Doomtown: Building For The Shootout Draw

Learn how to build your deck for the shootout hands you really want.
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One of the most troubling aspects for new players to Doomtown is building your deck. Instead of normal card games where you just pick the cards and how many copies that you want, you will also have to choose cards based on their values. Winning the game and shootouts requires more than just a good shooter. You need a good deck build to back him up. If you don’t understand all the lingo you see here check out AEG’s Talking in Gomorra. They’ll set you straight.

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Deckbuilding Rules

Pick one outfit

You need 52 cards with printed values (Suit & Value)

You may add up to two Jokers to the deck (after the original 52 cards)

You can only have up to four copies of a card based on its name. In the original Doomtown several characters returned, sometimes back from the dead, and had different versions as a result. Reloaded is likely to continue the tradition. This rule isn’t important now, but could become important later.

You can only have four copies of the same suit and value. For instance, you can only have four 6♥ in a deck. The game already has several different cards at the same values providing deck building challenges right out of the box. A player who wants to use two different cards that both have the same value must share the 4 card limit, usually requiring two copies of each instead of the four you could normally have.

The Challenges

This makes deckbuilding a little more difficult than the version of Doomtown that came before Reloaded. Decks in Classic could often play all Kings if they wanted. This would ensure a five of a kind every time. Now, thanks to the new rules, you can only have up to 16 Kings in a deck; four K♠, four K♥, four K♦, and four K♣. A Full House is the minimum any player should strive towards. If you can improve your play to include Four of a Kind or Five of a Kind, even better.

Building for a Full House

In order to aim for a Full House in all your shootout draws, you will need to center your deck around three values. First of all, you will want to see what cards you prefer for the type of deck you are going to build. If you want several cards that are in the 6’s and 7’s, then that is where you will start. You can usually find other cards of the same value that fit into your strategy.

You can fill out the 6’s and 7’s netting you 32 cards total (16 at each value). There are two options to take after this. You can dedicate a third value or use the remaining space in your deck to pick all the cards you want. I highly suggest picking a third value that you can happily take 8-16 cards in. If you have 16 cards in each of three values, you will have 48 of your 52 cards in one of three numbers, meaning that drawing seven cards in a shootout Guarantees a Full House for your shootout at a minimum (assuming you have at least four starting dudes who don’t start the game mixed into your deck.

This limit is pretty strict on the cards you can include. Usually that third value won’t quite reach 16 cards, so that you can have a few cards of your choice mixed in like favorites Pistol Whip and Steven Wiles. More importantly, only one suit will cycle through your deck, the other three suits are going into play and will start leaving your deck after a few card turns. Clubs are actions that are used and go to your discard pile afterwards. Unless you choose to ace the card, using an action such as Gomorra Parish, it will constantly show up in your shootout hands.

Building for Four of a Kind

Building for Four of a Kind is similar to building for a Full House with one exception. Do Not play with Clubs in your third value. If you play with deeds, dudes, and goods that are easily playable in other values, they will make their way out of your deck quickly.

It isn’t important just to build a deck for a shootout hand at the start of the game, but it needs to create an even stronger shootout hand as you play cards to the table or remove them from play. Let’s say your three chosen values are 6,7, and 8. If your 8’s have no Clubs, then you will reduce the number of 8’s in your deck permanently each time you play an 8 to the table. The 6’s and 7’s should increase in draw potential as your 8’s disappear and the Clubs at 6 and 7 continue to reshuffle back into the mix. Consider what your deck values will look like if you are capable of getting one copy of each card into play. Maybe even two copies of cheaper cards.

There are other ways to work towards a Four of a Kind. Actions like the one above can remove cards from the game and increase your hand rank chances throughout the game. Make sure it is your most playable number. If you know your 7’s are most likely to hang around for the whole game already, for instance a deed with several copies that you can’t play, then don’t eliminate them with effects. This could hamper your ability to play useful cards later in the game if you have useless deeds cycling through your deck. The same holds true for Five of a Kind, just add more card removal mechanics to reach the desired saturation more quickly.

Building for a Dead Man’s Hand

A Dead Man’s Hand, 8♠, 8♣, A♠, A♣ , and J♦ is similar to building for a Full House with only a few slight changes. The first is that you must have A, 8, and J as your three values. The upside is, if you don’t draw your Dead Man’s Hand, you’re still very likely to draw a Full House. The second feature of the Dead Man’s Hand is that you will want to play as few cards as possible with the specific values listed above. Yep, some of the best dudes in the game rest a 8♠ and you won’t get to use them much. You could try other ways to have the Dead Man’s Hand available to draw, but it is unlikely to have a good backup hand like the Full House. Dead Man’s Hand has the added benefit of being a perfectly legal hand if you manage to put it together.

Building for a Straight Flush

Straight Flush isn’t the strongest possible hand in Doomtown and it’s incredibly hard to build. I don’t suggest this build at all because the backup hand if you fail to get a Straight Flush is a Straight or a Flush and both are weaker than the more consistent Full House setup. The easiest suit to build this with is Clubs. With five values in a row, such as 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 you will have 20 cards dedicated to this build. You should still use the same numbers for cards that aren’t Clubs in your build so that the possibility of a Straight or Full House is more common. The rewards just don’t benefit the work required to reach the best hand here.

Good Luck in Gamorra

I’m still new to building decks in Doomtown since the game is still new, but I’ve already managed to learn a lot through my losses. Building your deck for shootout hands is more important than building your deck with great shooters. If you can accomplish both at the same time, even better! Please feel free to share any techniques I may have missed for getting better draw hands.

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Landon Sommer
While I do play some of the greats like Civilization and X-com, consider me your Tabletop guru here at gameskinny. Want to know about a tabletop game? Just ask!