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Mafia Philosophy

Co-ordinator of Chaos
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what methods do you all have for balancing your games?
I've been using ore vanillas recently. Role madness can be fun, but a common pitfall of mine is that in trying to give everyone a role I end up making town way overpowered. Vanillas are dying out and we need to bring them back more IMO
 
Sith Puppy
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I think of my characters first, make a role for them and then see how the roles work on each other.
 
Fire Chicken
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I just go with what roles I'd like characters to have and see if something is too strong/weak there. Although lots of my roles are designed to interact with each other in specific creative ways, some roles only make it in the game just for that purpose.
 
Spiders!
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Now that i've actually had some experience because doing and failing in my first 3 games and getting off to a rocky start my third is experience I think that my playstyle would usually be just being honest about most things asked, but not revealing everything, at least if i'm town or some kind of indep. If I ever get mafia, I think i'd do the same, but try to get out of the spotlight and avoid getting asked any direct questions.
 
LoZ Grand Master
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I think that as a Mafia member, it is important to challenge your mafia buds constantly.

If you always agreed, you'd clearly be connected. On the other hand, lines could clearly be drawn that you are in fact scumbuds, and that could ruin your whole plan. I suggest a game of near misses, where you do not unvote your ally, but only vote for them when a) there's no current bandwagon and b) you know that they'll end up not being lynched.
 
Fire Chicken
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Alright, so now that TWR Season '17 Mafia is over and I've got some more time for long Mafia Philosophy posts, there are two things that happened there that I believe should be discussed further:

1. About Cult as a faction and its win condition.

First of all, what do we define a faction? One or more players, allied with just themselves. But what is their win condition? We have town and mafia where this is clear; eliminate all other opposing factions. Does that mean there can be a non-opposing faction? Non-factional independents are a thing, so how would be a non-opposing faction be different?

This is where Cult comes in. ME pointed out that in Fruit Bowl Mafia II (where I took the Cult Leader role from for TWR Season '17 Mafia) the Cult's win condition is to achieve parity with town and mafia combined in the game. When that would happen, town and mafia would lose. However, I didn't follow this win condition; because there actually existed scenarios where said parity would be achieve but mafia, with a single nightkill on the leader, could still eliminate the entire faction immediately. So as long as there is a mafia member left, nothing like parity or majority of the sort should guarantee a Cult victory. ME claimed that this makes it very hard for the Cult to win, even though I balanced with that in mind. What do you all think?

My opinion on this is that a faction always has to be a separate entity whose sole wincon is eliminating all other factions, everything else should be balanced around it. This does guarantee that all the time, only a single faction out of all of the game's factions can win (unless we have a tie).

2. About order of subbing people out.

Let's take an hypothetical example; players A, B and C all requested to sub out in this order; A is mafia, B is Vanilla town, C is Cop. You get one person willing to sub in, and later you get another one. Which slots do you assign the subs to and why?

Two ways we can go with this; first one, whoever asks for a sub first gets subbed out first; A -> B -> C
second one, done in a way that lets the game proceed as smoothly as possible despite the inactivity; in this case it would be totally unfair to town to let 2 of theirs stay inactive and get a sub for the mafia, that's going from a +1 vote advantage for the mafia to a +3. Similarly, letting a Cop idle for several nights because the slot needs a sub is bad, so the correct order here is either C - A - B or C - B - A, because when it's down to just mafia and Vanilla, it's again debatable over who you should sub in next; giving town 2 and mafia 0 might be anti-scum, and mafia is more important to the game than a Vanilla.

What if one of the three only requested a sub because they'll be gone for like 3 days, and you can tell that you're most likely not going to find enough subs by then anyway, meaning they can resume their role? Let them in or not?

Another problem with the second method is that the players could use this as a hint of who's got power roles or isn't mafia and so on. So, which method is more fair?
 
Hermit Who Passes Through Walls
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For 1, having to eliminate all factions entirely just means it's that much harder for a cult or any other third-party faction with that wincon to succeed, and it just makes them a faction of SKs. A better answer is whether they would win by parity or not, to give them strong protection options and balance the game around that. Preferably, however, I'd like third parties, whether it's a single role or a group, to have more varied wincons than just "defeat the others" or "survive to the end".

For 2, there should be no priority. actively punish players who try to read into mod actions tbh A lack of available subs is a problem in itself, solved at worst by making games small enough for the community to support. Also, if a player is going to be gone for about 3 days, aka two standard phases, and can't be subbed, let them stay and rand their action if necessary.
 
I Stand Out
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1. About Cult as a faction and its win condition.

First of all, what do we define a faction? One or more players, allied with just themselves. But what is their win condition? We have town and mafia where this is clear; eliminate all other opposing factions. Does that mean there can be a non-opposing faction? Non-factional independents are a thing, so how would be a non-opposing faction be different?

