Live Action Mafia

A game of sneakiness and paranoia
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:55 pm 
Obligatory.

Game seemed pretty well balanced to me. This was the closest game in a while, which is refreshing.

Priests were weaker than I expected and stalkers were stronger. I was actually worried that stalkers would be too weak to be interesting, but stalking actually had a significant effect on game and picking stalk targets was very strategic. Priest I think might actually still be really strong; there was only one priest who did anything, and he picked lists randomly (which is good for large numbers of priests, but suboptimal for small numbers).

Not sure how I feel about group investigator. I think it definitely can't exist without extra mafia frames, and so that's a bit of an arms race that makes things unfortunate for regular investigators and desperadoes. But the role is not unreasonable.

This game was probably the best example of an innocence network in any game. The network was very successful at doing its job: process of eliminating people and using discussion among innocents to catch mafia. But it's also risky and has to be made carefully.

All and all, this was a really fantastic game that the gods did a great job of running!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:27 pm 
Thanks Katie <3

I think priests would've been stronger if there had been more of them and if they had happened to hit.

Stalk targets were too much of a dictation. Suggestions to fix? So far I've heard:
- if their stalk targets die they find out who killed them (has a cynic-like effect, possibly OP)
- group stalker (think group investigator but with stalking)
- townies aren't notified when they're being stalked, only mafia-aligned players (less provable)
I'm not sure any of these are better fixes, but they could be interesting

The uninvestigable-kill situation was really sad. Maybe we should add a rule that only every other kill can be uninvestigable or something.

I think mafia should be stronger in early game and weaker in end game. Possibly, we add an extra mafia, but limit to one trap kill and one slaughter kill per day - then they have at most trap + slaughter + kill + scheme = 4 / day. (We'd still have 2 total traps but only so that if they screw up and lose one they still have the other.)

Serial killer seems too easily catchable since they have no ability to make themselves uninvestigable ever. Suggestions?

I apparently failed at writing VCs. My intent was that mafia's goal is to kill off townies, and if they do this they win even if they also die in the process. So I would have wanted the rules to be such that, if sammy got lynched instead of nastya, and nastya killed off max+pesto the next day but then got GN-killed, mafia still would've won because all townies were either dead or dying. As it turns out, the actual rules could be interpreted such that even if sammy had killed max+pesto, he would've been lynched by the dying GNs and in the instant between when sammy got lynched and the GNs died, town would have won.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:51 pm 
Quote:
The uninvestigable-kill situation was really sad. Maybe we should add a rule that only every other kill can be uninvestigable or something.

I think mafia should be stronger in early game and weaker in end game. Possibly, we add an extra mafia, but limit to one trap kill and one slaughter kill per day - then they have at most trap + slaughter + kill + scheme = 4 / day. (We'd still have 2 total traps but only so that if they screw up and lose one they still have the other.)

Serial killer seems too easily catchable since they have no ability to make themselves uninvestigable ever. Suggestions?


More mafia and less mafia power is a thing I like. If we have twice as many mafia, it can be far easier to catch them.

Quote:
townies aren't notified when they're being stalked, only mafia-aligned players (less provable)

I like this.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:41 am 
Also, I'd like to point out re: frame and MtP:

1) they were hell on GMing. The whole "frame must be used at the time of the kill" thing was annoying. Obviously it has to be that way for MtP. But still, we couldn't announce kills until the mafia reported them to us, in case they wanted to frame or MtP, and sometimes the mafia didn't report stuff quickly (which is fair, because they have to act like they're townies and not be on their phones reporting kills at the death scene).

2) I think frame SHOULD be able to be used on kills made by SKs, etc. That's a strong reason not to make it use-at-time-of-kill, so that the mafia can support their SK.

3) I think it's an interesting strategy to have someone else do an investigation on X and get a negative result, frame X after that, have a mafia "investigate" X and get positive, and then rely on other investigators to resolve the beef in favor of the mafia. This has the nice effect of making X look bad and also making the investigator look like a lying mafia. I ALSO think it's nice for this possibility to exist, so that investigative beefs don't necessarily mean either of the investigators is lying. This sadly doesn't exist if frame has to be used at time of kill.

4) We had lots of frames in this game. I think that was necessary given group investigators, because otherwise it'd be too easy to narrow it down. But it was also annoying. In general I'm sad that investigations did pretty much nothing this game (except GNs finding nastya). This supports what I said earlier about every other kill, etc.

