Few weeks ago I had the pleasure to play my first game of Pulp City, awesome skirmish game with super-heroes vs villains wickedness in its core. No, really, this is true old school comic book action located in the world of miniatures.
Episode One. September 2015 I interviewed Maciej Żylewicz, master mind behind Pulp City. We talked for some time, and we arranged demonstration game, so I could learn the mechanics and feel the game by myself. Unfortunately, because of the quite busy schedule, we weren’t able to find suitable date to meet and play (October 2015 I was leaving Poland for few months). Once I got back in March 2016, I was eager and happy to give Pulp City one more try. Yeah, this time we made it. I played Pulp City. Hell yeah!
Pulp City. What on earth exactly is it?
Totally reasonable question. Pulp City is not worldwide well known miniature game, so I can imagine many of the readers are not familiar with it. Pulp City might not be ‘big player’ skirmish game like Malifaux or Infinity, but it has everything to become one.
Really cool fluff, amazing miniatures and easy to learn and balanced rules. All is left – to go out there, to the gamers community. I hope you liked the interview with Maciej – Big Boss of Pulp City – it was first of many posts abut this game, where I’ll try to bring this to Game of Travel followers. The game has IT, believe me. I’m totally hooked in, and at the moment I don’t even have even one miniature (this will about to change soon:)! And I’m convinced if some of you give Pulp City a try, you will not regret it.
Pulp City is unique place. It somehow became the meeting ground for super powered individuals called Supremes, fighting each other for… well, many reasons. There are many factions in Pulp City, each with their own agenda. To be honest, at first quick glance, the number of factions could be little bit overwhelming. It’s literary true pulp melting pot – mixture of everything that was created in popular culture for, let’s say, approximately last 50 years.
So, for instance in Pulp City we have strange, twisted Grimm race living in sewers of Pulp City, hidden from the sight of humans of above world. Then, we have members of Jade Cult led by ancient and mysterious Green Emperor. The Vigilantes patrol the streets constantly, trying to prevent any plots of evil Dr. Tenebrous of parallel Necroplane. Meanwhile, Ulthar Galactic Empire scheme to conquer Pulp City and whole Earth. So many things, so many threats and events take place here, that it’s difficult to comprehend all. And if you wish to enter the Pulp City, you need to choose your representatives here. I never said, it’s going to be easy:).
My choice for the start will be Ape Revolution Committee. Intelligent apes and monkeys here, trying to prove their superiority over humans and fighting for primates rights . Crazy models, crazy ideas behind them. That’s what I like:) Gorillas, ornagutangs, baboons – I can honestly admit. A.R.C. was the thing, that pulled my attention to Pulp City. Apes and monkeys – here I come! (soon…)
All these factions, heroes, villains, aliens, undead, ancient gods and twisted races have to deal with themselves everyday in Pulp City. Conflict is in the air constantly. And here’s the game begins.
The beauty of Pulp City is that, when you are recruiting your crew, you are not obligated to stick to one faction. All you need to remember, is to stick to one side of the story. You are a Villain or Hero. Good or Bad. But Pulp City is combination of different shades of grey. One’s Villain is other’s Hero. Sometimes both sides of the conflict claim they are good guys. Well, that’s life…
…and in game, players get countless numbers of combination while building their teams. Wicked!
When you enter Pulp City online store, you will see 141 available miniatures to buy. Impressive number, don’t you agree? Ad it’s still growing – new Kickstarter Campaign was just funded and the release of new Cold War models are matter of weeks. Spybreaker and Professor Hammer return to Pulp City, bringing the old American-Soviet conflict back to life.
Models generally caught my attention from the first sight – especially the apes and monkeys (I mentioned this few times before:), but from the collector and painter point of view, I can say – they amount of options is unbelievable. Everyone should feel satisfied. I can understand, that not every model is attractive for anybody’s taste, but diversification is wide. You will get your thing here:).