This is where Cult comes in. ME pointed out that in Fruit Bowl Mafia II (where I took the Cult Leader role from for TWR Season '17 Mafia) the Cult's win condition is to achieve parity with town and mafia combined in the game. When that would happen, town and mafia would lose. However, I didn't follow this win condition; because there actually existed scenarios where said parity would be achieve but mafia, with a single nightkill on the leader, could still eliminate the entire faction immediately. So as long as there is a mafia member left, nothing like parity or majority of the sort should guarantee a Cult victory. ME claimed that this makes it very hard for the Cult to win, even though I balanced with that in mind. What do you all think?

My opinion on this is that a faction always has to be a separate entity whose sole wincon is eliminating all other factions, everything else should be balanced around it. This does guarantee that all the time, only a single faction out of all of the game's factions can win (unless we have a tie).
Personally, I'd define a faction as a group of players who share a win-condition. This means Town and Mafia are our two basic factions, this also makes the Cult a faction, since they share the wincon "Live until you've got parity, don't let leader die". I suppose this'd technically make 2 Survivors in one game a faction, but eh.

I see your point with the Scum killing the leader. But isn't parity just that little bit that says "Or nothing can stop this from happening" kicking in? No-one can stop you from winning all votes by sheer force of numbers, and so the game ends because you hit your win-con. Which is why vigs (and in certain cases Doctors) can stop Mafia winning, because there's still a reasonable chance that something could knock out enough scum to stop them from winning then and there.
This means that so long as night-kills are possible, a Cult can't fulfil "Nothing can stop this from happening", since a single well placed NK can indeed stop it from happening. So personally, I would give a cult a win only if they held parity and no scum/vigs were present.

2. About order of subbing people out.

Let's take an hypothetical example; players A, B and C all requested to sub out in this order; A is mafia, B is Vanilla town, C is Cop. You get one person willing to sub in, and later you get another one. Which slots do you assign the subs to and why?

Two ways we can go with this; first one, whoever asks for a sub first gets subbed out first; A -> B -> C
second one, done in a way that lets the game proceed as smoothly as possible despite the inactivity; in this case it would be totally unfair to town to let 2 of theirs stay inactive and get a sub for the mafia, that's going from a +1 vote advantage for the mafia to a +3. Similarly, letting a Cop idle for several nights because the slot needs a sub is bad, so the correct order here is either C - A - B or C - B - A, because when it's down to just mafia and Vanilla, it's again debatable over who you should sub in next; giving town 2 and mafia 0 might be anti-scum, and mafia is more important to the game than a Vanilla.

What if one of the three only requested a sub because they'll be gone for like 3 days, and you can tell that you're most likely not going to find enough subs by then anyway, meaning they can resume their role? Let them in or not?

Another problem with the second method is that the players could use this as a hint of who's got power roles or isn't mafia and so on. So, which method is more fair?
Personally I'd take it on a case-by-case basis. If they're only out for a few days, then definitely put them on lowest priority, since they'll probably come back before you can get the subs in. The rest is a more iffy case, since there's a lot of things to consider. To stop players from seeing through your actions, I'd say never do it quite the same way twice. Yes you want important slots to get the subs they need first, but you really don't want the especially pragmatic players getting info they shouldn't.
 
Sith Puppy
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1. I don't really have much to say after Lone's post. What I would like to add, however, is that non opposing factions are possible. The thing about the cult is that other players aren't aware of another enemy lurking at the start of the game. Once discovered, each faction must decide who they eliminate first which can cause some interesting dynamics. The element of surprise in eliminating opposing factions comes in play there.

2. In order of request seems the most fair here. I get the importance argument but players could take advantage of that. Unless players sub out privately, but then the others won't know that...
 
Just some random guy on a random site
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1. I have nothing to add after Lone and Darth posted their reasoning.
2. I think that all subrequests should be handled in private, at which point you can decide who goes out first either by your own priority or in order of requests.
 
The Sobbley Trainer
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So y'all want custom made independent roles huh. Guess I'll get back to my shtick of creating those.
...
Wait I only have one game in queue. Welp, guess I'll have to create some more.


But yeah, a cult should win "if it's inevitable" and if it ain't, then they don't win.
And subbing should be done behind the scenes on a case by case basis, like lone said not always doing it the same way so people can't figure out your trick. just like you should play mafia.
 
Vee Vee Eeeeveee!
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What is a faction? A faction, in my opinion, is a fancy word for "Team"... The mafia team, the town team, the cult team, etc.

A cult leader for example is not a faction, but the cult that he starts is.

I think the cult affects the game in in a simple way. If the cult leader is still alive towards the end of the game, the game cannot end unless it is impossible for the cult to achieve parity... aka control the votes.

If converting a town member means that mafia out numbers town, then depending on the game, the cult may not be able to control the votes, and the mafia would win that game.
 
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I think the an interesting question, and one not currently being addressed here, is what should happen to the other members of a Cult when their leader is killed?

