[Fiasco] Unmitigated Chaos Version

edited September 2011 in Story Games
I have run a handful of sessions of Fiasco and I picked up a few habits which I realized after the fact, wasn't actually described in the original core text. I chatted with Steve via email and he recommended that I post some of these on here. Please note that I have only used these for 5 person games and the warranty is voided for 3 player games.

1) During the set-up, the dice selection is more focused. The black dice can only be used to choose broad Relationship/Need/Object/Location Categories. The white dice can only be used to pick details. The last black die and the last white die are each wild. This tends to lead to more of a restricted set of choices, but it speeds up the initial part of the game and focuses play nicely. The key bonus is that it tends to make for lessen analysis paralysis from the participants.

2) In core Fiasco, needs/objects/locations are implicitly attached to relationships. Normally you have 4 dice allocated to each cue-card and each participant is only connected to 2 other participants. By contrast, my hack means that each Category/Detail goes on it's own card. Each player shares Relationships with two people and Need/Object/Locations with the other two people.

3) In a 5 players game, you have relationships with the players on the immediate left and right. You have Needs/Objects/Locations with the players 1-step away left and 1 step away right. This leads automatically with a connection to every other player.

Example of game play with the Touring Rock band

The example characters are sitting in this order, going clockwise.


Alice pulls out a black die with a value of 2, declaring that Bruce and Cara share a "Good Friends" category of Relationship.
Bruce pulls out a black die with a value of 3, declares David and Eva share "The Grind" Relationship.
Cara pulls out a black die with a value of 5 that Eva and Alice share the "Trouble" Relationship.
David pulls out a black die with a value of 6 that Alice and Bruce share the "Bad Friends" Relationship.
Eva pulls out a black die with a value of 1 that Cara and David share the "Friends" Relationship.

Repeat in the same fashion with half of the white dice, allocating details for the other people's relationships. The two people who are assigned the relationship pick how to interpret those details. For instance, if a Eva declares that David/Eva share a "Boss/Roadie" detail on their relationship, David and Eva decide which role they want.

Now you work on the Needs/Locations/Objects, once again allocating the categories with black dice and details with the white.
A declares that B - D share a need of To Get Out.
B declares that A - C share a need of To Get Wasted
C declares that C - E share an location of The Tour Bus
D declares that E - B share an object of of Dude, No Way
E declares that D - A share an object of Rollin'

Repeat in the same fashion with remaining white dice, allocating details for the other people's Needs, Locations or Objects.

How this impacts play
Every character is connected to every other character, which means the game is more tight-knit. Every participant knows and is engaged with the other characters. I have enjoyed how the gameplay worked out and I would like to hear your thoughts.


  • Dude. I hope Jason doesn't see this. He's going to be really mad he didn't put it in the companion.

    Shhhh. Here he comes. Act natural.
  • Eh, Jason's at Dragon Con for the next couple of days, so speak freely, you've got plenty of time.
  • These are very interesting.

    So in 4 player games, how does it work exactly? (3 player would wind up like regular Fiasco, right?) Do you get a Relationship with one player that has an Object/Location/Need as well as a shared Object/Location/Need with someone you don't have a Relationship with?
  • The funny thing is that I have never administered a game with fewer then 5 people.

    3 Player: Regular Fiasco, though you can still use the black dice and white dice colours to inform category/details.

    4 Players: I think that the easiest way would be to establish Needs with the person opposite to you and then tack on either an additional Object or Location to that Need card. It changes the dynamic around a bit, but if the relationships are emphasized it should work out.
  • I'm back and furious!

    These are both solid hacks. The first we actually playtested and rejected - your analysis paralysis is my "absorb the setting and color as you pore over 144 items". But clearly it works both ways.

    The second was never really an option for me - I like the way a 4 or 5 player game starts with people outside your sphere of influence. I think this is simultaneously more accessible (just look to your right and left and you know what to do at all times) and allows for discovery in play rather than in advance. It makes the characters slightly more one-dimensional, too, which, weirdly, I think is a feature for this very specific application. But again, there's nothing wrong with your hack.

    Thanks for sharing them! I hope people try them out.
  • edited September 2011
    *chuckles* I suspected that option 1 would have come up during playtesting. I understand completely that you would broaden the setting and colour by pouring over the different options. Fundamentally, I suspect you are secretly convincing people to consider using some of the other items and work them into the game.

    Now I need to play a few 5-player games without either of the hacks. I am quite curious how that changes the mood of play.

    Thanks for the comments and explanation Jason!
Sign In or Register to comment.