Fiasco Reflection

We played the game Fiasco on Sunday. The setting of our game was Main Street. During the phase of setting up, we tried picking relationships and details that are crime-related, such as drug friends, thieves, gamblers, and crushing debt. We tried to brainstorm our big picture and some small details as we sort out dice to choose the details so that, at the very least, our story will make sense. However, as our choices get more and more narrow, we had to pick details that seem completely unrelated to the plot such as a stone material shop and paper plant; in addition, the rule book had some add-ons for a five-player game, in our case, was a poisonous snake. Unexpected add-ons details definitely increased the difficulty of our game, especially when we had our storyline settled along the way, which allows less room for flexibility, but how can this game be fun without some randomness and surprises?

It was definitely difficult for us to start the game because there is not an official “start” of the story; however, after the first scene, which lays out some details and backgrounds for the rest of the players to play around with, everything became easier. The game proceeds in a form of conversation between two players, personally, I tried my best to mimic the tone and word choices my character would have in order to help myself, as well as the rest of the players, to bring themselves into the story. The favorite part of this game for me was that even though all of us were aware of the general direction of the story, we always generate new thoughts and details as the story goes, especially when you hide your intentions from the rest of the player, that’s where things got interesting. My character is both a drug addict and gambler. To push the plot, I incorporated an item that was not on the detail list but can be important–a suitcase. Since I’m a drug addict and a gambler, my original idea was that I will partner up with my gambler friend, Joseph, head to a underground Casino located in a Mexican restaurant in Chinatown, and Joseph can use his terrific gambling tricks to help me win the suitcase from a guy called O’Brien (a character I made up), and things can go from there.

After the establishment of this new item, it somehow became the center of the whole story, everyone was going for the suitcase, especially when Yeezy (another character who is a thief) established a scene with her thief friend, telling her she somehow stole the suitcase from O’Brien, which completely changed the plans I had in mind–I had to brainstorm and think of what to do next in order to adapt to the new situation.

I think the heart of this game is the unexpectedness and randomness, such as the ability for different players to alter the storyline during their turns and the Tilt in the middle of the game, that is when I started putting myself into my character, and think about what I will actually do if I was the character who is in the situation. The fun part of this game is that everyone turned into someone else, and just “play” the character in a totally dynamic, corrupted situation; everyone tried to reveal as much as their “dark side” possible by purposely incorporating sinister elements and foreshadowing the incoming traumatic events. In short, no body wanted anything good to happen to anyone except for themselves. At the end, we purposely created a tragic ending by having almost everyone died, except for one person who became a drug addict, which, in our case, was the best ending possible.

Despite how disastrous the plot was, Fiasco was indeed a better form of stimulating creativity than traditional writing: the interaction among player, the various thoughts and opinions, and most importantly, the synchronization between the players and the characters they created, generates an effect in creativity that traditional writing cannot achieve.

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