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Author Topic: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)  (Read 1096 times)

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jotheonah

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2019, 12:35:44 pm »

Also, I assume Bulletproof and Lynchproof are supposed to be 1-shot? Otherwise a Lynchproof scum is basically instant win.

Yeah, I left that in by accident. Shouldn't really be on the scum or SK lists.
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jotheonah

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2019, 12:40:50 pm »

I was thinking the survey would be a good starting point to (A) identify the roles where there is no consensus so we can discuss them and (B) identify the roles we all basically agree on so we can start slotting those into some kind of hierarchy of power levels. But I left out a ton of roles mafiascum considers "normal" because there's just so many and I wanted the survey to not take forever.
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popsofctown

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2019, 07:37:20 pm »

I'm disappointed the survey does not include vigilante.

Vigilante is one of the most well designed power roles in mafia.  It interacts with the dayplay without subverting dayplay.  The vigilante can punish scum that have exposed themselves during the day, but does not need to influence other players to agree with him unlike lynching, so it is not fully redundant.  (Treestump or double voter would be roles that are so similar to the dayplay itself that they don't really add something).

Tracker is a far better designed role than watcher.  Watcher is asymptotically close to being as bad as cop.  Mafia can get around a tracker by sending a teammate to perform the NK who is not very much under suspicion.  It's already the same motis operandi for dodging jailkeeps and such.  But a watcher punishes the mafia for having a predictable nightkill target, and when it's a closed setup where they haven't been warned there is a watcher, that is just punishing them for playing mountainous mafia correctly.  It's like a doctor (which also has its detractors, actually), but it's worse, you will actually wish you had no killed when the watcher claims and outs not just one of your mafia, but the mafia teammate you thought was performing best this game. Yeah actually it might be worse than cop.

The potential for accidentally killing a roleblocker who targetted the same guy who got nightkilled doesn't help enough.  It's still going to be correctly play to lynch the watcher's target.  The best roles put weight on what is correct dayplay without dictating the dayplay.

Confirmed innocent and delayed confirm innocent (includes masons) (if you don't crumb your mason partner as you die 100% of the time you're bad at mafia) do this and they are generally good roles.  They are harmful in the sense that the town do not get a chance to use their skill to discern the innocent players for themselves, but they create a novel circumstance where a player the mafia targetted in the dayplay can be revealed to be a mislynch target, and the mislynch target gets to participate in the assessment of whether that was malicious.  So at least you're getting something new. 

To some extent it's kind of like items in mario kart, where every single item corrupts the core technique of driving a time trial track very well.  But also like mario kart, some of them replace the original steering challenge with a different steering challenge, while some of them subvert the steering challenge altogether and just make the game not about steering anymore until they go away.  (blue shell, bullet bill in the newer game don't play the newer games that thing is cancer)
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mail-mi

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2019, 02:22:47 am »

Just thinking of the idea of being a SK with a lightning rod makes me cringe
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popsofctown

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2019, 03:22:15 am »

Best closed setup ever
Noah's Ark Mafia

1 Bullet Proof Lightning Rod Paranoid Gun Owner Serial Killer
3 Mafia Goons
1 Informed Townie (Information: this setup includes a Bulletproof Lightning Rod Paranoid Gun Owner Serial Killer)
1 Cop
1 Doctor
1 Tracker
1 Watcher
1 Bodyguard
1 Hider
1 Vigilante
1 Masonizer
1 Gunsmith
1 Rolecop
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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2019, 03:28:18 am »

Best closed setup ever
Noah's Ark Mafia

1 Bullet Proof Lightning Rod Paranoid Gun Owner Serial Killer
3 Mafia Goons
1 Informed Townie (Information: this setup includes a Bulletproof Lightning Rod Paranoid Gun Owner Serial Killer)
1 Cop
1 Doctor
1 Tracker
1 Watcher
1 Bodyguard
1 Hider
1 Vigilante
1 Masonizer
1 Gunsmith
1 Rolecop

Make sure it starts at night.
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faust

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #31 on: May 31, 2019, 03:57:57 am »

