[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.


  1. I’ve only played it once and it was not quite right.
    But wow Red Front sounds like a cool playset.

    I totally need to play Fiasco again!

  2. “It” being Fiasco, not Red Front.

    And wonderful post btw.

  3. I had reservations about Fiasco after my first game as well, especially regarding the resolution system. (The setup works a treat). I haven’t been able to come up with something different, so perhaps it’s just the right way.

    But another game and especially creating and playtesting this playset has removed any reservations, I recommend it highly as a pick-up game.

    Red Front is approved by Germans. Two Germans.

  4. […] With some good input from Fiasco designer Jason, the slightly revised Red Front set was thoroughly playtested at Conpulsion in March. It’s great that Red Front is now out as September’s playset, please do play […]

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