I’ve talked about Fiasco before on this blog, but only a few times. This isn’t a reflection of how often I play it1 – I find myself pulling it out when other games fall through, when a group of us get together to game on short notice, and to demo to people who’ve never played it. And that’s in addition to the evenings I actually plan to play it.
It works very much like a boardgame in that sense; very little preparation, everyone gets to play, and it’s over in a couple of hours2. In addition to it fitting nicely into the boardgame timeframe for regular play, that makes it a good game to demo and run at conventions; you can get three to five people through a quick game of it in about an hour and a half, if you don’t let the scenes drag on too long.
Seeing it fill that niche, I decided that I wanted to carry the similarity a little farther, and I put together what I call my Fiasco kit: everything I need to run the game at a moment’s notice in a convenient bundle. It’s not really anything new; I imagine a lot of people have done similar things, but I’ve got a couple of comments about how handy it looks from others, so I figured I’d share.
That’s a picture of my kit above, and here’s the key to what’s in it:
- Fiasco rulebook. Honestly, I hardly look at the book myself anymore during games. The rules are simple enough that I don’t need it, especially considering numbers 2. and 4. below. But it comes in handy if there’s a rules question, and it’s good advertising for when I run the demos at conventions and such. Also, it’s just a nice-looking book.
- Tilt and Aftermath tables. In addition to owning the physical copy of the game, I also own the .pdf version. In an effort to simplify the reference materials I use at the table, and to save flipping through the rulebook, I extracted the Tilt and Aftermath tables and printed them out double-sided landscape so that I could fold them into a booklet. That way, I can save the binding on the physical book, or pass the physical book to observers who want to know about the game, and I’ve got all the info I need.
- Black and white dice. I picked up Fiasco at GenCon, and that was a very convenient place to snag a cube of 12 white dice and another of 12 black dice, along with their own dice bag. Now I just leave it in the kit, and I never have to go scrounging for dice. You don’t need 24 dice for the game, but getting the cube was cheaper than buying 11 singles of each3.
- Playsets. As with number 2. above, I extracted each playset from the rule book and printed it out as its own booklet. It speeds up the time it takes to select a playset, saves wear and tear on the book, and minimizes the amount of reference material you need on the table. In addition to the four playsets in the rulebook, I’ve also printed out the free Playset of the Month booklets that Bully Pulpit have been producing, so I’ve got a nice, thick stack of attractive, colourful playsets for people to look at4.
- Sharpies. For writing down the stuff you come up with during the set-up phase on number 6. I keep four sharpies in the kit, which means that there’s little – if any – scrambling after them during the game. Why don’t I have five? Well, they came in a package of four, and I figured that was good enough.
- Index cards. To write down the relationships, needs, locations, and objects that get created during the set-up phase; to use as name cards so you remember what your character’s name is; and to jot down the Aftermath scores as people roll them so that you can then go through the list and read the Aftermath definitions.
- A decent plastic folder. Single pocket, easy to wipe off if it gets something spilled on it, big enough to hold everything in one spot so I don’t need to scramble around for it. Easy to carry, with a fastener to keep it closed.
Like I said, none of this is groundbreaking, but it’s a little convenience thing that’s let me play a lot more Fiasco than I might do if I had to always hunt down the components.
And it means I’m always ready for a disaster.
- Though, honestly, I’d like to play it more. The gaming calendar is crowded.
- I can think of some boardgames that don’t fit all those criteria. Arkham Horror, I’m looking at you!
- Why 11, when you only need 2 of each colour per player, and there’s a limit of 5 players? Because the colour of the last die is wild, so I like to have an extra die of each colour to put on the table for when the last scene plays out.
- For those of you who care about that sort of thing, to get a standard 12-page playset to print out two-up landscape double sided and be able to fold it into a booklet, you need to adjust the pagination. The sequence needs to be 12, 1, 2, 11, 10, 3, 4, 9, 8, 5, 6, 7.