Fiasco play session

Yesterday at 5pm CET we played a short version of FIASCO a role-play game inspired by movies like Fargo and the Snatch.

In Fiasco you play as normal people that decide to do a heist/robbery or a scam but then everything goes terribly bad and usually a lot of people die or worse…

We did a 1.15 hour long session while usually the game takes up to 4 hours, in order to shorten the experience we went for some of the instant setup that are provided (the setup part in itself can take up to 1 hour) and we were able to be up and running in 20 minutes (with rules explanation and setup).

The core mechanic of the game is improv scenes with two or more players.

When it’s your turn you can decide to “establish a scene” or “resolve a scene”.

If you “establish a scene” you’re basically deciding where is the scene, who is in it, what is the goal for your character etc, when you’re performing in on the other players to decide if the scene ends well for you character or not and they communicate that giving you a dice of one color.

If, in your turn, you decide to “resolve a scene”, you decide if the output is positive or negative and pick the correspondent dice, while the other players decide all the aspect of the scene you have to perform.

We were able to play only one round of the first act, simulate the Tilt, which is the central moment when everything goes bad, and we did the Aftermath a montage of small scenes that describe how the different characters ends.

We decided to place our story in Palermo, I was one naif entrepreneur called Mario that wanted to bring Glamping (glamorous camping) to the city, @nadia played Benedetta, Mario ex-wife, the municipality urban planner, responsible for zoning, while @ivan played Vito the highest in rank in the municipality after the mayor, responsible for the money, also Mario’s brother.

The session was really fun and really interesting for multiple reasons, please Nadia and Ivan add if I forget something.

We really appreciated the scene setting, it was quick, and with a lot of freedom for us to make it our own. Nadia said it well, “there was a kind of place that was proposed, but then was on us to situate it”

We really appreciated also that there was no need to internalize a lot of instructions or informations, the rules were very basic, only one action establish or resolve, which is also not that important at the end, so the focus is 100% on storytelling and world-building.

The character creation was also very smart, the prompt are not the classical of an RPG, like pick a family, pick a name, pick a job, but instead it’s all external: pick the relationship you have with this other character, pick a need that someone has, pick some objects or locations. This allowed us to fill in (or in LARP design jargon, bleed in) very easily and to create someone that was immediately very close to us and natural.

For example, the name was the last thing that was requested for us to choose, when we were already very familiar with the character.

The result is some sort of a simulation of a writer’s room, or storyboarding, that helps to create little memorable moments because is very cinematographic (a language that everyone is familiar with).

Another quote from yesterday post-session is “I liked the Palermo we created, and I would like to explore it as a different character” this is particularly interesting for the world of Witness and again is talking about a relationship with the place that was intimate and not cerebral.

We appreciated the length (1hour) for an online session, while we were all confident that in a live session, with drinks, snacks etc, it will be easy to duplicate the time.

Of course since it was so fast we just scratched the surface of the place and the characters, but I think it make sense to think about an online version that is a “short movie”, while in live context or workshop you have a “feature movie”.

One last thing is that the session was smooth, I think, also because we knew each other a little (I never met Ivan before but we exchanged messages and comments on the platform), so this could be something that has to be considered in the design.

Next week (Jan 26th) we will play two games from a “nano-games anthology” called #feminism, as usual register here if you want to attend, we aim for a 60 minutes session starting at 5pm CET.


Hi Matteo, your summary is perfect.

I am really looking forward to see the next one, but on that regard - would it be possible to postpone it by one hour and make it start at 6pm CET?
We have an internal biweekly at 5.

1 Like

It’s ok for me, @nadia ?

1 Like