[Fiasco] All The Damn Time

edited August 2010 in Stuff to Watch
So, I've been writing a few Fiasco playsets of late, and I think they're going well enough. You'll see a couple of them in the future, through more official channels. But this one... this one I couldn't wait to show you. This one needs some actual play to sharpen its edges and, I figured, why just try it out myself when the Internet is full of great Fiasco players like you?

It's called "All The Damn Time." Here's the gist of it: Sam Howard is a man unstuck in time. Some kind of quantum-level shenanigans have him traveling to and from key moments in his life. But if one Sam Howard managed to mess things up the first time, who’s to say that even more meddling Sam Howards can make things any better? Will Sam improve his life by futzing with his own history or will he turn a life of perfectly ordinary mistakes into a paradoxical catastrophe?

Who plays Sam Howard, by the way? You all do. You play Sams from different points in time.

Drop by my site and pick up the playset. It's free! And actual-play notes may be incorporated into a future edition for wider distribution.

Thanks in advance!


  • This sounds like it's made of nuts and awesome.
  • It is brain-destroyingly cool. I think the real pleasure of it will be taking cues from other players about how to play your shared character, building that Sam gestalt. As old Sam you throw out that he's afraid of heights, that is such a gift - young Sam can earn that phobia.
  • I'd really enjoy playing this one. Sweet.
  • Whoa. This playset made me feel very funny in the head, and when I sneezed, I had brain goo all over my hands.

    Which means I must play it as soon as possible.
  • I love the intimacy of the relationships Sam has to himselves. Manna Hotel will still be the playset for my next Fiasco (at the Minicon on the 28th - if you're in the SF Bay Area, why not join us?), to keep things friendly for first-time players, but I think we'll break this one out the next time we convene our usual group. Well played, Mr Hindmarch. Well played.
  • Awesome! Just last week I was playing a time travel game with Universalis, and when time travel was established as a tenet I thought Primer - but what we ended up with was Dr. Who. Which was fine, but this sounds like what I was really looking for. In fact, it's way beyond what I could have possibly imagined I was really looking for.
  • Holy heck! I might pick up Fiasco just to play this. :)

    And here I thought I was the only one crazy enough to try making a game about something like this. :)

    Very cool!

  • Thanks for taking the time to look at it, y'all! I hope you'll get a chance to play it, too, and that it'll, you know, work. Please be sure to sound off here or in the comments on my site if you have playtest notes.

  • That is beyond crazy great. I can't wait to get a bunch of Sams together to take the flux conductor for a spin.
  • That's pretty neat. But it looks like it would be hard to actually play. Has it worked for you so far?
  • I don't think it's been played at all yet - Will and I both recognized that it needed lots of eyes and lots of play to make sure it works right. So please give it a whirl!
  • Alas, I haven't gotten a new gaming group together since I recently moved 700 miles across the US. So I haven't been able to playtest this particular set. If you follow the link to the blog, I think I'm pretty clear that this is a challenging playset, vulnerable to abuse at the hands of an antagonistic play group. But I think there's a great play experience in here for the groups that are eager to make it work.

    To be clear, though, this playset has been released for actual playtesting. It needs it. Even if I had played it once with my own group, that'd hardly be enough information to go on when writing advice on how to run the thing. So I'm soliciting reports from the field.
  • Will, your pdf is lacking page numbers!

    This was fustrating when I got the pages out of order..

    Soon as more of my friends have played Fiasco we'll give this a run.

    I was thinking of recording events in Sam's life on index cards like Microscope, building a time line...
  • Posted By: ziphtWill, your pdf is lacking page numbers!
    Which made me think (though maybe it should be its own thread): Jason, do you have a template that you use for your playsets? I assume so, because they have such consistent layouts. Maybe you could make it available?

