Third Party Roles: What makes them fun?

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Third Party Roles: What makes them fun?

Postby condude1 » 06 Nov 2019, 02:29

We were discussing this in the AAR of Fable 14, but having some standards on what makes for a good third party role would probably be beneficial. My thoughts are below, feel free to add or modify them!

1. All factions should control their own fate. This is most often a problem with regards to third parties getting NKed. Unless they're something like a jester, where that's the Achilles' Heel, third parties who play very well should be able to achieve their VC, regardless of things outside their control. The same goes for other factions: An unlynchable third party who the town needs to get rid of is no fun, and neither is a bulletproof pro-town third party.

2. Third parties should be an actual THIRD party. Their victory condition should be directly at odds with everyone else's, and unless it's explicitly the point of the role to be on one team (i.e. the Aspirant in A Shot in the Dark), shouldn't be able to work with either side.

3. Third parties should have a reason to exist. Many games have third parties as the focus of the game - that's great. So is having a scary, sinister third party or an ominously named third party appearing over and over in flavour. They shouldn't be an afterthought or an attempt to make a game seem more fun.

4. Factions should all have approximately the same chance of winning with equal play. If the third party will win about 1/10 games, it's not good, and if the scum win 70% of games, it's not good. Aim for about 1/3 each, assuming reasonable play from everyone - this lets good play shine through!

Anything I missed?
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Re: Third Party Roles: What makes them fun?

Postby Fatmo » 06 Nov 2019, 02:33

Just marking the thread. I'm pretty clueless when it comes to game balance stuff, so looking forward to seeing the discussion here.
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Re: Third Party Roles: What makes them fun?

Postby mhsmith0 » 06 Nov 2019, 07:31

I tend to think it’s good to have 3p as the lowest win equity faction in a game (particularly if it’s mutually exclusive as opposed to survivor jester lyncher etc stuff), it just can’t be totally out of line.

So like
45% town
35% scum
20% 3p
Would be fine, but like 55/40/5 would be bad
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Re: Third Party Roles: What makes them fun?

Postby condude1 » 06 Nov 2019, 09:33

mhsmith0 wrote:I tend to think it’s good to have 3p as the lowest win equity faction in a game (particularly if it’s mutually exclusive as opposed to survivor jester lyncher etc stuff), it just can’t be totally out of line.

So like
45% town
35% scum
20% 3p
Would be fine, but like 55/40/5 would be bad


I personally prefer it closer to even. Otherwise you're saying a player's less likely to win based on what they happen to roll pre-game, which is kind of contrary to the point of balancing a game well. Of course, 45/35/20 seems pretty close to good, just because it's such an inexact art, but I'd aim for an even split. And that's assuming good play from all parties. 3P roles are so much more swingy based on the one person's play. You give a strong player a 3P role, they probably have a better than expected chance of victory, while a poor player will have a very low shot at it.
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Re: Third Party Roles: What makes them fun?

Postby mhsmith0 » 06 Nov 2019, 18:10

Part of the issue is that balancing a game so that it's 33/33/33 or thereabouts tends to mean you have to massively overpower that one particular role (since otherwise a subpar player who rands it has nearly 0 shot of winning), to the point it majorly messes with a game.

Like, you could run a 9/3/1 game, where town has
cop
odd night doctor
7 vts

wolves have 3 goons

serial killer can choose pregame between full bulletproof and investigation immune (peeks as town)

and it's probably in the range of 33/33/33 balanced (off the cuff anyway, though it certainly varies by community), but that sort of setup would probably be obnoxious for everyone involved (and in particular, the SK's pregame choice would heavily swing the win equity towards town or wolves which is itself kind of bad; i suppose you could do something funky like odd night godfather / even night bp, but that'd be pretty weird too)


I think in the main, mafia games function better without 3ps, particularly ones that only win at the expense of all other factions.


I think that "allying" 3p types can be interesting (in both of CTR's games, I thought his 3p designs were pretty decent, particularly his gunpowder plot game where the 3p needed to wolfside and pulled it off quite nicely), but even there I think it's usually better to just not have 3ps in a game for the most part.
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Re: Third Party Roles: What makes them fun?

Postby kimpossible » 06 Nov 2019, 20:01

I'd be more inclined to think a 3P role who is not at odds with either faction, nor helps either faction, is going to be more fun, since it means neither is directly out for their blood. If I uncover that 3P as scum I don't waste a NK on them. As town, obviously I'm more inclined to kill them since they are less interested in scumhunting, but I'd also argue anyone legitimately trying to play their wincon should be doing their best to scumhunt anyway in order to blend and that's part of the challenge.

Discuss?
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Re: Third Party Roles: What makes them fun?

Postby mhsmith0 » 06 Nov 2019, 21:29

kimpossible wrote:I'd be more inclined to think a 3P role who is not at odds with either faction, nor helps either faction, is going to be more fun, since it means neither is directly out for their blood. If I uncover that 3P as scum I don't waste a NK on them. As town, obviously I'm more inclined to kill them since they are less interested in scumhunting, but I'd also argue anyone legitimately trying to play their wincon should be doing their best to scumhunt anyway in order to blend and that's part of the challenge.

Discuss?


The flip side is that a non-endgaming 3p role tends to have low investment in the game state at large (b/c he/she *DOESN'T CARE* whether town or scum are winning), which isn't always fun to play.

3p's that are competing with town and scum, meanwhile, tend to either have such low win equity that even bothering to try is kind of a waste of time (been there, done that :( :( :( )
not once
not twice
but THREE TIMES
I've randed obnoxiously difficult 3p roles, including the one where there really was no particular point in efforting due to how stupidly underpowered our faction was

though sweet jesus did i crush it as my latest 3p role :D :D :D

, or such high win equity that it makes the game severely unbalanced for one or both of town/scum (I was *ALSO* in a game where the 3p's were ridiculously OP'd, mainly at town's expense, so THAT was fun too :roll: )

I think it's possible to make a well designed 3p role that is fun to play and doesn't overly fuck with the game state and/or balance, but I think that for the most part, people fail to meet that threshold when pushing 3p's, so imo it's usually better to just not have them in games, with rare exceptions.
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Re: Third Party Roles: What makes them fun?

Postby condude1 » 06 Nov 2019, 22:24

I think a good third party SHOULD seriously change the game state, and unbalance things away from both teams. Otherwise it's just a boring add-on that isn't necessary. Give the third party the tools to wreak havoc and let that be the centrepiece of the game. Otherwise you're just trying to mitigate the harm of a 3P, rather than making it truly a benefit to the game.
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