XP: 3:16 Carnage Among the Stars

27 Mar

3:16 Carnage Among the Stars is a sarcastic game about ridiculous destruction and xenocide. It plays fast, the mechanics are lightweight and airtight, and the premise is a super easy buy in for pretty much anybody.


The planet mission, colorful as they may be, are little more than a backdrop for the meat of the game. And the meat of the game is not necessarily the combat, it is making rash decisions that jeopardize your fellow troopers well being. Granted, the combat scenes are huge motivators for driving those decisions.

I was a little surprised to see how quickly the resentment between players built up and spilled over. There are no mechanics that are overtly about that, but pretty much everything winds up encouraging it. Then it’s all about using grenades anyway, stealing kills, forcing weaknesses, and generally giving each other the finger. Great stuff!


The primary mode of play for this game is a long term campaign format. The flashbacks, the neat gear, it’s all designed for use in the long term. We did a one shot (making it through two planets), and implementing these things was just a little troublesome. In particular, there was no reason not to use plenty of orbital bombardment, which is a little anti-climactic.

But the real trouble was with the basic mechanic itself. One player failed nearly every roll. With a rather binary mechanic this is bound to happen sometimes, but in a long term campaign having an off night would not sour your whole experience of the game. This player’s only experience of this game was rather frustrating. Unfortunate, but the only sure solution I see is to focus on long term play.

We did get to see field promotions, in fighting, development rolls and cool equipment. I wasn’t sure we would see those things, but it’s a good thing we did, because those are the best parts.

Ultimately this game requires some adaptation to the one shot. The next time I play this game it will be a full twenty mission game.


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