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Hellion

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A player's guide to Mafia

In an effort to help all users who wish to participate in mafia games, the War Room staff has decided to create these guides that introduce the basics of the game to newcomers and gives both neophytes and experienced players pointers on how to fine tune their strategies.

First, let’s get the obvious question out of the way: what is a mafia game? A mafia game is, in its simplest form, a contest of strategy, cooperation and social skills between a majority armed with numbers and a minority armed with knowledge about players' alignment. The key to each game is for players to strategize, coordinate and use logic to defeat the opposing team.

In the playing guide, we’ll try to help you do just that. To do so, we'll first review the basic components common to most mafia games. We will also briefly touch upon some of the most common variants to the classic mafia game format. Then, we’ll look over some basic strategies used by players and how to find and best implement a strategy that suits your playing style, faction and role. Also, in this guide you'll find a section giving you some technical information relevant to mafia games in a forums setting. Finally, we’ll hand out a few tips to make your mafia experience more interesting. At the end of this guide, you’ll also find a glossary of some of the most technical terms you might come across in the various game threads in the War Room.

You will also find further in this thread a hosting guide, to give you hindsight in how to appropriately run a game. It can be accessed below.

Table of Contents

1. Mafia Game Basics
2. Strategy and Style
3. How To Use Forum Tools In Mafia Games
4. A Few Tips
5. Terminology
6. Common Roles: A to Z

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Phoenicks and The Puppetmaster for editing this guide, as well as hurristat, Iteru and the War Room staff for their helpful suggestions. Should you have any comments or suggestions regarding this guide, feel free to contact a War Room staff member via private message or mention it in the Situation Room.

EDIT: As per the edited version of this guide in August 1st, 2017, we would also like to thank the guides volunteers who helped with updating it. These would be CheffOfGames, DarthWolf, Doctor Floptopus, Elieson, Pikochu and Soulmaster.
 
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Mafia Game Basics

Mafia games rely on strategy, logic and the players’ social skills. Before signing up for a game in the War Room, the host will provide a set of rules, which will give you a good idea of how the game will unfold. The first step to any mafia game is thus to read and understand the rules.

Your next step is to understand your role. Roles are based on the character you will play in the game. Depending on the theme, your role will vary from an ordinary player to having many different roles. Your role will give you three crucial bits of information: your alignment, your action and what you need to do to win (“win condition”). A classic mafia format has three alignments: the Town, the Mafia, and the Independents.

• The Town

This faction is composed of the majority of the players united in eliminating all members of the Mafia. Town members, however, do not know who else is on their side.

• The Mafia

They are the agents of the seedy underworld. This faction is composed of a minority of players that know who the other Mafia members are. Their objective is to eliminate Town or when this is unavoidable.

Their main weakness is their limited numbers; their greatest strengths are having a team they can coordinate actions with and being able to kill at night.

• The Independents

Not always present in mafia games, this third category refers to players who are neither allied with the Town nor the Mafia. Generally, Independents will have win conditions ranging from surviving the game to eliminating a specific player to completing a specific objective.

Now, let’s take a look at how the Town and Mafia eliminate each other. Effectively, the mafia game consists of a sequence of phases alternating between Day and Night.

• Days

Day phases are where players may eliminate one player suspected of being against town via public vote. This is where the Mafia (who pretend to be town) will try to lynch other players instead. The player with the most votes is usually eliminated (lynched). This is when Mafia are weakest.

• Nights

In night phases, the Mafia can choose to eliminate (nightkill) a player. In some games, some players have roles that may be useful for the game. Those roles are later defined in the guide. This is when Townspeople are weakest.

Some hosts might tweak the rules of their game to give a different gaming experience. Examples include multiple mafia factions, eliminated players remaining a factor in the game by having to protect a player from the Mafia kills, revealing all the roles and actions at the start but not which player has them (this is called an open setup, while its opposite is called closed setup), shuffling the various roles between players, having a cult whose goal is to convert Town players, and even prohibiting any communication between the players outside of the game thread (this is called No Outside Communication and is abbreviated as NOC; its opposite is called Outside Communication and is abbreviated as OC). Each of these will force players to alter their strategies to win.

Some games have changes in the rules that could make games more complicated. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

- Hammer: If a certain number of votes are reached, the day phase automatically ends.

- No outside contact (NOC): Players may not contact other players other than in thread.

- Open setup: The setup is revealed to players before the game.

- Third parties: Players that have different wincons from town and mafia players.

- Claiming: You may or may not be allowed to allude to your character, your role, or both. This will require players to communicate information using specific means, or may imply details that could confirm other roles through context.
 
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Strategy and Style

Now we’ll take a look at the various styles and strategies players can use to win the game. Players from either the Town or the Mafia have one goal in mind: take out players of the opposing faction. Note that this is not a recipe to follow. Doing so is the best way to become predictable and eliminated by other players. Varying styles, mixing and matching strategies from both defensive and aggressive styles of play, and trying different things are very important parts of playing. Here are some ideas to keep in mind while playing (some of these do not mix together):

• Lying low. When a player chooses to lie low, their goal in doing so is to gather the maximum amount of information about other players while others gather the minimum amount of information about them. Lying low helps early-game survival but can make you look bad as the game progresses. There's an important difference between lying low and struggling to contribute, so if you're new, it may still be worth chiming in to help yourself and the game overall.

• Observe voting patterns. It is the prime way to gather information for players aligned with the Town or Independents players. It only requires reading and comparing the attitude of players towards certain votes. For example, if a player has consistently been quick to vote when that target was part of the Town but was very slow to vote when the target was Mafia, the player is probably a Mafia. All players should go back and examine old votes.

• Make Alliances. In games that allow contact outside the thread, cooperation in private is also a low risk option because it allows you to have some degree of protection against being voted out as you gather players that will depend on you and therefore be less interested in voting against you. Even if you’re a Town player unknowingly allied with a Mafia player, they will be less likely to target you if they know they have your cooperation. All the while, you might be collecting information about them. That being said, partaking in alliances carries its risks as mafia players will use them to collect information on the Town. Withholding information or lying, even as a town player, can be useful.

Alliances are beneficial for everybody. Trusting blindly in your partners can lead to you being used. Sharing information, however, is very useful for everybody, especially town members. The Town needs information to guess who is Mafia while the Mafia needs to know who has threatening roles. Independents need to know where to side themselves. Temporary alliances can help all of these needs.

• Vote Strategically. Someone playing a more aggressive type of play will often take the initiative in votes, using their votes to force confrontation. This can be used to garner reactions and fish for Mafia and Town members. Consider this when examining past votes.

• Claim Roles. Getting information about other players is crucial, so claiming a role is a good way to get people to claim back and form alliances. Lying, especially for a Mafia, is a useful tactic but carries the risk of being suspected should the lie be discovered. Also, consider that claims given by other players may be lies from a mafioso.

Now, keep in mind these factors when deciding which strategies might help you. These aren’t the only 4 factors; the game you’re in might require a different approach. Consider these guidelines:

• Alignment. The defining characteristic of the Town is that they are uninformed about other players, while the Mafia players know of teammates' identities. Therefore, townspeople need alliances more than Mafia do. Also, when not Mafia, you could be nightkilled. Remember how your strategy will make you look like Town or Mafia.

