Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12 Games of X-Mas 7: "Seven Plans a Failing"

Sometimes a role playing game blurs the line with other game types.  While yesterdays game was almost a game of card with a role play twist today's game, Fiasco, is a game of role playing that feels more like a party than a quest.  For those who haven;t already hear of this gem Fiasco puts a group of friends in the roles of lead characters in an ensemble story usually revolving around backstabbing and selfish motives.  Sometimes this is a heist that goes wrong others it could be simple small town drama, either way plans will fail and no one ever expects how it will end.

The Good:
  • It's a Party!
    • Most of us are used to the idea of a party of adventurers, but it's a rare thing that a game makes you feel like you're having a party with your friend while happening to be playing a game at the same time.  Between the cooperative spirit of the story telling mixed with the selfish nature of everyone's characters and the fact that no one person is in charge Fiasco feels much more relaxed and casual especially for those of us used being delegated behind the GM's screen for most games.
  • Roleplaying Made Easy
    • This is actually my go to game to help players that might be having trouble getting used to the idea of actually role playing out their characters.  Since there are no character sheets or heavy rules to memorize players are left with nothing but the motives and personality of their character to lean on.  Luckily given the relaxed nature of the game it both forces players to have to role play without making anyone feel too pressured to do it well.  If it weren't for Fiasco I'm pretty sure my regular group would still play most of our games as wander murder hobos characterized by blocks of stats.
  • Some Many Movies So Little Time
    • The main book for Fiasco comes with three distinctly different scenarios all feel like they could easily be Coen brothers films in the making, but it doesn't stop there.  With some minimal searching online there as dozens of great set ups for free out on the internet.  None of the rules change from set to set (with the exception of a few slasher based games where players die off), but each new scenario feels both the same and new like popping in a different DVD for movie night. 
The Bad:
  • All or Nothing
    • While I do love the fact that it helps teach new gamers how to be comfortable role playing there is the problem of it you have a particularly stubborn players.  With all game play hinging on people at least trying to role play all it takes is a single player unwilling to try for all the pieces to fall and turn the night into a drudgery of eye rolls and frustrated friends.  I know any game can fall apart due to a single bad player, but in a game like Fiasco there aren't really many ways to work around that person and let everyone else have fun.  Either we all make it or no one does.
  • Same Old Same Old
    • Here's a problem you won't run into unless you happen to play a lot and I mean A LOT of Fiasco.  The entire game is based off of feeling like movies we are familiar with playing into tropes and cliches.  The problem is because of that after a few runs of it the patterns to how the story's fall together become fairly predictable and repetitive.  In reality this can take quite a while especially if you use some of the additional themes available out there, but the fact is eventually this game's going to become stale and need to sit on your shelf for a while to freshen up again.
Final Thoughts:
Honestly it was like pulling teeth to find things I dislike about Fiasco.  It's a simple and sweet game that is perfect to both easy or down right trick friends into roleplaying.  I've been able to have entire parties talked into playing under the guise of it just being another party game.  I won't pretend it scratches that gaming itch most of us have, but some times we can step away from our adventuring and still have some fun.

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