March 29, 2023

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Fiasco developers interview

Fiasco is a storytelling game about dumb people getting in trouble, played at the intersection of powerful ambition and poor impulse control.

by Jodie Anderson

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the original Fiasco a storytelling/ roleplaying game that uses cards created by Bully pulpit games, they have created and launched Fiasco’s new edition on Kickstarter. I caught up with Jason Morningstar, one of the creators of Fiasco to find out more about the game and how it works.

Can you tell us about Fiasco? 

Fiasco is a storytelling game about dumb people getting in trouble, played at the intersection of powerful ambition and poor impulse control. It flips the script on most roleplaying games, in that you embrace failure and get to gleefully watch your characters make a mess of things. The classic version uses six-sided dice as randomizers and tokens throughout the play. For the revised version, after years of experience, we realized that shifting to a card-based format solved several common problems and opened up some really fun new design opportunities. We are kickstarting a new edition here

After ten years, what made you and Bully pulpit games decide to create the new edition of Fiasco?

It was time! Over the years we’ve played a ton of Fiasco, and listened to the experience of others. We had a decade of lessons learned to incorporate, and we wanted to refine the game and make it a little more accessible and approachable. The ten year anniversary seemed like the perfect time to do that. 

Who or what inspired you to create the original Fiasco ten years ago?

The design was originally driven by my frustration at having downtime at conventions, actually. It seemed like every game took four hours to play, so if you missed a slot, you missed four hours of fun. I set out to make a game that met my precise needs – playable in two or three hours, easy to pick up and jump into, and able to tell a complete, satisfying story. As I worked on it, I threw out anything that didn’t meet these requirements. 

In the new edition of Fiasco, are the gameplay and rules unchanged?

The core gameplay is largely unchanged and will be instantly familiar to classic Fiasco players. All the changes are subtle and based on years of play. For example, where “if you have four players, always have two Needs and don’t place them adjacent to each other” used to be a recommendation, now it is the rule. Things are slightly simplified but not really that different. 

What can people expect in the new edition Fiasco game box?

The box comes with a folding play mat; an “engine deck” that includes two sets of outcome cards (positive and negative, replacing the dice), and an aftermath deck; three playsets (each its own deck of cards), and some other materials like a rule book. Also included will be an unlimited amount of endlessly replayable fun. 

How easy is  Fiasco for beginners?

Very easy! It’s a great gateway game for people who are enthusiastic about narrative board games and want to try something more roleplaying oriented, for example. It works well for complete newbies – I recently played with my mother and her friends, and we had a great time. They were very unruly. 

On your Kickstarter campaign, you mention playset expansion packs. Can the public purchase these expansions packs?

Absolutely! Our plan is to package new playsets in pairs and make them available through normal retail channels once the Kickstarter has been fulfilled. We will also share resources to allow you to make your own playsets, which is a popular part of the classic game. 

Could you tell us more about the playset expansion packs and what people would receive in them?

 A playset consists of 54 themed cards that cover a range of Relationships, Needs, Objects, and Locations. These combine to allow an endless number of wild starting situations, each a genuine fiasco! Each expansion will include two paired playsets – for example, Fiasco High and Camp Death, two playsets that focus on teens. One nice thing about card-based playsets is that you can also mash them up, or tune your deck as you please. 

At the time of writing with 11 days left to go and 3,000+ backers, Fiasco was fully funded. Head over and back the bully pulpit games Kickstarter campaign Here for fiasco new edition to receive a pre-released draft.