This is a post about this past game of Fiasco including most of my thoughts of musings around the game. This, in my opinion, was the best game of Fiasco I've ever played.
Corinne (Facilitator), Eric, Justin, Nick
One of the OG fiasco playsets, we'll be playing a fiery emotions in the frigid antarctic research station: McMurdo Station.
Corinne generously volunteered to facilitate Fiasco tonight at Story Games Seattle and having not played some Fiasco in quite some time, I had no experience with McMurdo Station before, but I did know it was a playset, seeing it or hearing it brought up in other pitches.
We started settling into the setup phase of Fiasco to give us the tenor of our game. It looks like it'll be about rival researchers and the nefarious support staff who live year-round at McMurdo.
Characters and musings
Since my character was shaping up to be a misanthropic researcher stuck in Antarctica with a barrel of urine, my research nemesis (TENENBAUM!), and the secret that drove us apart years ago. In my head, at this point, I'm picturing a very Woody Allen, sheepish, guilt-ridden has-been scientist who's life is on the ropes. I'm thinking a little bit about Steve Zissou from Life Aquatic, Robin Williams' professor character from Good Will Hunting, and Woody Allen from any Woody Allen movie... actually a lot of Woody Allen.
Nick, bless his soul, was ALL about playing TENENBAUM! Or more appropriately, some absurdly long premier name like Sir Doctor Archibald Richardson Tenenbaum or something snobbish. But more on our antics later.
Justin and Corinne were going to be playing our hoodlum support staff. Justin's character Isodor, ex-roughnecker turned McMurdo quartermaster and Corrine's Jess, the whiskey drinking carpenter/bartender turned out to be a fantastic duo to rally together against the hate for the useless scientists who get stuck here with them.
What made the game so fucking great was how much we listened to each other and how much we incorporated details into each other's stories.
I was pushing for very short scenes, myself. I didn't see my character as a big deal. He was gonna be the punching bag for everyone else's big personalities. I would make some random musings and mumblings about characters in a very Woody Allen way, at one point remarking to the no-nonsense Isodor how he has the same name as the third elf Prince in Tolkein's Middle Earth. Furthermore I would do more solo scenes like walking around with a tape recorder and say my thoughts about the crew to myself on my strolls. Once again-- I was pulling from the fiction of the genre and references-- a lot of monologues and walking around, observations, etc.
Through play we got established that we're doing some NASA mars research about algae, we need a sensory-deprivation tank, I write tolkien fan-fiction, Tanenbaum LOVES the movie The Core, and Jess/Isodor are gonna get revenge on the scientists!
When the two decided revenge was gonna come, I busted out laughing, looked at Tanenbaum (Nick) and just said "I'm so sorry dude... I'm so sorry." knowing that this revenge meant he was gonna go in that Sensory Deprivation tank and that tank was gonna be full of that barrel of piss. Now, I never said that was going to happen. I literally wrote it down and hid it to the side.
Ten minutes later, Justin, playing that beautiful Bruce Willis-esque Isodor, had an idea to get back at Tanenbaum drawing a picture of the tank and a yellow highlighter. I proceeded to bust out laughing and produce my note!
After The Tilt
Tanenbaum tests the tank and in addition to the piss, Isodor has messed with the air composition! Now Jess was supposed to supervise Tanenbaum, but she didn't really care about him. Tanenbaum then starts having visions apparently-- Visions of the fantasy stuff I was writing and now Isodor shows up AS THE ELF PRINCE BUT TALKING LIKE ISODOR to Tanenbaum and at this point we all start losing our shit about how good this game is. But do we stop? No! We keep going with this as we see my Doctor's wife in the scene and how they were in love (AHA I KNEW HE STILL LOVED HER) but things go bad. His trip is turning bad! It becomes surreal, he gets captured by the orcs, my dead wife is holding Isodor's severed head laughing as she betrays him! At this point I push the suggestion that Tanenbaum dies from this prank.
Now, naturally, when it's my turn again I make it even better giving Isodor and Jess an out saying I've lost my voice recorder! All my personal notes (and rantings about how much I hated Tanenbaum!) That won't be incriminating at all--- nope!
Well towards the end of the game we have a legal proceeding reviewing the tape recorder and that's probably the best scene in my Fiasco playing history as Nick has decided Tanenbaum has gone through my entire tape recording and added his own comments to my comments!
*bzzzttt Rewind bzztt*
T: "Oh man look at this loser with a voice recorder! How do you even use this thing? Man I listened to this WHOLE ENTIRE TAPE AND MAN WAS IT BORING. LIKE 10% OF IT WAS ACTUAL SCIENCE AND THE REST WAS JUST HIS RAMBLINGS CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?"
After Nick did an entire scene from a recorded note, someone else decided to devote basically a whole scene to exploring that and it was SO GOOD:
*bzzzttt Rewind bzztt*
Me: "I hate Tanenbaum I always hated him, sometimes I wonder what the best way to kill him would be... what would I do? I'll never forgive him over my first wife! I know he was responsible! He never let it go since we were roommates in college."
T: "Oh oh okay so one time in college I replaced all his clothes with womens clothes the night before his mother was gonna visit...."
*bzzzttt Rewind bzztt*
Me: "I hate Tanenbaum I remember this time in college, he thought it'd be funny to replace all my clothes with womens clothes..."
And it was just this back and forth bantering filling in the details of each other's stories. Huge props to Nick to improvising with me here. It was so freaking good!
Our epilogues were good too. Ultimately I was arrested and put on trial until Isodor killed himself in the deprivation tank and left a suicide note admitting to it, largely recorded in over Tanenbaum's copy of The Core.
10/10 game tonight. Obviously it was the player group that really made the game shine tonight, but it isn't like there is any other game that could have supported this style of story we made this evening.
Don't be afraid to push yourself in Fiasco to get what you need. What I mean by that is, be the change you wanna see in the world. Set up the perfect scene-- even dictate it or solo it if you want. Nothing wrong with that! Go there. Go where you want to go when it's your turn.
Thanks for reading and thank you Story Games Seattle for delivering another quality game night. We all left that table with our faces hurting from smiling and laughing too much.