by Stephen Gilbert
1st Edition
Pulp Era Miniature Wargaming Kept Simple

Thanks to Bob Murch for the wonderful photos.

The Comic Book days of the early half of the 20th Century is a wonderfully imaginative time for the gamer to carve a niche for his own creative imagination to run wild. The Pulp era was a time and a place filled with Heroes, Femme Fatales, Mobsters, Two Bit Hoods, Gumshoes, Steam Tramp Sailors, Chinese Tong Gangsters, German Gasmask Zeppelin Pilots, American Navy Sand-Pebbles, Rocket Men, Metal Robots, and larger than life tales. ... What more could the adventurous gamer want out of his hobby?

Pulp Fiction is a basic game system which was designed for quick and easy miniature wargaming in a 20's 30's setting. These rules allow players to fight small semi-RPG skirmishes with small groups of heroes in low intensity battles, primarily against other players (or solo) who control mobsters, world dominating megalomaniacs, Dinosaurs, King Kong, and far... far worse.

These battles are designed to play on a model battlefield environment using 28mm miniatures. Movement and firing distances are measured using a 1''move increments. These rules require the use of up to four 6-sided dice. A battlefield usually consists of 3D terrain pieces. These represent barriers such as walls, buildings, vehicles, roads, bridges, trees, etc, etc. All this can all be made from scratch with relative ease by even the most frugal modeller... or are commercially available from a whole host of shops and on line resources.

Game Set-up

Prior to play, the Player(s) must select a group of stock characters to play with. One or more players should be selected to play the good guys (the heroes and heroines of the story); and another player (or players) should field the bad guys or monsters. You can even pit bad guy against bad guy, or bad guys versus the monsters if you like. How you play is entirely up to you.

Game Play

Turn Initiative
The player(s) each rolls two die every turn to decide who goes first. The player with the highest score goes first and the player who lost the roll goes second. In a three player game, monsters always go last.

Activation Points
A few main Characters and Villains have Traits which allow the generation of Activation Points (1D6 worth per side, each turn). Activation Points are used to command lesser troops such as Secondary Characters and Henchmen. Without these Activation Points lesser figures cannot act. No more than 1 action may be applied to a figure during a turn. Tokens should be used to keep track of which figures have moved each turn by placing an AP token next to each activated figure. Note: Main Characters and Big Bosses do not require Activation Points to act.

Actions, Movement, & Combat

Standard Actions
Players normally get to do 1 thing each turn with each of their activated figures: move, shoot, or make a close combat attack (a character possessing the Split Attack ability is an exception to this rule...i.e. can move, attack, then move again). Standard Human has 4 movement points, which means he or she can move 4 inches per turn. Obstacles capable of being crossed and difficult terrain reduces movement by half: i.e. each inch moved will cost 2 of a figure's movement points.

Movement through Other Figures
A figure may move through any friendly figure as long as it does not end it's movement in a space occupied by another figure. A figure may not move through an enemy figure's base.

Targeting Figures
A figure may attack any other figure that is not completely obscured from sight. Figures may only attack targets within Line of Sight. Line of Sight is considered the 360 degrees. Any terrain, objects, or other figures which partially obscure the target, raises the difficulty of the attack by 1. This modifier is applied cumulatively.

Each individual attack or weapon type has a To Hit number which is required to cause a wound.

Human Unarmed Combat
Characters cannot make effective attacks against enemies without the use of weapons. A figure attempting to wound an enemy with his/her bare hands requires a 6 to make a successful hit, and can attempt two such attacks per turn.

Split Attacks
A Split Attack is a special movement/melee attack which can be made by a figure. To make a Split Attack the attacker must not start the turn adjacent to an enemy figure. Split Attacks are made by moving (at least one inch) into an enemy kill zone i.e. adjacent to an enemy figure and making up to 2 attacks. If the enemy figure is removed as a casualty (assuming there are no other enemies left standing adjacent to the Split Attacking figure) that piece may continue moving up to his/her full remaining movement allowance. Some characters may double Split Attack. Which means potentially they can move... make an attack... continue moving... then engage another enemy and Split Attack again, and (assuming movement points remain) still continue moving.

Range Attacks Made Through Friendly Figures
If a friendly figure partially obscures line of sight on a ranged attack, an attack roll can still be made with the difficulty modifier of 1 added. If a ranged attack is made and misses the intended target, a separate roll must be made for each individual attack to determine if any friendly figures were hit. The same attacker modifier of 1 is added for these rolls.

If multiple friendly figures obscure the intended target, begin this process by selecting the friendly figure closest to the shooter, radiating out. If multiple friendly figures obscure the intended target and one friendly is hit by an attack, no further rolls are made on that particular friendly target.

