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2 mafia vs 1 village is dead. Or should be.

Discussion in 'Office of Strategic Influence' started by Mekkah, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. Mekkah

    Mekkah
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    Is there any particular reason almost everyone abides by this format? It works the same almost every time. The mafia's have to hit the village almost every night until all sides are relatively even to stand a chance, and because of this the village rarely gets to dominate unless they get extremely lucky, or their roles are boosted significantly. This is best seen in big games, where the mafia/wolf have no reason to not collaborate kills at all thanks to the anonymous system.

    Future game hosts, please start being inventive in your formats. Look at MGS mafia, with its 5 factions, 4 neutrals and win conditions involving other sides losing. Look at Double Alias Mafia, with only one mafia side.

    With only one mafia, you (almost) eliminate the following elements from your game:
    - accidental crossfire (barring wolf)
    - kingmaker positions (barring wolf)
    - mafioso selling out the other mafioso
    - the necessity for kill collaborations

    There's some positives to having 2 mafias, such as the way they interact psychologically. If someone accuses someone else, and gets him lynched, and he's evil, you can be quite sure that he's not mafia in an 1-mafia game. But in a 2-mafia game, it could be a guy from the other mafia.

    But that really isn't a great pay-off for all the disadvantages.

    So please, start being more inventive in your game formats. Simply adding more mafia groups isn't the solution, by the way. This only increases the disadvantages. Unless you do what MGS did.
  2. Alchemator

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    I'm quite glad to see this go up - I found MGS very interesting and much more fun in its game format. Particularly in Remoraid Mafia the mafia seems to be dominating at the moment (I'll say no more than that though).

    I don't want to turn this into the new and experimental concepts thread, but an idea I've been throwing around is 'picking your own teams' in mafia - I.E. anonymous team captains take turns picking players for their team (needs to be kept anonymous obviously).

    This places more influence on the players, and allows for a more 5-faction approach which increases the enjoyment of the game. Thoughts?
  3. zorbees

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    Let me reverse the order of this so I can get an understanding of this. I am pretty new to mafia so I may not understand everything in your argument.

    Why should the village be able to regularly dominate? I thought the point of mafia was to have the uninformed majority and informed minority (or minorities) be somewhat even due to the village's sheer size. Unless I am missing something...

    Can you further explain this please? I don't quite see why this is the case. You seem to be basing this on the fact that the village should start out with an advantage (that should allow it to win more regularly), which I don't quite understand.

    I'm not discounting what you are saying, I just think we have a fundamental disagreement that causes our opinions on these issues to be different.

    EDIT: i guess in a no-village system like in MGS this issue is avoided, but tbh I don't understand those as well as a traditional mafia-type game, seeing as I've never participated in one.
  4. Exarius

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    Well, I must say I'm (and Accent probably is) happy MGS was succesfull on that regard, though as the host, I have to do a small nitpick; there were only 3 neutrals, not 4: Shade (Solid Snake), askaninjask (Liquid Snake) and LonelyNess (Otacon). Agape was just a trolling civvy :P

    and zorbees, what he means is that if the mafias hit each other, they eliminate each other or severely weakens each other, and then there is a full village that is maybe even united, versus a mafia that has only 1 or 2 left. The other mafia is eliminated, and against a competent village, the last mafia is also most probably fucked at that point. If some villagers are killed early, they have much less chance to get the upper hand on the mafia after the war between the 2 mafias.
  5. Mekkah

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    The idea of mafia is uninformed majority vs informed minority. However, the information gap is not quite uninformed vs informed anymore: if anything, in mafia nowadays, the village is almost as informed as the mafia. Outside communication, and the village leader system do wonders for that. So the village starts out with a large numbers advantage, and the evil sides know the village will win if they do anything but hitting on the village until the numbers are equal, preferably killing their power roles first.

    Basically, the village starts out "winning" almost by default unless their leadership is really poor. Everyone gangs up on them until they no longer have as much of a lynch majority, and from there the mafia usually wins out due to more powerful roles.

    The village is too powerful early on for the other factions to leave alone, and because of that, the village never really gets to dominate a game. It's sort of a metagame that keeps repeating itself in the same way over and over.

    EDIT: I dunno why I had 4 in mind. Agape did not fool me. damb altair.
  6. zorbees

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    Okay, you put it well Mekkah. I thought you were implying that the village should start with an advantage, but you actually meant that the village does start with an advantage.

    Also, how would the mafia/village balance apply to experimental games?
  7. Thorns

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    silly hat mafia will not be 2 mafia vs 1 village. i think we can all see that 2 v 1 is more or less useless now, it's predictable and fairly easy to exploit. usually, the village picks one faction to lose, and attempts to win against the second. in many past big mafias, the easiest way for the village to win was to take out one faction first, like the mavericks in megaman mafia :(
  8. jumpluff

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    I hate your new avatar.

