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Fiasco
 
$12.00
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Fiasco
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Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Micah B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/28/2014 17:20:09
A small group party game, Fiasco is the most inviting rpg I think I have played. There are no character sheets and every game is a one shot. It's more a session of structured improv than an rpg in reality.

I have played the game twice. Each time with 4 players. It's fantastic. It's great as a double date activity for us nerdy folk.

The downside to the game is that it is difficult to explain the concept to someone which can make it difficult to convince them to play. That being said it's well worth it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Ken C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/16/2013 11:47:20
Fiasco is a hilarious, fun game to play with a bunch of friends. I've played 4 games so far with different groups and each of the play-sets brings even more replayability to an already varied game. This is enough of a 5/5 for me that I already owned this in paperback - I still bought the digital edition!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Ali E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/06/2013 16:26:37
This is a work of genius. Fast, furious, funny and easy to play. Buy this. You won't regret it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Stuart C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/10/2013 17:13:00
Very good, very good.
The "Replay" section helps clarify play greatly, and so you can find yourself completing your first Fiasco within an hour and a half of opening the book.
Great replayability, with plenty of fanmade playlists available online.
Well worth the money.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Jason A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/15/2013 12:25:01
Love it! The one thing that's missing from role playing games today is role playing. Fiasco delivers what I originally fell in love with when I started gaming.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Marc P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/03/2013 16:07:25
Maybe you've seen Wil Wheaton's Table Top episode, maybe not (if not you might want to check it out, it's fantastic). That's where I first encountered Fiasco, and I'm thankful to Wil for that. Fiasco is a GM-less Role-Playing Game, designed specifically to emulate the kinds of no holds barred disasters as seen in movies from the Cohen Brothers and countless others. Beyond that however, Fiasco presents a way for a small group of freinds to get a role- play experience in a short period of time (one and a half to two hours for three players, longer with more), with no need for a pre-planned session and no requirement for one player to act as GM.

Set up requires only a handful of dice in two colors and some paper and pencils (I find that index cards are really damn near perfect for this). Somebody throws a number of dice into the center of the table and using the dice players take turns slowly determining their relationship with the other players to their left and right (each player having two defined relationships), objects, needs, and locations that are relevant to the game. Tables for each are provided as part of a playset (there are a few in the book, and dozens more available for free online). Dice first establish the broad category of a relationship, object, location, or need, then further dice determine the specific detail. Example:

• Player 1 takes up a die showing 5 and decides that the first relationship is going to be one from the Family grouping.
• Later Player 2 grabs a die showing 1 and establishes that he and Player 1 are estranged siblings.

• Player 3 takes a die showing 6 and establishes that there is a Need "To Get Even..."
• Later on Player 1 takes a die showing 2 and further defines that Need as "To Get Even ... with the one who laughed at you.

The process continues around the table until every player has a relationship with the players to their left and right and there are at least one Need, Object, and Location (more than three players add more Needs, Objects, and Locations, in that order). Once all the dice have been used and/or everybody is satisfied with the setup play begins.

Play takes the form of scenes between two or more players and usually two of the main characters (though sometimes a player may need or want a scene with an NPC character played by somebody else for that scene). The player who's turn it is chooses to either Establish or Resolve. When they Establish the set the scene, stating where, with whom, and why, and then the players play it out. Once complete that other players decide if the scene worked out well for the player or not and assign a die to the player accordingly (if using black and white dice, white are "good" and black are "bad"). Play then continues with the next player.

When a player chooses to Resolve they take a die of the appropriate color and ask the group to Establish the scene for them, with the intended outcome of the scene to be good or bad for their character. Once the group sets the scene it is played out as usual. Regardless of the choice to Establish or Resolve each scene is played out, usually in just a few minutes, and each player gets a total of four scenes that revolve around their character over the course of the game.

After each player has had two turns (and thus two scenes with their character being central to the action) the first Act ends. The remaining dice are rolled and the two players with the highest total on black dice and white dice choose two Tilt aspects to complicate the second Act. Tilt is determined the same as setup with dice being take to determine the category and then the specifics. For instance:

• Mayhem → Misdirected Passion
• Innocence → The Wrong Guy Gets Busted
• Failure → A Stupid Plan, Executed to Perfection

These Tilt aspects will alter the course of events from the first half and inform the second as the players' character begin (or continue) the downward spiral from "Powerful Ambition" to "Poor Impulse Control", or, to put it another way, well laid plans become a complete clusterf&%k. Scenes played out during the second Act need to be more resolution focused so that the story begins to converge on an end, but apart from that play is generally the same as the first Act with the addition of the Tilt.