Special Attack Roll Results

Double 1's, 2's and Ammo Depletion
Whenever a pair of 1's or 2's are rolled by any weapon attack (i.e. when an attacker decides to throw more than one attack die), this indicates a weapon failure of some kind and the end of the character's available attacks. If the weapon in question is being used as a melee weapon, it is lost, dropped, or destroyed (mark the figure appropriately to indicate such a loss). If the weapon being used is a firearm, this indicates that all ammo for that particular weapon is depleted. The weapon may be used as a club (if appropriate) or kept for reloading with Spare Ammo Markers.

Double 6's and Critical Hits
Critical hits indicate a devastating hit on the target. Any target hit by a pair of 6's receives an additional wound. Thus it is possible for an attacker who ordinarily has no chance of achieving a hit to score double 6's and get a free critical hit. Call it a lucky attack.

Joey hated cemeteries, which was too bad - He was about to take up permanent residence in one.

Receiving a Hit, Saving Throws, and Dying

Receiving a Hit
Whenever a figure suffers a hit from an opposing figure (or accidently from a friend), the figure will possibly be allowed to make a Saving Throw for armour or special traits it might have. If a Saving Throw is successful, the hit is ignored. If no saving throws are available or all saving throws fail, the figure receives a wound.

Saving Throws
Various abilities as well as armour and motor vehicles allow figures to receive Saving Throws. Saving Throws allow a figure who has received a potential hit to ignore the damage. Saving Throws are represented by numbers from 1 to 6 (such as 4+, 5+, or 6) A figure must roll that number or greater on a 1D6 to make a successful saving throw.

Wounds, Unconsciousness and Death
Whenever a figure is successfully hit, it receives a wound. This wound is tracked using wound tokens. The number of wounds a figure may take depends on the number of wounds indicated on the Stat Cards (found at the back of the rules). When the wound tokens placed beside or underneath a figure's base reaches the Stat Card limit, the Character is considered unconscious and cannot act.

Any further melee attacks (or point blank shooting) made on an unconscious character are treated as automatic hits. Any other shots made against the unconscious figure are with a +1 bonus on each To Hit dice total. Any wounds made on an unconscious figure, result in the death of the Character and its removal from the game.

Note: Wounds are not tracked on Secondary Characters or Henchmen, and any unsaved hit always results in immediate death. Only Main Characters and Villains can have more than one wound.

Bad Guy Reinforcements

Placing New Figures
If the Bad Guys have a Kingpin or Boss in play, the player will possibly be able to raise additional figures (reinforcement) during a game. When this occurs, any new figure must be placed out of view from any opposing figures and with no enemies within their own Line of Sight. If this cannot be done, the Player must add the new figure to a location on the outer edge of the battlefield (randomly determine which edge) but not adjacent to an opposing figure.

Figure Types

Main Characters
These are the mainstay for your games... the heroes and heroines. These are the good guys who flesh out your campaign scenarios.

Secondary Characters
These figures are the non-heroes, support guys, and sidekicks. They do not always possess the natural resolve to fight enemies on their own and must be lead and persuaded. These forces include but are not limited to The Boys in Blue (Police), civilian do-gooders, and personal allies. These Secondary Characters are often assigned to a single Main Character able to generate Activation Points. If this Main Character is slain, those Secondary Characters under him/her are considered to have fled and are removed from play. Exceptions to this rule do occasionally apply, depending on the scenario being played, of course.

Villains & Henchmen
These are the individual bad guys and major antagonists. If these are Henchmen/Sidekicks they will require Activation Points to take any actions during a turn. Villain types also include all major Cult Leaders, Gang Leaders, and so forth.

These include all manner of big bad: such as bokor zombies, mad cultists, and critters that go bump in the night, serving as tools of evil. These Monsters are often assigned to a specific Villain who generates Activation Points for them. If this Villain is slain, the Monsters usually slink away and are immediately removed from play... but not always.

Assigning Equipment & Abilities to Figures
An addictive part of miniature wargaming on this small scale comes from detailing and outfitting all your characters. After selecting a group of figures you wish to play with, decide appropriate characteristics to assign to the figures based on their equipment and assumed abilities. After detailing this information, create quick stat cards with all pertinent information added for quick and easy reference of all Main Characters, Secondary Characters, Villains, Henchmen, and Monsters.

Characters and Equipment

Spare Ammo Markers
Each Main Character (only) possessing ranged weapons starts the game with 1 Spare Ammo Marker, in the form of a token. This token may be discarded as a free action to re-load any weapon that is Out of Ammo as a result of rolling Double 1's or 2's. This token may be used on any ranged weapon or given to another player. Note: Secondary Characters only receive 1 Spare Ammo marker for the entire group. Villains, Henchmen, and Monsters do not receive Ammo Markers and can never pick them up if found - too dumb I guess.

