Updated: Jul 18
Fiasco! is an example of a different style of Tabletop Role Playing Game from the Dungeons & Dragons style long form game. Typically referred to as an Indie RPG, these games are made by small independant publishers and designed to be completed in one night.
The inspiration for fiasco! are black comedy films such as Fargo, Burn After Reading, Blood Simple and The Way of The Gun. Your heroes have high ambition and poor impulse control, they are disposable and very likely to die before the game ends.
You might think that this would be a limiting factor, but in fact it's quite the opposite. Using the games simple diceless system, players take it in turns to either set the scene (placing characters in a location) or to resolve a scene (the other players set the scene). Scenes can take place any time any when so there can be lots of flashbacks and flash forwards to establish character detail, motivation or plot for scenes which have happened or might happen later in the game. If your character dies early on in the game then simply set the scene at a time before his death just like in the Jason Statham movie Crank. A game of Fiasco can be a lot of fun even when the opening scene is of your character dying.
In a change to our regular schedule Tony ran a Fiasco! using the Dragon Slayers playset which was new to everyone round the table. This is a typical fantasy setting where the players begin the game at a local inn having just slain a dragon and recovered it's horde. If you want to know how this played out read Tony's session report over on his blog Roleplay-Geek.