Doomtown: Reloaded Set Review of Saddlebag 8 - Foul Play

Originally published at:
by David Orange

Shizeng Lu - Foul play kicks off with a mid-value Kung Fu dude. Shizeng is cheap to play, has no upkeep and his ability synergizes with the Worldly Desires control game. Deeds not unbooting is a new, and potentially game-changing effect. It will collect production (unless you decide that Shizeng looks great with a hat, but shutting down a deed’s ability gives the 108 a lot more flexibility in planning the day’s actions. His low cost and no influence/upkeep makes Shizeng an intriguing out of faction splash. 4/5 for Worldly Desires, 3/5 for 108 Righteous Bandits, situational splash dude

Forster Cooke - The 108 now gets its own barkeep. Unlike say, Clementine, Forster has no built in defense other than a stud bullet. Instead, he buffs everyone else which provides some added oomph to my Righteous chop fooey deck. He is not the cheapest of dudes and his upkeep limits the 108 to maybe one strong starting Kung Fu fighter versus the two that I usually open with. I’m not sure that he is an auto include for the Bandits, but for now, I’ll open him at 3/5

Joseph Dusty Hill - Well, the Eagle Wardens are certainly talkin’ 'bout a sharp dressed man. He’s a very solid dude for either outfit, but I tend to slot him more in the base Warden outfit. Lots of different ways to buff Dusty, but he is definitely besties with Zachary. FWIW, I love the whimsical art by Marcel Stobinski. 3.5/5

Mariel Lewis - She’s not cheap, but you do get a lot of bang for Mariel’s 5/1 bucks. You also get influence which is just dandy for the Wardens. Her ability is just bonkers - she’s a Wendy without having to boot. Unless they have a Stakes or some Rabbit fu, that dude ain’t comin’ back any time soon. Very strong opening player for the base Wardens. 3.5/5

The Tattooed Man - In some ways, I consider this inked dude Smiling Tom-lite - same cost, 1 less upkeep for one less huckster (but still a very strong 3 skill), and one more stud bullet. Tattoo is also at the low end of ‘high value’. The big difference is the lack of influence versus two for Tom. I have a Karl/Aboms deck out of Sanatorium. If I don’t suspect a slide deck, then Tattoo is a viable starter. I also run the same deck out of Oddities, and Karl definitely fits in with the freak show. I look at all those snakes coming off of him and see spells flying every which what way. In game terms to me that means his recursion ability wants Hex Slingin’ galore. I expect his main role will be a cheap to play via Summoning and later on Ivor xp’s ability. 2.5/5

Riorden O’Lithen - I want to love the Arsenal, really I do. The problem is without the base Dogs home, it’s not easy to make dudes wanted (and I’m not entirely sold on Confession). This fiery preacher helps the Arsenal in a big way, albeit framing a dude entails chucking a spell. A stud bullet with 2 influence is very solid for his cost/upkeep. 3/5 for Arsenal, 1/5 for other outfits.

“Lucky” Sky Borne - Lucky compares well with say, Kyle Wagner, and I believe her lower cost, influence, and bullets compensate for her upkeep. I really like her ability to help mitigate expected Judge or Kidnappin’ shenanigans. The best option for her ability remains Marty (see below) for extra support. Right now, the only gadget sidekick is Mutant Cattle - another fine meat shield indeed. For all her versatility, I see Sky as best-suited for Gadgetorium - 4.5/5 and 3/5 in other gadget-centric Morgan builds.

Miranda Clarke - Either via the original outfit or Desolation Row’s ability, Miranda is a gal who loves to get into an opponent’s grill. Of course, this means that she is always going to be in harm’s way. Not to mention a continual target for P-Marks and sometimes shotguns. Makaio is always there to shift some blame her way. 4/5

Elliot Smithson - No, Elliot does NOT work with the Desolation Row home ability. That said, he works with any other action job and is a great way to make some more rock for the Sloanes. But what I most dig about him is influence without upkeep, a rare commodity indeed for the resident scofflaws. Elliot is also a sneaky splash for say a LD Judge deck as the dogs are usually hurting for cash and need to keep the Judge fed. 4/5 for the original outfit, 2/5 elsewhere.

Shelby Hunt - “The bigger they are, the harder they hit…” Well, this big bad boy from Texas can stand up and dish it out with the baddest bullies that Gomorra has to offer. Oh, and he paid actual ghost rock to get to Gomorra. Buff him up for sure, and give Wendy the raspberries. As a drifter, he’s happy to go big game hunting with any aggro outfit. 3.5/5

The Joker’s Smile - Now we get to the deeds. As the name suggests it’s all about the Jokers. How many times have you heard, “I don’t run Jokers as I run a tight draw structure and an in-hand Joker only clogs things up.” Now you can unclog your hand and gain some ghost rock as well. Near a reshuffle, pay the ghost rock to fish a joker back into play. I also see some synergy with the Whateley Estate. 3/5