• Role. Some roles affect how you can play. For example, on the Town side, a player with the cop role can get information efficiently on other players and does not need to be risky to get information. A Mafia role like the Godfather can get away with being slightly more aggressive because if he arouses the suspicions of the cop, the cop will think the godfather’s innocent.

• Temperament and meta. Players should consider what they are good at and what they are known for. Players should generally play to their strengths. Should they be known for a particular style, they should consider how people will react to them playing differently.

• Motivation. Players do the things that they do for a reason, and if you're unable to figure out a player's powers or alignment based on what they said, it may be worth trying to figure out why they said it/voted for that person. It might even be effective to look at what players aren't saying, such as seeing if a player posts too much fluff (unnecessarily wordy responses) or dodges a question to answer it in a roundabout way.

Overall, players should understand that they have numerous options at their disposal and realize that mafia games also require improvisation and adaptation with those options. The style and strategy players choose in the beginning might not work during the endgame or only work in large games. Again these are only examples; don’t follow them exactly — players will be quickly identified if they do. Ultimately, players should experiment various play styles and find one they are comfortable with.
 
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How to use Forum Tools in Mafia Games


During a mafia game, players often have to use some of the forum tools available to users either to complete certain requirements of their role, help them incriminate other players, or simply communicate with each other. As such, we decided to include in this present guide a brief technical assistance section.

Post tools

First off, we'll take a quick look at the message tools at your disposal. These tools are used to put some words in bold or italics, change the color of the post, etc. There are essentially two ways to do this:

• Use the forum's tools as you would use the tools of any word processor. Either highlight a portion of text and choose the tool you want to use in the toolbar right atop the message you're typing or manually enter the BB code add link you want to use.

NOTE: some tools will only be accessible if you press the "More Options..." button when posting a reply.

Thread Tools

Second, we'll look at the thread tools, which are more than anything used to find posts which can help you catch up on the game and incriminate other players. First, click on a thread, and right above the first post on the page and below the thread title, you will see a toolbar for the entire thread. There are a few things of interest in it. From left to right, if there are unread messages in the thread, “Go to First Unread” will link you to the first unread message. It's a great way to see what happened in the game from your last visit.

If you're looking for dirt about another player, the Search function will help you. You can find this in the top right corner. If you're looking for posts that include a specific word, then just enter that word in the search bar, and you'll be directed to the posts that contain that word. If you're looking for all of the posts by a specific user, enter that player's username in the appropriate space.

Quote tools

Now that we've shown how to find incriminating posts, we'll review how to best point out their contradictions: quoting others' posts. Luckily, the forums offer tools to help you do so.

If you only want to quote one post, in the lower right corner of that post, you will see a button named, "Reply." Simply press that prompt, and a quick reply with the contents of the original post in between two quoting brackets will appear. Within your reply, you can erase superfluous parts of the original posts. Alternatively, you can copy the part of a post you want to quote and paste it into a reply.

If you want to quote multiple posts, press the "+Quote" button to the left of the "Reply" button in the first post you want to quote. You will see a mark indicating that the system had registered that you wanted to quote this post and “+Quote” will change to “-Quote” which removes the quote from the quote list. Do so for all subsequent posts you want to quote. Press “Insert Quotes” to add all selected posts to your message.

If you want to only quote/reply to a part of a post, you simply select the desired part and the option to quote or reply will appear right below it. Note that when you add multiple parts of a post to the quote list and then press “-Quote” all selections from that post will be removed.

Threadmarks

To the right of the page finder, there will often be a threadmark button. You can use threadmarks to jump to major events such as phase updates.

Communication Tools

Finally, we'll take a look at the various ways you can communicate with the other players outside of the game threads.

• In the game thread. Self-explanatory, but note that if you want to get someone's attention, you can use the mentions system by using the @, followed by the player's username. Like @Zenax for example. Note that when you partially type a name behind the @ the site will give you a list of all existing users who start with that part in their name.

• Via Conversation (Private Message). If you want to contact another player privately, simply go to your Inbox, click on the "Start a New Conversation" button on the right and include that user in the recipients. Don't forget to include the game host(s) and Moderator(s) on Duty, as well as any Informed Observers in the recipients. To send a Conversation to multiple users, simply add a comma between the names. Note that when you partially type a name the site will give you a list of all existing users who start with that part in their name. Conversatios can include up to 20 people.

• Quicktopic, Discord, Skype, etc. These communications means provide either a chat or a forum outside of Bulbagarden and might be used by players to communicate. In the case of QuickTopic and Discord servers, the person who created the chat or one of its participants must first link you to it before using it. Once again, make sure to include the host(s), Moderator(s) on Duty, and Informed Observers in these means of conversation or give them a transcript of those conversations.
During a mafia game, players often have to use some of the forum tools available to users either to complete certain requirements of their role, help them incriminate other players, or simply communicate with each other. As such, we decided to include in this present guide a brief technical assistance section.
 
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A Few Tips

• Be active. This is the most important advice we can give. The more active players are, the more enjoyable a game can be. If everyone’s inactive, then there’s no game. Most hosts include a rule about the required activity in their games. In any case, if you are going to be away for a few phases, advise the host and, if you wish/the host allows it, the other players in the game thread.

• You should make sure you understand and use your role. Roles are generally designed as equalizers between the forces present; not using those puts yourself (and your team) at a disadvantage.

Should your role contain a one-shot power that burns out after being used, make sure you don’t waste it and try to use it when you either feel endangered or when you’re positive you’ll hit your mark.

• Trust nothing but your instinct. Be careful who you trust and who you give information to. In mafia, anything can happen. Prepare for the unexpected.

• Keep a paper trail — a copy of private conversations, vote-counts, and other records. Looking at the past with the perspective of the future will help you play.

• Have fun and remember it’s just a game. Ultimately, that’s what mafia games should be about. : P

For further reading, please consult this link that helped create this guide.

Main Page - MafiaWiki
 
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Mafia Terminology
by CrackFox

• Mafia

Also known as Scum, they are the minority of players who are aware of each other's identities and work as a group from the start. Their goal is to eliminate members of the Town, one by one until they win the game.

• Town

The town is the group of people considered to be innocent, i.e the good guys. Unlike the mafia, Town players do not learn the identity of their teammates and must work that out using their roles and intuition as well as process of elimination. The Town's objective is to defeat the Mafia by eliminating every Mafia allied player in the game. A Town allied player may also be referred to as a 'Villager' or an 'Innocent'.

• Independent

A player allied with neither town nor mafia who has a unique win condition to fulfill. Also known as Indep, Indie, Independent Third Party (ITP) or 3rd Party (3p). There are two kinds of indeps; hostile and non-hostile. Hostile indeps are considered an opposing faction to town, mafia and any other non-allied hostile indeps by themselves, so they need to eliminate all aforementioned factions to win and vice-versa. Non-hostile indeps have a wincon that can be fulfilled alongside the wincon of any faction.

• Faction

A faction is a term used to describe a group of players who are working towards the same objective. All games will have a Town faction and a Mafia faction. Occasionally games may also have an independent or 'third-party' faction, which is when one or more players are working towards an alternate win condition which is neither supportive of the Town or Mafia.