The open idea of building your team allows you to choose models from all available offer. On the one hand – cool, on the other – tricky (for your wallet;).
Easy to learn. No worries:).
After recruiting your team (Supremes and their Minions) and determined Plot and Agenda, you are ready to play. My demo game was quick and easy and I got all the intricacies quite fast. The moment you get all the basic rules, you don’t even have to use rulebook any more. All specific skills for Supremes and Minions are written on their character cards. And this is what you need to play, and nothing more. Rules, points, statistics, abilities – all included.
The game itself. Action Points and alternating Activations. You all probably know that from Malifaux. Very popular system these days – no wonder. It provides the players swift opportunity for counteract for any opponent’s actions. And vice versa. I really like the system. The game reminds the advanced Chess play – all the pieces have skills and abilities and they just are able to do little bit more than simple peon or queen, but the idea is the same. And it’s cool – you stick to well proven pattern.
The size of the game determines the time you will need to play. Each Supreme has his/her Level. And the Level is in fact the point value. Typical game is 8-12 Level Encounter, but there is no actual limit.
The rest is just rolling dice, shooting, melee, and discovering unique combos of skills usage of different characters. Like in every miniature game.
…and the goal is the same. The Team that gets most Agenda Points win the game. Easy peasy:).
I could explain here all the rules, but it might be time consuming and probably pointless. First edition rules and reference for present edition are free to download on Pulp-city.com. Nice!
..but enough about the rules and models. Let’s skip to my demo! The first Pulp City encounter!
Pulp City. Smackdown in the docks.
I met Maciej and his employee Karol at Maciej’s place. This is actual HQ of Pulp Monsters, company behind Pulp City. When I arrived, the table was already set up and both teams chosen. On opposite sides stood Virgo and her Forces of Nature (almost;) and Xenobi with his followers. As guest, I had the privilege of choosing the team. Being absolutely unaware who is who – I just shot and chose Virgo. And Maciej took Xenobi.
Virgo and her team
Virgo. She was struggling all her life to see Ulthar Empire to go down… but for now, strangled on Earth, here in Pulp City, she had some other matters occupying her mind. Her contacts in the area reported, that tonight in The Docks, Mysterius Man, the kingpin of Pulp City will be concluding the deal with Stygian. It may seem impossible that Stygian, Queen of Darkness will sink to the level of mortals, but it surely must have been something quite important if such deal was about to be done tonight. What exact they were trying to do tonight was unclear, but Virgo was determined to find out.
Wildman. After surviving mysterious genetic experiment in Scotland, he received supernatural strength and ability of regenerate his wounds. Unfortunately his physique became grotesque and wild uncontrolled fury was pumping through his veins. Wildman got to Pulp City seeking answers. He wanted to know who was behind his failed experiment. All his traces were leading him to Mysterious Man. He decided to join Virgo in her excursion to The Docks, hoping to track down finally the person responsible for his misery.
Stone Hawk. Jimmy Proudhawk, that was his real name. He became Stone Hawk, when he gained the ability to control earth and rocks. He became inseparable connected to Mother Nature, and after death of his grandfather, he vowed to protect Pulp City. When Virgo asked him for help in The Docks tonight, he didn’t hesitate for a second.
Vector. He was the least expected member of Virgo’s party to The Docks. He didn’t care for Virgo’s plans in The Docks. He had his personal agenda, but Virgo didn’t need to know about it. Once the deal between Mysterious Man and The Stygian will be off, Vector could send the Pixels to grab the loot. Whatever that might be, it will be worth it. To bring down one of Mysterious Man’s businesses in Pulp City was always a pleasure. Even as digital entity, Vector, still has feelings and desires. Unbelievable as it sounds, but it was true.
