Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blinded By SCIENCE!!!

After having made many changes, additions and edits to the Pulp rules, Bob suggested starting new gangs to see how things balanced out. I was still waiting for the Japanese riflemen for the Deadly Yakuza Ninja Gang that I have planned, so I borrowed more of Evil Bob's figures and went the route of Mad Science. Okay maybe not mad science, per se, but more like Perturbed Science. You know the kind, where you're putting extra work in the lab and the college frat jocks think it'd be a fun pledging ritual to ninja up on you while you're focusing on something very important because if things go wrong you'll have to start over again and the prep time for the lab is four hours and you haven't had dinner yet, but the jocks get behind and give you a wedgie up to your earlobes and they start walking you to the other side of the science building but you can't see because you're blind with pain from your scrotum being yoinked somewhere up around your lungs so you don't know that they're shoving you into the girls' restroom to rig you to a toilet for a Triple Sworley with a twist and they leave you there with your head stuck in the can and your undies somewhere in another zipcode and there's friction burns in your sphincter and just then the hot pre-med major you've been trying to get the courage to say hello to walks in and --

Uh... not that something like that ever happened to me...

Anyway, behold the League Of Scientific Exploration and Research!

Bob knows how to paint 'em, don't he?

Led by Dr. Schwienpork (the dude with the goggles and the metal skull cap), and his bodyguards Higgs and Boson, the L.O.S.E.R. ventures forth in the name of SCIENCE!

With this gang I picked the advantages of Wealthy and Science & Gadgets. This gives me some extra money to start AND extra income per mission, but better yet the tech advantage offers half off certain gadgets and weapons... and robots. It was a buy two, get one free sale at R-Mart, I tell ya. However, I took the flaw of Arrogance, which amounts to a -1 penalty to all initiative rolls.

Meanwhile Evil Bob assembled his Red Tigers, a gang of Chinese soldiers under a rogue warlord, and BD had his Airheads. With that, we drew our first mission: a Break-In! Here, one gang is given three loot markers to carry of a board edge of their own choosing. The other gangs pick their edges and try to claim the loot for themselves.

The scene was (yet again) Schnannerville, and the recent discovery of the new element Illudium-Pu 35 (the more dangerous Pu-36 can only be found on Mars) brought a lot of attention to the shot up village. As Dr. Schwienpork was the first to arrive, I decided it best to let my robots hand the strange element as we made our getaway.

Despite the presence of civilians today (as mandated by the scenario), I felt confident that my gang would abscond with the Pu-36 -- for SCIENCE! However, the Red Tigers and the Airheads had other plans.

Dr. Schwienpork opted for the path of least resistance -- i.e. the back door of the building, while Higgs and Boson ran interference out front. Boson is carrying a custom built flamethrower and body armor, while Higgs is a classic rifleman.

The Airheads were more off put by the presence of innocents in the plaza, limiting their field of fire.

Speaking of fire, Boson decided that the local topiary need a little work. The Red Tiger behind the Moses Moment emerged unscathed, and it was at that point Boson discovered that all the napalm the thrower had was in the tube and nozzle. In his haste he had grabbed a tank of Mountain Dew and hooked it up before heading out (in other words, I failed an ammo check).

The Airheads advanced while my gang bravely retreated. The Chinese had moved to intercept, so I sent the robots first.

Things were getting ugly fast. Cramming the gang into the alley limited our own options as well as my enemies. Higgs and Boson decided to stall for time by swapping recipes for General Tso's chicken with the Red Tiger's boss. Unfortunately, the boss's Chest Full of Medals, also contains a complete cookbook, so my #2 and #3 were dispatched in a cloud of MSG.

Meanwhile the Airheads tried making an end run through the scene of the crime, hoping to box the L.O.S.E.R.s in. Wojo, the Polish guy with the Sean Connery voice, led the charge yelling "The Day is Mine!"

My robots forced their way through the Red Tigers as their bullets failed to hit anything vital. Meanwhile the ugly bags of mostly water that made of the rest of my gang were getting... well... ganged up on and sacked to a man. If my robots could just maintain their prime directive the Pu-35 would be mine!