--jamb


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:43 am 
Back when I was a frosh, investigations actually meant something. Mafia had 1 MtP, 1 frame, 1 hitman, and that was it for confounding investigators. I think it says something that not only did mafia's kills go don, mtp, hitman, don, but town called that this was probably happening and it was STILL optimal for mafia to keep doing it. I would actually be really up for getting rid of don because of this. MtP and hitman used to be strategic (e.g. MtP can cover up a quick kill you do to keep someone quiet), and I think there's really only one correct way now (modulo swapping hitman/MtP order).

I had also forgotten about serial killer amidst the frame/group investigator arms race. As it is, serial killers are super weak, which is sad because they should be an awesome role. I do like frames being done at the time of the kill, because it rewards mafia for thinking through good culprits ahead of time rather than just framing in response to town discussion deciding that someone is sketchy.

Mafia do not at all need to be stronger early game and weaker end game. Mafia found out roles, saved up traps, and got a kill spree they deserved. IMO, mafia actually tend to be weaker late game, because the meta forces them to use up investigation manipulation abilities early, and a lot of town roles are absolute numbers (gay knights and desperadoes) that are strictly stronger to have alive late game.

I agree that stalking is too much dictation. Possibly letting mafia stalk more than once a day would help (then town can't prove that at most one stalker is mafia).I like the suggestion of only letting mafia aligned players know when they're being stalked, but I kind of like the idea of vigilantes being stalkable too... Especially because vigilantes should be able to fake serial killer. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:21 am 
++++++ getting rid of Don.

I think this is an inherent flaw in Group Investigator (too easy to catch SKs) and maybe that role should just be gone.

Disagree about frames at time of kill. Reacting to town discussion is an important part of mafia strategy. Also, as I said, this way is really hard for GMs to implement.

Sure, it could be "If you have a killing power today you're informed if you're being stalked." (This would make it so SKs don't know about it on days that they're not able to kill, GNs and vigilantes DO know about it on days then can kill.)

I considered giving mafia multiple stalks, but ultimately I think this makes it too easy for them to check SK claims?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:34 am 
Ideas:
- GIs can't investigate SK kills (always false? or something cleverer?)
- mafia have more than one "stalk" but they only are actually stalking 0 or 1 of their stalk targets, the other are just told they're being stalked.
- frames are submitted at time of kill, don't process investigations until 30min after kill no matter what, mafia must submit frame within 30min. Don't need to submit frame before posting death.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:41 am 
jakob wrote:
Ideas:
- GIs can't investigate SK kills (always false? or something cleverer?)

That's kind of inelegant; I was hoping to make investigations simpler and more elegant by reducing a bunch of the edge cases and differences between types in this game.
jakob wrote:
- mafia have more than one "stalk" but they only are actually stalking 0 or 1 of their stalk targets, the other are just told they're being stalked.

I like this idea. Basically, indefinitely many "stalks" and one actual stalk? (Still complicated, but definitely less provable.)
jakob wrote:
- frames are submitted at time of kill, don't process investigations until 30min after kill no matter what, mafia must submit frame within 30min. Don't need to submit frame before posting death.

Bleh. We basically did this, but I strongly dislike it; especially in end-of-day kills it's horrible to make people wait 30 min on their investigation results. Why do people hate the use-frame-whenever-you-want so much?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:48 am 
Suggestion from Pesto:

To get rid of don but maintain incentive for different mafia to make kills,

Investigation manipulation abilities (frame, MtP, hitman) can only be used if a different person has made a kill since the last time one was used. (So, if A makes a kill and uses frame, and A makes another kill, A can't use MtP on it, but if B makes the second kill, they can use MtP). (For larger games, this could be "two different people have made kills since the last time.")


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:36 pm 
It's absolutely true that the Mafia have an insane amount of investigation manipulation power. But what I think is being under-emphasized is that this is necessary due to the town having an insane amount of investigation power:

Investigators
Group investigators
Mayor = immortal investigator
Police officer
Desperados
Gay Knights
Priests
(I'm including the last two because even though investigation manipulation powers don't affect them, they need to be considered in balancing how much investigation power the town has, which is a function of town investigation abilities and Mafia investigation manipulation abilities.)

If this town power is kept constant and Mafia investigation manipulation power is reduced significantly, then Mafia will likely drop like flies to brute force investigations.

I would be in favor of reducing the power on both sides. At the same time, this felt like the best balanced game I've played in quite a while (which is especially impressive given the large amount of power on both sides, which makes balanced really challenging) so I'd also be happy playing again with the same rule set.

