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Ghost Town

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Joined: 03 Jan 2007
Posts: 337
Location: Chertsey, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:17 pm    Post subject: Ghost Town Reply with quote

Type: Tournament

1 Alfred Barkum, Sr.
1 Avarice
1 Basil Whateley
1 Billy Iron Horse
1 Captain Sim Yut-San (exp)
1 Mortimer Jones
1 Sandra Harris

4 Dragon's Nest Strike
1 Fu Leng's Laundry and Tailoring
1 Knot Mine
2 Lord Grimely's Manor
1 Smiley's Shaft
1 Stuffed to the Gills Strike
1 Sweetrock Smoking Lounge
1 Tent City (Chinese Workers)
3 The 1st Bank of Gomorra
1 The Courthouse
1 The Intelligence Shop
1 Town Hall

3 Bad Tequila
4 Rumors
3 Seductress

1 Eureka!
1 Full Moon
1 Ghost Infestation
4 Heavy Rain
4 It Was A Mountain Lion
4 Los Diablos Stampede
2 The Fair Comes to Town

Notes: This is the deck that won the 1999 Deadlands CCG World Championship at Gencon in Milwaukee. When playing it, one normally starts with no dudes at all though it does contain several dudes which might be played later. This has great shock value against an opponent who has never seen this strategy before but I will now reveal all.

Playing Sweetrock, one should win the lowball and, with no dudes to pay for, this leaves 24 Ghost Rock in your vault. This should allow one to play enough control point deeds to exceed the total influence of the opposition. The supporting actions and events disable or kill the opposing dudes so that they cannot take control of these deeds and so the game is won.

This strategy often doesn't work immediately - you might draw no deeds in your opening hand or there might be no events in the first lowball. In this case, you can just wait and see what your opponent does. If he does nothing much then you can try again on the second turn. If he forces your hand by playing some control points of his own then you might have to play one of the dudes in the deck to keep the game going. Note, however, that you can only have one non-Sweetrock dude in play.

You often have tough choices to make and one of them is whether to allow the Ghost Infestation to take effect or not - you will recall that Sweetrock is able to discard one of its six lowball cards before they are revealed. The fear level now starts at 5 and was played at this level at Gencon. This means that you need 6 control points to win and this isn't easy - even with the bonus point for big strikes which Sweetrock receives. This is one reason that the deck only contains one Ghost Infestation - if there were two or more then you might be forced to play one.

This deck has been evolving ever since I first built it for the 1998 World Championship. The original idea came out of discussions in London about a no-dudes strategy for the game Dune and whether the same idea might be used to win multi-player Doomtown. I got to wondering whether the same idea might work in a duel too and decided that it was worth a try. I didn't quite go all the way though - I started with Howard Findley, used Lions to whittle down the opposition and played big strikes during the Heavy Rain. Other events included Christmas Day, The Fair and Full Moon with lots of Bluff and Ace in the Hole to make sure that they appeared. I didn't have all the cards that I'd have liked - for example, I only had two Dragon's Nests. Even so, the deck was good enough to qualify and was only beaten by the two finalists - "Killer" Kerry Breitenstein and Ken "Spuds" Kurpiel.

These were the days of Rolling Thunder and the game was changing fast. I kept expecting the shifting sands to make the deck obsolete but was able to retune it as each episode appeared. The major changes were:

EPISODE 6 - The Maze Rats were clearly a major problem as they were largely immune to Heavy Rain. My answer was to substitute lots of in-town deeds for many of the strikes while adding Stampede and Night Haunts to the mix.

EPISODE 7 - This contained the first of the event hosers - The Den of Eastern Delights and Apache Devil Dancers. These made it hard to rely upon recycled Mountain Lions to win in the long haul but still left the possibility of a quick win. The Texas Ranger's outfit ability was another threat to Stampede/Heavy Rain but at this stage the outfit was very weak in other respects.

EPISODE 8 - Another event hoser, Drinks on the House, and an unkillable dude, The Ghost, made things start to look black. I experimented with the new event, Drought, but it clearly wasn't very good.

EPISODE 9 - Two major new cards made things look rosy again - Los Diablos Stampede and Seductress. Los Diablos put an end to starting Howard as four of these went straight into the deck. I reviewed the handful of dudes in the deck at this stage and the excellent experienced Capt Sim was added. The Flock looked interesting but innocuous at this stage.

