MrSaturday (not real name) is a long time gaming buddy of mine (there are no buddies in gaming only ladder rungs). Dave is famous for his amazing art work and model painting skills among other things. He also runs a fine blog on painting and oldhammer which I Highly recommend you visit. He’s been good enough to write a guest article for me on a game he likes, something a little different …..
I’m a big fan of skirmish level wargaming. Back in the day I would have been playing Necromunda, Mordheim and Gorkamorka. These days you have games like Infinity, Malifaux, Deep Wars and a ton of others. Right now though, my skirmish rule set of choice is Pulp Alley.
I was introduced to Pulp Alley by the Irish Oldhammer group, and I was hooked right away. There are a lot of settings for skirmish games I am are keen to try out. Warhammer 40k inquisitorial warbands, Strontium dogs hunting down criminals while dodging the local cops on some dusty backwater planet, bands of undead cowboys raiding the town bank in an alternative Wild West, the list goes on, and Pulp Alley can handle them all.
Part of the reason I am quite keen on games at this level is there is an outside chance I might get the relevant models painted. Sure, I like painting big armies, but by the Gods it takes me ages. Having some smaller painting projects going on to break up the big stuff keeps it fresh. Anyway, Pulp Alley.
The biggest draw for me is that Pulp Alley lends itself heavily to narrative play. In fact, it’s the main driver. Instead of victory points you have plot points, so that gives you an idea of the lean of the game. Its intended setting is Indiana Jones style adventure, but you can apply it to pretty much any setting or period with no effort whatsoever.
Its mechanics are very simple indeed. A 4+ is a success for any roll. What changes is the dice you use to roll the test. A leader might use a D10 for the roll, whereas a sidekick might only use a D8. The types of dice you use will change in game as characters are injured and so on. There are several tiers of character that can be heavily customised with skills to represent pretty much anybody, or anything. Your group of characters is called a league, and they can be as small or as large as you like. There are several expansions for the game with rules for vehicles, larger models and so on.
Added to this are fortune cards and perils. When a player attempts to resolve a plot point, (effectively an objective), they make a peril roll depending on the difficulty of the plot point. Hacking into a security panel, searching a corpse, that kind of thing. Other peril tests come from terrain, wild animals etc. Jumping a ravine, hopping a fence, fending off a bear and so on.
Fortune cards are drawn by the players each turn, and have wide variety of effects. The fortune cards are essentially ways to boost your own guys, or much more entertainingly, mess with other players. Having a character spectacularly fail to climb over a high fence and get caught on it by a sensitive part of his anatomy for the remainder of the game due to several cards being played on him in quick succession provides (and did provide) much hilarity.
So, if you’re looking for a light and very entertaining skirmish system to suit any models or setting you like, give Pulp Alley a go.