Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

How can I describe Fiasco briefly but attractively to someone in the UK?

One problem is: the phrases that are commonly used to pitch Fiasco aren't common in the UK. For example, we don't refer to "crime capers" or "caper movies". Similarly, I haven't heard the phrase "poor impulse control".

I'd describe it by referring to movies, but there aren't many recent ones. The Coen Brothers aren't as well known here. The closest is The Italian Job, but that's rather old.

How can I pitch it?

share|improve this question
This UK resident would have no problem understanding the phrases "crime capers", "caper movies" and "poor impulse control". I don't believe any others would either. – Jagged Nov 10 '10 at 15:13
up vote 12 down vote accepted

It's a game about people whose ambition exceeds their common sense, and they invariably get themselves into trouble by crossing certain lines. Greed, lust, and other sins are always involved. It is usually funny but sometimes it is sad.

I think the Guy Ritchie route is a good one. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a note-perfect Fiasco.

Do your kinsmen like Tarantino? Jackie Brown = perfect.

Have you looked at the filmography on page 124? The Bank Job is a UK-themed Fiasco. In Bruges is about English fools in ... Bruges.

share|improve this answer
Or a gangster London playset! That would be a fantastic thing to show potential players! If only... – Jmstar Nov 10 '10 at 15:55
This is a good pointer, but the phrase "It's about people whose ambition exceeds their common sense, and they invariably get themselves into trouble by crossing certain lines" doesn't really pitch it. I'd like something pithier. – Graham Nov 11 '10 at 11:36
Similarly, Guy Ritchie is a good touchstone, but I don't want to pitch it as "The Guy Ritchie game". – Graham Nov 11 '10 at 11:37
@Jmstar — Such as Gangster London? :) – Quentin Jun 7 '12 at 10:52
@Coreworlder The joke is that Graham wrote that himself nine months prior to asking the question. :) – SevenSidedDie Jun 8 '12 at 8:39

One way would be to frame them in the movies of Guy Ritchie Both Lock, Stock and Snatch were very high-grossing films in the UK. The essence of the capers is that they're Crime Comedies focusing on (TV Tropes warning) A Simple Plan - TVTropes.

Fiasco doesn't need pop-culture references to describe it.

One way of describing it: A bunch of desperate criminals, all working at odds with each other decide to ask the universe: "What could possibly go wrong?" And the universe... answers.

Refer them to this game summary.

Looking at the quote you mentioned:

You’ll play ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control. There will be big dreams and flawed execution. It won’t go well for them, to put it mildly, and in the end it will probably collapse into a glorious heap of jealousy, murder, and recrimination. Lives and reputations will be lost, painful wisdom will be gained, and if you are really lucky, your guy just might end up back where he started.

poor impulse control = "they keep stuffing up their own plans because they're stupid, greedy, and the universe is taking the piss."

Here's a potentially reworded pitch:

You've got a plan. It's a simple plan. It'll set you up after those long hard years in [Really horrible English Suburban city] behind the counter. It's perfect. Nothing could possibly go wrong. Of course, there's one slight flaw, you need some help with the plan, and your friend's... not quite perfect. Not like you, anyways. Then... then things turn into one of those days where nothing goes right, and it's easier to say "Bugger this for a lark." But you can't. It was the one time when things couldn't be stuffed up, but they were. At least you're not alone, and you can revel in the fact that your friends' perfect plans have also gone "belly" up. (replace with correct word) Sometimes, all you can do is laugh -- not that laughing will do any good, mind you.

share|improve this answer
Lock, Stock is a good reference. (Oddly, I've played Fiasco in that style, but not thought of using it to pitch it.) I'm mostly after verbal pitches, rather than Internet references. – Graham Nov 10 '10 at 10:54

Show them this review by Quinns and Paul (British board game reviewers):

share|improve this answer
Welcome to the site. Could you give us any good quotes? – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jun 7 '12 at 0:51

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.