|A former member||
Ryan, Finland Alex, Minnesota Alex and I played Fiasco with the Boomtown playset on Thursday night. Rather exciting as it was the first time for any of them to attend a story game night, and only Ryan had browsed the rules before while Fiasco was completely new to both Alexs(es?).
In the Old West, in some boomtown now forgotten, two men sought to overcome their histories. One was Lucas Joseph (Finland Alex), without work for the six months since he had left prison as no man in the town would hire a convict. The situation was only more desperate as the Joseph family estate, held by his brother John (Ryan), the town lawyer, would soon be foreclosed upon if Lucas couldn't find the work to help pay off the family's debts. The other was Matthew Born (Chris), a fellow convict desperate to rid himself of all sin and temptation, sought the aid of Father McClaine, the town faith healer.
With the aid of his brother, Lucas first approached the town judge, but the judge was dismissive as Lucas had gone to prison for rustling his brother-in-laws horses. Lucas tried again with the judge, this time offering a 3-dollar all-night brothel ticket as some inducement but was thrown out even faster as the judge was insulted by the paltry bribe.
Matthew, empowered by the prayers and baptisms of Father McClaine, was feeling the sin leave him but needed a little extra push to assure he was entirely cleansed. He asked for permission from the father to try the herbal remedies and acupuncture offered by the Chinese and was offered it on the condition that the father could bless it to assure their potency. When Matthew returned with the Chinese potion, Father McClaine laced it with a lethal amount of opium that he could set the law on the Chinese for selling tainted and fatal medicines and eliminate a race he hated and his local competition for alternative healing.
Still tempted by drink, Matthew soon found himself in a saloon. Prepared to drink the laced potion, he was only stopped by a boisterous and blasted bank agent who had just come back from examining the land he would soon gain from John Joseph and who took the potion for himself. Matthew fled the saloon without drinking, and the agent staggered outside where Lucas Joseph was attempting to convince the sheriff to support him. Distracted by the passed-out agent, the sheriff brushed off Lucas. John, tipped off by Father McClaine, discovered the bank agent dead.
At the funeral days later Father McClaine took the opportunity to agitate the town against the Chinese and convert them by the sword. Matthew took the father's advice and prepared for war, sharpening his one knife and borrowing Lucas' rifle. Mr. Wu fired on Matthew as he walked on down the street, though, and Matthew fled. Hearing the gun shots, Father McClaine beat his shotgun against the church bell to rally the townsfolk against the Chinese. They found Matthew hiding and all gave chase to the Chinese as they ran from the mob.
The aftermath was only brutal and bitter when it wasn't the worth thing possible.
After running up a river bank, the Chinese turned on their pursuers. With the advantage of the high ground they shot Matthew in the knee, and he was trampled by the townsfolk rushing ahead of him. Father McClaine was paralyzed by a bullet to the neck. The rest of the band fled. Before Father McClaine could be brought to trial, the Chinese took him from his cell and tortured him, leaving his broken body in the street as a warning to any others who would cross them. Matthew lived but in excruciating pain that was only broken when the Chinese deigned to offer him their medicine. The Joseph brothers were brought to trial, Lucas for attacking the sheriff was drunk and John for his part in poisoning the bank agent, for which he hanged.
I don't remember the last game of Fiasco I played that had so many recurring characters. There were Judge Turpin, the sheriff, Mr. Wu, the bank agent Mr. Gates, the prostitute Jenny Jennings and the barkeep. It wasn't uncommon for at least three players to be taking part in every scene. I liked that a lot as it kept everyone more actively involved than they might have in four-player game which would otherwise have more downtime.
This was my first game of fiasco and pretty much my first full-on story game. And (obviously) my first time at the meetup. I had a really great time playing the game!
There were a lot of great and funny scenes, but I did feel like in some ways our story didn't fully jell. The different characters kind of pursued their own stories and didn't push each others' along. We didn't pick up on each others' "offers" as much as we could have. This might be why we ended up with so many recurring "outside" characters.
Possibly relatedly, now that I've finished reading the rules, I realize that I didn't fully understand the mechanic of choosing the positive or negative outcome die for a scene. The way I felt like we were doing it during our game was to play the scene out, then someone would choose a die based on how the scene got played out. But from reading the rules, it seems clear that choosing the die is an opportunity to determine how the scene plays out, not just to reflect it.
For example, early on Minnesota Alex had a scene where his Father McClaine came to my John Joseph and tried to enlist him in his scheme to get even with the Chinese. I played John as reluctant to join in, trying to cling to the straight-and-narrow. I'm pretty sure Alex/Father McClain got the negative die for failing to enlist me. But this seemed to happen in response to how I was playing it. I didn't get that the group could have said, "Hey, it would be more fun/interesting for John to join the scheme - let's choose the white die!" and then that would have essentially determined my character's action, and he would reluctantly agree. It seemed more that the group chose the black die based on how I was playing it. (I don't know, perhaps the other players did know this, but I certainly didn't get it, and it didn't really feel like that's how the group was operating.)
Anyway, it was still a blast. I hope to be able to come back for more some time when my schedule permits!
Edited by Ryan O'Rourke on Sep 8, 2012 9:06 PM