Monday, August 4, 2014

Tales of MaricopaCon 2014 I: FIASCO - Harry Dresden's Chicago Will Never Be the Same

I'm back from running five scenarios at MaricopaCon.  I was very fortunate in that every seat at my table was filled, including the 2 PM Sunday slot.

First up, on Saturday morning, was Fiasco.  For those out there who still don't know about Fiasco, it's a GM-less story game that effectively sets up a narrative that runs as a game about like the story of a Coen Brothers movie or Reservoir Dogs.  Billed as a game of powerful ambition and poor impulse control, it's a favorite at conventions these days, and with good reason.  I also consider it the platonic ideal of a gateway game.  That is, a game with a low barrier to entry (the PDF is $10, the print copy is $25), easy to learn, and easy to host, and easy to use to introduce non-gamers to the hobby.  If people used Fiasco to introduce players to RPGs, instead of the mathematical horror that is D&D (any edition other than maybe the old Basic Set boxed sets from First Edition days), there'd be a lot more converts to role-playing.

When I run Fiasco at conventions these days, I tend to bring about half a dozen playsets, and let the players pick what they want to run.  I had five players, so my role was confined to hosting.  The group picked Hocus Focus, the Dresden Files themed playset published by Evil Hat a couple of years ago as promotion for the Dresden Files RPG.  It should be noted that only a couple of the players had any familiarity with the novels, so while the game definitely had strong urban fantasy themes, nobody was going to confuse it with the Dresden Files.

The game itself went well.  For those familiar with the novels, the characters basically turned Bob the Skull into a McGuffin, which passed from hand to hand in hilarious fashion, and indeed at one time wound up getting shattered.  It wound up in hilarious fashion with about half the characters dead, others with arms where arms aren't supposed to be, and some emergency surgery from the World's Worst Doctor.

Any resemblance to the Dresden Files was purely coincidental, but as with any Fiasco game, the players made it fun.