Watcher is asymptotically close to being as bad as cop.  Mafia can get around a tracker by sending a teammate to perform the NK who is not very much under suspicion.  It's already the same motis operandi for dodging jailkeeps and such.  But a watcher punishes the mafia for having a predictable nightkill target, and when it's a closed setup where they haven't been warned there is a watcher, that is just punishing them for playing mountainous mafia correctly.  It's like a doctor (which also has its detractors, actually), but it's worse, you will actually wish you had no killed when the watcher claims and outs not just one of your mafia, but the mafia teammate you thought was performing best this game. Yeah actually it might be worse than cop.
The advantage that Watcher and Doctor have over a Cop is that they remedy a significant problem of mafia: Usually, playing well as town is rewarded by dying. Making it more difficult to nightkill strong players that are believed to be town by many is a way to reward good play as town in a way that isn't frustrating. A agree that there is a problem if scum isn't aware of the possibility of a Watcher, so they should be, either because it's a semi-open setup or because maybe they have a 1-shot Ninja or something to tip them off.
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jotheonah

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2019, 10:26:44 am »

So far the only think y'all 100 percent agree on is ....

That a serial killer bodyguard is not a strong ability.

I should really have put more time into this thing.
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jotheonah

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2019, 10:32:05 am »

Here is a second survey which includes seven town roles I left out of the first survey (including vigilante!)

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1VdrERylX77RfhqhIWZPcr0KOr8oR8j1RIxYfa270r84/edit
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popsofctown

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2019, 11:29:27 pm »

Dying for playing well at mafia is a feature, not a bug.

You can just /in to another game once you're dead.  It's not like going to a party where there's only one video game for 1v1 fights and someone implemented the rule "loser stays to fight a new challenger".

You can just use a doctor in your setup if this is the effect you're looking for anyway.  There's no need to have such a massive swing. 
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silverspawn

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2019, 05:58:43 am »

Just realized that I screwed this up. The setup I was referencing (it was used in the second mafia championship and had an empirically near-perfect balance) had 9 VT + 1 Cop, not 8 VT + 1 cop. Clearly, an odd number of town players in a game without a way to prevent the NK wouldn't make sense.

I would proceed as follows

1. A game with 9 town (8 VT + 1 cop) and 3 scum is arguably perfectly balanced. If your game has a similar number of players, compare your balance with that game. don't rely on intuition, make up numbers with intuition and then look at what the numbers say. (For example, if you give cop 4 utility points, you could give doctor 1)

2. In the above, be aware that whether the setup is closed or open makes large difference. If it's open, then a doctor would basically be an IC. It would then not be a 1 but at least a 2.

3. Ask yourself how good play would look like from both sides, and if it's boring, change the setup. This catches things like follow-the-cop but it's a more general trick than memorizing a bunch of combos.
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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2019, 11:42:54 pm »

Tag
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Games (30): Mafia: 17, 21, 24, 31, 39, 43, 67, 72, 86 || Newbie: 7 || RMM: 6, 7, 10, 20, 22, 26, 32, 45 || Blitz: 4-7, X, 17-19, 22, 24 || BM: 14, 19

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #37 on: July 30, 2019, 01:17:12 pm »

oh man wow i miss this forum. i accidentally pressed ctrl shift t at the end of a rather long post so i'm doing the slightly abbreviated version lest i lose my mind. ask me to elaborate on these if necessary. i have a lot of experience reviewing over the years and especially a lot of experience reviewing games that are mostly comprised of the roles we're voting on. i'd say for the most part i agree with the distribution with a few comments/sticking points

  • neighbors/neighborizers aren't that strong i find. the consensus on MS is that you don't even treat them as the same amount of power as like the most basic investigative. they just rarely make or break the game and people aren't even active in them half the time. i promise. might be wrong about how effective they are on this forum but they tend to be overestimated as well, stuff that happens in neighborhoods could often have just happened in thread with a tad more work. still feel free to put them in your games though, they're fun
  • i promise neapolitan is like a 4/5 when at least 1/3 of the game is VTs. even when there's just like 1 or 2 it's still good since it makes it hard to fakeclaim VT
  • pretty confident watcher is a 5 or rounds up to 5. focus on the nightkill
  • a mason pair is a 4/5. i suppose an individual mason is 2/5. is there anyone on this forum that's good at math that can help me out? (aside: i'm now studying math/statistics at my school)
  • just found it funny that everybody put UB at 3. yup! totally depends
  • vig is a 5 when mafia are unable to kill and there aren't serial killers, because finding the extra kill confirms the claimant as town. otherwise it's a 4 maybe. i really hope the idea that vig shouldn't shoot is like dead here, even if you're just shooting consensus scummies you're vastly helping town unless you think reads are worthless (..................which i also hope is a dead idea here)

