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Weekend Warrior: Beatdown Downtown

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

I grew up on war games in the mid 90's and back then you either played Warhammer or 40k. Now there are hundreds of options in every conceivable flavour. You can play fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, historical, you can even outfit a potato with a deadly payload and play with that. War games range from single minis fighting each other to small skirmish games, units of troops clashing on vast battlefields or entire fleets invading planets.

So today we're playing a Superhero skirmish game that you may not of heard of called Pulp City. In Pulp City each player takes control of a team of Supremes, powered individuals from a variety of rival factions. The game has hundreds of options and a lot of lore explaining the rich backgrounds of its characters. However for me the interesting thing about the game is the action point system. You see Pulp City is like a euro game with pretty toys.

You have a certain number of action points you can spend during the course of a round and it is never enough to activate everyone and do everything making your choices meaningful. The game also employs a "I go, you go" structure, normal in board games, but less so in a miniatures game. This turn structure allows the game to be fluid and adaptable as the situations unfold.

Anyway the stage was set. Two teams were ready to go head to head but only one would emerge victorious!

Pulp City, Terrain
Board Set Up

Here's the table in all it's glory! We actually ended up not using the citizens as we just wanted to play "Smackdown" and relearn the rules as it's been nearly a year since we played last. We're still using the starters but we added two level 1 supremes to either side to bring the total level up to 8.

For the Heroes we had Ace of Wraiths, Tekkna, Wildman, Supreme Grimm and Grimmrock, while the Villains were Nuke, Anansi, Aurelius, Grimmancer and Gentleman (a.k.a "Stanley").

What follows is an accurate report of the game as I remember it... My gaming buddy Dave has a different recollection!

Pulp City, Tenaka, Grimrock, Supreme Grim
Heroes Set Up

I won the terrain advantage and Stanley took the rooftop position atop the Harmonic to provide overwatch for the rest of the villains. Nuke, Aurelius and Grimmancer clustered together in the street to benefit from Grimms support power while Anansi deployed downwind behind the dumpsters hoping to use her webslinger power to get a quick hit in turn one before swinging away to safety.

Pulp City, Anansi
Anansi Takes Cover

Round 1 was mostly dedicated to the Supremes getting in to position for Round 2 and loading up with Power Up Dice. However with Stanley's Sniper Rifle I thought I might just be able to take a shot at Tekkna and mete-out some early damage to a weaker target. However I hadn't accounted for Wildman.

Pulp City, Wildman
Wildman scales the Harmonic

Stanley ran forward, perching himself on the edge of the Harmonic's roof, rifle resting on the low brick wall, lining up the shot when the beastly Wildman bounded up onto the awning and let loose a fearsome howl. Not expecting the attack Stanley recoiled in fear and tumbled onto the fire escape below, taking a nasty bump on the head and putting him totally out of position for the rest of the round.

Pulp City, Nuke
Nuke Goes Nuclear

With Gentleman down and unable to provide cover fire, at the start of Round 2 Nuke threw caution to the wind and rushed headlong into enemy controlled territory.

Pulp City, Tekkna, Grimmrock
Tekkna buffs Grimmrock

Tekkna raised the shields and hid behind Grimmrock for protection before Nuke unleashed the apocalypse, hitting every Hero except for Supreme Grimm who had taken shelter behind the Harmonic, just out of range. However Nuke's recklessness was not without a cost, he blasted Anansi too and now he was stuck out in the open with no Action Points or movement left.

Pulp City, Wildman, Nuke
Wildman and Nuke go toe to toe

Wildman took advantage, leaping down from the awning with a rending slash that left Nuke heavily wounded and an easy target for Ace of Wraith's Queen of Blood.

With Tekkna's shields severely hampering the Villain's attack Stanley attempted to redeem himself by taking pot shots at the beast with his Sniper Rifle.

Pulp City, Gentleman
Gentleman observes his target

Only to expose himself to Supreme Grimm's overrun attack!

Pulp City
Super Hero convention on the corner

By the end of Round 2 Nuke and Grimmrock were both off the table and the villains were definitely on the back foot. Round 3 began with most of the Villains clustering around Aurelius to take advantage of his tank power, so to avoid being easy pickings for another overrun attack Stanley pulled back, cocking his Sniper Rifle in the crook of his arm and shooting Supreme Grimm square between the eyes.

Pulp City, Ace of Wraiths
Ace takes aim...

With the heroes down to three supremes it looked like the game might tip back in my favour but with my tank surrounded I knew I couldn't hope to last long. Fortunately Anansi was on hand to help. Unleashing a Web Barrage she was able to push Ace back up the street and pull Wildman into the middle of the barricades, while dealing out some damage and rearranging her teammates too.

Ace took his shots, scoring extra targets far too many times and peppering the backs of the Villains with his spectral bullets. Then it was Aurelius' turn to shine, he stepped up turning his fists to molten gold and planted Wildman right in the jaw. The beast was done for, fatigued and out of position he was a sitting duck for Gentleman who took a snap shot bringing Wildman down to just one health remaining.

Round 4 began and Aurelius was done for, two hit points remaining he had to take a chance, if he didn't clobber Ace now the old timer would turn spectral and all hope would be lost. He powered up but it wasn't enough. Ace withdrew and used Queen of Blood, finishing Aurelius and Anansi from behind like the coward he is.

Pulp City, Ace of Wraiths, Aurelius
...and shoots Aurelius in the back

With his final action Ace turned Spectral and denied Gentleman the finishing shot. So there was no hope of a win, the best I could hope for at this point was a marginal loss. Torn between using Sniper Rifle and Snap Shot to put the last point of damage on Wildman, I decided to make sure. Stanley hopped over the barricade and took the shot at point blank range.

Pulp City, Gentleman, Wildman
Gentleman gets the drop on Wildman

And missed...

Enraged Wildman turned and pounced. He tore Stanley to shreds, healing a life in the process, ensuring that Wildman could not be killed this round. Stan dropped a flash grenade, surviving the vicious assault, retreating behind the barricade. There he took his final shot, knowing he couldn't place enough damage on Wildman to kill him. Seconds later Wildman pounced once more and this time it really was the final curtain.

Pulp City
To be continued...?

A decisive victory for the heroes.

I made some glaring errors but overall a fun game on a beautiful table!

This article originally appeared on our sister site The Duke of the Blood Keep

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