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Doomtown:Reloaded


#1

Since this category now exists, I thought I’d break the question: Have you tried Doomtown:Reloaded? And if so, what did you think?

If not: Here’s a review from renown ANR fanatic Quinns from SU&SD to give you an idea of what it involves :wink: http://www.shutupandsitdown.com/blog/post/review-doomtown-reloaded/

The game has progressed quite a lot through the core days, and there’s now a lot of competitive and casual archetypes to play with, and its tournament scene, while undeniably small, is quite varied and refreshed often with new saddlebags (i.e. expansions)

Disclaimer: I’m part of the design team of Doomtown:Reloaded as a volunteer, but am also a big fan of ANR. I also code definitions for both of these games on OCTGN so if you know how to play ANR, you can test-drive DTR online as well with a lot the shortcuts familiar to you :wink:

PS: We’re definitelly inspired by the success of stimhack.com, so we also have a pretty similar forum :wink:


#2

ANR was the first card I ever got into (hearthstone doesn’t count), about 6 months ago - late to the party, I know! Anyway, after running out of ANR datapacks to buy, in the typical “I-want-more” fashion I went out and bought the DTR core set on a whim and tried the included example game (neat idea btw) - it was…confusing, but intriguing.

I don’t think I have the mental bandwidth for two LCGs, but next time I head to a game night I might take a deck down and see if anyone wants a throwdown.

I’ll take a look on that forum as it probably holds the answer, but are there “tutorial”/“breakdown” videos for DTR, similar to the FFG ones for ANR and Conquest? The only tutorial vids I found after a quick Youtube search were people literally playing through the example game, which is fine, but definitely a little overwhelming!


#3

I bought a core set and though the game was an excellent example of game design. I don’t actively play or buy any expansions just because I already have too many other games. The movement is really interesting and makes it more like a board game. My favorite feature is that the players both build the town and can mosey around the various locations. The deckbuilding aspect is genius with the poker values and suits counterbalanced with card effects and power levels.

It’s just a personal preference, but I like games that focus on nameless armies rather than unique heroes. One of the things I like about Netrunner is that most of the ice is general use, not unique. Likewise, Runner hardware and programs are generally not unique (except for a 1-of console). One of the things I like about Conquest is that almost all the units are not unique, just the warlord (which is an exception to most units in most ways) and the occasional 1-of. I liked the aGoT LCG, but it had too much of a focus on unique characters (understandably). This was somewhat balanced out by the sheer number of cards/characters. Doomtown is a fascinating game, with great characters, setting, and theme, but takes unique characters to an extreme.


#4

Yep, DTR is immensely story and character driven, like most AEG games so if you’re into the theme of things, you got a ton of stuff to keep you interested. Just check out how many official fiction pieces exist for DTR already :wink: Of course, if that’s not your cup of tea, this won’t work for you :slight_smile: But there’s a lot of people (including myself) who love that sort of immersion.

Unfortunately no. AEG just doesn’t have the resources of FFG to do something like this. But I hope the included learn2play tutorial helps enough.


#5

I played a few games and I remain stuck in that 3 hour “what is this game, omfg all my guys just died” era. Netrunner did something similar to me though. I played as runner once because a friend wanted me to. And I was like “hmmm, interesting, but I don’t really get it.” A year later (when more than the core existed) I dove in and never looked back (after that friend constantly mentioned it over lunch).

My impression of Doomtown was that the poker thing was intriguing. The combat system looked lovely. But, I personally wasn’t hooked by the movement/control bits. I know with more play, I’d get over that, but I don’t feel like I could ever boil down that game to a position that I could explain the game in a single scenario that would enable me to teach it. And that’s kind of the dividing line for me and games. I can explain netrunner within a run. But, I feel like explaining Doomtown via a shoot out would be the wrong way to explain doom town because the game is too nuanced and expansive.

It’s probably very good at what it does and this is totally an outsider’s perspective. But its the reason I never came back to it after playing it, which I hope is fair?

I feel very much like Quinns did during that review, only I have less play experience. If someone’s looking for a lifestyle game, this is a game worth looking into. There’s just no room for it in my life.


#6

Yep, I kinda feel DTR is stuck in a bad place atm. People can usually focus on one lifestyle game regardless of its pop-cultural popularity, and that tends to be either M:TG or for LCGs, ANR. Further than that, some people may also dip into some franchise games, depending on what they like, thus WH:Conquest, LOTR, SW and so on, which people buy on the side due to the theme, even if they don’t play as much.

Doomtown needs to be your primary game, but it’s really rough to upset ANR due to the latter’s existing popularity, and it’s difficult to be a secondary game due to its complexity and lack of a very known franchise behind it (Deadlands is somewhat known in the right circles, but nowhere close to WH40K or god forbid SW/LOTR).

