Live Action Mafia

A game of sneakiness and paranoia
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 Post subject: Mafia Strategy Guide
PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:20 pm
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This is a strategy guide / FAQ for mafia, gathered from all the games I’ve played in and read, supplemented with some of my own ideas for what is clever play. Definitely read it thoroughly if you’ve never been mafia before. If you have been mafia before, you can probably skim it, although I do say some uncommonly said stuff.

Keeping from slipping up: The number one slip up that hurts mafia is asking your target, “Are you X?” when X is the person you’re looking to kill. Nor should you ask, “Are you playing Live Action Mafia?” Just kill them. Most self-respecting townies will lie and say, “no,” or worse, they’ll run off and text someone you’re trying to kill them. This has happened repeatedly (I can think of at least three times this has caught a mafia, off the top of my head). Memorize your target’s appearance as best as you can beforehand, and don’t be overly worried about weirding an NP out by tapping them and saying “bang.” No mafia has ever accidentally tapped an NP when they meant to kill a player (although one mafia has accidentally killed a different player than the one they were looking for; but the player they were looking for had them on their conspiracy list, so it worked out). If the person you thought was your target looks confused or weirded out, THEN you can ask if they were who you thought they were.

The number two slip up that mafia make is accidentally posting in town square when you mean to post in mafia den. This mistake is easy to make, but generally only when you are starting a thread. So, be careful whenever you start mafia threads to make ABSOLUTELY sure you’re in mafia den.

Other slip ups (all of which have happened before and screwed over the mafia responsible) include:
noticeably defending other mafia from suspicion, especially if the other mafia is about to get lynched
noticeably poking a mafia member into activity, which looks suspicious if you don’t also poke other inactives
friending all the other mafia on facebook and no one else
giving an NP you haven’t prepped as an alibi
making a kill in a place where the target and the NPs they are with will remain in the same place for the the next several hours when the kill location is in a dorm
not sticking around to hear if your target says, “I don’t die.”
accidentally reading a post from the mafia den aloud around other players
voting as a block with the other mafia
killing your target when you are known to be hanging out with them
killing someone very close to where your alibi is
alibiing another mafia for a kill they made (this sometimes does work, but it has often backfired)
making a public kill when you think that mafia can force a win in endgame, but they can’t
killing someone with a bang when they have previously survived a kill attempt (this isn’t bad now, but there used to be a role that was permanently immune to bangs)
noticeably wandering around your dorm before a kill happens there (when you’re the one making the kill)
conscripting someone who will soon be lynched

Know town strategy: Read the post on town strategy in town square. That’s how you should behave towards townies.

How to pick good kill targets: I’m going to post elsewhere who good kill targets are this game. But in general, you want to kill people who 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)). You may notice that this is exactly who cynics will be putting on their list. That’s okay; IMO, most of the time it’s still worth it to get these people out of the way quickly. The reason we want to kill them:
E - elected positions give town extra power; we want to get rid of them
A - active players are the most important to kill; they’re the ones who actually do stuff in town, and the more active they are, the more likely they are to be dangerous. There’s no reason to ever kill complete inactives.
R - Random inhabitants are often around a lot of other players, and players talk to each other. This is bad for us. Random specifically is becoming less of a central hub these days though, so this point is really about cutting off players’ options for in-person talking to one another.
N - Non-west campus places, such as EC and ET, are often hubs as well. Though Simmons is sometimes hub-like. This is basically the same point as R.
E - Experienced players will be more likely to play well and make good decisions; this criteria is mostly a proxy for “active” though.
R - Revealed players can be set-a-trapped, which gives us extra kills. It may not be worth killing dying gay knights though, unless we can do it early enough.
Other reasonable kill targets include people who start with items, because they might not have actually passed them on, and people who are proxies (there’s a reasonable chance they’re proxying for themselves, and otherwise you force their investigator to role reveal to another person, hopefully one of us).

How to plan good kills: Once you have a target, you should look in the introductions to see where that person can be found and killed. The classic place to kill people is on their way to/from classes or outside of the target’s classroom. Killing between classes is also a good time to kill because other players are unlikely to have good alibis. The other good times to kill are early in the morning and late at night (when other players are likely to be sleeping). Know who is likely to be up late at night ~2 am or later. It’s also a good idea to make kills if you can get a good alibi for them. For instance, if you can reasonably claim to have been away from MIT entirely, or if you can claim to have been taking a test, those work pretty well. Also, if you can make the kill quickly, then you can interact with some player briefly before / after the kill, then claim you saw them around the time the death happened. Particularly if the other player isn’t particularly active, they probably won’t remember exact times enough to question you. This is particularly good if you make a kill in your dorm.

