Guide to Forum Mafia

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  • Earth
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    BASICS
    How do I join a game, pl0x?

    Whenever you see a "Mafia Sign-Up" thread, simply go in and add your name to the list of players. If you are too late, you can always put your name down as a replacement. I personally wouldn't recommend being a replacement until you have a couple of games under your belt.Once you've gotten your name on the sign-up list (generally this involves copy-pasting the most current version of the sign-up list, adding your name to one of the blank spots and posting the new list) simply wait for the moderator to send you your affiliation and role. This may only take hours or it may take a week, depending on moderator dedication and player interest, so don't sign up for a mafia game if you're going away on holiday or something. Make sure you send a friend request to the moderator or change your settings to allow PM's from users who aren't your friends. Often the inability to send out the relevant information holds up games and nobody wants that! Got your role and affiliation? Grats! You're in your first mafia game.

    Role? Affiliation?Day phase? o.O; What does this crap mean?

    AFFILIATIONS:

    Regardless of all the tricky roles and sub-groups, there are three things you could possibly be…

    TOWN: Town is the majority team. Between two thirds and three quarters of players will be ‘Townies'. Town wins when all anti-town players have been killed. Unless it's part of their role, no townies will know who any of the other townies are.

    MAFIA: Mafia is the minority team. Between one third and one quarter of players will be ‘Scum'. Mafia wins when they have an unbeatable ratio of living players (50% and over). Mafia makes up for their number disadvantage by knowing who each other are and being able to communicate in a private PM created by the moderator.

    THIRD-PARTY: Third-party players are generally lone-wolves and have no team. They have special non-townie/non-scum win conditions, specific to their role.Before I continue onto Roles, I need to explain the two different phases.

    Day Phase (DP): During this phase, living players discuss the game in a thread created by the moderator (something like "Lost Mafia, DP6") and try to decide if and who to lynch. This is done by majority vote (Generally something like "VOTE Earth"). If over 50% agree by vote to lynch a player, that player is killed.So, it's the Town trying to work out who the Mafia are and lynch them while the Mafia are trying to get the Town to lynch one of their own, while trying to avoid being lynched themselves. Once a lynch has been decided or the time-limit for the Day Phase is up, the Night Phase begins.

    Night Phase (NP): This phase takes place entirely in Private Messages (PMs). In most games, each night phase the Mafia, as well as using their individual roles, can choose one player and attempt to kill them. The town/third-party players send their decision to the moderator, who looks at all the roles used, who used them, who they were used on and works out what happened. Once all the roles have been submitted or the time-limit for the Night Phase is up, the next Day Phase begins…


  • Earth
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    ROLES
    Different roles are what makes the game of Mafia so, so good. I'll try and explain as many roles as possible, but a creative moderator can easily make up a new role or modify an existing role (what we call ‘flavouring'), so this is hardly the be-all and end-all list. Off the top of my head, these are the most common roles…

    TOWN ROLES:

    Vanilla: No powers.
    Cop: Each night the cop gets to ‘investigate' one player and find out if they're "Guilty" or "Not Guilty"
    Doctor: Each night the doctor gets to ‘protect' one player. If that player is targeted by a mafia kill or some other kill role, it is negated. Some doctors can protect themselves, some can't.
    Watcher: Each night the watcher gets to ‘watch' (who would have guessed!) one player. If someone visits that player during the night, for any reason, the watcher will receive a report telling them exactly who it was.
    Tracker: Each night the tracker gets to ‘track' (see above joke) one player. If that player visits anyone during the night, for any reason, the tracker will receive a report telling them exactly who they visited.
    Vigilante: Each night the vigilante gets to attempt to kill one player.Bulletproof: The bulletproof player cannot be killed at night.
    Miller: The miller is town-affiliated, but appears guilty if investigated by the cop.
    Bodyguard: Rules vary, but generally the bodyguard gets to protect a player, much like the doctor, but instead of the kill being negated, there is a 50/50 chance that either the bodyguard or the attacker will die.
    Bomb: Dies alongside anyone who targets him for death during the night.
    Granny/ Paranoid Gun Owner: Kills anyone who visits her at night.
    Mason Recruiter: The masons are a sub-group of town. Generally the mason recruiter gets to choose someone every night. If that player is town affiliated, they will join the masons and be added to a Mason PM, where they can privately communicate, much like the mafia. If that player is NOT town affiliated and depending on the moderator, just the mason recruiter or even all of the masons may die. Masons win with the town.

