The Game: 3:16 Carnage Among the Stars
The Publisher: Box Ninja
Degree of Familiarity: Hey, I only bought it on Tuesday, what do you expect of me?
Books Required: There is only one book.
3:16 is a game pared right down to the very basics. It's got a core concept: the characters are soldiers in future-humanity's army, sent out to pacify the universe by killing everything that is a threat, killing things that could one day become a threat, and sterilising planets that could one day become host to life forms that could evolve into threats to humanity. To power this concept there's a very pared-down set of mechanics that focus like a laser on what the game does: space marines blowing the fuck out of things because they can.
It looks to be incredible fun. Weapons don't have a "damage" stat, if you hit you simply determine how many of the alien scum you kill. Every dice roll is either a test of your Fighting Ability or your Non-Fighting Ability. That's it. Strengths of character can give you automatic victory, character Weaknesses let you lose on your own terms, and that's really about it. The GM's got the resources in the book to make 20 worlds for the characters to stomp over before he has to repeat himself—and even then, there's suggestions for the best way to up the stakes. Fights are deliciously tactical without involving any actual measurement of range or number of enemies left to fight.
Making a character is very easy.
Characters have one name. It's either a surname or a nickname, everyone's referred to by rank. I feel like a laugh, so I go for Pike.
There's no need for a "concept", that's simple: genocidal space marine. Instead, you get to choose your rep, a general descriptor of what the world thinks of you. "Smart-arse" suits.
10 points to split between FA and NFA, with a minimum of 2 points in each. FA entirely relates to making things dead. NFA is everything else. I'm thinking Pike's a smartass with a big gun and plenty of idea of how to use it. I drop seven points into FA and three into NFA.
I start with 1d10 Kills per point of FA—this is the number of things I've already made dead in the name of God, Harry, and Saint George. Turning to random.org, I get 48 kills so far. Not too shabby.
Everyone starts with two Flashbacks, one Strength and one Weakness. When one gets used, the player details the flashback (and not before). Everyone has a maximum of five Flashbacks in each category, with new ones earned by using the existing ones. Interestingly, the last Weakness is always "Hatred for Home".
Rank really needs a full squad, as it's handed out based on comparing skills with the rest of the PCs. I'm going to fudge this, based on high FA and Kills. Assuming someone else wanted the Sergeant's job, and most everyone else didn't want to suck at doing things like moving about and giving orders, I'll make Pike a Corporal. This means he has to follow the first two orders and gets a choice of really big guns to start out with.
Of the available weapons, I can pick an E-Cannon or Heavy MG. The HMG is useful at Close and Near range, though better at Near. The E-Cannon is only of any use at Near, but it does a juicy level of kills. Right then, that's me packing an E-Cannon. The other weapons are always the same. I make a note of the rest of my equipment and get right to it.
Gosh, that was easy.
1. Kill as many lifeforms as you can.
2. Maximise the kill ratio (bugs killed per trooper).
E Cannon: 0/2d10/0
Close Combat: 1 (close range only)
Combat Drugs (0/1)
Mitt & ball
Tatty field manual