other things fun to put in your game actually no screw it i'm clicking post here and doing this in another one
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schadd

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #38 on: July 30, 2019, 01:34:13 pm »

oh yeah town rolestopper about as good as doctor imo. sure it blocks out other investigatives (watcher!) or whatever but it also blocks out scum roleblockers / invests on the town PR that you're saving. and like if you have a town watcher and a town doctor/rolestopper in your game then that can get rough anyway. also the norm on MS is that it works in spite of strongman i think. ok

on with some Fun Suggestions
  • role modifiers! not just 1-shot 2-shot red-shot blue-shot. loyal: only works if you target the same alignment; see also disloyal. loyal doctor and disloyal roleblocker both have a way of saving headache. weak: dies if it visits opposite alignment. already used here i think but probably not ENOUGH!! both of these change how something gets used. loud: lets its target know "hey [player] visited you" whenever it targets someone. really fun to add on to scum roles, especially investigatives. odd-night/even-night/novice: i.e., this role can only be used on odd-nights or even-nights; novice means "not the first night". also if you want you can specify a list of nights that the role can work; in particular i like "nights 2 & 3". x-shot is fun in concept but often means "hey this role can't be nightkilled effectively because it will probably be done with its work by the time you find it" and i think it's crucial for scum to be able to hunt PRs. combined: just graft two roles on top of each other, sort of like jailkeeper. combined rolecop tracker is a fun idea; you get detailed information but you also have to choose between tracking the same target or getting new rolecop results
  • use gunsmith instead of cop - gunsmith finds people who have a gun, i.e., all mafia (except mafia doctors/healers!!) plus town roles like cop, jailkeeper, vigilante, other gunsmith, et cetera. doesn't find SK since they use knives or whatever. haven't you watched dexter?? i vastly prefer gunsmith since a really good scum can wriggle out of it if they get guiltied - imagine being somebody who everyone knows is a good scum player so everyone knows to just cop you right away. kind of sucks!!
  • i personally dislike: ninja, traitor, serial killer (!), survivor (!!!!!!!!!!) (!!!!) (do not use this please) (it's somebody who has almost nothing to do the whole game except worry. at LEAST give them something interesting to do other than Just Survive)
  • if somebody wants a cool setup to run, i have a 9p non-role-madness that i can call my magnum opus after a couple years of modding. the thing is that it's closed and i have run it before on MS - if you want, i can send it to somebody to rerun and you guys can rely on the honor system / the fact that it's kind of hard to find; or, i can give you guys the post-mortem as to what mechanic(s) i think worked
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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #39 on: July 30, 2019, 01:41:49 pm »


here are (part of the) results of a poll i took about a year ago. missing bars, in order:
  • negative utility roles in general, 6/31
  • mafia ninja, 12/31
  • high power setups (strong town vs. strong scum roles), 7/31
  • people being shitty to each other, 28/31

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #40 on: July 30, 2019, 01:56:16 pm »

what's implosion?
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jotheonah

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #41 on: July 30, 2019, 01:58:38 pm »

oh yeah town rolestopper about as good as doctor imo. sure it blocks out other investigatives (watcher!) or whatever but it also blocks out scum roleblockers / invests on the town PR that you're saving. and like if you have a town watcher and a town doctor/rolestopper in your game then that can get rough anyway. also the norm on MS is that it works in spite of strongman i think. ok

