After trying for almost a week to find a time when we could get together online to play something, Tuesday night we finally managed to do it. Four of us jumped on Skype and ended up playing a short game of Fiasco: a roleplaying game of powerful ambitions and poor impulse control (aka The Coen Brothers RPG, as it has been described sometimes). The game has received some stellar reviews and great word-of-mouth recommendations, so it’s one I’ve been wanting to try out. That it can play out entirely in a couple of hours also made it very attractive to our rag-tag band of busy online gamers. At some point during the last year I learned of a Fiasco playset (think of it as a setting sketch) called Gen Con: The Worst Four Days in Gaming, and that’s the one I proposed we play.
We did . It was awesome. It went a bit slow, since of the four players, two of us had not played Fiasco (Rob and myself) and two had (Rich and JJ). We decided to roll our own characters and connections instead of using the suggested ones provided in the playset. The almost-45-minutes we spent doing this felt like its own little game-within-a-game and we laughed as much as we did once we actually started playing. We played two rounds of scenes. Each player, on their turn, gets to either frame the scene and let the other players choose the outcome, or lets the other players set the scene and he chooses the outcome. We had a good mix of the two options, which created some funny moments. Whoever chooses an outcome for the scene, picks either a white die (things turn out well) or a black die (things turn out poorly) from a dice pool rolled at the start of play. When we finished, there was only one white die on the table, the rest having been chosen to be poor resolutions to the scenes in question, all simply because poor resolutions make for funny moments and problems for the characters. And really, that’s what this is all about, making the characters’ lives hell for our amusement.
The Gen Con playset turns out some bizarre situations that oddly enough feel like they’d be right at home in the real Gen Con! I think it captures the weirdness of Gen Con well, while adding the slapstick crime element to the mix in a perfect fashion. Seriously, you’ve probably never thought of Gen Con this way, but it isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibilities that some of the stories that can emerge from this playset could really happen during the best four days in gaming. I’m not sure if that makes me feel better or worse, to be honest.
I could write a recap of the events that transpired but that’d be like telling you about my character and our adventure: it’s only interesting if you were there. I can, however, offer you a glimpse of the madness that went on.
So this is how things looked when we had finished the process of character and situation creation for the Fiasco Gen Con game.
Uncle Reggie (JJ) and his niece Joleen, the booth babe (Rich) run the biggest hentai booth at the Gen Con Dealer’s Hall. Lance Crossfire, redneck hunky writer and Settlers of Catan addict (Rob) and Natasha Dragamoff, Latino/Russian valley girl bitch queen screenwriter (Me) are a couple that’s now separated and the one thing they have that ties them together is the one existing copy of a screenplay handwritten by the two of them. Lance wants to con Uncle Reggie into buying the screenplay (unbeknown to Natasha) cause it’s gonna be a blockbuster. To gather the money, Reggie gets Joleen to steal suitcases from the Gen Con attendees so they can sell all the crap they find. But Joleen and Natasha decide to buy the screenplay from under Uncle Reggie because Natasha already once wrote a screenplay about zombie aliens invading Earth so she can totally rework this one and turn it into a blockbuster. How are they gonna get the money without Uncle Reggie finding out? They’re gonna sell 100 pairs of panties (which they have worn) to the nerds at Gen Con.
Within the couple scenes we got to play, we had the “sell crap screenplay to the dupe” set up played out, the plan to double-cross Uncle Reggie hatched out, an ex-lovers’ quarrel on the escalators at the Embassy Suites, luggage containing one of the Settlers of Catan 10th Anniversary 3-D Special Edition Treasure Chest Set, an angry hentai collector break a DVD and promise to bust some heads if his special edition ultra-rare imported fan-subbed hentai bluray was not delivered as promised, and a couple of pairs of used panties sold for a nice profit.
I wish we’d had time to see where this was going, because we were all curious and having lots of fun. Fiasco gets a thumbs up from me, and it’s definitely a game I’d like to get and play again in the future.