• Roles

In every game you will be given an identity and in most cases you will also be given a role. A role is a special perk or ability that you can use to influence the game. Most hosts allow players to share knowledge of their role as they please, the act of doing this is referred to as 'role claiming'. Announcing your identity to other players is known as 'name claiming' and is usually very much against the rules, so make sure not to get the two confused!

• Day phase

One of the two phases of the mafia game, the Day phase is the time all participants can gather to vote to lynch one of their fellow players. This will often last for 48 hours.

• Night phase

The Night phase is the other phase of mafia games during which the Mafia will eliminate a player. It is also the phase in which most actions will take place, such as the Cop’s check and the Doctor’s protection. This will often last for 24 hours.

• Lynch

Lynch is a term to describe killing a player. Throughout the day phase, players will have a chance to vote for the person they think is guilty. Whichever player has the most votes will be killed at the end of the day phase. The lynching of a player who is discovered to be innocent may be referred to as a Mislynch.

• No Lynch

Some hosts may allow players to vote 'No Lynch'. A player might desire to do this in a situation where they didn't want to see anybody killed at the end of the day.

• FoS

Stands for Finger of Suspicion. A player can use this to point out to others in the thread that he finds another player suspicious but doesn’t want to vote for them yet.

• Host

The title given to the person who creates, runs and orchestrates the game.

• Co-host

A term used to describe a secondary host.

• Moderator on Duty (MoD)

A Moderator with full knowledge of the game's setup. They will not usually intervene in the game but may step in if a host requires assistance or a situation gets out of the host's control.

• Informed Observer (IO)

A user with full knowledge of the game's setup who wishes to observe the game for fun. Not all hosts allow informed observers.

• Vanilla

Vanilla is a term used to describe town-aligned players who have no particular power or role. The Mafia counterpart is known as Goon.

• Bandwagon

A term to describe a group of people who each target the same person. Someone who votes a player who already has a lot of votes may be accused of 'jumping on the bandwagon'

• QT

Stands for QuickTopic. It is essentially a private forum that allows members of a faction or an alliance to communicate between themselves to prevent PMO (Private Message Overload). Usually, members of the Mafia will converse in their own private QT as well as Mason partners and Lovers.

• Hammer

A term that describes a player who ultimately places the deciding vote. Taken to mean 'hammering the last nail in the coffin'.

• Meta reasoning

I term often used by players to describe a train of thinking which is based on past experience. For example, a player who is less active as mafia in one game may be accused of being mafia in another game if they are once again, less active than usual. Many players don't consider meta reasoning to be helpful.

• OP

Short for 'over powered'. In each game it is important for the host to distribute roles to each faction so that both have around the same chance of winning at the start of the game. Occasionally players may complain that roles or factions have an unfair advantage because of roles present that carry too much power. OP can also refer to the Opening Post of a thread.

• Power role

Some examples of power roles are Cop and Doctor. A power role is basically a role that is very helpful to your faction but very detrimental to the opposite faction. It is important that power roles are used scarcely and that both factions have them in fair amounts. If an effective role is given to one faction, it is advisable to give the other faction a role to counteract it.Town usually has the most power roles as the Mafia require much less information to help them. It can also refer to any role that can active a power and is not passive. Occasionally abbreviated to PR, but PR can also stand for Post Restriction. Use context to distinguish between the two.

• Lurking

A term used to describe a player who is viewing the thread but not contributing.

• Tunneling

Tunneling is the act of focusing solely on one person to lynch, generally while ignoring the other players.

• Claims

Claims are the declaration of your role to other players. Lying about your role is referred to as 'fake claiming'. A situation where many players declare their role is referred to as 'mass claiming'.

  • EBWOP
Edit By Way Of Post. Since posts may not be edited unless it is to correct spelling, grammar or formatting errors, players who wish to edit just make another post instead.

  • WIFOM
Wine In Front Of Me. A situation where something can be interpreted in two different ways because of “you know I know” arguments. The logic goes as follows: “If they are town, they would do X. But what if they are mafia who want us to think they’re town? What if they are town and think we may consider they are mafia because of that and do Y instead? What if they are mafia and think of all the previous argument and do Y to look town?” and so on.

  • OMGUS
Oh My God, You Suck. Used when a player votes another and the voted player votes them back for retaliation. Note that it is not considered to be OMGUS if the voted player actually has a legitimate reason for voting their voter.

  • LYLO
Stands for LYnch or LOse - a situation where town must successfully lynch a Mafia member in order to prevent the Mafia from winning. Some hosts will notify players when they are in a LYLO/MILO phase, and will usually state so in the rules. This is a bad state to end up in as Town and means that Town made lots of mistakes to get there.

  • MILO
Stands for MIslynch and LOse - a situation similar in nature to LYLO, except that choosing to vote No Lynch, and therefore allow another night, would not cause the town to lose. Some hosts will notify players when they are in a LYLO/MYLO phase, and will usually state so in the rules. This is a bad state to end up in as Town and means that Town made lots of mistakes to get there.

  • CWAC
Contributing Without Actually Contributing. When a player has made many posts in the thread, but has made very little, if no effort to hunt for Mafia. These kind of posts are called pointless posts when they add nothing to the game.

A comprehensive list of common abbreviations can be found here
 
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Common Roles: A to Z

This is a small list of some of the most predominant roles you'll come across in Bulba Mafia. It is important to remember that for each role there are variants and hosts are free to tweak the roles in accordance with their own game. For a more experienced hosts, a wider range of roles can be found here. If you are new to hosting, start with some basic roles listed below and remember to keep in mind the balance of power between factions.

• Beloved

The Beloved is a role whose name is actually ironic, since their action comes as a negative to the Town. When killed, the Beloved will cause the next Day phase to be skipped, therefore stripping the Town of a chance to get rid of a Mafia. It may be paired up with another role and in some variants, the ability will only be triggered if the Beloved is lynched by the Town.

• Bomb

The bomb is the name commonly given to a player who has the power to eliminate another player if they are themselves eliminated. The bomb does not have a choice as to who will be eliminated when they die; if they do, then the role would be called Vengeful instead. Also known as the Hunter in some variants.

• Bulletproof

The Bulletproof role makes the player completely immune from the Mafia Night kills, but open to lynches. In most games, permanent immunity to night kills is considered very over powered so most hosts will only allow this immunity to be triggered once or twice in the game. Also, in some variants, the role will also protect from kills by the Vigilante or the Serial Killer.

• Commuter

The commuter is a role aligned with the Town that allows a player to leave the Town at night, making them impossible to target with a night action. The downside is that they cannot use whatever other night actions they have. Also, some hosts might only make the commute happen every other night as opposed to every night or prevent the player from posting while they are away. Alternatively, some hosts give the commuter only a limited number of times they can commute.

• Cop

In its most basic variant, the cop has the power to learn the alignment of a player each night, meaning that they would learn whether the player is allied with the Town, the Mafia or neither. Variants of the cop role might garner more information, such as the Investigator who also receives the role of the player they check.

