I was Ivana Bullet a lobbyist for an arms firm called Umbrella Corp turned zombie roaming parliament. How was your day?
Not your most usual Sunday unless you too have ventured into the world of storytelling games. Today I was lucky to be a part of a mega game of Fiasco. Two groups playing UK Parliament with the zombies add-on. A nice belated halloween treat. Fiasco is a gamesmaster-less role play game, where there is no need to prep and you finish it in just a few hours.
It has an ever growing selection of scenarios to play from, many based on classic films. You can be a part of the cast of a 70s mafia film or face the nightmares of school with added blood. No game plays out the way you expect. Setup is simple, the roll of hand full of dice determines the option you have to choose from with your playset.
This is how I found myself playing Ivanna Bullet who only goal is to successfully lobby the secretary of defence to buy Mace-Guns, Gun-Swords and Axe-Fire blasters during the zombie apocalypse that the government is trying to cover up. Hedging my bets I was blackmailing fellow freemason Zelda West the wife of defence secretary Andrew West to get contracts with MoD. Whilst lobbying the shadow secretary Maxwell and feeding the ducks (always need to feed ducks if doing shady business). Because of course it’s election season and how we handle the zombie disaster, will determine how the public votes.
It didn’t go well for me which is kind of the fun – to create and be the undoing of a despicable character. You create utter nonsense. Sadly Ivanna Bullet was bitten during the meeting with the secretary of defense. Her zombie form was left roaming the parliamentary lobby calling out for braaiiins and drinking irn bru. It didn’t end well for any of us…
But we all left wanting to play again. Taking out the gamemasters and limiting the number of scenes is a real advantage. Having only really tried two sessions of storytelling games using the Slaine setup. My first impressions of role play games was that they requires hours of commitment, character development where learning how to fight required homework. Intrigued by the comics and the basic backstory I was interested wanting to see how my character could develop but put off the complexity. More so the commitment needed to see those games through. Needless to say this character has fallen to the ether.
But I had a taste for role play – to build up a story with friends but not locked in for potentially years. Appealing to my somewhat scatty attention span, the great thing about Fiasco is its length and flexibility. Out of the eight of us three were new to Fiasco, all of them managed to jump straight in. I found it a real gateway into a world of gaming.that would otherwise find too intimidating and closed off.
The games are growing life of their own from a simple playset book. Fans are writing new scenarios and now with add ons. Both groups had similar feelings that the zombies add on was hard to fit on to the parliament. Each took it down a very different path, we brought zombies in early whilst the other group brought theirs in need the end. However hard and ludicrous you always find to bring the story together.
The game doesn’t go the way you expect or is tricky to bringing the different story threads. But like any good game is has replayability and the scope to build on of what you’ve learnt.
Plus it is totally an excuse to play pretend.