Friday, August 12, 2016

Pulp Alley SOLO AAR - Dinosaur what?

Yesterday (as of writing this being the 12th August) saw the PDF release of the SOLO deck for Pulp Alley and I was as quick as quick can be to order and download it.  Had to wait impatiently for the vagaries of the time differential of shifting continents, but when I woke up this morning (Australian time) there it was.  I printed the single page for the solo rules, scratched my head a bit at the wording, but thought, lets play it first.  Printed, cut and stuck them into my card sleeves (thanks to all those excess CCGs I played years ago, you have a purpose now as backing cards).  So will I misinterpret the authors intent for these rules, most likely, I don't know if it's my English heritage, my background in procedural writing, editing or just old age, most likely the later now, just too senile.

Soooooo, Lord Ackerley is back to Africa this time in search of dinosaur droppings.  Against him is the nefarious League of The Dean who has plans on cloning said dinosaurs for a futurist theme park, I'm sure that will end well!

A Storey....

Phillby the butler grimaced with distaste as young Woodrow ordered around the servants.  Directing them to make room for his latest acquisition to be placed on display.  The dead creatures bones had been painstakingly wired together and after being shipped and assembled in the South Conservatory measured 26 feet long and 16 feet high, it had just squeezed in with some minor adjustments.  Master Woodrow had called the skeleton an Iguanodon, all Phillby hoped was that they weren't carnivores and that they were most definitely extinct.

"Mummsy," Woodrow shouted boisterously to his mother, "come look at my newest dinosaur!"

It was in fact his only dinosaur but lets not burst young Woodrows bubble just yet.  Lady Wishart though, knew better than to give in to her obnoxious child and continued to ignore him.  She had hoped that sending him to America to live with her parents might have sorted out his flights of fancies like those which afflicted his father.  Sadly they just seem to have stoked them to even higher realms of fantasy.  Those bone diggers in the Badlands and this dinosaur craze was sending the world into dithers and his son was amongst them.  At least her husband hadn't fallen prey to chasing bones, he preferred reality, even if he was not always residing in it.

"Oh come on mummsy, pleasseee.  I paid a damn fortune for this one."

At those words, Lady Wisharts head snapped up.  She watched the family fortune like a hawk, and Woodrow's cry of having spent a fortune, her fortune, on a pile of useless bones, got her up and moving with murderous intent towards her son.

"What have you spent this time Woodrow!"

Woodrow quailed at his mothers ire and shrank back in fear.  Thankfully at this time the Conservatory doors were throw open with an almighty crash admitting Ackerley and his small group of chums.  They came to an abrupt halt as the following unfolded.  First they saw the giant skeleton, ooooh!  Then they saw a very frightened Woodrow, ahhhh! Then they saw the furious Lady Wishart, ah crap!

"Ackerley!" yelled Lady Wishart at the startled man.

"Ah, yes dear?"

"Do you know what this dead beat son of yours has done?  He has apparently spent a fortune on this," at which she pointed to the pile of bones.

"A fortune you say? Well I'm sure there's another fortune laying around somewhere handy, not to worry dear.  I was just saying the other..."

"Ackerley, there are no more fortunes to be had.  Your sons spending habits and your continual adventuring is wearing down my fortunes daily.  Very soon there will only be the family name left!  If Woodrow had actually brought a live beast home it would have made us the toast of society and opened a few more bank books, at the least it would have fed the hounds for the season."

"Well, strange you should mention that dear, there is a hidden valley that only I know off that's hush hush you know.  I suppose I could go there and bring back a beastie if that would spare the old bank balance and put you back in the good book with us again? What!"

The Lost Valley set up.

The Solo decks set up and ready to play.  One page rules and 40 card Fortune Deck ready to go!

The above is how I handled the "you must draw and immediately play one Solo card for each of the first three characters that activate each turn." I interpreted this as best I could and made the decision that from my people I choose three people who would be activated. I then drew three Fortune Cards face down.  To be activated one at a time in order of drawing.  I would turn over the first and see what the card said, I would decide which of the three brave adventurers would have the encounter.  I then completed that characters activation before turning the second Solo card over.  I would then give it to one of the other two deserving characters, thus the last card would always go the the last man without a choice.  This is how I looked at interpreting the Solo rules.  It appears to have worked.

Ackerley and Garfield and stuck on the first turn with a bum rush!
So in a normal game of Pulp Alley we would normal not place our models on the table.  They coming on anywhere when our activation comes to be. A dilemma came with the Solo cards and with the knowledge that perhaps in hindsight I should have set the models on the table edge to start with.  Will remember that in future games.  As for the first turn Ackerley got Held In Place so I just picked a spot and put him there.  Garfield got Foul Play, again not on board, so I had to wing it.

The Dean and his sidekick Project X.  Hagar at the back spent 2 turns immobilised.

The scientific team!  Miss Agenda was brilliant until the end when she got Furious!

Right Jabari when I shoot this thing in the arse you grab the eggs!

A steady cup of tea!  Don't mind the carnivore it's really a pussy cat.

Apparently tea drinkers are the only ones who can remain standing!

The Dean takes care of Jabari who only remembers that Swarm doesn't work in Solo.
Ackerley hides behind Garfield.  Hargar after sprinting to the front goes down for the count.

Niles and Miss Agenda trade what appear to be more than affection!

The Dean takes out Garfield, Project X advances on Batty!

Just when Miss Agenda thinks she can escape with two Minor Plots she becomes Furious and engages Niles.
Both go down and fail to recover.

OK I won't bore you with the blow by blow turn by turn description, though I did keep the records.  I'll just make a note of a few things that did happen.