Once all the dice are gone and every player has played their parts the game moves to the Aftermath. During the Aftermath we find out just what happened to each character after the events of the story. Players roll their dice (those they got from scenes) and consult the aftermath table, which is generally grim, and often worse, to find out generally how their characters' fare. They then take turns playing a die and narrating a brief montage of scenes (usually just a few sentences) that bring their characters' to their ultimate fate.

That's the gist of play in a simplified manner. With three players I've taken part in half a dozen games and none of them were longer than two hours including setup (even the first game where I was teaching the game was only barely two hours). Things are fast and furious with a focus on an entertaining story that twists and turns (often twisting out of the control of the players). The numerous play set options available online mean that nearly any time period, setting, and genre are available from Superheroes to Suburban Housewives.

Closing Thoughts
With genuinely simple and quick mechanics to setup, and direct play and a strong focus on role-playing and improvisation, Fiasco is a perfect game to fill in after a short session of your weekly RPG, or to fill an entire evening with multiple plays. The book is excellently written, conveying the rules clearly and providing a bunch of great advice on what to look for during set up and play to ensure that your game becomes a true Fiasco. The wide variety of FREE play sets available online mean that there are near endless replay options.

Rating: 100% - Pretty much perfect. This game is everything a lite RPG should strive to be, and I find that the more I play the more I enjoy it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Joe S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/19/2012 05:35:43
Like many of the reviewers here, I would have to agree that Fiasco is not every gamer's cup of poisoned tea. However, it is not a niche game either, and it's appeal goes beyond the 'narrative only' gamers. Yes, it is a narrative game, much like Prime Time Adventures, Dungeon World and Rapture: The End of Days... but it also appeals to the competitive nature of most gamers. Messing up your friend's characters is just... well... it's just FUN. It's a good value product and perfect for those fill-in-the-gap gaming sessions.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Stuart M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/03/2012 08:30:57
If you love Prime time Adventures, you will also love Fiasco. I have never laughed so much playing an RPG.

Fiasco can be played in a couple of hours with zero prep making it a fantastic option if a player doesn't show up for a regular game or you are strapped for time. It is also a great option for introducing actors and other theatre folk to role playing as everything is framed in scenes and the game is built to feel like a movie.

There are playsets (kinda like settings) for everything from gangsters in London to American suburban tales.

If you have players that are still stuck in "old-school-loot-and-kill-my-character-is-really-me" mode then this game can really help them evolve to more of a collaborative story building style of play.

I believe Fiasco belongs in every role player's kit bag. It's that good.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Harry T. J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/05/2012 00:32:44
I played Fiasco for the first time tonight and I was very impressed. As someone who is not the biggest fan of some of the Gamist aspects of role playing games, it was nice to play a game that puts heavy emphasis on story and character, while leaving the Gamist notions on the back burner.

It was remarkable amounts of fun to play because it didn't require me, the usual GM, to create anything or expend energy building a world. I got to be a player, and had the chance to play on both sides of the screen at the same time. It was nice to be able to have the whole group build the story together, which puts everyone in the mood to do their best to make the game memorable.

Explaining the rules was a little bumpy at first, but once the first round was over, everything was flowing like clockwork. In my opinion, the game system becomes clearer when it is in action, so learning by doing and setting an example through play is the key to a successful first session.

I think that Fiasco isn't a perfect game for all people, but it is a good alternative for folks that want to have a cooperative, fun, and creative evening together.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/25/2011 11:24:18
I love Fiasco. It delivers exactly what it promises: a self-contained, no-prep session in which a comedy of errors and bad decisions results in a complete fiasco. Having played in nearly a dozen sessions to date, every single one has been enjoyable and all but one have been great. I also have introduced the game to over a dozen people to date and every single one of them has loved the game. That in and of itself should speak to the quality of the experiences Fiasco yields.

Fiasco is not going to be for everyone though. First off, it requires active, creative participation from everyone at the table. It's not meant to be a game written and run by a single person, but rather a collaborative storytelling experience. Thus, if you despise collaborative gaming experiences and want very traditional RPG mechanics, Fiasco is going to be a poor fit.

It also means that everyone at the table has to be on the same page about exactly where the story is going – table chatter (some would say meta-gaming) is allowed and needed to avoid someone completely derailing the developing story by negating past events or introducing completely random elements. I've had this happen in one session (the one that wasn't great) in which one of the players in the very first scene of the game destroyed the object that linked our characters and then introduce Cthulhu-inspired horror elements which left the whole table scrambling to follow his lead – while it didn't ruin the game, it did negate everything we had discussed at the table during the set-up and ultimately left us with a story that didn't have a lot of coherence in the end.