Giving Items to Other Characters
Stock Equipment which is assigned to characters and printed on their cards may not be traded or given to another figure. Only Spare Ammo Markers and Goal related items may be passed on or picked up during play. At the start of any Main Character or Secondary Character's turn, that character may give Spare Ammo to another adjacent character as a free action.

Equipment on Dead Characters
Spare Ammo Markers or any Goal related items belonging to a character who is killed, are dropped before the figure is removed; but may be picked up by any other Main or Secondary Character by simply passing over or moving next to the Ammo of Goal related token. A Goal Related Item can be something as simple as checking in the back of a van for proof of smuggled illegal substances, and carrying a sample (token) away to safety.

Characters and Vehicles
Monsters cannot usually drive (See vehicle rules).

Traits and Unnatural Abilities


  • Ambidextrous: May make two separate groups of attacks using two light weapons.
  • Brawler: May make 3 unarmed hand attacks per round at a 5 to hit.
  • Can't Drive: Cannot operate a vehicle.
  • Car Thief: May start vehicle without key in 3 turns.
  • Fast Runner: Move 6 inches per turn.
  • Hide: May hide assuming there is cover to hide in or behind from the eyes of every unfriendly figure on the set {e.g. behind a dustbin or trash can, behind a wall or a tree, inside a trash can, inside a car, lying flat on the ground during bad visibility, etc}, but cannot perform any other action whilst hiding. While hidden, a figure can't be fired upon or attacked without the opponent making a Spot Hidden roll (5+).
  • Limited Mobility: reduced movement.
  • Leader: 1D6 Activation Points (randomly determined each turn), and +1 to the initiative roll each turn. To save time during play, combine actions points of all same side Leaders at the start of each turn.
  • Lucky: May call for any player (including self) to re-roll any dice roll, once per game.
  • Physician: Can treat unconscious characters by giving up actions for two consecutive turns to recover 1 wound on an injured person or self. May only use once on each wounded/unconscious figure.
  • Poor Eyesight: Has a maximum combat range of 6 inches using ranged weapons.
  • Advance Spot hidden: 3+ to spot hidden (1D6). +1 on each turn's initiative roll.
  • Small Build: Low wound capacity (2 total): e.g. most old men/women, invalids, and kids.
  • Tough as Nails: May take additional wounds (4 total).
  • Inhuman: Receives a natural 5+ saving throw against wounds.
  • Snoop: This figure is not placed normally. During the course of the game at the start of any turn (if a 5, or 6 is rolled - roll once each turn if initial roll fails), the player controlling this figure may place the piece anywhere on the playing area (but no closer than 8 inches from an enemy) and give it an action that turn.
  • Jump: This figure has the ability to leap or jump extraordinary heights over walls and other obstacles: i.e. ignore all blocking terrain as long as their movement ends on normal ground.
  • Monster: Receives 3+ saving throw against all wounds.
  • Night Vision: This figure may ignore the range reducing effects of Darkness. Note: Night time normally reduces all shooting LOS to 10 inches, unless on a lighted street, or indoors with the lights on, etc.
  • Regeneration: Must remain motionless for 1 turn to re-gain 1 wound.
  • Split Attack: Provided the model is not in an enemy's kill zone at the start of the turn, this model may interrupt its move at any time to make up to 2 attacks versus an enemy model - provided the figure has enough attacks available to make multiple attacks, and then continue moving (provided the enemy is removed as a result of the free combat).
  • Sneaky: This character may move through enemy figures without hindrance; yet may not end its move actually in an enemy space.
  • Voodoo Mind Control: This trait allows the user to move a single enemy figure (within 6 inches and in line of sight) up to its normal movement allowance - provided the trait user can roll a 4, 5, or 6 on a D6. The controlling figure cannot make the victim walk into a blazing fire, jump off a high cliff, shoot self and so on; however, the victim can be made to move adjacent to a dangerous animal, monster, or enemy figure... and can let's say be made to move into a prison cell, walk to the edge of a high precipice, or get into a car full of dangerous enemies. The trait will not work on enemy figures who start the game adjacent to a known enemy (or if the trait wielding character is adjacent to an enemy), nor can the trait be used on a target who is inside a moving vehicle. Voodoo Mind Control replaces other figure actions for the turn.

Weapon & Equipment Descriptions

Ranged Weapons
These weapons include all variety of firearms and projectile weapons that can be used to make attacks at a distance, so long as line of sight and range requirements are met. Some double up as melee weapons and can be used as clubs.