There are three schools of thought, insofar as I can tell.
1. All the cultists die with their leader.
2. The cultists remain alive, and can thus still win by manipulating the votes carefully, but cannot recruit any more teammates.
3. A new Cult Leader, usually the first person recruited by the first Cult Leader, is selected, and the Cult carries on as usual, with the new leader recruiting teammates.

My thoughts on all three:
1. I think this can be fairly balanced, as long as there is some form of protection for the Cult Leader, such as X-Shot deathproof or bulletproof. However, if this decision is made, then I think that achieving parity in and of itself should be the Cult's goal. Yes there may be times when it is still possible for the Cult to lose even after reaching parity, because Mafia could kill the leader. However, this makes the Cult Leader far too similar to a Survivor, without the Survivor's ability to win with either faction. A Cult Leader could do everything correctly, and the Cult could have played a perfect game, but, if one kill goes through, or if one action gets redirected incorrectly, it's all over. A Cult is a team, but not necessarily a "faction."

2. Probably the most balanced of the three options. It doesn't instantly prevent the rest of the Cult from winning if the Leader should be killed, but it does punish them for allowing their leader to be killed and does ramp up the difficulty of their victory. In this case, I would definitely recommend treating the cult like a faction and making their wincon require that they cannot possibly lose to any other faction.

3. Probably unbalanced in favor of the Cult. If this is going to be used, I would suggest the following:
Do not give any sort of passive protection to either Cult Leader, since the Backup Leader is, essentially, a "1x Deathproof" for the entire Cult.
Have the Cultists all die if th Backup Leader is killed.
This, too, is a scenario where I could see making the wincon reliant on other factions not being able to win.
 
Just some random guy on a random site
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I think this is something you should base on the flavor
1. Should happen if the cult leader is the thing the others believe in (a god of some sorts), if the god dies the followers would not believe anymore so the cult does not exist anymore
2. This should happen if the cult leader dies and in story leaves an order for the cult to follow out his last order.
3. Should happen if the cult leader is a priest for example, he gathers followers for his cause (his believe in god in this instance)

I think there could be another option
4. The Cult Leader dies and all cult members go back to their original role and alignment, this could work with the flavor setting I gave at 1

About balance:
1. I would definitely give the cult leader protection of some sorts and maybe more people at the beginning with some form of role, I would also make the recruitment not remove the role of the person they recruited (like in ToS)
2. This is fairly balanced in my opinion and can work with and without the removing of previously owned roles.
3. I would say there is a maximum amount of recruitments here
4. Still balanced but it does make the cult leader vulnerable like with 1
 
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I don't think returning people to their original alignments and roles really works for a Cult. Once recruited, you're in.
As for cultists keeping their roles, that will get out of hand very quickly if the Cult Leader recruits the Cop and/or Doctor early on, so I say definitely not.
 
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ME- If you’re scum you have the strangest play style I’ve ever seen, they say it’s a possibility but for now I believe you.
Wanted to respond to this the whole game, but didn't want to incriminate myself.
My playstyle varies slightly from game to game, but the underlying concepts behind it remain the same.
1. I am always a very loud and attention demanding player, regardless of alignment.
2. I'm fatalistic, so I always try to accomplish as much as I can in as little time as possible, since I always assume I'm going to die. This is why I went directly after the Cult D1 instead of focusing on scum. My role was useful only as long as Cult Leader was alive. Once the Cult Leader was killed, for all intents and purposes, I was a Vanilla townie, perfect role to assume the position of Town Leader, since, if I was killed, nothing of value would be lost.
 
Fire Chicken
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Standard ruleset changes:
Now contains links to the rules in question.
2. Day phases will last 48 hours and Night phases will last 24 hours, but may be shortened at the hosts' discretion if the length is redundant. Votes and actions will be locked as soon as the deadline for each phase passes. Votes/actions at :00 count, those at :01 don't. If the host(s) are sure that they won't be able to update, they may extend the phase in question straight from the beginning.
Phase shortening is made more flexible and not related to -LO/HYPER-MAJ/anything that had to do with Rule 9.
9. -LO day phases (in which town's lynch decision may lead to them losing the game before the next day phase begins) will be announced. Details on the nature of the -LO state will be given in the Day phase update.
All mentions of phase shortening are taken away from this rule and solely squeezed into 2.
10. Outside communication (that is, communication that occurs outside of this thread) is not permitted.
The standard is now NOC because it seems to be more popular among hosts other than me.
11. After dying in the game, you may post more but said posts may not contain game-relevant information. Please avoid posting more than once or posting pointlessly.
The rule is more flexible; in meaningful occasions, more than one deadpost can be OK. But in general you should only stick to one.
12. If the game has reached a stalemate state either by accident or by players intentionally idling kills, it will end as a tie for the parties involved.
Covers all stalemate cases at once without the need for arbitrary phase limits.
 
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