PINE BOX - There had been awful rumours of major changes to Sweetrock but, while the changes were nasty, they didn't hurt the outfit much from my perspective - they were mainly designed to cripple the "Nothing but the Best" strategy of hiring the fastest guns in town. The other significant change was to the Mountain Lion - it now aced itself too. This was a sensible change but had little effect - I was no longer expecting to go through my deck a second time.

At this point the deck started to get more exposure as I used it in some tournaments in NJ/NY/PA and won a Madman's Secret tournament with it. Folk like John, Pat and Joe immediately saw it as a big threat and posted some warnings on the mailing list. Fortunately, these were drowned out by the more extensive discussion of Chris Foley's Flock Fondue - another Lion/Diablos deck built around the Flock. This did not start dudeless though and relied upon key dudes like Avarice to pull out the winning strike. I secretly chuckled at the thought of how this would fare when its dudes were the only ones in the firing line.

What worried me much more was Pat's idea of using the Sioux as the foundation for a deck with no starting dudes - heresy! After some feverish testing, all my three copies of Billy Iron Horse went into the deck - I wanted to be sure of playing him before the Sioux did. In the course of this rebuild, all the insurance cards like Bluff, Ace in the Hole and Snake Eyes were ditched - they had to go to make room for the extra dudes. Even so, the players in New Jersey may have the measure of the deck and I was fortunate that few of them came to Gencon. The west coast players which I did confront are familiar with the concept too but may not have seen this particular mix before. And surprise is an important advantage when playing this deck - you want to keep the opposition guessing as to what will leap out and bite him next.

MOUTH OF HELL - for such a large set, this had surprisingly little effect. The Ghost Infestation was the only significant card and I only added that after seeing Tom Kassel using it to good effect in his Boomtown deck in London. Burnt Offering was a possible problem but almost immediately this became mired in controversy and was banned from play at Origins. I didn't play in the main event there and this was won by a different Sweetrock deck - Mike Nickoloff's Sweetrock Shooter. I did play the deck in the Kansas City tournament at Origins though - the small chance of being caught cheating was worth ignoring. It did quite well but was beaten by the reigning champion, Kerry Breitenstein, who was also playing a Sweetrock cheater. She started with lots of influence dudes and I could not wear them down fast enough. I now saw Sweetrock as the major threat and when Chris asked why I wasn't starting with Sandra, I acted upon his suggestion by replacing the two extra Billys with Sandra and Mortimer. This paid off well at Gencon because I met the LA Sweetrock players like Mike again and again. I started with both Sandra and Mortimer in this case and usually won the pull for at least one of them.

It's not clear what the future holds. Reaping of Souls contains interesting cards like the experienced Lord Grimely's Manor and the Nicknevin event but these seem marginal. It's the rumoured cards from future sets that will be more significant. On the one hand, Eye of the Storm sounds like another potent event hoser while on the other hand, Scrye talks of a card which will remove all dudes from play! Gomorra is not getting any safer for ordinary mortals and could be a ghost town for some time to come ...
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Joined: 29 Jan 2008
Posts: 220

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll take a moment here and add a note to this deck.

I haven't seen a Ghost Town deck since the "Headline Rule" went into effect.

All the ghost town decks of the past were based on running multiple events that Ace randome dudes (and by starting no dudes they controlled that 'random' menat the opponent's). before the Headline rule all of the non-duplicate events would resolve, thus killing multiple dudes. After the headline rule only one random event is resolved from each player's lowball hand, so the concept isn't as strong.

has anyone seen a viable Ghost town deck post Headline?
Richard Carter
Doomtown Undead Champion 2004, 2005, & 2011
Shambling US Champion 2012
Big fish in small ponds
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Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How exactly does the headline rule work? I was out of the loop before this was even discussed. It's basically that every player's highest level event goes off and no more than that?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, Its that every player can only resolve a single event. THe event gets chosen randomly. SO still both player can resolve one, but not like 3-4 or so.
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Location: Chertsey, UK

PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RichCarter wrote:
has anyone seen a viable Ghost town deck post Headline?

I have a mean BJ: Rachel's Gang deck that can easily start with no dudes, although it doesn't use events. Hmm, why the heck not now I think about it!!!

Anyway, it made the Gencon UK semis in 2002, losing to a Sioux Brawler, but it's pretty good...I'll post it when I can find it.
"This is my town! If you live to see the dawn, it is because I allow it!"
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there,

any chance you found that rachels gang deck of yours? I would really like to see just cant imagine how to get something usefull out of this outfit...
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