Monthly Archives: February 2021

Fiasco: A Review

Over the past three weeks, we played a roleplaying game called Fiasco. Overall, I really enjoyed Fiasco because of the openness of the game proper. Everyone gets their time in the spotlight because of how the game is structured. This can be an issue in some TTRPGs that rely heavily on roleplaying.

Session one consisted of selecting the wild west playset, Boomtown, character creation, and Act One. We rolled all the dice in the center of the board and then went round-robin, choosing how our characters’ relationships. This was the hardest part to understand for me. Your character traits, relationships, and everything else are pulled from the communal pool of dice. For players new to roleplaying systems, I think this works really well at giving them a place to start, however I would have liked to have more agency over the choices I made as I could see much more interesting plot threads that what we got. However, the game we played was a total blast, as you will soon see.

I ended up playing Lonnie, the horse whisperer whose most prized possession was the tear-stained love letter left by his husband, Dino (A player in the game), who had up and disappeared in the middle of the night. Character creation is one thing that Fiasco does right. Conflict of interest is one of the main focuses of the game, and by working together to establish motives, the plot of the game became clear. Lonnie goes to his outlaw cousin Annie, another PC, with a half-baked plan to kill his husband in a fit of rage. As the session progresses, it becomes clear that Annie has her own agenda. She robbed Dino way in the past for a whopping $20,000 and maybe planning to finish him off once and for all. Annie meets up with her old partner in crime Samira, another PC, to pick up some firearms, and the spark of an old romance ignites. As it turns out, Samira works for Dino at his general store next to the old church. At the end of session one, we were primed and ready to go for the tilt.

Session two was where **** hit the fan. Lonnie and Annie were determined to off Dino. Meanwhile Samira in crime was hatching her own plan so that she and Annie could ride into the sunset while everything burned around them. Dino, now played by a new member to the group, tried to reconsile with Lonnie at the church where they first came together as a couple. Then Annie arrived and tried to convince Lonnie to pull the trigger and off the man who caused him so much pain, but Dino had succeeded in planting a seed of doubt in Lonnie’s mind Our tilt was someone panic and panic, Lonnie did. Seeing this moment of doubt, Annie shoots Lonnie in the leg and gets into a scuffle with Dino. Samira arrives and tends to Lonnie’s would while thinking about stabbing him. The fight continues until Samira suggests that Annie and her just leave Lonnie and Dino. Annie agrees yet she sets the church on fire on her way out. The session ends on a cliff hanger with The Aftermath saved for meeting three.

Session three was a rather short one for us as all we had to do was cover The Aftermath. Throughtout the game when each seen ends, the PCs where not involved get to decide if the characters involved got good or bad endings. Now is when you total up the die to determine your ending. Lonnie got a bitter end where he lived through the encounter with his cousin however the wound never quite healed right. Lonnie blamed everyone but himself and this sour attitude caused Dino to leave him again. The game ended as it began, with Lonnie reading a tear stained love letter.

Fiasco works to facilitate leadership in numerous ways, chief among them being: knowing when to step down and let someone else have the spot light. Fiasco heavily relies on improvisation and the best improv scenes work best when everyone is complementing each other and building on what everyone else establishes. In our game each person had several opportunities to lead a scene in the direction they wanted it to go and we supported them in that moment.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection: Fiasco Week 3

This week, we finished the final step of Fiasco which is called the “aftermath”. When we created the scene, we got the dice in two different colors which are black and white from other group members, and the difference between black and white dice is other group members ‘opinions of how your scene goes, if they think your character will be in a better situation, they will give you a white dice, if they think your character will be in a worse situation, they will give you a black dice. I am not good at creating the scene, so I got more black dice than white dice, thus the aftermath end for me was not good, I lost almost everything. I lost my boss which was dead in the final part; I lost my job since the whole police office was on fire and my clinic was in the police office. So, I decided to leave this city and find my new life.

