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.

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