Pulp City Miniature Game/Pulp City Starter: Villains

Pulp City Miniature Game/Pulp City Starter: Villains

From: Pulp Monsters

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Pulp City Starter: Villains is a new Miniature Game Starter Set from Pulp Monsters.

The miniature game Pulp City is a miniature game where you buy the minis from Pulp Monster, paint them and download the free rules to play their game. Interestingly, everything related to the game except the minis are downloadable for free from the web site.

From the web site: “Somewhere on the West Coast, there is the glamorous Pulp City.”

The Pulp City Starter: Villains is one of two starter packs one can buy in the game series. In Pulp City, super powered beings are called Supremes or Supreme Beings. The box I received for review contained 5 metal minis of Villain Supremes-

Nuke – A nuclear radioactive mutant abomination who’s origin is a mystery. He appears like a human-like form clad in steel armor and has the ability to throw massive blasts of radioactive energy and bursts of EMP.

Twilight – A member of a highly secret organization called the Coven, she is their representative in Pulp City. Twilight is a skilled at avoiding detection and cheating death. Her enemies claim that she possesses the skill to disappear into shadows or to strike from behind with her twin blades only to reappear a hundred feet further in a blink of an eye.

Hellsmith – One of the Forgotten – the awakened ancient gods – is the minor Greek deity of forges and armorer of Hell. His true name has been long lost in the sands of time. He can only be described as inhuman. His cold eyes stare from the depths of the horned Spartan helmet, and he carries his huge Hell Hammers.

Guerilla – A member of the Ape Revolution Committee, Guerrilla represents a group of apes experimented on by Soviet scientists. Villain to some, hero to others, he fights for equal rights for his kind. He is a mercenary and allies with the highest bidder.

Gentleman – Danny Ortega, aka. the Gentleman, is a cold killer and hit man with a sense of style. He has no Supreme power, just a vast array of gadgets and skills, as well as deep pockets to pay for it all.

Some minis come in parts and require some assembly, and they all are unpainted. Also included in the box are the game cards for each Villain as well as Resource cards for each of the Villain’s equipment.

Pulp City first and foremost has strong web support. In fact, you just about can not play the game if you do not have web access. The rules are freely downloadable off the web, as are copies of the cards. There is also considerable background for each character in this evolving story about Pulp City, as well as pictures of the painted minis one can use as a guide. It should be noted that I got all the above character background from the web site. There is nothing in the box that gives you this background.

This review would be boring if I had to just review the minis so one would assume the company wanted me to review the rules as well.

From the web site: “ Please come and visit us! Well, that is what I am supposed to say. The truth is: stay away for as long as you can! Corrupted, money-driven and bloody dangerous, Pulp City is a place to avoid unless you want to be a witness of alien invasions, undead monstrosities parading in the daylight or insane killer robots slaughtering your friends.”

Pulp City Miniature Game Rules – called the Game Guide – is a 43 page PDF done in 4-color comic style. After a short intro, Chapter 1: Heroes and Villains starts by explaining the Supreme cards and forming a Team. Chapter 2: The Game and the Action System and Chapter 3: Combat get to the meat of the game. Chapter 4 thru 8 deal with specific aspects of the game like Skills, Conditions and Agendas.

Each Supreme has a card and on each card are several important characteristics. Along with the expected ability scores, called Traits and Skills, the card contains information about the character’s Origin and Allegiances, as well as its Level. A Supreme can be level 1 to 3. A Team is made up of a specific number of each level, depending on the size of the Encounter or game session. For instance, a small street brawl might be level 3 and contains one level-1 Supreme and one level-2 Supreme. Or a typical skirmish might be level 11, with three level-1 and four level-2 Supremes.

One key aspect to a Supreme is its origin. It can be one of three things – Science, Nature or Mystery. There is an interesting Rock-Paper-Scissors- style hierarchy within this triad that breaks any ties that might come up in the game. Nature is stronger then science, but science is stronger than mystery, etc.

