Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pulp Alley AAR - On the Trail of the Despicable Debutante

This week's Pulp Alley game was a learning game at a new local store called Round the Table, a nice little spot that touts itself as a gamer pub and offers cold beverages, locally farmed ice cream and even beer along with deals with the pizza place in the strip mall to deliver orders placed in the store.

As this was a learning game, I didn't bog down too much on lots of story and theme and the terrain was a pretty add-hock arrangements of ruins and jungle terrain. There were several areas of perilous terrain marked by terrain mounted on round bases. The scenario was a trail of clues. The leagues involved were my daughter's Mystery Ranch versus my Countess Velasco league. The two leagues are pretty evenly matched, both including multiple sidekicks and lesser members.

The story in this scenario picks up with the Mystery family having tracked the Countess and her minions to the jungles of South America. We played it as a Trail of Clues scenario with each league is trying to locate the truck, following a trail of supplies...

Opening moves saw both league moving toward their starting plot points with little in the way of direct action against one another. Once the second minor plots points were revealed, they moved into more direct conflict with one another with more than just Fortune Cards being played.

As Ma and Pa Mystery moved toward the collection of barrels after securing a crate of goods, the Countess' men moves into position among the ruins, ready to fire on them when they came into view.

Ma and Pa moved to provide cover for one another on either side of the lane between the ruins. If this was going to be a shooting match, they wanted to have something more than twigs and brush between them and a hail of bullets.

A strange sort of mystical showdown developed on the far side of the board as Eva and her pony totem moved toward the truck (major plot point now placed) and was met by Velasco's own gypsy mystic, Zelda.

Meanwhile, Ma had gotten herself tangled up with Bronzini and Theo as the two mercenaries laid down a hail of heavy caliber fire. She responded in kind with her pistol and shotgun. Holding her own, for the time being.

The countess had beat Eva to the truck and was working on getting it started as Ma finally lost the gun fight (below), going down in a hail of shattering branches and sputtering turf.

With Ma out of the way, Theo rushed forward to take hold of the goods she was carrying around. He took first one and then later would take the second minor plot point she carried.

In the end, the Countess won the day. She held all five of the plot points and sped away in the truck, laughing in that way that only a truly wicked and aloof villainess such as herself could.

Once more it was, "Arrivederci cowboys," that echoed through the trees.

We also managed to get another game started and half way through before the night was over and a second player learned how to play Pulp Alley. This time it was Dr. Mentallo and his miscreant mooks versus The Investigators, a new league i had put together just that day using a new experimental league organization.

That scenario ended after turn two but already saw some heated combat.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pulp Alley AAR - Mystery of The Mine

Old Gabby has sent word to the Mystery Ranch, hoping that Pa would be able to help. According to the messenger, ol' Gabby had finally found the lost El Dorito mine he had been on about for years. But according to the message, he wasn't the only one who knew where it was. That gap-toothed coot had managed to shoot his mouth off in the local saloon and word had spread through the grapevine, a grapevine that wound its tendrils all the way to the villa of Countess Velasco. The Mystery family would have to skedaddle if they were going to help the old man.

They arrived in time to hear Gabby's grizzled voice echoing through the woods in the foothills. He was spewing an endless assault of colorful language at a group of assailants that retorted and responded in their own colorful Italian cursing. There was a woman's voice among them and it could be none other than the Countess Velasco, international treasure hunter, thief and black marketeer. 

For this game we played a basic Lost Keys scenario. The major plot point was the truck with the minor plot points being Gabby, a crate of treasure already for transport, a stash of treasure hidden by Gabby and the truck's driver that had gotten a case of nerves and had run into the woods to hide. Any one of the minor plot points would be useful in either returning to the scene or proving to the authorities that it existed.

Pa Mystery, his wife and two girls set up in the tree line, ready to see what the Countess and her minions were up to.

The Countess had spread out. While she and Zelda kept close to the mine, Bronzini had spread himself and the two gunmen, Theo and Aldo through the trees, trying to hem in the spooked driver.

Aldo and Theo make a move to try to grab the driver. Figuring guns are more intimidating than the spooky woods and old legends, they close in on either side.

Unfortunately, the driver was not in the mood to cooperate and proved perilous enough to take down the two gunmen. A string of spectacularly romantic curses echoed through the woods as Bronzini watched his men taken out by a bat-wielding mook.

Determined to make up for his men, Bronzini rushes the crate and manages to figure it a way to leverage the big box and its contents.

