About the Game
Fiasco is billed as a game where you play characters with “big ambitions and poor impulse control”. It’s played in two phases: in the first, players collectively choose the relationships and story elements that are going to fuel the subsequent Fiasco; in the second, players invent characters and narrate their inevitable downwards spiral.
The elements in the game are drawn from Playsets, which provide a setting and a cornucopia of heady elements to populate your game with. They define who your characters are, what they’ll be doing, the things they’re fighting over, where they’re doing it all, etc.
Once the setup is over, the game becomes very narrativist, with only a few rules to restrict how the story goes.
What Went Down
Our game happened at Games People Play downtown, which mostly hosts Magic: The Gathering events but also welcomes other ludographic pursuits (they have Open Gaming on Thursdays, check them out!). Josh and Nat both brought playsets, with settings ranging from D&D Satire to 1970s Communist Germany. In the end, we settled on Los Angeles 1936, and a cast of desperate ne’er do wells sprang off the pages.
Newcomer Alissa appeared on the scene for the first time (and did great job playing Vincent Ross, a barman caught between a rock and drug cartel). Josh played Lonnie Viola, a criminal lawyer with ambitions of movie stardom, Nat played the Reverend John Hooker, the affluent shepherd to a flock “devout” Hollywood society players, and Sam adopted Richard Smalls, a film producer fallen on hard times.
Lonnie’s trying to help Vincent get rid of a vial of pure heroin (a weapon in an attempted murder). Richard is blackmailing the Reverend, who’s sleeping with the producer’s estranged wife. And that’s before we started narrating anything.
Fiasco’s a long-time favourite on the scene, and we knew we’d have a good time. It’s not got a lot of “crunch” in the rules, which can be a turn off, and it’s emphatically not a story about competent people. As long as you know what you’re getting into, it’s almost always a good time. If it sounds like something you’d like to try, watch for our next game and come join us!