What is a Good RPG to Play for Sessions of 2 Hour or Less?

During the month of August, I’m participating in RPG a Day 2017. Each day I’ll answer a question, or my interpretation of a question, about tabletop roleplaying games. For those who have wanted your beloved UncleBear to get back into RPG blogging, this is the closest you’re going to get.

What is a Good RPG to Play for Sessions of 2 Hour or Less?

This is an easy one: Fiasco with pre-prepped choices. Skip over the whole generation part and give people a sheet with relationships, objects, and locations already selected. Give them a moment to look over the details and sort out their characters, and start play. Some folks suggest cutting the montage/epilogue at the end, but I suggest cutting one round of scenes in the second act after the tilt. That gives players more time to ramble and get comfortable with the game’s process early one, but makes them tighten things up at the end. I’ve done it, it works, and it can fit within two hours with a diligent timekeeper facilitating things.

Half the Fun is Preparation

My only problem with this is that setting up Fiasco is half the fun. Rolling the dice, making choices, and having those conversations is a blast. As you pick something, and explain why, other players start planning their possible choices. You end up with a far more collaborative and cooperative story. If we’re limited to sessions, plural, or 2 hours or less, I’d say play the whole thing. Do one session that’s setup, a second that’s the first act up to the tilt, and a third that’s the tilt through to the end.

The Session Structure Creates Excitement

The structure that I outlined above will keep players interested. Once you’ve spent time working out the setup, they’ll want to come back the next session and play. After playing the first act, they’ll want to come back and finish the story. When the story’s complete, they’ll hopefully want to come back again and start all over again with a new playset.

Check Out Fiasco

Fiasco is available where all fine games are sold. The main book contains playsets that are reusable, and tons of free playsets are available at the end of a simple Google search. It is easy to learn, it plays quickly, and it is perfect as both an introduction to roleplaying games and for people who otherwise aren’t into roleplaying games. Check it out.