Countess Velasco, seeing that Bronzini has the crate, move in to secure the truck, taking Zelda with her. But Wild Bess Mystery steps out of the underbrush, brandishing twin pistols. "Not so fast ya' pretty talkin' bandits!"

With a sneer, the Countess squeezed the trigger on her Mauser. the two ladies exchanged a hefty volley of fire but Bess proved to be ill-suited to taking on the likes of the wicked Countess.

With his daughter down and Ma Mystery and his other daughter racing to her aid, Pa decides to make a move to the back of the rocky outcropping, sure that Gabby has himself secreted someplace close to the mine. He trips and stumbles (Unexpected Peril), but still makes it across the clearing.

Ma came out of the trees shooting and takes Zelda out. The gypsy falls next to her countess who narrows her steely eyes.

"Gabby? That you?" Pa Mystery, searched the cracks of the rocks and found the frightened prospector.

"Thank my lucky britches! Yer sure a sight for sore eyes, Marshal!"

"Gabby, you know I don't wear a badge no more, but I'm glad you're doing alright. Now, let's get out of here."

Pa Mystery coaxed the old dude out of the rocks and started to lead him to safety.

Eva Mystery takes a chance, in all the chaos, to try to skirt around through the trees, hoping to get into position to make a move to intercept the driver who had by that time been apprehended by Theo.

Meanwhile, Bronzini had managed to get the crate to the truck and was muscling the hefty package into the back of the truck. 

"I don't know what it is, but it's heavy," growled the brawny blonde mercenary.

"Heavy is always good," chuckled the Countess as she covered the loading of the goods.

Bess had managed to get herself back up and made another push at Bronzini, supported by her Ma, but the heavy fire from his BAR cut through the woods and dropped the cowgirl again. It was no mystery who had the upper hand in that firefight.

Bronzini climbed into the truck and hotwired the engine to a rumbling, sputtering start. Unfortunately, Ma Mystery proved a dead-eye shot and took the Countess down. 

Behind the rocks, Pa Mystery was still trying to figure out how to get Gabby to safety when he heard the truck roar to life. Knowing the quickest route out of the woods was straight ahead of where the truck had been parked, he waited and took his shot as Bronzini rolled into view.

The driver was proving difficult to wrangle and as Theo was trying to catch him again, Eva swept out of the woods, snatching him to safety.

Ma Mystery joined her husband in a last ditch effort to stop Bronzini from escaping with both truck and treasure, but their shots ricocheted off the metal body and got caught up in the overhanging growth.

"Arrivederci cowboys!" 

Bronzini rumbled off into the darkening woods. He'd come back later to recover the Countess and the rest of them.

The game was a close one, 4-3. My 10-year old daughter played well and could have one it if she had been able to stop Bronzini who held all my victory points. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Loud Ninja Games Available and Going to Salute 2014

Loud Ninja Games

Hey folks, so my miniatures range is life and available - HERE.. The full range of Chuhuac "Space Raptors" can be found there including all 15mm infantry, support and vehicle codes along with the 28mm infantry squad.

There are also unit deals available such as RAP004P Chuhuac Herd. There are also deals for smaller units, grav bikes, APCs and battlesuits.

Also, I am thrilled to announce that Loud Ninja Games will be going with to it's first convention ever. It's a big one too! Those of you in the UK or other attending SALUTE 2014, come see us at the stand (TF07). The entire range will be on hand there and you can look and buy our nifty space lizards to terrify your tabletop opponents.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

20 Leagues Under My Belt - The Curse of Apshai

Back in the day I loved the various Apshai adventure games. Even though they never came back in any new form, the memory of Egyptian themed dungeon crawls has never left me.

The various Mummy movies with all their bugs, mummy minions and such were a good example of this and I so, I decided to do this new conversion off another Reaper Bones miniature.

This miniatures represents a tomb guardian who has been cursed by the insect god, Apshai...



My apologies for the blurry back shot. Holding a camera while holding the miniature in the light was a bit tricky. No matter how i shot this figure while it was sitting down, I couldn't capture it well. I also noticed a horrible mold line too late. But when the figure is on the table, it's hardly noticeable, so I didn't bother going back and correcting it.

Here is a list of what was done to the original figure...

1) Reshaped in green stuff the jaw to make it stretched and crooked, adding to the torment of the scarabs pouring forth. The tongue you see is the original jaw line.

2) In addition to the scarabs on the body, several are sculpted erupting from the flesh of this mummy.

3) The abdomen was re-sculpted to show undulating bulges, hinting that this creature is a husk full of scarab beetles. 

