So, last night my friend brought round a roleplaying game called Fiasco.

I was quite apprehensive about playing because the whole game is based on improvisation, which was a daunting thought! There is no DM guiding the plot, just a group of friends rolling dice and setting each scene of the story.

Reading through the instructions barely aids comprehension of the rules, but luckily my friend had played it before and just suggested we got started so we could see the rules in action. It was a good way of doing it – we got the hang of things almost immediately.

Once character relationships, locations, objects, etc are set, you are free to drive the story wherever you want by taking it in turns to pick a scene. For example, in one scene I decided I wanted to know about the first time my two friends’ characters had met. Then, players just act/talk out the scene and the story builds very quickly from there. You can also dictate whether the scene has a good or bad outcome – a bad outcome was my friend’s character dying, whereas another scene had a good outcome when two old friends reconnected. 

To set the scene initially, my character Jack met with May in a park late at night. As my friend and I were new to the game, our meeting was vague as we were exploring the roleplay dynamic. We made some general comments about a situation that was unresolved, that I wouldn’t like what had happened, and I was handed a paper crane as an offering, which held great significance to me. The rest of the game was about finding out what the heck all of that meant. We flashed back to the past, realised that we were all one way or another wrapped up in the same crime, and that things had got way out of hand since then. Drugs had been stolen. A man had been killed.

(Cynthia is meeting with a man she knows wants to kill her at the swimming pool his son was murdered in)
Cynthia: I guess we’ll see this through. Come hell or high water.
Man: (Gestures to the pool) Well, we’ve got the water
Cynthia: And I’ll be sure to bring the hell (pulls out gun)

The hardest part was finding a way that “100 feral cats” (our object in the game) could come into play. Giggling over how we could have 100 feral cats feature quite literally, it ended up being a type of drug – a creative solution!

I’ve felt recently that I don’t have the energy for long RPG campaigns, but Fiasco was a really light roleplay experience that was surprisingly relaxed and fun.  It is a great stepping stone for those wanting to explore more complex roleplay games, without having to commit to multiple meet-ups – the whole thing is over within hours, and if the session was a good one, you’ll be asking when you can next meet up for a game of Fiasco anyway.

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