Friday, 5 October 2018

Pulp Alley: Assault on Camp Powell

Introduction

On the last Thursday bar one at the HAHA club meeting, I introduced Joe to the delights of Pulp Alley.  He had put together a league using figures of his own from some Necromunda models; I decided to field Stahlhelm's Nazi Doom Squad to meet them.  The story goes something like this:

It's 1943 and the Second World War is in full swing.  Professor Petersen, the renowned Danish physicist, is working on something that has the potential to change the course of the war.  His research project is so secret that he's being protected in a British army camp somewhere in one of the more remote parts of the British Isles.

However, despite being top secret, rumours have reached the ears of eager listeners.  In this case, the Nazi unconventional warfare "Doom Squad" on the one hand and a group of time-travelling mercenaries on the other (I'll call them "Mundans", since I don't know this league's official title).  Both groups have infiltrated the base and would like to get their hands on the good professor to find out all about his research.


The Scenario


This is a standard, 5-plot point scenario, as described in the base Pulp Alley rules.

Plot points are as follows:

  • The major plot point is Professor Pedersen.  He's standing in the middle of the camp, taking in some fresh air before retiring to bed for the night.
  • There's a radio in one of the huts (minor).
  • In another hut nearby, there is a journal (minor).
  • Someone has dropped some dynamite between two of the huts on the left.  How careless (minor)!
  • The armoury (square building, top centre) contains a crate of unusual rifles (minor).

Perils:

We placed 5 blue-beret guards around the base.  These had the following rules:
  1. A guard would be perilous to anyone who came within 3" of him.  If the person was stealthy then the guard would have to make base contact instead.
  2. Each guard would move 2d6" in a random direction at the end of every turn.  They are not impeded by buildings or the presence of other models, but will not move off the board entirely.
  3. The guard models cannot be attacked.  After all, even if you did knock one out, there are probably many others close by and one of them would replace the casualty immediately.
  4. If a guard model moves randomly into the armoury (centre top building) then it will upgrade to become a machine-gun team.  This makes it extremely perilous instead of merely perilous, but doesn't change any other behaviour.

Random Events

  • I rolled night time, so visibility is limited to 12".  It makes sense, I suppose - after all, why would you try to attack such a camp in daylight!
  • Joe rolled a delay, so one of the Mundans wouldn't turn up until turn 2.
A pair of Mundans.  These are, I believe, Tommy "Two Guns" and Tony.

The Game


Immediately the game started, Panzerbot 5 strode forward and opened fire on the nearest two Mundans [annoyingly, I had forgotten to bring my blast templates and so we had to use a ring of dice to mark the dangerous area].  Sadly for the Doom Squad, the hail of bullets had no effect whatsoever - maybe the robot's targeting systems were confused in the dark?



In return, Two Gun stormed towards his assailant and unleashed a devastating fusilade; the Nazi machine was quickly reduced to a smouldering heap of junk.  [If I remember correctly, Tommy Two Gun had a combination of abilities which allowed him a shoot stat of 7d6 at close range; this is a staggeringly high number of shots for Pulp Alley, though at least a d6 shot isn't all that accurate...]


Ernst takes 6 hits from 7 shots.  He even manages to make 1 save - leaving only 5 wounds taken!

Ernst was next to feel the wrath of the Mundan.  The grenadier threw bombs towards the tall mercenary, but these had no effect and this Nazi also suffered a devastating volley from the twin pistols.

In the nearby hut, all was not going so well for the Mundans.  Tony rushed in to try to retrieve the camp radio, only to be felled by a lucky shot from Johann, who had beaten him to the objective.  Despite being a mere follower [i.e. a level-1 character with virtually no skills], Johann eventually figured out the radio plot point and ran off with it into the darkness without being stopped by either a Mundan or a camp guard.



At the west side of the camp, "Baldy" Murdoch cut a hole in the perimeter fence and clambered through it.  He hadn't reckoned with Kurt, however; the Nazi bruiser bumped into the Mundan in the dark.  Both adversaries grappled and fought each other to a standstill, leaving the dynamite plot point unclaimed [at least, for now].



Stahl Helm approached the Danish Scientist in the middle of the table.  Initially, it looked as if solving this plot point would be simple as it required a mere 1 success against Might or Finesse [neither of which would be especially hard for the Nazi Leader].  However, a cunningly-played Mundan "Got to be Kidding" card increased the requirement to 3 successes.  It seems that Professor Pedersen was more than a bit suspicious of the German's motives...

To make matters worse, one of the camp guards chose that moment to wander past; it was all Stahl Helm could do to bluff his way out of the situation.



At the other end of the table, Mack the Knife tried to creep stealthily to the back of the armoury.  However, he must have been doing something wrong [aftershave too strong?] as the blue caps were combing the area very intently [it's just random movement, but it really did look as if the guards were hunting for poor Mack; they were all over the place!].

This left the way clear for Herr Stengel to ransack the professor's quarters and come away with his journal [i.e. an easily-claimed minor objective].



Mack's efforts at being stealthy had taken him almost to the back door of the armoury before one of the camp's soldiers finally stumbled over him.  The soldier immediately arrested the intruder and marched him off to the guard house.



