Play Make Write Think

Fiasco: my thoughts

By Rachel Vellanikaran

Playing Fiasco was quite an interesting experience, to say the least. With some initial difficulty figuring out game-play and rules, we eventually rolled the dice to establish various relationships, needs, objects, and a location. This initial process of deciding these contextual aspects was a little different from the last time we played in class, as this time we actually selected dice before reading the category and descriptions — adding to that surprise factor that’s so prevalent in this game. My fellow teammates, Austin, Cherie, Sadie, Giovanni, and I chose to play with the Main Playset. Taken place in Hickory Smokes “nursing home,” our narrative included multiple adulterous sexual affairs, backstabbing, murder, and more. My relationships included a friendship with Giovanni as a “manipulator” of some sorts, and co-worker of Sadie, non-coincidentally at this particular nursing home. The narrative started out with Austin and Cherie fighting over financial issues in their marriage, and Austin eventually kicking Cherie out of the house. One of our two needs was to get laid, and with the other need already utilized by another team member, I chose to incorporate this into my narrative. My character was working towards a sexual relationship with the newly-divorced Austin, and would take some deceptive measures to do so. Conveniently, Sadie, a fellow colleague of ten years, was friends with Cherie and Austin and thus my way in. The story continued to take creative and unexpected turns throughout our game-play, from Austin and Giovanni’s conspiracy to murder Austin’s grandmother’s best friend to Cherie acquiring loads of money through her gambling habits to my character’s affair with the divorcee who was simultaneously trying to kill and steal from the elderly woman at the nursing home. It was absolute chaos, but quite fun, nonetheless. 

It was particularly interesting to see how events change so drastically before you even realize it. This game is based on your own creativity when it comes to establishing and resolving scenes. You, yourself create the narrative and can manipulate it for better or for worse. I didn’t realize how open-ended and flexible the game design is, where you(and your teammates) create the basis of a story and see how it plays out. Because it was truly up to improvisation and our imagination, as I said before, it got a little chaotic. For example, at one point the hoodlum murders the old lady in front of me, the unsuspecting, innocent nurse, and I decide to cover up for him and end up in jail — where I eventually kill myself. It was a lot…but it was actually very enjoyable to see how everything played out as we all added new twists to the story.  The game design itself does have certain guidelines and rules, but it doesn’t really limit your ability to, for the most part, change the narrative as you wish — at least until the very end where they add in “the tilt.” My tilt was a little out of place for the situation of my character. The description was basically along the lines of “you f**ked up hard; you’re probably going to kill yourself,” when I truly hadn’t had much involvement in major conflict up until then. So from then on, I had to come up with creative ways to set-up this ending for my character — even if it meant some far-fetched additions.

Admittedly, playing the game seemed a little intimidating at first, since I was playing with new people and felt pressure to conjure up captivating story-lines and premises. But, obviously these initial apprehensions subsided as we continued to play. Since much of the the game is about “winning” role-playing situations and acquiring dice, I found myself being a little more assertive or defensive in my responses to others as I took on the role of my character more seriously with the game’s progression. It was important to be strategic in the stories you created. You had to manipulate the situations created by others in favor of your own plot or chosen line of fate. It required a bit of planning, particularly in predicting how others would react and respond. Overall, playing Fiasco was a rewarding experience, as the game was captivating and enjoyable despite its natural chaos and unpredictability. 

The Choice is Mine: Playing Fiasco

In our Fiasco game, my group chose the Main Street and Willow Road playset since that most accurately embodied Emory’s quaint, southern location. I established my relationship with Cherie and Rachel, the players to my left and right. Cherie was my gambler and bookie and to Rachel, I was a current co-worker. Even while creating our relationships, I was struck by how quickly the players embodied their roles. Right when a relationship had been established, it was almost like a light switch went off and we each stepped into a new persona. With this new identity, I felt a new sense of control. I have a clean slate and I can make whatever I want to happen try to happen. 

