Monday, January 16, 2012

Fiasco: Deutscher Herbst

We played another game of Fiasco, with three players and introducing one player to the game. Our playset was Red Front, set in 70s Germany around the German Autumn.

We rolled up characters and ended up with a Stasi officer, an ex-con, who was an informant for the Verfassungsschutz and a (female) hired assassin. The assassin and the ex-con were lovers, the ex-con and the Stasi officer has been in the joint together.

At first we wanted to set the game in Berlin, especially since we decided that 100.000 Ostmark would come into play somewhere, but who would we want to kill there? A brainstorm later we came up with Horst Herold, who was chief of the Bundeskriminalamt at the time and a leading figure in the search for RAF terrorists. And someone who came up with such ingenious methods for locating terrorists is a danger for the Stasi as well, so the assassin had been hired to remove that danger. The game was relocated to Bonn, where Herold was fairly often during that time.

100.000 Ostmark is a pittance, it amounts to between 1000 and 2000 Deutsche Mark - unfortunately, the assassin only heard Mark and was happy to accept, being hard-pressed for money at the time. Shit. So she recruits her lover for this incredibly important political mission, selling it to him as "sending a message to the establishment" and all that jazz. They buy a VW Bus and spend some time observing and trying to come up with a plan, which is not made easier by the fact that their target doesn't have a routine to speak of.

When the Stasi officer wants to have a progress report, he meets up with the assassin at an Aldi market (an ubiquitous discount supermarket chain). They get into it in front of the dairy products, quarrelling about money, involving amateurs and the difficulties of the job. Unfortunately, they are overheard by a police officer who tries to arrest them and is shot by the assassin, who then runs. The Stasi officer stays behind and gives a completely false description of the shooter.

Since she was given a deadline to the end of the week (and was ordered to remove her lover, an inconvenient witness), the assassin makes a spur of the moment decision to use any opportunity the next day. The ex-con tried desperately to contact the Verfassungsschutz and after several tries, finally reaches someone.

The next day, an opportunity presents itself, the assassin manages to get into the car and shoot her target, but unfortunately it's the wrong man. In a hail of bullets, she jumps into the VW bus and shouts at the ex-con to drive, which he does. Once they are a few blocks away, she tells him to stop, they need to change cars. When he gets out, she shoots him, hitting his leg and then shoots him in the head, telling him it's nothing personal. To which he replies "no, it wasn't for me either", so she knows she's been set up.

With what's left of the Ostmark, she leaves the country to France, where work can be found just as well. The Stasi officer has to tell his boss that the whole thing failed and that the assassin has vanished. He's ordered back to the GDR, but he knows what's waiting for him if he returns and he also knows that there will be killers sent after him if he doesn't. He decides to turn traitor and sells all he knows to the Verfassungsschutz in exchange for a new identity.

The survivors came out of this game fairly well. The Stasi officer rolled up the best possible result, so he has a nice new identity and isn't found out. The assassin may have messed up the job, but she's alive and her reputation is not damaged beyond repair. The ex-con survived the shooting, but when he saw the headlines written about him in the tabloids, it was too much for him.

I noticed that it was incredibly easy to fall into that awful language apparently favoured by students and terrorists alike at the time. Or maybe I've just read too much about the RAF. We all had a fairly good knowledge of the German Autumn, I'm not sure if this playset works as well if you know nothing about Germany during that time.

The new player is hooked, I think, We are going to play again.

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