Live Action Mafia

A game of sneakiness and paranoia
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:28 am 
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Elected Positions: Keep people in elected positions as much as possible. However, it’s good policy to lynch the mayor/police officer if they live too long. 4-5 days in early game is too long, 3-4 days in late game is too long. If an elected person reveals as gay knight / innocent child, you can let them live, although if they manage to live more than a few days you should view them as no more innocent than average. Don’t let elected officials get impeached. Impeachment has historically been used disproportionately by mafia (both for themselves and for their opponents).

Role sharing: Be very, VERY, careful about leaking role information. Roles should only be shared on a need-to-know basis (basically only the conditions in the role specific stuff below). Also, don't let role information you know about others slip. Even something like, "I know an *insert role*" has been enough for mafia to set traps in the past. If you do let your role slip to someone else, tell someone else “X knows my role”, so set a traps can be traced. Also, lie about your role if it doesn’t cause town to have hurtful information. Especially if you’re an inexperienced player, an “accidental” false role reveal or “accidentally” letting false role information slip can get mafia to set a bad trap.

Learning other people’s roles: If someone reveals their role to you, and it’s not a provably innocent role, you should trust them less than the average player. Simple Bayesian reasoning suggests that if there are roles mafia are less likely to claim (e.g. innocent child, gay knight) then someone claiming a role other than one of those means they are more likely to be mafia.

Voting: Voting is actually important. Pay attention to close votes (where every vote counts), particularly when one of the voters is revealed to be mafia. Mafia will often vote as a block when it's important. Additionally, pay attention to who proposed lynches. For instance, in Fall 2014 game akshat and cyqwang were correctly judged to be unlikely to be mafia based on the fact that mafia shikexue proposed lynching them. I HIGHLY suggest that vote discussion be ON THE FORUMS as much as possible, rather than irl, so that ideas are more traceable. In the 2014 IAP Game mafia abergal was leading a lot of the lynches, but people didn't notice she was because she was doing it irl by throwing out subtle suggestions.

Lynch mobs: No secret lynch mobs. People have done this in the past, and it almost never works out. If you have enough people to get a lynch through, you have enough people that there is probably a mafia among you. Furthermore, secret lynch mobs mean that people who could easily prove their innocence (innocent child or gay knight) are needlessly lynched. Relatedly, if someone is publicly revealed as something difficult to fake (innocent child, dying gay knight / desperado, poisoned person not under suspicion in the early game), they should dictate the lynch vote.

Alibis: Don't value alibis with NP any more than an unconfirmed alibi. It is actually very trivial to get an NP to lie for you if you plan in advance. Previously, we had ranked NP alibis as being slightly more valuable than unconfirmed alibis, and thus had investigators investigate unconfirmed alibis first, which led to mafia being able to hide from investigations longer if they had their shit together. Alibis with a player, multiple players, or with an UNEXPECTED NP confirmation are still more valuable than unconfirmed alibis. However, you should always post alibis anyway, because making a fake alibi can sometimes be challenging for mafia and things can go wrong.

Things that are hard to fake as mafia: Genuinely caring about optimal town strategy. Not just saying "I think X is good strategy for town" but thinking through scenarios, modifying their proposed strategy, being open to ideas, and thinking of things that are both novel and effective, especially when town as a whole is unlikely to give them bonus innocence points for their idea (i.e. something may be a sign of innocence when you notice it, but becomes less of a sign when other people point it out.) aok spending hours devising, fool-proofing, optimizing, and explaining an innocent child / gay knight / genie trust and info sharing arrangement in the fall 2014 game is an example. Be careful not to mistake things like posting a lot on forums or talking a lot in meetings as this. By "genuinely caring about optimal town strategy" I kind of mean the next paragraph.

Also, doing something that would be really bad strategy as mafia (e.g. saying something that is likely to get a lynch mob sent against you, giving a valuable item to a townie, etc.) Sure, there's some balance where doing something "bad to do as mafia" might make them look more innocent, but it's hard to predict the degree and if the degree will balance out what they did.

Who to trust: Your gay knight partner, an innocent child who trusts you, gay knights / desperados WITHOUT suspicion on them who claim to be dying that night or the next night. Notably people claiming to be poisoned aren’t very trustable; this is something the mafia will often do if they think that only living an extra three days is better than they would do otherwise. You should also trust people who do things that would be very bad play if they were mafia, as mentioned above. Keep in mind however that trusting someone doesn’t mean you should tell the person your role unless there are particular benefits to doing so (i.e. setting up an innocent child network). What you should do with trusted people is tell them your suspicions and thoughts on game. You also shouldn’t lynch them without weird circumstances (if someone publicly reveals and lives for more than a couple days, they drop down to being as trustworthy as normal, maybe less if they’re a potentially good kill target). It is often a good idea to listen to trusted people for the purpose of lynch voting.