Our Fiasco story was one of ups and downs, surprise, romance gone-wrong. At the start of our story, the main conflict was between Austin and Cherie’s characters, who were ex-lovers. Austin kicked Cherie out of their house because she never did anything productive and stole his money. During scenes, many characters gave their opinions on the matter of their toxic relationship, and I ended up setting Cherie straight and helping her gain self-independence. In retrospect, in most of my scenes, I tried to take the upper hand and help out my friends even if that meant losing a potential opportunity to make money. For instance, I could’ve convinced Cherie to continue gambling and make a profit off of her, but in her best interest, I told her to stop gambling and instead focus on making a steady source of income so she could acquire a new home and live a comfortable life. I felt that my role in the game was not necessarily moving the plot forward but reacting to the actions of others. My character was more of an intermediary than one associated with large plot points and drama. When the tilt happened, I was destined to suffer and be locked up in jail but also make it out with dignity intact. During the game’s aftermath, Giovanni killed Austin’s grandmother’s friend at the elderly home and got away with it but I ended up in jail for helping him commit the crime. I had dignity, though, because I taught the other prisoners how to aid in a crime. 

A strategy I employed was not doing anything too controversial but rather helping players work through their own issues. I found this effective because I highlighted the problems in the actions of my peers, which helped me win all of my rounds. My tactic in this game taught me that one of my strengths is conflict-resolution but not creating conflict of my own. I think that is a valuable asset because I am not a very contentious person but rather like to help others work out their problems. Playing Fiasco differed from other work we’ve done this semester because it required us to perform a task that was constantly shaping and moving, rather than completing one task and the assignment ending. I enjoyed the unpredictable aspect of Fiasco, which kept me constantly thinking about the next move. I can apply the skills used in crafting my Fiasco story to future writing projects by compartmentalizing which aspects of the writing topic I want to focus on and which I should “stay out of,” like I stayed out of certain issues during our Fiasco game. Overall, the game session and reflection helped me fulfill the learning objectives for this course because I’ve learned to write and reflect on a non-written genre, which is a very important life skill. Many of the “texts” we need to analyze in the professional world are not written but rather analyzing real situations that took place and drawing conclusions from those interactions. During our Fiasco game, I took this these situations and truly made them my own, forging the path of our story.

Fiasco Reflection

Greg Lawrence


Prof. Morgen

Fiasco Reflection

The journey Michael, Winslow and I went through during our play-through of Fiasco were interesting in the sense that initially, our background knowledge of the rules was somewhat helpful but we still struggled to set up our game. Our understanding of multiplayer RPG games was different from Fiasco because you really needed to pay close attention to the rulebook. The assignment of characters was awkward yet funny due to myself not really having known my two mates who I was playing with at the time. The characters we derived were ex-lovers and father and son which brought a communal laugh. My character was Russel Cooper, a gambler who was destined for a glorious death. Michael was the character Edward Anderson, who is my ex-lover and the father of Collin Anderson(Winslow). From my first reading of the rulebook, I got the sense the game was set up to engage our creative minds. The fun aspect of the game comes from your decisions on character roles and actions. My group of players consisted of three boys who more or less wanted an action-packed scenario with death and violence. When we decided on the relationship between Collin and I was that we were gamblers, we almost immediately went to have the problem of being in debt to loan sharks who want their money back. This could have come from past experience from other games or just a common interest in this sort of plotline. The aspect of using two different color dice to determine characteristics and relationships between players provided us with a sense of structure we needed to justify our story. The game does a good job of incorporating our imagination within the guidelines of the 134-page rulebook. The story we told was between three players who were father and son with an ex-lover to the father who has a gambling problem with the son(Collin). We started with the dilemma of deciding how to pay back the loan sharks who were threatening to kill us and we came up with a plan for a heist to steal a large quantity of gold. The dice we rolled, made us incorporate a train and a handrail train car. Our minds related this potential storyline to one like a mission from Red Dead Redemption II, which is personally one of my favorite games and involves the robbery of a train. The robbery went successfully due to a white dice being given to me when it was my scene. It was interesting to see our excitement levels rise when the climax of our story came closer when we knew in a way what was going to happen. Throughout the acting of our story, I was laid back in deciding what happened unless when it was my turn to develop a scene. Then I tried to make it interesting with a good setup for the next person’s scene. At the start of setting up the game, I felt sort of overwhelmed by the size of the guide to playing and the fact that I was working with people I haven’t really had a conversation with before. As we set up the game and came together in deciding to incorporate or leave out certain actions/relationships I grew in the sense that my opinions wouldn’t upset the other players or affect the game in a negative way. So in a sense, as I became more comfortable with my fellow players the game became increasingly enjoyable. 