    Anyway, it's true. 2v1 is a fun style, but it's not very good for standard. I hope Mekkahp3 is single-mafia; it's lots more fun for everyone involved... especially the village. In fact I think there's little more to say from your OP. I don't like wolves either in that format, tbh; they collab with the mafias to add even more pain for the village, then get fucked by them, usually the case unless they're broken.

    I know Mekkah explained it superbly, but I'd like to point out that in big mafia especially, the village essentially always loses. Yes, this is a balance issue, but it isn't just because of roles, items, luck, and other factors; the structure itself is severely flawed for the anonymous format big mafia is held as. It can be fun to play, but the fact it's standard isn't so good. I'd like to see innovative new formats like Viva (although don't get the impression from that that Viva isn't seriously flawed in itself, or that adding new factions = good format), or even just bring back one-mafia, or get rid of neutrals.

    I really hate neutrals, because they're variables that severely screw with balance and mess up games for factions. The harmless ones are free to ally themselves as they pleased and the harmful ones are largely quite dangerous. There can be an equilibrium met, but as a whole I don't like them and don't think they = balance. Though I think I should -- or someone else heh -- make a neutral thread for that.
  9. FinnRagetti

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    2 mafia v. 1 village is traditionally how we just play the game, but Mekkah, you bring up an excellent point. If the village has a semi-experienced, strong leader, the village wins. If they dont, then the mafia wins. Look at the past games: the DotA village failed because there was no solid village leader at the beginning of the game. In Bad Character mafia, I at least set up the village for a chance to win. In Superstars, the village was lead way too well. The game was almost over n3. I definitely would like to see more varying mafia games with 1 mafia v. 1 village or a 3 equally sized faction game (similar to MGS).
  10. jumpluff

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    Hmm.. nope, Finn, 2 mafia v. 1 village isn't what was traditionally played... it just stuck for a long time. Though to be honest it makes a huge difference whether the mafia is anonymous (and its size) or not, the same way being village in a small mafia is a blessing and being village in a big mafia is a death sentence.

    The anonymous system is pretty conducive to massacres. I mean, like Mekkah said, it's really easy for the three main killers to collaborate and just rape the village until the start of lategame. I think adding more non-village kills and neuts is seen as a solution for balancing the mafia, but I don't think it is... it just hurts the village even more, because coordination is usually all that's needed to eliminate non-deliberate crossfire (and deliberate crossfire early-game is pretty rare).

    I don't mind things like 'mafia selling each other out', because I consider that strategic, but I think kingmaker positions, which also come with the territory, are highly obnoxious. So is having to account for crossfire. In general, I agree with what Mekkah wrote in his latest Smog article: it's easier for a game to be balanced the tighter and more certain things are from the start. While adding variable things is what makes for a fun and interesting game, I think kills should be doled out very conservatively. I mean, while it's easy for mafia to gang up together, it's also easy for them to fuck each other over all game. A really good example imo is the very recent Pokémon Mafia. The Strong and Devious kept dying and Raikage was going to call the game in the village's favour. Once they began collaborating properly due to urgency and LN, the village was swiftly decimated. Just another game of 'village does well early-game but suffers late-game obliteration', except exacerbated, maybe.
  11. Mekkah

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    [​IMG]

    This, this, this. Neutrals tend to flock towards the mafia as they have more threatening power (and they usually win!). With no offense meant to thorns, RB-Golbat in Bad Characters Mafia was one of the worst neutrals I've ever seen.

    For those who forgot or didn't see it, he was something related to seven deadly sins (not the user):
    - picked 3 abilities from a pool of 7 without knowing which was which (though some guesses)
    - win condition was to survive with less than 5 villagers alive
    - had an item that made him immune to the village vigilanté

    Unless he was randkilled early by the mafia, he essentially had nothing to fear whatsoever, and he could align with whoever he pleased. His abilities were completely up in the air (making the game less predictable), but to make it worse, as a host you have no idea who he's going to use his powers for.

    I'm not just picking on that role -- it's not the only violator. Look at PokéMafia's plate collector group. PokéMafia is the perfect example of both what's laid out in the OP and why neutrals can be so, so wrong. (don't worry, Fire Emblem Mafia had the same problem!)

    You do not get it. A village without a competent and trusted leader gets moled, ransacked and loses after day 2 or so. A village with a competent and trusted leader gets ganged upon and gets into kingmaker position at best.
  12. Raikage

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    Village never wins and I think we've got enough evidence of that. The mafia simply always allies and rapes the village, plus neutrals always help the mafia because 'it's not cool if the village wins' unless they are specifically anti-mafia. The plate collector group was actually even village-biased since helping the village best fulfills the time condition they had and they still helped the mafia anyway (although this was partly because dak negotiates badly with neutrals).

