Some 3 years ago, inspired by this blog post, I purchased a PDF of the game 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars.
I printed the game immediately, but I never got to read it.
Recently, for the reasons unknown I remembered about it's existence, so I started digging through my paper mountain until finally I emerged with the book in my hand.
3:16 walks the uncharted territory between RPG, wargame and boardgame. The play is highly narrative, but at the same time it depends 90% on combat, since there are no dice rolls when you are out of danger zone.
Game can also be easily adjusted for solo play, and it's re-playability is high thanks to combinations of several factors like Alien Activity level, planet type, alien type and alien special characteristic.
I decided to test the game playing 3 soldiers: Sargent Grim Reaper (fighting ability 3, Non-fighting ability 7), Corporal Joe (FA 7, NFA 3) and trooper Kid (FA 5, NFA 5).
The first mission was really interesting one, with lots of tactical movement.
On first encounter Sargent Grim landed his squad close to the alien nest with 3 threat tokens, but all soldiers failed to activate, so Steamers managed to score a kill on everybody and than run away into near zone. Corporal Joe then fires from his Heavy machine gun, removing one threat token and killing 11 Steamers. He also moves closer to aliens. Steamers act next, score a kill on Grim and Kid, and run away. Grim and Kid are now crippled in far zone and Joe is a mess in near zone.
In next combat round, aliens are to act first, so they cancel all successes. They just run away, out of range for Grim and Kid. Finally, aliens score one more kill on Joe, who also becomes crippled, and then run away out of his range also. Troopers find themselves alone and unchallenged, so they use they time to heal. They are all mess now. 14 TT remain on the planet.
Second encounter - 4TT, no water influence. Joe wins dominance test and sets range to Close.
After some dancing, 3 TT are removed, with Joe scoring 6 and Grim 7 kills. All soldiers were crippled again, when Steamers managed to run away. 11 TT remain. All troopers heal into mess.
Encounter 3 - 5 TT. Water starts influencing the equipment, so both Grim and Joe are forced to tick the armor box. Grim wins dominance test, and he decides not to risk. Grim uses his strength flashback - like fish in the water. Making his way through all that water, he remembered how he liked to be wet on Terra, when he was walking through the rain. Only thing he missed now was a sign of the rain beating on the windows - tap, tap, tap... So he started shooting his pistol to simulate the sound... .And in the process he removed all 5 TT (but killed only 4 Steamers). Prolonged rest made all troopers healthy again. Grim will be eligible for promotion if he survives:
Final encounter - 6TT. Grim's side arm jammed, so he will be able to kill just 1 alien with it in near range. Joe wins the dominance test and sets range to close.
Kid scores his first kill in the mission. Joe also removes one TT (1 kill for each of them). Grim takes a kill and becomes a mess. Range changed to near.
In next combat round everybody succeed. Joe remove TT and scores 9 kills. Than he moves forward into close range. Aliens and Kid act at the same time. Kid removes TT (6 kills). All move one range to the back. Grim removes TT (5 kills). Just one TT remains.
In next combat round, Aliens and Joe are to act first at the same time. If this would happen, Grim would take a kill and die, so he decides to use Weakness - fear of fair fight. When last Steamer moved towards him, Grim remembered that he was always beaten in one on one combat during military training. So, instead to engage alien, he ducked under water. Steamer passed over his head and was soon lost in the dense planet vegetation. In this way, Grim removed last Threat token on the planet, and will get a medal for it, but everybody have seen that he did not killed the last alien, but he let it get away. this will spoil his relationship with the troopers.
According to the report from this scouting mission, higher command decided that conditions on the planet do not favor land invasion, so the system was destroyed using Starkiller.
Grim failed his promotion roll, so was called for demotion by Kid, but there was nothing Kid could offer the military court as prove that Sargent chickened. Joe and Grim leveled up, and Kid got Power Claw directly from Captain, partially in order to protect himself from angry Grim.
To be continued....