Fiasco Reflection

Fiasco is an exciting role-playing board game that is surprisingly portable, requiring only several dices and rule books to play with. The setting up process for the game was rather quick. We used Main Street and Willow Road play-set. After rolling the dices, relationships between each neighboring player, locations, needs, objects were settled. The game Fiasco requires a great story-telling ability as well as a creative improvisation skill.
Our game took place in the Woods up around Hickory Terrace. My relationship with Austin, on my left-hand side, was the former spouse. However, the relationship between Sadie, on my right-hand side, and I was a gambler and bookie. The “double identity” of each player makes the game hard but fun to play that everyone has to keep the scripts of settings in mind and to develop reasonable plots accordingly. For instance, in the first place, I failed to set up the connection between my divorcing problem and gambling habit. The opening scene started up with Austin and I arguing and breaking up due to mundane money issue. I was expelled from our house in the county. At that point, the arguing was just about domestic duties and financial problems. Moving to my round, because of my implied relationship with Sadie as friends in the previous rounds and at the same time she being my bookie, the story was messed up a little bit. To make more sense for the divorce and gambling, I suddenly decided to make up the story of I stealing money from my ex-husband and would like to bet my future life no gambling. As my bookie, Sadie could offer me the game; however, as my best friend, Sadie tried to persuade me to keep out of it. The unexpected pieces of information due to the rash decisions formed small conflicts lead to the unsettling feature of the first scene. In Act One, although each conversation was somewhat independent, we were trying our best to combine the two needs and the objects. For example, the hoodlum murdered an elderly lady; the hoodlum and my ex-husband planned on stealing a purebred animal; and the nurse in the hospital tried to develop an affair with my ex-husband.
After getting the tilt, we realized that Fiasco, as a game building up disastrous situations, emphasizes more on the dark side of humanity, greed, lust, jealousy, and insanity. Even the player with the largest number of white dice got degraded and defamed hint that pushed players towards a more chaotic ending in Act Two. Players more actively involved themselves in the crime, even if they are not at all evil figures in the first scene. At the same time, whereas, we failed to keep on track with the details. I remembered almost every single one of us got a “bad” ending. For me, I was publicly humiliated and suffered permanent injury, and the money I stole was mysteriously stolen according to the tilt. That is to say, I ran away from the conversation in the senior care and came across the hoodlum Giovanni, hooking up with him. However, the police came up to us after a few days, and Giovanni hit-and-run, which causes my permanent physical disability. Therefore, I am also humiliated over stealing money from ex-husband and betraying him on his best friend.
The genuinely intriguing part of Fiasco is its flexibility and unpredictability. Every player contributes their idea to the overall story. It is each one of their decisions that leads to the ending of the game. The interactive mechanism makes it more engaging and fun to play. Overall, the gaming experience is a little bit struggling for me because of its chaotic nature and the mismatched expectation. I would like to try Fiasco with a better-prepared mindset if there is another chance.

Collaboration Story Telling Getting Wild: Fiasco

I played Fiasco with Wenyi, Ruohan, Alan and Keita. Our scene was set on Main street, and my relationships with my neighbors were my fellow thief friend and my fellow drug buddy. So as you can tell, it’s pretty exciting. Who does not want to be the villain when no responsibilities are taken?