on with some Fun Suggestions
  • role modifiers! not just 1-shot 2-shot red-shot blue-shot. loyal: only works if you target the same alignment; see also disloyal. loyal doctor and disloyal roleblocker both have a way of saving headache. weak: dies if it visits opposite alignment. already used here i think but probably not ENOUGH!! both of these change how something gets used. loud: lets its target know "hey [player] visited you" whenever it targets someone. really fun to add on to scum roles, especially investigatives. odd-night/even-night/novice: i.e., this role can only be used on odd-nights or even-nights; novice means "not the first night". also if you want you can specify a list of nights that the role can work; in particular i like "nights 2 & 3". x-shot is fun in concept but often means "hey this role can't be nightkilled effectively because it will probably be done with its work by the time you find it" and i think it's crucial for scum to be able to hunt PRs. combined: just graft two roles on top of each other, sort of like jailkeeper. combined rolecop tracker is a fun idea; you get detailed information but you also have to choose between tracking the same target or getting new rolecop results
  • use gunsmith instead of cop - gunsmith finds people who have a gun, i.e., all mafia (except mafia doctors/healers!!) plus town roles like cop, jailkeeper, vigilante, other gunsmith, et cetera. doesn't find SK since they use knives or whatever. haven't you watched dexter?? i vastly prefer gunsmith since a really good scum can wriggle out of it if they get guiltied - imagine being somebody who everyone knows is a good scum player so everyone knows to just cop you right away. kind of sucks!!
  • i personally dislike: ninja, traitor, serial killer (!), survivor (!!!!!!!!!!) (!!!!) (do not use this please) (it's somebody who has almost nothing to do the whole game except worry. at LEAST give them something interesting to do other than Just Survive)
  • if somebody wants a cool setup to run, i have a 9p non-role-madness that i can call my magnum opus after a couple years of modding. the thing is that it's closed and i have run it before on MS - if you want, i can send it to somebody to rerun and you guys can rely on the honor system / the fact that it's kind of hard to find; or, i can give you guys the post-mortem as to what mechanic(s) i think worked

Curious, why ninja in particular? How do you feel about Godfathers?

Also very intrigued by this magnum opus.
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schadd

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #42 on: July 30, 2019, 03:13:39 pm »

implosion is the name of the moderator in charge of normal games writ large


i dislike godfather yeah. if you get a cop inno or a tracker no-visit with one mafia left, you know that person is town............................... unless they're a godfather/ninja! and there isn't anywhere for you to go from there - there's a few shallow ways to try to deduce whether somebody is godfather / ninja (like - did they say "investigate me!!!" ? no? ok well thats the end of the flowchart) it's just a question of "do i think the mod would put one of those in this setup?" which itself is really hard to assign any actual value to.


what often happens when somebody gets a false inno, then, is that either scum wins or it gets down to like one scum left. in general, something i find is that when there's one scum left, activity and scumhunting slow down a lot and the person who got false inno'd can just sort of coast along and rely on the fact that it would be hard for the remaining townies to doubt them. and games like that are just really tiring i think.


i can PM you the setup if you'd like
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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #43 on: July 30, 2019, 03:58:37 pm »

I kind of agree with you, but I think closed vs open makes a big difference. Godfather in a closed setup is approaching bastard levels. But Godfather in an open setup seems OK to me.
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popsofctown

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #44 on: August 23, 2019, 02:46:28 pm »

Open setups are awesome do opens
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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #45 on: August 28, 2019, 04:34:51 pm »

What do people think of this open setup?

Trust Nothing

2 scum, 7 town

Town PRs: 2 Masons, a cop, and a doctor

BUT two of the three is true and town, including the affected roles, doesn't know which two:

-The Masons are lovers
-The cop is insane (results are opposite)
-The doctor is naive (or possibly a bodyguard?)

Scum chooses one modifier, and the other is chosen at random.

So, like, it's a super strong town, but the mods make it unwise to use any of the roles in their normal ways. Masons can't claim and become ICs without giving mafia an extra kill, cops can't claim a result until they have more than one (or they've determined the other two mods are in effect), and the doctor can't rely on their power, so follow the cop becomes less attractive.

My big worry is that a mass claim breaks it since there are only 3 VTs, so it gives town a 2/5 chance to lynch scum, which is rough on scum even if they get a double kill next night phase, which they only get 2/3 of the time.

