Twilight Approaches: Doomtown Stories in 2019

Twilight Approaches: Doomtown Stories in 2019

Doomtown players! For some time now Pine Box Entertainment has been mentioning fictions that can be influenced through our organized play events, which moving forward, will be referenced as round-ups! Since the continuation of the game, we’ve released two online fictions and the insert in “There Comes A Reckoning.” Fictions online can be found at http://dispatch.pineboxentertainment.com/, along with the full history of the Doomtown: Reloaded previous fictions.

There are a variety of reasons for the delay, but in short, we owe you, the players, quite a bit of fiction in the coming year leading to our grand Destination Event in Tombstone, Arizona the weekend of October 26, 2019. The following is a break down of what you can expect, starting with today’s release of “Separate Ways” by Fred Wan, the result of the PAX Unplugged 2017 Storyline Event.

Following this fiction, the following is slated for 2019:

-Too Tough to Die/Doomtown Worlds 2018: Owen Lean, Deadlands adventure writer, participated in our role-playing sessions in Manchester this past May where players helped influence the story not only through these games, but also in the Doomtown main event. While some of what happened will be reflected through flavor texts on cards in ‘Out for Blood,’ you players at home will get to know what truly happened in Tombstone in the Doomtown lore on the days leading up to October 26, 1881.

-Out for Blood: The next 56-card expansion for Doomtown following Too Tough to Die will include a fiction insert by Jeff Bailey; a prequel to the events at Worlds and an additional online fiction that reveals the aftermath of the events in Tombstone.

-Coot Jenkins Comes to Gomorra: At Gencon 2018, players involved in the Dead Man’s Hand event faced off against Stone himself, and failed to stop him from going undefeated. The dire consequences will be revealed in this flashback piece by Jason Pere.

-Showdown at the Clanton Ranch: As players voted in the early 2018 round-ups on characters they wanted featured in the climax to the Tombstone fictions, this story will coincide with an upcoming release.

The Twilight Protocol Trilogy: (http://pineboxentertainment.com/2018/08/04/the-twilight-protocol-destination-events-in-2019/)

Lastly, we realized in Europe that we hadn’t really kept folks at home in the loop on the character deaths, and had a discussion with many players online on what we could do differently in the future. As a result, we will be joined by some members of the Saving Throw crew, starting at GenghisCon 42 on February 22, 2018 (http://genghisconcolorado.com/).

For those not familiar with WildCards, this amazing cast of actors led a successful campaign that players were able to watch via Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/savingthrowshow). Some of this cast joins us once again for a session where Doomtown characters featured in ‘Out for Blood,’ including experienced versions of previous characters, will be presented in a Trilogy of role-playing sessions that you will be able to watch unfold right at home or in person at the Twilight Protocol events! The first of these sessions kick off on Friday at GenghisCon following our Prelude to Twilight Doomtown event. Players that participated in the Servitor Series and Abomination Series will see their votes affect Deadlands/Doomtown canon as these players fend off the Reckoners with Marshal Jordan Caves-Callarman weaving the heroes through this tale. Players participating in Twilight Protocol Act I: The Agency, the next day on February 23, 2019, will have a chance to influence the continuation of this story leading to Part II at Chupacabracon in May (https://www.chupacabracon.com/)!

We hope you are as excited as we are for the coming year and trip to historic Tombstone to conclude our events! Whether you’re a first-time player or veteran of the Weird West, we invite you to join us throughout next year’s round-ups! Stay tuned for details on organized play Part I in 2019 following GenghisCon, where organizers can apply to host events!

Gen Con 2018 – The Doomtown Family Vacation

Gen Con 2018 – The Doomtown Family Vacation

by Joe James

The folks at Pine Box sure know how to host memorable events! I wasn’t able to make Kilroy’s Meet & Greet this year, nor the Bicycle event (both of which I’ve attended in previous years and were fun events). I did, however, start Gencon off with a bang in the Deadlands RPG event ran by David Hogg, taking on the role of an overconfident Travis Moone. Despite nearly getting killed a couple of times, I had a great time. I highly recommend attending any of David’s RPG sessions – he is a fantastic GM.

