Archive for the ‘Fiasco’ Category


Seven Games

26 December, 2012

There’s a #7RPGs thing going on Google+, and I posted this regarding the seven RPGs I’ve played the most since back in the 80s. I’ve added bits and pieces, plus a comment on games not mentioned.

1. Call of Cthulhu (4th Ed)
Also the RPG I’ve played the most of all, in terms of sessions and hours played. I grew tired of its repetitive nature some time in the early 90s.

2. Via Prudentia
Danish rolemaster/GURPS inspired modern roleplaying game with crunch on top. As with most things back in the day, we mostly hand-waved the rules and GM fiated the shit out of it.

A scene from Jyllands Mørke Hjerte (The Dark Heart of Jutland), illustrated by Palle Schmidt, one of Fusion’s authors. The scenario was included in the source book Som Landet Ligget (The Lay of the Land).

3. Fusion
Danish near future private detective game – set in 2012. Rules-wise it’s a complete mess based on a D6 version of another rules mess: Storyteller. I still love it, despite its flaws, and I’ve been meaning to create functional rules for it more than once. One of the best looking games EVER.

4. Sorcerer
My desert island game of choice. The most intense game of all, and hence not everyone’s cup of tea. Infinitely adaptable to your own needs. Probably the game I’ve had the most bad sessions in, partly due to my own limitations, partly due to the players’ unwillingness to engage.

5. Dogs in the Vineyard
A masterpiece of focused game design, built on some of the ideas in Sorcerer, but written as a very usable manual. I’ve never had a bad session of Dogs.

6. Fiasco
Freeform, delightful, fun and super quick to set up and play. Often slides over the gonzo cliff, but if you can keep it on a leash, it’s very very good.

7. Primetime Adventures
This is the game you want to play with your writer friends (if they are not prepared to buy into Sorcerer, that is!. It delivers. In spades. And in other suits as well. A very easy game tool to get away from your standard geeky RPG trappings. We played pensioners at a care home in one of my favorite and most touching campaigns ever.

I haven’t mentioned two other games we played quite a lot in the early days: StarWars D6 and the original Shadowrun.


Nerdinburgh brought the awesome

10 October, 2011

My head is still buzzing after a weekend of socialising, great food and beer, and especially some awesome gaming at Nerdinburgh II. The venue was totally fantastic and blew us all away, but it did help to have a great bunch of people around.

I got to play three solid roleplaying sessions and a couple of hilarous late evening rounds of Cash n Guns.

My top session this year was definitely the playtest of my Crossroads scenario for Fastaval. One of the best sessions I’ve played in a very long time, and as far as I’m concerned everything went fantastic and worked as I had hoped. I was facilitating while Adam, Daniel, Neil and Debbie played the four main characters. Although we sometimes screamed in laughter and/or disbelief, we had some very tense and emotional scenes. Perfect, perfect, and this will definitely go down well at Fastaval next year. I think we managed to finish all four storied in 1 hour and 45 minutes, and we had a good talk afterwards discussing why the game worked so well. I’m very very happy with how it turned out.

The two other game sessions I played in was a game of Dust Devils on Saturday run by Neil. The setup was along the lines of the film Unforgiven, and I played an ugly, and indeed inept, bounty hunter coming to town to kill a man and get the reward. Much mayhem and killing happened during the session, which in fictional time only lasted a few hours.

Sunday afternoon I played Fiasco with Neil and Scott. We were trying out a new playset by Graham Walmsley, themed as Cthulhu romance, whatever that might be. It was a sick session with unspeakable scenes. Again, Fiasco rocked as a tight no-prep convention game.


Nerdinburgh II

5 October, 2011

Nerdinburgh is the most private of conventions. To be able to attend you have to be invited. By me. The first time I organised it was a couple of years ago, in my house, and while it was totally awesome, the venue wasn’t ideal.

This is not Photoshopped. This is real!

Now, this time around we have gone all the way. And I do mean all the way. With the help of Joe and Debbie, we are collectively renting the Old Observatory House, on Calton Hill right in the centre of Edinburgh. The observatory, now long obsolete due to light pollution, is still there, right next to it. But be envious, be very envious. This is the awesomest of roleplaying locations you’ll ever see. The only bummer is the number of people it actually accommodates – sleeps 8, plays perhaps 16.

We have people travelling in from Sweden, China, and indeed Milton Keynes. You will cry yourself to sleep tonight just because you are not part of it, so apologies for that right away.

What’s happening at Nerdinburgh II? Well, for starters we have a Mechaton extravaganza on Sunday, and there have been announced Sorcerer games, Apocalypse World, actual copies of Matt Machell’s new game The Agency straight from the printer, playtests of Sunshine, Crossroads and Vincent Baker’s new game Murderous Ghosts. It’s crazy.

One of the playing rooms. Awesome doesn't even begin to describe it.

Nerdinburgh is also very special because the participants not only pay to attend, they prepare gourmet food to bring along. You think I’m kidding, probably, but no, it’s actually true. One participant wrote in an email yesterday: “I’m currently cooking some duck legs. If someone local could swing by a chinese supermarket and pick up a pack of frozen pancakes for duck, and some hoi sin sauce, that would be great. Cucumber and spring onions, too. Thank’ee kindly.”

If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.

Oh, we’ll be tweeting and podcasting from the event, hopefully. Stay tuned.


Red Front playset is out

1 September, 2011

Early in 2011, Malcolm and I put together a German terrorists in 70s Germany Fiasco playset together. 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 the heck out of it and let the world know how it went.

Designing a playset for Fiasco is excellent if you want to look closer at how the game works, and why it works. There is also some good advice about that in the recently published Companion, which along with the core rulebook is highly recommended.

So, thanks to Jason for his marvellous game, and for publishing our spiky, funky and hopefully controversial Red Front playset.


[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.


[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 ?