I think if ANR and DTR had been released at the same time, it would have been a much harder choice to figure out which community to join :wink:


#7

Doomtown died pretty fast out here (lasted maybe 2 weeks), got to play it a couple times but never bought in due to the speed that people moved on from it.


#8

It’s my secondary game, but I don’t get to play it nearly as much as I wish I could. Part of that it that the damn thing is just so hard to teach. There’s so many moving parts and, once you get someone to learn all of the rules, getting her to figured out the strategy is a lot for a new player. So many new players go for the all in shoot-out and are left with a bad taste in their mouth afterwards. I’m still trying to figure out how to get them over that hump as it makes building a community really difficult. I like that the game comes with a tutorial but even that hasn’t gotten me to a place where I can easily teach people. On top of that I find the game so fatiguing (in a good way) as I’m trying to think 3 moves ahead of my opponent and one mistake will probably wreck me.

That being said, I think the area control aspect of it is great. As much as I just complained about the move and counter-move aspect of it, it’s absolutely fascinating to me. I like the fact that there’s a solid backstory to the game, but I’m a die-hard Deadlands fan so that doesn’t surprise me. I think the game has opened up in a really interesting and enjoyable way with the latest deluxe expansion adding new homes for everyone.

So yeah, the steep learning curve makes it really hard for the game to become popular, and I’ve seen a lot of people give it up because they don’t get it. However, I think once you’ve scaled the cliff of Mount Difficulty there’s a really rich and rewarding game in there.


#9

I have no problem with the narrative focus, I just don’t like dealing with all unique characters on a mechanical level in a customizable card game.

Have I mentioned how amazing Doomtown’s design is in regards to the poker mechanics? I don’t even like poker, but it works really well in Doomtown.


#10

I wrote this elsewhere but might as well repeat here: I think that DT has a lot of brilliant components. I like the resource system, the theme, the different factions, the magic and gadget mechanics, the grifters, and I’ve been following the various expansions and saw a bunch of extremely cool cards. For almost all intents and purposes, DT should be a game that I invest in.

With that said, my main problem with the game remains – the combat mechanic is extremely unforgiving. The number one criticism from people who try the game is the same; we spent an hour learning the rules, then the game ended in five minutes and all of my dudes died. I understand that two experienced players can circumvent this problem, but still: it’s a game about shootouts in the Wild West where the last thing you would want to do is have a shootout. Also, the thematic perspective suffers when you have a huge battle where one team is wiped and the other remains unscathed.

This is circumstantial evidence but it seems to me that the game is struggling (otherwise I don’t see why it’s discounted rather heavily), which is a shame. I would love to see some reformulation of the core rules that will be friendlier to newcomers. It might help the game reach higher growth.


#11

I’ve been told that there’s pretty aggressive power creep in the first few packs; i.e., some of the new cards are already way better than cards in the core set. Can someone with experience with the game comment on that?


#12

Perhaps. ANR is thematically nigh perfect, and was a brilliant design originally that, once refined, just sung. Original Doomtown was great, but DTR hasn’t changed a ton from the original. If anything, it’s faster, which isn’t a great thing.

AEG dropped the ball by not trying to get DTR released 5 years ago. It really needed to beat ANR to the block, not be two years late. Like most people here, I have limited bandwidth. I played Conquest and DTR occasionally, but, usually found myself saying, “I’d rather be Netrunning”. As a result, Conquest is on its way out the door, and DTR may soon. Just sold a lot (2 cores, 3 saddlebags) for my friend, though, that only went for $40. That’s a bad sign. Guess I’ll hold mine.


#13

I love it. I wish I had more time for it.

It’s a phenomenal game that I’m not particularly good it, but getting trounced by better players in tournaments (both in real life and on OCTGN) is proving to be enormously helpful.

The deck design is a beautiful puzzle that I’m almost certain isn’t even solvable, but it doesn’t stop me trying. Excellent, excellent game.


#14

So much has been written about this aspect of learning the game already, so I won’t repeat much of it, but there’s a reasonable (albeit clumsy) Netrunner comparison to be made here: losing the game in five minutes due to over-committing to a shootout that you didn’t need to is equivalent to getting flatlined by hitting a Snare! on your last click.

It feels unfair, it’s counter to what you should be doing (running to get accesses to hopefully win), but it is 100% your own goddamn fault. It’s a harsh lesson to learn, but an important one. Just like in Netrunner, new Doomtown players need to be taught to evaluate what the worst case scenario of each action is and to play accordingly. If not making that last click run won’t lose you the game but making it will: don’t do it. Shootouts are the same. It’s all about opportunity costs.