Pay attention to the little things: Mafia can't be perfect, and they will slip up up and be suspicious sometimes. Notably Lily Chen, Ellena, aok, ltchin, and Kemus have been very effective at deception when they're mafia, while Lucy, Anpere, Lily Chen (at least to me), and aok have often seemed disproportionately suspicious as town. Sammy Luo, Josh Frisch (according to old forums), and I have been pretty readable as mafia. Dgrazian is sometimes readable, sometimes not. Anyway, most mafia slip up a bit. The big way mafia are caught without powers is when something unexpected happens.

Maybe they accidentally run into a player right after a kill. Maybe they killed someone who texted another player they would be with them beforehand. Maybe there was an NP at the kill site that they didn't bother get on their side who town can interrogate (note: this is especially effective if the killed player didn't change locations since they were killed. When I was killed at UPOP in IAP 2015, the NP next to me clearly noticed I was killed in Live Action Mafia and saw who killed me, and I stayed at the same table with her sitting next to me for 5 hours.) Maybe the mafia's supposed alibi should involve an NP being able to vouch for them, but they didn't prep the NP (if a player initially mentions the NP IN THEIR ALIBI, the NP's confirmation is likely worthless.) Maybe the mafia is just caught in a lie about something seemingly innocuous (like which inactives they poke). So pay attention!

Your suspicions: Let people know about your suspicions, and keep track of them yourself. I often make a personal spreadsheet ranking suspicions of various players (though not including all players) from high sketch to super unsketch (with concrete reasons attached). In the Fall 2014 game (the first time I did this) 3/6 people in my high and moderate sketch ratings were mafia. 0/5 people in my moderate unsketch to super unsketch ratings were mafia. In a game from a long time ago, people in general would make these rankings and post them, and they were remarkably accurate. There have also been many past games where several townies were very suspicious of mafia, but they didn't voice these suspicions. Share these rankings publicly (though perhaps not the reasons) if you are about to be lynched or if you are about to die at the end of the day. If someone shared suspicions with you before they died, share them publicly. The opinions of people who have been killed by mafia are valuable; they're definitely not mafia opinions, and often, they've been killed for being right about them. Don't be afraid to lynch people on softer suspicions. Lynching, even mafia-influenced lynching, is much better than no-lynching (this is simulation confirmed).

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:35 am 
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Role-specific strategy:
Investigator:
Investigate every day, and visit kill sites to find clues as soon as possible. Visit every kill site, even if you don't plan on immediately investigating a particular death. Tell your role to exactly one person, who will act as your proxy for reporting your results. Consider having them instead pretend to be investigator, and have them get another proxy (this is called double proxying). Don't let anyone dictate who you're investigating to you. In the past, mafia would often disproportionately influence discussion, and I think that it's better for investigators to decide for themselves what to do. That said, either investigate early, or have your proxy post your investigation target in advance, so that people don't double investigate the same people.

Conspiracy Theorist:
Keep a full conspiracy list every day. Use your own judgment; if there is a general strategy for conspiracy theorists, mafia can just do the opposite. You probably don't have any reason to role-reveal. NEVER tell people who is on your list; there is no town benefit, in pretty much any circumstance. Don’t bother putting the police officer on your list; they can just kaboom you for free anyway.

Innocent Child:
Yes, your power is about revealing your role. No, this does not mean you should randomly pick a person to reveal to or anything like that. You should definitely reveal if you are about to be lynched, and you should reveal to the first /gay knight/desperado who declares that they will die at the end of the day, so they can connect you with the other innocent children (who you reveal to). Innocent children aren't very dangerous alone, but they can be very powerful when there is a lot of them working together. Once you have an innocent child network formed, consider finding a proxy and dictating the lynch votes. Also consider not letting major conscription targets have important jobs (possibly don't even let them know who all the innocent children are). Examples of major conscription targets are definitely anyone who has previously been conscripted, along with experienced players with experience being good mafia. Consider letting gay knights influence your innocent child circle, but have no more than one innocent child reveal to any of them, since those roles are fakeable (although faking them comes at a cost).

Gay Knight:
Share information with your partner. Don't be overly paranoid that they will be conscripted, but consider it a possibility. However, if they are a new, inexperienced, or not very active player, it is very unlikely that they'll be conscripted. Reveal if you are about to be lynched, but otherwise reveal to no one except other innocence-based roles (innocent child, gay knight).

Desperado:
Use your judgment for when to activate; while activating late is probably great for new/not likely to be killed players, you may be one of those people who often dies early, and as such might want to activate earlier. Reveal yourself the evening before your death, and be the dictator of the lynch vote that night. Otherwise, keep quiet about your role. Except in weird circumstances (coughSpring2014Game2cough), you shouldn't tell people when you're activating.

Cynic:
Always keep your list full. Good people to put on your list are EARNERs (Elected (mayor/police officer), Active (posts a lot, generally involved), Random (the dorm, and often the "hub" of live action mafia), Non west campus (ET and EC are popular kill sources as well), Experienced (played/gmed many games), and/or Revealed (mafia knows their role)). Good mafia strategy is generally to kill EARNERs, and so good cynic strategy is to put them on your list. Revealed/Elected generally are the biggest determiners out of EARNER qualities, since there aren't as many people with them.