    Ooo! And if you make a "blank" one--no text, just layout--then I could put fields into it as a PDF and it would be a "live form" and template, combined. And if you like, I could put an email-submit button on it somewhere (non-printing, of course) and it could email you the playset's text (i.e. just the fields) which you could plug into a database; and then you could have a web page with EVERY playset, ready for searching and printing, with a consistent format; and then you could easily generate a Big Book of Fiasco Playsets with a simple SQL report; and then... PROFIT. :D

    Uh, anyway. I got Acrobat and I know how to use it. You got OO Base, and you could get jiggy with it....
  • Posted By: ziphtWill, your pdf is lacking page numbers!
    None of the Fiasco supplementary playsets have page numbers. I followed the official template.

    Out of curiosity, did you find it easy to confuse the Locations with the Objects or anything? I thought the two-page spreads for those things would be pretty easy to sort out.

    Anyway, consider your reader note logged and appreciated!

  • It was just a moment of panic.
  • So it sounds like a few people have played this thing, now. I got to play it at PAX (more on that coming soon) and a group in Minneapolis played it this week and posted a comment about it on the my page: find that here.

    If you've read it, even, and have notes on the text, don't be shy. I'm thinking I'll need another two or three pages to this playset to fill it with setup advice and the like. And that's not counting revisions just to the language itself, for clarity.

    Many, many thanks to everyone who's downloaded and read this already. Bonus thanks to everyone who's played it!

  • edited June 2011
    So if you ever got around to messing with "All The Damn Time," now's the time to let me know. I'm locking a manuscript about the playset on Friday morning. This new manuscript, intended for the stellar-looking Magic Missile journal, contains a new Tilt table, playtest notes, and further thoughts on how to play with the set. I'm pretty excited to get it in front of more people, and I'd love it if you could make me smarter with your opinions and experiences while there's still time.

    Thanks much!
  • Have a look at this play-by-forum thread. I'm not involved with it, but it's been interesting to watch. You can probably get some of the participants to chip in an opinion here and there, too.
  • Thanks for pointing me at that thread, Dave! I hadn't seen that. I've got to study it, now. :)
  • For the record, I'm in that game currently (my BGG handle is "ghostofchristmas").

    it's been kind of slow going in the sense that the way we jointly created Sam, he doesn't have the classic Fiasco character trait of going off on a completely sociopathic quest while justifying it in his own mind. So most of the stuff that has happened happens "to him" instead of him "driving the action". In other words, he's generally a nice guy doing what you would expect a nice guy to do. And therefore EVERYONE is playing a nice guy...there is really noone chasing a need in a completely desperate manner.

    Now, I'm not sure if this is because of the subject matter where there is this sort of need to explain the time traveling linkages, or fear of stepping on each other's timelines, or this is something that the playset created. I know that there has been a concerted effort to keep the science and the world "realistic" as opposed to following ridiculous plots. Or just the player's themselves who are pretty new.

    It has been an interesting change of pace playing Fiasco is a more quiet and retrospective manner. however it does make the awarding of the dice a little harder to figure out since there's nothing like polar bear rapes going on. I'm sort of fearful that the tilt might change this tone.
  • Have a conversation about tone and what you want. If the game's going well in a more measured and gentle way, definitely articulate that you want to preserve that. Personally I love to play this way when it emerges from the Setup naturally.
  • Posted By: doho123I know that there has been a concerted effort to keep the science and the world "realistic" as opposed to following ridiculous plots. Or just the player's themselves who are pretty new.
    The playset probably isn't adding all that much of that—though I'd be happy if it was. The set's designed to be decidedly subdued for the subject matter, with the understanding that Fiasco itself, the playset premise, and eventually the Tilt will all add some more gonzo elements to the proceedings. If you end up with a more contemplative, slow-burn tale, just embrace it for as long as it's satisfying everyone. This set requires a lot of negotiation between players to work, so wear your heart on your sleeve when the Tilt comes and let everyone know that you think things should maintain some of that pre-Tilt tone. It might even work! :)

    I've never seen or heard of actual play, outside of your forum game, that takes so much care to make sure the various Sams are recognizably the same dude. More often, I see people play him as similar guys, with a lot in common, altered dramatically by years and mayhem. I dig what I'm seeing in that thread, for sure—it's one of several great ways to play with the set, in my opinion.

Sign In or Register to comment.