They suck. Everyone hates them. But, as a game designer, what can we do to try to avoid them?

For the uninitiated, a kingmaker is a situation in the final turns of a mafia game in which you have 3 competing groups, let's call them A, B, and C, and A and B are in a good position to win and C is not at all. However, C's actions determine which of A and B win. C is called the "kingmaker," as C decides who gets to win but cannot choose him or herself. The winner between A and B is no longer decided by who has played the better game. It is now decided arbitrarily by C, who probably no longer cares about the game. This is pretty terrible, and it happens in more games than not.

What could be done to fix this? The most obvious fix would be to simply have there be only two factions in any given game. Unfortunately, that formula can only be used a few times before it gets boring.

Alternatively, we could include measures to either dramatically raise or lower faction C's influence. If we raise it, then the kingmaker situation is avoided, as now C has a legitimate chance of winning, and has no reason to arbitrarily choose faction A or B to win. This may just end up postponing the kingmaker, however. This could be done via game mechanics that empower factions that have very few players left.

If we lower C's influence to the point of being unable to change the game at all, we have also eliminated the problem. In that case, however, there is no incentive for C to continue to care about the game. This could be achieved via game mechanics that take power away from very small factions.

The problem with both of these last two solutions (which many of you have probably already seen) is that it's going to be difficult to tell when a game is in a kingmaker situation, and even if we could, then it's going to be difficult to warp the game mechanics to dissolve these kingmakers.

However, both of these proposed solutions are extremely vague and come with flaws of their own.

I haven't come up with a full solution to the problem and I don't know if a solution exists. But we all recognize that kingmakers are a problem with the game of smofia today, so we should at least attempt to fix it. Do you guys have any ideas?


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Perhaps we could eliminate a faction from the game when it becomes clear that said faction cannot possibly win...?

That's honestly the best solution I can come up with. Kingmakers are inherently part of multifaction games and getting rid of them will require something drastic.
Removingb kingmaker situation is impossible, even if they were to be eliminated once they are sure to lose, that'd need them to be in a very terrible position, otherwise they would still have a small chance. Players once they get the feeling they will lose will become kingmakers even without realising that it's what they are doing. Only cases to avoid kingmakers are really obvious wins by a side.

One way to eliminate the problem is if the kingmakers are brought back into the game, which alas isn't fair, sure in some cases the losers did nothing wrong, but it's unfair to the winners who worked hard to get in that position.

I'm interested in seeing future attempts to solve the kingmaker situation.
<Cocaine> The more I think about it
<Cocaine> The more I like kingmakers
<Cocaine> It turns the endgame into what I call "jury management"
<Daenym> hah
<Cocaine> In Survivor, you have to ask your peers (who you voted out) to award you a million bucks
<Daenym> you can tell it's really Life, since he's about to make a survivor reference
<Cocaine> Obviously they're bitter at you
<Cocaine> Beat you to it
<Daenym> indeed ><
<Cocaine> Hahaha
<Cocaine> But the point stands
<Cocaine> It adds to the diplomacy of the game
<Daenym> but when I was thinking about responding I basically thought about survivor too
<Cocaine> How do you screw over your enemies... but get them to want you to win?
<Cocaine> Jury management
<Cocaine> Same thing here
My two cents. And more often than not, I've been on the wrong side of a kingmaker situation.
This logic is wrong because the kingmaker isn't always informed (and almost never is 100% informed) of everything that's happened. MM2 is a fresh example...
This logic is wrong because the kingmaker isn't always informed (and almost never is 100% informed) of everything that's happened. MM2 is a fresh example...
MM2 is a bad example, since the kingmaker mafia had all the info it could ever need, it's just that their choosen side got lucky. Add to that their decision wasn't based on who should win, but how they had even the smallest chance.


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I understood B_T's post to mean the side that chooses the winner may not have information. interwebs had no real way of judging who 'deserved' to win, as per Life's post.
Are we still talking about Mafia Mafia 2? And are we talking about the all deciding lynch? In which case it can't be considered a kingmaker, since that was not one side choosing which of the two other sides wins.

And tbh, even if informed, people tend to favour people they like over those who did the best.