Saturday, November 10, 2012
Fiasco: Breaking Not-So-Bad
Chere - Lolita McNasty
Cliff - Bubba Junior
Greg - Shasta McNasty
Matt - Scud
Star - Des
Ted - Gerald McTinkerton
Our Traveller campaign is on (probably permanent) hiatus, so we've been trying a lot of different one-shots. Today we played Fiasco, a fun storytelling game full of twists and turns.
The game started with us rolling a bunch of dice and matching them to various types of relationships, so we could find out how our characters were connected to each other. Result: Lolita was the mother of Shasta, who was the manipulative friend of Scud, who dealt drugs with Bubba Jr, who sold drugs to Des, who was the parole officer for Gerald, who was sleeping with Lolita. Then we used the rest of the dice to assign other plot elements: objects, locations, and needs.
Then we went around the table, each player setting up a scene for specific characters to act out. After each scene a player with awarded with a white or dark die, based on how well things went for their character. The Plot (severely abridged): Scud and Bubba Jr were meth dealers. Scud lost his meth recipe, which was taken by Shasta, then found by Lolita, who gave it to Gerald. Scud confronted Shasta, who mistook the conversation to be about a cookie recipe, leading to a comedy-of-errors. Meanwhile Des was investigated by internal affairs for buying meth, leading to her arrest. Scud tried to blow up Lolita's trailer with a pipe bomb, but was confronted by Gerald, who offered to return Scud's recipe in exchange for 50% of his future profits.
At halftime, we rolled more dice and assigned them to the "Tilt Table" - some more plot details designed to take the story into new directions. As a result of the Tilt, when Gerald tried to return the recipe, he found that it had been stolen yet again. Unable to complete the deal, he drove off, leaving a very angry Scud. Meanwhile, it turned out Des and Lolita were in cahoots, and some of the story's plot twists were part of their insurance scam. Shasta and Gerald fought over the meth/cookie recipe, leading to the both getting caught in the pipe bomb explosion. Bubba Jr and Scud were arrested, but Jr managed to plead insanity.
At the end of the game, we used the dice we'd collected to determine how happy our individual endings were. Shasta and Gerald wound up alive but with severe injuries. Des and Lolita left town and retired on their stolen money, while Bubba Jr became an evangelist. Scud eventually got out of prison and spent the rest of his life trying to make meth out of cookie dough.
I have a love/hate relationship with improv. I really like watching it, but I truly, truly suck at it. Still, Fiasco does a good job of making it easier. It's more structured than the skits you see on Whose Line, so by the time you actually have to act, you should have at least some idea about what your character needs to do in this scene. I still didn't do very well, but who cares? I laughed harder than I had in a long time. The game took a lot of energy, and I even took a nap when I got home. I could never play this on a regular basis, but it is an absolute blast as a party game. Highly recommended.