  • Hold Out Pistols (Rods): These compact handguns are designed to be easily carried and as last ditch emergency weapons. Due to their size they are ineffective except at dangerously close ranges.
  • Handguns: Handguns come in a wide range of sizes and descriptions and all use various calibres of bullets; though for the sake of the game all 'slugs'are considered interchangeable.
  • (Thompson) Submachine Guns: Though very inaccurate and difficult to control, their large volume of fire is extremely impressive.
  • Dual Wielding Firearms: Any character with two or more Light Weapons may choose to wield them in a dual fashion to increase their firepower. This should not be attempted by the unskilled as it causes a reduction in both weapons accuracy -1. If Double'1's or 2's are rolled then both weapons are considered Out of Ammo.
  • Shotgun - Pump Action: These weapons are considered one of the best short ranged self defence weapons and are ideal for close quarter fighting. A shotgun commonly chambered with buckshot, requires little training or accuracy and is capable of easily causing enough kill with a single shot.
  • Shotgun - Sawed Off: Once outlawed in the states due to their lethality, these weapons have become the premiere weapon for unruly Mobs and Gang warfare.
  • Rifle - Bolt Action: These single shot rifles are abundant and easy to find. Their low rate of fire is tempered by their long range and accuracy.
  • Dynamite: These Kaboom Sticks are the most powerful explosive commonly available. While light they must be carried carefully due to their inherent instability. They are useful in destroying and clearing wide area of threats. Dynamite should not be used by the unskilled and could easily result in the death of a whole teams if handled improperly.

Melee Weapons
These weapons include clubs, blades, crow bars, baseball bats, and a whole range of similar make shift items. To attack with these weapons a figure must be in base to base contact with an enemy figure or must make a charge attack.

  • Bare Hands: When facing an armed opponent, it is often suicidal to try to face them with your bare hands... run whenever possible.
  • Clubs / Baseball Bats, etc: Any heavy two handed device used to swing to crush the skull of an enemy fits into this category. Some rifles can double as clubs at the risk of damaging them.
  • Blades: Knifes have little effectiveness overall. but have some value as a last ditch survival weapon. These weapons are small and easily carried at no weight loss. These weapons may be sacrificed and thrown a short distance.
  • Crowbar / Tire Iron: These heavy steel and metal clubs are slightly more effective than standard clubs and cannot be destroyed by rolling double 1's or 2's.
  • Axe / Machete / Sword: Any heavy bladed cutting weapon may be used effectively to kill or incapacitate by slicing and dicing, and generally cutting off heads and limbs.

Special Equipment
A number of non equipment items such as Kevlar bullet proof vests, spare ammo, and special equipment can be obtained through play.

  • Spare Ammo: This is generic and must be used to reload any weapons that are Out of Ammo.
  • Bullet-Proof Vest: Knitted from stiff cloth or padded cotton, the vest is designed to protect the wearer from small arms and offers some limited protection against stabs and bites to the torso.Ba
  • ckpack/ Duffle Bag: This Heavy piece of equipment allows a character to carry an unlimited number of Light Objects for free. Note: No Character can ever carry more than two Heavy Objects.
  • Car Keys & Starting Handles: Car Keys and 'crank handles'are only useful in the scenario where they are discovered. If car keys are discovered during a game, a roll is made to determine randomly which vehicle if any the keys will start. These keys may be used to start that particular vehicle in 1 turn. A starting handle with likewise start a car in 1 turn, but may be used on any vehicle.
  • Handgun Holster: This Special piece of equipment allows a character to carry 1 Handgun for free. A Character may carry up to four such holsters each carrying 1 Handgun with no weight or encumbrance restrains.

Weapon Stat Reference Charts

Ranged Weapons

Explosive Weapons*

* Target blast area - one figure and all adjacent figures within one inch are hit on a 5 or 6.
I have not included rules for deviation of explosive devices. I leave this up to the Game Host to add or exclude as he or she sees fit.

Melee Weapons

Body Armour

Vehicles Rules

Entering a Vehicle
A figure ending it's turn base to base with a vehicle can enter the vehicle if it chooses. Place the figure to one side off the table, or place on top of the vehicle to represent its position inside.

Starting a Vehicle
Using Car Keys or Starting (Crank) Handle. If a character has Car Keys or a starting handle in his/her possession, the driver will take 1 turn starting the engine.

Vehicle Speed and Stopping
Motor Vehicles can accelerate or decelerate in 5 inches increments per turn (maximum speed 20) and may brake to a halt at skid rate of 1 inch (forward motion) for every 5 of the vehicle's current travel speed. Movement continues at the speed the vehicle ended at during the previous turn.

