Game Jam Winner Spotlight: Will You Do The Fandango?

from the like-it's-1923 dept

Last week, we took a closer look at the winner of Best Digital Game in our public domain game jam, Gaming Like It’s 1923. Today, we continue our winner spotlight series with the game that won Best Remix for its combination of material from multiple sources: Will You Do The Fandango? by Lari Assmuth.

Fandango is a tabletop roleplaying game with an overall structure that will be familiar to anyone who’s played Dungeons & Dragons or its ilk — but where D&D builds worlds by drawing on material from across the fantasy genre, Fandango uses very different source material: the world of Comedia dell’Arte, starting with the 1923 movie Scaramouche that entered the public domain this year. Instead of grand heroism and the battle between good and evil, Fandango aims to create a story of “swashbuckling romance” and big, bombastic melodrama.

In standard fashion, playing requires a Gamemaster and a group of players, each of whom creates a character with an array of stats (Action, Passion and Wit). The setting is revolutionary-era France, the characters are members of a traveling troupe of Comedia dell’Arte players, and the GM leads them on an adventure through towns and cities where civil unrest and class struggle are bubbling up. In each location they will meet notable characters, and get into social conflicts — instead of combat mechanics, the game uses rules and dice for witty repartee and dueling insults. At the end of their time in each location, the players put on a performance, and then deal with the fallout.

And one of the most intriguing features? Every character has both a “Personage” (the person they are) and a “Mask” (the role they play in the performances) — and while personage is fixed, masks can be traded throughout the game. Also, they are literal masks:

You can download the rules (and printable masks) for the game from its page on Itch, and all you need to get started is a quick read, a couple dice, a pair of scissors, and a few enthusiastic friends. If you get a game going, we’d love to hear how it plays out, and I suspect the creator would too!

Next week, we’ll be back with another spotlight on one of our winners — and don’t forget to check out the full list of entries to spot some of the hidden gems that didn’t quite make the final cut. Happy gaming!

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Game Jam Winner Spotlight: Will You Do The Fandango?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:


Game jams such as this one give indie developers a chance to test their skills by designing a game within specific limitations (e.g., must be done in a certain amount of days, must use a limited color palette). The point of game jams is not to make millions upon millions of dollars or “take down” legacy publishers — the point is to give indie developers both a chance to experiment in ways they may not have considered before and some exposure that could be turned into a fanbase for newer works. These events also let developers have a little fun: Since game jams are not about super-serious “gotta make a AAA-level” games, developers can make whatever silly idea crosses their heads into a quick one-off thing.

And hey, sometimes a small indie game developed for a game jam can become something greater. The original Pico-8 version of Celeste was developed during a four-day game jam several years ago; now it is a full game that is available on all major platforms and has nigh-universal critical acclaim to boot. One spark, one moment, one idea — you never know what could happen if you give it a chance.

I have to wonder: What is your real issue with game jams such as this one — and with people enjoying or even celebrating game jams, even if nothing produced in them ever turn into another Celeste? Because I would think encouraging a new generation of artists (or at least a generation of overlooked artists) to make new works and have fun doing so would be something positive, not something negative.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...