Congrats to Zorana on winning the Fiasco contest! We hope you enjoy all your Fiasco goodies and the hours of enjoyment to soon follow! Please, everyone feel free to keep commenting and discussing the game in the comments below!
Let Me Tell You A Story
During our last day at Gencon, Micah and myself were pulled into a game of Fiasco by Danny Rupp of Critical-Hits (aka @Bartoneus the Architect DM) along with about a dozen other folks, we wound up with 4 full tables of games going on. While neither Micah or I were honestly too keen on the idea of playing at first, I’m fairly certain the experience was some of the most fun we had during the whole convention and I’m very glad we played.
(Skip down to the “Your Session!” header if all you already know all about Fiasco and want details on how get in the running for an exclusive Fiasco prize package from Bully Pulpit Games!)
Fiasco is a game that is highly narrative and just random enough to keep things interesting. By ‘highly’ narrative I mean around 95% of it requires making stuff up on the spot. It’s not a game where you roll dice every turn or even a game where you level up or attempt to acquire any sort of treasure. Hell, you’re lucky if your character is even alive by the time the whole thing is over. All you need to play is four 6-sided dice per person (2 white/ 2 black), some note cards or scratch paper & pens/pencils and the rule book.
The goal in Fiasco is to set out and sort of create a your own film collaboratively between you and your friends. It doesn’t require a DM and only takes about 2 hours to play. The game was created around the feel of basically enacting your own Cohen brothers movie, but with all of the additional (and mostly free) playsets, you can act out just about anything your heart desires from space epics to slasher flicks and war movies – the list goes on and on. The game fits best with movies where things turn into…well…a fiasco. I wouldn’t try recreating any romantic comedies or broadway musicals with it, but just about anything where stuff can go horribly wrong will fit the bill.
Playsets frame up the setting and theme of your session. The core book comes with four to start you out; Main Street (Cohen film), Boomtown (western), Suburbia (think Desperate House Wives) and The Ice (Fargo, The Thing). There are a lot more available through their website, most via downloadable free PDF’s.
Setting up a game of Fiasco is dead simple, each player has 4 6-sided dice, two are white, two are black (color matters not so much as long as you can designate a color for ‘good’ and one for ‘bad’) you take all those dice and roll them all at once. Sorting out all of your 1’s 2’s etc from that initial role is where you build your ties to the other players, this is where the note cards/scratch paper comes in. You place a note card between yourself and every other person at the table, then you go around as each person picks things from a list of Relationships, Needs, Locations & Objects.
From these lists you build your connections to the other players, they can range from totally wacky to pretty status-quo movie tropes – either way it all plays out in an insanely fun manner. When it is your turn you can either decide to set up a scene by narrating to the other players what your character is doing or you may choose to resolve where the other players set up a scene for your character and you decide the outcome. Setting up a scene gives you near limitless boundaries including flash forwards and flashbacks.
Turn by turn and scene by scene when the final decisions come regarding what happens to a character, a single die is awarded to that player – black for something bad happening and white for something good. Sometimes it is the players choice whether something good or bad happens to their character (when resolving) and other times it is the rest of the players who decide the fate of your character (when you set up a scene).
Towards the middle of the game an event called “The Tilt” is introduced which basically serves as a giant plot twist or catastrophic event, it is basically the climax of the film that allows/governs all things from that point on to spiral from. A small intermission from the game is taken at this point and afterward you resume play to finalize your story.
At the end of the game you roll all of the dice you have acquired through the session with black and white cancelling one another out to determine your final score.
Example: you had 3 white dice and 4 black dice, you roll all of them simultaneously and add the totals up of each color. Your black total is 6 and your white total 5, this leaves you with a result of “Black 1” and a table in the book is consulted to help you narrate your characters ending scenes.
So it is a strategy to attempt to try to acquire mostly dice of one color if you wish for your character to have some sort of prosperous (even if malevolent) ending to your story. This makes for great situations and stories as everyone goes around the table placing a single die in the center of the table declaring “This is my character doing…” as they narrate the results of their final results.
For our session we decided to go with Logan Bonner’s “The Dragon Slayers” playset due to Micah and I’s inexperience with games like this we figured a bit of familiarity would ease the narrative wheels in our brains.
To make a long story short, our game consisted of shapeshifters posing as mindflayers who brainwashed an entire town through eating ‘mind control corn’, an old man haplessley getting his head smashed like one of Ghallager’s watermelons, demons destroying the entire city and one of our characters dying and becoming a sentient warhammer of demon smiting. All in the course of 2 hours we told one of the most fun, crazy stories I’d heard in a long time.
Now it’s your turn. In the comments below ask us a question about the game, tell us a story about a time you played the game or a great memory you have with Fiasco or suggest a movie or movie theme you’d like to see turned into a playset for the game. Doing that will put you in the running for winning a Fiasco Prize Pack from Bully Pulpit Games consisting of whichever of the 2 books you choose (either Fiasco or the Fiasco Companion), the PDF and some exclusive extras!
Feel free to comment multiple times however it is only one entry per person. Winner will be determined at random at midnight August 30th. Good luck!