It all depends on the theme for me, if its not a theme I enjoy, then I won't play. But as to something larger than my own self centeredness, I find some games are trying to hard to be complex and when that happens, people don't understand the game, and when people don't understand something, people get upset, get upset, get angry, etc.
Keep it as simple as you can while keeping it fresh folks.
Tbh, this is the reason why I've not been able to get back into mafia. I want to, but all the Beginner and Standard games I've seen lately seem to be about a particular game, film, series or whatever that I'm not familiar with. I could potentially handle most mechanics (though not well enough to join an Expert game), but if I'm not familiar with the theme, then that's something else I have to get my head around, and with multiple village leader candidates asking for role PMs, some of whom might not be villagers, and potentially working out a fake role PM to fool them with, I've already got enough to get my head around.
The thing about themed mafias is that if you plan on doing one, you better make sure you have some way to educate others about that theme. For example, Advance Wars Mafia was a themed mafia where the roles and role names meant everything. Anyone could claim to be any given role if they had previously played the games. That's why posting a wiki or something of the like that helps people understand what flavor-based roles to look for in any given theme-game.
I'm glad to see other people think we need more openly themed games.
I have enjoyed a lot of games with restricted themes, recently Metroid prime 2 mafia and Fire emblem mafia 2, but those are because I know the games well enough and there are enough characters that false claims are pretty viable. Playing a restricted-theme game without knowing the theme is extremely difficult, I remember playing Morrowind Mafia and not knowing a single thing.
If you do want to make a restricted-theme game especially on a very niche series, make sure that the game is not focused explicitly on the flavor of the game and that there are options for people who haven't played the game before.
I think the best restricted-theme game to look at would be Fire Emblem Mafia here. If you know anything about Fire Emblem, then you'll know that it's not based on any 1 specific game, the conflict is not flavor based at all, and there are a number of completely unrelated characters to aid in false claiming.
Themed games are often more fun to create for the host, who is (obviously) passionate about their theme, but for the majority of the player base, open games are more fun to play. I prefer vague, broad themes to open themes, or open games where the factions are loosely tied together (such as NPL Mafia). To be honest, I think the people who want to play are so desperate to play they will settle for themed regardless, but open would be more attractive.
I think that an idea more closed-theme game hosts should use is putting a brief introduction to the series, major characters, etc. in the OP (probably in hide tags). It would probably provide a brief overview of the story's plot arc, as well as very short descriptions of the big characters. Linking to a wiki helps too, but sometimes that doesn't really provide much overarching help to series newbies. Just a suggestion.
So this is a year and a half later, but is there any hope for Circus as an establishment at all at this point? I feel like the games I wanted to host either were put off because other people claimed they had games in that tier (looking at you Big games) or because of a lack of general interest.
Reiterating the op at this point. I don't have too many games in the works at this point because my drive to make games has been drained by League of Legends (which I absolutely think is becoming a liability). The lack of productivity and responsibility in Circus, as well as passion, as was mentioned in the posts more than a year ago makes me sad to see what direction Circus has gone. I know it's a loss of interest among the veteran playerbase. As a host it's disheartening. I'm not sure how much the Circus mods care for the situation, but maybe it is time for leadership to step up? What's the point of having 4 mods (5? 6?) for this part of the social forum if there's almost little to no activity going on outside of a game or two being hosted every now and then? There's also so much housework that needs to be done for the forum (updating the Games Listing Thread, etc.) I don't know...
As for myself, I can say I'm not any better than other people who try to host games around here. Developing and making a game isn't a difficult task for me to accomplish, however I often find it hard for me to stay on top of things when I host a game. It's especially disheartening when you have a bunch of players subbing out or losing interest due to the fact that they haven't seen a lot of results.
I know that there were a few mafia games hosted here and there, and we have a pretty active playerbase *outside* of actual mafia (see: aska's No Cowards or the D&D stuff).
tl;dr: does anyone have any games they dropped that they wanted to work on but never could get around to finishing it up? I'd be willing to put it together and set it up for hosting and we can run from there. I'd like to see if I can get one or two games going to start off the new year.
Please vm me or pm me or smth if you would be interested in supporting my little endeavor.
We should write a general set of rules for Smogon mafia. The rules we play by are not the rules of IRL mafia, and while guides have been written in the past, they omit some of the "taken for granted" rules that we all assume when playing any game hosted here, like these:
There are usually several opposing teams in the game (sometimes referred to as "factions"). You are told in a PM in the beginning of the game (referred to as a "Role PM") which team you are on. The team that you are on is usually a secret.
Over the course of the game, teams can plot (and often succeed) in eliminating users on enemy teams. Once people are eliminated they can usually no longer talk to other players about the game.
The object of the game is usually to eliminate all of the enemies of your team before all of your team is eliminated.
Players will often pretend to be members of teams that they are not on so that their enemies do not try to eliminate them, so be wary. It is often a good idea to lie about which team you are on for this reason.
Every player usually also has some special action that only they can take. Each player is told what their action is in their role PM. Players can usually only use their actions if they have not yet been eliminated. Your action is also usually a secret.
Actions are things that you can do that help you win the game either directly or indirectly. Examples of actions include:
Kill - This action will eliminate a user of your choice.
Bodyguard - This action will protect a user of your choice from being eliminated by any kills.