    MAFIA ROLES

    Goon: No powers.
    Godfather: Appears innocent if investigated by the cop. Generally has the final decision on who the mafia will kill and which mafia player will be sent to do that killing.
    Role-blocker: Each night the role-blocker chooses one player and their night action will be negated.
    Stalker: Each night the stalker can choose one player and have their character and/or role will be revealed to them.
    Politician: Each night the politician can steal someone's lynch vote for the next day.
    Lawyer: Can choose one mafia player and make them appear Not Guilty upon Cop investigation.
    Bus Driver: A rather complicated role, the bus driver selects two players and switches them around. Any night actions used on player A will instead target player B and vice versa.

    THIRD-PARTY ROLES

    Serial-Killer: Must survive to the end of the game. Each night, the serial killer may choose one player and attempt to kill them. Occasionally the serial-killer will have an additional win-requirement, like "Must kill Players x, y and z".
    Survivor: Must survive to the end of the game.
    Fool/Jester: Must be lynched to win. Surviving to the end of the game or being killed during the Night Phase count as loses.
    Cultist: Similar to the Mason. The Cult Recruiter chooses one person each night and they are converted to "Cult". Cult wins when they have the majority of players.It is important to remember not to assume a role works a certain way and to always refer to your ROLE PM to determine how your role works.


    I am not the original author and made minor additions.
  • Earth
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    TERMINOLOGY:

    Lead: To lead is to take control of the game. Obviously no-one can be trusted, but if someone comes forward with information or has been confirmed as aligned with the town (for example, if someone has claimed cop and says they found player x innocent, player x is strongly (though not completely) confirmed, especially if the cop has died and been completely confirmed.

    Bussing: Bussing is a tactic only used by the mafia. It comes from the expression of unknown origin "To throw a player under the bus". Anything ranging from strongly leading a lynch on a fellow mafia player to simply voting for them is considered ‘bussing'.

    Scum-hunting: Scum-hunting is any conceivable tactic used to flush out mafia and identify them. There is no ‘best' way of doing this, it is simply a matter of using deductive reasoning This leads me to my next two definitions though… Scum tells and Scum slips: Scum tells are certain behaviours which have been associated with anti-town players. These include but aren't limited to: strongly leading a lynch vote on little or no evidence; pushing for character and role claims early in the game; adding excessive pressure on a player (and especially casting the final lynch vote) on a player who has little or no evidence against them. In the same sense, there are certain behaviours which are attributed to pro-town players. These are called town-tells.

    Buddying: Buddying is tactic almost exclusively used by anti-town players. Buddying simply means publicly acting supportive of a non-mafia player. It is an extremely useful tactic. If one townie is leading a lynch on another townie and you come in and oppose that lynch, not only are you making an ally of sorts out of that player, but if they are lynched when it is revealed that they are town, you will seem pro-town yourself.

    Band-wagon: The band-wagon is simply the player who is receiving the strongest voting attention at any given time. If you ‘jump on the bandwagon' is generally means you're simply voting for a player because other players are voting that way. This can be considered a scum-tell.

    Tunneling: Tunnelling is a problem to be avoided. It means focusing on a player to the point of ignoring other things which might be going on within the game.

    Lurking: Lurking simply means avoiding drawing attention to yourself but not participating in the mafia thread.

    Pressuring: Pressuring means voting for a player without the express purpose of having that person lynched. Pressure is usually used to get information out of players, particularly claims.