    The problem is with the game system itself. If you revert back to 1 mafia, the village will probably start winning all the time because, as you can tell from previous games, the village almost never mislynches. If there's 1 mafia with 1 kill, the village will win because both sides will kill each other with almost perfect accuracy and there's way more of the village. If you even the numbers, then it's really just an all-mafia game.

    I think I've made my view pretty clear before but if you wanna stick to the standard system then the village is going to have to be less informed, even if you have to take away inspector or nerf it badly.
  13. Staraptor Call

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    And what makes the village informed? The concentration of information in one player. Keeping there from being a single village leader would make the village no longer overpowered. One way of doing this would be to not have a BG, so that the mafia could kill anyone who tried to lead the village. However, then the mafia would have to be nerfed somewhat to keep it from dominating.
  14. jumpluff

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    That's not all. I mean, it's arguably safer to work with the mafia, because that means there'll be one group less inclined to kill you, hook you, or otherwise fuck you over.

    Their information roles. The village is usually quite far from overpowered; it just dominates from the start due to numbers advantage, which is what it's supposed to do. Taking away their protection just gives the mafia free rein to sow the seeds of confusion and take out the information roles as they please. Concentration of information is something I hate because it's not very fun for anyone, but it's certainly effective. If it doesn't work, then it's usually because someone fucked up or someone had an excellent mole role and used it effectively. The problem isn't that the village is overpowered; it's that it dominates early game by virtue of it being the semi-informed majority, which leaves 2-3 killers with no choice but to hack away at them.

    In 1:1, I still don't think the village is by virtue overpowered. But I do think it's a lot more powerful, which is the point. If it was felt that they were overpowered then I'd recommend nerfing inspections rather than take away their ability to protect their roles from the assault on them. I mean, like I said earlier, the village leader isn't what makes a village powerful. The village leader is a strategist, someone who organises people, but the main role of a village leader is resource management. You can't pull inspections out of your ass. I also wanna point out that the mafia can still easily take on the village if it gets extra kills and there's a wolf.

    By the way, to anyone thinking of making a 1:1 big mafia... I wanna point out that while any game made should be balanced to best of your abilities, don't be afraid of making the format actually friendly to the village. World won't end if the village wins.

    Oh, and...

    Code:
    { 14:43:50 PM } <Raikage> pluff
    { 14:43:56 PM } <Raikage> actually I think the village is too strong
    { 14:43:59 PM } <~Priscilla> i dunno
    { 14:44:01 PM } <~Priscilla> i havent played 1:1
    { 14:44:07 PM } <Raikage> the problem is being too strong is actually being weak
    { 14:44:11 PM } <Raikage> I mean even in 2:1
    { 14:44:14 PM } <~Priscilla> i know it's too strong early game
    { 14:44:17 PM } <~Priscilla> but i consider that a weakness
    { 14:44:23 PM } <Raikage> the village are so strong that the mafia basically have to gang on them
    { 14:44:26 PM } <~Priscilla> the mafia loses a few people while the village dies fast
    { 14:44:31 PM } <~Priscilla> but that's a problem pretty much inherent to the format
    { 14:44:33 PM } <~Priscilla> unless you stagger shit
    { 14:44:34 PM } <~Priscilla> lol
    { 14:44:36 PM } <Raikage> yeah
    { 14:44:44 PM } <~Priscilla> which is why i don't see it as villages being OP
    ETA: Oh, I played DA.
  15. Thorns

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    are you saying that the balance of power should be equal for both sides early, middle and lategame? the only way i can see this working, is really nerfing inspections so the mafia aren't racing to find and kill the inspector(s).

    none taken

    neutrals have flaws, which jumpluff outlined in her post. however, they (and i'm sure you guys will agree) are sometimes just plain fun to play. the golden ratio that we have to find with neutrals is how we can incorporate them without screwing the game over. it's been stated by many hosts that neutrals should always be out for themselves. i've forgotten this rule on occasion, but even if we do that, a neutral looking to save his own skin will go to the mafia, because it means he won't be killed. i'd like some feedback on various neutrals throughout all the mafia games we've played here (especially big mafias) and evaluation on how well they contributed to the game, and whether they screwed with balance. if we find a really excellent neutral, we could probably draw characteristics of a good neutral from there.
  16. Accent

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    There seems to be a couple of threads popping up about balance etc which is excellent and I'll probably post an essay or something on the subject when I come back from vacation, but in the meantime,
    Not only that, but if you are designing a game and you have a doubt on a feature, you should actually pick the option that advantages the village. I mean, that's were the majority of players is - you want your game to please the majority of players, right? The mafias will have a much more enjoyable early game anyway.
  17. Agape

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    That brings us to the question that what do we want more for mafia: balance or fun?

