Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Free Hump Day - Fiasco Playset - Gangster London

It's been a while since I've talked about Fiasco, and it being my game of the year last year, I consider this to be a great travesty! So, to remedy my horrendous oversight, I'm going to take this Free Hump Day opportunity to highlight a free product that directly resulted in one of the most amazingly fun and funny nights of gaming I've ever had.

But first, a quick review of Fiasco basics!

Fiasco is gm-less role playing game from Bully Pulpit Games. Outside of Dread (with the Jenga tower!) it's probably the best high-concept, non-traditional RPG out there. Instead of building characters, players start by building their relationships and connections to the other players. A web of needs, places, things, and life relations are built at the beginning of each game, and the characters then organically evolve out of this process. Games are guided by a playset that gives a very specific setting full of shadowy characters, dangerous weapons, and dark desires. Playsets are as close as you get to an actual adventure for Fiasco, and you have to have one to play the game.

The core book comes with four playsets. This would appear quite limiting, but Bully Pulpit has not stopped since Fiasco's initial release to put out a new playset each month. We've got playsets to cover everything we could ever hope for, and if Bully Pulpit didn't directly release it, it's probably not much more than a Google search to find someone who made a fan playset for it.

Gangster London, one of the earliest free monthly playsets, provides an opportunity for us Yanks to have a good laugh at the bumbling criminal movies of England such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch (and also other movies not directed by Guy Ritchie). For my money, I pretty much can't understand anything that's said in any of these movies, but I love them all the same. English gangsters film just have a completely different feel to them. One of the huge advantages to a gangster film set in London is the close proximity England has to the rest of Europe. In our game, we used Eastern European mobsters to great effect to add a flair of truly foreign danger to our incredibly hapless heroes.

If you're looking at the huge list of free playsets for Fiasco and wondering where to start, I can happily recommend Gangster London as a great launching point. When we played our four-player game, only half of us, myself and the lady Hopeless, had played the game before. The other two, regulars of our Friday night games got into it very quickly, and I know it was one of the best games we'd all ever played. There's nothing better than Fiasco for when you need a good laugh and a game of light role-playing!


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