So... almost a year and half later... finally, Pulp Alley! Last Sunday saw my son Jakob and an old friend Steve over for a night of tabletop games.
Being our first ever go at Pulp Alley, I felt overall it went really well. We're still not 100% clear on a few things - Dodge moves, we made a meal of the Health checks the first three turns (but quickly figured out exactly what we misinterpreted thanks to Jakob), Challenges, and I still have some questions regarding Perils, but again, I thought it was a blast and can't wait to play it again. I played GM, while Jakob played what I'd created as the "good guy" league and Steve played the "bad guy" league.
While preparing for the game I found it quite difficult to come up with perilous areas for the board. These are pre-determined areas that will require players to pass challenges to move through them. Being a town board, I just couldn't come up with plausible narratives for perilous areas save for the basic jumping up/off buildings. Since it was my job to run the game, and get the rules wrong, I thought it would be fun to have all the perilous areas only known to me (kind of old school RPG like), because honestly, if you knew where a perilous area was you wouldn't go near it - and that's one question I have for Dave (who wrote the rules and is extremely active on his boards with answers to questions and suggestions) where I feel I need clarification.
I had three perilous areas only I knew the locations of - a mummy (which was an extreme peril), a kidnapping (which I didn't end up using), and my favorite, the swarm of beetles. I was originally going to have these come out in a couple of different places on the board, but the game took on a life of its own and I only needed to use it when an attempt for the major plot point was tried.
I found it extremely interesting and really fun how the game really kind of wrote its own story. I had a basic outline, but it was really neat to see the narrative come to life within that. The perfect example of that is in the photos below with a fight on the balcony of one of the buildings between the "bad guys" sidekick and muscle of the league, Amon Sighn, and the two "brains" of the "good guy" league, Natalia Aldridge and Professor Knight.
This sequence saw Sighn jump from the streets, courtesy of that cart, up onto the balcony to try to steal back the coin plot point that Professor Knight had obtained. Aldridge arrived quickly to help get the Professor out of danger.
This part saw some Hollywood type action, with Professor Knight finally escaping with the plot point by jumping off the balcony, onto some boxes, and then out into the town center. Natalia Aldrigde just barely got away, fleeing down the stairs, only because Sighn failed his challenge to pursue (we called it a peril because he tried to jump over the side and tackle her on the stairs). The narrative wrote itself here by calling the failed roll a trip!
The muscle of Steve's league, Amon Sighn, started his deployment outside of the Lao Che Air Freight building.
It was here that the extreme peril of the Mummy came into play when Jakob used his leader, Hutton Kincaid IV, to attempt to get the piano plot point. He ended up failing the challenge badly and actually got knocked out - or so we originally thought, this was one of our goofs with Health checks. He ended up coming back in the following turn, so no problem.
Steve's first attempt at a minor plot point was with Zedlock, an Ally, who tried to grab a canopic jar that was placed near the train station platform. On his first attempt when the challenge came up he actually failed, and collectively we all realized that your plot points were going to obtained much easier with the higher ranking characters! He grabbed it on his second attempt though.
The game went back and forth, with Jakob grabbing two plot points and Steve with one. And as we neared turn six both sides made a dash for the major plot point, the Mummy's coffin, in the center of the town.
Jakob ended up placing two of his characters behind the truck to gain some cover and a better position to shoot at Steve's characters running across the town center. Similarly though, Steve set up his leader, Barnubus Perry, across the way to provide cover for Zedlock as he made his way to the coffin.
Being in open ground, Zedlock proved to be an easy target for Jakob and was knocked out right before he reached the coffin; and unfortunately lost the canopic jar he was carrying.
Jakob then made an attempt for the coffin, and that's when the swarm of beetles attacked! This was 'The Mummy' moment I'd been waiting for the whole game and I placed 10 beetle swarm models all around the coffin area. Needless to say, Jakob failed the challenge to grab the plot point. His sidekick, Natalia Aldridge, came in to pass both the peril and challenge to grab the coffin. Jakob finished with 2 minor and the major plot points, and unfortunately Steve finished with none.
Overall, I thought it was great game, and I think (I hope anyway!) everyone had fun, despite my messing up some rules. Very much looking forward to giving this a go again - I can really see where a campaign setting will be perfect for this game, especially when you can get a story to unfold over several games, or chapters as I will call them, like those brilliant Republic Serials from the '40's. If you've never seen 'Zorro's Fighting Legion', I highly recommend looking it up! Absolutely amazing, and way ahead of it's time (except for the sound effect for the Golden Arrow, yikes!). You can really see where George Lucas stole a whole lot of ideas for a certain archeologist!
In addition to finally playing Pulp Alley, I couldn't be happier with the grunt work I've been completing to get here. I've got 70+ figures almost painted completely, I made an obscene amount of palm tree plates (so much, that I actually think the table looks too crowded with them) and scenery, completed a bunch of plot points & perils (my beetle swarms), and jazzed up two buildings with some fun and throwback signs. Pretty good for the self proclaimed 'Slowest Hobbyist on Earth'.
As always, thanks for looking!