Have you had a chance to try Fiasco In A Box?

See notes here. I'm intrigued by the major changes in store and how they play out.


  • Unfortunately not. But i love the idea, seems to solve most of my 'problems' with the original game. I need to find my laminator!
  • Did I understand aright? You need a different deck of cards for every playset?
  • I love doing setup through cards. My current project is doing exactly that and I love how quick the setup gets. I've never really managed to get Fiasco to shine. I've played it a few times and never really felt satisfied, even though on paper it seems to be exactly the kind of game I love. I probably won't buy this, but chances are others will and I'll try it to see if I enjoy this version more.
  • edited November 2018
    I think having multiple Needs is smart. I've always been very cool with having two, even in a three player game. Needs are grabbier, and are better springboards than Locations. Which is how I kinda prefer Fiasco. Lean and mean. Locations often come about fairly easy, or they have for me. maybe not proper names for things, but I think Needs are a better use of set-up time. They're more informative in play.

    I mean, the whole idea of a self-contained rpg, like in the olden days of gaming, is great. The idea of needing a computer and a printer to play a game is nuts, or that everyone needs a copy of the book.

    I think there are some Details that are less then optimal. There's simply weaker Details than others, which is somewhat subjective, but also maybe not?

    I'd be interested in getting rid of the positive and negative outcomes. It can feel confusing in play. Like is this outcome "good" or "bad"? I mean, most stories that it aims to emulate build, complicate through poor decisions. Dread might be a better emulator? I like maybe the idea of addressing tension building in certain areas, like Relationships or even at Locations? Maybe like having a couple Dread towers, on different Details? Or something like that, used as a countdown clock? Maybe like Forbidden Island, a deck of cards that escalates a Detail?

    A simple "good" or "bad" outcome can feel tough to assign sometimes. I mean, how much "good" happens in No Country for Old Men? or Raising Arizona? or Burn After Reading? Where are these "good" outcomes? It's fuck-up, built upon fuck-up.

  • edited November 2018
    Like, a Good outcome in Fiasco, is better when it directly complicates a Player Character. It's less good when it just ends a scene without creating any motion, or interest.

    It's better when it complicates, diverts, highlights, escalates, another player character's Detail, way better.

    Categorizing scenes down to plus or minus is ... I guess usable during the Tilt and the End, but I'm not sure how informative it is in play?
    I mean, maybe it is?

    But, I don't think so.
  • This is a very interesting idea. I like the user-friendly aspect of it. Designing for accessibility is an excellent idea, and it looks like they're doing a great job of challenging familiar design methods to make something that's easier and faster.

    Having to buy cards for each separate playset sounds less fun, though.

    Mostly, I am curious to see how the implement the details from a design standpoint.
  • Using custom, physical cards to succinctly capture information outside of brains is a killer app. I've seen it work wonders for RPGs, board games, logic puzzles, teaching, planning... I think some of the reasons it works so well are:

    - Custom. Can represent info that can't easily be abstracted into a broader rule/thing.
    - Dismissable. All cards not visible can be put out of mind.
    - Physically located. Taps into the physical intuition capabilities of the brain.
    - Pagable. For some reason that I don't understand, easy to page the state back into brain after doing things other than peering at the cards.
    - Digestible. When well designed, you can just go look at one card, understand it, move on to the next.
    - Randomizable, hidable, etc. Convenient.
  • edited November 2018

    A simple "good" or "bad" outcome can feel tough to assign sometimes. I mean, how much "good" happens in No Country for Old Men? or Raising Arizona? or Burn After Reading? Where are these "good" outcomes? It's fuck-up, built upon fuck-up.
    I agree. I’ve played Fiasco about a dozen times and have only had one unsatisfying session, which is a really good result for a GMless game. However, I think the reason I’ve had these results is because I’ve followed a specific recipe. Every session we’ve played has been very good as long as “Positive” and “Negative” were defined in the following way:

    *In every scene the active player’s character is trying to achieve a specific goal (or something they want) and “Positive” equals the character achieving their goal (what the character wants), and “Negative” equals the character not achieving their goal (not getting what they want). The goal trying to be achieved should always be in the character’s interest, as seen from the character’s POV, not from the player’s POV. This way you will have ambitious, impulsive characters who are in way over their heads trying to do unwise, risky and probably illegal things in humorous way; instead of, a player trying to do the “best” or “smartest” thing for their character. For example, a “Positive” achievement/outcome from the perspective of a hitman is very different than that of the typical person; to a hitman a positive outcome might be murdering someone.

