Wednesday 15 April 2015

Pulp Alley: The Ladies vs. The Lads

This weekend I was invited to the home of Thomas, one of the Trumpeter club regulars, for a game of Pulp Alley. Thomas is always the most gracious of players at the club, so I jumped at the chance.

I have played a fair few games of PA but Thomas is a veteran, so it was a good opportunity to compare the game as I understand it against the game as Thomas understands it. There are small ambiguities with every rule set, and it's always good to see how they are resolved by someone else.

Thomas brought his troupe of WWI veterans, a small league of adventurers with two sidekicks. I brought my Watling Street Benevolent Society, a band I put together originally for In Her Majesty's Name. I took the leader attribute that allows me extra points for Allies and Followers, which means I had a much larger roster than Thomas. But would that be enough to defeat his superior troops?

The table before deployment.
We rolled for a scenario from the book, which turned out to be Dangerous Delivery! (? I can't remember the exact name). The story had me trying to transit several important packages from the lower left corner of the board, as seen above, to the upper right corner. The scenario, as written, says that any Plot Points not taken off-table are considered to belong to the opposing force, but we thought that was a bit tough, so Thomas just counted any PPs that he actually controlled at the end of the scenario as his.

Turn 3.
I started the game with 2 plot points in my possession, with the other 3 on the table. Thomas quickly snatched up one, and left another for a turn or two before taking it. I had the one nearest my deployment zone in hand, after a turn or two of faffing around.

Even the PPs that nominally start in my possession still have to be "achieved" by completing a challenge. My leader couldn't roll a decent die for most of the game, so she sat in the deployment zone for a few turns trying to pick up the damned suitcase.

Phillip J. Fry vs. the flea-rider!

Most of the fighting took place in the middle of the table, around the Quonset huts. One of the veterans' mooks snuck around the right side and leapt into an ill-advised fight against Mr. Hooke, my mechanical flea-riding sidekick, and got beaten up after a turn or two fighting. Thomas then sent in one of his sidekicks, who bears a striking resemblance to Phillip J. Fry, but no one was injured in the subsequent fighting.

"It's simply no use, you scoundrel! I see you skulking about back there!"

A few minor troops on both sides got beaten up, but the big fights between our leaders and sidekicks went without a clear winner.

After spending so much time monkeying around in my deployment zone trying to pick up "my" Plot Points, I wasn't in a great position to run the objectives off the far side of the table, even if the way had been clear. Mr. Hooke was able to use the power of his mechano-flea to leap over the opposition and away to freedom with the Major Plot Point, but my Ally with the other PP was bushwhacked inches from the corner of the table and both she and her escort failed their health checks, so they dropped their plot point there.

The unfortunate end of my suitcase-carrying mooks.
By the last turn, it was clear that I wasn't going to be able to make it to the corner of the board with my leader and last remaining Plot Point, even if she ran right past the other Plot Point sitting right in front of her, so we called it a game.

"That is a lovely valise, but I simply haven't the time to pick it up!"
I had made off with the Major Plot Point, but that's it. Thomas's Veterans had two minor plot points. I think that gave me the edge in victory points, but it would be hard to declare a clear winner.

We both had a lot of fun, so there's that!

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