How to make good kills: Make sure that your target isn’t going to be around another player. If you get to the kill location and it looks like they might be, abort the mission (assuming they haven’t seen you). It’s also reasonable to abort a kill if a player is around people other players know they know well (friends on their hall), who another player could interrogate about the kill. If you do make a kill in front of NPs and they clearly notice, ask them not to say anything if anyone asks them about it. When you make the kill, try not to let your target see you approach (this will prevent them from paranoia texting).

How to get good fake alibis: A lot of making a good alibi is planning a good kill (as mentioned above). Otherwise, your alibi should probably just be what you would have been doing if you weren’t making a kill. Listing NPs who would vouch for you is good, but make sure you tell them ahead of time how to lie for you if someone asks.

Role faking: Have a fake role ready if you need to pretend to be a townie. Things like cynic and conspiracy theorist are easy to fake, because you should never need to tell anyone those roles. Desperado you can probably get away with never telling anyone about. Investigator and superhero are good for one or two of the mafia to claim, so we can release fake investigations. Having vigilante as your fake role can be interesting, but new mafia should probably stay away from trying to do a vigilante gambit for now. If you haven’t told anyone your “role” you can also claim vigilante when you get caught in a kill to generate confusion. Also, if we run out of kabooms / are low, the person making the kill can ask the target “are you an innocent child or gay knight?” before killing them; that way if they survive, the target will believe you’re a vigilante. There’s probably no reason to pretend to be a gay knight.

Faking an investigative role: You definitely want to get a double proxy. That way, you can feed innocent results on kills through the proxy chain and then kill the intermediate proxy if it looks like the lie will be dangerous. Know the rules for investigator and superhero, and act according to what you’re pretending to be. Don’t report false innocence on a mafia kill until you discuss it in mafia den first though.

Utilizing NPs: While NPs can rat us out, NPs can also be very helpful for us. They can help us find out where a target will be, they can scout for us to make sure other players aren’t around, and they can give us fake alibis. You can even tell NPs near a kill site to describe a particular town player if someone asks them who made the kill.

Consistency of behavior: If you’ve played before, don’t act too differently than you have in past games. In particular, don’t become significantly more or less active. If you haven’t played before, then you want to appear as inactive as possible. Stay active in the mafia den obviously, but you should rarely post in town square (nothing more than an occasional alibi), and you should avoid voting unless we particularly need your vote. If you know other players and they ask, tell them you haven’t been following game much. Looking inactive will make you less likely to be put on a conspiracy theorist list and less likely to get investigated. Another point for behavioral consistency: if you haven’t previously been interested in running for an elected position, it will look sketchy if you do it now. Don’t give alibis too early or too late compared with when you normally give them.

Getting in contact with serial killers (formerly rogues): There are three main ways to get in contact with rogues. The first is for a person outed as mafia to announce, “I’m mafia, rogues reveal to me,” on town square if they’re outed as mafia. If we aren’t in contact with rogues, this should be done immediately after you’re outed (pretending to be innocent, as in the following two scenarios, aren’t worth the value of learning who our rogues are). The second way is waiting for a rogue to try to kill one of us. There’s not much to do about that. The third way is getting one of us elected mayor and using the investigations on rogue kills.

What to do when someone says “I don’t die”: If you asked “are you an innocent child or gay knight?” before trying to kill them as described above, then claim vigilante. Otherwise, don’t claim vigilante. Let's say you're trying to kill person x. But person x says "I don't die" when you try to. What should you do?

The answer is immediately post to town square, "PERSON X IS MAFIA!!!!" And say that they just tried to kill you. One way or another, person X will make a similar post saying you're mafia, but this way, town won't know who to believe. Feel free to make your initial post with no elaboration (or the only elaboration being by what mechanic you "survived"), then prepare a good story for when you're prompted to give one. If you just tried to kill someone high-profile, claiming you're conspiracy theorist is great. Claiming you're a superhero/cynic who got paranoia is also reasonable, especially if someone high profile died the previous day. If it's late game, saying you "went desperado" is also good. If you were high profile yourself, you can say you had an activated medkit (but have a story for how you got it). If it looks like you'll end up being lynched anyway, and we still have a kill left, go kamikaze.

What to do when you’ve been investigated as guilty: Go kamikaze.. If there are no kills left in the day, consider claiming to have been framed and rattling off a convincing townie-like list of suspicions.

What to do when going kamikaze: Find an area populated with players and kill the first player you see. Don’t dawdle around or you’ll get killed by a vigilante.

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