    Claiming and fake-claiming: Almost all of the games ran on DDO are themed games. This means that along with your role, you will have a character which relates to whatever theme the moderator has chosen. Generally town will be ‘good guys' in the context of the theme and mafia and third-party will be ‘bad guys' or ‘neutral guys'. By claiming your character, you are giving information to both the town and the mafia. If someone claims an important, major character in relation to the theme, they make themselves a target for both protective town roles and the mafia. Because mafia are going to have sinister characters, they almost always have to come up with a fake claim and it is often a dangerous business. If they claim to weakly, for example, by claiming a minor character in the context of the theme, they will probably get away with it but they will still be looked on with suspicion, especially as more and more players are eliminated and other characters some to light. On the other hand, if they claim too strongly, they risk claiming a character the mod has actually used in the game. In that situation, they will be counter-claimed and someone is going to be lynched.

    Soft-claim: To soft claim is to allude to having a certain role without outright claiming it. One might say something like "I'm sure the doctor will be protecting player x tonight."

  • Earth
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    WIFOM ("Wine in front of me"):

    This is, without a doubt, my favourite aspect of the game. Named after the scene in "The Princess Bride" where the Masked Man and Vizzini (the Sicilian) play a game of wits… to the death!

    Here is a transcript:

    --------------------

    [The Man in Black and Vizzini sit across from each other at a small table. The Man in Black has poisoned one of two goblets with Iocane powder and placed them both on the table in front of him. Vizzini must use logic to deduce which goblet is poisoned]

    Man in Black: All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right... and who is dead.
    Vizzini: But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
    Man in Black: You've made your decision then?
    Vizzini: Not remotely. Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows, and Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.
    Man in Black: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.
    Vizzini: Wait till I get going! Now, where was I?
    Man in Black: Australia.
    Vizzini: Yes, Australia. And you must have suspected I would have known the powder's origin, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
    Man in Black: You're just stalling now.
    Vizzini: You'd like to think that, wouldn't you? You've beaten my giant, which means you're exceptionally strong, so you could've put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on your strength to save you, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But, you've also bested my Spaniard, which means you must have studied, and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
    Man in Black: You're trying to trick me into giving away something. It won't work.
    Vizzini: IT HAS WORKED! YOU'VE GIVEN EVERYTHING AWAY! I KNOW WHERE THE POISON IS!
    Man in Black: Then make your choice.
    Vizzini: I will, and I choose - What in the world can that be?
    [Vizzini gestures up and away from the table. Man in Black looks. Vizzini swaps the goblets] 
    Man in Black: What? Where? I don't see anything.
    Vizzini: Well, I- I could have sworn I saw something. No matter. First, let's drink. Me from my glass, and you from yours.
    [Vizzini and the Man in Black drink] 
    Man in Black: You guessed wrong.
    Vizzini: You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!"
    [Vizzini laughs but stops suddenly, his smile frozen on his face and falls to the ground dead] 
    Buttercup: And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.
    Man in Black: They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up immunity to iocane powder.

  • Earth
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    Essentially WIFOM is a type of infinite reverse psychology. Each player, whether mafia or town is playing to win and to begin with, that is all that is known. As the game progresses and you learn more and more about your opponents, you can use that knowledge to predict what they're going to do and as you get more advanced, manipulate them into doing what you want them to do.

    Intimately familiarising yourself with the mechanics of the game is essential to mastering WIFOM and the best way to do that is by playing and experiencing a variety of roles.

    I think the best way to look at WIFOM as a mafia technique is by giving some hypothetical examples:

    EXAMPLE ONE:
    Let's say that you have been given the role of bulletproof. The ideal use of the bulletproof role is to draw the mafia night kill onto yourself, thus preventing it, prolonging the game and allowing the investigative roles more time to use their roles. If you were to strongly soft-claim the doctor, you may draw the mafia kill onto you, as they will try to eliminate strong power roles first. This may backfire; by soft-claiming the doctor you might actually cause the real doctor to out themself which will being unwanted suspicion on you.