That evening I had a few drinks with my fellow OCTGN-er DeVon (aka: shekky_ducky), while scrambling to make my deck for the next morning’s Dead Man’s Hand event. I had already made a deck, but ended up liking it so much I decided to use it for Saturday’s Championship tourney instead. We ended up with a brew that took similar notes from my 108 Drunken Masters deck, run out of Den of Thieves. The deck spewed out lots of 1 ghost rock chump dudes with aces, eights, and fives as the fifth alternate Dead Mans Hand variant. This strange brew took me to a 3-1 record, only losing to the dreaded and undefeated Stone himself. I managed to get into 19 shootouts over 4 games!

 

Friday after the tournament was spent in some rare non-Doomtown related board gaming, and it was immediately off to the main event Saturday! The tournament report is below, but suffice to say I did not expect to end the day undefeated. After the tourney, I enjoyed an absolutely fantastic dinner with the Pine Box folks and fellow playtesters. David Orange’s always-fun Call Out event put the icing on an already great day of Doomtown. I stayed up later than I probably should have. But as you’ll see with just about everyone else who plays Doomtown, it’s all about the love of the game.

It always astonishes me how amazing this community is. Between the Deadlands RPG event, Dead Mans Hand event, the main event, and the Saturday night Call Out, I got to see friends old and new, and play lots of games of Doomtown. I’ve said it before, but each year it becomes less like a community and more like a family. I couldn’t ask for a better “family” vacation, and look forward to the next gathering that I’m able to make!

Gencon NA Championship Swiss Rounds

My Deck:

https://dtdb.co/en/decklist/2780/drunken-belligerence-2018-na-championship-winner

Round 1: Erik with Gadgetorium, Wagners & Hellstromme

I tried to go on the offensive early, but he quickly set up with Auto-Gatling and other gadgets, fending off my initial assaults on his fortress. I caused some damage, but his gadgets started spiraling out of control and I wasn’t sure what I could do to fight against it. As he had no other deeds and other than Hellstromme, I wasn’t sure how he intended to get any CP to win. Then came the Technological Exhibition and I had my answer. I also had a way to fight him outside his fortress, namely two Sun in Yer Eyes, ready for his two gigantic studs.

I think he stayed too long in the shootout, as he was doing ok with his Decimator Array and Force Field. When Erik ran low on money and had no more decimators left, he drew a very low hand against my very high one with no recourse. At that point it was pretty much game over. 1-0

Round 2: David Hogg

https://dtdb.co/en/decklist/2769/phantom-ringers-na-champs-top-8-

I quickly realized that David had a weak, straight structure with lots of red cards, so I knew I could be as aggressive as I wanted. He got some early Phantasm’s and other spells, including a game changing Puppet (always game changing when it hits the board, especially when the opponent has low value dudes like I did) on Valeria. I was able to Ambush Valeria shortly after, when she wandered into the town square. David fought with her alone, since she was aced either way, and while normally that may be the right move, if you’re going against Inner Struggle like I have, it can be dangerous as the cheatin’ punishment sticks around forever. He probably didn’t know I had that, and his deck wasn’t made for fighting much anyway so it was a fine  choice, even if Valeria died a terrible death.

Lots more Phantasm’s, Phantom Fingers, three Blood Curses, and other hexes (including another Puppet) joined his side. Meanwhile I played out a few more dudes and goods, including a Legendary Holster. David wisely avoided any further shootouts the rest of the game, and since my deck was light on kill jobs, it was a continual dance of trying to stay alive through the barrage of influence loss, my dudes getting Phantasm’ed into his home, and more and more deeds and dudes on his side. Luckily Baijiu Jar and Hired Guns helped find enough influence to keep me in the game and in control of most of his deeds.