    I think that we are aiming to maximize both, though I fear that balance by nerfing may decrease the fun; for example playing a neutral is arguably more fun than playing as villy - until you die and are more out of the game than a dead mafioso.

    So, how can balance be achieved while making the game as fun as playing Cthulhu for everybody?
  18. Alchemator

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    I would be of the argument that balance=fun
  19. Game Freak201

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    Not exactly. If that were the case, then all Fighter games would only have one character and one stage. No items, Fox only, Final Destination anyone?

    I really like the idea of lynch pin mafia since it can give you the benefits of both a single mafia faction and multiple mafia factions at the same time. Unless the lynch pins were too easy to kill (I'm looking at Carnage mafia), it can allow for an extra strong village as well as a unified mafia in the beginning. There will be no crossfire as long as the mafia's lynch pin is alive. In addition, factions still have to worry about who is aligned to each faction. This is especially true with the village when their lynch pin dies since they would have to now worry about an additional mafia faction.

    Of course, we can also go along the road of the MGS tactical game which can allow for more balance and some interesting interactions between factions.
  20. Alchemator

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    Well now that you say it...

    Jest aside, you seem to be confusing balance with the restriction of creativity. Using fighter games as the assumed example, there are more than one characters while generally maintaining balance as a whole - one character generally has an advantage over another until it goes full circle.

    As for lynchpin mafias, your ideal situation doesn't seem to be happening in Pokemon Lynchpin Mafia if you'd been observing (I don't know if you're in it).

    EDIT: I never said that they were perfect, I said that the ideal situation rarely works out due to the human factor.
  21. Game Freak201

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    That first statement from my previous statement was merely an allusion to state that balance doesn't necessarily mean fun.

    As for Pokemon Lynch Pin mafia, I hadn't really had that much time to see what's going on in there since I've been so bogged down with homework that I only have time to pay attention to Nintendo mafia - which is the mafia that I'm currently in. In addition, I never said that lynch pin mafias are perfect.
  22. Veedrock

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    With the conclusion of two 1 v 1 style games I'm more or less against the system entirely. It's ridiculously hard to balance a game like that because as soon as one side gets one up it can be more or less decided at that point. Any contingency plan would have to be in the form of a neutral because preconceived balancing acts within the main factions are really external interventions intended to try and manipulate the game, which is bull.

    So if anybody wants 1 vs 1 to be successful we need to look on these games and work out flaws using them as examples. The absolute biggest problem with these games in particular came from being closed theme. This created an external notion that one was "good" (village) and the other was "bad" (mafia). In both games the "good" faction immediately seized control of the lynch and ran the entire day show, even after the both sides were more or less completely figured out and hiding was pointless. So, if anybody's going to build another game with this format, do not make it closed theme. That's really I can suggest, my only other input is the criticisms in the first paragraph.

    Now that I've got that out of my system, I'm gonna say that don't have a problem with 1 vs 2 in particular because while the mafia can collaborate early, the result creates hazards later which create an enticing endgame. Beyond 1 vs 2, I'm perfectly content with multifaction games become the new standard for basic games (such as MGS and No Mafia). They're harder to design but are played out with more of a psychological approach, which is one of the better aspects of mafia (and this is something 1 vs 1 fails to even touch upon).

    I already expressed positive feedback about 1 on IRC but upon reflection it creates other problems that need addressed. The biggest drawback I didn't foresee immediately is that a village leader can force your alias out of you under the threat of a lynch, in which case you're more or less forced to incline. I can't see any way of getting around this and really puts the mafia in a tight spot. But this pairs nicely with 2 and prevents the kind of stunt pulled by the maniacs in Absolution. I have no opinion of 3 other than it doesn't mix well with 1 or 2. Also that a count like that cuts the game at just 30 players, which is a bit disappointing for a "big" game.
  23. Anachronism

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    I have an interesting proposition regarding two mafia/one village games. What if the village could win with either mafia? Each villager could even have a unique win condition that sways them to work with one side or the other.
  24. UncleSam

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    Well um...if the village could win with either side, it would basically be like giving everyone on the village a free win and becoming a game of one mafia looking for the other. In the case of villagers having unique win conditions, well, depending on the conditions, it isn't really a "2v1" game anymore, or it would simply become a series of smaller factions (eg if half the villagers could win with mafia a and half with mafia b, it would be like splitting the village in half and having a four factions game where village a or b could win with the other village and one mafia, while each mafia could win with one of the select village factions. Might be an interesting format to try, but, again, is not a "two mafia one village" game).
  25. Anachronism

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    I was thinking win conditions more along the lines of "You must outlive Role X" where Role X would clearly be a member of a certain mafia faction. This is probably only viable in a closed theme mafia.

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