    EXAMPLE TWO:
    Let's say you are the doctor and someone has claimed cop. Now, it's obvious that you should protect the cop so that the mafia don't try to kill him. But, it's also obvious to the mafia that the doctor is probably going to protect the cop, so killing him would be a waste of their kill. Do you protect the cop or do you protect someone else? If the mafia do kill the cop and you are protecting someone else, you'll be considered a failure. If the mafia kill someone else and you've decided to use the WIFOM tactic of protecting someone else and there is no night kill, you'll then have a good lead on a townie, since the mafia has more than likely tried to kill that person.

    EXAMPLE THREE:
    Let's say you are the Godfather and thus appear innocent to investigations. Clearly it is in your best interest to be investigated by the cop and confirmed as pro-town as quickly as possible. Therefore it is best to act slightly suspicious; not enough to be lynched but enough that the cop will investigate you. It's best if you DON'T insist that the cop investigates you, because this is obviously what the Godfather wants, so being subtle is key. Purposely send out a few minor scum-tells while insisting that someone else is investigated.

    EXAMPLE FOUR
    This is a real-game example of how I recently used WIFOM. Because I am generally regarded as a good player, more often than not when I am mafia I am investigated within the first one or two night phases. This is extremely problematic, so I have had to adjust my play-style to compensate for it. In a recent game I was the mafia redirector. Now my character wasn't a problem, since she was a good guy within the context of the theme, but my role was. Of course I couldn't out-right claim this, since it's an extremely anti-town role so I had to quickly come up with a fake claim. I decided to be bold and claimed ‘town bus-driver'. Now bus-driver is almost always a mafia role, but it isn't necessarily anti-town. It matched my character. Such a ‘scummy' role was a legitimate reason to claim early (much like the miller generally claims immediately). It wasn't going to be counter-claimed. Most importantly, when I was inevitably incriminated, it would allow me to say "last night I switched myself with x, so they must be guilty". Of course this didn't work, because there were too many elements involved and I was too late in the bandwagon to turn it around but it was good in theory. After I claimed and the brief discussion regarding my claim, attention toward me dissipated and I was able to play the game. It was convincing enough to have the mason recruiter target me and die in the process.
  • Earth
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    If you are a beginner to mafia, this is your place!

    The Beginners Series will be a series of 3 games intended to impart crucial aspects of forum mafia, and ease new players into the game. Often, these games are smaller and shorter. They also have more experienced mafia players that will help you through the game. The series will be divided between these three types of games:

    Game One- Basic

    The first game will be an open set-up game. It is intended to introduce players to the common roles one finds in mafia, and how they are best played in game. Players will have knowledge of how many mafia members there are, how many town players there are, and the different roles in the game. Third-Party roles will not be used. 

    Game Two- Role Madness

    The second game of the series will be a closed set-up game. No specific knowledge of roles will be known, nor the specific number of town or mafia. This game also is the first that incorporates the *possibility* of third parties. A list of *potential* roles will be given, but it will be large and many will not be used. 

    Game Three- Themes!

    The third game will introduce the concept of themes! Not only will each player have a role, but each player will have a *character* that matches with a general theme of the game. For example, in a "Lord of the Rings Mafia" game one would expect to see Frodo, Sauron, etc. but be careful, as this might not necessarily be the case. I myself am partial to creating custom themes from original writings I create on occasion. But one might easily see a "Philosophers Mafia" or a "Baseball Mafia" or a "Electronics Mafia" and so on and so forth. Themes add a layer of depth to games that is intriguing and adds much material for discussion between players during the Day Phase. The factions will not necessarily be split along obvious lines in accordance with themes though, so be careful about the potential cases you build upon thematic analysis!


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  • Ragnar
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    Extra Rule:
    Editing or deleting your posts is subject to being immediately mod-killed.

    Suggestion:
    When VTLing, tag the game moderator.
    They don't need to keep track of the fine points of every post, but they do need to know when a vote changes.

    Drawing Lots:
    People struggle with how to implement random selection online. This applies both in game, and (hopefully) in team assignments.
    A random number generator with a seed input easily solves this problem. Set the seed to any number found on the game (or signup) page, and everyone who runs it will get the same result every time.

86 days later

22 days later