Grey Dog Software

Go Back   Grey Dog Software > Grey Dog Software Think Tank > Mafia games
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Mark Forums Read

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 02-23-2008, 05:59 PM
SadisticBlessings's Avatar
SadisticBlessings SadisticBlessings is offline
Phenom
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 338
Default What GDS Mafia Players Should Have Learned

Okay, so here's the deal:

Watching and moderating mafia games for so long has instilled in me a few core beliefs, one of which is that there is no good source for information on high level play anywhere on the net. Mafiascum's strategy section is bereft of actual information which can be applied to a broad range of games, and as they're essentially the entire written knowledge base on the subject I'm a bit curious as to how new players are expected to understand the fine points of the game outside of playing (and being battered and humiliated) until they learn it. Virtually all of their strategy articles deal with basic beginner game builds, specifically 9-player games and some variants thereof.

As such, I wanted to create a series of articles which would help to educate new players on the things one picks up after some time in the trenches - but moreover, I wanted to create a thread on GDS where mafia players can freely talk about the strategies that extend from one game to another. Strategic discourse is common within game threads, of course, but what about games that will occur in the future? Considering the dearth of information on the game (particularly on large-scale games, which are common on GDS and extremely difficult for new players), I think any advice or knowledge which any community members contribute would be most appreciated.

Now, as to the thread title - my next post within the thread will be a short article I recently wrote which I hope will be the beginning of a series which I'll post in this thread over time. Though in a sense they're meant as hype and preparation for my own upcoming game (GDS Mafia, appropriately enough), the strategies discussed within will be applicable to every game which follows basic mafia formats. Hopefully this not only helps some new players learn the game quicker and enjoy themselves more, but also creates a decent reservoir of information and place for intermediate and advanced players to discuss their own strategies and experiences in depth.

There isn't a general "Mafia" discussion thread on GDS, aside from the list of moderators (which isn't all that active). This thread could serve that purpose, perhaps, if there's enough interest to keep discussion going.

As to my article, it's basically the first in a series which will compile a list of "Do's" and "Dont's" for mafia players (town or mafia aligned). It's a bit long, though hopefully anyone who reads it will come away with a few bits of insight. It's essentially meant for newer players looking to understand some of the lesser-known points of interaction within the game, though I'd also love reviews from any experienced players as well. Naturally, since this is only the first, the series can be altered and shaped depending on feedback.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 02-23-2008, 06:00 PM
SadisticBlessings's Avatar
SadisticBlessings SadisticBlessings is offline
Phenom
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 338
Default

Speaking from experience, I can say with complete certainty that the mafia community on the GDS boards has grown at an alarming rate since the first CornellVerse Mafia game started up. This popularity explosion can be attributed to many different sources; naturally the game itself is a draw, but we also have an excellent, well-prepared community of dedicated and enthusiastic players, a host of shockingly talented new moderators, and some unique game themes that have held the players interest over the course of many, many hours.

So we know why mafia is popular, and we know why people play. But that still begs the question: how exactly does one play mafia properly?

As this year’s Scummie Awards showed, there are definitely certain players who stand out head and shoulders above the rest – but why? What makes players like Undertaker666, Wallbanger, theoutlaw321 and derek_b so formidable, and why do others earn reputations for hindering their side’s performance regardless of alignment? What makes a player a strategic threat in this game, and what qualities are necessary to survive until the bitter end?

This “series,” as I’d call it, based on a format frequently used at Reality News Online, will attempt to summarize the events of the first ten mafia games this community has been through and leave players with a good understanding of what every successful GDS mafia player should know going into a new game of mafia. I think it goes without saying, of course, that a base familiarity with the game itself is recommended before reading.

Also, please note that while the series, over time, is meant to anatomize all the aspects of a good mafia player, not all of them will be included in every article. Indeed, for the moment I’ll be foregoing things like learning the common tells and vote pattern analysis and instead focus on a more simplistic topic: namely, how to BEHAVE in a game of mafia such that you give yourself the best chances of success.

Naturally there is a significant difference in play style between town and mafia aligned players, which will be highlighted along the way.

