Years ago, I played several games of Pulp Alley. I like the pulp theme and many aspects of the game, but I find the rules too complex for solo play. In particular, they require a good deal of book-keeping.
I recently bought Tomb of the Serpent, a Pulp Alley supplement that includes a “Solo Deck”. Of course, I was very curious to see this deck, but it turned out to be something I am not terribly interested in at the moment: basically, random events that affect a skirmish turn.
On the other hand, Tomb of the Serpent includes a pulp campaign consisting of several carefully designed skirmish scenarios. I have only read a couple, just to get a feel of the book. The scenarios are divided into three stages:
1. The Leagues (i.e. the PC teams) fight the Serpent Cultists in order to snatch as many as possible of four powerful relics
2. The Leagues compete to find the location of the Tomb of the serpent god Apophis
3. Final confrontation
I decided to give the campaign a try, using One Page Rules Double Tap, which has some points in common with Pulp Alley (in particular, the reaction system) but is much simpler. I further simplified the rules, dropping the morale rules and making melee basically a do-or-die confrontation (with no “blocks” i.e. save rolls).
This is the first scenario I played: Sideshow of Horrors. The setting is a traveling freak show. Five civilians (marked with the yellow pebbles) represent potential “plot points” (i.e. objective). The team that wins the first plot point is free to promote one of the other four to the status of Major Plot Point – i.e. an Apophis relic.
The Leagues were:
- the exotic rebels lead by Princess Tejua
- a bunch of cultists lead by a Serpent Priest
Several units of both sides (but not the leaders) have the “fast” special rule, so there was a lot of movement. The Rebels came in touch with one of the civilians in the upper part of the board, but they didn’t manage to “solve” it (a DoubleTap quality test). On the other hand, the cultists managed to convince Mr.D to tell them the location of the relic: it’s with Miss.L, in the tend at the bottom left. Of course, the cultists have chosen a convenient location for the major plot point. I now began random moving Miss.L at every turn start, still the priest reached her and snatched the relic (The Wand of Destiny). In the middle of the board the was a lot of fighting and killing between the lesser characters. At the end, only Joo and Tejua survived, but the Serpent Priest secured the relic.
Joo killed one cultist and survived the scenario.
Tejua survived the scenario.