It was obvious this game was going to time. With all the blood curses going off, plus his Avie Cline Exp 1 stealing my my 3 CP Allie, if time were called toward the end of the day he would win, and if it were called at the beginning I would win. There was 2 minutes left when all actions were spent for the day, and I played as quickly as I could to get through to the next day so he could have a fair chance. It was just enough time for him to re-puppet my Allie and time was called. The 6CP swing wasn’t quite enough (off by 1 point, I think) and the win at time was mine (which was basically a coin flip win, unfortunately).

This was a very good game of chess and move/counter move tactics, and I was pretty sure if I saw this deck in the top 8 I’d be screwed! 2-0

Round 3: Chase with original 108 Blessed

Very early I got a shotgun down, and used it to defend against a Kidnappin’ (day 1 I think). He only lost two dudes who cost 1 GR each. Chase later said he regretted that move, as losing those bullet catchers meant some other important dudes died later on. While we were both quite belligerent and having a lot of shooty fun, it didn’t end well for him and he conceded. 3-0

Round 4: Jacob with Gadgetorium & Wagners Memorial Ranch

I learned from my game with Erik round 1, and immediately for my first action, shot a dude over to his ranch with Asakichi. This let me call out his dude before he could get an Auto-Gatling down, but I did not succeed and he managed to build up some. I constantly kept up pressure, trading my cheap dudes for his more important ones. While I think he won a majority of the shootouts, it wasn’t enough and I ground him down enough to seal the win. 4-0

Round 5: Rich Carter’s Full Moon Brotherhood https://dtdb.co/en/decklist/2781/gencon-eraser-gencon-2

FMB is generally not a great match up for my deck, since it can turn off both Longwei and Randall. Nevertheless, facing yet another in this tournament in the form of last year’s Marshal surprised me. Carter fought off an early ambush against Leon (I think), shaking my confidence. But I just played a ton of dudes, slapped on a Baijiu Jar or two, and took over the town while threatening shootouts the moment he stepped outside his home. We had some shootouts that generally went ok for me since he couldn’t find enough cheatin’ punishment, so he stayed in his home more often than not.

My glaring weakness of not enough kill jobs, combined with Carter getting an occasional dude with 2-3 influence on the board meant the game would most likely go to time. I tried to fix that by sending for Allie (Hired Guns is so versatile!), but she quickly ended up Plagued, rendering her unusable. When time was called I was pretty far ahead, with almost as much control as his influence, plus all my influence. This meant I had my second timed win (which is just about as bad as one loss). 5-0

Sundays Top 8

Top 8: Robert with Original Sloane https://dtdb.co/en/decklist/2777/gencon-top-8-classic-sloane

We both anticipated some bloody shootouts, and agreed the game would probably not go very long. He started Allie, so the clock began tickin’ from day 1.

I saved my belligerence for day 2 so I could have Benjamin join the fun. Robert deflected my first few onslaughts with minimal losses on his side, and it didn’t look great for me. I believe for day 2 he had 4 control to my 4 influence. If he’d stepped onto my deed with Barton, I would have been forced to fight him with one of my influence dudes (something I generally avoid!). He decided to play it safe, since he held such a commanding lead. I can’t say that was the right or wrong decision at the time… very hard call there. Barton would have fought alone. If Robert had lost him, it would have been very bad.

Staying on the non-belligerent side, he passed and we went into day 3. I rebuilt my drunken army and I caught him cheatin’, and his Allie was caught by a Coachwhip. That gave me plenty of time to rebuild, and after a couple of days and another shootout or two he only had two dudes and several deeds on both sides of the board. The game ended in a series of chess moves that didn’t have many good choices for him to make, and I sealed the win. Close game overall – bloody early and bloody often, just as we predicted!

