This was a semi-formal gathering of SF Bay Area gamers organized via the Story Games forum (mostly on this thread), and held at Game Kastle in San Jose.
This was a straight play of Jason Morningstar's game Fiasco - emulating movies of the Coen brothers and a few others. We had three players: Noam, Kathy, and myself. Noam was taking the lead in organizing, and Kathy had played before, while I was a complete newcomer. We used the Flyover playset. We had left unspecified where we were, just somewhere in very small town middle America. The brief version was that it turned into a family drama gone bad from drugs. What we knew from the setup was that:
From this we developed that I played a 50-ish named Rachel who had walked out on her son, but now comes to visit him regularly from her home in Mexico - she was a rich, fashionable, tough new grandmother. Noam played Clemson, who was Rachel's local dealer and an old high school friend of hers who just found out that he had a terminal illness. Kathy was playing Sadie, mother of two young children with Rachel's son Daniel. Basically, it was only the first two lines that drove play - the church friends and house didn't really come in, and the printouts were relatively minor since the same information came through another channel. Our later Twist specifiers were "Love rears its ugly head" and "A Showdown."
In general, my thoughts as someone new to the system were:
Highlights of the game for me:
I had originally signed up to play Apocalypse World in the evening, but I was convinced to run Mouse Guard instead. I've run MG as a one-shot before, but this was different for several reasons (discussed below). I had four players sign up in advance, and for a bit I thought I would have six - but we ended up with five. Carl jokingly commented to me "You'd run Mouse Guard with six players? Are you insane?!?"
The game turned out to be immensely fun, and different for a few reasons from my previous one-shots. My previous one-shots had used the pregenerated characters from the book, and the scenarios there or variants of them. They had fewer players, and they were a lot shorter (less than 3 hours). With five players and some time, I decided at the last minute to put away the pregens, print some character sheets, and have everyone generate PCs. This showed them more of the system and tailored things a good deal. On the other hand, we only played out one Conflict using the full system - with everything else using regular skill checks.
The players I had, and the characters they created were:
Luckily we had four copies (one electronic) of the main Mouse Guard book, so character creation went fairly smoothly - although I think it could be streamlined. All the players were good about setting up conflicts among the group. Cole and Folker were set up to clash as the two highest-ranking mice with very different personalities, with Folker in particular being concerned over Cole being a bad influence on Lily.
I then put together the adventure by pulling in as much of the character sheets as I could. The only two characters from the same town were Josephine and Garrow from Sprucetuck - so the adventure was in Sprucetuck. Looking over their wises, I noted they knew about Governors, weasels, poisons, and some others I don't remember now. So those featured. I then made sure to include one of either their Friend or Enemy from each PC. Luckily two shared an enemy - Josephine and Cole both picked the name Ivy for their enemy, and we decided it was the same person, a healer who was Josephine's rival and Cole's ex-girlfriend. And, of course, whenever there was a failed test, come up with a juicy Twist to apply to it.
A highlight was when Josephine tried to use her Archivist roll to find out who three dead mice were. When she failed her roll, Owen (playing Garrow) suggested that it should be someone they know. Looking over my stable of NPCs from the character sheets, I decided that it was... Garrow's parents, and since there were three he had a younger sister who died with them. Everyone had a good time, and all of the characters were fairly involved with the adventure - with Joey's character Folker being the least involved. It included a good mix of everyone's skills, I think - with some outdoor, some fighting, some negotiating, and some sneaking.
A few conclusions that I drew from this: