Monday, May 17, 2010

Review -- FIASCO


It has always interested me how card games evolved down to what we see as a standard deck of cards with the four familiar suits of diamonds, hearts, clubs and spades.
You would tend to think somewhere along the way an alternate approach to a deck of cards would have emerged, and would have become somewhat popular, or well-known.
Well there are alternate decks out there, although to suggest any are widely-known, or popular would be pushing things a fair bit.
One of the biggest issues preventing popularity may well be that most alternate decks are created around a single game idea.
The traditional deck of course holds so much of its popularity because there are literally hundreds of games which have been created to utilize the cards. You get tired of cribbage, the same deck allows you to play whist, or bridge, or so many other popular games.
Which brings us to this week’s game; Fiasco.
“Fiasco is a recently discovered card game thought to date from the Italian Renaissance of the late-1450s. Fiasco distinctively incorporates six suits representing symbols of power and wealth and features the legendary character Fiasco,” stated the publishing company’s website at
The game was published by Canadian David Pubrat, which is always a plus. It’s great to support Canadian game designers.
The game is a relatively new one, being released in 2003.
Pubrat went with a unique deck design, and that in my mind is a plus because it does offer players a different look in a hand of cards.
Players, the game plays from two to six, get to choose from one of six suits including; horses, swords, mandolins, roses, books or treasure chests.
Once you have selected the suit you will pursue, you focus on collecting them all. There are eight cards in each suit. You play high cards to win the pot and accumulate points, although there is an added element here.
While high card generally wins a pot, an opponent can play a Fiasco penalty card. Think of it in the same terms as a trump card in most trick collecting games. The Fiasco card is the 5, and poisons the pot so that the person winning that trick must discard a card from their scoring pile.
The strategy is of course when to play the Fiasco cards, and when to risk your high cards of the suit you are out to collect.
With the Fiasco cards, the deck rolls out at 60-cards.
The game is solid, but what would make the deck more appealing is a few additional game options using the same cards. An alternate game of two using the six-suit deck would quickly broaden its appeal.
Still, an interesting game worth a look for card-players.
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 7, 2010 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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