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Frisco!: The Game: "The Only Way to Win in San Francisco!" 

Wednesday, Apr 9 2014


From the makers of Halt! You're the Terrorist! and Settlers of Da' Hood: A GentriFUNcation Adventure comes Frisco! The Game, an exciting journey through the strange and beautiful City by the Bay known as San Francisco! Players will marvel at the variety of things a person can be in Frisco! — a tourist or a nudist, a drug-addled libertine or a tech impresario, a pornographer or a politician — all in the course of one exciting game. And the thrills don't just sit placidly on the board like some kind of Midwestern parent counting down the flickering of the seasons until their unremembered demise, no! Because Frisco!'s patented "Challenges" will put you through the weird, grueling, often downright insane experiences of life in San Francisco. So gather some friends or open-minded bus-mates and come on down to Frisco!

What You Need

Frisco!, being a game founded upon the Principles of Democracy and Personal Freedoms, does not ask that players equip themselves with the myriad trinkets of the bourgeoisie. No little plastic mansions, nor cards denoting market commodities like wheat and iron, nor even SUVs with plenty of room for the tiny pegs of the breeding class. All you need to play Frisco! is the Official Frisco! Game Board, a single six-sided die (also known as "That's, like, a regular dice, right?"), a Game Piece to denote your own personal progress along the paths of Frisco!, and two or more Friends with whom you'll undertake this adventure!

A Note on Game Pieces and Friends

Being, again, a board game of Personal Freedoms, the makers of Frisco! encourage players to choose Game Pieces that best represent them. No one really self-identifies with a top hat, that's patriocentric lunacy! So in Frisco!, you can choose to be a bottle cap from your favorite small-batch IPA, a spare button off your favorite sustainably grown sport smock, an unused condom from your foray into "alternate lifestyles," or a live chicken from the pen in your side yard, assuming the chicken fully consents to its role as a Game Piece and understands that being a Game Piece in no way threatens the selfhood of a chicken.

Friends should ideally be multicultural and multiethnic. One should be a struggling playwright. One should not be. A handicap turned into a kind of mature strength should also be present. Of genders there should be no fewer than two and no more than five. If any players are in a relationship — heteronormative, homoexceptional, or otherwise — they are required to retire to another room and discuss the implications of interactive gameplay.

And now that everyone's prayed to their god(s), meditated to their spirit chicken, or advanced a quiet theory of humanistic agnosticism, let's get down to the fun!

Also You Will Need

A pen or pencil and paper to mark down your acquisition and loss of Creds. The makers of Frisco! aren't trying to be paranoid, but recommend that players destroy their scoresheets upon completion of the game.

Playing the Game

The goal of Frisco! is to advance your Game Piece through the various Stages of life in Frisco!, all the while earning Creds. The Stages of Frisco! are:

Tourist Trek

Nightlife Nebula

Tech Tundra

Fringe Forest

Politico Gulch

Road to Enlightenment

Starting with the player who has the keenest sense of having "done the work," gameplay advances in a clockwise direction. Players roll the die and move their Game Piece to the appropriate square, where they will gain or lose Creds, lose a turn, have to roll and go backward, or undertake Challenges. Challenges can be either for a single player or for the whole group and represent opportunities for big points! The player with the most Creds at the end of the game is the winner, although the makers of Frisco! must caution players that "ends" and "winners" are existentially fraught concepts that have, in the course of human civilization, caused no shortage of misery and should be approached warily, even by the most guileless chicken-piece.


Creds represent a synthesis of the two major ways the people of Frisco! have, historically, gotten ahead. The first is money, which is common to cities everywhere, and hearkens to Frisco!'s very birth: The city was built by people who came to pull wealth out of the ground, and by other people who came to pull the wealth out of those people's pockets. The second way is less tangible, but no less important. Frisco! has long benefited from the power of the uninhibited idea, and so the city has been the staging ground for everything from artistic movements (the Beats) to social movements (gay rights) to some combination thereof (Burning Man). This cultural capital can be read as a kind of "street cred," if you squint. For the purposes of Frisco!: The Game, we have synthesized the two shaping forces into one: Creds. If this differs from your personal social contract, don't worry; Frisco! is, after all, a board game that asks you to grope your neighbor to get ahead.


Scattered across Frisco! are Challenges. Some are single Challenges and some are group Challenges. The player will undertake the Challenge and be allotted Creds by the player or players assigned to such a duty. In some cases, failure to satisfactorily accomplish a Challenge will lead to a roll to regress along the path. Many of you men- and women-children will find this aspect of the game particularly accurate.

This return is actually a kind of reward. It allows you to retrace your steps, to re-experience the path that brought you to this decisive moment; it gives you the chance to try again. "Those who forget the past," etc.

On the other hand, winning a Challenge does not, or should not, precipitate a leap forward; better that it encourage quiet reflection upon the thing accomplished. All too soon, you'll be required to press on. Why not enjoy the moment?

About The Authors

Audrey Fukuman

Anna Roth

Anna Roth

Anna Roth is SF Weekly's former Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.


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