And so, without further ado…


What GDS Mafia Players Should Have Learned – A Retrospective
Part I: CornellVerse Mafia 1.0


To begin our exploration of what makes up a successful mafia player, we’ll have to go back... way back, to the very first game we witnessed on this forum. Our most reliable source of knowledge is the past, of course, and so our first task is to attempt to understand the underlying lessons we should have picked up in each particular game of mafia we’ve seen on the GDS boards up to this point. This should help to crystallize some of the key points each game brought up in terms of overall gameplay, and aid in constructing something of a "master list" of mafia strategy by the time the series is through.

The very first CornellVerse Mafia game taught us quite a few things, but several must be taken with a grain of salt due to the fact that almost all of the participants were new to the game – for instance, there was very little in the way of establishing common tells in the first CornellVerse Mafia, and as such they will be left out of the discussion for now. Nonetheless, this game taught us many valuable lessons, but there was one thing that stood out most of all: how to survive to the end of a mafia game as a town aligned player. Undertaker666, mjdgoldeneye, and mad5226 were all able to survive until the end for the same reason: in spite of whatever reasoning they brought to the table, they were all unknown variables.

Despite inexperience, the two mafia groups in CV Mafia understood that a proven town-aligned player (whether by investigation or roleclaim) is far more dangerous to their quest for dominance than someone few other townies would trust. Undertaker666 understood this concept from the very beginning of the game, and played accordingly – he invited the suspicion. Rather than roleclaiming or asking for investigation to prove his alignment, ‘taker did the opposite: though his logic and suggestions were all in the town’s best interests, he did his best to APPEAR scummy. Indeed, though it was often his logic that broke mafia families, neither bothered to attack him through the very end due to his untrustworthy nature. By the time the entire town was informed that he was CornellVerse aligned, it was too late to do anything about it.

The same could be said for mad5226, who was absent throughout a great deal of the game and posted, at best, sporadically. In a more seasoned game of mafia I would venture a guess that mad would have been lynched much earlier, but that’s largely irrelevant to this discussion; the point is, mad was allowed to survive until the end because neither mafia group considered him threatening in terms of leadership or participation. Interestingly enough, what they SHOULD have been concerned about was his powerful role: a double voter, one of the most dangerous opponents a mafia group can face in the final stretches of the game.

In mjdgoldeneye’s case the subject is a bit more complex. One could argue that his alignment to the town was obvious thanks to his use of night facts, while others might say that the night facts themselves were primarily things a mafia aligned player would already know, and thus made him appear scummy. All that matters is that in the end Arrows considered him suspicious enough to finger as a Mafioso, while the rest of the town believed his roleclaim and won because of it. This brings up an interesting part of this lesson: even if your power appears potentially scummy, attempts to openly aid the town will usually keep you from being lynched.

Of course, the case of the final survivor, Wallbanger, was a special one for whom special mention must be made. As a PGO Wallbanger was completely invincible, and played the part perfectly: once his roleclaim was believed by everyone, he was free to play out in the open as a town leader. This strategy is completely valid, and its full utilization by a new player was enough to earn Wallbanger the distinction of being named the first mafia MVP on the GDS forums.

As a corollary to the revelation of how to survive as a town aligned player, of course, we also learned in CornellVerse Mafia how to fail as a mafia aligned player. Several of the mafia aligned players in this game died due to poor luck, in some cases due to investigations or targeting the PGO. One obvious example of a classic losing mafia don strategy, however, was Sensai of Mattitude, who failed in this game partly through no actual fault of his own. Sensai’s loss stemmed from a string of inactivity throughout the mid to late game, followed by an extended absence from the boards entirely during a vacation. Inactivity is one of the biggest motivating factors during late, uninformed lynches, and Sensai’s mafia family failed largely due to his inability to defend himself. Indeed, surviving just one more day phase would have won the game for his group.

The other example of a losing strategy for a mafia aligned player was Arrows, who despite playing a fantastic game failed to see it through to the end. Though much of his loss can be attributed to the absence of his don, Sensai’s death should not have been an automatic loss for him. Arrows’ death was caused, in the end, by a high-risk roleclaim made in an effort to avert Sensai’s death for another night. For those of you unfamiliar with that particular endgame, the roleclaim was along the lines of Arrows being an investigator, and he revealed that Sensai and mjdgoldeneye were the final two mafia members, with mjd as the don.