Playing Fiasco was probably the first time I “write” a fictional story. Creative writing was never easy to me: it is hard to gain inspiration, and sometimes if the inspiration or creation went too far, the story starts to disconnect and fall apart. From my point of view, an interesting creative writing work is somehow related to the actual society no matter is the morals or possible events going on in the real world that the readers can somehow relate and be affected. That being said, Fiasco was pretty hard for me, because the story falls apart, everyone has ideas in their mind about where the story is going to be, and everyone’s anticipated storylines are different. So, adaptation and interpretation are really crucial. As I played, I had to change my story line constantly: when my ally decided to turn her back on me, when someone gives me a white/black dice, or when the person I tried to kill in the story got a helper to keep her safe. I had to modify the story lines, adapt them, and interpret whether my allies/enemies are wishing me to go certain ways. These elements, without writing down, can be forgotten in future story line. That is when the story starts to get messy and ambiguous. Players starts to ask: “wait I thought we said A at the beginning and why are you saying B now? That does not follow what is actually happening.” That actually happened twice or three times in the game I played. Making up stories is already difficult to some extent, not to mention people had to come up with them without a lot of thinking and had to follow the relationship of so many characters. Five gamers were in my game, and everyone is the protagonist. That does not happen very often even in formal books. It is more like some sort of complex episodic TV show that the camera shifts between different populations and bring them all together as a resolution like Lord of the Rings. I personally found coming up with a rather complex story with certain limitations like locations, objects and relationships were challenging. But part of the fun was to justify your story: to make the nonsense make sense. Even though it took a lot of brain cells, I had to find ways to make the seemingly dead characters come back alive, or the lost item is found. We make up events that seems not related to explain the mistakes we made in our storylines and let them make sense eventually. In one case when I was playing the game, everyone is trying to fight to gain the mystery suitcase that is supposed to have ton of cash in it. By the end of our part 1, according to one player, it is actually a poisonous snake in the suitcase. Now that does not make sense, because why would the entire first part of the story be fighting over a snake! That is when everyone starts to justify for the story, and it ended up being a revenge drama that the person who is carrying the suitcase is trying to kill the specific character that is about to get the suitcase. I found it fascinating that at the beginning we were all going off our own tract and manipulating the story set up to whatever we wanted it to be. But as soon as we realized that we have to fix the story, we started collaborating very well. We started to make predictions about what everyone else’s story and going off fluently from that.

Overall it was hard to set up the first half of the story and keep track of what everyone said, but it was definitely fun and trained ability to come up with stories within instance and connect small chunks of information into larger scale storytelling.

Fiasco: Controlled Chaos

Fiasco is an interesting game that requires more creativity than any of the games I’ve played in the past. We got to form a completely original instance of the game through our creative scenes and decisions. We compiled short scenes which fit all the components chosen, and eventually connected the scenes. Part of our fictional story included a hoodlum character, represented by myself, who snuck into a senior center and committed a homicide robbery on an elderly woman. I found myself contemplating sanity due to my made-up decisions when the crime went unsolved causing my character to get away with it. These aren’t the types of thoughts I would ever have, so I was horrified to see the story I had developed. Later I realized that a dark story was inevitable by all the elements I had to incorporate; how is one expected to create a happy fairytale about a man who needs to get rich by the death of an elderly woman? Aside from the overall plot, there was a sense of entertainment that came with the ambiguity of the game outline. Similarly, Fiasco’s spontaneous and creative structure reminded me of the MadLibs I used to fill out as a kid. Just with more room for mature creativity. 

I was impressed by the way we connected everyone’s scenes together. The first few scenes were completely independent of each other, having only overlapping characters in common. In the beginning, I felt hesitant of the success of fusing all the situations together in an interesting, but also logical, way. Situations ranged from two hoodlums killing an old woman with horse tranquilizer, to a married couple getting divorced over money issues. We chose the “In a Nice Southern Town” playset; the person on the right and I were hoodlum partners, and I was the victim of manipulation by the person on my left. The unordinary relationships and detailed specifics between the players is what made Fiasco enjoyable for me. This made it exciting for me, as I was able to be introduced to relationship dynamics which I do not experience with in day to day life. Another exciting aspect of the game was our ability to create it ourselves. In most games, you’re placed in situations where you have to make decisions, and those decisions usually dictate the future situations, regardless of what you want to happen. In Fiasco, we created the situations and made the decisions, so we were in full control of the storyline. I found it more fun when I was designing interesting situations, rather than role-playing as my character. I felt that creating the situations was what really shaped the game, since your options become limited once you find yourself in a particular situation.

