Forums News and Information Industry News Design Diary – The Philosophy of Mad Science

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    RPGMP3 Newsbot
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    • Owlbear

    Check out Doomtown: Reloaded’s latest Saddlebag, Bad Medicine, on sale now!

    By now we’ve exposed you to the design guidelines for all spell types, as well as the tidal dynamics of Kung Fu. However, even though they’ve been in the game since the Base Set, we still haven’t taken the time to explore mad science in the world of Doomtown:Reloaded. It’s high time we cover that gap.

    Gadgets are a big part of the Doomtown story. Not only are they a very cool aspect of the game, but they’ve always been immensely popular among the players. In Classic Doomtown, there was a whole outfit dedicated to them, but of course in Doomtown:Reloaded, they’ve been put to more practical use by the ranchers of the Morgan Cattle Co. and those do-gooders in the Law Dogs.

    While mad science is a skill, it doesn’t exactly follow the same rules as the spells. Particularly, gadgets require quite more effort up-front to invent and put into play. However, as a tradeoff, you only need to pull for them once and afterwards you can trade them to the most appropriate dude to hold them. This is unlike spells where the original spellcaster needs to hold them until they leave play.

    But the difference in how they enter play and attach is far from the only difference between gadgets and spells. The truth is that mad science does not even work within the same paradigm as spells. Rather than the three usual questions answered for spells (“How does it affect game state”,”How does it win shootouts”, “How does it affect out of play cards”), a gadget breaks out of the mold and provides its own answers.

    Gadgets are multifaceted.
    One advantage we aim to provide when you’re using mad science is that you’ll need fewer cards to provide the same amount of raw power you’d get from normal goods. Theoretically, this should allow you to dedicate less card slots for that purpose and instead cover some holes in your strategy, or find space for alternative tactics.

    yagnsmechanicalskeleton_cardA prime example of this raw power is the newly released Yagn’s Mechanical Skeleton. By itself, it not only covers your needs for bullets, influence, and increased value on one dude, but and also serves as a hard counter for control effects. And if that wasn’t enough, the same card is well suited either for Horse decks, as well as gadget dude decks.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    personalornithopter_cardSimilarly, the recent Personal Ornithopter, is suited for both constantly enabling your main shooter to join every battle, as well as allowing your squishier dudes to avoid getting caught in the crossfire.

    While this strength has not been utilized as much until now, expect to see more of it in the future.

     

     

     

     

     

    Gadgets alchemize economic power into game advantage.
    Gadgets (and their related cards) are the only type of card which can turn raw ghost rock into raw power. Normally, the only way to spend your money is to play more cards from your hand, or just pay for a dude’s upkeep. This leads to situations where you either don’t have enough money to play all the cards you want, or where you have more money than you know what to do with. An example of this a situation is where you play deeds, to the point where  you can’t leverage the extra income and only care about their control points. However if you don’t put enough deeds in your deck, you’re constantly starved for playing all those other cool cards you want.

    disgenuinecurrencypress_cardIn contrast, a gadget player can easily include a ton of deeds in their deck and rely on repeat gadget abilities to efficiently put all that money to good use. Whether that is via cycling out their useless cards via Xemo’s Turban, running circles around their enemies using Mechanical Horse, or making sure an opponent always suffers in shootouts by keeping things tied through a Force Field. Mad scientists have a ton of these effects, and even a few of these gadgets in play can mean not a drop of ghost rock goes wasted.

    Of course all these effects can be tricky to use in the fragile early game, so until a gadget player’s economy stabilizes via deeds, they can use cards like the Disgenuine Currency Press, or the Recursive Motion Machine to provide them with the funds needed.

    Gadgets cross card type boundaries.
    While spells will always be spells and Kung Fu will always be actions, with a few abilities here and there instructing you to make the relevant skill checks, gadgets have no problem crossing type boundaries and providing you with gadget dudes and gadget deeds. Not only that, but such cards tend to be quite above the curve to make up for the hefty costs of inventing. Thus, all gadget dudes until now have been Non-Unique, providing you with plenty of expendable bodies in the same value with great stats or abilities. Similarly all gadget deeds have been providing amazing value for money, either giving an instant return on investment, as in the case of Secured Stockyard, or aggressive control and built-in protection like with Miasmatic Purifier.

    This allows a gadget player to utilize their mad scientists not only for their hearts but their spades and diamonds as well, never leaving their expensive skilled dudes with nothing to do.

    On Gadget Power Level
    That said, it is true that gadgets have not managed to do as well when compared to other strong competitive archetypes, despite being wicked fun to play and having a ton of fans. This has to do with figuring out the fact that it’s been quite tricky to discover where the golden mean lies in regards to the hefty costs involved in gadget-making. At times, their total costs (i.e. GR cost, deck building restrictions, booting a mad scientist, etc.) only net makes them into slightly more powerful cards than normal goods, which is just not worth it, if one appends the opportunity cost involved. An apt example being the comparison of Winchester Rifle or Pearl Handled Revolver to the core set’s Flamethrower.

    It’s taken us a while to figure out where the power level of a gadget needs to stand before it can pull its weight in regards to its complete costs. And while previous gadgets are not by any means worthless, they simply have not received the synergies they needed.

    With Dirty Deeds, Foul Play, and Bad Medicine, we are confident mad science will get the support it needs from cards like Marty, Janoz Pratt and Luke the Errand Boy, in addition to new gadgets invented to put the fear of science into your unfortunate opponents.

    View the full article

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