Originally published at: http://gomorragazette.com/2015/06/25/doomtown-classic-card-appreciation-society-burnt-offering/
by David Orange
I got into Deadlands: Doomtown long after the game’s demise. I liked the idea of a deep, but finite, cardpool that put reasonable bounds on collecting. As I explored the gamespace, I became engrossed in the ongoing story line as revealed in the fiction and flavor text as well as the concept of ‘experienced’ dudes and cards. While most of you may know me as an editor and writer for the Doomtown: Reloaded story team, I have had an ongoing fascination with how the card art supplements the storyline by immersing the player into the milieu of Gomorra. This is the first of an ongoing series that revisits Classic Doomtown cards through artwork that showcases compelling visual imagery, plays a key role in narrative arc or character development, and features an important in-game effect.
Burnt Offering is one of several cards from Classic Doomtown that let players practice the gentle art of deed removal. Other than removing production or control, these cards brought the aggro-hate to near-broken cards such as Lord Grimley’s Manor experienced or The Lode. Both a Miracle and a Job, Burnt Offering is a quirky beast indeed. First, you have to succeed at a job and then you make the spell pull. Suffice to say that Burnt Offering polarized the player base like few other cards in the game – love or hate depending on which side of the leveled Deed you happened to be on.
As a Miracle, this card found most of its use within the Flock, particularly the Children of Armageddon outfit motivated by sacrifice and destruction. Oddly enough, Burnt Offerin’ appeared in Mouth of Hell, which precedes the Children of Armageddon’s anchoring one of the three starter outfits in Reaping of Souls. Mouth of Hell’s other Miracles are a mixed bunch. Cloak and Clumsiness help the out of town Strike/Control game of the original Flock, while Burnt Offering joins Battle Hymn and Dervish in presaging a more aggressive role for Gomorra’s Blessed faction.The few Flock dudes in Mouth of Hell include the Flim (xp), the skulking watcher/guardian of Elijah and John the Doomsayer, foretelling of dire times ahead.
Reaping of Souls brings key players such as Envy (xp), Miss Lily, Jinx, the Taskmaster, and one of the best shooting abilities in the game in Wrath (xp). The terrifying Events of this set show shit getting real, real fast in Gomorra via Vampire Ambush, Madman’s Secret, and the Flock’s contribution - The Gate is Opened (which unleashes Knicknevin his own bad self). Locust Swarm and Snow in July reprise the control game even as Fire and Brimstone and Welcome to Hell find Armageddon’s offspring going after Wanted Dudes to seal the deal of the rapturous destruction initiated with Burnt Offering.
Liz Danforth’s artwork perfectly evokes Burnt Offering’s in-game effect. Even though it is background, the flame-engulfed Whateley Estate (Liz also did the artwork for the original home outfit) first catches our eye. Rare for CCG artwork, Liz used oils instead of the more typical acrylics/airbrush media. As a result, the incendiary colors of the fire blend into the smoke that sends the ashes of the estate heavenward.
Once our eyes adjust, however, they pull back and more details are revealed. We next notice the woman and her ecstatic dance. The tiptoe pose, along with the upward flow of her dress and robe also point skyward. The white robes evoke and indeed appear to become one with the smoke, further reinforcing the motif of ultimate sacrifice. The eye finally comes to rest upon a shadowy figure in the left foreground. We see him from behind, no identifying features other than a menacing bulk. Could this man be the leader of the job? Then it all becomes clear. The viewpoint is through the two figures and centered upon the burning Estate. WE are standing behind THEM. We play the card to carry out the job’s action. As Walt Kelly’s Pogo opined, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” We are the mob.