After we finished our Fiasco, we went back to the main room and learned about some skills of leadership such as values, morals, and ethics. I think the tolerance is also a part of the leadership. As I said in the previous week’s blog, we missed one group member last week, so we decided to wait for her but not finished the game without her. This week this person came back, we told her what we done last week and help her to adapt our story, and we really had a good time with finishing this story. One thing that the professor taught me during the class session was having integrity is a good thing, but there are still some disadvantages.

During this week’s class session, I think the hardest part is still to create your own scene that can make the whole story interesting and logical, but I think a make a great progress since I got a white dice (which means my group member think the scene I created was good, and in the last week I got all my scene black dice.) this week. The class session went very well, we discussed a lot during the session about the scene so that we make our Fiasco story ended interesting, and we all like this end.

Game of the Week Blog: Fiasco Week 3

This week we finished up our game of Fiasco and completed what the game calls the “aftermath”. In order to determine what path your character ends on, each player must add up the number of dice they have. Then depending on their sum and whether it was mostly white die “good” or red die “bad” they can red the aftermath cards and determine how good or painful of an ending their character gets. My character had a higher sum of the red die so my ending wasn’t as happy as I thought it was going to be because I got “rough”. Basically, I needed to come up with something bad that happens to my character so that they remember it as a lasting lesson. To do that I played off of what my “lover” in the game did and since we were cuddled up in the middle of the desert I had a rattlesnake bite me and had to have my foot amputated. All of which sucked but compared to the other players wasn’t that bad and I still ended up with my lover.

After we finished the game we wrapped up the class talking about some leadership skills such as beliefs, values, morals, and ethics. I thought it was interesting how we discussed where we learn which leadership skills apply to us while growing up. In my opinion, I think our leadership skills are highly influenced by our family/friends, school, and religion if we have one. The perspective that having integrity is not always a good thing came as a surprise to me. When I think of having integrity it seems like an inherently good thing, like we are honest and steadfast to our beliefs. However, if those beliefs and ideals that we hold could be evil ones thus making one’s integrity a bad thing.

The class discussion then prompted me to think about how my own beliefs, values, morals, and ethics were reflected in my gameplay. I think in the beginning I definitely tried to keep my character as similar to myself as possible but quickly learned that in Fiasco that is impossible and also makes for a boring plot. I then noticed how a switch occurred midway through the game when I started to make my character do and say things that I would not do in real life. It’s kinda scary how when presented with an opportunity with no real-life consequences we can choose to live vicariously through an imaginative character and be either the best or worse versions of ourselves. So what does it say about my integrity that I enjoyed playing a manipulative and deceitful wild west gangster?

Fiasco! among the stars

Shenanigans among the stars


Reach for the stars

Faster than light travel has been discovered and commodified. Everyday people can get jobs piloting between planets or even upon stars. The stars were always pretty from Earth but who knew they could be even more pretty when you’re rocketing past them. We’ve explored every inch of the galaxy by now. It’s not the most common of jobs but it really gets you away from the life at home and out there. We’ve always had our eyes on the sky and now we’re there. Space is a fresh start for many. Is this your chance to start anew? What all can you find out there beyond the stars? Maybe you can do some good for everyone? After all, what’s there to lose?


1 partners

  1. Lab partners
  2. Captain and second mate
  3. A scientist and their helpful robot assistant
  4. On a honeymoon trip
  5. In crime, in life, in death
  6. For however long that lasts

2 coworkers

  1. Working in the bowels of the ship
  2. Assigned reluctantly
  3. Who bunk together
  4. The two who know the ship best
  5. A scientist and their helpful robot pal
  6. The only 2 who can communicate between 2 groups

3 friends

  1. Since day one of the assignment
  2. Traveling the worlds together
  3. From back in college
  4. At a time that isn’t right now
  5. Who share a secret
  6. For as long as this is mutually beneficial

4 shady

  1. Captain and head smuggler
  2. Dealer and druggie
  3. Blackmailer and blackmailed
  4. Person onboard officially and the person they smuggled in
  5. Mercs hired to oppose the rest
  6. Dealt together in the distant past

5 intrigue

  1. Alien and scientist
  2. Mysteriously ill and doctor 
  3. You recognize each other but you have no memory of meeting
  4. Recently you two agreed to a risky deal
  5. Detective and suspect
  6. You both suspect each other of something nefarious

