Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Helgacon 12 - Fiasco: Fun With Superheroes

My Saturday afternoon game was a session of Fiasco, run by the effervescent Miz Petra J.  It was the first time I'd ever played this game, which can best be described as tabletop improv exercise. There are dice, but they spend most of the game as tokens that are handed out for good or ill to the various participants for a final roll to determine how badly boned your character is when everything finally, inevitably goes south like a jet powered goose with a GPS pointed toward Antarctica. 

The general theme was superheroes, but at best it flirted with the genre as far as I conceptualize it. I guess the best comparison, tone wise, could be made to Mystery Men, where we're all 4th. and 5th. rate wannabees in the hero or villain biz. Honestly, though, it was less about grand heroics or villainy and more about small people and their failed relationships, foiled ambitions, and bittersweet nostalgia. 

The game starts with the players going around the table and choosing relationships with their adjacent neighbors. I had Paul and his dynamo brother Max to my left & right. With Paul, we landed on Hero: Hunted Vampires in the 70's. With Max, I was Villain: 2nd. Rank Henchman. From that confluence of forces, Morgo the hunchback was born, and let me tell you he was a hoot to play. Paul wound up as my old vampire hunting partner Frank, while Max played my current boss the Great Figdigler, an up and comer in the mad genius biz. The rest of the group was a varied bunch of megalomaniacs, project managers, scientists, and bowling pros looking to make it big or rekindle past relationships.

From there, a lot of romantic entanglements, broken hearts, ambitious plans, industrial espionage, betrayals, flying atomic hat thefts, flying atomic hat chases, Agile project management, and shopping trips to CVS ensued. The whole baroque house of cards collapsed as we triggered a worldwide disco vampire werewolf apocalypse with a weather control doomsday device and an old lady's doctored hearing aid at the climax of the League bowling championships. 

Morgo came out of the whole mess mostly unscathed, but it was a pyrrhic victory at best, because while his fearless leader The Great Figdigler did manage to secure his entry into the League of Villains with his convoluted plan, our hapless hunchback was still compelled to show up for Scrum meetings. 


All told it was a lot of fun, even though I was new to the system and was a bit tentative about how hard I could grab and twist the emerging narrative. I'd definitely be down for another game of Fiasco in the future. 

Thanks for a great game, Petra!

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