Top 4: Jevon with Full Moon Brotherhood & Grimme https://dtdb.co/en/decklist/2770/sixes-and-sevens-na-2018-top-4-

This game was recorded, and Pine Box will have it available to watch when it is uploaded. I remember hiring tons of dudes, having tons of shootouts, and not inflicting a whole lot of damage. I got an early Inner Struggle down in lowball, but there was only one shootout I was able to have a legal hand when his was cheatin’, and that was when he got a cheatin 5 of a kind against my legal 4 of a kind. I thought that would be well enough to win the shootout since he was only drawing 6 cards, but that still left me down a hand rank.

Jevon used his home to constantly blank Longwei. I got a ton of hired guns, tightening my draw structure so that Legendary Holster was the only remaining off value card. The discarded off value dudes quickly came back on the table, so while I didn’t need Longwei, he would have surely helped in some shootouts.

I think this game had the most shootouts I’ve ever been in – it must have been close to a dozen separate shootouts. The game was coming close to time, and with his Experienced Ivor, he was ahead in tie breakers. I had some influence dudes in my hand, but instead, I simply hired more 1 GR dudes to fight him off my deeds, but I lacked sufficient time to make it happen.

Jevon had a hard exit time that wouldn’t allow a finals match, and graciously conceded before time expired. We both lamented about not enjoying timed games, especially in top 8 matches, but knew why it existed.

I did not feel good about going onto the finals since it Jevon should have moved on. But consider the alternative – him conceding in the finals? Talk about anti-climatic! I spoke with Carter before our game to talk about giving Jevon the top design-a-card prize regardless of the outcome, and of course he (and the Pine Box folks) agreed.

Well, I felt a little better with that (only a little!), but now on to the finals! I would do my best in Jevon’s place.

PS. I counted sixteen cards in my boot hill at the end of this game! There were a couple of jokers, some cards aced from This’ll Hurt and Sight Beyond Sight, but there must have been a solid 7-8 dudes at least!

Finals: Rich Carter with Full Moon Brotherhood https://dtdb.co/en/decklist/2781/gencon-eraser-gencon-2

Carter and I had spoken a decent amount about our first game, and some mistakes aside, he didn’t think he could do well against my against my deck without plenty of cheatin’ punishment. I played a similar styled deck the day before in the Dead Man’s Hand tournament (a similar style to this, but in Den of Thieves), and he knew this deck featured a similar style of cheat-through-the-pain along with a pile of cheap bodies. Unless there’s lots of cheatin’ punishment, it’s tough to cut through. I had Faithful Hounds to eat his Jaels, so he would likely face an uphill battle without plenty of additional punishment.

Laura Scott kindly took notes for this game and let me snap pictures of them. Thank you Laura!

Day 1 I used hired guns to get Luke, along with a Baijiu Jar, and Carter got a couple of deeds. Luke called out his Ambrose in the town square, who refused, and then continued on his way to Hellstromme Plant #9 where Black Owl awaited. Valeria joined the fight with Black Owl versus Luke. Valeria got Sun In her Eyes, and we both ended up with a cheatin’ full house.

Carter used Flight of the Lepus to send Luke back home booted, then proceeded to go to the town square to call out my booted Xiaodan, who Leon (who has a Forget) had booted earlier. He must accept (not that I wouldn’t have any way!) and another fight was on. Carter got a pretty bad shootout hand: a two pair to my cheatin’ full house. With no punishment, his Valeria and Black Owl both ended up taking dirt naps in Boot Hill. Looking back on it now, that shootout most likely determined the game.

I sat on his deeds to deny most of his non-home income, hired more cheap dudes, deeds, and a shotgun over the next couple days.

Finally Carter got a Jaels Guile on Ambrose, and with my Mayor’s Office on the table, had to do something. Leon booted Randall who was sitting on an adjacent deed. I could see what was coming, so I sent Benjamin to protect the booted Randall. Ambrose came over for a fight, during which Benjamin was unprepared. I drew a straight 6 with Longwei’s help and Carter drew 5, change 2. I luckily managed a legal full house, which was enough to seal the win. Technically his Jake could have popped over to a deed to force another fight, but Luke + Shotgun would have followed to clean things up, so it was game.