Dr. Schwienpork did his best, but what can one man do against so many savages? Clearly if these wicked men were versed in SCIENCE, they could reason this out, right?

In the end my robots were surrounded and overwhelmed. Two were damaged enough to shut down, but the third suffered a Blue Screen of Death and wandered off, leaving the Pu-35 behind.

Even though I had only one robot standing at the end of this round, I could have won. My gang's Arrogance had a hand in this loss, as I lost the initiative three times due to the penalty. The last round was critical, and unfortunately a matching roll with Bob & BD sealed my fate. One thing that may end up costing me in the long run is my best asset: the robots. They only cost me $9 to put into play, but they don't get experience. I took out five or guys with them alone, and my gang won't see any benefit. As our gangs grow, will the robots become more trouble than they're worth? Time will tell, but it is going to affect how I play this gang. Aggressive play is out. I really have to pick my fights carefully, and I'm fine with that -- this is a gang of mostly scientists, it shouldn't be gun heavy. Gadgets and robots? Yes. Rifles? Not so much.

The dice were with me after the round, and everyone in the gang survived. Both Boson and Higgs became hardened by their defeat, but Dr. Schwienpork suffered a hand injury.

We still had time for another round -- this time the scenario was "Find the Idol!" This is similar to an Explore scenario, but in this case one of the blue markers may be the Fabled Idol. A die roll determines if that's so, otherwise, it's a draw from the encounter cards.

So we find ourselves yet again in the jungle.

Of course my robots lead the way, stomping through the underbrush.

While the L.O.S.E.R.s were exploring in the name of SCIENCE!, the Airheads decided to pick a fight with the Red Tigers right away. Of course, some of the Airheads decided to take the high ground, and no I don't mean morally.

Just as we were starting to get into the action, however, this voice out in the jungle yells "I found TREASURE!" BD's boys had found the idol, which cleared the board of all other markers, and the chase was on!

The scrum in the scrub was getting messy for both sides, so some of the Red Tigers decided to check on the local real estate.

Meanwhile my robots were set to "pursue and kill," and homed in on Wojo. If BD managed to get the idol off the board, he'd have a win, and with the advantage "The Day is Mine!" giving him a free move every turn, we had to do something fast.

Again, my own Arrogance proved to be my undoing, but the fact that the Airheads took out my only rifleman didn't help much either. So in the end, the day truly was BD's and he sold the idol for a nice sum.

So while this was not the greatest day for SCIENCE, it was neat to explore how the new gangs interacted. The robots were feared, as was Boson for his body armor, but I've definitely got to play it safe in future rounds if the L.O.S.E.R.s are going to be winners.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Getting Pulped

I wasn't able to do a blog report from our game two weeks ago, as the pain was just too dear. Dangerous Jane is dead. It was tragic -- ok, no it wasn't it was damned stupid. Jane and the Shadow tried ambushing Lloyd's Llads and Helmut von Strohmann of Ulm. Jane went for the Funkengruvenwagen with her grenades. While the vehicle had been crippled, the Llads responded with their own grenades AND a mortar. On the upside, Jane survived the grenades and actually caught the mortar shell as it fell from the sky.

Then in a fit of excitement she spiked it like a football. Immediately thereafter she tried to spread herself out over as wide an area as possible.

But the Galoots ain't out of it yet. Sammo now takes the lead, and with that he gets a few upgrades. Gang leaders get a single trait -- Baron Helmut for example has "Meet My Minions!". You can also take a flaw, which allows a gang leader to take a second trait. So now Sammo is a camouflaged saboteur with a code of honor. His Code says he cannot kill someone he defeats in hand-to-hand combat... soooo he'll just hang back and shoot people with his Bren.

Last week's game got off to a late start due to alcohol and intelligent conversation that (due to the aforementioned substance) degraded towards silly with the occasional outburst of "Ode to Joy." Trust me, you had to be there.