Virgo brought her team to The Docks few minutes after midnight. Her informers reported the deal will be concluded somewhere near The Dock 13. When they approached the site, Virgo recognised the agent of Mysterious Man, his faithful companion Xenobi and Nuke, radioactive man. They were just about finalize the deal. The enigmatic cases were just passed from agents of Mysterious Man to Stygian followers – mighty Hellsmith and his unique creation – Phalanx.
Virgo were here just in time to stop this!
My first game’s main idea was to learn the rules and schematics of Pulp City. Maciej chose the simplest plot of all – Smackdown – where the goal is clear: eliminate all enemies. We played without Leader’s of any of faction. So, Virgo was alone against followers of Mysterious Man and Stygian, one of Forgotten. No big players this time:).
The Dock 13. Few minutes after midnight.
Round 1. The Deal Breaker
There was no time to waste. If the deal was about to be stopped, Virgo need to act fast! She ordered everyone to move forward. Wildman jumped over the top of one of the containers. Vector suddenly disappeared and repapered right behind Wildman. Virgo were always surprised how Vector could adjust his code to the rules of normal reality. Vector’s blink was truly something – like a magical trick that you are amused by in the circus.
Virgo ran forward a little and loaded her Laser Crossbow. Stone Hawk stood right beside her, ready to protect her against any threat.
Meanwhile, Pixels – Vector’s little digital minions were scattered across the area. First attached to Wildman, second to Virgo and the third one to Vector himself. Once attached, Pixel could absorb some of inflicted damage. Pixels were quite handy during any encounter – and for Vector was no problem to create more of them. The only limitation – he can only control three.
While Virgo and her team moved forward – Xenobi, Nuke, Hellsmith and Phalanx did something quite unexpected. Virgo thought, that they will try to flee with the cases, but no! They proceed! There were two possibilities. First, they were confident enough and they wanted to handle Virgo and her friends. Or second, it was not a deal at all! It was some kind of elaborate trap or scheme! Whatever it may be – the confrontation was unavoidable.
Round 2. It’s a trap!
Virgo was confused. Xenobi, this annoying little bugger, sidekick of Mysterious Man himself, was not running away with cases! Something fishy was going on here. She decided to change her approach a little. If Xenobi and The Forgotten were so eager to get to her, she will took more defensive stance then. She will wait for them.
Stone Hawk summoned stoneshaped structure and blocked the only passage between Virgo’s men and Xenobi.
Mentime, Virgo shot the beam from her Laser Crossbow at Phalanx. The shot bounced back off Phalanx’s metallic armour and did him no harm.
Wildman moved to the edge of the container. He was trying to control his inner rage. He heard the voice in his head calling him, persuading him to jump on the enemies and rip their heads off, but he answered to the call: “Not just yet. Wait…”.
Vector at the same time all of the sudden appeared right beside Virgo. He smiled seeing her amazed face, and he entered the series of code to his system – out of this air The Digital Shield formed around Virgo, providing her additional protection.
Meanwhile Xenobi and his men were close. Phalanx extended the Spartan Shield around all Villains around and with such protection they were moving forward. They will get to Virgo soon…
Round 3. The things get messy…
When Nuke jumped into shallow water and blasted the radioactive beam from his gauntlets at Virgo, the things got in motion. Luckily for Virgo, the blast was absorbed by Digital Shield. She nodded to Vector, thanking him for this protective aura.
Wildman seeing Nuke so close to him, released all the emotions suppressed inside, all his inner fury and jumped off the container at his foe and cracked Nuke’s suit with bare fists. Wildman’s rage is powerful weapon. He can destroy with ease most resilient material and Nuke’s steel armour is no exception. Nuke realised, he is loosing significant amount of energy trough several leaks trough the breeches in his armour. It was the time for retreat. No need to die tonight.
Hellsmith seeing this, simply charged at Wildman knocking him back with his Power Smash. Thanks to attached Pixel Wildman survived this impact, but he fell into container and he was exposed to combined attacks of Phalanx and Xenobi. Phalanx wounded Wildman badly with his powerful steel blades , but still not enough to knock him down.