Sensai was lynched, revealed to be the don, and the remaining townies realized Arrows’s claim was false and strung him up as well.

At the time, the roleclaim made sense. Keep Sensai alive for one more day phase, and with a mis-lynch of mjd Arrows would be free to kill mad5226 during the night phase and win the game. Indeed, the suggestion of this strategy as a possibility to the town would not have hurt him. It was his extensive roleclaim, which virtually guaranteed his ouster if Sensai were lynched first, that did him in.

And so, from the first game of mafia on the GDS forums, we learned the answers to the question, “how does one lose as a mafia aligned player?”

Mafia aligned players lose by not being active enough in the town’s thought processes. Failure to contribute generates suspicion in your peers, and fear that you may be attempting to just “coast through the game” will eventually surface. If you want to succeed as a mafia aligned player, you should endeavor to be as active as the average town aligned player in your particular game.

Arrows followed that rule, and he still didn’t win the game. This leads to the second point we’ve learned: Mafia aligned players lose by bluffing, and virtually daring the townies to go against them. Creating a false roleclaim is an art form, and not to be taken lightly; any roleclaim with the remotest possibility of being proven false by anything short of an investigation WILL eventually be proven false by a good town, guaranteed.

Many other rules for advanced players were witnessed in the first CornellVerse Mafia. A shining example of a rookie mistake, and one which should definitely be avoided, is that pitfall of assuming a moderator will model his game around a particular format. Perhaps the towns’ biggest mistake during the game were the deaths of TheEdgeOfReason and i effin rule, who were a pair of town aligned siblings with a mason ability.

When it was revealed that the two were siblings, the apparent consensus of the town was that one of the two must be mafia aligned – it said so on mafiascum’s wiki, of course, so it must be true!

Moderators often change rules specifically to avoid players from using this kind of obvious logic, in order to challenge the players. The rules of one game are often very different from those of another, and making assumptions based on anything taken from outside of the game itself frequently causes trouble. This still happens, and occurred as recently as in Rocky & Bullwinkle Mafia (the players were confounded by the fact that the Don came up mafia if investigated while the hitman did not, which led to the death of their investigator).

Another lesson learned in this particular game was the importance of patience. The primary example of this in the game, one which has stood out in my mind for some time, was the speed lynching of The Aussie. In this particular game The Aussie was an FBI Agent searching for the serial killer, and was lynched without ever being given a chance to speak in his own defense (due to the time differences). This put the town in a terrible position, with one potential investigator down early.

The issue here is that even by forcing a roleclaim, The Aussie would at least have been killed during the night phase and given the town another chance to try to lynch a baddie while saving another innocent from the knife that night. Thus, it’s generally advisable to allow the lynchee a chance at a last minute roleclaim if they’re not already proven scum to a reasonable degree. Investigators in particular should roleclaim before being lynched, revealing any information they’ve obtained up to that point and accepting their fate the next night.

The final thing we learned from the original CornellVerse Mafia was, ironically enough, the danger of roleclaiming. Throughout this game perhaps more than any other roleclaimers were being killed off at a rapid rate, with panix04 (who roleclaimed BLZ Bubb, Vigilante), machinesxe (who roleclaimed Shawn Gonzalez, Miller), Mr T Jobs To Me (who roleclaimed Buddy Garner, Bulletproof) and joose2001 (who roleclaimed Bryan Vessey, Survivor) all eliminated in short order after revealing their roles. Why? Because unlike the survivors, this group openly stated their alignment and made themselves very obvious targets. Panix was first, gone because the character he claimed is a villain within the context of the game world. Machinesxe met his end once the mafia realized his usefulness in creating chaos had waned and the entire town knew of his alignment. Mr T Jobs To Me was strung up because nobody bought his roleclaim, unwilling to compromise in their belief that someone who works in Japan (despite being North American) would be included in the game. Finally, joose2001 was killed, on his birthday, within days of surviving (and therefore winning) because he was considered too widely trusted to be left alive. While later games showed us how roleclaiming can indeed work when the entire town does it, this game in particular demonstrated the danger involved in such an act.

So in a nutshell, what did we learn during our first foray into the world of mafia? To begin our list, I've boiled down the lessons learned in this article into seven points:

1. You win as a town aligned player by offering your knowledge without overplaying your hand. If you want to live until the end of a game, neither the town nor the mafia should ever know everything you know.

