Sunday, August 16, 2015

Don't Miss the Boat - a Pulp Alley Game

In our last episode, the Hollywood starlet Rita Farnsworth was set upon by two gangs bent on capturing her. She managed to evade them, slipping away during the fighting. Since then she has been hiding with a local family. Two days ago, she spied a sailor in the market. Approaching him, she learned he was the mate of the tramp steamer Errant Captain. He, in turn, was stunned to learn her identity, and quickly agreed to help her escape. 

After an overnight journey to a secluded coastline, Rita and the mate wait to meet a landing party from the Errant Captain. Now, in the pre-dawn, as they head towards the boat, they realise they are far from alone...
The game is a slightly modified version of 'The Hit' scenario from Vice Alley. Rita has to get to the ship's boat with one of the sailors by the end of turn 6 to escape. The game starts in pre-dawn darkness. Shooting is limited to 12", any characters who run may receive a peril, and any characters who fly face an extreme peril. Andrew, with his jump pack Zeppelin troopers, wasn't a fan of that one! These conditions would last until sun-up: 6 on a d6, check at the end of each turn. Turn one = one dice, turn two = two dice, etc.
Rita and the mate.
The rest of the Errant Captain's crew.
But wait, what are those hazy red figures?
And what about that brown horde doing their best impression of a napoleonic firing line?
Captain Lucas got off to a slow start in her maiden game.
The cultists close in.
Now it seems I missed some shots of some of the crucial action. But let's try to sum it up. We've never really used bursts is a game before. Three inch template. Everyone underneath has to beat a random peril, or they have to roll for wounds. Followers are generally terrible at passing perils. Most of the cultists and zeppelin troopers you saw before are followers.

Now go back and look a the pictures. How close are they standing!? Yes, let that sink in... The ship's bosun (grey shirt with tommy gun), singlehandedly took out six or seven opponents with a few well placed bursts. It was carnage.
A couple of cultists momentarily threatened to grab Rita, but it seemed all too easy for the sailors.
Until sun up (end of turn three). Then the whine of jetpacks filled the air and the fighting heated up.
Even so, Rita was able to get to the boat.
She was accosted by cultists and attacked by zeppelin troopers, but they were all quickly cut down by the ship's crew.
On the last turn, we'd just about run out of people! We had twenty-eight characters on the board at the start of turn one, now there are just six and only three of those are still standing! A zeppelin trooper made a final grab for Rita, but got hit with an oar for his troubles.
Where does that leave us? Rita has evaded capture. She's in the boat. But there's no one to row! What happens next? Answers on a note in a stamped, self-addressed bottle...

Well, apart from the gnawingly ambiguous ending, that was one of the most fun games of Pulp Alley I've played (it helped that I was the sailors!) It certainly was the one with the biggest body count.


  1. Obviously Rita straps that guy's rocket pack to the back of the boat.

    It's games like these that turn the PA meme of "combat is just a means to an end" completely on it's head. Great report.

    1. Yes, it had quite a different feel. The good thing, though, is that it wasn't just a shoot-em-up game. The objectives were still thereto be chased.

  3. A disturbing lack of monkeys! Or cats! Or robots! Must have been a blast. The best way to pave a desert is with cultist's bodies. Excellent!

    1. If you have them every game, they stop being special! The cat was there, but didn't come into play at all. I'll pass on your cultist remarks!

  4. Excellent looking game.
    I've thought about getting a tommy-gun and that template for one of my side-kicks. Looks like that is even more likely now.

    1. I don't think it will ever be quite as effective again after everyone saw how devastating it was, but yes I think it's worth it! Of course, it's very thematic too.