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In Fiasco, dice are used for several different things. During the actual play, they are used to signify whether or not a scene ends well or poorly for the character based on the die colour. For each player present, 2 white and 2 black dice are added to the communal dice pool. As a scene plays out, a single die is picked from the pool, where white is good and black is bad. The last die is 'wild', meaning it can signify any outcome.

Often, all dice of a particular colour will be expended before the end, which means all remaining scenes will either end well, or poorly. Needless to say, knowing how the scene ends before it even begins takes a lot of drama out of the game. It also ruins the whole point of resolution control: choosing between framing the scene and letting other players pick its ending, or allowing them to set it up and picking its resolution.

While it's possible to keep an eye out on the expenditure of dice in an attempt to keep it even, this introduces further constraints. Why is there this mechanic? The only reason I can think of is pacing.

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I'd say you answered your own question. Pacing. The game is trying to tell stories where some things go well for some people, and some things go bad for others. The story will therefore have it's ups and downs, enforced by the rules. Without that, you end up with a story where everything goes well for everyone, or everything goes badly for everyone, and that's just not fun. – Mike Riverso Dec 26 '12 at 4:09
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Yes, it's to enforce pacing—it's not a fiasco without both big wins and terrible losses. Secondarily, it incentivises balancing the dice taken, so that later there are still both good and bad outcomes to choose from.

Running out of one die color can happen if people grab all the "good" outcomes early (perhaps out of habit, striving to "win"?), but it guarantees that the later scenes will be disastrous. It enforces pacing—the less nuance in previous player choices, the more blunt the enforcement is. Having done this a few times, a group will start avoiding such monotonous choices so that the rising and falling action is more varied, and to be better able to strategise the assignment of dice in the endgame.

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For the record, we've always run out of "bad" dice first - guess the various groups I've played with all readily embraced the concept of "playing to lose". I may have to try house-ruling it, so that once there are only dice of a single kind left, they all become wild. Ah well, though I don't like this rationale, it does answer the question. – Magician Jan 2 '13 at 5:52
Would simply pointing out the count as you hit mile stones help? – mlk Oct 11 '13 at 14:56
@mlk "Pacing" isn't just timing, it's also a pattern of ups and downs. – SevenSidedDie Oct 11 '13 at 15:02
The ups & downs it what I was attempt to get at, once someone hits the 1/2 mark with the white or black dice as facilitator point that out. That way if you hit that mark when you are only 1/2 way through Act One it would hopefully jog everyone else into picking a dice of the other colour. – mlk Oct 11 '13 at 15:38
@mlk Oh, I see, you don't mean eliminating the die colours. It might work? If you try it, that may be worth writing an answer from experience. :) – SevenSidedDie Oct 11 '13 at 15:54

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