Superhero:
Investigating every other day is a good default strategy, because it maximizes the usefulness of your paranoia list and lets you get relatively recent clues. However, it is also good to be in your superhero identity on consecutive days if you have a lot of clues on kills that still need to be investigated. You should plan your paranoia list the same way a cynic would and report investigates the same way an investigator would.

Vigilante:
I think that in general, a vigilante should wait for a good target, rather than picking someone at random. If you're suspicious enough of someone that you could get a lynch against them, then you should probably not use the power. Your kill should be valuable, because if you make the kill and don't get it out that it was a vigilante kill, then town may waste investigations on it. However, communicating that it was a vigilante kill may leak information about your role.

One use of vigilante is killing publicly revealed mafia (since vigilantes get the kill back). However, it is somewhat likely that mafia will have acquired a medkit / medkits at some point during game, which would of course be given to a revealed mafia and activated if it looked like a vigilante would kill that mafia (this would let mafia set-a-trap that vigilante). So, I think killing publicly revealed mafia may only be worth it if
a. They still have kills they can make
b. There are multiple people we want to lynch that night

Another good use of vigilante is if that vigilante has someone they are suspicious of, but for reasons that are only convincing to them. For instance, in the 2014 Spring 2 game, mafia were pretty competent, so I figured they would have a mafia running for office. As of the first day, the only people running were me, Lily Chen, Miranda Gavrin, and isaacg. I saw isaacg privately smited in front of me, I knew I wasn't mafia, and Miranda had been killed, so I was pretty suspicious of Lily. However, I couldn't reasonably voice these suspicions to anyone but isaacg (who later was conscripted). So, Lily would have been a good vigilante kill if I had been vigilante.

If the vigilante kill is of the latter type, vigilantes should DEFINITELY ask their target, "Are you an innocent child or gay knight?" before killing them (sending off an "If I die, it was *target name*" message or other death identification method in case the potential mafia tries to kill them first). Anyway, if the target answers "yes," then the vigilante should demand proof. In the case of identifying as gay knight, the target should tell the vigilante who their lover is, and then the vigilante should immediately contact the "lover" and ask who their lover is, so as to prevent mafia making an on-the-spot role lie.

Mafia/Rogue:
Kill people who can be traced back to you or when you have a bad alibi, or better yet, don't make any kills at all. Feel free to pm me if you need more advice on how to be a good mafia/rogue!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:55 pm
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Location: Doing science and still alive (for now)
im mafia can i haz more tips? this is how you pm right? huehuehue

Also, people starting with items should consider moving them around so the mafia doesn't know where they are. Don't go around asking people to give you their items for no reason, that's wicked sketchy.

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My name is Maximus Decimus Mafius, Commander of the Armies of the Town, General of the Vigilante Legions. Father to a murdered innocent child, husband to a murdered gay knight. And I will have my vengeance, in this game or the next!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:27 pm 
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Do we know who started with items? I don't see a list anywhere


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:31 pm 

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http://mafia-app.mit.edu/logs/


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:05 pm 
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Strategy point: All people with corresponding mike-receiver pairs should meet up, and have one of you transfer your item to the other.

Reasoning: If you're both town, this makes no difference, since you're going to give them to other people anyways, most likely. If you're both mafia, this makes no difference. If one of you is mafia and one is town, then this may help, if the mafia is forced to give up his item, and it cannot hurt, since if the mafia has half of a mike-receiver pair, it's useless anyways.

It cannot hurt, and there is a chance of it helping. So, please reunite the mike-receiver pairs.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:06 pm 

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But if they are both townies, the mafia know to target the person with the receiver instead. I think it's a better strategy to move them around the entire player pool.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:28 pm 
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People SHOULD often redistribute their starting items. After the mikes and receivers are reunited, the person should immediately redistribute at least one, and probably both, of them. However, a mafia who starts with a single half of a mike/receiver pair has a 100% chance of crippling the mike/receiver pair unless my plan is implemented.

Also, I am not saying the mike needs to be given to the person with the receiver. The opposite direction works just as well.

Also, redistributing items multiple times is a bad idea. Mafia don't redistribute items that they get, so if it ends up in a mafia's hands, it's likely to stay there. Try to minimize the number of times an item is transferred.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:36 pm 
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Rough calculation gives:
"Naive" strategy of having each (town) player in the mike-receiver pair redistribute the item to a random other player: 48% chance of keeping the pair in townie hands. (7/42)^4
My strategy of having the pair reunited in one player's hands, then redistributing the item to 2 random other player: 58% chance of keeping the pair in mafia hands. (7/42)^3

The benefit comes from having a pair of mike-receivers split between a townie and a mafia, and the mafia sometimes being forced to give the townie their mike/receiver.

There is no downside. Even if mafia decide never to give away their item to their townie partner, it does just as well as the naive strategy.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:48 pm 
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I endorse aok's plan.

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