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Transatlantic, Going Down with the Ship

By Fiasco, Transatlantic

Rather than continuing to add additional posts on my age old Transatlantic play set for Fiasco, this will serve to warehouse notes and callbacks to Transatlantic out in the world.  Updating periodically when i’m feeling particularly vain and have too much time.


•  Transatlantic has a page on Boardgame Geeks.  Plenty of links and overviews.  Leave a rating if you like it.

•  Jaime Lawrence leaves warm comments about the joys of Transatlantic, the AP session summarized on Boardgame Geek,

“Transatlantic was the first playset for Fiasco that I played which was not found in the main book. It was a play-by-forum game and sadly petered out, but the setup was fantastic and I suspect that in real life, it could be excellent.

The style of the playset is outstanding; it begins by demanding that the most aristocratic person at the table read out the opening. This further sets the tone for the rest of the game. The elments are a cunning mix of the outrageous (Intrigue: Who are you and why are you in my closet?) to the seemingly mundane (Need: To Escape: From prying eyes). Wrapping them together is enjoyable and easy. It also results in a feel not dissimilar to the films on the movie night list – Titanic, with its odd and over the top subplots; the Posideon Adventure, with an unlikely group thrown together by fate even Duck Soup, with the Marx Brothers’ wackiness, is acknowledged.

Transatlantic was also the first playset I knew to use flashbacks in its setup, with locations like ‘Sweethearts’ first meeting’ referencing events before the game by design. It also contains such gems as the requisite homage to Lovecraft (Object: Sacrificial dagger with engravings of the loathsome Sea God ).

Transatlantic still stands as a clever and original setting for Fiasco two years on. Despite my failure to complete a game of it, I feel confident that it is a solid addition to the game and desire to play it again. It scores eight icebergs out of ten.”

•  BGG has an interesting Play-by-Forum Fiasco thread including Transatlantic.  Interesting to see Fiasco unfold over forum as the narrative shifts a bit.  This particular session is notable as being the most boat-y of the Transatlantic sessions I’ve encountered.  It may be that the text element is conducive to fleshing out the setting; in a similar way that verbal trends towards ‘character’.


Earlier threads on Transatlanctic, including AP and summaries can be found: here.

‘Transatlantic’ in Print

By Fiasco, Transatlantic, Uncategorized

I was at Dreamation the other week and it was my first opportunity to finally pick up the Fiasco playset supplement book that contains my ‘Transatlantic’.  The Bullypulpit boys did a wonderful job with the book, and the subsequent Fiasco books as well.  Happy to have this finally in my library.  IMHO, this book contains the largest collection of the most playable scenarios for Fiasco; and is virtually mandated for a swath of play.

My best to Steve and Jason.

further along “Transatlantic”

By Fiasco, Transatlantic

I’ve rounded up some more Transatlantic Actual Play for my Fiasco playset.  Below is a link to a game at Gencon in 2011 that just found itself to me.

Some observations, now that I’ve seen it unfold a few times…

My goals with the playset was to create a scenario that was gender neutral, period, and with enough backdoors to not trap players tightly in that framework.  I used a lot of specific language to invoke the 30s.  And although the color of that vernacular helps to promote setting; players often trip over it.  I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.  It hasn’t hurt play by reinforcing genre but I probably could have done a better job with it rather than swinging my purple prose all over the printed word.  Let’s have at it then:


Fiasco at Gencon 2011, with Shane Ivey, Greg Stolze, Ross Payton and another at RPPR:

listen here

Here’s some Youtube AP of Transatlantic.  They don’t exactly get the Fiasco rules right but it doesn’t stop them from enjoying it one bit:

setup of game


Lastly, Analog Game Studies (Felan Parker) writes up a really well thought paper on Fiasco.  They mention Transatlantic as a sample playset.


It’s incredibly satisfying to see and hear other people enjoy something that you’ve sent out there into the world.  Thanks.  Play on!

“Transatlantic”, more Actual Play

By Fiasco, Transatlantic

The best part about game design is feedback: that people play the things you create and enjoyed them. Because of the magic of the internet, some of these people post accounts about play sessions or recorded actual play.

Here are a few posts about feedback on my playset for Fiasco, “Transatlantic”.

*Transatlantic Terror, via Story Games:

Played a great game of Fiasco a week or so ago using the Transatlantic playset. I had never used this playset before. There are so many playsets that usually when I play one my reaction is “That was great – I hope to do it again someday after I’ve gotten through the many, many others on my to-play list.” With Transatlantic, though, my reaction was “That was SUPER great – I’d gladly do that one again anytime!” 


*Geekily Inc has a weekly podcast called Drunks and Dragons. Over two sessions in September of 2013, Tim Lanning, Mike Bachmann, Jennifer Cheek, Michael DiMauro and Sarah Tompkins (Extra credit to Sarah for the introduction voiceover) sat down for a most terrible voyage…

Drunks and Dragons Random Encounters: Fiasco “Transatlantic” part 1

Drunks and Dragons Random Encounters: Fiasco “Transatlantic” part 2

One of their comments says, “This is the darkest Willie Wonka episode that I have ever heard.”

*Also, Thursday Knights, from earlier in 2013, played a session of “Transatlantic” and broadcast it here:

Thursday Knights s02e03: A Fiasco on the Transatlantic

… love the mangled voice over and labored vocabulary, apologies for that.  sounds like you guys had a great time.


As a side comment, many thanks to Jason Morningstar for Fiasco and for Steve Segedy for his stewardship of Bully Pulpit Games.

Fiasco playset of the month “Transatlantic” available as a free download from Bully Pulpit here.





Transatlantic notes

By Fiasco

There’s been a run on Transatlantic the past few weeks! Great to see. Is it because of all the Downton Abbey on the BBC/PBS or perhaps it’s because 2012 is the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic?

My buddy, Chris Bennett, dragged a copy of the Transatlantic playset to Fiascon 2012. Here are the results:

Chris Bennett: I played a 17 year old tomboy from Texas named Sadie Hawkins who had a crush on a young German bride but accidently stabbed her with a cavalry saber. Oops.

Mia Blankensop: See how mournful I look? I was a German, orphaned, staunchly Lutheran teen bride. In the thirties.

Sean Nittner: I was a French WWI veteran sailing west with my new (or soon to be) bride. But in this picture it just looks like I have TMJ. Fun times!

Brian Minter offers the following AP from a housecon he threw for his friends.

“Brian Minter 4 days ago whisperquote# 11
We played Transatlantic! It was a good one.

St. John Smythe pretended to be friends with the ship’s purser, Reginald Black, but only to learn where his father had hidden the dowager countess’ emerald tiara aboard the ship, while Burt Smythe, St. John’s identical twin separated at birth, snuck aboard and pretended to be his brother, also in order to steal the tiara, which he wanted to use to fund the activities of Pierre Lecarre, a Frenchman traveling to New York to repatriate the Statue of Liberty back to France. On board, Pierre Lecarre was posing as wealthy American peanut farmer Percibald Jackson, but he was (sort of) found out when his brother-in-law, Hank Shanksmith, an uneducated harpooner, was rescued from the Georgia Peach, which sank in the North Atlantic with all hands aboard. Shanksmith spent a night of strong, manly passion with Reginald Black, who denied this forbidden love until the end of the game, when, gut-shot by Burt Smythe, he begged Shanksmith’s forgiveness. There was also a pirate ship of Australians, and a bag full of tiaras, and the cruise ship may not have actually sunk, but it was hard to tell.”

via StoryGames

Thanks for the recent spate of Transatlantic love!