I look forward to seeing Carter’s deck and his report, curious as to his thoughts on what sort of luck made its way to his play and shootout hands. Obviously the fight where he lost Valeria was a bad hand, and a crucial victory for me, but if he’d had a second cheatin’ punishment for that fight things might have been very different.

Either way, I think it was just a bad matchup for Carter, but he played a tough situation well. I haven’t been able to play Carter before, but I very much enjoyed playing against, and watching him play. I look forward to working with him in his new role as the Design lead!

Afterthoughts

“So did you win a bunch of money?” my non-Doomtown-playing friends and family ask when they hear the news. I sure didn’t, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Big cash prizes would skew these sorts of events from equal parts competitive and fun, to something less fun. I can’t say enough about how great this community is, and while I’m confident we’d never lose our fun bantering back and forth even during top 8 rounds, adding big prizes would take away something special this game has that few others do.

The “trophy” whiskey flask and case are absolutely gorgeous, as are the top 8 playmat, and top 4 ivory Doc Holliday. Imagine how lucky I must feel to be able to name a card from a tournament last year, and this year see it come to life in ivory form! Pine Box also announced they would be getting Marshal badges for all post-AEG Marshals. These sorts of prizes are simply priceless.

I hope this report inspires others, who may have previously been hesitant, to take their latest brew to the next big event. You won’t find a better, more friendly group of players – I promise. I hope to see you there!

 

Invoke The Twilight Protocol: Destination Events in 2019

Invoke The Twilight Protocol: Destination Events in 2019

We’ve got lots of great plans for the Weird West partners, and we wanted to take the time at GenCon to announce what’s in store for y’all. Whether you’ve just joined us through There Comes a Reckoning’s Kickstarter or drifted into town a while back, we’ve got three special events planned for 2019. Which leads us to…

The Agency, a Denver-based secret government organization, hunts the supernatural. Nearby in Aurora, players will have the first of three opportunities to impact the Deadlands storyline. Players in this Doomtown Destination Event will vote to choose which faction will play a major part in assisting the Agency in their fight against the Reckoners. The winning player will choose a dude who will play a pivotal role in the story by joining the Agency in the fight against evil in the Weird West.

Now the Texas Rangers (counterpart to the Agency) and Agency invoke the Twilight Protocol, joining forces against the coming darkness. Players at ChupacabraCon will vote for who will join the Texas Rangers in the fight to save humanity.

At both conventions, players will have the opportunity to participate in a side event, ‘Twilight is Upon Us.’ After the Deadlands events that occurred in The Cackler, the skies seem a little darker, the vast prairies a little lonelier, and distances between burgs a little longer and more dangerous. It’s almost as if a permanent twilight has fallen…

In these variant events, players will choose between the Heroes of the Weird West, or making Evil their Choice. Choosing a side will have consequences to the story, as the wins for both sides will affect the conclusion as told in the premier act of this series.

Act III: The Twilight Legion

“Heroes from across the Weird West were recruited into a new and secret order, the Twilight Legion. They owed allegiance to no nation or flag – only to humanity’s survival.”

Doomtown World Destination Event: Tombstone, Arizona: October, 2019

October 26, 2019. On the anniversary of the infamous street fight between the Earps and the Cowboys, we will celebrate Doomtown in the very town that was Too Tough to Die. The American Legion will proudly host Doomtown players from around the world in this truly amazing destination event. Stay tuned for more plans including ventures in around Tombstone as a community, side events, and transportation and hotel deals as we prepare for a memorable journey into history. Be forewarned partners, the fate of the West is in your hands. If a player using a Servitor or joining the Fearmongers wins this event, it will have dire consequences on the future of Tombstone!

