We’ve been playing a lot of Pulp Alley recently; this photo is actually from ten days ago, not our most recent game, but it’s better than any of my snapshots from the more recent game!
I’ve whipped up half a dozen teams (Pulp Alley refers to them as Leagues) that we’re swapping back and forth between actual players as the spirit moves us. Being pulp, we’re well off into stereotypes, I’m afraid! There’s the stiff-upper-lip Sir Charles, who denies being an agent of the British Crown; the Teutonic schemer Stahlmaske, as dangerous to his underlings as he is to his enemies; the sinister but intoxicated General Vodkanovich, White Russian exile; the mercenary Captain B., and various other gangs of pulpish skulkers.
I’ve even brought back crowd favourite Red Lily, International Women of Mystery, although she and her crew haven’t yet appeared in a game.
We’re having a lot of fun with Pulp Alley, as should be obvious. The printed, softcover book has just been published, along with the Fortune/Challenge cards in playing-card style. I’ve got copies of both enroute, and I’ll do a proper review here on the Warbard of both when they arrive!
I picked up a copy of the recently published pulp skirmish rules Pulp Alley sometime last month, and we finally got a game of it in today.
Pulp Alley is published by the father & daughter team of Dave & Mila Phipps; the $10 45-page PDF has all the basic rules for pulp mayhem, designed around teams (“Leagues” in PA) of about 5-8 Heroes, Sidekicks, Allies and Followers. I’ll likely do a full review of PA soon, but the basic rules are well-written and well-edited, with nice pulpy graphic touches throughout.
For this game I copied the sample League provided in the book, hacked together a second League quickly, then assembled two more Leagues by getting players to play mix-and-match between the two existing Leagues. This left a lot of rules and features unexplored, but as a quick-and-dirty method of assembling four not-quite-identical teams it worked OK. We got out my underused tropical buildings and a few bits of jungle terrain and got to it.
I’ll be writing up a proper review of Pulp Alley sometime soon, probably in a few weeks after we have another couple of games. The initiative system is different and interesting, with initiative changing hands based on winning fights or capturing objectives. The Fortune Card deck is a great idea and added quite a lot to the game, especially a few turns into the scenario when we were all a bit more comfortable with the rules. The combat system is elegant, although I can tell I need to stop at my FLGS to get a few more d8s before our next game. Before next weeks game I want to properly build several Leagues to get a better idea of the character and League creation rules; there’s also several questions I’ll need to ask over on the Pulp Alley forums, mostly to do with wounding and recovery from wounding, which we got slightly confused by!
It was great to get back to pulp gaming again, and I’m looking forward to getting more familiar with the Pulp Alley rules.
Spent the morning doing a few bits of last minute prep for my Russian Civil War game, mostly putting the finishing touches on the field gun and crew. Headed up to the convention site a few hours before it opened so I could get my pass ahead of time and avoid the 45 minute wait at the official doors time, then loitered in a coffee shop until just before the doors opened.
Going to the will-call pre-con ticketing turned out to be a good plan, as the lines were fairly long at the ticket door!
The evening session was taken up with a fairly quick, highly entertaining game of pulp racing run by Corey; the rules are super light, less than a page, and consist mostly of “roll something and make sh*t up, then everyone crashes!”. Scatter dice, FUDGE dice, card-based activation and possibly averaging dice are involved. Corey claims to have been sober when he wrote the rules, but I have my doubts. I ran over a skunk, an escaped circus elephant narrowly avoided being very large roadkill, one or two sheep weren’t so fortunate, and ultimately Our Hero crashed, his car nudged from behind by a Comically Evil Henchperson, and was unable to prevent the Dastardly Villain from marrying the Tragically Brainwashed Heroine. Pulp silliness ensued, in other words.
I even remembered to take photos, and one or two of them even turned out OK!
“Aviatrix” is the feminine version of “aviator”, but of course you knew that already. This fabulous pair is courtesy Kemon’s Flickr stream, which has a huge array of mostly aviation-related stuff, a lot of it from the interwar pulp era!
Dusting off my sadly-neglected blog this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend to post a link to a very cool trio of old movies shot in the early 1930s by the US Marine Corp in China. The US (as well as the British, French and a few other Western powers) maintained military forces in China right up into the Second World War, including aviation forces.
If you were looking for scenery inspiration, a lot of this footage is at fairly low level, and while it isn’t hugely detailed you could get useful inspiration for Chinese buildings and compounds by peering past the airplanes!
Hope any Canucks reading this are having an excellent Thanksgiving weekend. I’m trying to get back into the gaming thing after a summer and early fall of practically zero activity, so more content soon, hopefully!
Urban pulp is often about the dark alleyways, the gritty industrial districts, the shadowy corners, the threatening figures in fedoras and trenchcoats lurking in the misty dark… so here’s a pair of photos from Shorpy that just ooze that sort of atmosphere!
Pittsburgh Noir over on Shorpy, just in case the hotlink doesn’t work. (Sometimes Shorpy links work beautifully. Sometimes they don’t work at all…)
Having just been away for a week, and July having been awfully slow on the wargaming front around here, I hope to resume more regular posts soon, as I get back into gaming regularly. Still, that seductive summer heat will keep luring me out outdoors (you know, the bright room with the blue ceiling and lousy wifi reception…) so the summer doldrums might last a bit longer. We shall see. In the meantime, go explore Shorpy, there’s a huge amount of great stuff on that site!
I am, as mentioned in the last post, neck-deep in prep for my Russian Civil War game less than a week away at Trumpeter Salute 2012. Nevertheless, something near and dear to the very core of the Warbard’s raison d’etre needs to be linked to…
Via the excellent Dieselpunk, who in turn got it from kitchener.lord’s spectacular Flickr stream, this Red Airships photomontage poster:
I’ve long been a fan of pre-WW2 Russian design; there were some very talented people doing great stuff even in terrible conditions.
Anyway, back to final drafts of initiative cards, then painting the last 16 White Russian infantry for the game!
Bit of a quiet week here on the Warbard. I’ve been burning up all my available hobby time painting Russian Civil War figures. There’s two dozen Cossack infantry finished, another three dozen regular White riflemen nearly finished, twenty Red infantry in progress, and a new unit of ten Red sailors well underway. Yes, if you total that up, it’s nearly 100 figures, all 28mm. I’ve been a busy chap. There’s six or eight half-written articles in the Drafts queue here on the Warbard, but I haven’t touched any of them in days!
Even better? By my quick admittedly rough calculations, a 20ft-long model of the USS Macon is roughly 1:56th scale, ie 28mm… the gentleman in California has created a wargaming model, possibly without knowing it!
Tomorrow we game the Russian Civil War again using the Mud & Blood rules, photos and a game report tomorrow evening!
Basically, take long billets of foam, run a hot wire knife across a profile, and rotate the billet to create that distinctive “faceted” look of a Zepp body. Very cool.
Of course, I once calculated a 1/56 (28mm) scale of Graf Zeppelin would be about 19 feet long (nearly six metres!), so doing the gondola and a bit of the body in 28mm is (marginally!) saner. Only marginally, mind you. The small-scale foam zepps in the first link are a lot smaller and saner; they’re still about 3ft long, though.
If you are minded to do some zeppelin construction, in whatever scale, you could do worse than following the useful links from this Propnomicon posting called “Zeppelin Goldmine“, which has links to high-quality scans of a book of speculative 1920s designs for a Graf Zepp-sized trans-Atlantic zeppelin. The gondolas of those look fairly buildable as 28mm skirmish terrain, actually. One of these days…