As for frame a townsperson (and manipulate the press for that matter) I'm very strongly in favor of requiring them to be used at the time of the kill. If the Mafia can react to town discussion by messing with investigation results then the town should not discuss investigations. This isn't discussion that I want to shut down or in any way disincentivize.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:42 pm 
lambhen wrote:
I like this idea. Basically, indefinitely many "stalks" and one actual stalk? (Still complicated, but definitely less provable.)


If mafia have indefinitely many "stalks," I'm pretty sure they should use them on every player in game every day. This is not ideal.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:46 pm 
lambhen wrote:
More mafia and less mafia power is a thing I like. If we have twice as many mafia, it can be far easier to catch them.


I'm intrigued by this.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:01 pm 
What is this arms race between group investigator and frame? Group investigators are weaker than regular investigators, they shouldnt cause a need for more frames any more than adding regular investigators.
I agree there may be an arms race just from having lots of investigative role though.
We could give SKs their own frame independent of the mafia's if you want their kills to be framable.
I also did not pick lists for priest entirely randomly. The first 2 days this was true, afterwards I randomized the player list and skipped anyone I didn't think belonged on my lists. The key to successful priest lists is putting the player who will be killed on your lists, which is chosen fairly randomly among a subset of town by a good mafia.
I dislike the infinite mafia stalker. Mafia stalking is clunky and really inelegant when they get infinite fakes but only 1 real.
I am on the side of frame having to be used at time of kill and agree with dgrazian.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:01 pm 
Daniel Grazian wrote:
lambhen wrote:
More mafia and less mafia power is a thing I like. If we have twice as many mafia, it can be far easier to catch them.


I'm intrigued by this.


Lambhen didn't write this, Jakob did. I think twice as many Mafia is a stretch.

Also, Daniel Grazian your new signature is great :)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:16 pm 
brunnerj wrote:
What is this arms race between group investigator and frame? Group investigators are weaker than regular investigators, they shouldnt cause a need for more frames any more than adding regular investigators.

Group investigators are NOT NOT NOT weaker than regular ones. Note that in this game, only very rarely was any information to be gotten from investigating kills. If group investigators are playing smart and not wasting their investigations on things that look like hitman kills and/or only have a few suspects like aok's kill, it's barely a penalty to them that they can only investigate every other day.

Also, adding regular investigators in itself would be a balance changer - you'd expect twice the normal number of investigators to exist when there are two such roles instead of one. (Though, gods freely admit to throwing out any of our role randomizations that looked like they had too many total investigators+GIs.)

brunnerj wrote:
We could give SKs their own frame independent of the mafia's if you want their kills to be framable.

I would like to see SKs getting *some* sort of ability, though maybe this is fixed by (a) reducing the arms race and (b) once they get in contact with mafia they can coordinate with mafia powers.
brunnerj wrote:
I dislike the infinite mafia stalker. Mafia stalking is clunky and really inelegant when they get infinite fakes but only 1 real.

Yeah, agreed.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 2:33 pm 
Group investigators only benefit over regular is that they can and must concentrate more investigative power on one kill at the cost of not investigating others. Their total power is still less. They will be more powerful though in situations where the number of investigatable kills is significantly less than the number of days over which they occurred, since they can concentrate on the few investigatable kills in that time and ignore the rest. Also group investigators did not waste their investigations by checking the hitman and aok kills this game since there were no investigatable kills till day 7. (I think they should have still waited since an investigatable kill could have been made before then, but this was not the case so it didn't matter)
One way you can make it so that the first n kills are not always univestigatable so investigators aren't bored at game start is to have the mafia gain investigation manipulation powers over time, rather than be given everything at game start. Like on every kth day they gain a MtP or something.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 2:35 pm 
lambhen wrote:
Daniel Grazian wrote:
lambhen wrote:
More mafia and less mafia power is a thing I like. If we have twice as many mafia, it can be far easier to catch them.


I'm intrigued by this.


Lambhen didn't write this, Jakob did. I think twice as many Mafia is a stretch.

Also, Daniel Grazian your new signature is great :)


Ah, oops, my bad.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:08 pm 
The problem with having more mafia is that either the length of game needs to increase, or the rate at which mafia are caught needs to increase to an unenjoyable rate. See the Fall 2014 game, where mafia were caught every single day. When it's too easy to catch mafia, catching mafia isn't that exciting for town.


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