I still miss the circus sometimes. But after bartendin' in Gomorra, it was just too boring.
-Charlie Landers

Deadlands: Doomtown was released in June 1998 as a card game to the table-based RPG Deadlands. It was wildly successful, as it had a good story, fascinating gameplay, excellent art, and it allowed the players to cheat at poker. Doomtown was released in a new format called "Rolling Thunder", namely, one small episode every month. This went on for 9 months, stopping at episode 9, before the game went on to a more standard format, with a large expansion every three months.

Doomtown takes place in California, though it's not the California we know and love(?). Back in the late 1870s, a huge meteor fell on California, carving the coast into a whole bunch of canyons and caves and other abnormal geography. The locals (the surviving ones, anyway) came to term this "the California Maze". One particular local, who had no name, found a huge vein of Ghost Rock. As it was experimented with, Ghost Rock was found to be longer and harder burning than coal, and nobody minded the greasy blackness it left behind, nor the screaming it made when burned. Therefore, it became the world's most valuable fuel almost overnight. Back to that particular local, he found the largest vein of Ghost Rock ever. Thing is, he kicked the bucket before he could tell anybody. Now people came from all ov er, and a craphole of a town called Gomorra sprung up, with everybody finding all kinds of Rock.

There's a problem here. When people want what other people got, they take it away. That's where you come in, Dear Player.

Peace on earth, good will towards men - fer what it's worth in this Godforsaken hole.

There's ten (and then some) groups of people who want Gomorra, for their various and nefarious purposes:

  • The Law Dogs: Due process can wait. Headed by J. P. Coleman, these cops are out to lynch the outlaws and save the day.
  • Black Jacks: "Black Jack" Jackson heads them up. Hey, at least they honestly steal the Ghost Rock.
  • Sweetrock: And these guys don't. Being the biggest mining corporation in the land, CEO Howard Findley's sure to have his dirty fingers in there slipping out some Rock.
  • Sioux Union: Joseph Eyes-Like-Rain fortells dark times for all who live if the white man gets the Ghost Rock.
  • Maze Rats: "Legitimate" asian businessmen, here to lay the railroads, and to take back some Rock.
  • The Texas Rangers: They seem to show up in anything that has to do with the Wild/Weird West. Their motives are unknown.
  • The Agency: The Civil War is still raging strong, and the south is here to save Gomorra from the hands of the evil north.
  • The Union: The Civil War is still raging strong, and the north is here to save Gomorra from the hands of the evil south.
  • The Collegium: Each of the Collegium and Gomorra's got what the other needs. Take the Rock, and leave nothing but high tech gadgets and " civilization".
  • The Flock: Their unknown pastor's here to save Gomorra in the name of God. Doesn't matter which God, though...
  • The Drifters: Not really part of anything, these guys are just hired guns, who will shoot for some Rock.

Ever play poker? It's a necessary requirement for Doomtown, as everything in the game is determined with it. Going first, shooting people, winning Rock, all about poker. Each and every Doomtown card, save for one type, has a shred of a poker card in the corner. Each type of card is assigned a different suit. And, because you build your own deck, it's possible to have a hand of 6♠ 7♠ 4♥ 4♥ K♣. Yeah, there's two 4♥ in there. And it's mostly legal.

We ain't cheatin'! We're stretchin' our resources to maximize the profits from our gambing investments. Ain't we?

Doomtown ended after the Eye for an Eye expansion, in late 2001. However, it didn't end because no one played it, not by any means. It just ended because the story was over. Unlike other card games that went out with a whimper, Doomtown went out with a bang!

I had aqcuired a couple of boxes (~3000 cards) a while back when working in a comic book shop. And they sat there untouched until just last week, when I rediscovered them. Taught Spike and my brother how to play, and now it's all we ever do. It's one hell of a game!

Card Quotes, in order: Charlie Landers, Christmas Day, Friends in Low Places

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