Vector seeing one of the Pixels disappearing, transformed small part of his code into new Pixel. He appeared once again right next to Wildman.
However, there was no need for Pixels to protect members of Vector’s group any more- he decided they will join and form Megapixel, the minion powerful enough to take down even the mightiest Supreme. With bright flashes of light Megapixel appeared and right away he engaged Xenobi in close c0mbat. Well, Xenobi, little kingpin of Pulp City had very little chance against Megapixel. He stood paralysed with fear, hoping Hellsmith or Phalanx would help him.
At the same time, Virgo shot once again with her Laser Crossbow at Phalanx. Protected with extended Spartan Shield, Phalanx was totally safe against laser beam of Virgo. ‘What a useless piece of junk!’ she yelled out loud with irritation. She couldn’t help her friends in any way here.
Stone Hawk though, moved forward. Wildman was in need. Don’t worry Scotsman, help is on the way!
Round 4. Beginning of the end.
Wildman, badly wounded, knew it was his last moments, and with final desperate blow knocked down Xenobi. Xenobi, was so concentrated on incoming Megapixel, he ignored Wildman completely. Fatal mistake! Wildman grabbed his fragile, tiny body and throw him at the container. Xenobi will not be a threat any more.
…and while Wildman was dealing with Xenobi, Hellsmith finished him from the back. One final strike and Wildman was knocked down. Instead of killing him, he turned around to deal with more important matters – Virgo and rest of her crew.
… and Virgo fired at Phalanx once again – this time the laser beam damaged the metallic body of Forgotten. And this damage was just a start. Vector standing on the top of the container – released several digital blasts at Phalanx. Metal construct lost his balance and collapsed with few dangerously looking cracks in his armour.
Hellsmith was alone. Surrounded from all sides by Megapixel and Stone Hawk, he knew there is very little chance that he actually can tip the balance towards victory. Well, better idea was to leg it. While he was still able to!
Virgo and her team was victorious. However, cases, that Xenobi and his blokes were supposed to handle, were empty. What exactly was the meaning of all this? Why they attacked Virgo? Why she was lured here tonight? That were the questions she would gladly knew the answers to.
…but there was nobody to ask. Xenobi’s body vanished all of the sudden. The mystery remained unsolved. At least for now. Virgo was sure Mysterious Man will reveal his plot sooner or later…
The Impression that I got
So, that was it – my first game of Pulp City. As always in cases of demo games – major goal was not about winning, but to learn the gameplay itself.
To my surprise, all went smoothly. I got the rules quite fast – all schematics is really easy to remember. What helps – instead traits presented with the word or even abbreviation we have graphic symbols – you don’t even need to learn what it means – just remember the symbol of the characteristics you are about to use.
Other thing – dice. First time I was talking to Maciej about Pulp City, he was explaining me how important is number of dice you are rolling in Pulp City. The more the better. And right now, I tested by myself how crucial it was to our game. Certain abilities of few Supremes enable to add dice to your ‘dice pool’ and I tell you that – sometimes it was impossible to perform any action when Maciej had dozen of dice in his defence pool (for example against Virgo shooting with her lousy Laser Crossbow;).
During that play, I realised how open game Pulp City is. Players have almost 150 characters to use in various combination. In the rule book we have several factions described, their backgrounds, members, agendas and goals. Now, with all of these – we can create such a rich and colourful idea for the game. Like living your personal comic book story. It is catchy.
One thing is missing though, in my opinion. Along with already created Supremes, players should receive some Supreme generator. Creating my own personal hero or villain. I’d love that!
To sum up, Pulp City is great. I loved it from the first sight and now, after first game I’m sure I will go in big time! It’s the matter of time! Pulp City is the game I needed – something fresh with new, unique, innovative approach to skirmish. Expect more battle report soon.
Maciej and Karol – big thank you this introduction and I hope we will meet again soon at the tabletop.
Until next time!