    As long as you define “Positive” and “Negative” the way I do above, and make sure you know what type of story you’re telling—a Coenesque story—and the type characters you are playing —Coenesque characters—you will have a very hard time messing it up and having a bad game.

    The single time we did have an unsatisfing game was the time that we didn’t specifically define “Positive” and “Negative” in the way I did above, and just left it to players to interpret the meanings themselves.

    The game can be made to be surprisingly reliable, especially give that it is GMless. Before giving up on Fiaso try playing it with these things in mind, as long as you do so, the game is excellent and produces great stories and a great time.
  • I played Fiasco in a Box as a playtesters at Metatopia 2018 last month. I’ve heard of Fiasco before, but never played it.

    I really liked FiaB. There were apparently a few places were we did things ‘wrong’ and as such the playtest was good at providing input about areas were there rules needed a little extra clarity. I have to say that this didn’t impact our fun at all.

    There were four of us in the game, and they layout of the cards to indicate relationships around the table, and the two ‘needs’ which pairs of people had worked really well from my point of view. It was good to always be able to glance at the table and easily see what the main things going on were. Having cards of different colours rather than collecting different colour dice (and whatever else is done with the dice in normal fiasco). The other players that I was with were brilliant at coming up with inspiredly horrible plans, and everyone did come to a truly sticky end.

    One thing that was surprising was that when final positive and negative values were totalled up high positive and high negative were pretty OK, but middling was a horrible end result. I wasn’t sure why high negative ended up so good for people.

    I imagine that additional play sets being decks of special cards would make them more expensive than a few pages in a booklet, so I don’t know what that would do with after market sales.

    Bottom line is that I would expect this would make the game much more approachable as a ‘party game’ kind of thing, that ordinary people could pick up and play without knowing anything about RPGS per se at all.
  • One thing that was surprising was that when final positive and negative values were totalled up high positive and high negative were pretty OK, but middling was a horrible end result. I wasn’t sure why high negative ended up so good for people.
    That's always been true of Fiasco, for whatever reason. I mean, I know the mathematical reason, because I can do the arithmetic, but I don't know why the decision was made. In play, it does mean that if you're angling for a good, or not-bad end, for your character, you want to do what you can to get as much as possible from either the positive or the negative end. But then, it's also good not to fret about that and just play things as they lie.
  • edited December 2018
    I think it was genre emulation: total loosers and lucky bastards tend to 'win' or at least get away with their shit in Coen Brothers and Guy Ritchie movies, while being everyone else usually really suck. Poetic justice in a sarcastic way.
  • I had assumed that me ending up in a shootout with the police in a jewellery store was going to end extra-badly, and I took the option to donate my one positive scoring card to my step-son as a way of helping him out and driving my eventual score more negative - so it came as a surprise to me when I ended up ‘back where I started, a little poorer, probably no wiser’ while two of the others died in jail!

    (Disclosure - I’ve not seen very many films in the genre, so it could easily be an element of genre emulation that I missed!)

  • Fiasco is one of my favorite game designs, so I'm interested in seeing how this version shakes out. Even my worst game of it basically worked (one player responded to every petition of the mutual Need with, "I don't know why I should do that"). Having premade cards could be a really cool addition, especially for people like me who like a nice physical component in games. I'm also excited to hear that the epilogue is being compressed into one vignette rather than a round robin (I usually go with the former anyway, even if the other players want to do it in stages).
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