Fiasco Reflection

It was surprising how invested we got into our separate characters. In a sense, we became the character ourselves and tried to make the best possible scenario. But because of our relationships to the other players and the different interest agendas, there was an incentive to create conflict with people for the sake of keeping your own character alive.

Essentially, then, the game turned highly political. Each character sided with one and betrayed another while later backstabbing friends and allying with enemies all for the sake of keeping their contrived character alive in the story.

My character had a “unpleasant past” relationship with the person on my left and a “parol officer” relationship with the person on my right. My story character was thus created as a police officer that used to be high school friends with a Cannabis dealer. As our careers drifted apart, so did our opinions of each other; this represented our “unpleasant history.” I was also the officer in charge of a minor charged with possession.  Our overall goal was to get even with each other. Our playset included a small suburban town and a van surrounded by old newspapers. What started out as a simple relationship between the character’s small time drug dealing crimes and the law turned into a full out multi-national war on one of the biggest organized crime sectors of all time.

During the setup, we got way ahead of ourselves by providing the backstory for all of our characters. In many cases, we were playing the game  backwards: we picked out events that were going to happen and then created the conditions in order for that event to occur. Sometimes, the storyline did not go where we expected it to go, mostly because it is difficult to negotiate

Also, there is a risk that as the game is being played, parts of the setup, such as key information that is determined by the roll of the die, are left out. For example, our weapon that caused a death was a toy chemistry set. Although we included the toy chemistry set in our discussion of creating narcotics, there was no direct relationship between a person’s death and the weapon determined by the die roll. By the time we got to the end of the story, there was a lot of information that we established at the start that got lost throughout the story. In some cases, the backstory for our characters and the actions that we claim our characters took may not have even matched up in a sensible way.

It seems that the game gives the players a large amount of freedom to explore the story. Yet, the problem with this freedom is that there is no wrong answer: the players aren’t punished for making decisions that may not work with the tilt. If we take a step back and look at the conditions that our story needed to fulfill, an infinite number of plot-lines could emerge. This may suggest that the game is doing most of the work and player contribution is really irrelevant. Even if we had a completely different set of conditions at the start of the game, I could see a way to make the story exactly the same.

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