2. You lose as a town aligned player by revealing too much, which makes you too trustworthy and therefore a threat to the mafia groups. Roleclaiming is an invitation for disaster unless you’re a PGO or bulletproof.

3. You also lose as a town aligned player by revealing too much, when what you’re revealing isn’t believed. This is another risk of roleclaiming, as the risk of lynch is high if anything which conflicts with your claim comes up.

4.
You lose as a mafia aligned player by being inactive and therefore suspicious, as we saw in the case of Sensai of Mattitude. This strategy is capable of getting a player near the mid-game, but will never pull someone through to the end against a seasoned town.

5. You also lose as a mafia aligned player if you make a roleclaim which can potentially be proven false. No amount of wit or candor will save you if your duplicity is ever revealed, as shown in the case of Arrows.

6. You risk losing as a town by making baseless assumptions about the setup of the game, attempting to judge either the moderator’s preferences or roles the theme would allow. Oftentimes moderators tweak the roles or the rules slightly to account for this tactic.

7. You risk losing as a town by not giving those about to be lynched even one opportunity to defend themselves due to impatience. Remember that a roleclaimed investigator is still a degree better than a dead investigator, and an excellent invitation for watchers and doctors.

A pretty solid start for a single game, and some lessons that several players obviously took to heart (as we learned in the very next game). These points are among the most elementary one might come across, and something that every new player should endeavor to understand before they make a single post in a game thread. Nonetheless, we've seen players fall into these same traps time and time again since the point when some of us first had this revelation. In being forewarned of these dangers, hopefully we'll see their occurrence rate fall in future games!

Join me next time as I walk us through CornellVerse Mafia 2.0, another interesting lesson on how a town can win (convincingly) and how a mafia family can lose (horribly) - until then, take care!

Last edited by SadisticBlessings : 02-23-2008 at 08:17 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 02-23-2008, 06:03 PM
mjdgoldeneye's Avatar
mjdgoldeneye mjdgoldeneye is offline
Phenom
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Scranton, PA
Posts: 670
Default

Good idea!

I'm a good example of how to win as a faction, how to lose as a townie, and how to find and target the PGO on night 1...!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 02-23-2008, 06:06 PM
Akki's Avatar
Akki Akki is offline
Major League
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: The City of Angels
Posts: 761
Default

I'd love something that actually explained what the whole mafia crap is all about, for people like me that may have totally missed it.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 02-23-2008, 06:14 PM
Midnightnick's Avatar
Midnightnick Midnightnick is offline
Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Posts: 4,173
Default

I hope you analyze VG Mafia. Your thoughts should be interesting.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 02-23-2008, 06:17 PM
nZane's Avatar
nZane nZane is offline
Low Minors
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Eville, IN
Posts: 158
Default

I had thought about either suggesting or doing something like this myself, but laziness overwhelmed me. I don't think I could have done it the justice that you'll do anyways, SB.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Unread 02-23-2008, 06:18 PM
SadisticBlessings's Avatar
SadisticBlessings SadisticBlessings is offline
Phenom
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 338
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akki View Post
I'd love something that actually explained what the whole mafia crap is all about, for people like me that may have totally missed it.
Well, mafiascum's description can be a little bit vague at times, so here's a general rules post to get you an idea of how the game works. This is exactly what the first players on this forum were given to work with when we started.

HOW TO PLAY:

- All players have been PMd a role, and your alignment (either Town Aligned or Mafia Aligned). The objective is to eliminate all members of the opposing alignment from the game.

- Each player has been given a role with their own special ability. Your PM will explain what it does, if you are meant to know. You dont have to reveal what your role is to the other players, nor will I do so in my updates. Then again there is nothing to stop you, so if you feel that it may help prove your innocence, go ahead just keep in mind that this could also backfire and help the mafia. Likewise, you may lie about who you are if you wish. If you want to use your abilities, PM me. DO NOT post it in the thread.

- The game is split into two phases, Day and Night. The game begins during the day, and all players (Mafia and Townie alike) post in the thread, deciding who to kill off. Lynching is the only way for the Townies to kill the Mafia, so be sure to examine voting patterns of your fellow players. I might also provide clues in the death write ups, but over-reliance on those is ill-advised as some may be traps.

