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Spy vs. Spy: Format of the Future? [Discussion]

Discussion in 'Office of Strategic Influence' started by zorbees, May 15, 2013.

  1. zorbees

    zorbees Chwa for no reason!
    is a Forum Moderator

    Dec 29, 2008
    I have been working on a possible format for future mafia games; I posted vaguely about it in the request-a-host thread. I've decided to share it with the public to see your opinions and get feedback.

    It is designed for individual thinking in a faction setting, where it is hard to figure out who to trust and who not to. Where everyone can gain by talking to people, instead of sitting back and taking orders.

    So basically it is viva with a twist. There are "spies" in the starting groups. The players in the starting groups don't have individual actions, rather, there is a pool of actions that they can use (think recruit, kill, inspect, bg, hook, etc), but each action can only be used once per night by one person. There is 1 spy per faction moling each other faction (so, for three factions A B and C, B and C have a spy in faction A, A and C have a spy in faction B, A and B have a spy in faction C). The spy is not told who is on their real faction and the faction members are not told who their spy is.

    For example, in a 2 faction version:

    team A: shiv, brain, dak, mekkah, jumpluff (spy)
    team B: zorbees, cyzir, fishin, gmax, jackal (spy)

    shiv, brain, dak, mekkah, and jackal all start together, and the same for the other five users. Jackal and jumpluff are told they are spies but don't know who is on the other side, and don't know who on the other side is a spy.

    In addition, the spies use the pool of actions from the faction they are moling, not their own. So for example, jackal is the spy in the group with shiv, brain, dak, and mekkah, and they have a recruit, kill, hook, bg, and sg to use between them. the five of them have to determine who uses what actions. If multiple players send the same action, both of them fail; however, if the spy and another member send the same action, the member will succeed and the spy will essentially idle; this is to prevent the spy from continually preventing the kill, recruit, or other important actions (although I think this restriction could possibly be removed, you can circumvent it by banishing the spy [see next sentence], and it can help you find the spy if he forgoes an action visibly [for example, he is supposed to bg someone, yet they get killed]). The faction members also have the power to "banish" each other, which prevents the banished user from using night actions. This is done if a majority of them send a PM to the host to banish a specific user.
    (Mid-post EDIT: I'm thinking maybe the kill takes two users to perform. Like you'd send in "Night X - killing [target] with [ally]". This way, a spy couldn't hook the kill on his own, as he'd need a partner to also send in a second kill. The spy could still hook other actions by doubling up.)

    Lastly, I thought of a restriction where recruiters are not told if they are successful or not. I put this in for a couple of reasons. One was because recruiting a freelancer n0 essentially gives you a clean member on d1, but this format is designed to make it hard to clean anyone early. Similarly, it makes for an interesting decision process once you recruit someone. Do you contact his alias with your alias? Do you post on smogon asking for that alias to pm you? Do you inspect him the next night to confirm his win condition? How do you know you didn't target and fail to recruit someone on an opposing faction?

    There are countless things you have to consider. You probably don't want only 1 person getting freelancer claims, because if that person is a spy working for another faction, you are put in a hole at the start. Similarly, you wouldn't want only one person negotiating between factions for the same reason. You have to consider if there is a wolf, what the wolf can do, how to handle him, etc. If you're a spy, you have to figure out how to get as much information from the faction you're moling, without appearing suspicious, then be able to relay the information to members of your faction on the other side, without it getting out that its coming from you. If you're a freelancer, you wouldn't want to join a faction that's getting spied upon, so you wouldn't just blindly claim to a leader and ask for recruitment.

    I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on this type of format. What do you like? What do you think could be improved? Do you think it would still feel like mafia? Would you like to see a game with this set-up?

    Additionally, if anyone wants to try hosting something like this, it is fine by me. I'm trying to improve the mafia community; I don't have to be the one who hosts something like this just because it was my idea.
  2. Blue_Tornado


    Apr 14, 2009
    It's worth keeping in mind that the requirements for games based around individual thinking are high for the players - there needs to be a fitting playerbase to satisfy the reqs for these ideas to start moving on their own.

    My own gut feeling about your description is that it isn't polished, maybe because we're borrowing too many tools from multifaction. If you want a restricted recruiter, invent something new entirely that will act as one. Maybe redefine the whole idea of factions - and the process of becoming 'part of' that.

    A few guidelines I've come up with on the fly:
    -faction leader syndrome: what do?
    -how does the game start rolling?
    -making the game skill-based, thus competitive

    We can talk about this on IRC if you want. Will be easier to brainstorm.

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