In the centre of the camp, Stahl Helm was still trying to coerce the reluctant Danish professor when he was rushed by a couple of huge Mundans.  "Hands" Gruber pounced on him from the north, whilst Tommy "Two Guns" approached from the south.



Between the huts, Kurt finally recovered from his brawl with the Mundan near the broken fence.  The dazed German managed to pick up the dynamite, but Two Guns didn't let him hold it for long.  The Mundan unleashed another volley of shots and this was enough to knock the Nazi out again (incidentally, causing him to drop the dynamite objective).

Meanwhile, Stahl Helm had beaten "Hands" down for long enough to give him time to convince the professor - but before he could go anywhere his Mundan adversary was back up and at him!



Whilst his boss was beset by Mundans who just wouldn't stay down, Herr Stengel entered the armoury and claimed the crate of rifles objective.  However before he could make off with his prize, randomly-moving guards surrounded him [including one who entered the armoury and upgraded to an extremely perilous machine gun team].



The smooth-talking Nazi managed to befuddle and misdirect all of the squaddies, though.  He made his escape off the table to the north, leaving his boss to fend for himself [after all, Herr Stengel had collected two minor objectives by this point; he didn't want to risk losing them].



Stahl Helm and "Hands" Gruber continued to fight over possession of the scientist, who was distinctly unimpressed by the tussle.  Indeed, the two petitioners punched each other's lights out and lay on the ground, dazed and staring up at the nighttime stars.


So, let's see: that's 3 hits on each contestant.  Let's see how many of those can be saved!
Seeing an opportunity, "Two Gun" tried to sidle up to the professor.  However, a recovered Kurt was having none of it: his thunderous charge and the subsequent collision led to both parties being floored!


Tweety birds all round!


As the game ended, Kurt and "Hands" both managed to stagger back on to their feet - but it was too late to achieve anything.  With the camp thoroughly aroused and with their heads ringing, it was all they could do to drag their respective colleagues to safety before a fresh influx of guards discovered and arrested them.


Conclusion

So, the final score is this:
  • Mundans: no objectives, 0 victory points
  • Doom Squad: 3 minor objectives (the rifles and journal collected by Herr Stengel and the radio by Johann)
Therefore, the Nazis have officially won the game!  Against this, no-one managed to spirit Professor Pedersen away, so any sense of victory is distinctly hollow.

I don't think I've ever seen a game before where all of the characters were knocked out at the same time, though admittedly two Nazis had run away off table and so maybe this doesn't really count.  Certainly the boss-fight over the Danish academic was one in which neither side was prepared to give an inch; consequently no-one got the major prize.

I imagine that both leagues are now licking their wounds and wondering what is the best next step towards fulfilling their ambitions - whatever those are!



13 comments:

  1. What an adventure - stay tuned for next week's exciting episode.

    I'll be the Nazis were shocked to find themselves outgunned when the Mundan's appeared.
    Quite a combat-oriented adventure, which demonstrates Pulp Alley's flexibility.

    I was rather surprised to see the numbers of double knock-downs in the brawls - those guys weren't taking any prisoners (not even the professor).

    Great report, I'll lok forward to these two gangs renewing their hostilities.

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    1. There was a lot more shooting than I've seen in many a game, that's for sure. Yes, the double knockdowns just kept happening :-) ...

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  2. I am sitting on the fence getting spliters at the moment. Do I go 7TV or Pulp Alley. I like them both!. So the more aars I get to read the better. Griping stuff. While still on the fence I must say how much I did enjoy the AAR. This is a slight swing towards Pulp Alley, but only slight. I like both systems on a read through. So for me it really is a toss up!

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    1. Or you could do both Pulp Alley *and* 7TV :-) ; I love them both. I guess it depends on what type of game you want - each ruleset is at its strongest when playing its "defining" sub-genre. So, Pulp Alley is great at '30s, '40s and '50s two-fisted adventure, whilst 7TV is excellent at '60s and '70s explosion- & gadget-riddled spectacles.

      To help you decide (or maybe not!), I'll be putting up a 7TV report quite soon :-) ...

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    2. Cheers mate. Thinking first few games shall be Victorian science fiction. (Then moving to a dieselpunk setting in about a year! Bet that does not help at all. But all depends on me getting my finger out!

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  3. That was absolutely brilliant! That was just mad how so many characters got knocked out. Loved the name "Hands" Gruber! ūü§£

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    1. Thanks, Ivor. It was quite surprising just how many of the fights ended up in a double knockout, but I think neither Joe nor I were prepared to give an inch!

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  4. Nice report. An eclectic mix of figures yet they go together. Love the names!

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    1. The "Mundan" figures are considerably larger than my 28mm stuff, but maybe this is appropriate for time-travellers who may be aliens or generically-enhanced? As for the names, the Doom Squad are my doings and the Mundans belong to someone else; credit needs to be allocated accordingly :-) .

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  5. Well, that was one very interesting encounter; double knockdowns, gunfire everywhere and no clear winner !
    The two forces definetly need a re-match!

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    1. The way the objectives were set up in this game was always likely to lead to a "meet in the middle" fight, I suppose. I don't know about the aliens, but Stahl Helm is raging at not achieving a clear victory!

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