Lastly, Fiasco can easily venture in to areas that may make certain players uncomfortable and so it's important for people, especially those unfamiliar with each other, to discuss lines and veils before the start of any game. This also needs to be considered when looking at the location where you're playing since spectators may get the wrong impression if they only overhear snippets of in-character dialogue. While the game doesn't have to involve sexuality, addiction, criminal activity, or profanity, most of the playsets as well as the tone of the actual rulebook (which fits the genre perfectly) definitely lean towards mature themes.

Some examples from games I've played in might make this clear, although these are at the extreme and in most cases things don't go quite this crazy: I've played a Russian video store owner who made amateur porn movies in the back room of his shop and who was raped by a bear while trying to make a bestiality movie. In another game, two of the characters were twin sisters in a rock band – one of them proceeded to get her twin hooked on heroin and then appeared in a porn movie posing as her twin in an attempt to ruin her sister's reputation and career. In the game described in my earlier examples, I played an incredibly foul-mouthed, very dumb, racist morgue technician – anyone who had been eavesdropping on our game could easily have been offended considering how many times I dropped the F-bomb alone.

That last point also requires a bit of caution for anyone wanting to use Fiasco with younger audiences. If you've read my blog, you'll know that I've had great success and fun using the game with the after-school RPG program I run. However, nearly all of the playsets to date, including those in the rulebook itself, are not suitable to younger audiences given how often they make explicit references to sex, drugs, and violence. That said, nearly any of them can be easily adapted for younger audiences with a little effort - I'm working on several at the moment – and some of the soon to be released playsets in the Fiasco Companion are also designed to be a little “softer” (I have playtested the High School playset with a bunch of teens and it was a terrific story).

In the end, I can't say enough good things about Fiasco. It's such an amazing value for what you get and it is my go to game at any con or I find myself in need of a game on short notice (e.g., we're missing a couple players). Everyone I've introduced the game to also loves it and the kids I've played it with have all returned in the following week wanting to play again. I can't recommend Fiasco enough and would encourage anyone who likes collaborative storytelling games to give it a try.

Read the full review here: http://rpg.brouhaha.us/?p=4124

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by James D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2011 17:44:58
Fiasco is a very well-designed game for a cooperative story-telling experience that gives you the feel of a Coen Brothers movie or any of hundreds of other movies where people with powerful ambitions and poor impulse control hurtle through the story on train tracks greased to hell. Winning is having a blast helping these sorry characters try to fulfill their dreams and watching things go gonzo and fall apart spectacularly.

The game is simple in process (easily learned in one demo game of a couple hours). There is such great reception and fan support that fans have been writing "playsets" for the game like crazy. There are tons of them out there for free as the Bully Puplit Games guys fully encourage folks to make them and ask that they be given a chance to look them over and help make them better.

The best games occur when participants embrace the strongly "improv" style of the game. It is optimized for 4 characters, one of which can also be the "facilitator" to help newbies with the process, but are also full players. No GM required. It's the perfect pocket game when you want to fill a few hours at a con or try something different with your home crew.

If you can let go of the character sheet and enumerated powers and strengths, jump in and have a blast making a Fiasco!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Brian H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/30/2011 16:00:41
Fiasco is one of those games without a lot of overhead management. Each Playset is designed to be played for just a single session rather than a whole campaign, but there us an unlimited amount of replay value in each of them. The best part about the Playsets is that there are a lot of them to be had and they're (at the time of this writing, though I don't expect this to change) free.

Fiasco is a great game to get non-gamers into playing. All you really have to do is get them over the hurdle that dice are used (though I'm sure you could devise a way to go without them) and appeal to the part of their psyche that likes to see bad things happen comedically happen to characters.

Mechanically the game is set up randomly by rolling a pool of dice and using them to set up Relationships, Needs, Items, and Locations. You'll need an even number of d6's in two colors because that will come into play when you or the other players determine whether or not a scene will go well or poorly for you and just because you might be doing well overall your ending might not be so rosy. As long as you embrace the comic side of tragedy then you'll enjoy this game.

In a word, Fiasco is fun. It's not about heroics or high adventure, it really is about deeply flawed characters getting themselves into trouble for your entertainment.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Bob S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/29/2011 11:19:06
I really just can't say enough good things about Fiasco. As long as you've got a group of people willing to role play characters that may or may not end up being despicable people, or noble people who just get the shaft...you're going to have a good time. I guarantee it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by David R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/28/2011 12:06:10
I have to say I enjoyed this game very much. This is a very free form roleplaying game where the players make the game and story up as they go. The scenario's are very open ended and allow you a lot of room to improvise when creating the story. You characters are rewarded at the end of the game by being either really nice and decent or absolutely horrible. If you don't participate you are in real trouble. One of my players in our "Small Southern Town" game was eaten by the crazy cat ladies cats because he was contsantly trying to keep things low key during the game. While the Meth Addicted School teacher and Gambling Addict Real Estate king made off with most of the towns money and rode off into the sunset. This is a great game for people who enjoy roleplaying and storytelling. Dice rolling rule mongers may want to stay away from this one, if you need a lot of rules to make you feel comfortable this is not a game for you.
If you like the thrill of roleplaying and collective storytelling then this game is for you. Also Bully Pulpit gives away for free a ton of add in scenarios. This is a great game for the price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/15/2010 10:59:53
The underlying concept to this game seems simple: you set up a situation in which things will go wrong, disasterously so, and then play it out as a collaborative story-telling game, taking the part of the main protagonists. That's straightforward enough, but bolted on is a complex resolution mechanic that jolts you out of storytelling mode to administer - while giving structure to what could otherwise dissolve into chaos around the game-table (as opposed to in the situation you're playing, where you WANT chaos!) it detracts from the interactive no-holds-barred narrative flow of the game.

