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Fiasco: American Disasters $5.00
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
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by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/21/2012 07:42:39

One of the issues with Fiasco, particularly if you've been raised on more traditional role-playing, is that by its very nature, a game is a one-shot. If that has been holding you back, this might be worth a look... because it starts by providing a mechanism whereby a single session can be expanded into something longer. Called the 'Trainwreck' it gives suggestions for either linking several Playsets using common characters and feeding off events to provide up to three play sessions or - and this is where it really gets interesting - using the game's natural momentum and untied loose ends to agree not to finish the story at the end of the session but to get together again and carry on!

As well as providing the core idea, there are a lot of concrete suggestions as to how to make a multi-session game happen, from making the actual decision to the mechanics of making it work: what you need to keep and carry over and how to go about it all. If this idea appeals, you are now equipped with the tools required to ensure that the process flows smoothly and the feeling of continuity is maintained.

To get you started, the three Playsets that make up the rest of this product could well be linked into Trainwreck mode and you are shown how: what you ought to carry over from each session to the next. They'll work equally well as conventional one-shot games of course, and one of the keys is not to force a Trainwreck but to be open to the possibility and know what to do if it seems appropriate. There are also suggestions as to other Playsets which might lend themselves to the process.

But there's more. Stringing Playsets together into trilogies is but one way of having yourself a Trainwreck. Your common thread can be a theme rather than specific elements and characters, a style of play named the docudrama. This works well with historical Playsets, tracing something across history - one suggestion given is to follow a set of letters with some explosive content as they cause fiasco after fiasco. Again, there are several suggestions as to suitable extant Playsets that you could use in constructing such a game.

Yet another Trainwreck methodology is the anthology, where the individual sessions are closely-linked as overlapping stories sharing a common element and/or characters, events in each session linking to those in other sessions as well as their own, with the final explosive session bringing everything to a head and drawing a multiplicity of strands together.

Or you can use the same Playset repeatedly to create something akin to a TV series that tells story after story involving the same people, locations and themes. This part of the product rounds off with some generic hints and tips for successful Trainwrecks and a listing of movies that could prove inspirational.

The rest of the work consists of three Playsets, which may be played as conventional individual sessions or used as described above to test out the Trainwreck mode of play. The first, Business Casual, is about the potential for chaos inherent in management decisions, using a logistics company's rollout of 'consumer-centric' operating practices as its medium. It has 'fiasco' written all over it, never mind that being the name of the game!

Next comes Rainbow Mountain, which deals with the tensions that can arise in a commune. And finally, we have Poppleton Mall. Here the mayhem of a large shopping mall in the last few frantic days before Christmas is laid bare (and having just, on the Friday before the holidays, seen my dearly beloved stagger back from the local supermarket, I don't think I want to go there....).

Plenty to enjoy here!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Fiasco: American Disasters
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