• Doctor

The Doctor has the power to protect a player each night. The Doctor role can vary depending on whether the host allows the Doctor to protect himself. If the Doctor’s protection also blocks the protected player's action, then the role is called Jailer. In addition to the doctor, a game may always have a Nurse. A Nurse is basically a back-up who will take on the doctor’s role if he dies.

• Double voter

In its simplest form, this role means that the caster's vote counts twice. In some variants, this role will allow the player to cast a single vote for two different players, which could be done with or without the knowledge of the other players. Overall, this role is crucial in the endgame since it allows the Town to stave off elimination for one phase by ensuring that the mafia doesn't control 50% of the votes.

• Inheritor

The Inheritor is a role that doesn't have any power at the beginning of the game but inherits other players' powers should those players be eliminated. This role is generally limited to one inherited role, but this is to the host's discretion. Sometimes known as the Amnesiac.

• Jailer

This role is akin to the Doctor in that it protects a player from being killed, but it differs from it in that it totally removes the jailed player from the game. No actions can reach them, they cannot use their actions, and depending on the Host, they might not be able to post in the game thread. Also known as the Kidnapper.

• Lightning Rod

The Lightning Rod is a role which automatically makes all night actions and all night kills target the Lightning Rod. Of course, as the Lightning Rod receives both the Night Kill and the Doctor's protection, the Night phases in a game with a Lightning Rod will be without eliminations until the Mafia lynches either the Lightining Rod or the Doctor. To compensate for this, most hosts make the Lightning Rod into an “active” role with limited shots, or a single shot passive role. Even rarer, a host may choose to not let the Lightning Rod redirect the night kills.

• Lovers

This roles unites two players in love to the point where should one of them be eliminated, the other would also be out of the game, grieving the loss of his love. This can already be assigned to specific roles by the Host, or it can be the work of a player having the Cupid role.

• Lynchee

The Lynchee is a designated target part of the Lyncher's role's win condition.

• Lyncher

The Lyncher is a role, most often Independent, whose sole task it is to eliminate one or more players during a lynch and be part of the Bandwagon that lynches them. After they complete their tasks, they are more often than not removed from the game and named joint-winners with the surviving members of the winning faction. Some variants will require the Lyncher to be the one to cast the first vote and start the Bandwagon.

• Lynchproof

The Lynchproof role is the Day counterpart to the Bulletproof role in that it protects the player from being lynched during the day but leaves them totally open to be killed at night. It can be of any alignment. This ability is often only able to be used once throughout the game.

• Mason

The Masons are a group of Townspeople that are basically the Town’s own Mafia, except they generally cannot eliminate other players during the night. Their only power is their knowledge of each others' identities. If the host does not confirm to them that their partners are allied with the town, then this role is known as Neighbor.

• Miller

The opposite of the Godfather role, the Miller is a Towns person who when checked by the cop will appear to be allied with the Mafia.

• Nexus

The Nexus is a role that allows a player to redirect actions that target him and redirect them at random towards other players. That redirecting power will usually not apply to night kills, but certain hosts will allow it. It is not traditionally associated with any particular alignment.

• Reporter

The Reporter is a player who has the ability to make anonymous reports in the game thread via the Host. He can therefore have the host say that a certain player is part of the Mafia or post a fake conversation incriminating two or more players. Mafia reporters are also fairly common.

• Reviver

The Reviver is a player that has the power to resuscitate players who have either been lynched or eliminated and give them a second chance in the game. This may be a one-time role or be used on multiple occasions. Also, depending on the Host, the resuscitated player will either keep their role or be given a new role.

• Spy

The Spy is a role that basically gives a player access to others’ private conversations, allowing them access to certain private messages.

• Tracker

The Tracker picks one person every night and follows them. The next day he/she will learn the names of everyone his target has visited.

• Upgrader

The Upgrader is a player who can bestow additional powers upon other players, which usually consists of a more effective version of their regular role. For example, an upgraded Doctor role may give him/her the opportunity to protect two players instead of one.

• Voteless

The Voteless is a role that makes the player's vote null. While it may be combined with another role to give the player some way to influence the game, in games where the vote values are unknown, the Voteless can turn what appears to be a tie into a lynch.

• Watcher

The Watcher picks one person every night to watch. The next day, the Watcher will learn the names of everyone who visited his target.

Common Mafia Roles

• Godfather

The Godfather will appear to be allied with the town when checked by the Cop.

• Roleblocker

Can stop a player from using his/her role during the night. Can also be given as a Town role though most commonly associated with the Mafia.

• Rolecop

Can investigate a player to find out what role they have. Again, can also be given to a Town allied player though most commonly associated with the Mafia.

• Tailor

Has the ability to change a players' role PM before it is presented to the thread after their death. This is often used to trick the town into believing that the dead player had a particular role. Most hosts only allow this to be done once or twice throughout the game. This role is considered Bastard and is thus frowned upon by some players.

• Strongman

The Strongman ability will bypass doctor protection when activated alongside a kill. Usually usable only once.

• Converter

A mafia converter has the ability to choose a player to bring over to their team. A Town’s person who has been converted will switch their alliance to that of the converter. This role can also be given to a player allied with the Town but most commonly is seen in Mafia players. This role is considered Bastard and is thus frowned upon by some players.

• Framer

The Framer is generally a player that's part of the Mafia and can frame a Town member to have them appear as Mafia should they be investigated.

Independent Roles/Third-Party Roles

• Serial Killer

A Serial Killer is a player that is allied with himself and whose sole goal it is to be the last remaining player alive, which is achieved by evading all night kills and all lynches. To help them in this task, Serial Killers have the power to kill one person each night, like the mafia.

• Survivor

The Survivor's goal is to survive in the game until one faction has achieved their win condition, therefore ending the game. They might have a role power to help them make it to the end of the game.

• Cult

The cult is an independent faction, which can recruit a player every night through its leader. The converted players relinquish their initial alignment and become allied with the cult. The cult can only convert Townspeople or Independents, but should they target a mafia member, a member of the cult will be eliminated. This role is considered Bastard and is thus frowned upon by some players.

• Cult Leader

The cult leader is a role that can convert players to the cult. Should the player with the Cult Leader Role be eliminated, then one of two things happen: either the cult can no longer convert other players or the role will pass down to the oldest cult member. This role is considered Bastard and is thus frowned upon by some players.

• Jester

Jester is a role whose win condition entails being lynched. Should they survive the game or be killed by the Mafia or a killing role, they lose the game. The Jester winning may or may not end the game.
 
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A host's guide to Mafia

In an effort to help all users who wish to host mafia games, the War Room staff has decided to create this guide that gives some basic tips and advice on how to be an effective gamemaster. Since basic mafia games concepts have been touched upon in A Player's Guide to Mafia, this guide will focus exclusively on helping hosts through the hosting process, from beginning to end and helping them with the problems they might encounter along the way.

To do so, we'll start by delving into the process of creating rules and mechanics for a mafia game. Then, we'll look at the tools and material that gamemasters may need to run their game. After that, we will touch upon the subject of the actual hosting process by taking a look what gamemasters can or should do before, during and after the game. We will also give out tips to deal with some of the more common problems encountered by hosts while hosting, and finally we will gie out some general advice to help make the hosting process easier for hosts and more enjoyable for players. Should you have any comments or suggestions regarding this guide, feel free to contact a War Room staff member via private message or mention it in the Situation Room.