Vehicle Turning
A vehicle may turn or deviate by bending the measuring tape or stick in a reasonable curve and measuring along it. Cars and Trucks can be assumed to steer round any corner of a road section, and measure accordingly.

Driving Backwards
A vehicle driving backwards may only reach a max speed of 10 inches, and stopping the vehicle is automatic... i.e. there is no compulsory skid movement as the vehicle grinds to a halt.

Notes Relating to Vehicular Combat

  • Drivers and Passengers inside a vehicle cannot be injured until the vehicle they occupy is destroyed - except in close combat.
  • Vehicles have a 4+ Saving Throw vs. damage
  • Vehicles can take 3 Wounds before becoming wrecked.
  • All human figures inside a wrecked vehicle are immediately removed from the vehicle and placed directly beside the vehicle.
  • A wrecked vehicle may not be re-entered.
  • A vehicle which is destroyed causes 1 wound to every occupant for every 10 inches of speed it is travelling when destroyed or wrecked.

Ramming Enemies
The driver of a vehicle may attempt to drive over enemies in his or her path. A vehicle must have accelerated to a speed of 10 or greater for the vehicle to have the possibility of injuring a figure.

If a vehicle moving at a speed of 10 or greater crosses through any enemy or friendly figure, the driver must make a vehicle attack roll against that figure. A roll of 4+ means the vehicle successfully struck the figure. If a vehicle ends its movement on top of a figure or figures, move those figures base to base with the vehicle on the left or right of its path.

A moving vehicle does 1 wound for every 5 inches it is travelling when it impacts another figure. E.g. A vehicle moving 20 inches per turn would inflict 4 wounds.

Ramming Buildings, Cars, and Objects
If a vehicle collides with a building, another vehicle, or stationary object at a speed of 10 or greater, the vehicle comes to an immediate stop and the vehicle must make a +5 save or take damage based on its speed, if another vehicle is struck at that speed both vehicles must make a +5 save or take damage based on their speed.

Low Speed Impacts
Impacts at speeds less than 10 cause the vehicle to stop but cause no damage to the vehicle or passengers.

Vehicle Toughness
Vehicles are treated like figures in regards to receiving any damage. Any successful hit against a vehicle may cause a wound to the vehicle if it fails it's +4 saving throw.

Attacks against Moving Vehicles
A figure can make ranged attacks against a moving vehicle.

Jumping from Vehicles
A driver or passenger may not exit a vehicle moving 10 or greater without taking a wound. A jumping character is placed on the ground next to the doorway he or she jumped from.

Driverless Vehicles
A vehicle without a driver continues in a straight course slowing naturally at 5 inches per turn until it comes to a halt, unless it strikes a stationary object first.

Melee attacks on passangers, and attacking from within a Vehicle
A driver cannot make a weapon attack while operating a vehicle. For passengers to make ranged or melee attacks from within a vehicle, the vehicle must be moving at a speed less than 10.

Melee attacks (to and from a vehicle) can only be made against enemy figures in base to base contact with the window seat the passenger figure in question occupies. Passengers may be eligible for a vehicle cover save against hits.

Sample/Example Characters & Stats

Based heavily on the Pulp Figures range of models

Masked Delia (Character)
Move: 6; Ambidextrous: May make two separate groups of attacks using two light weapons; Fast Runner: Move 6 inches per turn but has reduced wound capacity (2 total); Sneaky: This character may move through enemy figures without hindrance, but may not end its move actually in an enemy square; Handgun x 2: range 10 , 5 to hit, 2 attacks per gun; Wounds 2.

Gumshoe: The Pinkerton Op (Character)
Move: 4; Snoop: This figure is not placed normally at the start of a game (see the rules); Handgun: range 10, 5 to hit, 2 attacks; Wounds 3.

Slim (Character)
Move: 4; Hide: May hide (instead of taking actions). While hidden can't be attacked without opponent making a spot Hidden Roll (5+); Small Build: Low wound capacity; Can't Drive: Cannot operate a vehicle; Hold Out Pistol: range 6, 6 to hit, 2 attacks; Wounds 2.

Sam Spade (Character)
Move: 4; Leader; Split Attack; Advance Spot Hidden; Tough as Nails (4 wounds); (Doesn't like guns) Bare Hands: range 0, 6 to hit, 2 attacks; Wounds 4.

The Heroine's Father
Move 3; Limited Movement (3); Poor Eyesight: Has a maximum combat range of 6 inches using ranged weapons; Wounds 2.

Mr Syn (Character)
Move: 4; Leader: 1 to 6 Activation Points; Hold Out Pistol: range 6, 6 to hit, 2 attacks; Wounds 3.

