Fiasco

Fiasco is explicitly designed for one-shot play. It’s also designed for a particular sort of adventure, one in which deeply flawed characters reach beyond their abilities and fail in spectacularly interesting ways. Think of the films Fargo and The Way of the Gun and you get the idea.

With no gamemaster, low-complexity rules, and a narrative structure that mimics that of a play or a film, a game of Fiasco usually takes about two and a half to three hours to play. There are a wide variety of free playsets (one-shot scenarios) for Fiasco, spanning settings as diverse as medieval fantasy, World War 2, and modern day Hollywood.

Here’s how the publisher describes Fiasco:

During a game you will engineer and play out stupid, disastrous situations, usually at the intersection of greed, fear, and lust. It’s like making your own Coen brothers movie, in about the same amount of time it’d take to watch one.

Three Things About Fiasco

  • Plans Gone Wrong: This is a game all about creating stories in which people with big plans get in way over their heads
  • No Gamemaster: Built for collaborative storytelling, the characters use playsets (scenarios) to set up and run the session
  • Made for One-Shots: There is no way to run a Fiasco campaign; the rules are tightly focused on one-shot play

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Reviews

  • “Fiasco is hands down one of the best RPGs I have ever played. It delivers exactly what it promises: a self-contained, no-prep session in which a comedy of errors and bad decisions results in a complete fiasco.”Wired GeekDad
  • “If you enjoy collaborating with a group of friends to build a story from a list of elements, being lead from scene to scene based on the input of your fellow players and your own wits, this is your game.”Gnome Stew

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See Fiasco in Action