[Game] The Mafia Game Hosting Commandments

rohan

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Credits of this hosting guide goes to Julius999.

This is a list of commandments that I think all normal mafia games should follow. They do not need to apply to games where there is an explicit warning in advance that the game is bastardly, or which are clearly labelled as variants in the topic post (eg kingmaker mafia, etc). These are the things that are a deal-breaker for me, and I imagine for others also, so it would be nice to know who subscribes to them.

1. No Jesters

Why would you include this role in your game? If you like to play mafia you probably don’t want to have to deliberately get lynched, so it’s not a fun role to play. It’s not fun for anyone else either because what usually happens is the Jester runs around like an idiot making sure everyone has no choice but to lynch them. It’s also ludicrously unbalanced as getting lynched is trivially easy, hence why so much of the game revolves around preventing it happening to you.

2. Don’t screw over the wolves with the theme

Themes and flavour are there to make the game more fun, not to destroy the whole point of it. In no circumstances should it be possible for a player to be cleared just because they claimed a particular role name and didn’t get counterclaimed. That is not fun or challenging for anyone and is frustrating for others involved. Very often it breaks the game balance as well, because you can build up a bloc of confirmed townies through a mass claim on Day 1, and the wolves are forced to claim obscure characters or try to reinvent a villain as pro-town. This is precisely the reason why the ‘no quoting the mod’ rule exists also. It’s extremely easy to avoid this mistake as all you have to do is provide at least one likely or plausible ‘good’ character to each wolf as a safe claim, and tell everyone that you have done this. The only time not giving out safe claims in a themed game is excusable is if the theme is so broad that it’s easy to make fake claims, such as Office Supplies Mafia or Periodic Table Mafia. And even then there’s not really any reason to not provide safe claims, as although the chance of getting counterclaimed as Lawrencium is low it’s still there and is a really rubbish way for wolves to get caught out through no fault of their own.

3. Or the night post

The night post should not give hints of any sort. Mafia is not a detective novel where you can figure out the killer from reading the story carefully. The flavour should only relate to things that are public information, for example, the identity of the person lynched. Naturally, this applies to other uses of flavour in posts by the mod as well.

4. No lying to the players

The game is played between the players, not between the players and the mod. Everything you tell the players should be true within the parameters you lay out. If for example the sanity of a Cop is not guaranteed you should indicate that this may the case. No one should ever have to second guess whether their win condition is actually something different to what they were told.

5. No alignment changes from out of the blue

This is similar to the previous point. Imagine playing really well as a townie, until the wolves are on the ropes. Suddenly the wolves use a one-shot conversion power and you are now on the side you’ve been devastating for the entire game. You then lose. This is obviously not a good thing to happen in your game. Alignment changes should be used very sparingly and carefully anyway, but if they can occur in your game this possibility should be made clear. If a player’s alignment can change based on a particular condition it is only courtesy to tell them this in their role email so that they can play accordingly. This can actually be quite interesting, as the player may then have to decide whether to hedge their bets a little, or maybe even deliberately try to trigger the condition to improve their position.

6. No mechanics known only to the mod

Every feature of the game should be known to at least one player. Things like lynches requiring a simple majority can be taken for granted, but mechanics that aren’t standard should not be hidden. If a food system exists, the players should know. If one of the players is actually eating double rations, at least one player should know that this was at least a possibility.

7. No random outcomes

There is never a good reason for there to be a percentage chance of success for a night action. It better suits a game of skill that outside the decision-making of the players the game runs deterministically. It’s frustrating to lose because your protection of the Cop failed due to a coin flip. If you need to weaken a role then find other methods, such as allowing it only to operate every other night.

8. Consistency

Again, the game should be deterministic. What happens if two Roleblockers block each other and one of them is Tracked? Decide how night actions operate and interact (the same goes for other mechanics also) and do the same thing every time. Equally, if there is a failed kill one night and it is displayed in the day post, any future failed kills should also be displayed. Similarly, don’t have two roles both called ‘Survivor’ with one investigating as ‘Guilty’ and the other as ‘Neutral’. All these things hamper the playing of the game because people always have to wonder whether the mod did something inconsistent. If you want variation between roles, give those roles their own names.

9. No coming back from the dead

Always a nightmare, and there’s never really a good reason for it. For example, if a dead wolf comes back to life you have a choice between them coming back as town and betraying their old wolf teammates, or coming back as wolf and being instantly lynched for not doing so. Lastly, killing and lynching is such a crucial bit of game strategy that it should never be interfered with lightly. This is why Iron and, especially, Unlynchable roles should be few and far between in my opinion.

10. No omniscient roles

Information is crucial to a mafia game, and should not be given out too freely. This is why investigative roles must be limited, and Role Cops should only be placed into a setup with a lot of thought. The worst sin here is roles which are just given information by the mod, either in their role email or later in the game. It should surely go without saying for example that before a single Day or Night has taken place no one should know that a particular player is a wolf.
 
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