The Kid (any child miniature)
Move: 4; Small Build; Can't Drive; Sneaky; 2 Wounds.

Jim Remington - The Archetypal Nice Guy (Character)
Move: 4; Leader; Split Attack; Brawler; Tough as Nails (4 wounds); Rifle - Bolt Action & Machete; Wounds 4.

Voodoo Zombie Master
Move: 4; Leader: 1D6 Activation Points (used on Zombies only); Voodoo Mind Control; Bare Hands: range 0, 6 to hit, 2 attacks; Wounds 3.

Controlled Zombie Minion
Move: 4; Must be controlled by a Voodoo (Bokor) Zombie Master using Activation Points; Bare Hands: range 0, 6 to hit, 2 attacks; Wounds 1.

Generic Mobsters
Move: 4; Submachine Gun: range 12, 6 to hit, 4 Attacks; or/and Hold Out Pistol: range 6, 6 to hit, 2 attacks; Wounds 1.

Oriental Henchmen, Tong, and Generic Ganger Thugs
Move: 4; Brawler: May make 3 unarmed hand attacks per round at a 5 to hit; Submachine Gun: range 12, 6 to hit, 4 Attacks; or/and Hold Out Pistol/Blade/Sword; Wounds 1.

Rocket Man (US Rocket Corp)
Move: 4 (8 in flight); Sneaky (May not engage or be engaged in melee while in the air, shoots and shot at with a -1 detriment when airborne. If in flight at the end of the turn, place figure on a high stand or mark with a counter to depict elevation status. Figure cannot fly within confined space (e.g. when in a building) Move to ground if unconscious. Otherwise, use this trait as normal; Jump: This figure has the ability to leap or jump extraordinary heights over walls and other obstacles: i.e. ignore all blocking terrain as long as their movement ends on normal ground; Brawler: May make 3 unarmed hand attacks per round at a 5 to hit; Sub Machine Gun; Blade/Handgun; Wounds 1; One member of each Rocket Corp unit will be an officer (leader) and will possess 2 wounds.

Game Set Up (Solo play or otherwise)

For a basic game, you might like to allow the good guys to start the game with about 4 or 5 characters. For more figures (maybe 6 to 8) simply double the number of bad guys you activate due to proximity or noise. Heroes usually set up play along a pre determined edge of the playing area. Make sure there is no concealing terrain (which includes a wall, trees, a building, behind a closed door, etc, etc) within 8 inches of the heroes initial set up edge.

The Bad Guys (BG's) start play without any miniatures set up on the board. Although some scenarios may require these to be set up in the open at the start of the game, in which case ignore what I have just said. At the start of a game, the heroes will enter along their chosen edge. But once a hero figure moves within 8 inches of concealing terrain...pause that figure's movement and check on the Activate Bad Guy Table. If the result is clear, the figure may resume movement up to its full allowance. If the result reveals a BG, that figure cannot continue moving, and that figure's turn is considered over.

Activate Bad Guys Table

When a hero moves within 8 inches of concealing terrain throw a single die. If the result is a 5 or 6: consult the appropriate line to determine how many BG's are placed on the board. Proximity activation occurs in the game only once per terrain feature. Use the following table to determine new BG placement.

Hero moves within 8 squares of

  • Building 1D2 BG's are placed.
  • Behind Single tree/Outhouse/Shed 1 BG is placed (on second roll of 4, 5, or 6)
  • Group of trees (woods) 1 BG is placed
  • Wall/Hedge/from behind a vehicle 1 BG is placed
  • Behind a hill/mound/hidden ground* 1 BG is placed
* Hidden area is ground to which the hero miniature has no direct line of sight.

The first time a Hero enters a building via an entrance way or window, detach the roof (if possible) or remove the terrain piece from the table and replace it with squared graph paper, the same dimensions as the building; then place the figures appropriately inside. The hero must stop. That figure's turn is considered over.

Similar to before, throw a single 1D6 to see if the building contains any BG's. If the result is a 5 or 6. Throw another die (1D6-3 minimum 1) to determine how many BG's are placed. Place revealed BG's against an interior wall as far away from the hero who entered the building as possible. No further movement may be made this turn by these recently placed BG's. If a hero opens an outhouse or shed door and the die result is a 5, or 6; only 1 BG is placed.

When a hero shoots a weapon throw 1D6: if the result is a 6, a single BG is attracted to the noise. Throw for each attack die the hero rolls when making any noise. Throw for BG activation and place fresh BG figures after each attack die is rolled. For example, a hero who decides to use all four attacks with his Sub Machine Gun will roll four attack die. Check for BG activation with each of those four shots.