Table of contents

1. Crafting Roles
2. Setting the Rules
3. Preparations
4. Starting the game
5. Running the game
6. Ending the game
7. Running into trouble
8. Extra Tips

I'd like to thank @Mintaka, @Parmalee and @Iteru who wrote most of this guide and to @Paperhorse for her help editing it.
 
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Crafting Roles
by Mintaka

While the outcome of the game depends on the players’ performance and decisions, it will still remain within the boundaries set by the host: the roles that each player receives and the rules by which the game is played. To begin this guide we will talk about how to create and balance roles. To do so, we will look at how many roles a mafia game should have, how to divide them between the two factions and how to balance the two teams' forces.

Basically the number of players decides how big the game will be. Bigger mafia games with many players usually results in busier hosting than smaller games, as more players means more communications between players. It would likely result in livelier debates in the game thread, as well as livelier private communications between players.

Also, unless it is a complete ‘vanilla’ game, in which no one has any special abilities, hosts must also consider that they must create a role for each player. This means more role interactions to keep track of, which is something that hosts should keep in mind when deciding on the number of players in their game. Deciding the number of players beforehand, even if it is subject to change, helps the host decide the town:mafia ratio and allows them to start building roles.

A mafia game typically ends when one side achieves its winning condition. For the Town, it would be when all mafia players are killed. For mafia, it would be as soon as they equal the Town in terms of number (as from that point onwards they can control lynches and eliminate the town). Independents usually share their victory with the winning faction, although there also exist Independents that oppose one or all factions, changing the winning condition and end condition of the game. The time necessary for the Town to lynch all of the Mafia players or for the Mafia to equal the town side typically determines how long the game will be played.

Hence, rather than the number of the roles, we will focus here on ratio. The basic characteristic of a mafia game is that it opposes an uninformed majority and an informed minority. As the uninformed majority, the Town must outnumber the mafia at the start. The common ratio of TOWN : MAFIA is around 4 : 1. It is recommended that the Town be given at least a couple of Day phases open for mistakes. The Mafia have two main methods to eliminate the Town players: participating in the lynch during the Day phase and killing a target every Night phase. On the other hand, Town players must rely almost exclusively on lynching to eliminate the Mafia. Two Day phases and two Night phases gives the Town some time to gather information and should they have roles, to use their night actions to gain more information.

However, hosts should not increase the proportion of the town so much that it gives too many problems for the mafia. Remember that while mafia players know each other from the beginning, the condition is that they need to survive and equal/outnumber the town players to win. They are not invincible, much less if there is a role that can kill a target among the town or independents and/or a cop. As we will see in the following part, the Town : Mafia ratio is not the only thing to consider when trying to achieve balance between the two factions. Hosts may also rely on the roles they create.

Hosts making a classic mafia game, where the roles possess no special ability, can skip this part of the guide. Those kinds of games allow players not have to worry about actions suddenly changing the course of the game, and pure logic is the key to winning. On the other hand, abilities and actions give players methods to gather information without relying on solely argument skills, and as long as they are balanced, roles add variety to a game, making it more entertaining, especially if it follows a certain theme.

There are many abilities hosts can give to a player, and if it does not overpower the role, a combination of multiple powers. When adding roles to a faction (town/mafia/independent), hosts need to ask themselves whether the role is relevant to the faction or if it is too powerful. It is best that in a mafia game, that every role has some sort of a weak point or a counter on the opposing faction.

As an example, we will examine the traditional Town-aligned Cop role. A player with this role can check a target each night to discover which faction they belong to. Even though the Mafia is smaller in number and the chances of the role targeting a mafia are thus lower, the role remains very powerful. There are ways to make the role not invincible: adding roleblockers to the game, especially one aligned with the Mafia, or giving a Mafia player the Godfather role which allows that player to turn up innocent upon being checked. The Godfather role itself is not overpowered, as it is a passive ability in the first place and it becomes less useful once the Cop is gone or even worse, if it is not checked in the first place. Roleblockers aren’t overpowered either as they would not know what role they are actually targeting, or if the target has any action to cancel in the first place.

A useful way to predict how roles would interact with each other is to draw a map where hosts can write down all the roles that they intend to add, and check what role could cancel another if targeted, what role stands invincible when others are limited, etc.

Finally, hosts need to write PMs for each role. In the PM, hosts should clearly state what ability the player is given, requirements to activate the role should there be any, and more importantly, state what faction the role belongs to along with the role's winning condition. If the game is based on a certain theme, then some background information on the character the role is based on is also helpful and immersing. A host may choose to not disclose certain facts about a player’s role in their PM. However, hidden roles are always considered to be bastard.

The last part of the role creation process is to assign each role a priority, which is basically the order in which the roles activate. There are two ways to decide the order of actions taking place. The host can either let the order in which they received the actions decide who moves first or have a set order that will remain constant through the game. This method can be hard to organize and hosts need to consider how fairly the priorities apply for each role. However, once the game is running, they don't have to worry about deciding the outcomes for the actions each phase. Also, compared to the other method, this method does not rely on how long it takes for the players to send in their actions, as long as they send it within the period they are supposed to send the actions in.

Additional Notes - Independents

Sometimes referred as 'third party', independents are roles that are not allied with town or mafia. Independents can exist as individuals or even teams of their own, that have their own objectives to win the game separately from town and mafia.

Examples of individual independents include those that need to survive till the end of the game and those that need to be lynched. Sometimes they are given abilities to assist them to achieve these goals, especially in the case of the former. When giving abilities to an independent, the host might not be stressed to regard the balance as much as in the case for town or mafia, as independents are a separate party with their goals. However, a host still needs to take into consideration how an independant role can impact the balance between Town and Mafia when giving independents their abilities. A host should always consider if an Independent player may end up being able to influence the outcome of the game without having a vested interest in either side - this is known as the Kingmaker scenario. A common way of avoiding this is by giving an independent player a voteless modifier.

Groups of independents can work like a small group of mafia only that they won't be aiming to kill the town side for victory. Sometimes third party members do not know each other at the start, but are recognized when they fill certain requirements. To assist them, often roles that benefit when targeting a certain target are given to third party group members. Or also, roles that work as a group (such as 'lovers') are given.
 
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Setting the Rules
by Mintaka

There are different school of thoughts in regards to rules. Some hosts will want to give as much freedom to their player as possible, while others tend to be more restrctive, but every host should provide their players with a clear set of rules to let them know what they can and can't do, as well as the basic information necessary to play the game. Given that players tend to participate concurrently in multiple games, it is essential for hosts to state their game's specificities. Rules are posted in the opening post of the game thread so they can be easily accessible to everyone.

The simplest set of rules might be simply stating the time at which the game will be updated. Adding the time zone is a must, considering that not all the players live in the host's time zone. Another way to do it is by saying that the phase will end in X hours.

The key to creating fair rules is to find a balance between having too many rules that limit players' actions, which can discourage them from playing, and having very little rules, to the point where the players' actions go beyond the host's control and even ruin everyone's fun. As a reference, Zexy has created a set of “standard” rules which can be found here.

Some common additional rules are the following.

  • Sportsmanship.

