Hello new Doomtown players or those considering getting in to Doomtown,
Starting a new card game can be confusing, even one like Doomtown Reloaded where you know exactly what you’re getting in each pack. That Doomtown Reloaded was originally produced by AEG and is continuing under Pinnacle Entertainment/Pinebox Entertainment so it is easier to find the existing expansions at Pinebox's online store (link below) and there are new expansions coming out developed by many of the previous design/play-testing team members now at Pinebox.
This guide aims to help new players out by offering a few suggestions for expansions that help every faction and the broader game experience, then offers further suggestions that help round out typical decks for each of the original four factions. Helpfully there’s some overlap between the general section and the faction specific section, keeping costs down. Doomtown's poker values make deck construction unusual - unlike many other games you don't need to hunt down every expansion with good dudes that are part of your faction. Instead you can focus your efforts on key starting dudes and dudes that match the poker values you're seeking to use. This helps reduce entry costs in to the game.
Below are links to some decks that can be built simultaneously using two base sets. These are complemented by further decklists that can be built simultaneously depending on which expansions you own. You can use the expansion and faction specific advice below to customise these decks further!
2x Base Set
2x Base set + 1x each expansion up to & including Dirty Deeds
2x Base set + There Comes A Reckoning
2x Base Set +1x each Expansion up to & including Hell's Comin' With Me
The Morgan Cattle Company decks get some extra recommendations and then a bonus set of three expansions as their Mad Science theme requires several moving parts distinct to those that work well for their horses and ranches theme.
Please note that the faction names have been broadened out as the game's story moved beyond the town of Gomorra. The cards continue to use the same Faction icon and are compatible, but this better reflects the wider world of Deadlands. For example, the Sloane Gang is now the broader "Outlaws" faction. These names are noted below, with the exception of Law Dogs who retained their name as it was sufficiently broad already.
2x Base Set: this will give you 4x of all the base set cards, the maximum you can include in a deck. This will help in both drawing the cards you’re after and in creating more consistent draw hands in shootouts. Note that the Base Set is the only time you'll need two copies of something. All other expansions include a full playset of their cards.
SB = "Saddlebag", small expansion
PB = "Pine Box", large expansion
PBE = Pinebox Entertainment Expansion, slightly larger still than the Pine Box expansion
Good starting points for all the factions
- Faith & Fear (PB): the first Pinebox. This adds a new home for the original four factions (Law Dogs, Sloane, Morgan and Fourth Ring), expanding your deck building options. It introduces “This’ll Hurt In the Mornin’”, a solid piece of cheatin’ punishment that works in lowballs and shootouts – it’s 8 value so it won’t ruin your pulls if you’re using Mad Science or Spells. Adds a new skill type (Blessed) with a couple of drifters and two Law Dogs that use the skill so you can experiment with it straight away. Faster on the Draw is a good shootout action on 6 that fits in to lots of decks and is particularly strong in Law Dogs, as it makes any deputy a stud – useful for making your draws in to competent shooters or for helping out if you’re fed up having your studs hit with “Sun in Yer Eyes”. Phantasm is a good hex if you’ve got someone who like the movement element of the game and control decks.
- Bad Medicine (SB): this provides you with Willa Mae MacGowan, a 1GR drifter. New players often go "all in" in to early shootouts (I do too even though I should know better!). This gives you a cheap body to absorb casualties (she can also be aced as a resolution action to send all your other dudes home and end the shootout – the ultimate panic button for when things don't go to plan, and can keep you in the game if you risked all your influence). This set also has Yagn’s Mechanical Skeleton (one of the best gadgets in the game), Mugging (useful if people are dominating your meta with attachments) and LeMat Revolver (a solid anti cheatin’ weapon).
