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Re: Office space

PostPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 21:26
by condude1
The NK isn't mandatory. If the NK is just unreliable, I'd say knock one or two townies off a vanilla game, depending how unreliable it is.

HP wasn't actually unbalanced, it was just a stronng town.

Re: Office space

PostPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 21:54
by Crunkus_old
It's important to note that nightless vanilla is a perfectly balanced variant with normal numbers. The mafia night kill is really more of a balance mechanism to roles the town might have access to mechanics that can potentially disrupt the game by clearing/fingering the alignments of certain players before they are eliminated. It offers an incentive to keep role information secret in most set ups for a time. A good mafia team at the end of the day has to win the game during the day while benefiting and/or contributing to a town's dysfunction. It's easy to over-emphasize the role the night kill plays in balancing in and of itself.

Re: Office space

PostPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 22:07
by mhsmith0
Crunkus wrote:It's important to note that nightless vanilla is a perfectly balanced variant with normal numbers. The mafia night kill is really more of a balance mechanism to roles the town might have access to mechanics that can potentially disrupt the game by clearing/fingering the alignments of certain players before they are eliminated. It offers an incentive to keep role information secret in most set ups for a time. A good mafia team at the end of the day has to win the game during the day while benefiting and/or contributing to a town's dysfunction. It's easy to over-emphasize the role the night kill plays in balancing in and of itself.


Hmm, interesting. I didn't realize that. I kind of figured that games w/o NK's were by nature balanced towards town. I'm really starting to feel like Jon Snow these days #YouKnowNothing :P

Re: Office space

PostPosted: 26 Feb 2016, 22:52
by Keirador
condude1 wrote:That's a field I have experience in, I can give you some stats and my opinion on how balanced they were from a GM's perspective.

A Shot in the Dark: The mafia's kill was in the hands of a third party, who didn't know their identities. Ran as 9-3-1, with the town having a blocker, and doctor, while the mafia had a jailor and rolecop. One mafia (Harb) ended up getting shot by his ally, and the others fell in rapid succession. Effectively 9-4, with no control over the NK was a slaughter.

Hot Potato: Rand as 8-3. Mafia NK resolved at a random point in the day, you knew if you were the target, and could pass it off to other players. The town played really well, one mafioso ended up exploding to their own NK, and the town sailed to victory. No roles. 8-3, decisive town victory.

Mafia having an unreliable NK is an advantage to the town. If a mafioso can be killed by their own NK, the unreliable NK is worth AT LEAST 2 townies in my experience, possibly more.

I said this at the time and stand by it, if I'd been the assassin in Shot in the Dark, I would have let the game run without a night kill. The risk of killing a scum player who's just playing really well is just too much. Town won that one, but didn't really deserve to: the assassin killing Harb was just too devastating a blow to come back from.

Mafia also got really unlucky in Hot Potato. It's not all that likely the scum are going to get 'sploded by the potato, but they did in that game. AND in both games, the first scum killed were the ones killed by the night-kill mechanic. In my opinion the first kill is the most important, because knowing that alignment reveal makes scumhunting easier.

I guess I'm saying I mostly agree with you, but think that these two examples were probably both outliers in how INCREDIBLY advantageous the mechanic is to the town.

Re: Office space

PostPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 00:32
by Keirador
Crunkus wrote:It's important to note that nightless vanilla is a perfectly balanced variant with normal numbers. The mafia night kill is really more of a balance mechanism to roles the town might have access to mechanics that can potentially disrupt the game by clearing/fingering the alignments of certain players before they are eliminated. It offers an incentive to keep role information secret in most set ups for a time. A good mafia team at the end of the day has to win the game during the day while benefiting and/or contributing to a town's dysfunction. It's easy to over-emphasize the role the night kill plays in balancing in and of itself.

What are normal numbers, though? We've had this discussion before, but you run some games where the town only gets two mislynches before a loss (town loses upon the third mislynch). Purely personal opinion, but in an 11 or 12 player game, I think the town getting three mislynches before a loss is a bit more fair. . . but if you're running 9:3 with no night-kills, the town gets SIX mislynches, and I think that's pretty rough for the scum.

Bear in mind that I have never GMed nor designed a working game, so I say this entirely as a player.

Re: Office space

PostPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 00:57
by Crunkus_old
Keirador wrote:What are normal numbers, though? We've had this discussion before, but you run some games where the town only gets two mislynches before a loss (town loses upon the third mislynch). Purely personal opinion, but in an 11 or 12 player game, I think the town getting three mislynches before a loss is a bit more fair. . . but if you're running 9:3 with no night-kills, the town gets SIX mislynches, and I think that's pretty rough for the scum.

Bear in mind that I have never GMed nor designed a working game, so I say this entirely as a player.


I'm often unkind to town I guess. On a 2 mislynch game of 11 or 12 with night kills there should probably be a bit of a shot at a blocked kill somehow maybe more than a bit of a shot. Normal numbers aren't 9:3. Normal numbers are pretty much 2n+1 (maybe 2). I'm not advocating nightless vanilla with 9:3. I'm merely pointing out that it's not really critical to mafia balance that the night kill be certain or anywhere near it by showing it can function quite well without it entirely.

Re: Office space

PostPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 01:02
by mhsmith0
Right now I'm thinking 8/3/1 (I really like my 3rd party idea if I do say so myself 8-) ), with character based powers (generally pretty weak and more flavor than substance), and then every scum member gets scum-specific abilities. Very much a random draw situation; there are some potential roles or combinations that would help one team more than the other.

Re: Office space

PostPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 01:51
by condude1
I'm taking a break from mafia, so I probably won't end up playing this game, unless it's run during the Summer. If you want to run it by me, I'm open to it.

Re: Office space

PostPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 02:58
by mhsmith0
I may end up pushing running this until to the summer, to be honest. I'm currently running the gunboat tourney, the UDC game came first and should take precedence, and my spring is probably going to SUCK starting around mid may through early June.

Winter is kind of my "light time"; it's a lot easier for me to sink a bunch of time into a new hobby in February than it is in April or May, tha'ts for sure.

Re: Office space

PostPosted: 27 Feb 2016, 03:41
by mhsmith0
DRAFT rules can be found at

https://docs.google.com/document/d/18rR ... sp=sharing

Definitely some editing left to be done, but I think that should give an idea both of the structure of the game and the flavor I'll be going for.