    Mafia games can become heated during arguments, and unexpected and/or unpleasant results can frustrate the players. There is a certain line between a player expressing simple anger and frustration, and a player expressing that frustration in a way that harms the course and/or enjoyment of the game for other players. Also, while rules do exist, players might be looking for ways to work around them. While most of these actions remain within rules or a range that the host would not mind, sometimes such actions can result in unfair results. To solve this it is recommended to have a “no loophole abuse” rule.

    Any host has the right to request a player to stop certain behavior that they find disturbing. It can be anything from insulting players rather than arguing their points, attempts to violate a rule while avoiding punishment. If such actions were done in the public thread, a host can point such actions in public, although they can always choose to contact the player privately. If such actions go beyond the point that a host can tolerate (in fair judgment), then they can choose to remove the player from the game. A host can also always report behaviour that they feel harm their game to the War Room staff.

  • Private Communications

    Private communications refer to players talking outside of the game thread. This can be done in many ways, such as Private Messaging (PM), Quicktopic, and Instant Messaging (IMs). Should a host allow private communications, they should always check those private communications to see if a player is violating rules outside the public thread, or to simply keep track of the interactions between players. (This comes in handy when writing ratings for each player later.) Hosts should request to have copies of such communications sent to them. Conversations can be forwarded by having their name added to the recipient list. Quicktopic threads have links that can be shared, and only those that have the link can access the thread unless the link is posted in public. For IMs, most IMs store conversation logs that can be copy-pasted and shared.

    Sometimes hosts prohibit or limit private communications, even for the mafia. These games would only require a public thread in which players would post to vote AND share information. In such games, most (if not all) information that the player shares will also be accessible by other parties that would give rise to different strategies that the players need to come up with. Chats created by the host, like the mafia group chat, are an exception to this.

  • On Role-Claiming

    Naturally during the game, players would be asking others for information about their roles, or they would be willing to share information about their roles. If it is a game where all parties have fair chances to come up with fake claims or information then most forms of role claiming will not become a problem. However, if it is a game in which a party (especially the mafia that is the minority) has limited chances to base a fake claim, then you might want to limit forms of role claiming.

    For games that rely heavily on a certain theme and/or have a limited source for basing roles on, hosts often prohibit sharing information that is based on the role's character. This is often called nameclaiming. Nameclaiming often refers to simply stating the name of the character given to a player. However, sharing information related to the role that is not necessary to understand how the role works in the mafia game (such as background information of the character that makes the role) can be regarded as a form of nameclaiming on a broader range.
  • Inactivity

    It can sometimes be impossible for players to participate in the games, and those situations affect the gameplay. Hosts should add rules regarding such occasions. However, a player replacing an existing player ('subbing') can affect the game as well. Some policies have the players report if they'll be absent for the forseeable future. If it is assured that they can still play the game, even in a lower activity, some hosts keep the players while others either replace them or modkill them (the latter being rare, often done only when the game has progressed too much to replace the player or a sub cannot be found). The host may decide to give a warning to the player before removing them if they do not reply to the warning. Other examples of policies regarding activity has the host give a period of minimum time that a player needs to post in the thread, such as "once every three phases at least". In addition, hosts sometimes allow players not to post yet remain active ('lurking') if players contact the host that they are simply not posting but yet active in the game.
 
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Preparations
by Iteru

Preparation is an important aspect in hosting Mafia games. A well-prepared game makes for a smoother hosting experience and usually means that some problems and delays can be prevented when the game is live. The following are things hosts should consider when preparing for their game to go live:

Conversation Platform
Hosts often create their private chats, like the mafia group chat, on the forum. However, some players prefer to use a different platform for this, like QuickTopic or Discord. Make sure that everyone agrees on which platform is used for communication.

QuickTopic

QuickTopic, or just QT, is a website that provides free web message boards known as topics which multiple people can talk in. Registration is free and once completed, a user can make a topic simply by entering in a title. Topics are private and require a link to gain access which means that the creator of the topic can limit access to certain people (who in turn can give out the link to anyone themselves). It is also possible to set up email updates to be notified when someone posts in the QT.

So how is QT useful for mafia games? Well, to a faction that all know each other, like the mafia, a QT can serve as a place to discuss strategy, role actions as well as kills. This is a major advantage over PMs as all discussion can be seen at once and no one’s inbox on Bulbagarden becomes horribly cluttered.

Discord

Many players also have a discord account. Discord is a platform where you can chat privately or in groups. This can be done either by text or by voice chat. For the mafia games it is advised to keep it to text so that the host(s) and MoD can read back on the conversation. You can get alerts when a new message pops up. Just like QT, you won’t get your inbox cluttered on the forum.


Co-hosting

Co-hosting is when two or more people host a game as opposed to just the one. It can bring benefits such as:

  • Splitting up creating or writing out rules and mechanics, which can sometimes be very tedious work.
  • Having someone to update the game when the other host cannot.
  • If the co-hosts have varying time zones, it’s is possible to achieve near “24 hour coverage” where at least one host is online at all times. This means that role actions from users can be responded to faster.
There are some points to consider when co-hosting, with communication being the main one. Both hosts should make sure they are following the same rules for the game and treating role actions the same way to avoid giving any players an unintended advantage or disadvantage. Knowing who will update the phases will prevent one from being missed due to both hosts thinking it is the other’s duty. It’s important that both hosts are aware of all actions that take place, to ensure that phases are updated correctly. For example, consider the following:

- There are two co-hosts, Host A and Host B.
- The mafia tell Host A and Host B who they intend to kill for the night, Player X.
- Player Y is the doctor and tells Host A that he wishes to protect player X for the night phase. Host B is uninformed.
- Host B updates the thread for the phase change and reveals that Player X has been nightkilled. His role is revealed.

This is a huge problem as Player X’s role and alliance have been revealed publicly and so restoring them back into the game would put them at a huge disadvantage, as any other player in the game would have had a chance to see it. Giving them a new role is questionable as the knowledge they gained with their previous role might make their new role broken and their alliance has already been revealed unless the host decides to change it for a twist.

Due to the above, it is imperative that co-hosts are both aware of role actions.

You may find people willing to help you with co-hosting a game in the Queue thread or The Situation Room.

Mentoring

Mentoring is when an experienced player and/or host (a mentor) helps a player to form their game either in an advisory capacity or via co-hosting. This is often done by players who are new to hosting as it helps to reduce the chances of having a broken game and means that they can learn a lot about hosting at the same time.

Mentors helping in an advisory capacity can advise on any aspect of the game such as mechanics and roles, including writing them out. They can also advise on decisions that need to be taken during the game, such as if something has gone wrong and a solution to fix it is needed. Mentors that co-host can also advise on all of these things.

It should be noted that mentors in either capacity are not allowed to play in the game that they are helping with in the interest of fairness.

The Moderator on Duty (MoD), if they are asked and agree to it, can also act as a mentor.

