Written Postgame Wrap-Up
Hey everyone, so this will be a quick wrap-up of some of the points that I felt weren’t highlighted as much as I’d have liked in the video postgame (posted by Bass a few posts ago) as well as a few things we didn’t get to touch on. I anticipate this will be fairly brief (since we already spent hours talking about it) but I would like there to be an easily-accessible conclusion to this game available in the thread.
Firstly, the role PMs document can be found here
The logs document that I saved consisting of various humorous or important IRC chat logs compiled throughout the game can be found here
The main sheet and actions tab can be found here
Finally, the anonymous dropbox used by Snype and the mafia seems to have been (sadly) overwritten, but the ‘dropbox’ document used by Snype and ipl was interesting in and of itself and can be found here
Now then, I would like to talk a bit about the game’s basic design before going into each of the factions and, finally, some FAQs.
This game was intended to be an easily-accessible Village vs Mafia game that made Smogon mafia in general comprehensible to newer users. In order to accomplish something that I felt would be closer to the experience people get in real life, I decided that I would want to make days NOC (No Outside Communication) while keeping nights the standard Smogon OC (or Outside Communication). The goal of this was to hopefully ensure that all players were able to have an impact on the game (more on this later…) while weakening the typical village leader system (similarly, this will be addressed more…).
I had seen recent Big Mafia villages be massively overpowered and did NOT want my game to be similarly tilted, and so decided that I wanted to make the numbers such that the village had to play fairly optimally to win on their own. I felt that given the current ‘metagame’ of 1v1 being that the Wolf will typically kill almost all villagers, however, I would need to give the village hidden power in lategame scenarios in order to justify their relative lack of numbers (particularly for a semi-NOC game). In this vein, I made both their ½ mass vigilante as well as their mayor roles that were incredibly difficult to get rid of, in the hopes that even if the village lost lynch majority they would not necessarily lose the game. I had already set myself on the Lord of the Rings theme, and as such had already decided that I wanted the village to be hindered by the existence of the Ring, in order to fit with this theme. I felt that the village ought to be able to protect the Ring as well as many of their important roles, and as such made them very protection-heavy, with two full bodyguards, and two two-timer mass protects. This village, however, lacked any sort of control role (no hooker, martyr, reverse martyr, etc.). Ultimately on a protection-themed village there was really no reason for me not to provide a Safeguard, if for no other reason than to provide some manner of counterplay against the double hooks of the wolf, Gollum/Smeagol, and the mafia. The lack of a Safeguard for better or worse punished the village for their strategy of having the village power roles publicly claim.
The mafia were a sort of pseudo-village in the sense that they were intended to operate at less than optimal capacity as a result of the traitor dynamic. Basically, they were separated into two groups: the Leaders, who knew the identities of each of the members of the Forces of Sauron, and the Orcs, who knew only the identity of each other and their Chieftain, Gothmog (who knew the identity of the Leaders and as such acted as a liaison between them). However, amongst the Orcs, there was an unknown traitor (who was Gollum, the wolf). They were numerous (15 in total) and had an every night inspect, hook, and kill (not to mention a ½ protect ability via the Orcs) but had to deal with the traitor amongst the Orcs potentially selling out most of their faction to the village if they gained too large of a numbers advantage.
The wolf, Gollum/Smeagol, was an interesting case because it was a role that was highly dependent on utilizing it’s ‘ins’ to the mafia/village respectively in order to gain information; they had no information role per se between them. They also had simply an every night kill and hook (the killer and hooker alternating night by night between them), and as such were expected to rely on their own ‘information’ roles (the mole for Smeagol and the Orcs believing Gollum to be one of their own) in order to influence the faction they were moling not to off the other (or themselves, for that matter). I felt that this dynamic as planned was great because it gave the wolf a very good chance of winning if played well (something most wolves don’t really have) as well as making the wolf a very obvious balancing force between the two larger factions, since at any point in time the wolf could kill a mafia or an almost-assured villager based on just the information known to Gollum (ie, the names of the Orcs).