6 rivals

  1. Vying for the captain’s notice
  2. In scientific discovery
  3. In owning the smuggling world
  4. Captaining the two best ships in the galaxy
  5. Siblings assigned to the same ship
  6. Captains of the two fastest ships in the galaxy


1 scientific discovery

  1. You want something named after you before you die
  2. you need more patents than your sibling
  3. You need to cure this disease
  4. You need to make the first contact
  5. You need to crack this code
  6. You need to invent something great

2 truth

  1. Something here isn’t right
  2. These glyphs mean something
  3. Your father disappeared in this sector years before
  4. Everyone needs to know this before I die
  5. They told me one thing before they disappeared
  6. They died and you need to know why

3 to get out

  1. Of a bad situation with worse people
  2. Of debt 
  3. Of the country with no way to track you
  4. Of this ship and away from these people
  5. And finally make something of myself
  6. Of this part of the galaxy

4 to get money

  1. And live life as stress free as possible
  2. To get your parents off your back
  3. To bail out a buddy
  4. To rid yourself of your past
  5. And start a new life half-way across the galaxy
  6. By any means necessary

5  to gain respect

  1. Of the crew
  2. Across the galaxy
  3. Of another person of science
  4. And accolades for my abilities
  5. From my family by finally doing something good
  6. Of that jerk who dismissed me

6 surviving

  1. This trip to the end
  2. To see someone one last time
  3. Because you promised them
  4. To prove them wrong
  5. To live a better life
  6. In spite of the situation


1 Tech

  1. The trustworthy AI aboard
  2. Bug codes on a zip drive
  3. Malware infecting something
  4. Robotic prosthetic or necessary accessory 
  5. A new invention you want to test out
  6. Your spaceship has just been fixed up

2 Alien

  1. Egg that might have just hatched
  2. Weapon accidentally activated
  3. Glyphs appearing on your arms
  4. Plant that just destroyed the observation room
  5. Baby smuggled aboard
  6. Parasite that just bit someone

3 Useful

  1. Wrench got from the engine room
  2. Fire Axe broken out of its box
  3. A single spacesuit
  4. The last functioning escape pod
  5. A medkit with all the works
  6. 3 days worth of rations

4 Dangerous

  1. item never meant for zero gravity
  2. Illegal weapons the captain doesn’t know about
  3. Deal with the mob that better pan out in the end
  4. Modifications done to a ship
  5. Meteorite headed straight for you
  6. Notification appearing with no sender

5 Secret

  1. Experimental drugs
  2. Smuggled goods ready for the market
  3. The last message from Earth
  4. An extra person
  5. Instructions from the local gang
  6. Part of an alien ruin still untranslated

6 Brings back memories

  1. Picture of a lost lover
  2. A personal journal
  3. Locket that won’t open
  4. Letter from a former friend
  5. A switchblade from dad
  6. A stuffed animal you still can’t sleep without


1 Past the milky way

  1. On a trip to the furthest star
  2. On the galaxy super highway
  3. In an alien blackmarket
  4. In an observation tank
  5. At the biggest space auction house this side of Pluto
  6. On an ordinary mining operation

2 in our galaxy

  1. Exploring Martian ruins
  2. Observing earth
  3. On a mission to Venus
  4. Escaping Earth
  5. Headed straight for the sun
  6. And leaving as fast as possible

3 Onboard a spaceship

  1. Owned by the US government
  2. On its maiden voyage
  3. Doing a cargo run
  4. Not necessarily your spaceship
  5. Hidden with the supplies
  6. Trapped in the medical center

4 in the middle of nowhere

  1. In an asteroid belt
  2. Far from anyone who could help
  3. Caught between two ships
  4. Found by smugglers
  5. Ready for a deal
  6. Hiding from the mob

5 Wrecked

  1. In hostile territory
  2. On an inhospitable planet
  3. And tied up by masked people
  4. Trapped in the ship
  5. On some random comet
  6. With your translator dead

