Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Multi Player Pulp Alley - 40k Style

Last weekend we kicked off the gaming for 2015 with a large Pulp Alley game hosted by John of JustJohn fame. Saturday morning (late morning, we just can't seem to stop talking little men over pot after pot of coffee) we adjourned to John's hobby building (shed doesn't really cover it) and his enormous wargaming table.

The game was Pulp Alley, and the scenario was uncover several minor plot points hidden around the table to find out the whereabouts of the captive held by the sinister cult. The players were as follows:

A loose alliance gathered to find the captive, all with agendas of their own:
Bruce - An inquisitor and his retinue of Imperial followers.
Paul(Cheetor)- Heisenbork brainboy and his band of greenskins. Big Billy was my favourite here.
Sean - A unit of Imperial Ogryns, led by Beefpounder, the biggest Ogryn I've ever encountered.

This very loose alliance was set against the cult, represented by:

Craig - A gang of trench-coat wearing toughs led by Salty Tom.
Dave  - My own league was a group of nasty genestealer hybrids, led by magos (not magus, you'll note) Kurgan.

So, essentially the Imperial/Ork alliance had to find the clues to the whereabouts of the captive, and the cult had to keep them guessing.

The inquisitor leads his followers into the jungle.
The ogryns crash straight into the hybrids.
As you can see, Sean, who was the only Imperial player on his side of the board wasting no time in ploughing right into the cult magos. Magos Kurgan has an unlucky reputation, ans spent several turns fending off the unstoppable Beefpounder before help arrived in the shape of brother Welt, a grossly misshapen and augmented hybrid. With the cult in furious battle with the ogryns, the initiative stayed at this end of the table for several turns, denying the orks and inquisitor the chance to make an impact in the early game. Judicious use of cards meant that the orgyns put up one hell of a fight though, with lead and steel bouncing off them to no effect. (It seems tremendously easy to build characters in Pulp Alley to reflect any type of ability. Such as Beefpounder's ability to just not die.)

Bruce drives his men forward like a merciless tyrant.
Eventually the initiate shifted, and shots began to ring out from the advancing Imperials and Orks. Notably from Bruce's sniper, who cleared an area very swiftly as dodging cultists dove and rolled behind whatever cover was available. Craig rolled some truly astounding dodge rolls.

Dodging like a boss.
Eventually though, as plot points were uncovered, a second underground entrance was discovered. The main entrance being in the ruins of the Imperial shrine in the centre of the table. Bruce's inquisitor and his fellows raced for the shrine, with his commissar and adeptus arbite vaulting up the outer wall and onto into the ruins.

Well, that's what statistically would have happened. Instead, both managed to fluff several peril rolls and sprain their ankles, taking them out of the game. Hilarity ensued, with the mental image of two Imperial hardcases rolled up in a ball grabbing their ankles and hissing 'Fffffffff, oOooOoooo that's sore!'

"We never talk of this, agreed?"
After the mockery abated, it was noticed the orks were making for the rather lonely looking outdoor toilet at the far end of the table after completely abandoning the fragile alliance with the Imperials. The second entrance had been found. They were now only a flush away from certain victory.

Heisenbork leads his greenies to the secret entrance.
At the other end of the table magos Kurgan eventually managed to extricated himself from combat, with Beefpounder's attention diverted by brother Welt. The ogres had soaked up an enormous amount of punishment, but eventually the cultists managed to access the entrance to the catacombs in the shrine and head off the orks before they managed to rescue the captive. After some vicious tunnel fighting the cult came out on top, though there are rumours of a steward's inquiry. All in all a great game, which fairly effortlessly accommodated several players. This only serves to further cements my affection for the Pulp Alley rules.

Bono attempts to barge the charging cultists out of his way in the dying moments of the game.
Next up was an introductory game of Bolt Action using our Rogue Trader models. Bruce gave us the skinny on the game, which was a lot of fun. I do like the dice system, and it seems as if the rules can be massaged enough to suit the 40k universe. I've seen a game using German Walkers and zombies, which ticks my weird war box something fierce, so I'm interested in more Bolt Action.

