[Discussion] How to balance Serials

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In this thread, you can discuss how game hosts can balance Serials in games and give your ideas of game setups with Serials.

Serial
The Serial is an Informed Minority Anti-Town faction. Unlike other anti-town factions, however, a Serial can only be solo / one-strong, i.e; the Serial can only be one player. A Serial always has a Destructive action (usually Killing) as their main ability. Given the very small size of the faction, Serial roles tend to be the most powerful roles in the game. Serials can win with Neutral alignments. The Serial wins when it eliminates all the Pro-town and Anti-town factions in the game. The Serial is officially represented by the colour Purple #b300b3.
 
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How to balance a Serial in your game by THYMOLE.

Most games, no matter how large or small, will have a serial killer in them. Just the concept of one is fun, and it makes for an easy way to balance out the game. However, players won't actually appreciate being a balancing tool. While there is an inevitable "Woo-hoo!" moment when you first read that role email stating SK, there's also a high chance that it will be followed by the feeling of impending doom when you realize it's 1 vs. everyone. This isn't to say that games shouldn't include SKs. They're fun roles to play and most people have accustomed to assuming one will be present (something you don't necessarily have to follow). However, if you are going to put one in, make sure that the player is a player with a viable chance of winning, not a balancing tool.

For example, in Silent Dawn Mafia by Xenophone, I played the Silent Dawn killer, an SK. While I enjoyed the game, something that made me feel sour was that I was an uninformed bomb (meaning I would kill whoever hammered me). When I died, it seemed to me that my purpose in that game was not to win, but rather to make it easier for the Mafia to win or in the very least cause panic for everybody else.

Another example, in Bingo Little's Storyteller's Mafia V: Batman: Lockdown game, there was a serial killer on his own pitted against 19 others. I'm not saying it couldn't have been done, but were the poor guy's chances very good? ... not so much.

Note that in both of these examples, the sad SK's situation doesn't ruin the game at all. But if you're going to make the game, give the little psychopath some thought.

So when making the SK consider his chances of winning, and give him a fighting shot. It's very hard to give him even odds but he deserves your consideration in the very least.

In a small game of 12 or less, the SK's chances are low, but plausible. In a game of 16, those chances fall lower. By the time a game hits 20 or more, an otherwise normal SK has minimal chances if the setup is also normal. So what can you do? In order of least effective to most effective in terms of evening out the score:

1) Iron Status: Considering the general nature of an SK, an iron status is actually not very helpful. Most of the time their deaths are from lynches, because they tend to be easier to deduce than Mafia members. There are of course exceptions to this with better players, but more often than not an iron attribute will make little difference on an SK's chances.

2) Ghost Status: Otherwise known as turning up innocent to investigations, this status is more helpful than iron status in my opinion. An innocent investigation gives a solid alibi for an SK. In comparing the two options so far, you may think of it this way. If the SK is seemingly town, he will be mafia killed. If the SK is seemingly wolfy, he will be investigated. For a player who is actually wolf, the latter is more likely to occur. As a quick note here, when someone is "immune" to investigations, meaning they return nothing, that rarely helps at all.

3) Immunity to all actions: A simple idea that doesn't get as much use. It works quite well, and perhaps too well in a smaller game.

4) A Safe Claim: in a themed game, I heavily advocate giving the SK's a safe claim. It can justify their tough chances and put the majority of their work in their hands. For original games, these tend not to work as well, but offering a name and quick patch of flavour to use can be a nice thing to have.
So go get stabbing! The world needs more apathetic bloodlusters
.

PS: As one general rule of thumb, before hosting your game, compare for a brief moment the SK and the Mafia Godfather/most powerful mafia member. If the Serial Killer is less powerful than the leader of the faction own his own, you've probably got a problem.
 
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Michelle

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#3
The SK it's a fascinating character who won the first game here. I understood that he has to be a good player and he needs a good back-up in the game setup.
If we think just at the SK as 3rd part the possibility to win with mafia looks less rewarding than wining as the last man standing.
I would give a chance to the SK by making him powerful enough to play and win alone.
 
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If the game state reaches a point where there are only 4 or fewer Serials left in the game, it is best to let them all win under the "Joint Serial Win" condition. This is because the effort put by the Serials to reach this game state is enough to give them all a victory.

It could also help prevent Scorched Earth scenarios which causes the game to have no winners.

For example,

If it's 1 Serial vs 1 Serial,

Then if they shoot each other at night, they both die and the game ends with Scorched earth and no winner.

But if you let them both win under "Joint Serial Win" condition then not only does it negate the scorched earth scenario it would also be a form of praise to both players for their efforts by the victory.
 
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#5
Rohan pretty much summed up everything about balancing serials on his second post.

I like serials a lot. The only thing to consider is that when the game has less than 14 players, the serial killer + the mafia NK, could make the game go pretty quickly. That's something to take into account when deciding if your game should include a serial or not.
 
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You just need to look at the current 24hr game that still in progress. That's how you balance the SK. It got all kind of 'flavor' in it, from Cult to Mafia, SK etcetera. I don't know what to expect in the future the game will bring to us:lmao:
 

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Rohan pretty much summed up everything about balancing serials on his second post.

I like serials a lot. The only thing to consider is that when the game has less than 14 players, the serial killer + the mafia NK, could make the game go pretty quickly. That's something to take into account when deciding if your game should include a serial or not.
You can solve this by giving the Serial Odd Night Kills and the Mafia Even Night Kills. Once one of them is eliminated the remaining one gets All Night Kills. This is one way to balance double kills coming from Two Anti-Town factions.

You just need to look at the current 24hr game that still in progress. That's how you balance the SK. It got all kind of 'flavor' in it, from Cult to Mafia, SK etcetera. I don't know what to expect in the future the game will bring to us:lmao:
In my opinion any game which has above three factions is swingy (I.E, imbalanced).
 
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