Monday, September 15, 2014

In a cosmic twist of coincidence, JRoSplon invited me to his gaming session, but I couldn't: I had a date with my copy of Doomtown across town!  We played three 2-player games, and they went quite differently than did JOrN's games.  My opponent was the Sloane gang for all three games, I was the Law Dogs for the first two (and thought they sucked, I got mauled!) and the Ranchers for the last game.  Neither of us had ever played before.  Here's the summary I sent J'shpegan yesterday:

Game 1: The sloanes won first player, dropped a shotgun on Ramiro (uh oh...  Shotgun is bad news on Ramiro.  It aces anyone with value 3 or less before the shooting starts!) and moseyed on out into the town square.  I played the railroad station (controller can boot the RRS to move a dude anywhere unbooted), the only deed I had.  We had a big gunfight out at the RRS, he aced my stud (the one who punishes cheaters, a good dude) with his shotgun (which boots it), and killed another dude in the ensuing firefight, the remaining two law dogs scooted on home, booted.  Ramiro hops on a train and exits (right next door) at my Outfit, fresh and unbooted as a springtime daisy compliments of the !@#! RRS, and proceeds to kill the heck outta my last two guys (even though the shotgun was booted and thus not used).  Er.  That was quick...  Shotgun on Ramiro is ridiculous.  Kindof a "gee, let's just say you won, we reshuffle and try again, eh?" ridiculous.  If you're playing against someone with shotgun who has a high-bullet dude, you can take anyone with a low value...!

Game 2: This time he played a deed (the Chinese tailors, +2 to income!) and I felt I needed to keep him from that income.  The LD are money starved, and I was envious of his budding economy: no deed cards in my hand!  So all my dudes moseyed on over.  he sent someone out to the town square to get his +1 ghost rock (Outfit ability), and the rest of us shot it out at the tailors.  I had good shootout cards, and stripped him down to size before the shootin' started.  I had the draw advantage, and the stud advantage: but he crushed me!  Drew a perfect hand, didn't really even need to redraw.  We got into several gunfights over the course of our two games, and the LD lost each one (paradoxically: they also lost each low-ball gambling first phase nonsense!  I had serious luck and money troubles).  Even catching him cheatin' once or twice, I just lost lost lost.  Lousy luck, but it also seems like the LD deck isn't really built for gunfights (JOnn claims otherwise, so I'm eager to try 'em again).  So yeah, I lost that one in a turn or three too.

Game 3: he stuck it out with the Sloane gang, and I took the Cattle ranchers.  I got three deeds in my hand at the get-go (which means I was pretty weak at other stuff of course), but it turns out he wasn't much better off.  I lost first turn, and so only had one ghost rock: not enough to play a deed yet.  Irving, one of my lousier gunfighters, has a cool ability: get a ghost rock if he joins a posse.  So I picked an easy fight to get the ghost rock (I think it was a tie, or something, no casualties, then I bailed out and went back to my outfit, booted) and play the deed.  He moved to take over my deed, then played one of his own, which I moved to take over within a turn or so, and without contest since his dudes were all over on my side of town (and one of my dudes had a horse which helped him unboot after joining a posse or something).  He also played another dude with upkeep, so his economy eventually shrank to zero.  The next turn he moved to take back his deed (again, I fled - though the gunfights I did get into I ruled even though that's not my forte - four of a kind, twice!  Only a little cheatin', mebbe.  Thank you also, joker!) and within another turn I had four deeds down and just won cause he couldn't get his dudes off his deed without booting and didn't therefore have enough time to get back over to contest ownership - something like my four Control to his 3 Influence by the time the dust had settled since he'd lost a few dudes in the four-of-a-kind gunfights.  There's an interesting article up on the Doomtown page about why they reduced the number of strikes (in short: easy money and control) because of the number of high strikes decks would just swamp the opponent with deeds - they couldn't take them over as quickly as they came out once your economy starts rolling!  That's pretty much the deck I had, just by chance.

That poker thing is interesting, but can be really rough!  It also seems like you build decks to get duplicates of things (pairs, 3- and 4-of-a-kind) rather than straights or flushes.  So the whole probability thing of not just taking cool cards, but taking cool cards with similar values or suits, is weird.  Add to that, if you're playing ranchers or circus freaks the fact that you have to take high values so you can build your gadgets and cast your spells.  Given how tight your economy is: if you try to build a gadget, spend the money and then fail...  Ouch!  Seems deckbuilding is kinda hard, actually.  So the game is super cool, but I'm not so stoked about how multidimensional the deckbuilding is relative to Warhammer Invasion, my current favorite card game.  I think my brain will explode - I like playing these games, but don't love the deckbuilding bits.