No-State Starter: DMH Law Dogs

published Jan 31, 2020 | | |
Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
None yet

ironcache 94

Design Goal: make a set of truly beginner-friendly decks.

Doomtown has very deep state information baked into its core. This gives the game a degree of depth and complexity that makes it interesting for veterans, but can be confusing to track for beginners, who are still trying to learn the core engine of Doomtown (which is itself a hurdle).

These decks abolish any state that isn't tracked in a physical way. For example, Pistol Whip is not used, as it necessitates tracking the state of -1 bullets mentally. Wendy is allowed because her affect can wholly be represented by board state change.

In addition, the decks tried to stay beginner-friendly by:

  • Avoiding Mechanical keywords. Exceptions are Grifter (which, as Doomtown's Mulligan, seemed fundamental enough to include for its low complexity), Sidekick (highly prolific, low complexity), and OoT (highly prolific, fairly core to movement rules - non-OoT variant provided in write up).
  • Related to the above, but no skills/techniques.
  • No jobs. Despite how important they are to Doomtown, they also introduce a degree of complexity that can (should) be removed from the beginner game.
  • No non-boot abilities. Needless state tracking (Willa is an exception, as she removes the state to track).
  • Avoid excessively verbose/complex effects. This tenant is more ambiguous, but generally reducing the verbiage reduces the mental load for the beginner game.

For this deck specifically, I wasn't too happy with Sheriff Eli in the start. He's a wall of text. But he can be explained pretty clearly in plain English, so I accepted it.

Bounty Hunter provided the means of introducing force fight without the complexity of jobs. Going for a DMH structure provided a way to explain the neat differences with Doomtown's hand rankings, but as a side note.

Hired Guns makes the distinction between what a discard vs. what an ace represents much more present. This deck can take a hit, and recover gracefully (without adding any complexity to the explanation). This deck was specifically designed to be a bit more loose for this reason (lose fights and recover, overcome through tenacity).

Virgil has a non-boot ability (IE: introduces state tracking). This was an oversight in this first iteration of the decks (but has a very low chance of coming up to cause confusion). Replace with Jacqueline if you want to avoid confusion (avoids state tracking but also allowing an explanation of it by taking about why the repeat word is necessary).

Travis can be subbed out for Willa in the start to avoid the Grifter explanation.

A low movement-complexity version would swap Pat's for Cooke's, and 3x Jackson for 1x Huntsman and 2x Undertaker

1 comments
Feb 27, 2020 Findegil

Really like the concept, have some quibbles/comments about the specific choices:

  • Eli Waters isn't just a wall-of-text, but the second trait is also quite mechanically complicated, especially since it's a trait-not-an-ability and therefore can stack with a Cheatin' Resolution. I'd at least relegate him to the deck and start the more straightforward Wendy instead.

  • Inner Struggle is really quite simple, but it feels very complicated when a beginner encounters it for the time - especially because the text is arranged in a back-to-front way which first explains what it does once played and then how to actually play it. Civil War is a more straightforward AC...

  • The Gomorra Gazette seems to check absolutely all the boxes (value, theme, mechanical synergy, simplicity).

  • Old Marge's Manor seems very unsuitable, since the beginner first has to wade through a wall of text and then learn (after playing it) that the text doesn't actually do anything at all in this deck. Surveyor's Office office offers a simpler alternative if you want to preserve value.

  • Huntsmen's Society is a bit meh with only two eligible Dudes - Undertaker is generally a hit with beginners, or quadruple down on the Jackson's Strikes (and use it as a lesson on prioritizing value structure over playability).