#15

That’s a great point, and I think that was the most disappointing thing for me.

oNR was designed twenty years ago. That’s several board gaming generations; a lot has changed with design technology since then. FFG changed quite a lot between oNR and A:NR: whole mechanics were revamped, card costs shifted, some game mechanics were removed or weakened, others were added. Trace is a great example, it was a lousy mechanic and FFG just threw it out, whether Garfield liked it or not.

On the other hand, looking it DT, it feels to me like it was developed by hardcore fans of the original who were not aggressive enough with the reboot. Another example (in addition to shootouts, which is a deal breaker in my opinion), is that the movement rules are inelegant. I understand them and use them, but they’re a major source of confusion for newcomers – and that’s something that you just don’t want to have in a game.

I know that DT could become an amazing experience once I dedicate the 10-20 hours to get past the initial learning curve. But that’s an expensive price to pay, and I don’t think many players will do it. As a result, the community won’t grow, and I won’t get the experience I’m looking from an LCG. I don’t think that the publication timing was a problem, A:NR had no problem cannibalizing GoT players.


#16

It’s not a game about shootouts! Shootouts is a part of the game, but just like the real old west, the last thing you want is to get involved in one - it generally ends badly for all concerned.* :smiley:

More seriously, I used to play DT heavily in the old days, it was my “main card game” for several years, until it was eclipsed by Shadowfist and later, briefly aGoT. I love the setting, I love the board game mechanics, and I love the deck building - balancing shootouts, pulls and card effects gives me just the right amount of structure.

I’m not playing it these days because there’s no local meta (several netrunner players own it, but nobody plays), and I’m also broke - I fuel Netrunner with store credits from TOing tournaments. If I can ever afford my own core set(s) I might give a serious try to set up a Doomtown night.

*Unless you have Tombstone Frank going at it solo. Man, was he ever annoying.


#17

My main issue from the “modern” version is actually not about the remake or even specifically the game at all. I just find that I enjoy “last mand standing” multiplayer games a little less than I used to. You know, like Doomtown, Shadowfist or (I hear) Illuminati - the game ends when one person wins, and the others can all spend resources to stop it. So you win by timing your attempt just right, after your opponents have spent denial, but before somebody else can exploit it.

(Doomtown was, is, and always will be a multiplayer game for me. Just like aGoT. Half the reason I got into Netrunner was that it’s a decent two-player game that is not magic.)


#18

That is a valid point and I think that deciding that Jinteki should be the first Corp players play was a mistake from FFG. The good news is that 1) you won’t hit a Snare! on every first game (while you will have a shootout), 2) there are three other Corp decks that don’t pack Snare! (while all DT games could lead to that fatal shootout).

I talked to another player during the Cambridge regionals, and we reached a similar conclusion – like Marty McFly in Back to the Future 3, the best way to win a shootout is to avoid it.

BUT. This is a game about magic, demons, and mad science. The mythology is as crazy as it is brilliant. “Shootouts will destroy you” is a little bit of realism that has no room in the game, in my opinion.

Also, if you want to go into realism: if you had a group of five dudes shooting at a group of other five dudes, and vice versa, the outcome of one completely wiping the other without taking any casualties doesn’t make much sense to me. You go into a shootout and get wiped? Fine, I’ll accept that. But having the opposition leave unscathed is not convincing.


#19

Yeah, but, GOT was years in, expensive to approach, and full of bloat. ANR provided a cool theme, nostalgia, and a cheap, new pool to swim in. Sharks hadn’t developed their teeth yet. DTR’s competition is other LCGs, and ANR is still fairly cheap to get into, and is frankly a better game. I think if you were interested in a strong LCG, you went into ANR, unless you wanted the theme of one of the licensed ones. DTR has a theme that will turn some off.

On a side note, it’s nice to see new ANR players jump in and do well. Guy who won the Detroit ANRPC event, and took 2nd in the Regional there, started playing less than six months ago. Maybe he’s just a great card player, but, perhaps it speaks to the elegance of ANR that a newer player can pick it up, learn it, enjoy it, and thrive in such a short time. I could jump into DTR because of my vast familiarity with the original, but, I just wasn’t hooked by it.


#20

One other thing that makes the game a bit less accessible (other than the horrendously steep learning curve) is that there isn’t that much high level commentary or discussion around, and dtdb - the primary deckbuilding site - is filled with absolutely terrible decks.

It’s a function of it being a much smaller game, I suppose, but it means that if you want to just netdeck something to take along to your local meet or a tournament or something, there’s no guarantee that anything you pick out will be any use whatsoever. Even a tournament-winning deck has probably just beaten, like, 8 people, 3 of whom barely know how to play the game in the first place.

The signal to noise ratio on available decks to steal is really poor, is basically what I’m saying.