Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer

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 (http://www.beastsofwar.com).  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?


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