Monday 2 March 2015

Pulp Alley: Perilous Island Inaugural Session

I got a copy of the Pulp Alley rules a few weeks ago and right away I thought they looked like a lot of fun. The emphasis on the characters and telling a gonzo story, embodied in the Plot Point and Peril rules, seemed like just my sort of game. A couple of friends and I had a game and that was enough to confirm my impressions of the rules, so I ordered the Gadgets and Vehicles book, as well as the Perilous Island campaign. The new books arrived on Thursday, and on Saturday I played the inaugural scenario with Bryan, my pulp-enthusiastic friend.

The scenario pitted The Shadow and his team (giant Frenchman named Andre, a mysterious Chinese man named Mr. Wu, and two henchmen) against Black Sascha, the leader of the SS Occult Research Division, and her team (Gertie, the woman-mountain hybrid, three female SS followers, and three German troopers). A famous archaeologist had gone missing and we were competing to make contact with his daughter at a dig in Mexico in the hopes of getting a lead on where to look for him.

Our mission was complicated by the lady's Mexican bodyguard (Extreme Peril for anyone within 8" of the center of the board), the lady's maid (an Extreme Peril unto herself) and various other dodgy areas of the board (the burial mounds, the tracks, the rock outcroppings, etc.)

Original setup, before deployment. Burial mounds, with an ancient artifact in a crate, are on the left, the lady and her bodyguards in the center. The lady's maid is just visible behind the palm tree down and left of center. There is a package next to the more distant tent, and the last plot point is somewhere in the car next to the closer tent.

A better view of the lady, her bodyguards, and her maid.

The Shadow's two henchmen and two of the she-wolves are positioned for an early race to one of the plot points.

Meanwhile, Black Sascha and her sidekick, along with a friendly local who joined just before they arrived at the dig site, jump out of a truck. The Shadow is caught trying to sneak around the tent and he exchanges dirty looks with Gertie.

On the other side, Andre gets ready to race to the artifact against one of the she-wolves and a German trooper.

The friendly local recruited by the SS Occult Research Division decides that fortune favours the bold and rushes The Shadow by himself...

...and swiftly learns why level-1 henchmen recruits shouldn't try to take down the boss of the opposing force. Still, he wounded The Shadow and reduced his combat effectiveness for the rest of the turn.

On the other side of the tent, one of the she-wolves manages to take out one of the Shadow's henchmen, but The Shadow himself pops around the corner long enough to shoot her, then flees back to where he came from. The remaining henchman begins a multi-turn struggle to open the cases.

In the center of the camp, Black Sascha and Gertie "convince" the lady and her maid to join them over by the rocks for a little while. Mr. Wu and Andre work on the artifact by the burial mounds together, while the last remaining she-wolf begins rifling through the car.  Things are looking good for the SS...

...until the last couple of turn. From about the time they took possession of the lady and her maid, Black Sascha and the rest of her team couldn't roll a success to (literally) save their lives. They swiftly lose both plot points they were holding and can't recapture them.

The game ends in a bloody catastrophe for the She-Wolves. By the end of the final turn, I was in possession of no plot points, and didn't have a single character standing. Still, The Shadow only got away with one or two minor plot points, so it wasn't a complete shut-out.

The game was a ton of fun, even with the disappointing ending for my team. Next stop: an airport showdown in Casablanca (? I think?)!!


  1. Sounds like you guys had a hoot. The terrain looks very appropriate for pulp island stuff.

  2. Great stuff! I like the figures and terrain.

  3. Dave, almost all of the scenarios in the campaign are listed as 2-4 players, so if you ever want to drop in for a session you're always welcome. Between Bryan and me we have a *lot* of teams for you to choose from.

  4. It is a very nice set-up and report. Our AAR of the same scenario is on the Pulp Alley forums (or actually on IMAGUR):