Timing

Naturally, there will be times when the War Room is busier than usual as well as less busy. Due to this, holidays, school/university and personal matters should all be taken into account

  • Holidays can either increase or decrease the amount of players and activity in games. Notably, most players have more free time during the summer when they do not have to go to school or university, and this applies to other weeks when they are not open. This makes them a good time to host larger games as it increases the chance that more players will sign up. Holidays aren’t all good though. Some players however may not go online on important holidays such as Christmas Day and so hosts often decide to postpone the game for a couple of days until these days (and the aftermath) is over. As the War Room has many players from around the globe, it’s often important to consider important days which might not be relevant in your country. For example, Thanksgiving is mostly observed in North America. A player in the UK may want to postpone their game for Thanksgiving despite not celebrating it for the benefit of those who do.
  • School and university can often cause a decrease in the amount of activity of a game and sometimes force hosts to postpone or end their game. In university especially, students can often find themselves with a lot of work assigned in a very short amount of time and no longer be able to keep up with a game. Similarly, examinations can also take up a lot of time due to the revision needed, let alone actually sitting them. Learning when examinations generally take place in most countries will help to reduce the chances of trying to host an exam during the exam period.
  • Personal matters are events that occur for a specific player in their home life and can either be expected or unexpected. An example of an expected personal matter would be going on holiday abroad for a couple of weeks. If you have an expected personal matter coming up, it would be best to prolong hosting until after the matter is finished to prevent putting your game on hold. An example of an unexpected matter would be sudden hospitalisation or a death in the family. The War Room and its players are very understanding when it comes down to unexpected personal matters and encourage a host prolonging their game for as long as they feel the need to.
 
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Starting the game
by Hellion

In order to start a game, a host has to respect the criteria indicated here in order to be allowed to post a new mafia game. A game's thread opening post must include two crucial pieces of information: the rules of the game and the expected number of players, unless it is a ??-Player game. Now, we will look at how to make getting started easier for hosts.

Advertisment

Sometimes, it can be hard to get people to sign up for a game, so here are a few things a host can do to get the word out about their game.

- The War Room Game/Schedule Queue

Upon placing a game in the Queue, people who may check said thread find out about it.​

- The Situation Room

As the War Room's own chat thread, the Situation Room is followed by lots of War Room regulars and neophytes where they can talk about the games, but also about life in general.
It's a good place for hosts to both socialize with players and write a little something inviting them to join their game. The advertising rule does not apply to mafia games in this case, but it does to other threads not within the War Room.​

- Discord

You may also advertise your games in The War Room's Discord server. You may click the link above which is an instant invite to said server.​

- Signature and Blog

The War Room is most likely not the only section in which potential players post. A mention of the game in a host's signature can get that game noticed by the posters of other sections and a signature is a good way to let users who aren't regulars of the War Room know about the game. The same applies to hosts writing a blog about their mafia, as some of the people who follow the blog might want to try their hands at mafia.​

- Directly asking potential players

As a last resort, a host can always communicate directly with potential players. Hosts should always ask users whom they are on friendly terms with to try their game. Also, the War Room has many regulars, and hosts looking for players are always free to drop them a private message or a visitor message asking them to join their mafia. Hosts should be courteous when asking and should not insist if they receive no reply or a negative response. To know some of these regulars, hosts may look at who participated in recent games. If a host chooses a specific theme for their mafia, looking for people who share that interest, in a social group dedicated to that subject for example, is a good way to attract players. Hosts should not advertise the game in the group however.​


Adding/Cutting roles

If a host's game has more players than expected or less than expected, hosts will have to add or subtract roles to their games. The important thing when adding or cutting roles is to keep the balance between the two sides, as to not favour one or the other. A good way to do this is to keep the same Town/Mafia ratio or by converting a mafia role as an independent role. Also, some abilities that would have worked well in large numbers game, might be broken in games of smaller numbers. For example, a vigilante with the ability to kill a target once every three night phase works well in a game with over 20 players but if a hosts finds themselves hosting a smaller game, they might want to change the vigilante's ability to be a one time deal.

Sending out roles

Once all the roles are created and the players signed up, the next step for the host is to distribute and send out the roles. The first step in this process is to assign a role to each player. The simplest way to do this is to assign a number to each role and use a random sequence generator (one can be found here) to shuffle the roles. The role with the number that shows first on the sequence then goes to the first player that signed up, and so forth. Each role should be sent privately via private message to the users. Hosts should also include links to Quicktopic or Discord chats when the situation applies.

Once the roles are sent, the game begins, usually after every players confirmed that they have received their role.
 
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Running the Game
by Parmalee

Once the game has started, the host's duties include updating the game phases, collecting player actions and keeping up with player's communications. Here, most of the games have a Night 0 start for role confirmations while disallowing night actions. Once all roles are confirmed, then the Day phase begins.

Day phases

During the day phases, players vote for whoever they want to see eliminated. They talk to gain information from other players and to analyze voting patterns. The player with the most votes is lynched and removed from play at phase's end. At the end of every day phase, hosts must post an update revealing which player was eliminated from the game. Hosts should mention all players within the update post, change the thread title to the next night, update the OP to accurately show which players have died, and update the thread title with the last update date. This makes it easier for the staff to keep track of all running games. It is also recommended to add a threadmark to the update post. This way the players can easily find the start of every new phase.

Night phases

The night phase occurs after the day phase is over. The mafia conspire with their buddies and discuss who they should kill. Thread activity is subdued since this is when the majority of actions take place. Most role actions are sent into effect here. Two types of role actions exist in mafia: passive actions and informational actions. The key difference between passive actions and informational actions is that passive actions do not need to be activated by the player.

Passive actions are already activated within the role. An example of this role is the double voter. All votes that this player makes count for two instead of the usual one. This is not manually activated, meaning that it goes into effect when the player receives the role.

Informational actions are not already activated within the roleset. The player has to manually activate this by either sending the host a PM specifiying what action is to take place or posting something within the thread, depending on what the role PM indicates.

Tracking

Hosts may find a way to keep track of their games. One way is to log all actions and votes on a spreadsheet. However, keeping it up to date is imperative if this route is taken. Hosts should make sure to keep track of every action PM that is received.

At the end of every night phase, hosts must post an update revealing the dead player's identity and mention everyone to let them know that the phase has changed. They should then send out all result PMs if needed and change the thread title. To change the thread title, hosts have to click on the edit button of the first post, click on "Go advanced" and change the thread title and update the OP. Both sets of phases continue until a winner is declared.

When updating the game, or whenever a player needs to be subbed out from that game, it is recommended to use the Threadmarks tool to bookmark your update posts and make them easily accessible to the players and anyone who might be observing the game. Additionally, when posting an update, either for a phase change or a substitution, it is also recommended to mention the remaining players, including both the player subbing out and the player subbing in, to ensure that smooth transitions occur during the game.
Lastly, timely edits to the OP, specifically the player list and timeline, will also help ensure smoother games.

Communications

Talking outside of the game thread is permitted, unless there is an indication to the contrary in the game's rules. Although it should be noted that discussing an ongoing mafia game in another public thread on the forum is always prohibited. Always include the host(s) and MoD in these conversations.

- Conversations

This forum has a Conversations system that players can use to message each other during the course of the game. To contact a player privately, hosts simply have to click on that player's username in the thread, and further click on the "Start a Conversation" button or go to their Inbox, click on the "Start a New Conversation" button on the bottom right and include that user in the recipients. To start a Conversation with multiple users, hosts should simply add a comma between the players' names. All the users in the same conversation will be made aware the conversation includes each other.