Old Marge’s Manor - With a useful ability plus a control point, I Ol’ Marge is going to oversee a whole lot of fighting to control her manor. Simpatico cards include Lula’s Exploit and Recursive Motion Machines. Aside from fueling actions, note that the manor does not lose the accrued ghost rock and can thus ‘bank’ rock from the Exploit each turn. The ability is strong, but the need to defend/prevent takeovers mitigates it. I consider it well balanced - 3.5/5

Xemo’s Turban - A nod to classic (Xemo scan here - possibly TVG artwork) Deadlands: Doomtown. The Turban is another experimental card that thrives in the clubless or pull-mitigated environment. If you have a steady ghost rock engine, then the card-draw for this gadget is just bonkers. It is influence and free to play, but not it fails its own difficult pull. Even without the ability, it oddly enough combines with Fancy New Hat for some solid immovable influence buffing. Like other experimental cards and deck builds, you either buy in or you don’t. 2/5

Blight Serum - While powerful, you can smell this card coming a long ways away. First you have to pay a ghost rock to attach this card to a dude. Barring other card effects, the dude has to be in a location that you control. Then the dude has to move to (or already be at) the desired location. Then as an action, you have to play it on the deed. Once all that is said and done, you do have some pretty solid defense. The most obvious counter is to send an exependable weenie over to take one for the team and then send the main dude(s) around to sort things out. That said, that’s not a bad way to buy some time to set up your own defense or carry out business elsewhere in Gomorra. DnD decks will love this for sure, but overall it appears to require too many moving parts for full effectiveness. 2/5

Guide Horse - Morgan Stables and horsey decks will love this cheap, high value horse. Unlike other non-gadget horses, this one succeeds most pulls giving it a versatile place in pull decks. On the other hand, Queens are pretty well stacked across a variety of builds. I don’t see this card beating out Blood Curse or the Holster or Neutralizer for example. 4/5 in dedicated horsey decks, 1/5 otherwise.

Marty - Lucky’s faithful assistant is a good target for her ability, but this minion buffs any mad scientist and brings a whole bunch of mid-value cards into the realm of viability. As yet another Queen goods, Marty suffers the same problem as Guide Horse - he competes with other strong cards. I can, however, live with this to access the lower value gadgets. Marty is great in Gadgetorium and meh elsewhere and for that outfit he is a must start: 5/5

Righteous Fury - Poster child for the ‘win more’ card. The good - it clears out posses like nobody’s business. The bad - it fails nearly every pull in the game. There are other less risky ways for Miracles to manipulate shootouts. I’m just not feeling any love for this card beyond Brent Chumley’s amazing artwork. 0/5.

Owl’s Insight - Owl sees far, knows all… I’ve always been a fan of Fetch, and now the Wardens get to cast some serious Cheatin’ punishment. Get the bad out of the way first - you opponent needs to cheat. But if he does, the play out and redraw is amazing throughput for a 0 cost spell that makes its own pull (and most others with any decent Shaman). 4.5/5

Outgunned - This may be the most thematic artwork in all of Reloaded. Again, by Brent Chumley. The need to keep the shooter unbooted is trickier than you might expect - at least for me anyways. May have to pack some Missed! to set 'em upright again. On the other hand, I can use it in my various Kung Fu decks, and can stay legal knowing that help is just a card away. 3.5/5

Martyr’s Cry - Blech - Yet another “don’t lose” card. Other than setting up Evanor/Abram, I’m not feeling this one at all. Maybe I just don’t get Lawdog Blessed as a thing. 1/5

Deliberate Infection - Expensive card for what it does - albeit forcing a discard due to upkeep or hosing influence are no small things. I like it to play off of Sanatorium, as well as being a Forced Quarantine trigger. Otherwise, only DnD decks should have the money to play this hoser. At the end of the set, however, it’s a risky investment for a situational (again they have to cheat) card. 2/5

Bunkhouse (errata) - Updated version of a base set deed.


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Interesting to see each of the original four factions get a dude in this set who seems like a perfect fit for their Faith & Fear home. I don’t have the cards yet so haven’t been playing around with them, but to me Riordan looks like a solid dude for any Law Dogs running 7s, so 1/5 outside of The Arsenal feels a bit harsh to me.

Similarly Guide Horse works as a cheap splashable Q goods and is useful for any game where you end up playing Weird West chess. I’d like to try a couple in an Oddities build to move dudes who run jobs back into the town square for the influence boost.

The Joker’s Smile looks like a great deed for DMH decks.

As you can’t start “Lucky” Sky Borne and Andrew Burton in the same posse, I don’t see how your Bluetick suggestion can work.

Lucky + Marty are such an amazing combination. I can’t wait to start using them in the real world. They just completely open gadgets up and that’s awesome.

Deliberate Infection is also a cracking card (5/5 here) combos nicely with Tummy Twister to put some serious upkeep pressure on your opponent (Deck build coming soon). Add in Back Room Deals and “just not paying” is no longer an option even for chuds.

