Perhaps you haven’t heard of “Fiasco.” If so, throw out what you think you may know about roleplaying games, and instead, absorb this simple description from it’s designer, Jason Morningstar: “You’ll play ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control. There will be big dreams and flawed execution. It won’t go well for them.” It’s commonly referred to as a “create your own Cohen brothers film” kit, but with some free supplements released this month, players will be creating horror movies in no time.
“Fiasco” sports a fairly simple rules set, and you don’t need any roleplaying experience to play. Heck, some would argue that less experience is better. To help players continue to tell new and interesting stories, publisher Bully Pulpit Games releases monthly playsets, compilations of setting and character relationships that push the envelope of the “Fiasco” system.
“Back to the Old House” is October’s playset release, and it’s geared for the Halloween season. Just as the title alludes to, the setting is a big creepy house that has played host to untold horrors in its past. So of course you’ve gone back. Armed with this location, objects contained inside, and the needs and relationships of travelers to the house, “Fiasco” players will be able to take their game in any number of horror movie-inspired directions.
“Living Dead” is a bonus October playset, and is actually an add-on, not a standalone playset itself. What this means it that “Living Dead” will give you the tools to re-theme any existing playset right into the middle of the zombie apocalypse. After all, in pop culture, zombies can show up in any place at any time. To work the zombies into “Fiasco,” “Living Dead” has players roll stunt dice against a Living Dead table that contains just about every zombie movie trope you can think of.
If this post was your introduction to “Fiasco” and you’d like to see the game in action, I highly recommend watching this episode of Wil Wheaton’s “TableTop” web show, where he is joined at the table by Bonnie Burton, Alison Haislip, and John Rogers to play the “Saturday Night ’78” playset.