Pulp Alley: Smash and Grab!

Now that I’ve set out my 2022 gaming resolutions in a well-argued post last week… I decided to start fulfilling them by obsessively watching Pulp Alley “how to play” videos, especially the solo ones to tick off the "solo games I need to play more" list.

So I broke out my old leagues I made up 3 years ago, dusted them off and ran through a basic game of Smash and Grab.

I took the Obscura Korps led by Herman von Heizinger, a practioner of the occult arts vs the 42nd Marine Special Forces led by Colonel John McNeil. (Minis and background fluff taken from the now OOP FFG game Tannhauser).

Deep in the wilderness lies a ruined temple with the Eye of Horus (major plot point), a mystical relic that the Reich is hoping will give them an advantage in the long, unwinnable war that has been raging since 1914.

There are four other minor plot points scattered around the table.

The winner is the one who manages to hold on to the major plot point at the end of turn 6.


My Obscura Korps activated first, ran through 3 Solo cards and managed to advance towards the Eye. Yula ran into some trouble though and went down.

The 42nd also advanced and managed to shoot down a trooper follower (who goes off the table immediately if you fail its save vs damage roll).

von Heizinger calls up a minion. (I forgot to draw a card to see how many minions come out. It could be anything from 1-3).

Both sides run closer to the Eye, keeping to cover as much as possible.

Some peripheral shooting sees Eva and the Schocktruppen go down and out!

I’m now down to 4 (plus minion) vs 6 Union models.

Even with a bit of one-on-one action with Yula vs Talia… not much changed. That was the big action packed combat for most of the game.

The main highlight though, was Ozo picking up the major plot point and its reward (+1 to all Might rolls) and trying to take it off the table, pursued by most of the 42nd. 

von Heizinger manages some delaying tactics, turning his Fearful Gaze on some troopers, mostly paralysing them and making them ineffective, then raising another Minion and sending it after McNeal while Ozo finally downs a Union trooper.

It all came down to the last roll of the dice on the last turn of the game. 

Ozo took cover behind some ruins. McNeal moved up and shot at him, rolling 4d10 due to being in short range, and getting 3 successes. Ozo failed to dodge the shots and got hit 3 times. Ozo rolled 2 out of 3 saves, which usually meant he would go down since he was already wounded. But since he was in cover, that allowed him to re-roll 1 die… and he failed the re-roll! (See that "1" I rolled?)

AAR: What a game! Either the Pulp Alley 2.0 rules have been smoothened out some more, or I’m more comfortable with how the game plays thanks to all the “how to play” videos on the Pulp Alley YouTube channel. Somehow when I played earlier, the game didn't quite gel for me. Admittedly those were the 1.0 rules but there's not many changed from 1.0 to 2.0.

Errors: I forgot to roll for random events before the game started. And made a few other rules errors along the way, but most of the game flowed pretty smoothly. I’ll do up a quick Game Play Aid for my next game… which I will also take the time to actually do a write up pulp-fashion as befits the game’s narrative play style and not just “he needs two successes from his Cunning to pass his peril test” but rather “he spots something gleaming in the grass. It’s a trap! He’s seen the trap before and cunningly dismantles it without any hurt to himself.”

I’ll be replaying the game in a fantasy setting next: a fantasy Egyptian Conan (Khenan the Sumerian) going in to rescue the princess from the clutches of the Necromancer with his band of rogues using Egyptian themed minis from Dark Fable for Khenan's gang and the Monolith Conan minis for the bad guys.

Just a note in case I forgot to mention: Pulp Alley doesn’t just play solo but also PvP and co-op… and you can have more than 2 players taking sides… usually up to 4. There are also some free Quick Start Rules and cards available on their web site here if anyone is interested to try out the game.