Live Action Mafia

A game of sneakiness and paranoia
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 Post subject: General Strategy
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:15 am 
I stand by my advice here: viewtopic.php?f=134&t=3697 (although role sharing applies much less, and elected position advice doesn't apply to village idiot, obviously).

"But ksedlar, weren't you mafia when you wrote that?"

No, theoretical question asker. I wrote it (and many other things) last summer, so that the next time I played it would take less time out of my real life. :D

Some additional advice before I attempt to get my pset done:
All of provable randomness, cryptography, deadman switches, NP shenanigans, and anonymous communication are useful for town. So, there is no need to get a proxy for anything (investigators can make a new account and report all investigations through that). Additionally, you may freely and anonymously post your suspicions. We can even have provably random lynch targets, guaranteed non-influenced by mafia.

But most importantly, you can use dead-man switches! To clarify, a dead man switch is something you set up before you die to reveal information after you die. For example, you can send someone a message and say you'll lynch them if they look at it before you die. Or, you can tell any NPs around you "If someone kills me in Live Action Mafia, go tell players X, Y, and Z who did it." I highly recommend telling NPs you'll be around to do this whenever possible.

I may add more thoughts later.

 Post subject: Re: General Strategy
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:42 pm 
Reposting it here:

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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