- IMing services and Quicktopic

Outside of BMGF, people can converse via other instant messaging services like Discord, IRC or Skype. As mentioned in Section 3, Quicktopic is another board service that players can use for discussions. Players can make them at will during the game, but the link will have to be sent to the host. This action ensures that the host knows all events and conversations that transpire.​
 
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Ending the Game
by Parmalee

Once a faction fulfills their win condition, the game is over and we will now discuss once the game has been won. Hosts should post all unrevealed roles for the remaining players within the game. If a spreadsheet has been used to keep track of all actions, they can reveal it for the players' benefit. Hosts can take this time to point out any mistakes that they might have made. They can also reveal all interactions that have occurred, as well as hidden roles. Hosts can choose to reveal all quicktopics that were used in the game's duration, and if they choose to do so, if they are the creator of the topic, they can delete posts in the QT they find controversial and/or antagonizing posts that might not be well received when the QT is made public.

Ratings and Comments

After their mafia game has ended, a host can choose to give some feedback to the players. It can be in the form of numerical ratings or comments on their playstyle, the way they used their role, their interactions with other players or their complience with the rules. If they choose to do so, hosts should remember to only comment in regards to the game itself and how the players performed in that particular game.

Just as the host can offer feedback to the players, the players themselves may choose to give some feedback to the host on how they handled their duties. This feedback is very important as it allows a host to see where lie the strenghts and weakness of their mechanics, their hosting style. It's a great way for a host to improve and make their future games more enjoyable. This could easily be done by giving some questions to the players about the game. Hosts should also answer any questions that players may have about the game.
 
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Hellion

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Running into Trouble
by Parmalee

Inactivity

A marked difference between lurking and being inactive exists. Lurkers either do just a little in the game thread or have sporadic activity. Being inactive is when someone does nothing: no PMs, no outside contact, not even posting in the thread. When someone doesn't show any activity, then it's an issue. As said above, hosts should establish a set amount of phases between posts in which players must post and should make sure to track every player so that nobody falls off the radar. When a player fails to post in that set amount of time, hosts should notify the party in private. If the inactive player either requests a substitution or doesn't respond, then hosts should take action.

Their first option is to replace the inactive player with a substitute. Before doing so, hosts should make sure that the substitute accepts the offer before handing them their role. Giving a prospective substitute a role PM without first asking them if they are still willing to participate may cause a them to drop out while having knowledge of an existing role before they are officially inside the game, which constitutes as an unfair advantage, as they know another role that is confirmed to exist in the game.

But when the substitute pool is drained, then the role may have to be modkilled. Modkilling does penalize the faction of which has to suffer for this, therefore hosts should use it at their discretion and as a last resort.

Damage Control

Everyone makes mistakes. For example, Players 1 and 2 are both part of the mafia. Player 3 is the cop. Host 1 gives Player 3 a guilty result for checking on Player 1. The problem is that Player 1 is the mafia godfather and all checks to him come back innocent. In this situation, the host may decide to switch Player 1 and Player 2's roles, assuming Player 2 has never been checked. It is advised to contact your MoD before doing these actions.


In dealing with mistakes and screwups, hosts should be honest with the players at the end of the game. While some players will be upset, the host's decision was made in the interest of fairness and lessons have been learned from this.

Failure to update

If a host knows beforehand that they will not be late or unable to update at the regular time, they should notify the players as soon as possible and extend the phase. For a prolonged absence, hosts should post both in the game thread and the queue thread that the game will be paused, to let both the players and the War Room staff aware of the situation. Game that remain without an update for too long will be closed and archived, in accordance with the hosting rules.

Problems with a player

Sometimes, a player will break the rules of the game or display behavior that the host may feel harms the enjoyment of the game for other players. If this occurs, hosts should privately contact a War Room moderator who is not playing in the game to notify them of the situation and they will take action if needed. A host may sometimes have to modkill a player if the violation disturbs game balance, but it is advisable to discuss with the MoD(s) first.
 
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Hellion

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Extra Tips
by Iteru, Mintaka and Hellion

While not necessary, there are extra things that a host can do to increase both the interest in their game, the fun involved as well as to make their game unique.

Themes

A theme is a topic that a host chooses to base their game around. Common examples include video games, TV shows or even original material created by the host themselves. Themes have a number of benefits:

  • They give players an extra incentive to join if the theme is something that they like. Observing franchises which are popular around the forum and basing a game off of one of them is a good way to increase the number of players interested. Examples include Pokémon, MLP, games based off of the War Room itself.
  • It may be easier to create a game with source material to base it on as opposed to making everything up.
  • Name claiming, where people claim the entity that their role is based on in an attempt to prove their alliance, becomes an element of the game (the host may forbid name claiming in their rules).
It should be noted that there is the possibility of giving some players an advantage if they know the theme well while other players don’t. Certain characters, due to their traits, backstory, canon, etc will likely be paired with roles that reflect such. Due to this it is recommended to provide a website link, such as to a wiki, where information on the theme can be found so that unfamiliar players can reduce the disadvantage they have through research.

Creativity and Experimenting

The guide mostly covers the usual mafia games, those with the concept "informed minority VS uninformed majority". However, hosts should not be afraid to think of ways to put their unique twist on this format and experiment with different mechanics.

For example, some games provide more than two big parties competing to win. There can be three parties that are competing to have the number advantage at the end of the game. In such cases, the mind game becomes fun in a different way - players would need to consider more than two sides when eliminating a target and it could also mean temporary alliances be required in some cases. Also, a portion of the town players, instead of being clueless, could know each other, or have a condition that makes them united once fulfilled. There are many other ways to shake up the usual mafia games formula, such as a mechanic that changes a player's alliance. Some games might allow players to continue participating and influencing the game after their death.

If a host is unsure of a mechanic, such as whether it would upset the balance between the two sides, they could host a smaller game with the new mechanic. Smaller games mean that hosts have less actions to keep track of, and more space to evaluate how the mechanic affects the game. However, if you are already experienced with hosting, then you could give the new mechanic a go in a big game.

Playfulness

The roles and mechanics of a game are not the only thing that can make a game enjoyable. The host themselves can add comedy and personality into the game by how they interact with players through flavour text, updates or just in general going along with a joke that the players currently are. Writing detailed updates and flavour text can immerse users into the game, and if you do, prompt your players to read them. A good way to get players to read them is by slipping clues in them. Having a theme with your game helps you creating flavour text and might make it more enjoyable for the players.

Participation

While players' inactivity can harm a game, it's also important for the host to be a presence in their game. A good way to decrease players' inactivity and make sure that everyone has a good time is for the host to be in regular contact with their players, especially neophytes who might be participating in their first mafia. Checking in with those players, asking them their thoughts about the game, giving them advice in a reasonable amount, are simple things that a host can do which can make a big difference in player's enjoyment.

Identity

Prospective hosts should remember that who they are as players often creates expectations about who they will be as hosts. Prospective players are more likely to join a host's game, if that host has previously shown to be a good player beforehand, either by displaying good deductive skills, being a leader, by displaying good sportsmanship or simply by being humourous and personable, because they respect and appreciate the host as a player first.
 
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