4) There are a few lumps added to the surface indicating scarabs moving under the skin.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

20 Leagues Under My Belt - The Indomitable Thag

In the jungle, something stirred - first just a rumble, then a thunder. Suddenly, the trees seemed to burst from within sending foliage and splintered wood flying in a shower of organic shrapnel. Beasts cried out, whooping and howling their dismay as they fled in every direction and into the air. What burst from the trees left us stunned. 
Our terror seized us, holding us in an icy grip, even as we clutched our rifles much to the detriment of our porters. The towering, scaly colossus, allowed them no quarter, tossing them about with wide sweeps of the tree trunk it now wielded as a weapon. Their rag doll bodies sailed in great arcs as the heavy feet of the mammoth denizen of this deep, hidden land lay eyes on us and set us as its next victims...

Thag is a monstrosity that haunts the deep, fern-carpeted jungles of the primordial Hollow Earth. He preys on all who would follow upon his terror, wearing their bones and gorging on their flesh. He will represent another potential Terror in my Pulp Alley games set in the lost world of my Hollow Earth.

He began life as a Reaper Bones miniature, a Swamp Troll I believe. I had no need for such a miniature and as I was still in the sculpting mood after finishing the Devourer in the Dark, I was inspired by the plates on his back and a conversation with Alex Bates of Forge of Ice to convert him into a sort of humanoid stegosaurus. The name Thag was suggested by Alex, who informed me that the spiked tail of a stegosaurus was called a "thagomizer", a term I had not heard before. Thag it was.

The named fit my idea for the creature who I decided would hail back to the old Marvel Monsters. This collection of giant fiends were always depicted in bright colors with almost unapologetic, goofy monstrosity. Thag would be colored around an orange pallet. I added a touch of accent by giving him a blue tongue and mouth that was inspired  by a Skink lizard.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

20 Leagues Under My Belt - Devourer In the Dark

"But Eli, this is just one creature!"

Yes, I realize that this is not a league in the classic sense, but in Pulp Alley there are special rules for what are called Terrors. Terrors are a single model that is powerful enough to take on one or more other leagues. A single terror will often fill the same space on a roster as an entire league. The rules for Terrors also state that the Terror itself is the only permanent member of the league it represents. They may summon creatures and allies, cultists and such if they have the resources to do so, but they are flying solo for the most part.

The Devourer in the Dark is my first Terror. A creature feared by many and not entirely of this world, it hunts sightless, capturing its prey with it tentacles and gulping them down in it wide, toothy maw. It can also squirt a noxious venom, incapacitating its prey. Knobby, scaly hide protects it from harm and its grasping claws allow it to climb the most sheer of surfaces. Most disgusting of all are the undulating, taught blisters that protrude from its back. Some say this is where it traps the souls of its victims, keeping their torment within itself for eternity.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Devourer in the Dark (Part One)


I have been wanting something big, nasty, and Lovcraftian in my collection. Unfortunately, much of what I really like is either beyond my current budget or, in many cases, not released yet (Kickstarters). So, I have enlisted my own sculpting/converting skills to bring something to the collection.

Take one cheap, plastic frog, apply green stuff..and...


I blocked out the details in a quick-curing, horrid smelling putty. It only takes about 5 minutes or so to set, smells like burning hair, but allows me to set the basic forms so I can get on to the fun stuff. You also see some of the early details here, including the fleshy mass in the mouth that I later decided to get rid of.



Here you see the basic form and shape put together. I really should have put the tongue/tentacles and teeth in later, but I have a habit of growing inpatient on conversions and put it all together. This will come back to haunt me when it comes time to paint.



The next step was to blend the putty work into the original frog toy. I applied thin layers of putty over the green putty, except in areas where I wanted the smooth texture to remain. The primary tool for this process was a .05mm mechanical pencil tip with the lead pulled out. This makes a nice, find pock marking. In some areas I used the hollow end of a plastic stir stick (the red kind) for slightly large pocks. Where the patches came together, I pushed them into one another with the tip of my sculpting tool to hide the edges. There were also a few details I enhanced at this time, such as evening out the sensory lobes (top of the head) and the venom sacks (cheeks).


Once all the details had hardened and I was satisfied with the blending, I shot the whole thing in a even spray of black and a spritzing of grey. I find that this always makes a conversion or scratchbuild look better as it unifies the various details. The grey will serves as my basic pallet for what I want as a gaunt, sickly color scheme fitting a Lovecraftian terror.

The next step is to get painting, which I should be able to accomplish over the next couple of days.


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