In my attempt for success in Fiasco, I strategically set up scenes that would easily allow for me to control the situation so I could accumulate as many white dice as possible. In order to be controlling, players needed to be very convincing. Being assertive, whether that be through manipulation or honesty, was the best strategy. There was a point where I put my success in jeopardy by making a rash decision to ask the nurse at the senior center to put the elderly woman down for me, after being caught in the act. I tried to guilt the nurse, the player whom I had the manipulative relationship with, and tried to make her feel like she owed me a favor after all the times she had exploited me. To say the least, it was a huge failure, and the game went downhill from there. In retrospect, I was under pressure. I was expecting her to give in when there was no way she was going to agree. If I played again, I’d plan out my decisions and conversations more meticulously so that I don’t get stuck in situations where I don’t have ideal options. Overall, I enjoyed the game because of its dynamic and structure. It was like nothing I’d ever seen, and I found it to be extremely engaging.

What a Fiasco

Morris Johnston (Me), mayor of Main Street, is found in a pool of his own brains in an abandoned road house. Testimonies flood in, uncovering the corrupt nature of his leadership. Johnston had been engaging in underground sports gambling, as well as selling class A drugs with the help of his close friend and collegue, Commisioner Jordon (Jessica). The mayor had also been linked to the death of a baby. A drugs customer of his, Shiela (Will), was unconsious in Johnston’s house, having tested out a sample of his new shipment of Ketamine. While under the influence, she rolled over and smothered the baby of her ex-husband, Nate (Kimberly). Shiela was not a parent of the baby but had kidnapped it in an attempt at revenge at her ex-spouse. Since his passing, the Mayor’s family have receieved countless death threats and their homes have been graffitied relentlessly. Johnston’s grave has been dug up 4 times since his death. It’s fair to say the people of Main Street are doing the best they can to get their revenge at the corrupt politician for what he did to their beloved town.

The passage above is a brief retelling of my groups Fiasco story, centered around my character, Morris Johnston. The initial phase was a lot of fun, the combination of creative freedom when formulating one’s character and the restriction of only being able to use each rolled dice once leads to a really unique and natural story set up.

The scenario telling portion had a bit of a bumpy start. Our group was tempted to create a large portion of the storyline before acting out a single scenario. Maybe this was because there was an unaddressed anxiety about having to improv scenes (at least there was for me). As David stated in class in reference to the Fiasco Tabletop episode, they are all trained actors while we, emphatically, are not. For me, this aversion to improv acting faded as the game went on but was never fully eradicated. The group’s confidence certainly grew as the game progressed; because of this, I think if we were to play another round of Fiasco it would be an even more fun experience.

Before playing Fiasco, I had played through, in my head, how I expected the game to go. One aspect I hadn’t considered is the almost competitive nature of it. There was a real temptation to get one’s own character to ‘win’. None of the characters existed 15 minutes previously, yet we all genuinely cared about them and how they were perceived by the others. We all had an idea of how the story was going to go for our own character, and we would do what we could to achieve that vision. I recognised that the story could only really go well for one or maybe two of the characters, so around midway through the story I decided to revel in the disaster that was unfolding for Morris Johnston instead of resisting it. This was a difficult decision and required swallowing some of my pride. It is a testament to the power of RPGs that I was so fully immersed in the mind of Mayor Johnston that I almost forgot that I was playing with other people and that the overall playing experience is more important than my characters ending. This game is about telling a story about a group of people and their relationships, not a way to manifest one person’s need for success. Thankfully, I think I may have been the only person in the group that felt this way because nobody acted in the selfish way which enticed me so much.

They say that you overcome fears through exposure; that seemed to be the case for Fiasco. I am terrified of acting, yet it definitely became easier as the game went on. Fiasco also helped me look introspectively. Stepping outside yourself and playing through the facade of a made up character makes it easier to spot patterns in your behaviour. As Daniel Kahneman states in his amazing book Thinking Fast and Slow, it is much easier to spot biases and patterns in others than in ourselves. This is what caused me to notice the overly competititve and selfish style of play I was tempted by, and do something about it. RPGs are an incredibly powerful tool, whether you use them for fun, mental exercise, relaxation or self realisation.

The Town Take-down

Five people convene at the abandoned roadhouse on Main Street. There is a Mayor Johnston who sells drugs on the side to a woman (Sheela) who recently divorced a man (Nate), now left with a newborn baby, whose cousin (Zee) is the bookie for the Commissioner Jordan with a gambling addiction who works with the mayor. We crafted this game based on the die in front of us. Our goal: to get even with this town for what it turned each of us into. This is a story of revenge

I am the Commissioner. I chose to be a 40-year-old man with a position of power – something typically given to middle-aged white men. However, my character, Commissioner Jordan, had a weakness: gambling. He cannot control his urge to make money. While he has been Commissioner for many years, he is still power hungry and making money through the underground crime hub at the abandoned roadhouse, makes him feel powerful.