- Too Tough to Die (PBE): provides great starting dudes for a number of factions (Papa Marais for Fearmongers, Ike Clanton for Outlaws, Alexander Sequoia for First People) or themes (significant improvements for Law Dog Mad Science and Blessed) within factions. It also adds a pair of strong anti Cheatin' Resolutions for use in shootouts (I'm Your Huckleberry and Ricochet) if strong cheatin' hands are dominating your games or if you're finding you need more cheatin' punishment to build multiple decks. Ricochet is a 9 of Clubs and will therefore particularly appeal to Skill based decks that need to have high pull values. Ranger's Bible is an appealing Q goods card, boosting your influence and providing a useful Cheatin' Resolution. Curse of Failure is another attraction, providing a new Job that you can use to attack your opponent's influence and the set also features a number of good deeds to help round out decks.
- There Comes a Reckoning (PBE): as well as being an attractive expansion in its own right, There Comes a Reckoning has promo/errata copies of a number of frequently used cards and is an attractive purchase if you like to have multiple decks built that might compete for the same cards. No longer will shootout focused decks on 3 and 5 have to compete over Sun in Yer Eyes, The Stakes Just Rose and Pistol Whip! The errata cards effectively expand your copies too, as the errata is generally of a minor, technical nature and doesn't affect regular play.
- Election Day Slaughter (SB): this adds Jake Smiley to the game, a dude who makes it much easier to build starting posses. He’s only 2GR for a 1-draw with Ace value so he’s vulnerable, but he counts as having two influence during Sundown. This helps keep you in the game longer. He also lets you experiment with a broader range of starting posses.
- Double Dealin’ (SB): provides “It’s Not What You Know”, one of my favourite cheatin’ resolution cards. It’s on Q value so it won’t hurt your pulls if you’re using Mad Science or spells.
- Immovable Object, Unstoppable Force (PB): introduces the 108 Righteous Bandits and Eagle Warden Factions (see below).
- Faith & Fear (PB): gives you Valeria Batten – she’s Huckster 1, has 1 Influence and is a 0 stud (excellent back-up in a shootout as the bullet rating doesn’t matter if you’re not the posse's shooter) for only 4GR with 0 upkeep! She's a mainstay of Fourth Ring starting posses.
- Double Dealin’ (SB): Leonardo “Leon” Cavallo: a strong control dude – he’s a Huckster 1 with 2 Influence for 5GR with 1 upkeep, so you can fit him in to your starting posse. His ability is powerful: he can boot to target dudes at his location/adjacent locations and boot them if you pull equal to their value or higher.
- Too Tough to Die (PBE): Papa Marias is in this expansion and strengthens your starting posses as he is a 3 Ghost Rock Huckster with 1 influence and no upkeep. For fans of Abominations, this expansion has the Skinwalker and Tonton Macoute dudes plus the Gateway spell to easily move them around the town and in to Shootouts. Claws can be attached to your Abominations to make them even scarier in a fight and Ricochet will appeal to Huckster players as it provides strong Cheatin' Punishment on a high value (9) that is unlikely to fail your spell pulls.
- Out For Blood/Hell's Comin' With Me (both PBE): both expansions provide Fearmongers with a Huckster on J, filling a gap in the faction's roster. Out for Blood features Malison, a good shootout spell and Twilight is Upon Us to boost your Hucksters in shootouts. It also features an experienced version of popular Fearmonger starting dude Valeria Batten - while she has left the faction due to storyline tournament results and is now a drifter she still fits well in Fearmonger decks. Hell's Comin with Me has an appealing brace of new spells in Bolt O' Doom and Mind Twist, giving new options for shootouts and "control" themed decks respectively. Mind Twist in particular opens up new deck types: in some circumstances it is better than the base set's Blood Curse and in others weaker, but it is always much easier to cast (Difficulty 6). This helps you experiment by mixing in some lower values without failing your Hex pulls. Harlon Stanton is in this expansion and at only 4 Ghost Rock for a Huckster with 1 influence and no upkeep he can find a way in to your starting posses.
