Infinitively Infinite

2022 Top 10 Solo Skirmish Games #1!

#1 PULP ALLEY 


And last but not least we have the #1 for 2022. 


I know I’ve raved about Pulp Alley before but now having played it both solo and PvP all I can say is : it just works! 


The game focuses on story telling and the objectives (if done properly) really immerse you in the scenario. 

That plot point you just picked up? It doesn’t give you 1VP. It’s actually the relic of Hathor that will allow you to find the lost map that leads to the lost city of Kamehaha. 

That wound you just took? That wasn’t actually a wound. Sure the bad guys shot at you. They thought they hit you because they saw the blood on your head. But the bullet actually hit the wall beside you and the fragments grazed your head causing some blood to flow into your eyes. But you took time out to tear the sleeve off your shirt to bandage the wound and now the blood has stopped flowing into your eyes your back to normal. 


All of these can go with the flow of the game. You just need to be in the right mindset when playing Pulp Alley. 

Even the stats work so well. 3 stats for combat. 3 for everything else. Passing plot points and perils mainly. So Lady Jane has 3d8 in Cunning and Finesse. But she’s only got 1d6 in might. Very thematic. Better hope she doesn’t run into a peril or challenge that requires 2 successes in Might to pass because she’ll fail. 


And the dice. They range from d6s, d8s and d10s. All you need is 4+ to succeed and all pluses or minuses affect the number of dice you roll. It’s plus 2 dice. Or minus 1 die. No complicated maths to work out. Sometimes you might shift down a dice type, say from d8 to d6 but the maths remains the same. Simple and clear. 

And combat. Whether you’re shooting or brawling, it’s always a risk. Just because you’re the attacker doesn’t mean you get a clear shot at the target. No, the target can shoot back and sometimes you might get wounded and the target escapes without a scratch! Or you could choose to block the return fire with your successes, representing the fact you just stuck your hand around the corner and blazed away, not hitting anything. 


This game isn’t for those who are looking for crunchiness. If you want your weapon to matter, with min-max ranges and then you roll 2d6 to work out the damage. None of that is here. 

What you do have is generic shooting where you deal a wound. Maybe two if you’re lucky. And grenades and RPG weapons? Non-existent. But the game does have template fire that can represent the same thing without all the fuss of stats and special rules. 


All of these allow the rules to get out of the way and you can focus on the tabletop and the story. You need to rescue little Short Round who’s been kidnapped by the bad guy’s henchmen who will proceed to torture him for the information regarding the missing heiress. You can’t let that happen to your buddy… can you? Of course not! This is pulp! Larger than life and twice as fun. After this, running to spot X on the table to hold it so you can score 2VPs at the end of the game is going to feel a little … flat. Meh. What am I fighting for again?!

My only regret has been I've not been able to play Pulp Alley in its natural environment (the pulps, 1920's-1930's) due to a lack of suitable minis. But one day...


For everyone else, the QuickStart rules and sample cards are all available for free for you to try the game out to see if it’s to your liking or not. 


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And that’s it for the countdown for 2022. Hope you enjoyed it. I think there was something old and something new in the list this year, which is always a good thing.


A happy new year and may 2023 be a better year for everyone. Game on!

Comments

  1. Absolutely, totally agree! I'm fairly new to Pulp Alley myself, and I've found it to be in my sweet spot. Exciting games, risky combat with pulp-style recovery, balanced campaign play and nail-biting finishers! Winning 1 or 2 VP really does feel a bit lame now...

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  2. Thanks! It's really excellent and the first rule set I'll go to for exciting, narrative-style campaign play. Not so suitable for those who like crunchiness, min-maxing your force lists and weapons. For that, I'll play Infinity 😁

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