- All voting and discussion is to occur within the thread. Town aligned players may discuss who they think is Mafia, and Mafia members should be trying to bluff/convince/blend in, and generally try not to get voted for. To vote, post Vote: Username (in bold, so its easier to count). You can also change your vote, by typing Change Vote: Username. You can also choose to vote for No Lynching. You must post in the thread for you vote to be counted. You can also abstain from voting, which means I just do not include you in the number crunching.

- Elimination occurs after 48 hours, or whenever a person obtains more than 50% of the vote. In case of a tie, the latest vote will be discounted, until the tie is broken. Once a person dies, I will reveal their alignment and role.

- Night falls after somebody is executed. During this time, the Mafia can discuss who they want to kill next (using whatever form of communication appeals to them) if anyone at all. Abilities are also used during this time. To use an ability, PM me, and Ill PM you the outcome of the ability. If it is something serious like somebody getting killed, I will update it in the thread. If possible though, try to PM me what you want to do as soon after night falls as possible to keep things moving along at a quick pace. Once the Mafia has decided, it is up to the Mafia Don to tell me who he wants dead. If the Mafia Don dies, a new one is appointed.

- Night ends once I post who gets killed, and the cycle repeats itself. The Town wins if all Mafia members are dead, and vice versa. Remember, this is a team effort, so if you think sacrificing someone may help your cause, go ahead.

-Remember, some roles such as investigators and protectors are more valuable to the town so try to keep them alive!

Don't know how much that helps, but if you read it and look through some of the past games on here it should help clear things up. It's a pretty simple game, once you get past the fact that we regularly get over 2,000 posts per game.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Unread 02-23-2008, 06:21 PM
mjdgoldeneye's Avatar
mjdgoldeneye mjdgoldeneye is offline
Phenom
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Scranton, PA
Posts: 670
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnightnick View Post
I hope you analyze VG Mafia. Your thoughts should be interesting.
I want to see what an outsider has to say about my RWC game... That was pretty fun to run, and if I had been available to finish modding/someone told me it wasn't "ended", I'd have given it a good finale! (CC didn't have an ending, but it was on the road to ruin from the start anyway! )
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Unread 02-23-2008, 07:48 PM
Akki's Avatar
Akki Akki is offline
Major League
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: The City of Angels
Posts: 761
Default

Thanks, SB. That did help out. I think I'll join the next one. Which will be when?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Unread 02-23-2008, 07:53 PM
Wallbanger's Avatar
Wallbanger Wallbanger is offline
Super Star
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: KS, USA
Posts: 1,297
Default

We have not run concurrent games so far, so it will be shortly after the current game ends. Once the current game is a little further along, SB will post a sign up thread.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Unread 02-23-2008, 08:25 PM
Self's Avatar
Self Self is offline
Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wales
Posts: 3,891
Default

Very nice article. Good read.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Unread 02-23-2008, 08:56 PM
Antithesis's Avatar
Antithesis Antithesis is offline
Minor League
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Supremacy
Posts: 343
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akki View Post
Thanks, SB. That did help out. I think I'll join the next one. Which will be when?
You'll be signing up for a game that has the potential of being the best ever run here. Theme wise its rather popular, and will be modded by two of the best.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Unread 02-23-2008, 11:34 PM
Derek B's Avatar
Derek B Derek B is offline
Locker Room Leader :)
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Midgar, Scotland (it rains mako here)
Posts: 8,039
Default

w00t! I'm formidable!

This could be a great thread for newcomers and veterans alike, it really could. A few lessons on how to better protect yourself could certainly come in handy for some players. It's the downfall of some players almost every time.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Unread 02-24-2008, 01:17 AM
BIGJOSH's Avatar
BIGJOSH BIGJOSH is offline
Major League
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 760
Default

Really nice article SB.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Unread 02-24-2008, 01:29 AM
DreamGoddessLindsey's Avatar
DreamGoddessLindsey DreamGoddessLindsey is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Port Angeles, WA
Posts: 1,455
Default

What did I learn?

Well, for one, I learned that some people can be just mean.

For two, I learned the only way to survive is to not be useful.

Lastly, I learned that the game is not quite as fun as I thought it would be.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:19 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.