Last week my good friend Matt invited me round to his place for our first experience of Pulp Alley. We’d both bought the rulesets and cards a few weeks ago and were keen to give the game a whirl. Joined by another mate, Paul, we settled down to a couple of games and a few beers.
|The Basic Rule Set & Cards|
I have known these guys for several years having worked with them in a previous role. The weirdest thing was that for the best part of two years we sat in the same office of 25 and had no idea that we were all gamers. On top of that we all lived about 10 minutes from each other. It was only be chance that we discovered that we all had the same interest whilst I was working out my notice period. What are the odds on three gamers living closely to each other work in the same small office. I digress.
|Indiana Jones looking for plot points|
I took the camera along to get some snaps but unfortunately both the wine and the excitement prevented me from taking a story board format. So i'll focus this post on the rules themselves and just add the few photos taken of the game.
Pulp Alley is a skirmish rule set that allows players to re-enact all those pulp action stories eg Indiana Jones. It’s a simple fayre using about 10 figures per side on a small table. Ideally the table should be loaded with terrain for cover, perils and plots. The purpose of the game is for the players to seize plot points and complete the adventure by securing a defined number. Of course both teams have the same mission and ensures that combat will ensue.
|He still can't find them|
Movement is straight forward but as you enter a new zone you might come across a hazard/peril eg climbing over a wall. This is where it gets fun. At the beginning of the game each player is handed three cards randomly from the card deck. These cards tell you skills you must roll against and the penalty if you fail. To give you an example one of Pauls henchmen tried to climb through an window. I played a card that required him to successfully roll against the characters cunning skill,, needless to say he failed and knocked himself out for the rest of the game.
|Maybe they are here|
Combat is very straightforward with each character having a shooting and a brawling skill. These are expressed in the dumber of dice rolled and the type of dice used. Heroes get d10’s, allies d8’s and lowly folk get d6’s. To hit you need to roll a four. This is a very similar mechanic to force on force. However the similarity stops here. The opponent can elect to dodge (another skill) or shoot back. Both sides roll their respective dice and effectively hits gets cancelled out by the defenders roll. This does mean the super heroes are most effective – as it should be. If a character is hit they drop a health level (again denoted by type of dice) and when they drop belowe a d6 they are rendered unconscious. There is a chance that they may awake each turn.
|The Captains allied|
When a player activates a plot point they must fulfil a task (same as perils but harder) and can spend many turns completing this. We found that again our super heroes were best at accomplishing these whilst the enemy were held back by allies. Upon completion the next plot point is revealed on the board.
|The Village - Matts going to repaint the buildings for an arab flavour|
I have been really simplistic in my write up but the rules do capture the essence of the period.
In our games Matt had set out two forces – Indian Jones and his crew versus some dodgy looking character known as the Captain. The captain’s forces were significantly stronger and as such won both our games. The games has a good balance with all players getting involved.
My only criticism is the layout of the first set of plot points – the rules said that these should be 12 inches away from the player. With the second 12 inches away etc. We quickly worked out that if this was the case canny gamers would merely place these as far away as they could from the opposition and combat becomes less likely. We opted for a completely random placement.
So whats next well Indy and his friends will appear again. I have just purchased a great big pyramid and will be building a ruined temple complete with Egyptian village in the full ness of time….
Until next time
Until next time