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Go to the Doomtown: Reloaded - Base Set page
5 out of 5 gamers thought this was helpful

Gamorra, a weird west town, always has its arms opened for those who seek the biggest bounty. You will find an interesting rabble of sheriffs, bandits, mad scientist, and even psychotic clowns moseying about the town, vying for the control of Gamorra and the bounty of*ish Ghost Rock.

Boomtown Reloaded is an expandable card game that can be played by 2 or more players. The winner will be decided by who has the most strategic mind and more importantly has lady luck on their side. It is all about taking control by using the player’s dudes to build up influence.

Doomtown is immersive where players have the opportunity to build the town, making income, hiring dudes, and taking over their opponents’ property with their pre-built deck. It is also full of twists and uncertainties because of its unique mechanics combining poker and chess. The game adopts the basic poker game rules of drawing cards and comparing hand ranks. However, unlike poker, Doomtown allows cheating hands (though it gives you disadvantage against some abilities). This unique mechanic gives players more freedom when they are building their own deck where they don’t have to focus as much on the suit and number of a card but paying attention on the ability of the card.

Each round marks a new day in Doomtown, which starts with gambling and ends with the Sundown Phase. One of the most important and dramatic phases is the High Noon Phase. This is the time when players take actions, positioning and taking control. Like many other western games, Doomtown has shootouts with its unique mechanics: combining playing cards and poker. This is where the game becomes interestingly complicated. It is not only based on luck but how the player built the deck as well since the player can use abilities to make twist based on the result from the current draw hand. In the beginning, this action can be really overwhelming since the player is not as familiar with the abilities. However, it is also these abilities that make the game more engaging since the system not only requires players being fully aware of their situation and taking actions strategically, but also creates uncertainty of the result that can completely change the situation one is in.

One may argue that shootout is the most important action during the High Noon Phase. Indeed, it directly determines the number of dudes each player has, which affects his/her control compared to others’ influence. However, when you are fully involved into the game, you will realize moving your dudes is also as important if not more important than the shootout itself thanks to the booting mechanics in the game. Booting is like a cost in Doomtown, without paying any currency to use some awesome abilities. Players’ dudes have to be booted moving to a non-adjacent spot. This rule forces players to carefully move their dude so that when they have to answer a call-out, they don’t have to form their posses by booting every dude they have. Now, the game sounds more like chess, does it not?

Doomtown Reloaded is an awesome game for those who enjoy wild western board games with poker mechanics. It is still great for those who love the settings and are familiar with basic poker rules. However, it can be really overwhelming or even frustrating to those who are not big fans of poker. This is because the poker mechanic takes such an important role in the game where it directly affects gambling and shootouts. It can be double-edged. Adding poker rules into the gameplay makes the game unique by increasing the randomness from luck and allows dramatic changes in the game. At the same time, it can also distract a player who is not familiar with basic poker rules from the main game play. Constantly checking hand ranks while memorizing different abilities of each card is not a new-player friendly experience. Doomtown itself has a big learning curve for those who are familiar with poker, but for those who have to learn poker rules first, this game is just too much.

I would definitely recommend this game to those who like exciting twists in highly engaging and brain burning games. However, to those who are just ok with the settings and not familiar with poker (or even chess, like myself), I have to say that Doomtown Reloaded is a game that takes a lot of time and patience to learn before you can enjoy and master it.

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