Some Thoughts on “Pulp” Gaming

I have a number of partially completed items on the painting table, but nothing new to show.  I did have a thought yesterday that I felt I would share with both readers of this blog.  🙂

I got a recent Pulp update from Beasts of War (  Actually the update was Pulp, Punk, Horror, and Weird — dominated by the latter three and light on the first.  As I was perusing the Email update, I wondered, “When did it all get so dark?”  New releases of rules and figures seem to be focusing on the dark side of Pulp — daemons, vampires, daemons, zombies, more daemons, etc.  The stuff hitting the market these days makes Lovecraft look like Charles Schultz.

I guess I like my pulp lighter than the current tastes:  Duke Morrison and his buddies, “Wrench” Web,” “Boats” Morgan, Professor Nannini, Sergeant Preston, and others working to foil the insensate evil of the nameless “Eastern Menace,” Nazi Zeppelin troopers, etc.  I like bigger than life, barrel-chested, steely eyed killers of men and small fur-bearing animals locked in struggles to rescue beautiful ingenues, recapture stolen scientific marvels, or mystical devices.  I don’t much care for daemons, devils, and zombies cluttering up my pulp action; although, I do play the occasional zombie game.  My pulp is the Maltese Falcon, the Saturday morning serials, Flash Gordon, The Thin Man, Lives of the Bengal Lancers, the Real Glory, the Drums, The Four Feathers, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Alan Quartermaine, just about anything John Wayne ever did, etc.  These are lighthearted adventures with clear heroes and villains.

Similarly, Victorian science fiction seems to be getting hijacked by the darker steam punk cum post apocalyptic craze.  Who wants VSF troopers in gas masks?  Apparently many.  I prefer bold, perhaps xenophobic, arrogant, and proselytizing, adventurers venturing into unknown worlds where they battle native tribes, prehistoric creatures, alien beings, and other European powers battle for control of resources in The Great Game.  I know none of that is politically correct these days, but as much as we want to pretend the colonial period never happened, it did.  And in most cases colonization of Africa was done by honorable men — by the standards of their day — attempting noble deeds as they saw them.

So clearly gaming can be what anyone wants it to be:  dark or light, ultra high resolution or highly abstract, fast or slow.  For me, though, I like my games to be a little lighter than the current trend in the hobby seems to be — at least judging by newly released games, rules, and figures.  Clearly I remain out of step with the rest of the hobby.

How do you like your pulp?

Pictures from Barrage 2015

Barrage at about 1000 hrs. -- lots of games kicking off.

Yesterday, the HAWKs hosted our Barrage gaming day in Northern Maryland.  We had a record turnout, a Flames of War Tournament, a L’Art De La Guerre tournament, and lots of fun.  Below are some pictures from the day’s gaming.

Duncan Adams kicking off his Command Decision game
The initial briefing before the Flames of War tournament
Ed Watts' Beau Geste game
Chris Palmer's "Island of the Lizardmen" Bear Yourselves Valiantly game
Dust Tactics game
Luftwaffe 1946 game

Ed Duffy's modern Afghanistan game
Kurt Schlegel's WWI game
Dan Erdman's Command Decision game
Richard Hefner's Aerodrome game -- a perennial favorite
Brian Cantwell's Chain of Command game
My buddy Ma'k Morin, from West Point, and his wife play Aerodrome

One of the highlights of Barrage was seeing an old buddy Ma’k Morin.  He brought his wife and daughter to Barrage.  It was the first time I had seen him in almost 20 years, even though we have kept in contact via Email and phone calls.  It was great to game with him again, and I think his family enjoyed it too.

I had a chance to introduce a couple of new people to Combat Patrol
Eric setting up the zombie shopping mall game