A little history
Long ago I acquired most of a Pulp City collection from someone over on the Lead Adventure forums. Despite getting screwed out of several figures it was still a pretty good deal. I painted some figures and gave the original rules a spin on my own to get a feel for the game. A few of my friends were mildly interested in the game, but I never got it off the ground.
Last year Pulp Monsters ran a Kickstarter campaign to get their new Supreme Edition of the game printed and out to customers. After looking at the costs to add the models I was missing, I instead chose to go with the Collector's Pledge level as it ended up being almost the same price, but with twice the models.
When it arrived a few months back I was very excited to see it arrive. Dampening my excitement was the sheer amount of time it took to sort through the bags of unlabelled figures, only to find that several things were missing. Both sets of my add-on dice, an entire set of cards, the resin monster kit, lots of figures and lots of cards, all missing. The folks at Pulp Monsters have been helpful in trying to move things along, but I'm several months into waiting for these missing items to be provided with no deliver timeframe confirmed as of yet.
With rumblings of them starting up another Kickstarter (much smaller in scope this time), I want to support it, but I would also like the outstanding issues I have with the first one resolved first. The amount of money I put in really should get me some decent service I feel.
On to the test drive!
Not wanting that huge box of figures to sit idle, I decided to dig through the cards and see what kind of teams I could put together with the figures I did have painted. One of my painted figures was among those missing a supreme edition card, but the rest of them were all in the box. I could field heroes vs villains up to a level 11 battle, which I thought would be way too hard to play, so I elected for a level 5 encounter with three models per side.
Heroes: Ace of Wraiths, Crimson Oni and Red Riding Hoodoo w/ zombie wolf
Villains: Night Fright, Doom Train and Gentleman
I wanted to see if the quick-start pamphlet that came with the hero starter box (I got the box and cards but no minis for the villain starter) would be sufficient for learning the game basics with. I had to flip that sheet over a LOT of times, but other than a definition for "stealth" taking a long time to find, it actually provided all the info I needed. I ignored agendas, master plans and all the rest, knowing a basic slug fest would be difficult enough.
One of the things I wanted to investigate was what kind of bits and bobs I'd need to play the game. How many dice, tokens, markers and the like was I going to need? The short answer is, you'll need lots of stuff to make the game quick and easy to play:
- plenty of dice: 12 or more, preferably split up in two different colours (regular dice and power dice).
- markers: at a minimum you'll need fatigue tokens and action tokens, ~2 of each per model.
- clear card sleeves and a dry erase marker: unless you want to use MORE tokens to track wounds, this will be a necessity.
- a way to track effects: in my test game I only came across spectral and suppressed, but I'm sure there are more as you add different supremes to your games. I wrote them on the cards, but erasing them every turn without accidentally erasing the damage track was challenging.
The (preliminary) Verdict
Pulp City is a game I want to like, and I do, but it's not without its learning curve. There are a lot of abbreviations and symbols you need to learn. Dice bonuses that stack or don't, and different kind of tests can occur. The game has got lots of cool archetypal characters, a broad and colourful setting and a huge array of options when it comes to building teams to play your games with...and of course the models are quite lovely.
The game play felt fluid and relatively quick once I started to understand how to activate models. Some confusions arose due to the difference between activating supremes and minions which aren't clear on the quick start pamphlet. I like that you can move and perform multiple things with a single model each round. There's a lot to like here.
Now if only the rest of my stuff would arrive...and I could find other people who cared to play...