I developed a relationship as an elected official with the drug-selling mayor on my left. He and I were both corrupt, but the town made us that way. At the abandoned roadhouse, I meet with my bookie who is the person to my right. We had the first scene. It felt weird to all of the sudden snap out of reality and improvise as a bizarre character. My bookie and I did not quite know what the relationship between a bookie and a gambler was like. This is where the rest of the team offered their input at the beginning of our scene.

The five of us worked collaboratively to make our story. We broadly decided the most interesting objects that the die were willing to give us: a newborn baby and a stash of porn with sex gear. Our brains each creatively worked out ways to imagine how this story would unfold. These objects, along with the need to get rich from a misplaced suitcase full of cash, drove our original decisions. I found the suitcase and chose to call the mayor who was my ‘partner in crime.’ This spawned the need for the drug addict to call her ex-husband who went psycho trying to protect his own baby.

The tilt in our story is when we decided to make things as interesting in dramatic as possible. Ultimately, it didn’t change how predictable our story was once we established the main conflict. The couple who split up each still had lingering feelings for each other. Since the ex-husband knew that his wife, Sheela, spent a lot of time with the mayor, I fostered his suspicions of them hooking up. The mayor invited Sheela with full intentions of using his stash of porn and sex gear.

The twist: Sheela had stolen Nate’s newborn baby and brought it with her to the mayor’s house. Once Nate found out, everything blew up. Guns became involved especially with a vengeful cousin determined to bring down Mayor Johnston and Commissioner Jordan. I found as the role-playing game continued, the more you lean into your character and the acting that surround it, the more interesting your story gets. People get more passionate about something when you show you are passionate about it.

Playing Fiasco really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I quickly had to bond with people and reach a level with them that made me comfortable enough to act differently and abnormally around them. You can connect this type of gameplay to the human relationships and networking you do in everyday life. Everybody has something they are passionate about and sometimes our passions are not revealed until you are put in the weird situation of playing a role-playing game with essentially five strangers.

Fiasco Reflection

I played the main street game set in Fiasco and was Keita’s father, gambler with Ruohan and professional/employer with Kathy. The game theme combined crime, murder with betrayals. Characters that had conflicts with other characters are willing to kill each other in exchange of monetary interest.

The story started with Kathy getting into jail for stealing after her thief friend Wenyi left her at the crime scene. The suitcase they stole turned out to be extreme valuable and everyone in town wanted to have it. Me and Ruohan decided to meet with someone who claimed to have the case at a secret gambling table behind a Mexican restaurant and won this case with our gambling skills. Next day, I went to visit Kathy in jail since she was my client and had no intention to bail her out until she threatened me to report hidden drugs in my gravel store. Hearing about the secret of suitcase from Kathy with more details and names, I called Ruohan that the suitcase was in someone else’s hand, my son’s former spouse Wenyi. I never liked her and the fact that she threatened to kill my son recently exacerbated my resentment. This became a great chance for me to make her disappear. Ruohan was willing to kill Wenyi for the case but only willing to give me 30% of the share for the suitcase. I wasn’t satisfied and contacted Wenyi in secret about Ruohan’s assassination plan in exchange for 50% of the share. Meanwhile, I also reminded Kathy about Wenyi’s betrayal and told her about Wenyi’s show-up location next day, promising her mother’s life insurance in exchange for the assassination. Next day, Ruohan was killed by Wenyi, who was killed by Kathy soon after. I took a photograph of Kathy at the crime scene to silence Kathy then took the suitcase by myself. Unexpectedly, Wenyi put a poisonous snake in the case and killed me as soon as I opened the case.

