I went out to the Sunset last night and cracked out Doomtown with enr0n and Myke! I haven't had a gaming break in a long, long time, and it was really what the doctor ordered.
At first, getting back into it was difficult and kinda mend-bending, because while Myke and I had a pretty good grasp on the rules, we'd utterly forgotten the strategy of playing. It's a really unique game that plays like a board game in many ways -- on top of which, learning the whole new set of Dudes took a while. (There are a few characters that survived from the earlier version, but their rules and factions have changed. A few goods, actions and deeds have carried over with identical or similar rules.)
enr0n played the Sloane Gang, Gomorra's resident set of outlaws. (According to the Jackson's Strike card, Black Jack has retired to a peaceful life of back-breaking mining). I had the new iteration of the Law Dogs. Myke had the Fourth Ring, a collection of magic-using circus freaks that rolled into town. Essentially, enr0n ruled the town the first couple turns, then the dogs got pissed and started shooting back. Meanwhile, at the circus, there were a series of scary juggling acts. The climax was at enr0n's tailor, where the dogs had a series of battles that ended up basically wiping everybody with influence that could counter them, then shot a clown. Victory!
After that, enr0n and I got in a 2-player game. It was late, so we probably weren't thinking too strategically here, but the main action of the game was an epic, 6-round shootout on turn 1 that put most of his dudes in boot hill. Victory!
It was a good time for sure. At least for the Law Dogs, I like the design of the new dudes (they're themed around punishing the opponent for playing cheatin' hands, especially if they have legal ones). I'm not so sure about these prebuilt decks that come in the box -- they're good at shootouts, but we all felt like we weren't pulling enough deeds, so we were a little overly money starved -- but I'm looking forward to tinkering around and getting into the new cards. (It's nice to have a smaller card set to play with, too -- my old collection was four big longboxes.)
The rules changes generally seem positive. The big one is that shootouts are a little less deadly now, so you're more likely to be able to send some guys home or have a longer shootout than I remember from the old version. There are no longer Events, which a little I'm on the fence about. They could clog up your hand, and Event design seemed to get a little lazy at the game went on, but they were also one of the most fun ways that the storyline evolved. There are way fewer out-of-town deeds now.
Summary: throw away every other game in your collection and buy like 20 copies of this one, thanks. The end.