“Some books are fiction dressed as truth; 39 Dark is truth dressed as fiction.”
— Gregor Hutton, author of 3:16 and Remember Tomorrow
A solar day on Mars is 39 minutes and 35 seconds longer than on Earth. We will use that time to take back our planet.
—39 Dark Member
Life on the burgeoning Martian colony is hard. In the midst of political corruption, equipment failure, extreme weather events, and civil rights crack-downs, a new voice has risen up from the people. That voice is the up-and-coming protest movement, 39 Dark, which is guided by its newly appointed leader, Lane Novak.
39 Dark is a standalone tabletop roleplaying game designed specifically for two players. One will take on the role of the “savior” of the resistance movement, 39 Dark. The other will be responsible for all the various problems that are pressing down on the citizens of Mars. The object of the game is to tell a meaningful story about Lane Novak’s attempt to change Mars Colony for the better and cope with her own sense of self-worth in the face of mounting violence and political backlash.
The game is also a sequel to my 2010 game, Mars Colony (not required for play). Like its predecessor, 39 Dark is a two-player, sci-fi RPG; however, this time the story is told from the perspective of the people. It’s a game about political freedom and standing up for what’s right.
The world is one plagued by oppression, apathy, and entrenched interests that threaten to divide the movement and squelch political freedom. It is a game inspired by modern political unrest worldwide (e.g., Occupy Wall Street, Arab Spring), and built to explore the costs and rewards of direct action.
For a quick introduction to the game, check out the Mars Colony: 39 Dark book sample. You can also take a look at some of the wonderful illustrations by Tazio Bettin included in the book:
Mars Colony: 39 Dark is a tense roleplaying game that allows you to explore modern, real-world political themes without sacrificing the fun of a RPG experience. These are just some of the game’s highlights:
Finally, you can email me with any questions or comments (tim “at” tckroleplaying “dot” com).
The deck of Fringe Group Cards is an optional accessory to the main game. The deck contains 32 premium playing cards, each with a description of one real-life fringe protest group to help you create your fictional movement on Mars.
In 39 Dark, players begin the game by brainstorming about fringe political movements that they know about from their own personal experience or from watching the news. These political parties form the basis of the fictional 39 Dark movement on Mars.
But what if you’re not a news-junkie like me? That’s okay. Take a look:
The cards are the exact same size as the boxes on the Faction Map, which means you can plug them directly into your game prep with minimal fuss. The aim is to help you work through game prep with ease. Use the cards to:
While the PDFs and books are sold directly by TCK Roleplaying, the cards are available separately from the print-on-demand service, DriveThruCards.
“39 Dark is another bravura success in hard-hitting, socially conscious science fiction RPGs from Tim Koppang—one that will make you feel the fire in the heart of the revolutionary and the fear of being the leader of the stampede.”
— David Gordon, The Cardboard Republic