Hook - This action will stop the action of a user of your choice.
Inspect - This action will tell you what the team and actions are of a user of your choice.
In most games, it is uncommon to have two people with the same exact action and team membership.
Everyone tells the host via PM who they are targeting with their actions each turn (often called a "night" or "cycle") and the host determines what the results of each of these actions are once the host has received a PM from each player.
The host will PM (sometimes referred to as a "Result PM") each player of the game with details about how their action went. (Was the action successful? Were you blocked somehow? The host will tell you via this result PM.)
The host posts an update post in the main thread saying who has been eliminated and moves on to the next turn.
People are allowed to talk to each other about anything in the game via any means (IRC chatrooms, private message on the forums, you name it) unless otherwise specified. This implies that you will have more fun if you use Smogon IRC.
A certain level of activity in the game is expected - an uneliminated player not sending in their actions can ruin the game for others. Your teammates will appreciate your help and tactical ideas if you are active.
The most common game format is Village vs Mafia. In a village vs mafia game:
The teams: there is one Village, and one or more Mafias. The Villagers are not told in their Role PMs who the other villagers are while each Mafia member is told who their teammates are in their Role PMs. There is also sometimes a Wolf, a single user on a team of his own who acts like a one-man Mafia team.
The village starts out with more players than the other teams put together.
Each turn consists of a day and a night. At night, everybody sends PMs to the host saying who they are targeting with their actions. In the day, each user votes on a user that they want to eliminate from the game. At the end of the day, the user with the most votes is eliminated.
The Mafia teams and the Wolf both get kill actions. The village usually does not.
Villagers will spend most of the game trying to figure out who the Mafia members are and who their fellow Villagers are. Mafiamen (and the wolf) will spend most of the game trying to trick the Village into believing that they are villagers.
If there are others that you can think of, please tell me.
Almost all of our games work like this, and we all know these rules and don't even think about them when signing up for a game, but people coming into this forum don't. It's no longer enough to just call what we play "mafia" and let everyone "figure it out". The game we play is sufficiently far away from what people call "mafia" in other places that we need to have our own *somewhat comprehensive* rulesets so that new users can know what the fuck they're playing before signing up for games.
While that would definitely be a big help to new users, I don't know if that would actually ATTRACT any. Circus has done a lot of things to make mafia more accessible to new people in the past, but it's still dead. Part of the problem is the fact that only Circus regulars even acknowledge that it exists, much less check for new games. I think that if we want to revive mafia and get more people playing again, we need more people to actually know that mafia is a thing that exists in the first place.
This is an interesting point here. Perhaps instead of having beginner games why not just scrape that and jump to intermediate straight away? While the learning curve might be steeper, beginners can also learn faster. To balance stuff probably during signups we can have players to identify themselves as beginners and limit the number of beginners playing if need be. Mods can ofc weed out non-beginners who try to say they are haha. Then allocate beginners evenly across teams.
Also by scraping beginner games perhaps we can then have more intermediate games at the same time if there are hosts willing to do this. I'm not sure how many hosts are available now but it'd be cool to have more mafia etc games in the near future after this festive season as long as there are hopefully more people who sign up :o!
I agree with aska that learning the game while playing under pros is very fun, especially if the mafia team is active on IRC. Oh those golden times of Pokemon Mafia...
I think evenly allocating beginners is a bad idea. Beginners should be assigned to mafia teams where they can have the maximum fun and information. Playing village as a newbie is boring unless the village leader is extraordinary. On the whole I think that late 2013 was better in mafia than early year, some of the smaller games succeeded in being enough Smogon Mafia without overdoing it and not falling apart due to inactivity.
Still waiting for that successful big game, though. I think that quality big games should be given priority over not good games that just have waited longer in the queue. This I see being the job of the circus mods that is actually important.
I think evenly allocating beginners is a bad idea. Beginners should be assigned to mafia teams where they can have the maximum fun and information. Playing village as a newbie is boring unless the village leader is extraordinary.
oh.. don't mind me haha xD however, if they're guaranteed to be in mafia teams then wouldn't the village directly target them knowing they're always in mafia teams ?_? sorry if I'm misunderstanding the rules or something :x
I've given up on big games as a concept. Anonymous games on a forum? No, but big games, yes. So many of the roles are useless and so many of the players contributing nothing (either out of apathy or because they can't) that sizes should imo be dramatically reduced. The game becomes chess among the few people who actually care and dream teams are a thing of the past due to the scarcity of skilled players who know how to lead factions, reducing motivation among the veterans (which is important when massive idling villages represent nothing but frustration and futility). Doesn't matter if people have to sit out a game, it will make them want to play the next, and guaranteed someone needs subbing anyway. If it's active and understandable to outsiders then they will be interested in what's happening and want to play, like in the glory days. Playerbase will never be the same although we can certainly try to recruit people. Massive games are dated and the hosts get overwhelmed and run out of subs.
Sad thing is that mafia is very much a social experience, and meeting/raising new players some of the fun.
This is harsh but most players give up fast these days or sign up for the hell of it and just get led around by one of the three or four power players in the game. Then they lose motivation and idle. It doesn't matter whether the game is good or bad, but people have lost their initiative. billymills/Crux/whoever MIA? Faction doesn't get in actions.