Doomtown

In the latest installment of ‘Jules and Kris play CCG’s without ever finishing a game‘, we played Doomtown. We played it between dinner and the kids going to bed, so we weren’t able to go complete a full game or get a thorough feeling of the game play, but trying out the game was very interesting.

Doomtown is another old school CCG like Netrunner, that has been dug up from the grave and doffed up a bit. It even feels a bit old, with convoluted mechanics and an unoriginal wild west theme. Our starter decks contained one Outlaw and one Sheriff deck, but play was very similar (so unlike Netrunner’s asynchronous play).

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Still, the theme is anything but tacked on. Combat is resolved by playing draw poker with your deck! All the cards have a suit and number on them. So when building you need to balance your poker hand with the quality of your cards. Not only that, but you also have to decide if you want to go for cheatin’ poker hands (and stuff your deck with, say, aces of the same suit) or honest ones.

The gameplay itself reminds me a lot of the Star Wars CGG. You put down locations to get control points, those locations become points of conflict and one of you will win enough confrontations to ‘gain control over this town’.

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We didn’t complete a full game. We played for 30 minutes, so I have no clue how long a full game would take to play. My main gripe is that these games often seem to bog down into two heavily armored sides poking each other with sticks. But perhaps that’s unfair, we simply don’t play them enough to really know.

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Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

What’s it about?
An epic band of adventurers struggles through rulebooks dangerous locations, treacheries and lethal enemies to achieve their quest.

Is it pretty?
It’s certainly very stylish and well made. No cubes! A little too stylish perhaps, I’m tempted to replace those fancypants threat dials with two d10’s in a not too distant future.

How difficult was it to learn the game?
For once we didn’t have to listen to an explanation, but had to learn the game ourselves. A first! The rules booklet is quite big and explains most things very well, but we managed get confused about a few points that weren’t made very explicit. It took us a while to figure out an entire fight does not get resolved in one single turn. For a while we were convinced we had a turn 1 party-wipe.

A practice round in particular is very helpful.

How long/boring is it to have to wait for your go?
Not too bad, since you go through most rounds together. If you have a questing guy and a combat guy, combat guy will hog up some time calculating all of this combats, but you can probably support him with your event cards so you still have to stay in the action, so to speak.

How’s the flavor?
Well. I don’t really care much for the Lord of the Rings theme at this point. It doesn’t really kindle my imagination any more. Regardless, the flavor is bountiful. The entire game really emulates the filmic nature of questing and combat.

How internally consistent is the flavor?
I find it a bit curious that in the time it takes for my hero to exchange one blow with an enemy, I also have time to recruit new allies, get people fancy titles and equipment, and have my other heroes explore vast tracts of land.

I suppose it’s – again- the filmic nature of cut scenes where you go from one short battle scene, to a big exploration discovery, to someone being declared ‘protector’ of something, and back to the fight.

Also this.

Is it still fun if you suck?
Well so far we’ve only done the first scenario. I can imagine it gets a bit frustrating if you keep wiping against the harder scenario’s, but it’s no fun if there’s no challenge, right?

Is it fun to play with people who know everything about the game when you don’t?
Yeah, it will definitely help to teach you the rules. Your cards in hand are hidden in order to avoid all too blatant quarterbacking behavior.

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Can you two-player it?
That’s what it’s made for! That’s also the main reason we bought it blind, two-player games designed for the purpose are too good to pass up. It’s really nice to be able to pull out a game on a Wednesday night after dinner without having to make plans to meet up first.

Can you play it with your non-gamer family to pass the time?
Oooh… I’m not about to try unless the family parties get REALLY boring.

Is there anything irrationally fun or annoying about it?
Fun: Cardgames really have their own kind of bliss. I love the seemingly infinite ‘but if I tap this to untap yours so you can tap to..” possibilities, even the inevitably ensuing rule disputes. The only thing I don’t like is the ‘collectible’ adjective, having neither the time, the money, nor the inclination, to spend so much on one single game. The scenario card game is an elegant alternative. So yeah, I’m not sure it’s a good game, but I do like it.