NOTE: 3:16: Carnage Amongst the Stars was a free review copy provided to Luke Reviews by Cubicle Seven Entertainment.
Frequently the target of both adoration and derision, with die-hards on both sides, there is one thing that no one can deny: Dungeons & Dragons, and the roleplaying game explosion it caused, revolutionized the science fiction and fantasy genre. Ever since, roleplaying games have been a pivotal aspect of the genre. Wanting to explore this side of the genre a bit, I took a look at Chaosium’s Basic RolePlaying, one popular game system. However, I didn’t get to delve too much more into it, as prices can be prohibitively high at times. But that means it is even more important that you know what you are getting, and that it is worth it, before you lay down all your hard-earned cash. So Luke Reviews will be featuring a number of Cubicle Seven Entertainment’s titles, giving you a broad range of genres and choices. I started off 3:16: Carnage Amongst the Stars, a military science fiction game.
In the world of the far future, humanity has moved past Earth, and is continually expanding. However, this also means running into aliens. These non-humans may not be friendly, so to save time and protect the species, groups of soldiers are sent out to take over the planets and clear them for human life. It is up to you to protect the species while you move up (and down) in the ranks, gaining greater and greater responsibility.
With the stereotype (that once again was created by Dungeons & Dragons, its influence continues) of fantasy roleplaying games, I was excited to get the chance to look at a thoroughly military science fiction one. The core rule book for 3:16 is very short, making it an easy one day read, and one go through is all you need to get started. The rules system is very simple, in a way that lets you get into the game, but doesn’t prohibit more advanced play. Without constant referencing of stats, you can get into the gist of the story. The book has all you need to play, and includes a sample mission that helps to clarify any of the rules that may not have quite clicked for you.
It isn’t perfect. The story is very simple (and while I can understand the author suggesting just giving in to the violence of the setting, it still felt like it could have been given a little more depth), and it occasionally felt like Warhammer 40,000-lite. Seeing that Hutton pulled inspiration from Warhammer 40,000 didn’t surprise me one bit. It also would have been nice to have a couple of ready-made scenarios or missions in the book, letting you test-drive the setting before creating your own.
However, at the very small size, you get all of the rules without a huge price. And when you are looking for a game that you can jump right into and can be explained quickly, it is an excellent choice. It won’t have the most depth you have ever gotten out of a roleplaying game, but if you want some high-octane action and violence without the need to think too deeply, this game is perfect for you. Fans of military science fiction, and those who enjoy Warhammer 40,000, should give this book a look.