- Blood Moon Rising (PB): this gives you a huge upgrade to your starting posse options, adding “Thunder Boy” Nabbe and Hattie DeLorre. Between them, these dudes pack a lot of influence, can reduce opposing bullets and “Thunder Boy” can make himself a stud if there’s an opposing wanted dude. Additionally they’ve got solid values/grit which helps if you’ve been struggling against Soul Blasts/Shotguns.
- No Turning Back (SB): gives you Judge Harry Somerset Experienced 1. He’s 8 value (safely out of the range of Soul Blast/Shotgun) and can start a job that discards an opposing wanted dude if it succeeds. The Judge even generates a 2-Stud Gunslinger to help arrest the wrong doers! Lots of Law Dog decks use 8 as a value, so he’s easy to fit in to your shootout structure or you can even start him for a very aggressive but risky deck. This pack also contains "Ol' Fashioned Hangin'", an action card that starts a job that targets a dude with two bounty and aces them if a the job succeeds – you can make a strong, thematic deck using this. This job doesn’t boot the leader so it’s a strong combo with Xiong “Wendy” Cheng or Pistol Whip from the base set – you can go after an isolated dude and kick them out of the opposing posse to automatically succeed at the job without the risk of a shootout.
- Too Tough to Die (PBE): for those looking to build a Blessed or Mad Science deck out of Law Dogs, this expansion makes a big difference to the faction. Padre Ernesto de Diaz offers a Stud dude with 1 Influence and Blessed 1 all for only 4 Ghost Rock and no upkeep. Mad Science gets much stronger starting options as Dr. Erik Yaple and Quincy Washburne give them Mad Science dudes with influence for only 3 and 4 Ghost Rock respectively, again with no upkeep. The Electrostatic Pump Gun from this set fits neatly in to a value (5) that can work well in Law Dog Mad Science decks.
- Hell's Comin' with Me (PBE): like Blood Moon Rising, this is a great way to boost a non-skilled Law Dog starting posse. Marshal Caves Callarman and Virgil Earp are both a big upgrade on what's available in the Base Set for Law Dogs. Caves Callarman provides 2 Stud and 2 Influence for only 4 Ghost Rock and 1 upkeep and while he gets weaker if he has a bounty, he has a built in mechanic to cycle cards out of your hand and reduce his bounty level. Virgil Earp may be expensive up front at 8 Ghost Rock, but with 0 upkeep for a 2 Stud 2 Influence dude he'll give you a strong economic advantage the longer the game goes.
Morgan Cattle Company/Entrepreneurs – Mad Science
- Faith & Fear (PB): Chuan “Jen” Qi is a Mad Scientist stud who gets bonuses when she has a horse/gadget – she makes putting together starting posses much easier and has good synergies with both horses and gadgets. This set also contains Lane Healey Experienced 1, who is a dude with a way to force callouts at deeds and Bio-Charged Neutralizer, a fun gadget that boosts bullets and turns your pathetic draw mad scientists in to mighty stud shooters. William Specks is another Mad Scientist with influence and he can help you quickly get more deeds/gadgets in to play cheaply.
- Bad Medicine (SB): Yagn’s Mechanical Skeleton is both a horse and a gadget, so it has strong synergy with lots of your dudes (including Chuan “Jen” Qi above and many of the base set dudes). Arnold Stewart gives you a cheap 1 influence Mad Scientist who can add diversity to your starting posse options.
- Blood Moon Rising (PB): This will give you Diego Linares, a cheap Mad Scientist with influence – he gets a bonus to inventing Horse gadgets like Yagn’s Mechanical Skeleton so you can include a broader range of cards and still successfully invent gadgets. This also provides Post-a-Tron (a 2-stud gadget dude you can try to invent at the start of the game and who can boot in Town Square to make Ghost Rock) and Hydro-Puncher (a useful gadget weapon that combos well with Yagn’s Mechanical Skeleton).
- Dirty Deeds (SB): This gives you A Slight Modification, which lets you boot a gadget to cancel certain shootout abilities and non-Cheatin’ Resolution abilities. This is the only “Counterspell” style effect in the game!