With us was BD's friend Matt, so we introduced him to our pulp game the easy way -- we gave him a gang roster and dove on in to our only round -- a meeting engagement with the potential for loot, loot and more loot!

Behold the European town of Schannerburg. Very idyllic and happy place -- happy to see us leave at least. You'd think the real estate market would be better here, but for some reason all the houses we visited were riddled with bullet holes.

We set up our gangs and got to work. Unfortunately, Sammo's newfound ability couldn't be used on weapons, so he couldn't jam potatoes in Lloyd's mortar. Also, Lloyd opted not to bring the Funkengruvenwagen because it still needed some time in the shop. That's what he said. I think he just needed to clean up the skid marks in the upholstery.

Matt's aviators set out looking for markers, and Sammo and the Galoots moved to take the well near the center of the town. As Matt and I were sitting next to each other at the table, I knew conflict was inevitable, but I held off while the FNG got the hang of the game. Besides, there was only five of me and seven of him.

Meanwhile the Shadow and his cop cronies went mostly to engage Lloyd's Llads. Breaking off from the vanguard, Trixie Molloy and the Stiletto went to the town square in search of a really good pastrami on rye. Little did they know that Sammo was taking cover, getting ready to serve them a lead salad!

Helmut's cronies were left to their own devices for the most part... actually that's not accurate. They were left to the town's devices. BD drew three for three in the traps portion of the deck, and that was even after he forced Evil Bob at fartpoint to reshuffle the damn thing. So the hills were alive with the sound of explosions... and expletives. Lots of them.

I had some problems of my own. One was Joanna Justice and that damned gas gun of hers. Granted she can't hit the whole barn let alone the broadside of one, but I wasn't taking chances. In addition, Matt's aviators were taking potshots at my henchmen.

Luckily, the intensive one-day training seminar proved fruitful, and my henchmen responded appropriately by scurrying for cover.

Between that and the pounding the village square was getting thanks to Lloyd's mortar, I was unable to get to the well or take out Joanna or the Stiletto. She managed to get her pastrami on rye, while the Stiletto brandished his sword cane in a threatening manner and "bravely" ran away.

Matt, however was applying as much pressure as he could have because Helmut and his gang were getting a little close. However, Helmut was only hoping to sway the Aviators to his side by delivering a stirring rendition of "Ave Maria." For help with that, he brought Dr. Toba and the Serenity Singers.

While Dr. Toba is pretty sick on the skins, the Serenity Singers really don't have that extensive a range. Or harmony. Or a complete set of vocal cords. Before you could say Ballroom Blitz the scrum was on. Sammo had moved a bit to get a better view of the beatings, but was clipped by one of Helmut's men with a submachine gun. Not to be outdone, Sammo turned around and showed that what a REAL machine gun can do.

You would expect that an inexperienced gang like the Aviators would suffer a gruesome fate, especially with Helmut in the mix. However, Lady Luck was not with BD. The dice were as cold as the encounter deck, and for three whole rounds, the Aviators kept the Grrmans at bay. They even took out Helmut's backup singers in the process.

But it wasn't a complete loss for Helmut. Radio McMookenstein found a chest in one of the buildings and --

Whoops!!! Before you could say "Get 'em off me!" the nefarious insects nibbled away his nihilistic netheregions, neutralizing the Nazi. And with that they scurried elsewhere for tastier prey.

Rumor has it the Shadow's Gang was acting of their own accord without their boss, but as this "artist's rendering" shows, the man himself was zipping from roof top to roof top with the aid of his grappling gun. It should be noted that the collection box in the church pictured here was empty after the battle. The Shadow: Public Hero or Public Menace? I report, you decide (that I'm right).

Shortly after this the game wound down due to the hour growing late. I was fortunate enough to get away with some loot and only lose one henchman. The Shadow made out like a bandit, but BD's Zeppelin Troops suffered the worst, losing five guys (including Radio McMookenstein). And now Lloyd's Llads are llooking to buy themselves a tank. Like the rest of us don't have enough problems...