Imperial guard and squats await the assault.

An odd alliance of Leprecians (Ratlings) and the Legion of the Damned.

The Leprecians advance along the flanks.

These legionnaires hadn't seen battle in literally decades up to this. They seemed to have retained their mojo though.

To finish off a very fine weekend of gaming, Sunday morning saw John crack out Dungeonquest. Insanely difficult, but loads of fun. I must get me a set.

Bottom right character. Second tile, fell down a hole. Good old Dungeonquest.


  1. Love it! Imperials and Orks should team up more often =)

  2. Thanks for posting up your gaming weekend, thoroughly enjoyable read :)

    I totally agree with what you said about Dungeon Quest too. When I play it I don't bother using the "sun tracker " as you literally only have a couple of turns to make it into the dragons lair & out again. I'd love to get hold of the expansions.


    1. I find the tracker adds nicely to the frantic desperation.

  3. Ah dungeonquest - played a game of it with the boy and wife Monday night. And all of us got out alive although the wife was the only one who managed to get to the treasure chamber.

    1. I got to the chamber, and pulled the woken dragon card right away. It fried me right there and then, before I even had time to shove a handful of coins down my pants.

  4. I don't drive my men forward like a merciless tyrant. I am a merciless tyrant!!! If only they would stop faking injuries. I blame my minion health insurance package. Too generous....

    1. The bruised ego insurance might have to be revised for the arbite and commissar.

    2. Inquisitor Thrawn got a good payout for that one!

  5. The PA game was fun, but I do think that five players is at least one too many, just because of time taken to complete the game. Next time we should either use smaller leagues or split into two smaller games I think, possibly both.

    I reckon that Bolt Action and Beyond the Gates of Antares each have lots of potential for the scale of projects that we can aim for these days. The simple rules and the simple dice drawing mechanics really suit multi-player too. Lots to like, although they wont knock PA off my top spot for now at least.

    As for Dungeonquest, Ill take my cheap laughs where I can get them and The Game That Hates You provides plenty, Once or twice a year it sounds just about right.

    1. The only thing I noticed was initiative hogging, but it handles multi-player better than most systems I've used. Even at that the initiative changed about pleasingly after the first couple of turns.

      Most interested in how GoA develops.

    2. Nice write up mister Dave.

      @Cheetor: I think 5 is do-able, now that we're all familiar with the rules. Though the expression 'staffording it' came about for a reason... :P
      Maybe the GM could keep things running with more of a whip.

      I'd also like to play a bunch of 1v1 games over a weekend with the PA campaign rules, and get some character development going. That'd be pretty fantastic.

    3. Hey! I take exception to that stain on my good name. 'Staffording it' is obviously some kind of reference to the general good-natured and casual way I approach gaming...

    4. Well, to quote the blog description "generally faff about" seems like a fair, unbiased description of the "Staffording" process ;)

      Although the model count is low I have found that most two player games of PA take a couple of hours: approximately the same amount of time that a game of 40k used to take back in the day. Familiarity with the rules is a factor of course but five player PA is going to take ages one way or another.

      Reduced size leagues is a way to partly mitigate it. We used far too large a battlefield too: I didn't come into contact with the Cult or the Ogryns at all despite running full tilt all game. I am going to be more insistent on a few technicalities next time: no point in being polite at the expense of the game. I don't mind if I come off as even more of an arsehole than usual if it keeps the game quality high.

      Initiative in interesting in PA. I like it, but sometimes, more often in two player, most of a game can go by without getting it. You have to wrest it from opponents I guess, but it can be frustrating.

      A weekend long campaign (three games I reckon) could be fun, but it would require a firm hand and non-fragile egos willing to accept and move on quickly to get it done. Rooms of sleep deprived, coffee and booze filled, middle aged grognards can be hard to get pulling in the same direction.

      Thanks for the write up Mr S!

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Faff?! Me. Not at all. I merely... consider.

      The board could probably have been a little smaller, but I quite like the way you have to literally take the initiative. For a weekend campaign, time limits would be a must. A literal stopclock would be needed. Nice tight victory conditions also. The grognard factor is always an issue!


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