Also, I'd almost rather have a fourth mod so it was a 50% chance of each one being in the game, but damned if I can think of a good one (scum has an RB? scum has an extra shot one night? VT becomes Jester/survivor/compulsive vig?)
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ashersky

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #46 on: August 28, 2019, 07:29:02 pm »

I think scum always chooses Lovers and Cop.  Doctor becomes bodyguard is the same as doctor, since scum needs to kill the doctor to disrupt FTC.  Naive just makes it another VT, which I guess is more attractive, so they could go with that every once in awhile to throw off town thinking.

As long as town gets a correct lynch once in the first two days, you guarantee basically two shots at winning, with at least one cop result.  Town wins many, many times.

Mass claim, mislynch, lovers die.  D2 is 50% chance to lynch (2 out of 4 VTs, 2 PRs left).  Thatís best case D2 for scum, same as a claim/counter, except that guarantees a correct lynch the next day, so I think itís strictly worse.

That ideal D2 means cop has one result on a VT, must be claimed but can be ignored.  If scum wins the coin flip, they win with an NK of the doctor, another 50/50.  Thatís where the cop/doc mod choice comes in, I guess.

I think this could work as blitz?  Might need some slight tweaks.
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2013, 2014, 2015 Mafia Mod of the Year

Games (30): Mafia: 17, 21, 24, 31, 39, 43, 67, 72, 86 || Newbie: 7 || RMM: 6, 7, 10, 20, 22, 26, 32, 45 || Blitz: 4-7, X, 17-19, 22, 24 || BM: 14, 19

2015 f.ds Representative, World Forum Mafia Championships
2013, 2014 Mafia Player of the Year (Tie)

Town: 47 Games, 24 Wins
Scum: 22 Games, 13 Wins
11x MVP: M30, M83, ZM16, M25, M38, M61, M76, RMM5, RMM41, RMM46, M51

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #47 on: August 28, 2019, 07:54:13 pm »

Off the top of my head:

2 Innocent Mason Lovers (Mod-confirmed at game start)
1 Cop
1 Doc
3 VTs
2 Mafia

Each night, mafia chooses to make the cop insane or doc naive.

Iíd probably add at least one more option or make one of the goons something better.
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2013, 2014, 2015 Mafia Mod of the Year

Games (30): Mafia: 17, 21, 24, 31, 39, 43, 67, 72, 86 || Newbie: 7 || RMM: 6, 7, 10, 20, 22, 26, 32, 45 || Blitz: 4-7, X, 17-19, 22, 24 || BM: 14, 19

2015 f.ds Representative, World Forum Mafia Championships
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Town: 47 Games, 24 Wins
Scum: 22 Games, 13 Wins
11x MVP: M30, M83, ZM16, M25, M38, M61, M76, RMM5, RMM41, RMM46, M51

jotheonah

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #48 on: August 28, 2019, 08:38:26 pm »

RB is slightly interesting. Another possibility if you don't mind extreme swinginess is a vig that can be compulsive.
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"I know old meta, and joth is useless day 1 but awesome town day 3 and on." --Teproc

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ashersky

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Re: How to Balance a Mafia Game (A Community Project I Hope!)
« Reply #49 on: August 28, 2019, 11:04:46 pm »

Not on theme, but two doctors, both fail if they target the same person, could be cool.  Need a mechanic that prevents or disrupts coordination.
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f.ds Mafia Board Moderator

2013, 2014, 2015 Mafia Mod of the Year

Games (30): Mafia: 17, 21, 24, 31, 39, 43, 67, 72, 86 || Newbie: 7 || RMM: 6, 7, 10, 20, 22, 26, 32, 45 || Blitz: 4-7, X, 17-19, 22, 24 || BM: 14, 19

2015 f.ds Representative, World Forum Mafia Championships
2013, 2014 Mafia Player of the Year (Tie)

Town: 47 Games, 24 Wins
Scum: 22 Games, 13 Wins
11x MVP: M30, M83, ZM16, M25, M38, M61, M76, RMM5, RMM41, RMM46, M51
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