I have played Fiasco a good amount in the last year. Both because it is awesome, and because it is perfectly-suited to my current gaming schedule (gaming with two different groups, neither on a regular basis, both with shifting members from session to session).
Some hard-earned wisdom:Four players is the best number of players.
With three, you don't quite have enough going on to have the separate but overlapping schemes that lead to a true fiasco. With five, it's hard to keep every character's story pointed at the central mess. Too many flashbacks/flash-forwards make for chaos.
A friend of mine who loves Fiasco (playing it was his birthday request), really digs jumping around in the timeframe, so much so that this has become our default mode of play.
At times, this is a great technique, and is super fun. Like, if we establish a scene with the policewoman and the pot dealer, who haven't been in a scene together yet, suddenly, two days later, confronting the crime boss about something that either of them were involved with so far, carrying another character's sack of money, figuring out HOW ON EARTH this happened is challenging and funny.
But if you do that a lot, scenes get too constrained by the needs of continuity. ("Well, we know that Frankie will be in the courtroom in an hours, hallucinating from snake venom, so I guess he has to run across some snakes in this scene..."). Because if you ignore continuity, you lose the power of the developing fiasco, and you're just playing "Crazy Collection of Unrelated Wacky Scenes".Continuity is king.
The game's best moments, for me, often come from call-backs. Like with NPCs ... if Edward plays the trucker's wife as being obsessed with daytime TV, and paying little attention to her husband, and then I play her as a homicidal maniac for no apparent reason, that's much less funny than if I play her true to form, even if she's a minor walk-on character, and bring up her daytime TV fixation.Recurring NPCs are fun.
Especially if you limit it to just a couple, and they come into contact with all the characters, so that different players have to pick them up from scene to scene, building on how previous players have handled them.
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These are probably pretty obvious, maybe too obvious to be worth sharing. Since we all love Fiasco
, people must have similar, probably wiser, observations.