independent games & design by Nathan D. Paoletta

carry. a game about war.

Reviews & Remarks

“You can look at carry as a product of its stake-setting dice-passing scene-framing time or you can look at it as a marvelously tuned game that delivers consistent, deep fun and I recommend the latter.” - Jason Morningstar (Gray Ranks, Fiasco)

Kenneth Hite - Out Of The Box  (09/2008) "It’s a tragedy of inevitable human failure set not even in the Vietnam War but in our hazy cultural recollections of it. I could see the same engine powering stories of the Civil War or, hell, the Trojan War. But in all cases, the engine drives the story, not the other way around. But it drives it directly, interestingly, and well from a base of recognizable, genuine human concerns."

Play This Thing  (11/2008) "carry is not a game of war. It is a game about war, and the mechanics serve to give some insight into what war can be like for those involved, from the point of view of the people on the ground. carry is a game that may make players nervous, and it should. There is a tendency in RPGs to address serious issues through a lens of fantasy, but carry makes no compromises"

About The Game

carry is a game focused on the experience of being a soldier in the Vietnam war. Heavily inspired by the films Platoon and Full Metal Jacket and the novel The Things They Carried, carry is designed to provide a serious roleplaying experience in the tradition of these sources.

Revised Edition

The revised edition is an extensively re-organized and re-written text, keeping the core of the original game but revising some of the mechanics to keep focus on the experience of play. With more explication, examples and resources to aid play, this edition reflects 10 years of experience with the game since initial release.

Game Features

  • Set cast of characters, customized by a collaborative system of creating the Burdens they bring with them into war.

  • No-prep, designed to play out fully in 1-2 sessions of 3-4 hours.

  • Unified dynamic die pool mechanic that address issues of trust, dissension and loyalty.

  • Can be played in more realistic or cinematic styles based on the groups preference - it doesn't have to be heartbreaking!

More Information

How soldiers behave in war is a difficult topic, and the game focuses more on dealing with that difficulty than on celebrating violence or exploring tactical and strategic choices. The way that players have described a session is “fun, but in the way watching a really serious drama is fun, not fun like popcorn and beer fun.”

carry is structured in a short-form style. It generally plays out from start to finish in one three-to-four hour session. Over the course of the game, characters deal (or fail to deal) with their Burdens and the pressures and difficulties coming from the other characters, and from the GM. At the end of the game, everyone has a chance to talk about both what happens to their characters in the end, and how these characters are remembered in the aftermath of the events of the game. 

Purchase The Game

carry. a game about war. revised edition is available in two formats: a 8.5"5.5" 118 page softcover book with dust jacket, and an 118-page digitally optimized PDF. It was released in 2016.

The book is currently out of print. There are still some copies available at Indie Press Revolution, or check your local favorite gaming store!

carry. a game about war. was originally released in 2006.

Direct From ndpdesign

Due to EU VAT remittance laws, I cannot fulfill PDF ONLY orders directly to EU residents. If you live in the EU, you must purchase the PDF through one of the outlets below. I apologize for the inconvenience.

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Downloads & Resources