Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hunt for the Dingus - A Pulp Alley Game

Today (Saturday, Jan 17), I introduced our gaming group to Dave and Mila Phipps' wonderful "Pulp Alley" rules.  Since I thought we could have a large number of players and this would be the first all except one other player and I have played the rules, I reduced the leagues down to just three characters - leader, sidekick, and ally.  Well, I'm glad I did because I had 8 gamers show for the game.

To start things off, I did a double-blind league designation, putting one playing card with each league's figures and statistics sheet and making the players pick another card that would match one of the leagues.  This generated a thoroughly random (or at least as random as I decided I wanted to do) match of player to league.  I tried to develop the leagues as best as I could, mixing different abilities across the entire spectrum available to me.  I think I got some interesting mixes, but I won't go into any detail about who had what ability, etc.

Leagues were (in no particular order):  Karlotta's Krew (played by my son, Sean), Rotekapelle Bund (played by Mike C., a new addition to our group), Knights of the Crescent Moon (played by Phil Y.), The Jungle Lord (played by Ed S.), Alan Haggard's Exploring Party (played by Alex K.), Squire Bergholt's Retinue (played by Larry C.), The Warlord's Retinue (played by Jay S.), and Cara Loft's Party (played by Russ S.).

The objective of the game to find the Dingus which would make the player rich beyond his wildest imagination (well, maybe not Han Solo's).

Once I went through the rules, we started play.  These pictures will give my readers an idea of what went on during the game although I couldn't get a shot of everything that happened.  Having 24 characters controlled by 8 players scattered across the board and having to be game master and arbiter really taxed my ability to take pictures.  But all aside, here we go!

The center of the adventure area was the "Well of Souls" with the major plot point, the Dingus (actually a shrouded head on a pole just to the right of the red golf tee.  Players had to control a minor plot point before they could find and then attempt this major plot point.  My Buddha head is across the perilous stream from it.  The tardis and Dr. Who figure are there just for kicks, having no impact of the game.

One of the minor plot points was a highly decorated jug (the blue one behind the red golf tee) containing a map to the Well of Souls.  It was in the unoccupied native village.  Note - the huts are card miniature bird houses I got from Michael's Craft Store many years ago.  They have portrayed native huts in many a game.

Another plot point was this open chest of treasure located in a patch of woods.  Unfortunately for the Knights of the Crescent Moon who seized it, it was a valueless and worthless plot point.  Oh well, dem's da misfortunes o' life!

A third minor plot point was the local trader at his trading post.  He could guide the team if properly persuaded to the Dingus.

The fourth plot point located in an old ruin was a chest containing another map and instructions on how to get to the Lost Well of Souls.

The final plot point was a wandering missionary.  When successfully challenged he would agree to point out the way to the Well of Lost Souls.

 I was going to use a small bust of Napoleon that I bought at Waterloo several decades ago as the Initiative Marker, but I decided this figure was a better one.  It is an Egyptian god figure given to me several years ago by a co-worker as a souvenir of a trip her mother and she made to Egypt.  It definitely fits a pulpy adventure!

First blood is taken by the Warlord's Retinue (Leader is Captain Chang, the bald headed guy on left.) as his ally, Private Jin, bites the dust.  But Jin recovered at the end of the turn and came back to the action.  In fact, I think he recovered several times during the game as he was a favorite target of one or two other leagues.

Ruby Mae, sidekick in Karlotta's Krew, attempts to seize control of a plot point.  She couldn't pass the challenge on the first try.

Oberleutnant Wulfe, leader of the Rotekapelle Bund, persuades the trader to show him to the Well of Lost Souls by wildly firing his Bermann submachinegun.  The trader agreed as long as Wulfe stopped filling his trading post full of holes.

Karlotta, on left, joins Ruby Mae and successfully seized the chest.  Opening it, she finds the map to the Well of Lost Souls.

