One of the great things about Fiasco is how flexible the system is. With no need for complex resolution systems or arcane tomes of back story and special exceptions, games run smoothly as long as all the players are engaged in the story more than they are just being a hero.
Battle Pets, the playset we are sharing this week, is one we first crafted shortly after Pokemon Go was announced and has been used successfully at several of our Pokemon related events. Players may be Battle Pet trainers, veterans of the monster wars, hosts of Battle Pets tournaments, or even be crafty battle pets trying to avoid being captured. Win the big tournament, progress to their next evolution, or even learn where monsters come from.
Even though we were first inspired to create this set because of Pokemon Go, we play with the "boy and his battle pet" theme so you may find hints of other monster capture games like Monster Rancher, Jade Cocoon, or Digimon. We even previously discussed the long history of this theme on the Inverse Genius podcast IG 008: Pokemon Battle Friends. If you listen you'll hear just how much we love the whole genre, not just Pokemon.
The important takeaway is, if you can't find an existing playset you like, or modify one to meet your needs, how easily you can craft a playset based on your favorite settings. Successful playsets don't need to be completely faithful to the source material, which is great because who wants to deal with lawyers anyway?
If there is a trick to making a great playset, and I'm not saying there is one, it is just making all of the choices interesting and open-ended. Taking the primary themes and then riffing off those to create an engaging experience is much more fulfilling and interesting than transcribing a setting point by point. Every entry in the set should be approachable and open up more opportunities for exciting interactions at the table.
In other words: file off all of the serial numbers, by avoiding setting specific names and places whenever possible, so players don't need to be adepts in the lore. You can count on the players to fill in the name of the headmaster for your school of wizardry, or expand on the big conflict, as they need them. You don't need to spell out everything for the players; it isn't that kind of game.
Do you want to be the very best? Like no one ever was?
Well get in line kid. Everyone wants to be the best here. They’re all running around trying to shove wildlife into this newfangled pocket dimension device. The cool kids call it the Podide. Or at least I do.
Point is, go out there, catch you some creatures, and then pit them against one another in battle. What’s the worst that could happen?