Archive for March, 2011


[Fiasco Red Front] The Seventh Passport

27 March, 2011

Malcolm and I got to playtest our shiny new Red Front playset for Fiasco at this weekend’s Conpulsion in Edinburgh. Red Front is about terrorism in 70s Germany, a situation and setting totally made for Fiasco. It’s not in the public domain just yet, but will be later this year hopefully.

Malcolm played in a group of four, while I was in a group of three with Gregor and a girl called Pippa, who was completely new to roleplaying and came along to the event out of curiosity. Pippa was an awesome player, even though she had no idea of what she was getting into, and also zero knowledge of Germany or terror in the 1970s.

Both games ran flawless and both groups enjoyed themselves immensely.

Our elements were:

To get out of a dangerous relationship + Love Triangle, between Pippa and Gregor.

Subculture poets + Six fake passports between Gregor and I.

Squat in Berlin + Peace Movement Activists between Pippa and I.

Gregor chose to play Gudrun Kohler, a lecturer in poetry at Berlin University. I played Hermann Gross, a (sorry-ass) revolutionary poet, and one of Gudrun’s students, perhaps lovers. Pippa came up with Liesel Polentz, daughter of an arms trader.

I hope you can see where this might be going.

When putting together Red Front, I think I imagined that the player characters would normally be terrorists or at least connected in some way to terrorist groups, but in this playtest, the players were being dragged into it all by unfortunate events, misunderstandings and sheer incompetence.

By a combo of scenes and flashback scenes we learned that Liesel’s dad had done a deal about seven passports with a violent German gang of terrorists. At the initial meeting, Liesel, who was a kind of right-hand woman for her dad, dropped one of the passport photos and hence there were ever only six passports made in the first place. The seventh non-existent passport, marvelously introduced by Pippa in only the second scene, became the driver of mayhem and destruction.

Gudrun found herself being handed the six passports by mistake in a shady underground bar. She then gave them to Hermann, who managed to lose them only to have them end up in Leisel’s hands, who then obviously thought Hermann had taken the missing passport.

The Tilt added Mayhem: Cold-blooded score settling and Guilt: Betrayed by friends to the mix, and downhill it went.

Liesel’s dad and boyfriend became hostages of the gang while she had to find the seventh passport. Gudrun and Hermann sold each other out to the police, and both got beaten, arrested, interrogated, both still completely unaware what the fuck was going on.

The aftermath gave moderately miserable outcomes for Gudrun and Hermann, while Pippa rolled 1 white. She chose to tell how her dad and boyfriend got killed by the terrorists and she ended up committing suicide i Hermann’s Berlin squat, which in the meantime had been thrashed by the police and Hermann was sleeping rough and developing a heroin addiction.

All nicely disastrous. Great game.


Thin Blue Line, update 4

13 March, 2011

A further excerpt from the draft game text.

The setup session

OK, so you’ve gathered a handful of friends, three to four is recommended, and somehow convinced them to play a game of Thin Blue Line. It is a great advantage if everyone has read the game text. If that’s not the case, it’s up to those who have to guide the group through the process. Personally I think it’s a reasonable request for everyone involved to have read the game and made their mind up that they are going to trust the rules and also are willing to contribute to the game.

The setup session is part of play, and it’s an important part. This is where you as a group begin to collaborate, create and share the fiction in your game. This is also where you establish the buy-in from everyone, which is essential for the game to be enjoyable.

What type of crime

Let everyone around the table state what kind of crime they are interested in for the game, and why, if they know. Perhaps you have read a great novel or played a game or listened to some music that inspired you. Perhaps there’s a story in the news or in the past you would like to examine.

Agree on something than everyone finds interesting, and leave aside anything that one or more players don’t like.
It’s fine to discuss here were the group should draw the line in relation to what’s happening in the game. What about rape? Male rape? Children? Is some of this OK if you do it “off screen” in the game for example, or is it entirely no-no? Make sure that any concerns players may have are discussed out in the open. Don’t spend hours on this, but it’s important everyone is on board.

When and where

Agree on a location for your game. It could be a specific city (Baltimore), a made-up city (Big City), a country or area. Sometimes it’s great to set your game in a city well known to the players, such as your home city or town, but it also works with a location that none of the players are familiar with. Then pick a year or decade you want you game to take place in, from today and all the way back to the late 19th century.

What your special task force is

Come up with a reason why you police task force was created. Has it been put together especially for this case, or is it a long-running task force? Is the real reason behind the force to make some chief or politician look good? Is it in fact a disguised internal affairs unit looking at police corruption? Is it the new mayor’s vehicle to launch his crime policies?


[Fiasco: Manna Hotel] Kansas City Sack

5 March, 2011

We played the Fiasco playset Manna Hotel last week, over Skype and using iTabletop. John has written a wonderful AP, explaining the ins and outs of a wonderful session. My note sheet is below. Read the rest of this entry ?