03 August 2008

Actual Play: 3:16

So, I inflicted my first run of 3:16 on a group of four at the ConFusion one-day convention yesterday.

We played with fairly minimal roleplaying and reflection, and a breakneck pace, which was not ideal. However, that was the mood of the group, and everyone had a great time. We got through four missions in the session, which seems pretty insane*. I'll definitely try and keep things moving more slowly in future games, giving some moments of reflection rather than just things that moved the mission forward.

In terms of the rules, they delivered on all the fun in play that reading suggested would be there. We had some great positioning debates, people raging as they got placed at the ideal range for someone else's weapon, and so on. There was jubilation when someone scored 93 kills with their heavy MG, scorn when the crazy corporal blew up teammates with a grenade a second - and third - time.

Despite the pace of the game, we managed to touch all the parts of the rules. Playing multiple missions gave us a chance to develop the characters, and we had some promotions too. There was also good use of flashbacks. A few were of the obvious, but not so interesting sort: "I spent extra time practising X because of an early failure." However, some were golden. My favorites were a related strength and weakness flashbacks from the same character on the same mission - both dealing with his childhood adventures with his brothers in the woods back home.

In tone, ours was fairly light. However, they got hit pretty hard early on so everyone was aware how close trooper death could be, giving that edge to the proceedings. I'd like to try a game that's more on the grim end of the spectrum, too.

In any case, great game. If the idea of space troopers killing aliens has any kind of appeal to you at all, get this game.

* It helped that I rolled so badly for the aliens on this final world that they never scored a kill on anyone. Worst poisonous killer newts ever.


Anonymous said...

Yehaa! Thanks Mike.

I guess my recommendation is to resist too much sugar. But you only find that out by gorging on the sweet stuff, right?

Anyway, great to read about your experience. Now let the characters develop over play and I'm sure they'll end up going places you never thought of at the start.

I'm super-pleased to read about that fictionally linked Strength/Weakness thing. That is gold.


Unknown said...

Yes, I think that the insane festival of destruction may have been a phase, associated with running it for the first time and the convention situation.

I'm going to be running another game tonight, with my regular group, and that is intended to be slower and focus more on the characters. This is intended as a one-shot, before we start up a game of Unknown Armies, so we won't get to see the character development over time yet, but the game's seems like a good fit for the group so I expect we'll play a full campaign later on.