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Doomtown Card Game

Doomtown is the collectible card game based on Pinnacle Games role-playing game of the weird west, Deadlands.
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! Doc's DT webpage

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.

Flying Claw by Johnathon and Lisa Hunt
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.
Wither by John Matson

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 here.

Miscellaneous Links and Info.

UnclEvls Laboratory Homepage
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 Frothers Unite!
Crows Nest
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.
Marshal Lamberts
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.

EMail UnclEvl
Mail the Moderator of this page.
Ntoice Board
Got something to say? Scribble it up on the notice board at Frothers Unite! and lets all hear it.

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