Sep 3, 2018
Now that we've recovered from our Fiasco, let's take a step back and talk about the system.
Absolutely everything about your characters and the setting is rolled at the table with no preparation, the plot unfolds itself as you go along, and there's no game master to keep you on track, so Fiasco is bound to be a chaotic experience. If you don't mind relinquishing control to the whims of fate and improvisation, you may find that's a good thing.
Most of us enjoyed the character and relationship creation system; it's hugely open-ended and lets you interpret the labels you roll as broadly as you want. However, the tyranny of choice can set in once it's actually time to play, since now you're left to craft a fully realized character based off only a few words.
The fact that you're all just hitting the ground running means that you may not have a satisfying coherent narrative structure, but the point isn't to create the next great American novel, it's to have fun.
Even though Fiasco was designed with heist films in mind, there are hundreds of official and fan-made playbooks for you to explore whatever genre strikes your fancy, from rom-coms to slasher flicks.
We generally liked that the game is broken up into scenes where each character gets their chance in the spotlight. Resolving versus establishing could sometimes be frustrating. For example, maybe you're not a big fan of the premise that was established for you, or something that happened in the scene before yours totally ruined the idea you had. However, within the world you've created the scenes can be whatever you want, even flashbacks, which is an opportunity we enjoyed.
The act and scene system efficiently shepherds the narrative along, especially the inter-act Tilt mechanic which advances the plot by giving the players additional goals to accomplish by the end of play. Some people weren't big fans of the fact that the game has a hard stop of when the game has to end (running out of scene dice), but others appreciated that the game is going to go where it goes and sometimes you have to shrug and make the best of what you have. The ending mechanic of adding up your white dice and black dice was interesting, but it can sometimes add to a sudden swerve ending that you don't think your character deserved, for better or for worse.
Most of us enjoyed the game but emphasized that they enjoyed the game but it's best for loosey-goosey party scenarios and maybe not for a serious tabletop session. If improvising a story from scratch is your idea of a good time, you're gonna like Fiasco. If you're not mentally and emotionally prepared to go in starting from scratch and thinking on your feet, you may be disappointed. You may end up with a more complex game if you play with folks you don't know because of that drive to impress each other and not goof off, but playing with friends will almost result in pushing each other's buttons. And that can be a ton of fun too.
If you're ready for your own capers, get both print and PDF copies of Fiasco at http://bullypulpitgames.com/games/fiasco/!