RPG Review: Fiasco

Fiasco_coverRecently, my RPG group and I had some players from our regular game unable to make it. So, in true geek fashion, instead of cancelling, we decided to whip out a game we’d never played and give it a whirl.

I’d had FIASCO for some time, and had never really read it beyond the cursory first glance of a new game. Well, it was time. We busted out the rulebook, printed the cheatsheet, grabbed some index cards and dice, and  looked over the playset list. 

Let me back up. So every session of Fiasco takes place in a different setting, as identified by the “playset”. The playset helps you determine the starting relationships with your characters, the items, places, and desires that drive their actions and motivations, and it provides a framework for you to start telling that story.

We selected “The Last Frontier” playset, a story set in Alaska. The relationships we rolled were Smuggler/Fence, lovers, co-workers, and competitors. Lots of cool objects. The character relationships were wonderfully easy to play and were obvious and great to tie together. We established a story around lovers, drugs, a boat, and a woodland logging camp in Alaska.

Fiasco uses an unique and interesting “scene” driver mechanic. Each player has two scenes per act. They can choose either to establish the scene they are in, but other players get to determine how it ends, or they can determine how it ends, and the other players get to set the scene. Both turn out to be a ton of fun.

After all players have their first two scenes, you go to the Tilt table. The Tilt table uses the dice earned from your first two scenes to determine how horribly things go sideways.

Act Two is used to resolve the Tilts and show how everything goes so horribly wrong for you and your “friends.”

This game, was a ton of fun. I’m hauling it and several playsets to GenCon with me because I am gonna make people play it with me. I can’t imagine the last time I had this much fun telling a story with my friends.