PvP Pulp Alley

I finally got a chance to get Pulp Alley played PvP instead of solo only and my goodness! The game is even better PvP! (Is that any surprise?)

The director having initiative and directing which side to activate (until the directorship/initiative) is lost (potentially multiple times a turn) is unique and I don’t think many skirmish games do this. Maybe the Song of Blades and Heroes series as you could lose activation for your side if you fail the activation roll… or the Dragon Rampant series that follows the ASOBH convention.

Then the gameplay is super engaging. You’re always on the alert even on your opponent’s turn as it gives you a chance to play a Fortune card. And the combat where you’re involved in deciding what to do…

Then there’s the narrative, objective based gameplay. It’s not just “control the objectives to score points” for no rhyme or reason as so many games nowadays seem to do… but there’s a reason. You need to persuade the old beggar lady (minor plot point) down the alley to reveal the location of the secret hideout of the Big Baddie (major plot point) so you can go in and destroy the HQ and wreck the bad guy’s nefarious plans.

To be sure, the limited nature of the skirmish game (between 2-7 or 10 models) may not be to everyone’s taste. And some will prefer more crunchiness in their games. They WANT their weapons to matter, and each weapon to have their own stats and special effects. They want armour type to matter. For that kind of gamer, there are other games. Not Pulp Alley.

But for straight out fun, emergent storytelling that comes from gameplay that’s not scripted… to play the kind of heroes or villains that you’ve ever dreamed of as a kid (big or small)… you can’t go wrong with Pulp Alley.

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OK, gushing is over.

We did a basic intro Smash and Grab scenario between the occult German Reich vs the Union forces: the Obscura Korps vs the 42nd Marine Special Forces.

The objective is an occult artefact that is somehow located in the ruins of a panzer factory with several minor plot points (including one former Russian Tsarist factory worker who was a POW) to be garnered in this game.

The players soon got into the rhythm of the game and once they got used to the unconventional activation/initiative sequence, really enjoyed the game play.

Basically there’s they moves forward, shooting at each other and I had to remind them to focus on the objectives, not kill each other off. They really enjoyed the versus combat. As the attacker… will you blocks some incoming hits, or take it all in the hope of putting the enemy down? As the defender… do you counterattack or do you dodge?

So the game play came down to the Union leader Major John MacNeal standing solo against the 3 remaining Obscura  Korps members…. And the Union won with 3 points vs 2! (Collected a major and a minor plot point vs the Obscura Korps 2 minor plot points).

We will now stat up our leagues and play a campaign!

Watch this space.

*NOTE: solo game play isn't bad either. It's tough and engaging as well and maybe 90% of the game is intact. But good as it is, it's definitely lacking the spark that comes from PvP interaction, although the Solo cards and perils/challenges give you some of the flavour of that... it's not the same. Still, for solo play, Pulp Alley is still highly recommended.