Cara Loft, the "tomb raider" herself, finds the highly decorated pot containing another map to the Well of Lost Souls.

Charlie Reynolds, ally in Cara Loft's Party, gingerly dips a toe into the perilous stream.  As sidekick Tommy Gilhooley laughingly looks on, a crocodile breaks the surface of the water.  But Charlie deftly shoots him and survives the challenge.

Tommie activates next and decides to cross the stream since he mistakenly thinks Charlie has cleared the path.  But an angry hippo objects.  Charlie tosses a whiskey bottle down his throat and hurriedly clears the stream.

Oh, no!  Karlotta has been knocked on her keester by a sheet of flying lead from several different characters.  She drops the chest but Ruby Mae, her sidekick, and Arnauld ("He's a brute!"), her ally, are right there to make sure no one else can get it before they do.

Over by the trading post, Ursula (George of the Jungle's sidekick) decides that Achmed. leader of the Knights of the Crescent Moon, has leered at her too many times and charges him.  Their brawl is inconclusive.

Poor old Tommie just can't stay away from the animals.  He drunkenly wanders too close to another perilous area and a huge constrictor comes slithering out.  But Tommie successfully evades the snake's challenge.

Finally, Cara crosses the stream.  Another crocodile attempts to take a nip from what he supposed was a dainty morsel.  But Cara's too quick for him and lightly dances away, carrying her plot point with her.

Back by the trading post, George of the Jungle (the leader) rushes in to avenge the insults to his Ursula. He knocks ally Chigaru on his keester.

Then the next turn, George, Ursala, and Kwame (George's ally) team up and smack the Knights around, knocking down sidekick Sibola and ally Chigaru.  But they ran out of steam before they could get around to leader Achmed.

The final turn's actions see Cara (back by the Well of Lost Souls) successfully take the Dingus.  Captain Chang and Sergeant Hung (with sword), along with Cara's ally Charlie Reynolds cover her daring-do.  The Squire of Bergholt (leader of his retinue), accompanied by the missionary who he had persuaded to help him, try to cross the stream in the face of another angry hippo.  In the background are some of the other players' characters.  The only crew of which I didn't get pictures (totally my fault) was Alan Haggard's Exploring Party.  Haggard is a "Great White Hunter" and was shooting just about everyone around him but with little avail.
So that was the game.  Cara Loft's Party won by seizing a minor plot point and the major plot point.  Captain Chang's Warlord's Retinue had allied with Cara and received some of the riches (but probably not enough!).  Squire Bergholt, Karlotta, and Oberleutnant Wulfe all seized minor plot points.  Achmed of the Knights of the Crescent Moon, George of the Jungle, and Alan Haggard didn't get anything, unfortunately.  But that will just make them try harder next time!
A few questions arose during the game, but a quick perusal of the rules found the answer to almost all of them.  The answers to one or two questions were decided by the game master's (me) fiat, which I later determined by reading through the Pulp Alley Forum to be correct in every way (as I pat myself on the back!).  We'll definitely be playing this again!


Fitz-Badger said...

Great report!
Looks like a very fun and very pulpy game!

Bluebear Jeff said...

A great report, Colonel.

I too have enjoyed "Pulp Alley" (although I've only been able to play a couple of games so far due to health issues).

For the "initiative marker" I built an old-time radio microphone to aid in our "telling the story". You can see it in my first game report (and it works great at promoting the storytelling):

Our second game can be seen here:

And if you scan back over my earlier posts you can see some of the Leagues I've created.

Once again your game looks like it was great fun . . . and eight players is amazing!

Finally, in case you do not know about the "Phantom Agent" program, if you contact Mila along with a link to your AAR, she will send you (free of charge) a new card to add to your Action Deck or Reward Deck. Check out the following:

-- Jeff

ColCampbell50 said...


Thanks for the reminder about the Phantom Agent program. I just PM'ed Mila about it.


Phil said...

Creative and excellent...and fantastic pieces of terrain!