Tag Archive: sci fi


Rusty Station Spanner

I’ve been busy working on Rusty Station Spanner. “Rusty Station” is an ongoing RPG project detailing the Sci-Fi campaigns I run from home. A lot of focus will be dedicated to a massive space-station (Rusty Station) I plan to run as a megadungeon. More and more of my time must be spent over at Rusty Station to get this project off the ground. If it seems quiet around these parts lately, why don’t you take a gander up at the stars. I’ll still be reviewing RPG’s from time to time, but I’d like to spend more of my time completing my own projects rather than reviewing the projects of others.

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Space Exterminators

Marines!

Starship Troopers has marched (with machine-gun in tow) to the very pinnacle of tongue in cheek sci-fi’s that always seem to have a steady rotation on TV. Tremors is another long-running favorite of mine. These are the calibre of films that aren’t to be taken terribly seriously and thrive on good ole’ fashioned ass-kickin’ action. I love these movies for the same reason I love the zombie movies Peter Jackson has a hand in: these are films defined by a relentless and thrilling absurdity.

Rarely do I find an RPG these days that gets me as excited as 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars. 3:16 offers a refreshing space marine romp with a singular goal, eliminate all alien life. No, you aren’t really playing one of the good guys. Instead, you are playing a thrill-crazed warrior charging toward the flames of alien oblivion. I do not recommend getting overly attached to your character. Something I find very appealing in tabletop RPG’s is subtle competition between the participants. 3:16 is all about racking up as many alien-kills and medals as possible before the inevitable burnout.

This adds a certain bragging-rights appeal to the gaming experience which I find strangely comparable to console FPS’. The rules are are designed around the d6 and d10, and are perhaps the most impressive set of rules I’ve seen in years. The mechanics fit the tone of the game perfectly. The rules are fast, brutal, and easy to master. Character creation might take twenty seconds or so, certainly less than a minute (this is no exaggeration).

Photo found here.

This game is so appealing because the game allows character development and background to blossom during play. This is utilized in “flash-backs,” and is perhaps my favorite aspect of the game. There are also plenty of charts and tables to make things very simple for the GM. This game is marketed as low-prep, and it is (practically a Godsend for those busy GM’s and players who want to get right down to playing).

3:16 places a tremendous amount of control into the players hands. It is not the GM’s responsibility to narrate every minute detail, but instead players are encouraged to aid in the universe building to an extent rarely seen in most RPG’s. For example, when a player succeeds in an attack or action, they are encouraged to describe and embellish upon the specifics – not the GM!

The highest military rank the players can achieve in 3:16 allows them access to an item called “The Device.” It can only be used once (and I mean ever in a given campaign) because once used it ends the game. It destroys such a vast pocket of the universe that the players and even the entire army of the 3:16 are obliterated. Yes, players can voluntarily achieve “Game Over.” Why would anyone do this? Because they can, and it’s hilarious.

The writing is excellent, I love an RPG that can make me laugh. Gregor Hutton (the game designer) writes succinctly but with plenty of space marine “quotes” to get the GM’s right on target for the game’s feel. I should mention that the art also complements the game beautifully. At the risk of sounding art-ignorant (I am), the interior art reminds me a bit of Frank Miller if he lived in the Warhammer 40K universe. There’s ample use of negative space which I find to be highly dramatic and so very cool. Really it’s just top notch.

In summary, just go buy this game. If you like your sci-fi more than intense and the action humorously over the top, you will devour this game. I have. As I finish writing this I’m looking up other Gregor Hutton games, and I can’t wait to tear into those the next chance I get.

An aside: I have been writing on this blog far less than I would like to. Fear not – this blog isn’t dying. Hibernation is a natural occurrence,  and my blog is just going through a “bear-phase” right now (Really I’ve just been very distracted and busy). I will still be writing, just not as much as I have been able to in the past. My goal is to get back to the old pace, once life becomes a bit clearer for me.

Additionally, my oldest RPG pal and I have been talking about an RPG I want to design. Not only is he an excellent sounding board, he is also an excellent artist. The game will be sci-fi and thats all I want to say at this time. This is a project I’ve been mulling over for a very long time. My friend will be doing art for the project, and maybe a bit of writing if he has the inclination.

You will be seeing more about this project as it develops. Also, if there are any readers out there who dig the games I’ve reviewed or the things I’ve talked about, please contact me if you are interested in play-testing. That wont be for a long time, but I figure I might as well cast the line.

Stars Without Number

“Stars Without Number” is another grognard inspired game that is really going to turn some heads. The “sandbox” elements inherent in the game, allowed me to port much of the setting my friends and I created in “Diaspora” (see my earlier review) into this game system. The post-society collapse and psionic emphasis in “SWN” softens the sci considerably – and in my opinion serves a perfect balance. Each character in the game feels distinct in that everyone has a background and profession even before a class is chosen. This allows for a vast array of archetypes, and adds a significant level of re-playablity.

The system is skill based, and moves fast. Slowdown is never an issue in this game, and the characters always have something to do (by default because motives are a necessary component of character creation). I haven’t examined the faction leadership section of the book too thoroughly yet – but I’m very excited by the possibilities.

So far I’ve only had the chance to run one session of the game (which is my fault mostly for advertising other RPG’s to my friends), but as I’m writing this I’m realizing how solid this game really is. The psychic class in particular really excites me. Every psychic has the capacity to be either a specialist in their school, or a jack of all trades. The game suggests that it is rare for characters to survive past level 10… which I love – because I have an obsession with re-rolling characters with new stories. This might be my favorite game I’ve run all year. This is a definite buy, if you like the idea of playing a bada** space marine, a cocky starship gunner, or back-world witch. It’s all here, really.

O yeah, and its free… what the heck are you waiting for?