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Friday, August 25, 2017

Pulp Alley Trial Game

Pulp Alley definitely wins the award for least time between receiving the rules and actually getting figures on the tabletop and playing the game!  

This was partly because I was able to download the free rules ahead of time but mostly becuase the rules are elegantly simple and make sense.  Oh, we had the usual questions (actions aren't well defined in the rules so for a bit we thought you couldn't run and shoot) and I made some major mistakes (totally forgot for the first few fire-fights that the attacker has the option to take damage instead of just blocking return fire) but the first game was a blast and we can't wait to play again!

We played the "Hidalgo Fire" scenario from the free rules with one major change -- we set it on a Mars-like planet so that we could use our sci-fi figures.  And we threw in a bit of Rogue One inspired backstory:  Far off in another corner of the galaxy, a weapons researcher working for the Empire has gone missing.  Our leagues (Pulp Alley's name for your army list) have independently tracked down the researcher's estranged daughter at an archaeology site on a red planet and hope that we can convince her to help look for her father. 
(By the way, the reason we threw in the Empire from Star Wars is that we built an Imperial stormtrooper Pulp Alley league as a way of teaching ourselves the league creation rules.   The stormies will show up in future scenarios.)

Since this was our first game, I left out a few things.  I placed the minor plot-points equidistant from the Major plot point (instead of us each taking turns placing plot points) and we skipped rolling for scenario random events because I figured we had enough to do with just learning the game.  

But because I like chaos in narrative games, I added 4 mobile "extremely perilous areas" in the form of various beasts that randomly moved about at the end of the turn.  There were 4 of these, one placed between each plot point.

Some highlights (since this was a learning game we didn't take detailed notes) from my side of the battle:

  • "Speedy" the Dalek (a Follower from my league) racing forward on the first turn to reach the Ancient Artifact plot point, only to be immediately knocked out by the Brain Worm swarm (a mobile Extremely Perilous Area).  (Since they were brain worms, the Dalek  wasn't actually hurt -- they just knocked him over and he couldn't get up!)

  • Our most "pulpy" moment when my leader had to spend a turn convincing the archeologist (the Major plot point, the weapon engineer's daughter) to come with him while nearly the entirety of Xan's league shot at him.  (He failed his initial Challenge roll so had to spend another turn convincing her, then finally started moving off the table).
    • This was visualized as:
      • Leader: "Come with me if you want to live"
      • Archeolgist: "No"
      • Leader: "This way! Wait...what?"

  • And Gorgo the Gigant making a pet of one of the other mobile extremely perilous areas -- a giant lizard-like beast.  He was hit twice  by the random movement of this beast but easily passed each challenge -- mostly because both challenges were against his strength!  ("Gorgo not smart but Gorgo strong.")

Final Thoughts - I love this ruleset!  The fun started when we began designing our characters and it kept going throughout the game.  Pulp Alley is going to be getting a lot of play in our house.