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Go to the Doomtown: Reloaded - Base Set page
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At its best DoomTown is an imaginative immersive tale set in alternate version of the Wild West. The narrative is very much intact, presenting a masterful job of world building. Gomorra is a living breathing boom town that is detailed right down to the personalities who make up the outfits vying for power. DoomTown is a card game that is steeped in strategy and deck building. Players (between 2-6) make a bid for their associated “outfits” (four total, initially) to control Gomorra. This is truly where the language and writing of the narrative excels. DoomTown comes packaged with two booklets, “Gettin’ to Know Gomorra” and the second booklet “Rules O’ Play”. The “Rules O’ Play” functions as the mythos and ultimate guide to the rich lore of DoomTown right down to the thematic writing. In actuality the “Rules O Play” is an instruction manual which highlights the different modes of play, phases of the games such as “High Noon” and “Calling Out” while continuing to cover other aspects of gaming in a clever way that is akin to creatively using storytelling to make the gamer want to read and understand the rules and world. “Gettin’ to Know Gomorra” Is a walk through guide, helping the player along in some of the initial phases of the game, building a deck and outlining card placement.
At its worst DoomTown is horrendously hermetic that will easily thwart anyone simply curious enough to explore Gamorra before you can say “I’m your huckleberry”. It can also be said that DoomTown is actually a card game twice. Once in the sense of card collecting and deck building. Second in that DoomTown employs Poker suits that run parallel to being the deciding factor to whether or not a game action can be taken or not. The complexity increases when the fact that the poker suits are rendered inert in that they mean the opposite of traditional hands won or held in Poker proper. For example, aces are equaled to a value of one so they are lowest values in pulls and hands. Along with this approach to card values “counters” such as “Ghost Rocks”, “Blue Counters”, “Red Counters”, and “Green” and “Black” Counters all operate at different capacities within the confines of DoomTown that have to be considered in addition to the current “hand” held by a player at any given time while going through the game’s different phases. The various properties of the counters range from monetary gain which equals mobility across the board allowing the player to interact with multiple activities such as paying a bounty or buying property, while “Red Counters” have to do with affecting influence. While attempting to manage all of those resources, deck management at this point is laughable. Arguably complex for a seasoned table top gamer, the numerous piles of cards that the player has to keep track of is bad comedy. Cards have to be specifically placed and sorted to comply with game mechanics. This includes moving across the board, “booting” and making certain cards playable during certain phases of the game. DoomTown is broken up into different phases over a series of days.
To begin with there is “Gamblin’ Phase which essentially sets up player order based on the
winner of this having the lowest hand. The “Upkeep Phase” is the time for players to
strategically fortify their holdings and allies by allocating funds to certain areas on the board
which would affect their interests and holdings. “High Noon” is essentially where the players can
play their card actions and special actions such as “Actin’ ” “Movin’” or “Shoppin’ “. Lastly the
Sundown Phase allows players the opportunity to check for winners or losers who has emerged
from the showdown phase as well as draw or discard the allowable limit of a player’s hand.
There is also a card functionality that a player must be aware off when traversing the board.
Booted cards are cards that skills have been used, the way a player boots a card is by turning it
from its upright position to its side. Locations and adjacency plays a factor in how card structure
and placement is handled in DoomTown. Moving, shopping and building a posse all use detailed
card placement systems that require a specific action to carry out the intended task. An example
for this would be if a player is “Shopin’ ”. The player must first pay a ghost rock to the bank,
then place the card on the table “unbooted”, the player can then use the abilities of the card
purchased in their next turn. The player brings a card into play depending on the type of card it
is. That example is but the first half of the process a player has at their disposal. Strategically a
player can build their deck to include additional expansions or create their deck to be tactically
advantageous in a way to anticipate these elaborate card placement systems.
Depth and strategy is the true name of this game. In all honesty this reviewer has played
several games of DoomTown and still finds the intricacies of this game design over his head. It is
not clear if there is more rules than game present in this package. All the heart in the world can
be found in this game’s narrative design. Though beyond the colorful language and authentic art
design, this game is truly intended for individuals who are willing to routinely exercise and
passionately contemplate building a strategic language. Similar to chess, DoomTown could very
well be the only game an individual or player base needs to play for years to come, consuming
any and all expansions to get the absolute most out of their ever growing and vast tabletop eco

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