Note: A good point to remember is: a hero doesn't have to throw all the attack dice his weapon allows him to make on any given turn (Exception: Explosives). The hero may decide to roll less dice and avoid making too much noise - which, of course lessens the chance of fresh BG activation. Heroes will have to weigh the pros and cons for themselves.

It isn't only guns which threaten to bring fresh BG's into play! A heroes attempting to break down a locked door, start an engine, break a window, etc; these things all make a lot of noise.

BG's are placed immediately on one of the four (randomly determined) edges of the game board - as far away from the shot fired as possible. BG's placed in this manner enter the board with no movement or action allowance the turn they arrive in the game.

A Casino Game/Film Set in action, mid game.

Doors, Windows & Makeshift Barricades
Heroes may attack doors, windows and makeshift barricades using their normal attacks. However, the following special rules apply. Only one attack die can be rolled per turn... per hero, who must be standing in a space immediately facing the object.

  • A door receives a saving throw of 4+.
  • A makeshift barricade receives a saving throw of 5+.
  • An explosive weapon not only negates any saving throw, but also increases the To Hit roll by +2 .
  • Any successful attacks result in the obstacle being removed and no longer usable in the game.

Locking doors and windows
A hero inside a building which is clear of BG's, may state he or she is attempting to lock and bar all doors and windows within that building, provided that figure spends 3 consecutive turns doing so, during which time that figure may not conduct any action. After three turns, the figure may once again move, attack, or use any special abilities, as normal. Each additional hero reduces the time it takes to secure a building by 1 turn (minimum 1 turn).

BG's may not enter a secured building via normal means. However (once per turn) one or more BG's adjacent to one side of a building may attempt to break in if they can roll a 6 on 1D6. In which case, they may enter via an assumed door or window along that side of the building. BG's may attempt to enter a building from as many sides as they choose (and check separately for each face of the building).

Why would a hero enter a building?
Buildings potentially contain things the heroes need. When heroes (or hero) enter a building. Once they clear the building of any BG's assuming they even try, throw 2D6: if the result of that roll is 8+, throw another 2D6 and read from the table below. If the result is a straight 2: add another 1D6-2 worth of BG's and place this fresh batch within the building (they are permitted no further activation this turn) as far from any heroes as possible. If not possible, place them adjacent.

Items In Buildings

  • 3 Body Armour
  • 4-6 Spare Ammo
  • 7-8 Medical Supplies
  • 9 important Information (files, maps, goal related items, etc)
  • 10 Lucky Find
  • 11-12 Prisoner(s)

Spare Ammo: This is generic and may be used to reload any weapons that are Out of Ammo.

Body Armour: Bullet-Proof Vest: Knitted from interwoven layers a Kevlar, this vest is designed to protect the wearer from small arms and offers some limited protection against stabs and bites to the torso. Armour which is found may be worn by any hero figure. Simply record that figure as now being armoured. Armour is not cumulative - i.e. cannot be worn over more armour.

Medical Supplies: Each medical supply that is found may be used to recover 1 wound on an injured person or self. Only use once on a single figure.

Important Information: Not much practical use in the game what so ever. But makes for a good story and maybe used to further the ongoing plot of a campaign... perhaps in some games, the information can be the goal of the scenario itself?

Lucky Find: The Game Host should exercise his or her discretion about lucky finds. If the heroes aren't doing too well in the scenario, be generous. Use this as a game device to enhance the game in any way you see fit.

Prisoner(s): Add 1D2* heroes to the player's party. Good excuse to add that newly painted miniature or miniatures to your game. Make up a good story to go with the new character(s), and away you go.

Big Boss Placement
Whenever the Bad Guy Activation Table is consulted, the BG player should secretly throw 2D6: if the result yields a 10, 11, or 12 the Big Boss or Big Bosses are placed instead of generic bad guys. Of course, this is a simple catch all, and if the game host has other pre arranged ideas about placing villains in the game, follow whatever other plans you have instead.

The making of "King Kong & the Jungle of Death".

Game Trimmings (Advanced Rules)

Okay, now we come to all the extra bits which go to help make the Pulp genre coma alive on the table top. All of these new rules are optional, and may be added to any game one at a time allowing gamers to slide slowly into learning curve of taking aboard fresh ideas by adding the new rules bit by bit in their scenarios, or you can jump in the deep end and use everything suggested here straight away; you can simply pick and chose some of the optional extras as and when your games call for a bit of scenario enhancement, then disregard the optional bits altogether in your normal games. Ultimately, the choice is always yours.

I would, however, urge at least to give each optional rule a go at some stage or another in your games. I think they add whole new dimensions to the Pulp gaming mythos, and drops a whole bag of fun into the game... especially when campaign gaming.