6 lost

  1. On a planet not on your star charts
  2. Way off course
  3. Somewhere that has oxygen at least
  4. On a strange green planet
  5. With enough gas for one jump
  6. On an empty hunk of rock

Game of the Week Blog Reflection: Fiasco Week 2

This week in Tabletop Leadership we continued playing Fiasco. We were able to complete Act 1 and part of the Tilt in this week’s session. This session did not come without challenges. Unfortunately, we were having bad connection issues because we kept getting disconnected from the server and it would take a few minutes to get everyone back in it. We also had a hard time coming up with scenes at first because no one in my group has played any game like this before, but we did get things moving after a few tries. Luckily we were able to help each other out to make the game go smoothly.

That brings me to another way this game ties to leadership. Fiasco requires a lot of cooperation. First, everyone has to pay attention to each speaker and really consume all of the information coming their way. Then, you have to tie all of the stories together in some way while at the same time trying to tie your scenes with the attributes given to your character. In order to help the story make sense, we had to cooperate with each other and sometimes help each other finish scenes. Leadership is about cooperating with other people in order to benefit the group as a whole. Each of us had to step up and tie in our stories with each other. Leaders must think about the rest of group in order to benefit the group as a whole.

In week 1, I mentioned how my friend Alex would enjoy this game. I stand by that because it’s a game that gives you the opportunity to influence the story in a major way. This is also something I enjoyed about our game session because some of the scenes really drove the development of the story. If you want the story to go a certain direction, you can do that. That is something I like about this game but it can also be difficult if group members don’t carry the story along well. Luckily, my group didn’t have that problem in this session and we were able to get a good start on the game.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection: Fiasco Week 2

The story we created together is a bit exaggerated and outrageous. There are many details that I can’t remember now. Some of the turbulent plots are provided by game mechanics, which are rationalized by us and unified with other plots. There are also many of our own ideas.

The board games that Fiasco and I usually play are quite different. There is no winning or losing, only the story and the process. We are doing improvisation. The framework of the game gives us an era background and venue to freely exert our imagination. These are not available in ordinary board games. We played for about two hours. These are two hours of attentiveness, because everyone else must listen carefully when telling a story and try to integrate it with the story of their character. I play it a bit rigorously, and think of myself as a script writer. The script is written for others to appreciate and evaluate, not too outrageous, it must be convincing.

I am a lady with an underground casino and drug smuggling business. My partner is Xin. I need him to help me transfer and sell drugs. My casino is underground in the prison. This is a risky and creative decision. Our story is very funny but it continues very wonderfully. I once went to prison to bail my partner, because when Xin went to the prison to visit Jack, he was discovered by the police. Jack escaped from prison, but my partner Xin was arrested. This is an exaggeration, but we are all in the play and enjoy the game.

All in all, this is a heart-stringing game, and I hope we can do better.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection: Fiasco Week 1

Today we started playing Fiasco, my friends Kate, Jack, Jingyi, Xin. We enjoyed this game very much, but in fact we were not familiar with this game at the beginning, but I found that this game has to be played many times. It is a long story, just like a TV series. This game can be played for a long time. Fiasco has a basic rule structure. In addition to these books, each time you play, you have to choose a scene, and the scene has its own content. The basic game provides some scenes, and there are many, many other scenes besides the basic game, including scenes created by players. The game is played for four rounds. In each round, each player has to tell a story from his character’s point of view. The story is over, the player can choose to set up a crisis by himself, and then other players decide the result, or choose other players to set up a crisis for him, and he decides the result. The whole game process is that everyone is creating a story together.

At the beginning of the game, you have to set the roles and relationships of the players. Part of this setting is decided by rolling the dice, and part is chosen by the player. Various story elements are listed on the setting table of the scene. Each element has a value (between 1 and 6). All the dice must be thrown together to form a common dice library. When the player sets up the character and the relationship between the characters, he must remove the dice from the dice library, and then select the story element that corresponds to the number of the dice. The elements in the setting list of the scene are naturally related to the age of the scene and the background of the story. There are also some general plots that allow players to use their imagination. The setting of the scene will make the players have a stake, and some characters will have goals or tasks. The content of the story is not very detailed at this time, only one or two key points. Players must try to string these elements into a coherent and logical story.