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As you can’t start “Lucky” Sky Borne and Andrew Burton in the same posse, I don’t see how your Bluetick suggestion can work.

I think it’s more of a protection, you can use Bluetick to move one of your dudes to whomever Andrew Burton bountied.

Some of my thoughts…

Shizeng Lu also prevents opponents homes from unbooting who along with Bai Yang Chen who also wants to sit at your opponents home can really start to mess with them. Not sure you want to combo him with Quarantine Tent on value since it just gives your opponent cause to contest but I think he could be great in any 108 deck (since he’ll reliably pull all the techniques).

I don’t think Joseph Dust Hill is much more than dude fodder since there are barely any attires that fit EW values and Enapay is better for use with Zachary. 3/1 for a 1 influence dude is alright (but not great as EW have so many 0 upkeep influence dudes)

Shelby Hunt could very well replace Jacqueline Isham as a starter for weak shootout decks. OK if they come at you with only 2 studs you’re not going to get anything out of him and you can only trigger it once per turn but that’s what you want from a protection starter and since he can’t be hit by shootout abilities he’s really going to put off those first turn Kidnappin’s.

The Joker’s Smile is a natural DMH deck deed. On value and recycles those Jokers so you’ve more chance of hitting it. Otherwise I can’t see it getting much play.

Xemo’s Turban, if you’ve got the money to cycle cards, why aren’t you just playing the cards in your hand? You’re playing club lite as it is so you’re not cycling those out of your hand so you’re searching for dudes/deeds not yet in play? I just don’t see it. Good for the influence I suppose.

Blight Serum. Another one I just don’t see. How is DnDs going to put this on a deed? As soon as you play it you just setup to call them out when they arrive at a deed. Maybe good for EW totem decks since once you’re setup no-one is going to be able to get near you.

Owl’s Insight. Useful for unclogging spirits from hand but the biggest issue is that EWs don’t have many ways to increase hand size so I’m not sure you’ll get too much cycle out of it.

Deliberate Infection. Just such a bizarre Cheatin’ Resolution. You don’t really want this to be your Cheatin’ Res if you’re losing (Coachwhip is better is almost everyway) and if you’re winning they might be losing the dude anyway. OK you can use it in lowball but then they choose so they’ll just ping it on a terrible dude and discard them during upkeep. I just don’t see the timing window for this being useful.

It’s for Lowball

Even if they start pinging off their chuds, they’ll soon run out of them if you can keep throwing Infections - (Back Room Deals is a good combo piece for this as it let’s you steal a dude for a turn if they don’t pay)

It’s for Lowball

Even if they start pinging off their chuds, they’ll soon run out of
them if you can keep throwing Infections - (Back Room Deals is a good
combo piece for this as it let’s you steal a dude for a turn if they
don’t pay)

I agree it’s for lowball but I still don’t rate it. Looking at the other lowball cheatin’ resolutions nearly all of them are also useful in shootouts (One Good Turn and the new Owl’s Insight being the weakest), it costs an effective 3 GR (you ante before its use and it resolves before a winner is determined) which is really expensive early game so I don’t see you churning these out all game and if you’re combo’ing this with Back Room Deals you still need to find deck room for shooutout cheatin’ resolutions and shootout actions. What do you get for all that, +1 upkeep to a dude and a possible loss of influence (but most starting posse’s have a dude with 0 influence who you can dump this on and keep dumping on because you’re not limited to one per dude).

It feels like one of those cards where it will win you a game one time because they cheated in lowball but in 99 other games you play it’ll just be junk but you’ll hold onto that one game because it was so good. Too much risk for too little reward in my opinion but I’m prepared to be proved wrong.

Got too cute on the Bluetick/Burton - will revise shortly.
I definitely overlooked the Guide Horse/Oddities synergy even as I was thinking about Headless Horseman from the Classic Doomtown game.

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Infection seems to me like a card that would be good for an economy abuse deck. Been working on just a deck in the background, but I’m not convinced it will work quite yet.

Not every deck is a shooter :slight_smile:


Well, you can always 'shoot ‘em up’ with infected needles :open_mouth:

Sounds like a fine idea for a mad scientists gadget. The needle gun, or an automatic serum injector!

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We need another out of town deed…the outhouse!

Those affected by either deliberate infection or tummy twister get booted to the outhouse and and lose one influence!


First thanks @davido4015 for doing this review.

On Shizeng the -2 control point is big which plays into the worldly desire deck strategy.

Joseph is the card I am most excited about out of the saddlebag with the fortress gaining more and more traction.

Agree on Elliot.

Owls insight equals bonkers.

On Outgunned while the hand rank increase is nice you best have a scoop hound or a miracle or hiding in the shadows nowadays your stud is getting blinded, whipped, booted, or sent home once the cat is out of the bag.

Deliberate Infection I have a deck that will make great use out of this.