Traits are the base stats of a Supreme and include Strength, Defense, Energy, Agility, Mind, and Spirit. Some traits are marked in red, which means they are a Trump Trait. This gives the Supreme the ability to reroll in challenges involving that trait. There also Trump Actions linked to Trump Traits (see below). Supremes also have skills as well. Many of these are more like advantages or powers, but in general they are special abilities that a Supreme could have. For example, the Gentleman has Greed 1, Mercenary, Resourceful 1, Megalomania, Living Arsenal, and Weapon Master 2. On the back of each card are the Supreme’s super powers or Exclusive Actions, which come into play when performing actions.

The rule mechanics revolve around an Action Pool. This is calculated every game round. Supreme levels in each team play a role in this calculation. Actions range from your basic Move or Strike to Tactical Actions like Hold and Pass or Exclusive Actions. The actions anyone can take are referred to as Universal Actions. Each action has an Action Point cost, even Pass (to prevent abuse of the option).

There are other special actions called Trump Actions. Each Supreme is a master of their Trump Traits and so gain specific abilities from that mastery. Each Trump Trait has 3 levels of Trump Actions – Basic, Advanced and Leader. A Supreme level 1 has access to the Basic (first level) Trump Actions; level-2 Supremes have access to both Basic and Advanced and so on. For example, Nuke has a Trump Trait of Energy (go figure!) and because he is a level-2 Supreme, he has access to the Basic Trump Action in Energy (Power up) and the Advanced (Leech).

Central to the combat mechanic is the Opposed Roll. Each side of an action (attacker and target) rolls a six-sided die and adds a given trait. The higher of the two totals wins. Subtract to get the effect value or damage if an attack is successful. There are a a variety of different ways to attack from the standard strike that anyone can do to special attacks the character can do, like shooting a weapon and throwing a damaging aura up. These are all described in the Combat chapter.

Another type of card that is included in blister sets is the Resource Card. Resource Cards are equipment and artifacts the Supremes may have access to. When using these cards, a player establishes a Resource Pool – a number of points to be spent on Resources. Resources come in many forms – Minions, Weapons, Devices, Artifacts, and Misc. There is a limit to how many Resources each Supreme can have and there is also some limitation as to what Resources go to what Supreme.

One optional rule that the Game Guide gives is Agendas. These are cards that one can print out to add extra victory conditions to an Encounter to gain points. Both sides must agree to use them, and once decided, there are three ways to use them – Secret Agenda, Open Agenda, and Random Agenda. It adds a little more motivation to the game.

In conclusion, I liked the system and the feel of the game very much. If the minis were pre-painted and ready to use, I would be very tempted to play regularly. The rulebook reads like a role-playing game. The one problem I have with game play is the amount of rules diving one has to do to for some of the powers and abilities. This also gets into one of the things that annoyed me the most.

The thing that really annoyed me from the start was the PDF rules – they were in no way printer friendly and there was not an option for that. Every other page had a dark background. In order for me to review anything, I need to print it out, and in this case I couldn’t. It is also important to print it out because of all the special abilities listed in it, like Trump Abilities. There is no other quick reference for these, so it would be important to print this out. They need some kind of printer friendly quick reference if they are going to stick with the format the Game Guide is in.

For more details on Pulp Monsters and their new Miniature Game Starter set “Pulp City Starter: Villains” check them out at their website http://www.pulp-city.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Pulp City Miniature Game/Pulp City Starter: Villains

From: Pulp Monsters

Type of Game: Miniature Game Starter set

Creator of Pulp City: Maciej Żylewicz

Game design and development: Maciej Żylewicz, Jędrzej Wojciechowski

Art Director: Marek Oleksicki

All Starter Boxes Heroes and Villains designed by Maciej Żylewicz and Marek Oleksicki (except for Solar, designed by the above and Jędrzej Wojciechowski)

Sculptors: Degra (Edgar Skomorowski), Jonas Deimel, Gael Goumon, Jerzy Montwiłł, Jarek Smółka

Editing and Proofreading: Bob Nolan

Number of Pages: 43 page downloadable rulebook

Game Components Included: The Villains starter contains all you need to build a playable Villain superteam. Set includes 5 Supreme miniatures (Nuke, Twilight, Hellsmith, Guerilla, Gentleman), 13 Cards and plain plastic bases.

Game Components Not Included: Rulebook (downloadable for free)

Retail Price: 29.99 (EUR)

Number of Players: 2+

Player Ages: 13+

Play Time: 30+ minutes

Website: www.pulp-city.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung