Sunday, August 19, 2012

Los Angeles 1936: A Super Smash Bros Noir Fiasco


Yesterday, Doc, Blair and myself got together for a game of Fiasco before heading out to see Brave at the cinema. After I'd laid out six playsets to choose from, we eventually decided upon the Los Angeles 1936 playset. I explained the play structure of the game, and then we got started on the setup.

The Setup
Somehow, during the setup, we wound up going with a 'Super Smash Bros' theme, and ended up with the following arrangement:

Mario Forensca (Blair) - Part owner of the  L'Kingdoma Fungi bar and restaurant, and associate of the Kikong family a Hawaiian crime syndicate.
Luigi Forensca (Doc) - Mario's brother, and co-owner of the L'Kingdoma Fungi. Is being blackmailed by Detective Bowser, who has evidence of his involvement in some shady dealings. Through the nosy porter, Luigi has found out about a safe deposit box held by the Kirby family, and knows how to get it.
Detective Bowser Cooper (Me) - Bowser is as dirty a cop as they come, he's tiring of the cop life, and wants to get rich and make a new life for himself elsewhere. He aims to do this by bullying Luigi into helping him get his hands on the key to the Kirby family's safe deposit box.

Act One
Act one starts off with an argument between Bowser and Luigi. Luigi doesn't want to go through with the deed, but after Bowser assures him he can keep the heat off of him on the cops' side, Luigi gives in to his demands. Unfortunately, all of this has been overheard by the nosy porter, Shigeru Miyamoto, who goes to Mario and tells him about his brother's talk with Detective Bowser. Mario asks Miyamoto to set up a meeting with Don Kikong to see what they should do about this 'rat problem'. Meanwhile, Luigi is still undecided about whether to do what Bowser wants or not, but a run-in with a health inspector who is unsatisfied with the standards at the  L'Kingdoma Fungi, Luigi decides the money from the Kirbys safe deposit box might help get the inspector off their backs.

Detective Bowser finds himself under extra pressure, as Detectives 'Birdo' and Bob Omm get on his case, making thinly veiled accusations about his shady dealings, making him more desperate to get the cash and get the hell out of dodge than ever.
Meanwhile, Mario meets up with Don Kikong Jr, Diddy, to discuss the rat problem. Don Junior tells Mario not to worry, he'll see about getting the 'rat' (Bowser) exterminated. Don Junior calls up Luigi, tells him that he's been hearing troubling things about rats hanging around in the L'Kingdoma Fungi. Luigi doesn't immediately understand the metaphor, so Don Jr spells it out for him: get rid of that detective, or it's curtains for you both.

The Tilt
When it came to the Tilt, Doc and I rolled the highest, so we each picked a category based on the dice rolled in the centre of the table. I picked Paranoia, and Doc picked Innocence. We then defined each other's categories as suggested in the book, and wound up with the following Tilt elements: Collateral Damage and A Sudden Reversal (of status, of fortune, of sympathy).

Act Two
To shake things up a bit, we switched the direction of play for Act Two, and started with Luigi once again. Luigi decided to confront his brother about talking to the Don Jr behind his back, only for Mario to turn it around and give Luigi hell for having anything to do with Bowser, and Luigi lets slip that he was due to meet the detective in the kitchen tomorrow evening. Later on, Mario receives word from the Don Jr that he doesn't trust Luigi to handle the situation properly, so he's brought in a notorious hired gun from out of town, Samus Aran. Mario meets with Aran (who we decided to cast as Anna Torv) and tells her the situation, they decide that she will disguise herself as one of the kitchen staff and she'll take out Detective Bowser when he shows up tomorrow evening. Meanwhile, Detective Bowser meets with a snitch - Miyamoto once again - who reveals that Samus Aran has been hired by Don Kikong Jr to take him out. The detective is displeased by this, and assumes that Luigi has sold him out.

Later on Luigi is cornered by Detective Bowser, who expresses his displeasure at this new complication, and coerces Luigi into sticking to their agreement, and dealing with Aran. Luigi agrees, and says he'll lock Samus in the walk-in freezer in the kitchen and then they can meet as planned. Later on, Mario is in the kitchen, with Aran disguised as a member of kitchen staff. Luigi comes into the kitchen, meets Aran, and then asks to speak with his brother alone. He takes Mario by the arm, walks into the freezer with him, and closes the door behind them. He tells Mario that Bowser knows all about Aran, and that it's better for both of them if they hide out in the freezer until Bowser and Aran have duked it out with one another...assuming someone finds them afterwards, and they don't just freeze to death.

Bowser shows up, finding the kitchen deserted and, expecting to find Samus in the freezer, opens the freezer door and fires off a volley of bullets into the freezer. There's nobody there. He then feels the barrel of a gun pressed to the back of his neck. It's Samus. She reveals that after the two Forensca brothers got themselves stuck in here, she 'rescued' them, then tied them up and locked them in a room upstairs. Truth is, she's looking to retire, and is interested in the contents of Don Kirby's safe deposit box herself, she thinks the two of them can do business...if he'd like to come upstairs and help her interrogate the brothers. Bowser agrees.

The Aftermath
We decided to move on to the final stage of the game then, and rolled our dice to see how things would turn out for us. Surprisingly, only Doc got a bad result (Black 2: Brutal), while Blair (Black 13: Awesome) and me (White 10: Not too shabby) came out more or less unscathed. This is how we wrapped things up:

As soon as Bowser stepped inside the room where Luigi and Mario were being held, Samus brained him over the head. Turned out she wasn't all that interested in crossing the Kirbys after all, but since she liked Bowser, she was going to let him off with a warning. Stay out of the Kikong's business, keep his nose clean, go straight, even. Otherwise, he was a dead man.

After the mess he'd made of everything, Mario sent Luigi packing. Fearing that the Kikongs would make an example of him, Luigi fled in a boat, only to be caught in a storm, get thrown overboard, and lose his leg to a shark before being rescued by a fishing boat.

In a brief aside, Miyamoto is gunned down by Samus as she leaves the restaurant. The Kikong family apparently decided they'd had enough of his snitching.

Meanwhile, with Mario as sole owner of the restaurant, business started picking up significantly. Mario got the health inspector off his back, and even opened up a whole new chain of restaurants.

The game ends five years later, with Luigi returning to the Los Angeles branch of L'Kingdoma Fungi and asking for the manager, only to find that it's someone else. The new manager tells him: 'Luigi, your brother's in another restaurant!'

Closing Thoughts
I have to admit, there were a few minor issues with the game. We didn't perhaps keep the story as tight as we should have with only three players, and several plot elements were all but forgotten or weren't as important as they should have been. For instance, the Need between Bowser and Luigi was originally 'To Get Rich Through Murder' but that never really came up and so Bowser's goal got a bit fuzzy, I felt. I also had a bit of trouble reconciling my result on the aftermath table with how things were turning out for Bowser. (We'd already decided Samus was going to double cross him, having declared the final wild dice as a bad oucome.)

Most of the problems were because I had only played the game once or twice, and the others were playing it for the first time. With a little more experience, future games of Fiasco (and I intend to see about making this a monthly thing, if I can) should go much smoother. All in all though, we had lots of fun and got a lot of laughs milking the Smash Bros theme for all it was worth. It seems we've already decided on the next playset we're going to use: the Wuxia themed 'Quest For The Golden Panda'. Looking forward to it.

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