- There Comes a Reckoning (PBE): This expansion comes with two excellent new Gadgets in Decimator Array and Devil's Six Gun. From the Deeds, Hellstrome Plant #9 fits well too as a high value deed (J) with efficient production, a control point and an ability that boosts Gadgets.
Morgan Cattle Company/Entrepreneurs – Horse Decks
- The Curtain Rises (SB): gives you Maggie Harris, a 2GR dude who can run a job that targets your home (so it is often pretty safe) that fetches horses from your discard pile, reducing their cost by 1GR. In the early game she can round up lots of horses to fuel dudes like Jarret Blake/Lane Healey/Jon Longstride, and in the mid to late game she can absorb casualties.
- The Showstopper (SB): gives you Calling the Cavalry, a game-changing card that boosts each player's shootout hand rank by one per horse they have attached (for the current round only!) . This will dramatically change the power of any horse themed deck you make, particulary if you get Maggie Harris (from the Curtain Rises, as discussed above) to fetch your horses. Plus it also makes one of your dudes a stud and shares a value (6) with a horse from the base set (Roan). This action is a Headline (only one Headline can be played per shootout), so your opponent might play a different Headline before you play yours to ruin your plans. This set also has Espuelas, a cheap goods card that boosts your manoeuvrability and influence when you have a horse.
- Dirty Deeds (SB)/Blood Moon Rising (PB): both of these give you a new Morgan home that works a bit better with an aggressive horse deck, although the base set home works reasonably well too.
- There Comes a Reckoning (PBE): Adrian Vallejo is a solid shooter with an ability and a value (7) that both fit well in horse deck. This expansion also adds Cavalry Escort, expanding your deck building options with a horse on a new value (K). This trusty steed also boosts your deck's resilience in shootouts with the Sidekick keyword.
- Faith & Fear (PB): several of your Base Set Sloane dudes (Fred Aims, Silas Aims, Marion Seville and Jonah Essex) get better once they have bounty on them, but it can be hard to generate Bounty unless you draw Kidnappin’. This expansion gives you a new home (Desolation Row) that lets you run a job that generates bounty and ghost rock if you succeed, allowing you to rob the town and get rich while doing so! If you’re using Allie Hensman from the base set you can keep using her to generate control points in the town square, then have her join the job (booted dudes can join jobs at their location) so she can come home safely with the rest of your dudes if the job succeeds rather than being vulnerable in town square. Even better, this set adds Makaio Kaleo, Esq, a crafty lawyer dude who can redistribute one bounty per turn between your dudes so you can make sure the dudes who work better when there's a price on their head are the ones wanted by the law. Outlaw Mask is handy too – it increases your dude’s influence by their bounty when they are in the town square.
- Election Day Slaughter (SB): this adds Milt Clemons, who works well with the Desolation Row and Makaio that were outlined above. He’s a two stud with one influence who might seem pricey at six ghost rock with 1 upkeep, but he generates 1GR each time he gets a bounty. If you’re running Kidnappin’/using Desolation Row/move bounties on to him with your lawyer you can make lots of ghost rock to fuel your life of crime.
- Too Tough to Die (PBE): This set provides a whole bunch of attractive dudes for the Outlaws. Ike Clanton is their first 4 Ghost Rock, 2 Influence dude with no upkeep and makes building starting posses much easier. Larry "Sevens" Swift is an attractively priced Huckster with influence and no upkeep, who makes a good starter. He's also an attractive mid game hire as his high value (J) means he won't cause you to fail your Huckster skill pulls. Silas Aims (Experienced) can be built in to a strong shooter and plays in to the Outlaws' wanted theme. For fans of tactical movement, Frank Stillwell can be used to force your opponent in to difficult decisions.