The story line is determined largely by the group decision about whether the ones having conversations would be able to achieve the object/goal he/she wanted to, which can be difficult for the story to unfold the way each player imagined. I planned the plot based on the conversations and background information established as the story unfolds and tried to use the conflict for the characters to turn them against each other and achieve my goal of getting the secret suitcase. The role playing in real person is definitely more immersive and interactive than video games and planning my next moves as I hear more about the other players brings more variabilities and uncertainties to this game. I enjoyed setting other players against each other without them knowing my real motive and became the villain in the game. The aftermath is something I cannot choose and my ending of dying when others brought the new challenge of fitting the plot into that ending. Overall, this is a really interesting and interactive experience.

One strategy I frequently used in this game is convincing people to do something that benefits themselves and me without giving out my true intention. That also makes the game more mysterious and adds more turning points as the story unfolds. I became much more aware of what the other players are saying and understood they wanted in return. This game encourages me to become a better listener and mind reader in order to be better. In true writing projects, especially novels that needs character creation and descriptions. This kind of skill is extremely important for the writer to create a vivid, complete, and human-like character in the book. Predicting what each character’s thought process and decision making is the first step towards making a unique and great character in books. By putting my mind in other character’s mindset and simulate their thinking and decision making, Fiasco gives me a glimpse of what I need to do in order to create a character in books.

Fiasco: Off the rails, but on track

My group’s game session of Fiasco was an entertaining, creative, and thought-provoking experience. My name in the story was Edward Anderson, Winslow’s was Collin Anderson, and Greg’s was Russell Cooper. The game required us to make many choices that turned out to be the framework of the story. For example, our story was set in the wild west because we chose the Boomtown set. We then formed relationships with each other by rolling dice. I was Collin’s parent and Russell and I were former lovers. We then rolled the rest of the dice and figured out that we needed to get rich through robbing a business using a railroad hand car at boot hill across the tracks. 

The story we told was based off Russell and Collin’s relationship as gambling partners who are being chased for money. The game started slow as we were trying to develop storylines and follow directions properly. My group decided that to get rich, we needed to carry out a heist. This helped guide the plot and we added details and threw in twists in every scene in preparation for the big heist. For example, I was part of the mission to get back with Collin rather than get money. This may seem like a minor detail, but it was noticeable in the second act when sacrifices and choices were made to resolve situations. More details allowed players to understand everyone’s personality, interests, and motives. However, we all put our individual interests aside and worked as a team to prevent a train from going through boot hill and retrieve the $1 million dollars that was on board the train. 

The tilt happened when we were escaping with from police with money. The tilts suggested that everyone dies in the second act except for Edward. This added a new challenge because every player needed to incorporate their tilt at some point, and we did not know when that would happen. This forced resolvers to think on their feet and continue to drive the plot. In the end, Russell was shot on the handcar because he saved Edward, his ex-lover, from getting hit. This left only the father-son duo of Edward and Collin remaining. Collin died from a gunshot wound and Edward killed himself in a shootout with the police because he thought the two people he cared about died. However, Russell was still alive.

Overall, I was expecting the game to be more structured, but I was pleasantly surprised with the flow of the game. We were able to make the game more fun and less stressful because of looser rules. Each of us had moments where we drove the plots forward and sat back and reacted to what others did because of the roles chosen at the beginning of each scene. Our roles varied throughout the game, so everybody contributed by adding details or bringing the story back to our objectives. The learning outcomes that were fulfilled while playing Fiasco were rhetorical composition and collaboration. Fiasco was a new type of game to me because it required us to create our character and story rather than having structured guidelines. In these roles, all players collaborated and communicated clearly with each other to add to the story and work towards our group goal of getting rich. 

I believe the skills and strategies I used during gameplay were effective because I was one of the last characters remaining. Playing Fiasco showed me that I could improve on thinking quickly in an uncertain situation. For example, there were times when it took time to think of a reply. I can improve on this in other games we play this semester and on future assignments by pushing my boundaries and taking extra time to get my creative juices flowing. The more creative I get, the easier it becomes for me to think of a response and improve my reaction skills.

I am proud of the Fiasco story my group created. It took a lot of teamwork and collaboration to form a story that flowed and integrated all our objectives. In my opinion, we successfully did that. This was my first experience playing a role-playing game. The most interesting part of forming the story was trying to resolve each scene after the establisher. It was much more challenging than I anticipated, but it was overall enjoyable and showed me that I am more creative than I give myself credit for.