The numbers balance was tricky and was most of the work involved in a game like this, but eventually I settled on 26/15/2 (originally it was 24/14/2, but decided that adding one each of Soldiers of Gondor and Rohirrim while adding one Orc would help the village buffer their numbers a tad more while also giving Gollum one more red herring Orc to hide amongst). When running the numbers, I assumed that over the first 12 cycles, there would be 7 mafia lynches, 3 mislynches of villagers, 1 lynch on a wolf, 1 no lynch, and 3 correct uses of the Rohirrim. I similarly assumed that the Mafia would successfully kill 8 villagers while being blocked four times, and the Wolf duo would kill 8 villagers, 2 mafia, and be blocked twice by the village. This would result in numbers of 7/3/1 with (presumably) the ring floating around, at which point it would be anyone’s game. This was the rationale and the numbers I assumed for game balance purposes; any more than 6 successful kill blocks, the village had an extra member going into endgame; any fewer than 3 correct uses of the Rohirrim, they had one extra mafia to deal with.
Given how balanced the game ended up being (I feel), I don’t have much more to say about design.
The village straight-up refused to play how I suggested they play, and I think this was the reason more than anything else that they lost. LightWolf, LonelyNess, imanalt, and Eagel4 set up the core of a village leadership with Flamestrike and reyscarface in touch with them but seemingly not planning much (?), and this was a fantastic setup early on. They successfully ferreted out the moles UllarWarlord (though not before Ullar had done plenty of damage already) and vonFiedler (who, to be fair, was killed by the mafia rather than themselves). However, rather than encouraging discussion during the middlegame, they made it very easy for the mafia to blend in simply by typing Lynch <x>
every 72 hours, with no other input or thoughts requested of anyone. As a result, when the information roles died and the village ran out of sure targets, not only was there less information to go on than there was intended to be if the village had been discussing things but there was also way fewer interested villagers by the time the village leaders were all dead (around Day 7 or 8). Overall I don’t think they played as poorly as the mafia and wolf seemed to believe, but I do think they probably played the worst out of the factions as a whole (though not by much). I’d like to mention that many of the individual villagers did very well (in fact, almost all of the active villagers played excellently, including those mentioned above as well as Paperblade, zorbees, and Pidge), but that the complete inactivity of many of the villagers and particularly the Rohirrim (resulting in a grand total of zero attempted Rohirrim kills throughout the course of the game) really lost them the game.
Forces of Sauron
The Leaders of the Forces of Sauron were set up as a group led by a few key experienced players (billymills and Bass) with a number of users who I felt could both learn from those more experienced players as well as shine given proper guidance. The Orcs I felt I needed to include a number of experienced players into in order to give Gollum enough cover for the Spy role to work properly, and as such included imperfectluck, askaninjask, and Blue_Tornado to their ranks. Honestly the Forces of Sauron played reasonably throughout the entire game, but got very hung up on the Spy early on and as a result had to mount quite a comeback with the wolf, Gollum, in order to stand a chance. I do think this was the strongest faction simply because if the village has no clue what they are doing they are almost assured to win, but they also played well and did deserve this win I feel. Bass kept them together for most of the latter part of the game and was generally the voice of reason, but penguin344, Cancerous, Ditto, and UllarWarlord prior to his death all contributed to their plans (Ullar also gave them a massive amount of information that ultimately led to the deaths of Rodan, Flamestrike, Eagle4, and indirectly reyscarface and Xenu). The orcs generally were interested and did well enough to keep the faction going once the Leaders got systematically offed by the village in the early game; special props to imperfectluck for his gambit of claiming to be the Spy in order to force the Leaders to work together with the neutrals against the village, as this play was one of the huge catalysts to their comeback against the village. Of course, their victory can really only be attributed to Bass’ excellent play, however, as he kept the mafia organized for many, many cycles after his initial death-via-lynch, and ensured that the rest of the team did not simply begin to idly send in actions with no real plan behind them. The struggle between Bass and Snype in this game was one that weighed heavily on both of them and for which both deserve recognition, as even the more active/interested players in this game did not come close to equalling the level of activity from either of these two.