I like this game very much and hope that the next story can be more exciting.

fiasco week 2

This was week 2 of playing fiasco and I really felt the progress and got into it this week. It was so much fun that I decided to do the fiasco playset assignment. I’ve been on a bit of a kick for both westerns and space things so  it works out that I got to play the western and make a space fiasco. It went a bit less smoothly than I expected and the instructions on the tilt were a bit messy but it was so much fun the entire time!

It took a bit of effort to start the story-telling aspect. I think it was a bit easier for me than the rest of my group as I’ve been a dungeon master for my friends for I think about 3 years give or take. I’m used to setting the scene, building up the characters and giving motivation, it’s a requirement for DMs to be able to do that. Fiasco was even easier because I didn’t need to plant things for others to find or set up things before and after, it was just the one scene. Once we went once around the table we all got really into it and came up with some elaborate and engaging ideas. We were even talking about it during the tilt and where we thought we’d go with act 2.

The leadership aspect in this game is knowing when to take the lead but also knowing when to step back and let another person shine. I think everyone thinks that leadership inherently makes others follow, and while yes to an extent someone will be “in charge” I think leadership is really about coming together and finding each person a part to take charge of in a given project. Fiasco really highlights this idea in a way beyond words.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection: Fiasco Week 1 Game of the Week Blog Reflection: Fiasco Week 2

This week was the second week we played Fiasco. Since last week we were only able to set up the game, this week we began the actual game. Over the span of the session, two of the other characters found the body of a friend/rival of my character and had pinned that murder on my character. I have a feeling my character is not going to live happily ever after. We made the session run all the way to setting up the tilt. My character seems to have a guilty conscience about the murder that they had done. Everyone has been giving my character most of the dice as of now. I have the most white dice, but I also have the most black. Since we haven’t started the tilt yet, I’m curious to see where the story goes and how bad my character is going to end up.

The hardest part of this week’s game was by far the internet connections. The day of this session had very snowy weather happening in my area. My internet was unstable so often that I would be kicked off of Zoom and Tabletop Simulator multiple times. I felt terrible about that for my groupmates, especially since I was the one that created the server on Tabletop Simulator. I think the simulator crashed for everyone about five or six times.

Fiasco is a game about cooperation, but it is also about manipulation. You need everyone to be able to create the story. Everyone gives ideas to move the game and story along. However, everyone is trying to make the story end in a way that benefits their characters wants and needs. You have to understand how the others are directing their time and efforts and make it so that your character could possibly have the best ending. In the game Fiasco, there isn’t a specific “winner.” We all lose in the end, but it’s up to you how much you want to lose.

I still believe that my friends who are into D&D would love to play this game. All of them love to play chaotic characters. Fiasco is a game all about chaos. They would fit right in playing this game, especially if they play a D&D playset of Fiasco.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection: Fiasco Week 1 Game of the Week Blog Reflection: Fiasco Week 1

For this week in class, we started playing the game Fiasco. We are going to be playing this game over a span of three weeks. For the first week, my group was only able to set up the game. In the set up we had to roll dice to create our world and characters. As we progressed through the dice we realized our choices were becoming limited and made it harder for us to decide where we wanted our story to progress. In the end several characters had the same needs as we rolled a large proportion of one dice number. Our set up took longer than most. It took a bit of time to get everyone one the game page to get our story running. 

Fiasco is a game about co-leadership. You can’t play this game quietly or by yourself. Each person has to put something to the table in order for your story to work. Collaboration is the key to making this game succeed. If only one person is talking, asking the questions, and giving ideas for how the story could progress, then the game is not being played. Everyone has to put an effort into creating the world this game lives in.

I think my friends Sarah, Laura, Sam, and Gavin would enjoy playing this game. All of them enjoy playing games like DnD. At times the sessions of DnD they play almost end up in a Fiasco type journey. They love building worlds that could end up going horribly wrong based on the players actions. It as if chaos runs in their veins during the game session.