Posted Wednesday, 25-Feb-2015
Two gunslingers stare at each other down a dirt street, the air between them thick with tension. A tumbleweed blows past as the townspeople hide behind closed doors. Any moment now, the guns will come out – somebody will win, and somebody will die.
Welcome to Doomtown.
Doomtown: Reloaded is a card game from AEG, in which you grapple for control of a lawless Wild West town. But it’s more than just a western, it’s a weird western, full of fantasy and steampunk elements.
You play as one of four factions – the mad scientists of the Morgan Cattle Company; the bloodthirsty outlaws of the Sloane Gang; the dark magicians of the Fourth Ring circus; or the Law Dogs, trying to keep the peace. Each one plays differently, and each is richly characterful, with great pictures and evocative flavor text.
Doomtown: Reloaded is a deck building game in which you assemble a set of cards you think will work well together, then use them against other players. But it doesn’t just use its card game format to provide flexibility – it uses it to evoke the western setting.
Doomtown cards have suits and values like normal playing cards, and you win or lose shoot-outs by creating poker hands. It’s thematically perfect, not just because poker is so evocative of dark dealings in the Wild West, but because of the tension it builds.
The poker hands also make deck building more challenging. You want cards that are powerful in play, but you also want the right suits and numbers for winning poker hands. It creates a great balancing act.
Doomtown: Reloaded plays like a shoot-out in a film, a tense, exciting build-up followed by a sudden, swift moment in which everything is resolved and one side lies dead. You build your side of the street and maneuver your posse, but ultimately it comes down to the fall of the cards. How that goes depends a little on luck, and a lot on how you build your deck.
Since picking up Doomtown a month ago, I’ve played it nearly every day. Within a week I’d bought the first two expansions, and I ordered the third one, Election Day Slaughter, before it even came out. This is a clever, atmospheric game that provides endless variety, and gives you plenty to think about.
If you enjoy deck building games, or are a fan of westerns, then this is the game for you. And if not, maybe it’s time to give the cards a go.
Now excuse me, partner, but there are outlaws in the saloon, and the law ain’t gonna uphold itself. It’s time for me to go get my guns.
Published by BoardGamePrices.com