Moving Forward

Beyond events, we’re working on some amazing new ways for players to experience Doomtown at home with variations of the game and ways to make some promotional items available for those that are unable to travel to these events. We recognize that Doomtown encompasses a global community. For those on the other side of the world, Copenhagen, Denmark in August, 2020 will host that year’s World Destination Event!

Thank you all for making this game and community the best around,

 

David Lapp
Doomtown: Reloaded Community Manager

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:
https://www.peginc.com/store/the-taxidermists-tail/

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…

Rulebook 1.4.0 and Compendium 0.8.0 Released!

Rulebook 1.4.0 and Compendium 0.8.0 Released!

full moon behind doomtown reloaded logo

Howdy, cowpokes! We are happy to announce that we have just released the latest updates to both the Rulebook (version 1.4.0) and Rules Compendium (version 0.8.0). There are some pretty extensive updates this round, so here’s an overview of some of the biggest changes (some of which have been announced previously):

  • The terms “faction,” “outfit,” and “gang” have all been formally defined in relation to one another.
  • Formally switching to “starting gang” as the preferred term instead of “starting posse.”
  • Dudes are now limited to one Attire each, just as Horses and Weapons are handled.
  • Clarification of the posse formation process for jobs.
  • Cleaning up the wording of cards being “worth” or “having” control points (it’ll be “has” from here on out).
  • Streamlining the “Core” keyword.
  • Clarification of “Noon/Shootout” abilities when used during a shootout.
  • Definition of “Prevention” in Doomtown, and the ins and outs of how prevention of effects works in action.
  • Addition of the “Rowdy” keyword for deeds (which checks for control with bullets instead of influence).
  • Various specific card rulings.

If you’d like to review each and every change in detail, as always, please check out the Recent Updates log!

Wearing Your Sunday Best: Limiting Gomorra’s Finest to One Attire

Wearing Your Sunday Best: Limiting Gomorra’s Finest to One Attire

Greetings again cowfolks! The time has come for another major rules change to Doomtown: Reloaded. Pine Box Entertainment has periodically discussed limiting Attires to one per dude. This idea first came up with respect to Fancy New Hat, as it seemed silly that one character could wear four of them. While there are now attires that appear of different types, we still found it best to finally move forward with this change. It also keeps Attires in line with the restrictions on Weapons and Horses, e.g. one per dude.

Why make this change now?

Implementing this change by July 30 ensures that the changes will be in effect for all DT:R events at Gencon 51. Also, PBE hopes that a proactive ruling will help prevent negative play experiences resulting from attires affecting several newly released cards. With Kickstarter shipments beginning next week and possibly leading to fulfillment delivery before August, we want to do everything we can to reel in new players to join us at events, not deter them from playing. Here are a couple interactions that concerned us:

  1. Friends in High Places/Puppet Decks. You may have noticed in the compendium we also further clarified the definition of ‘Plays,’ which are defined as your Noon actions of Actin’, Callin’ Out,  Movin’, Shoppin’, and Tradin’. This does not include Reacts. Using Johnny Brocklehurst to increase your Huckster’s influence, who may also happen to be wearing several Attires for Influence bonus and have the Puppet spell, could create an instance where reacting with Friends in High Places to avoid a call out could be unavoidable to your opponent. While these ‘janky’ style decks can sometimes be fun and we don’t want to completely deter creativity, we wanted to make it slightly more difficult to initiate this combo.
  2. Decimator Array/Force Field/Hand Rank Manipulation Decks: What is arguably one of the ‘top tier’ decks in the current meta features a combination of cards that allow a player to increase hand ranks through a variety of cards, mostly gadgets. With the Decimator Array functioning as an Attire, this rule prevents stacking for multiple reactions of the ability on one Dude, somewhat limiting the feasibility of this strategy.

We hope you find these changes reasonable and geared towards making Doomtown a healthier experience in the organized play environment. I look forward to the variety of events we have planned for Indianapolis and announcing our future endeavors for 2019.