Turn 1
I had the Scientists go first.  The third Solo card was Surprise Twist which ended the Scientist activation (but allowed them to finish the other three members after Ackerleys lads had done).
Ackerleys Adventurers had Foul Play which was played on Project X who passed with flying colours.
Now Hagar (on the Scientists) had the Surprise Twist which ended his activation, again not on table, so just chose a starting position and placed him there.

Turn 2
Ackerleys Adventurers had The Calm! first of!  So no running, no rushing, attacking, Shooting or Brawling, all Characters.  This was I assumed only applied to my characters and not the bots.
Niles had Hesitation.
Then Garfield had Quirk of Fate which stripped all the Solo cards off the table.  Effects all gone.
Eberhard shoots Assistant Fu, Fu goes down.

Miss Agenda attempts minor plot succeeds (Free Pass) (+1 Contact +1 Gear)

Assistant Fu - Fails

Turn 3
Ackerley gets Double Down on Plant 101 - Plant 101 goes down.

The Dean shoots Ackerley - Ackerley drops to D8
Project X shoots Ackerley - Ackerley drops to D6
Hagars gets +3" sprint

Miss Agenda attempts minot plot succeeds (+1 Contact)

Plant 101 - Fails
Ackerley Recovers D8

Turn 4
Garfield - minor plot passes (+1 Tip)
Jabari fails perilous terrain.

The Dean - Decoy, passes +1 Turn, now playing to Turn 7. Shoots Eberhard, down.
Project X, shoots Ackerley, drops D6
Hagar, Surprise Twist! End of activation.

Eberhard - Fails
Ackerley Recovers D8
Jabari Recovers

Turn 5
The Adventurers activated first and the first card drawn was The Storm.  Each character drew and played in turn.
Garfield shoots Hagar. Hagar goes down.
With the last card drawn a Surprise Twist ending activation.

The Dean brawled Jabari who forgot his Swarm didn't work. Jabari down
Project X shoots Garfield. Garfield D6.

Jabari - Fails
Hagar - Fails
Garfield - D6
Ackerley D10

Turn 6
Ackerley runs away!
Garfield plays Foul Play on The Dean - no effect!!!  Shoots The Dean - no effect!!!!
Batty succeeds at minor plot (+1 Backup)

The Dean - Quirk of Fate.  Brawls Garfield who goes down, drops plot.

Garfield - Fails

Turn 7
Ackerley - Decoy - passes +1 turn, now onto turn 8???
Batty shoots Project X, wounds D6
Niles - Hesitation

Miss Agenda - Furious.  Fails and rushes Niles. Brawls Niles, both down.

Project X - D6
Miss Agenda - Fails
Niles - Fails

Turn 8
Ackerley - Double Down on The Dean, passes.

The Dean - Foul Play on Batty who goes down, drops the minor plot.
Project X - succeeds at minor plot that was dropped.

Batty Recovers

Lord Wishart's Adventurers
Major Plot + 3vp

The Dean's Scientists
Minor Plots +1vp

Post Game Thoughts:
Decoy.  The game dragged on for another two turns more than I had wanted to.  I could have not honoured the extra turns and ignored it but I played it.  Don't really know how I felt about this card in the end.  I'll have to play a few more game before coming to a conclusion.
Furious was a surprise, the fact that it was played on Miss Agenda who just happened to be hold two Minor Plots was a brutal outcome.  Had she not had this happen then the result would have been more in the Scientist favour.
Everything else seemed to make sense.  Though of course I've only played one game.  Will have another crack this weekend and see how I go without the family pressuring me to take them places.

A Storey...

The sweat trickled down his nose and plopped into his now empty tea cup with a plink.  Damn thought Ackerley, where was Jabari when you needed him, he and the others should have made it back to base camp hours ago.  In reality it was but a scant few minutes since he had fled the valley with the dinosaur egg safely tucked into his haversack. The sounds of angry pursuits appear to have died down.

A crack of brush to his rear had him twist round and raise his sidearm ready to fire, but he lowered it when he saw Jabari carrying Garfield over his shoulder.  Behind them came Niles and Batty with a makeshift stretcher with a figure of Eberhard lying deathly still as it swaying to and fro.

Suddenly Ackerley didn't feel so chipper anymore, he looked at himself and realised that he was bleeding.  When did he bleed, he'd never bled before, it was always a lark and adventure, no one got hurt.  Looking at his friends he felt an emotion he was unfamiliar with, was this what they called anger?

Jabari had laid Garfield up against a tree and was rooting through his bag for the medical supplies to treat the wounds of all concerned.  Batty and Niles had put Eberhard down nearby and had slumped in exhaustion and they would later say defeat.

"Ackers I think we need to up our game old boy, we were clearly out played this time," Niles whispered wearily. "I'm not saying we aren't good, damn it - just - how long have we been at this now, and what have we to show for all the hard work?"

"I know Niles, it seems our little adventures entertain the masses but in the real world we bleed and hurt and no one cares for the loss and hurt we suffer.  As long as they are entertained by our daring do, what do they care if Eberhard here loses an eye, or Garfield his hearing or that my family fortune is lost pursing adventure.  The world is a fickle place Niles, and we my friend are the last of our kind, for us the sun will never set on the Empire, when we go so to will the memories and places that once fired the imagination of a generation."

In the distance the roar of a mighty prehistoric predator could be heard, the sounds slowly getting closer of crashing timbers and underbrush as something massive was moving in their direction...


  1. Don't know how I'll be at working out the solo deck John as mine hasn't arrived yet but you story was a blast keep up the good work.

  2. Wonderful story! THANKS so much for playing and posting.