Eagle Wardens & 108 Righteous Bandits (now renamed "First People" & "Anarchists respectively)
- You’ll need “Immovable Object, Unstoppable Force” as this introduces these factions giving them lots of dudes to choose from plus supporting Spirits for Eagle Wardens' Shamans and techniques for the Bandit kung-fu masters to use. Note that this expansion has 13 dudes for each of these factions rather than the 10 the original four factions get in the base set, broadening your choices from day one. Not only that, but they get an extra dude compared to the original factions in the two expansions suggested below, further helping to narrow the gap if you’ve bought a few of the early expansions that didn’t have 108 Righteous Bandits/Eagle Wardens dudes in them.
- The Light Shineth (PB): Comes with three dudes for each of these factions, broadening your options greatly. This adds three more spirits for your Shamans to cast and expands the Jade Rabbit Kung-fu style for strong kung-fu combos.
Dirty Deeds (SB): Comes with a new home for each of these factions and two dudes for each of them. Also includes “Rabbit Takes Revenge” a high value kung-fu card (risking you failing your kung-fu pulls, which need to be low unlike other pulls) but has a strong effect – think of it as the finishing move for the Jade Rabbit kung-fu style.
- Too Tough to Die (PBE): this is a great expansions for First People players. Alexander Sequoia gives them a 4 Ghost Rock dude with 2 influence and 0 upkeep, making building starting posses much more flexible. It also features Matilda Loomis, a potential starting Shaman with no upkeep and two Kung-Fu dudes for the faction, materially expanding their options here. Two good new spirits and a new outfit card in The Spiritual Society round out a really attractive package.
If you want to be able to use everything then make “Faith & Fear” (Blessed dudes to use Miracle spells) and “Immovable Object, Unstoppable Force” (two new factions including Shamans to use the new Spirit spell type and Kung-fu masters to use Kung-fu techniques) your first two purchases. The expansions do not need to be purchased in the order they were released in.
- Base Set – I recommend getting x2 to give you more consistent decks (both in the cards you draw and your shootout hands)
- New Town, New Rules (SB)
- Double Dealin' (SB)
- Election Day Slaughter (SB)
- Faith and Fear (PB) - Miracles and blessed dudes start appearing in expansions from here onward (including this set)
- Frontier Justice (SB) - bonus errata copy of Unprepared.
- No Turning Back (SB) - bonus errata copy of Concealed Weapons
- Nightmare at Noon (SB) - bonus errata copy of Bad Company.
- Immovable Object, Unstoppable Force (PB) – Shamans (who cast Spirit spells) and Kung-fu dudes (who use Kung-fu -Technique actions) start appearing in expansions form here onward (including this set). This and subsequent sets also include dudes from 108 Righteous Bandits and Eagle Wardens. Don’t worry about this too much – the packs are still useful even if there’s the odd spell/dude that is not from the base set’s factions. Remember that you can use dudes outside their particular faction, but their upkeep increases by their influence and you can’t start them.
- The Light Shineth (PB)
- Dirty Deeds (SB) - bonus errata copy of Coachwhip!
- Foul Play (SB) - bonus errata copy of Bunkhouse.
- Bad Medicine (SB) - bonus errata copy of Doyle's Hoyle.
- Ghost Town (PB)
- The Curtain Rises (SB)
- A Grand Entrance (SB)
- The Showstopper (SB)
- Blood Moon Rising (PB)
- There Comes a Reckoning (PBE) - comes with errata copies of: Dave "Slim" Gorman, Nathan Shane, Henry Moran, Ivor Hawley, Undertaker, Auto-Revolver, Paralysis Mark, Mugging and No Turning Back. Promo copies of: The Stakes Just Rose, Pistol Whip, Unprepared, It's Not What You Know, Sun in Yer Eyes, Mugging and No Turning Back.
- Too Tough to Die (PBE)
- Out for Blood (PBE)
- Hell's Comin' With Me (PBE)
Some sets above note the inclusion of an errata card - this is a good way of getting extra copies of particular cards as the original card remain legal for tournament play (using the updated errata wording) and in many cases the errata is of a minor technical nature, so both versions of the card remain easy to use without remembering many additional details.