Designed for 3-5 players (no GM required) and to take about three hours to play out, even the design process is very structured. Called The Setup, you start by determining when and where the game will take place, and then insert relationships and details to engineer your situation. But it's not done by purely throwing out ideas until your mix feels explosive enough to begin, but through a system called a Playset. As a scenario-design system, it's quite a beautiful mix of creativity and randomisation. Each Playset comes with lists, you see, and once you have chosen a published one or made up your own, you roll a whole bunch of dice and take turns to choose items from the lists, each time using a die that's rolled the appropriate number. Key to the procsses is ensuring the involvement of each player's character, by creating a relationship between him and the characters of the player sitting to either side of you, even before everyone has decided precisely who their character is going to be. The concept is sound, but it can be a bit pedantic in detail, mechanical in its requirements which are stated quite precisely. Care has also to be taken that you don't actually start to play the game until you have everything laid out.

But once you have, it is time to start. Whilst this is collaborative story-telling, it follows a prescribed patter than is very precise - and, being a GM-less system, everyone playing has to buy in to the artificial constraints or it will get away from you. Each player takes a turn when his character is in the spotlight, in which he gets to either set the situation or decide the outcome for his character - he cannot do both. Everyone else contributes to the part of the turn that he does not choose. The outcome can either be good or bad from the character, just what that means is decided by the player. The act of decision is handled by dice - but not by rolling, just by picking one of two colours, preselected to mean good or bad. In the first half of the game, the player gives the die to someone else.

Dice are important, and potentially intrusive, in this game. As well as being used in the Setup, you place four dice (two each being 'good' and 'bad') per player in the centre of the table once you start to play. (Unlike some story games, you really do need to be round a table to play this one!) As described above, one is handed to the spotlight player to resolve his scene; and once done is given to someone else in the first half of the game and kept for the second half.

For this is a game of two halves. Once each player has had a couple of turns in the spotlight, you stop for the Tilt. This time, dice get rolled and the mathematics can get a bit complex - this game might be best played sober. Each player rolls whatever dice he has in front of him, which may be ones he retained during his turns and ones given him by other players during his turn, and of either colour. The two people who get the highest results with dice of each colour, calculated via a formula, choose the Tilt elements - things which are disruptive, which will send what is already an unstable situation headlong into... well, fiasco.

It's recommended that you take a break at this point. Things have probably got quite intense, and you might want a chance to think about what you intend for the rest of the game... and you'll want to be making sure that everyone is having fun (even if their characters are not!). Then, on with the second half of the game, played pretty much like the first part only this time you keep all dice handed to you during your turns and the game ends when all the dice in the middle of the table have gone. The last die is 'wild' in that it can be good or bad for the final spotlight character irrespective of what colour it actually happens to be, the players decide. But then it reverts to what it is to determine the overall flavour of the endgame, the Aftermath.

To begin the Aftermath, roll all the dice in front of you and perform a calculation - just like the Tilt at the halfway point. Then you consult a table to find out how the game ended for your character, and the whole group tells their tale. It is supposed to be a quick montage, rather than the more involved and interactive bits that came earlier, with players making one observation per die that they have about what has happened to their character.

That's about it as far as the rules for playing the game are concerned. Generic tables for Tilt and Aftermath are given (you can have Playset-specific ones but it's not necessary to derive them unless you think it will work better) and there are a few optional rule tweaks you might want to try out. The rest of the book consists of sample Playsets (a nice southern town, the wild west, a suburban community and in an ice-locked research station) and an extensive example of the game in play.

Overall, it's an intriguing mix of free-form storytelling within some tight constraints that keep it focussed. Working better once all involved are familiar with the mechanics, they can still sometimes intrude to a level where they threaten the willing suspension of disbelief, pull you back out of the story into the real world of a group of people around a table. If you enjoy intense character-driven games, but don't want a long-term relationship with your character, and have a group willing to collaborate within a formal structure, this has great scope for some epic evenings.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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