We’re just back from a nice gaming weekend with 8 grown ups and two toddlers. Half of them had to leave on sunday night, leaving us with just enough people to finally try out the copy of Fiasco I’ve had prepared for just such an occasion.


We quickly agreed on the Medici playset since we all like the Borgias show (François Arnaud! *swoon*) and the Christopher Hibbert history book of the same name. Man, that guy can write a story. We met a history teacher last week who said “Thank god for syphilis, I’m not sure how else I would get my students interested in history.” You have a point, history teacher!

Kris was the archbischop that wanted to kill the bastard he’d fathered on Tâm’s Lucrezia di Medici, while me and Jan were Brothers in Christ who wanted to get rich by blackmailing the archbishop. Jan because he was Kris’s one night lover who got jilted in the game, and me because my bishop was continually bankrupt from collecting religious relics that Tâm’s noble lady was fencing to him.

On the whole, we liked Fiasco a lot! It seems a good replacement for those times where you can’t get your regular campaign on the table for some reason.

  • It was fun to see how much story you can squeeze out of the random element tables in the playset.
  • And then to see how much additional story just emerges from the scenes, where especially harmless throwaway comments like ‘A handmaiden can send a message’ or ‘My assistant will go to the treasury’ can bring in new NPC’s that add unexpected twists and complications to the story. – Since the story is so tight, it’s also fine to watch a scene that you’re not in for a while.
  • Framing scenes together is really fun and also very easy, since the story elements usually suggest a logical structure
  • I was afraid it might hard for an entire group to get into the ‘everybody loses’ mindset, but it’s actually surprisingly easy and fun!

It wasn’t without hiccups, though.

  • We couldn’t really figure out why we had to randomly give away dice in round one
  • Our story wasn’t big enough to do eight whole scenes after the tilt.
  • In the second act, two of our characters had also dropped out of the story a bit. The epilogues made up for that again, but they were short since we hadn’t accrued as much dice as we could have.
  • On the Tilt table: it’s tempting to to just pick the elements that have already been introduced into the the story instead of a whole new element. In the end, we picked one that was already fully in play, and another that added a fun additional complication.