overtly powerful, but they are pure of heart and harder to play around. Lacy O’Malley’s detriment requires some forethought, but with careful planning should not provide an undue hindrance. While at the same time, the second part of his trait facilitates extraordinary card draw.

“Card effects cannot cause cards to leave your discard pile, and cards in your discard pile cannot be played.”

Lacy does inherently rule out certain deck concepts while limiting others. Kung fu, the Office of Ancestral affairs, and of course the ubiquitous Maggie Harris horse decks are unusable with Lacy. Doomsday Supply, Technological Exhibition, and Buried Treasure, are also out. Still, many deck archetypes can benefit from the veteran newshound. Search effects like Father Tolarios will still partially work as long as the card you seek resides in your deck rather than your discard pile. There is also no restriction about pulling cards out of boot hill, so the Fearmongers necromancy effects that bring back aced cards remain effective. Crucially, these are all decisions you make in deck building rather than something you will need to consider during play. So once your deck is built you no longer need to worry about Lacy’s weakness. 

“During Sundown, discard all cards in your play hand”

Hand jam in any card game is a problem, since if you don’t draw many cards you are limited in what your deck can do. Doomtown lets you discard a card at sundown and then draw back up to your regular hand size. When your deck is firing on all cylinders, this might mean you redraw three or four cards every turn. However, we have all been in situations where nothing is working and your hand is full of cards you just can’t quite get into play. This can happen if you get a clump of high priced cards, if you are playing against a slide deck which won’t let you play your shootout actions, or if you are just plumb unlucky. Lacy shortcuts all these scenarios by guaranteeing you five new cards in hand every turn. This allows you to get through your deck reliably, giving you significant card advantage over your opponent. Be warned, not being able to hold on to some cards does mean you need to adapt your play style. 

Frequently you will hold a card at the end of your turn to ensure you have cheatin’ punishment or at least give the impression that you have some. Lacy nullifies that strategy, so on table cheatin’ punishment is a must. This makes the Law Dogs a natural home for Lacy with both Virgil and Wyatt Earp providing significant disincentives to cheatin’. And don’t forget those long-time Law Dog stalwarts, Philip Swinford and Tommy Harden. Weapons such as Lemat Revolver, Jael’s Guile and Quickdraw Handgun also present powerful reasons for your opponent to play legal hands. Hell’s Coming With Me adds a new cheatin’ spirit useful in a shootout.

Increasing your hand size is only useful if you are going to play most of the cards in your hand. There is little advantage to having an eight card hand size if you are only playing a couple of cards and drawing two new cards each turn. Lacy rewards decks that can increase their hand size by allowing you to draw eight or nine new cards every turn. Anarchist mainstay Randall is an easy way to increase your hand size. Silent Sigil is also a great combo with Lacy as it allows you retain one card, such as that all important cheatin’ punishment, while still drawing back up to six cards.

The First People with the Eagle wardens and Spiritual Society already give you accelerated card draw. Lacy further turbo charges both these outfits, particularly with the new First Peoples core deed 

Lacy is an incredibly versatile legend who pops up anywhere and across many factions, much like the intrepid reporter himself.

Hell’s Comin’ With Me is currently available for preorder for consumers and retailers and will be shipping March 2020.

Hell’s Comin’ With Me – Texas Rangers Join the Fight Against the Darkness

Hell’s Comin’ With Me – Texas Rangers Join the Fight Against the Darkness

by Daniel Lundsby with an introduction by David Lapp

One of the most famous Texas Rangers in the Deadlands Universe is Hank “One-Eye” Ketchum. Hank was a pivotal hero against the Reckoners and other strange events that plagued the Weird West. He got his nickname from a rather gruesome event. Ketchum was in the field hospital at Gettysburg on the last day of the battle. There a surgeon was possessed by an evil spirit and began hacking off patients’ body parts. The madman plucked out Hank’s eye with a surgeon’s probe, but the indomitable Ketchum and a few other survivors chased the Butcher off. Hank spent years hunting for the Butcher, and finally tracked him to Dodge City (as detailed in the Independence Day dime novel and the events that followed in the City O’Gloom). Hank has been a stalwart of the brand up until his demise as featured in Stone and a Hard Place and detailed in the epilogue of the Cackler graphic novel. In Doomtown, Wendy and Lucy found Hank’s body and Ranger Bible via fiction and roleplaying session at the major round-up in Manchester, UK at Worlds 2018.


Among the Legends joining the fight against darkness in Hell’s Coming With Me is Hank Ketchum. Hank’s design focused on finding a way to bring the Ranger motto “One Riot, One Ranger” into Doomtown. Early versions did this by giving your dude a bullet bonus based on the number of dudes that the  opposing posse outnumbered yours. However, this proved problematic when combined with certain weapons. In particular, the ability to use Hank for Legendary Holster hit-and-run tactics didn’t feel particularly heroic.

Instead of the bullet bonus, the ability shifted to something that would help a dude survive going solo against seemingly impossible odds. Originally a Shootout ability, Hank became a Resolution effect after a group of playtesters, unhappy with how unreliable this was, experimented with the change. The requirement of printed Influence was also added after testing demonstrated how Hank could otherwise be used with token dudes and expendables to put pressure on opponents with very little risk.

The penalty associated with Hank also evolved. Originally you couldn’t have dudes join your posse if you were the leader, but as the ability changed, the penalty did as well. It ended up with the current version that requires picking your highest grit dude as shooter if you’re the leader. While nowhere near as harsh as the earlier version, it’s still worth considering when selecting your dudes. For example, the Law Dog Dynamic Duo of Thunder Boy and Hattie don’t work so well under Hank’s guidance. And even if you’re careful about the dudes in your posse, it doesn’t take much for the opponent to ruin your well laid plans.

Hank is most useful when you’re planning to send dudes into solo fights. Maybe you’re fighting solo because you’re trying out the new Frontier Feud, or maybe the dude has their own reasons to head out alone, like Mason Adler, Sister Mary or Joan McGruder. With Joan, one of the new dudes joining the game in Hell’s Coming With Me, it’s worth noting that one of her traits (“Joan cannot flee shootouts, or be sent home from a shootout”) means that if Hank makes her Harrowed, she can’t be sent home to cover a single casualty. Instead, she will stay in the fight, effectively meaning you avoid the casualty since you have no legal way to cover it. Whether this is actually a benefit depends entirely upon the shootout she’s in.

Besides careful dude selection, various Goods can support a deck featuring Hank. Sidekicks give your lone dude a greater chance of surviving. Weapons can help ensure that your highest grit dude is also a capable gunslinger, whether it’s a Peacemaker to make sure your high-grit dude stays a stud, or a Yagn’s Mechanical Skeleton to promote a low-value dude to preferred shooter status. Hiding in the Shadows is also worth looking at, whether it’s to protect your lone dude or to make sure your opponent doesn’t meddle with your designated shooter.

Here’s an aggressive Sloane deck, using Hank to support Johnny Ringo in his bid to take away the supporting bullets of the opposing posse. Besides Hank, dudes are also kept alive by sidekicks, including the new Scratch, and by Takin’ Cover, also from the new set.

Hell’s Comin’ With Me is currently available for preorder for consumers and retailers and will be shipping March 2020.