Campaign gaming is what happens when you link your one off scenarios battles into an ongoing story line, where the actions of main heroes, sidekicks, nefarious arch villains, and the (sometimes) nameless hordes of secondary characters continue to live and breathe is a series of themed adventures. This style of gaming can be extremely rewarding and highly addictive.

Secondary Traits (ST's) Main Characters, a few Secondary Characters, and Main Villains but not usually Monsters may have Secondary Traits to help them succeed during games. The following table is used to determine the number of secondary traits each character type possess, and the level of skill associated with them.

Secondary Trait Table

  • The Main Hero or Heroine of the Plot: 2 ST's - Level 5.
  • Other Main Characters in the Story: 1 ST - Level 4.
  • Secondary Characters: 1 ST - Level 2.
  • Big Boss Villain: 1 ST - Level 4.
  • Henchmen: n/a
  • Monsters: n/a

When determining whether a secondary trait is successfully employed during a game turn, throw a D6 and compare the result against the trait level of the character using it. If the roll is equal to or lower than the character's secondary trait level: the ability is used successfully during the turn it is activated. If the roll is higher, the ability fails to be successful this turn.

Gambling: When a character is playing a game in a casino, at a private table or in some illegal gambling den... assuming the main fight sequence of the game hasn't yet broken out, and again, assuming the scenario allows for a hero to have infiltrated the gambling establishment this trait may be used. If more than one character is gambling (good guy or bad guy), only the character with the highest trait level throws the dice. Tied trait levels can be decided by everyone flipping a coin (repeatedly is necessary) until only one coin side is showing. That character is then the winner for the turn. When gambling, all non gambling figures entering the game get to move onto the game area without being hindered by anyone else at the gambling table. Each turn a hero wins gains another turn the rest of the player's team can attempt to sneak further onto the game board undetected (provided there is no line of sight to any existing enemies already on the playing area); and if using Activate Bad Guys Table, the chance of activating anyone is reduced by -1 (to a 6) on the dice roll.

Open Locked Doors & Safes: Some doors (pre-determined by the game host) may initially be locked before the game begins. Use this Character trait when attempting to unlock a door. A failed roll results in a single (newly placed) Bag Guy appearing at the nearest point in the game where line of sight can be achieved. All Bad Guys will be aware of the intrusion attempt from here on in during the game.

Conversation Taunts: A hero may stall for time by engaging in distracting conversation and witty taunts against the bad guys. Bad Guys usually seem to fall for this ploy, and spend precious moments telling the doomed hero exactly what fate is about to befall him and his friends. A successful conversation taunt roll from a hero (only one, usually the highest trait level character, gets to roll) means that all bad guys within line of sight of the endangered hero (and friends within an obvious sphere of influence) cannot be attacked for the duration of that turn; though the bad guys can still move and perform other actions. Monsters cannot be stalled in this way. After three successful conversation taunts in a row, the bad guys can act as they like, regardless of any successful die roll the heroes may make.

Automatic Success: The good guys may use this ability once in a game to succeed in any action that requires a successful secondary trait roll... even after the die has been cast and a failed result rolled. This ability has no bearing on trait level, and may be automatic applied during any game. This ability may (within reason, if the game host decrees) be used to allow a victim to escape certain impending death, e.g. by allowing a tied up victim to untie himself, or letting a victim trapped in a locked and blazing room mysteriously to escape the chamber, or perhaps a character about to be crushed by a giant rolling stone ball will be allowed to make an amazing death defying leap to safety at the last moment.

The Disarming Doll: An unarmed female moving next to a Big Boss may secretly remove a hold out pistol or similar sized weapon (or item) from the unsuspecting villain by standing adjacent to the target and making a successful trait roll. The successful female may then automatically hand the weapon/item to another character (within 4 inches) during the same turn regardless where she is in relation to that character. Just move the female over to stand adjacent to the receiver, as though this were a part of the film script). An unsuccessful attempt will make the Boss aware of the bungled attempt - who may then make a free action to slap the meddlesome broad to the ground, 1 inch away from the brutish villain.

In this way, the game host may actually allow a female to steal a weapon the Boss didn't even possess on his original stat sheet - if this furthers the story line and enhances the plot.

Narrow Escape: There may be times during a campaign game when it is inconvenient to kill off a main or secondary character, or even a Villain or a favourite bad guy. A successful roll at this stage will mean the figure is removed from the game relatively unscathed, but out of action for the remainder of this scenario. A failed result means the character in question was badly hurt, and cannot make further appearances in succeeding games for at least a couple of battles.

© 2008, Stephen A Gilbert.

Virtual Armchair General (Mean Streets cardboard buildings)