Monday, October 10, 2016

Doomtown: Reloaded...

...or the failed Harrowed pull.

When Doomtown: Reloaded(DTR from here on) was announced I was over the moon with excitement. I want to breakdown my perception of the time line and make some suggestions that might have made the game more approachable(but definitely a different beast). The game came out at GenCon 2014, even with streamlined rules people struggled with DTR, despite having a strong showing at GenCon it never really had solid traction to build a large player base. My first change would be the attachment rules, I would not require the location to be controlled by the player trying to attach the goods. Often during demos I would have to stop players from attaching something because another dude had moved to the location to take control of it. While this does limit some of the chess aspect of the game I think it would have help to streamline the game and eliminate some of the more awkward growing pains of the movement game and made camping town square a little more involved since you could play goods onto dudes in the town square. This would have also opened up design space for goods and spell removal in the core set. Another core rule I would make spells boot the caster after use so deathstar type dudes are limited. The next streamline I would make would be to remove the public and private from deeds, every deed would be private in the sense that if you did not own it and called someone out they would incur the bounty of that action. Again try to limit the small book keeping of the game without changing too much of the core.

So we had a few local events but nothing ever took off, having both Landslide and Clown control as strong early archetypes led to most of the field playing one form of control or another and made the game look like some sort of sprawling chess game that more than one person just decided it wasn't their thing. So you had Sloan Rush as one of the other consistent decks, so the Law Dogs needed to be good, I don't play as much these days buy I think I am still waiting for this to happen. So my changes for the core set, Allie gets an upkeep and Influence making her less likely to show up out of faction and a higher upfront money investment. I think the core rule change to spell would slow Clown control enough for the other groups to keep up. Landslide I think is easier to play against than some of the other archetypes and with the ability to drop goods on dudes at deeds you do not control does give you some design room if it stayed a problem. Now Law Dogs, how to make them good in the core with just an idea and no testing is a tall order; I would start by making the home ability make it so your dudes don't become wanted when calling out dudes or preforming jobs, this shows the laws ability to serve warrants and preform tasks that would get the common folks thrown in the hoosegow. That along with keeping the ability to make dudes wanted should help give them a unique feel. Next is the income problem, always seemed to be short on money but being able to transfer a bounty onto the home for permanent income could be an interesting thematic fix but would need to be tested.

Exposure, after GenCon the hyped died, at the first Origins after the release there was no real push to demo the game to anyone. They didn't even have a banner. AEG has always been rather hands off with the tournament scene in all of their games I was just hoping for a little more support than I saw. The game seemed to be selling well at all the stores I visited but the AEG reps(I think they are called Vanguards now) in the area were unfamiliar with it and did not want to invest the time to run events and the stores were just okay with selling packs. So I ran 4 events and 2 demo nights at a FLGS but I could never get a consistent night off to really anchor a day so no luck with home growing a play group. This past year's Origins rolled around and I decided to skip DTR because two of the Origins events from last year that I played in only had one other person show up in one event and I was the only person in the other events. The main event was well attended both years but I had an event during the same time this year. After the event the cancellation was announced, which would have made it the sunset ride for me since I don't go to GenCon these days. AEG could have done a lead up announcement before Origins and at least let the community have a few more chance to say goodbye.

Anyway, those are just a few postmortem thought I had about the game.

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