Gollum/Smeagol (The Wolf)
vonFiedler and Steven Snype (earlier Walrein) were the third, balancing party in this game, and they (well, mostly Snype) did this job wonderfully. von unfortunately got found out via the unfortunate discrepancy between his hook flavor and Snype’s, as well as the warning in Sam (Xenu’s) PM against those ‘closest to him’...this was intended to mean the members of the Fellowship in general, but sadly it was taken to mean Merry/Pippin almost instantaneously...perhaps I should have been a little clearer on what I meant, though I do feel that given how strong the mole role was it would have been fine if he had simply been the first to step up. Snype evaded the mafia’s awareness for at least 5-6 cycles longer than he reasonably should have; the cat-and-mouse game between him and the mafia was honestly the highlight of this game. The mafia thought it was Blue_Tornado, then were certain it was Celever (and killed Celever), then were certain it was ipl after his confession, then set a kill onto askaninjask which Snype hooked via randomly guessing who would be performing the kill (it was Upside), a decision which ultimately might have actually hurt him in comparison to the mafia. Snype played excellently this game and, if it had not been for Bass also playing excellently and maintaining a high level of activity, I feel very certain he would have pulled out a victory.
FAQsI thought you said village leader wouldn’t work in this game?
- I did say that, and while I certainly could have put more impediments to it working into place, I do feel that I am ultimately vindicated by it’s result in this game. After all, if there had never been an established village leader but simply trusted villagers guiding the discussion of the group as a whole (as I had hoped), I do feel that the rest of the village would have remained more active than they ended up being, and perhaps the Rohirrim would have been used properly. After all, there was little reason not to use the Rohirrim to at least check each other in a given cycle wherein the Rohirrim ability is available. It is also worth noting that this rule was intended primarily as a nerf to the Smeagol role, which I felt was incredibly powerful given the breakdown of the village if it stepped up to lead and people simply claimed to it; after all, look at how many claims Ullar/’Bilbo the Mayor’ got simply by stepping up first, even in light of the rule I put into place!
How was the mafia expected to deal with the traitor?
- Well, the one-timer kill goes without saying. However, I should have had the Orc Check role pass on after Shelob’s death; frankly, game balance demanded that the Shelob role stay alive for at least two checks; I mentioned this in the video postgame, but the expected discovery of the mole was Night 6 in designing this game, and obviously the actual discovery of Snype did not happen until much, much later (around Day 11 or so). Perhaps giving the orcs a backup ⅔ Check+Silence would have been appropriate, though I do feel the Forces of Sauron were too strong as it was; perhaps nerfs against them in other areas would have been helpful to compensate. It was sort of the theme of the mafia to have this thorn in their side, however, so I don’t regret this decision other than the fact it made being a nOrc (normal Orc) suck horribly for most of the game.
How was the village expected to deal with two hooks per night?
- This was a mistake by me in design, plain and simple. The village had no counterplay to deal with two hooks per night aimed at their roles, and simply by adding in a Safeguard I could have solved this problem. LonelyNess and LightWolf were hooked something like 10/13 nights they were alive between them.
Why were there so many mafia/Frodo wasn’t a lynchpin?
- Da Letter El felt that I should swap at least one nOrc for a Soldier of Gondor prior to this game starting; I do still feel that the numbers as they were were as balanced as I could reasonably make them, and that a difference in one or two would be offset by the wolf (hopefully) regardless. I think perhaps the biggest problem was that there were subtle hints that this was a Lynchpin game (meaning that the Rohirrim and Soldiers of Gondor broke off into their own groups if Frodo died) which were completely unintentional, and which would have made sense if not for the numbers of the mafia, which there was no way for the village to know. Perhaps a numbers guy would have solved this problem. The endgame probably would have been more interesting if there had been an extra Soldier of Gondor, however.
AwardsBest Middle Earth Named Role
(Only positive ones, as this was a game designed for newer players and I hope that even those who did not necessarily play perfectly this game will learn from it and improve in the future)
: LightWolf (Honorable mentions to LonelyNess, imanalt, and Paperblade)
Best Middle Earth Stock Role
: Pidge (Honorable mentions to ginganinja and zorbees)
Best Forces of Sauron Leader
: Bass (Honorable mention to billymills)
Best Forces of Sauron Orc
: imperfectluck (Honorable mention to Blue_Tornado)
: Steven Snype (it was a tough race, Walrein/vonFiedler…)
: Bass/Steven Snype (To give this solely to one or the other would be doing a disservice to the other)
I hope everyone had fun playing at least, and I promise my next game will be much more up to standard in terms of interesting roles and inspired updates...