Friday, August 13, 2010

Looking for some Pulp – We Can Be Heroes

I will be king
And you
You will be queen
Though nothing…

Sorry, just couldn’t help myself.

For a while now I’ve been looking for some good skirmish rules for my Star Wars minis but haven’t really found anything that “felt right”.  I think where I was going wrong is that I was looking for some sci-fi rules and while that might fit the period it doesn’t suit the flavour of the Star Wars universe.  What I really need is some pulp rules, and so the search begins…

I’m no good at writing reviews so I won’t try, instead I’ll just list some pros and cons of each of the systems.


I started by picking up a copy of We Can Be Heroes II by TFP Games.  70 pages inc covers, around $12.95US but currently on sale at Wargame Vault for $8.62US.


  • It uses a card based activation system which is something I really like in a game.
  • The system isn’t genre specific and comes with a huge range of examples of weapons and armour for different genres.
  • Each character in the game are either a Hero, Sidekick, Superior Troops or Inferior Troops (oddly enough there are no “standard troops”).  Each of these types have a fixed set of stats, so all Jedi are the same as all Sith who are the same as all Bounty hunters.  This does make for a lot less record sheet checking and even my kids can pick this up pretty easily.
  • Redshirts/droids/troopers: the game has got this trope covered.  A single Jedi can easily take on a squad of battle droids and win in a few turns.  Yes there’s still a little risk the dice won’t be kind and you’ll get hurt but the odds are stacked in the Jedi’s favour.
  • A random amount of Hero points are available each turn that we also use as Jedi power points for things like deflecting blaster fire, force push, throwing light sabers and so on.  This allows for cool powers but keeps them in check too.  Yep Obi-Wan can use force push to knock over that unit of droids but there’s six of them and that’ll use up all the Hero points for this turn… you sure you want to do that… there’ll be none left for Anakin to use this turn?


  • Each character in the game are either a Hero, Sidekick…  I know I listed this as a Pro but it also takes away from the game.  My kids won’t care that Anakin Skywalker has the same stats as Yoda or Darth Maul but I do.  This will affect long term playability for me but I’m happy to wear that as this is a game I can play with my kids.
  • Skills, these should be a pro but they feel tacked on and really don’t add much to the game.  Reference is made as to how the First Aid skill helps to heal a character but nothing is said in the Combat or skill sections of the Strong, Very Strong or Super Human Strength skills when surely they would have some effect.  A missed opportunity I think.
  • It doesn’t really affect play at all but the layout of the book consists of the rules being presented as speech bubbles, see here: WeCanBeHeroesII-SpeechBubblesJust like that… for the whole book.  It’s not unreadable and it’s doesn’t get in the way but it doesn’t sit right with me for some reason.  The same goes with all the pictures of the miniatures, there’s just too many of them.  At least on for each speech bubble, obviously as it would just look silly having a speech bubble full of rules floating on an empty page.  If they cut the speech bubbles and reduced the number of photos they could easily reduce the size of the book to 35-40 pages.  But like I said earlier this doesn’t affect the fun you’ll have at the table as I haven’t had to refer to the rulebook once during play.


I’ll definitely be playing these rules with my kids.  There’s a cheap magic supplement available too which makes it a little easier to work out force powers and could easily be used for any form of magic, psionics, voodoo or whatever.

Since the the rules are so simple (not always a bad thing) it won’t take much effort to convert the Star Wars characters into the WCBH rules.

These are the sort of rules you look at and think “I could have made this up myself” well that’s true but TFP have saved you the trouble and the time.  A solid set of rules that are fun to play, and like a true pulp game no one ever really dies.  Which is another plus when the Jedi your five year old is playing takes on two Droidekas and rolls badly… very badly.  The force was not with him that day…

So the search is still on for a set of rules for me.

Next time I’ll have a look at Fantastic Worlds by Ratrap Productions, other rules I’ve got lined up are Larger than Life by Two Hour Wargames and Flying Lead by Ganesha Games.

FantasticWorlds LTL FlyingLead

Any suggestions about other pulp rules I should have a look would be greatly welcomed as well.

1 comment:

  1. I have so many games I play I don't think I have room to add pulp gaming...

    ...but I do have a box full of Horror Clix... which is very pulpy.

    Something to consider eh?