Doomtown is the collectible card
game based on Pinnacle
Games role-playing game of the weird west, Deadlands.
Deadlands is a game set in the recognisable old Wild West of 1800's America, but with a
twist. Monstrous abominations stalk the wilds; the dead rise from their grave
to stalk the earth; arcane forces are unleashed by the card-wielding of
spell-slinging hucksters, the chanting of indian shamans and the hell-fire sermons of
preachers; and as if that wasn't enough, mad scientists contrive and build all
manner of insane gadgetry. It's a Weird place all right.
Doomtown then is set in the mining boomtown of Gomorra, out on the Californian
(or whats left of it) coast. Here they mine a type of mystical coal called Ghost
Rock, a potentially powerful substance. The game is all about taking control
of the town.
|For a fuller explanation of the game and its concepts, as well as some tips,
card-combos and sample decks, head on over to the "Doc's"
pages on Frothers Unite!
What I aim to try and do here is offer a few ideas on rules variations you can try,
either cos I think the originals can be improved on, explanation and/or function,
or cos there just plain ain't any.
Random Fear Level
The Fear Level for a game of DT can be a big factor, not only for some of the card effects,
but for some decks as well - 'Whateleys, Extended Family' readily springs to mind.
From an original value of 3 at its initial release, upto 6 during the
final struggle against Knicknevin and finally coming down to 4 with the demon's defeat
and the ensuing power struggle during 'Do Unto Others', the starting Fear Level has
fluctuated, representing the air of menace pervading the town of Gomorra as the various
story arcs unfolded during the course of Doomtown's existence. DUO looks like being
the last release for the game, for the foreseeable future at least, and as such
the relevant rules for this release are the most recent and applicable.
So a starting Fear Level of 4 is perhaps a happy compromise, no matter what decks or cards
are being played (so don't bother including 'Schoolhouse' in your deck).
Of course, if players are all playing decks associated with a 'historical' period of
Gomorra's evolution, then they may agree to play with a starting Fear Level
associated with the relevant release. But what I propose here is that the starting
Fear Level for a game of DT should be randomised at the start of the game. This
could be accomplished in any number of ways, but the method I would suggest is that
following the first round of Lowball, the Winner pulls the top card from their deck
and the starting Fear Level for the game is then determined as half the value
of the pulled card, rounding any halves up and where picture cards have the values
11, 12, 13 for Jack, Queen, King respectively. This would give a random starting Fear
Level of between 1 and 7, which would also allow players to whom it mattered to try and
tailor thier decks to get an early advantage from the outset by swinging the Fear Level
in thier favour. The advantage would never be too great - 'Whateleys, Extended Family'
would only get a single Control Point advantage even if they managed to win the first
Lowball and pull a King from thier deck - but could once again help to
make the Fear Level an interesting factor.
This is an idea based on one that was originally proposed by mad old Col. Marbles,
so credit where credit's due, even if he is normally a dribbling old buffoon.
Harrowed Powers and Kung-Fu Powers
I'm not gonna go through and discuss each of related cards here, what I plan to suggest is something
far more audacious in nature.
When harrowed powers were first released with the Mouth of Hell expansion,
I was surprised at the way they were fitted
into the game mechanics. Here to me was what appeared to be another set of mystical powers,
much like the other different spell types: Huckster's Hexes; Shaman's Spirits and
Blessed's Miracles. The same was also true of the Kung-Fu Powers when they were introduced
in the Do Unto Others set. But these cards were introduced as actions, not spells.
They also have a very clumsy mechanism in play - namely that you state which character
gains the power and then the power card is aced and removed from play (sure, most people play with the Power
cards remaining under the character as a reminder during play, but this cannot be
done if the character is subsequently discarded). So not only do you then have to remember
which character has which power, it also means that your deck is depleted by one card,
a very important consideration for a card game where the deck is cycled. Compounding
this problem, to my mind, is once a Power is attached, the character always has that
power, whether they are discarded or aced and then brought back into play again, by the
same or another player. This means that even if you manage to put down a players
Harrowed dude with their Claws, Arcane Protection, Super natural Speed, Wither,
and Speaking With the Dead, for example, if they manage to bring that dude back into play
(or any other player brings that dude into play) then they would still
have all their Harrowed Powers intact. To my way of thinking, this just doesn't sit
right. Surely a Manitou would suffer some loss of power when they are defeated, even if
they rise again. Same goes for a Kung-Fu dude, surely they would be dispirited after a
defeat and this would affect their ability. Besides, this just didn't compare with
spells, which are similar abilities, (in fact spells are lesser abilities since most require
a pull to use whereas the Powers in question always work). Spells are lost completely
to Boot Hill when the character they were attached to is aced, even if that character is
brought back. And if the character is discarded then so are the spells, which may then
cycle through the deck so they may be reattached, making the game more interesting. My
last point against these Powers as Actions was that it made them Clubs. There are already
more than enough Club, Action cards in the set, but if these Powers had been brought
out as 'spells' instead then they would have been Hearts. This would have given players
another option for deck building, instead of using goods or other spells to fill Hearts.
As you may have gathered, I do not like the Fu Powers or Harrowed Powers as Club, Action cards.
From a game design and mechanics point of view, as well as from an internal gameworld logic,
perspective, I cannot see any reason why they should be this and not Heart, Spell cards.
I have emailed the designers at AEG with my points, but either they misunderstood what I was
asking; couldn't be bothered to explain, or just didn't have a reason. All they told me
was "yes, the Fu and Harrowed Powers are Club, Action cards, not Heart, Spell cards", which I
obviously already knew.
So basically, my suggestion is a simple one. If you play DT and enjoy it, then try
playing it where you treat all Fu and Harrowed Power cards as 'Spell' and 'Hearts' cards.
Their values will remain the same as whatever they are printed at of course. But they will
be attached to dudes and treated in all other ways the same way as spells are,
and be discarded and aced in the same way; not aced and removed from the game when attached as previously.
This also means they can be targeted as 'Spell' cards. The limit of only one of any one
Harrowed or Fu Power per dude (barring specific card exceptions such as
'Chester Nero') remains however.
Give it a try, I think it will make for a more interesting game, providing a better
level of game balance for these cards and making for greater variation in deck construction.
If you'd like a copy of these rules in Word format then down load them
Miscellaneous Links and Info.
Head for UnclEvl's Laboratory Homepage to sample all thats new in the world of gaming, as dreamed up by the old feller.
Head to the Frothers Unite! Homepage.
Head for the Doc's DT page here at Frothers Unite! - Everything you ever needed to know about
the little old card game based in the Doomtown of Gomorra.
Head for the cunning Card Combo Concepts and Deck Design ideas page here at
Head for the Crows Nest - possibly the only Doomtown resource website
you'll ever need cos its got everything.
Head for the Alderac Entertainment Group website - Doomtown and a whole lot more
in the way of CCGs.
Head for the Pinnacle Games website - Deadlands, Hell on Earth and all that
comes after, RPG-like.
Head for Marshal Lamberts Deadlands website - A useful site with a whole
passle o' new Deadlands stuff and its on them there Deadlands webrings too.
Mail the Moderator of this page.
Got something to say? Scribble it up on the notice board at Frothers Unite! and lets all hear it.