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krellin (80 D X)
08 Jun 14 UTC
(+1)
JMO Chastisement Thread
JMO, having now been seen as naughty in the eyes of the community, has thus earned public chastisement. Please chastise JMO here:

BAD!! BAD JMO! Bad, naughty, JMO! I think it's time for a spanking...
28 replies
Open
steephie22 (182 D (S))
09 Jun 14 UTC
Foreign Control Diplomacy
A variant that puts even more emphasis on diplomacy.
I'll explain my idea with an example inside:
11 replies
Open
Maniac (344 D (B))
10 Jun 14 UTC
Couple of players needed
25 webdiplomacy points bet, 24hr, WTA full press - I have 4/5 already, let me know if anyone else interested and I'll PM password - Reliable people only please
5 replies
Open
Maniac (344 D (B))
09 Jun 14 UTC
FIFA Soccer World Cup
Place your bets
45 replies
Open
Jamiet99uk (35 D)
07 Jun 14 UTC
(+1)
I'm back! Who wants to kill me?
So, since I'm back and I'm in no games, let's start one. Who wants to welcome me back from surgery by defeating me? I propose a classic game, PPSC, 24-hour phases, and a stake of about 25 D. Who's in?
60 replies
Open
Jamiet99uk (35 D)
10 Jun 14 UTC
(+2)
In before mapleleaf
http://www.azfamily.com/news/local/Man-shoots-self-in-penis-with-girlfriends-pink-pistol-127317128.html
2 replies
Open
President Eden (2427 D)
09 May 14 UTC
(+3)
WebDiplomacy Mafia: A How-To Guide
As above, below. I know y'all probably won't be able to resist but please don't post until I say so, so that there aren't any disruptions to those reading it.

inb4 tl;dr
President Eden (2427 D)
09 May 14 UTC
(+2)
Part I: Mindset

Foreword

Most people do not have the correct mentality to play and improve at mafia. That’s okay. Most people don’t have the correct mentality for lots of things. If you just want to play for fun and don’t care what happens then you can feel free to skip this entire section or maybe even the entire guide. But if you want to be competitive and get better, then this is crucial and core to getting any better at anything.

Before understanding anything that’s written you have to understand the correct mentality. This mentality will carry you through mafia as well as any game or situation that involves other people. Regardless of how much you know or you think you know, it means nothing unless you’re willing to try to improve.

Subset I: Responsibility

So how do you improve? You have to always blame yourself and take responsibility for your misplays. It's pretty obvious why: you don't have control over who your teammates are and how they act, so focusing complaints and postgame criticism on other people is a fruitless exercise. Who knows if you'll ever be on the same team as them again, let alone that they'll do the same thing? You are the common denominator in all of your failures, and likewise you are the common denominator in all of your successes. Therefore, the most consistent path to improvement is to FIX YOUR OWN MISTAKES FIRST and worry about others' second.

Things I am NOT saying:
1. It is only my fault that I lose.
2. If I win then I did fine.
3. If I had played without the errors that I noticed, I would have won.

Mafia is a game with a lot of statistical noise, as you'd expect of any game focused on behavior. Sometimes no matter what you could have done differently, you lose. But focusing on that isn't going to help you improve.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
President Eden (2427 D)
09 May 14 UTC
(+2)
Subset II: Objectivity

So now you're rereading M1 trying to find your mistakes. How do you do this? You be objective.

Well, Eden, what the hell does that mean? Of course you have to look at things detached from your immediate personal feelings on the matter, but an important part of -- for self-improvement, THE important part of -- objectivity is to recognize an optimal decision given a certain set of non-luck-based parameters and to ALWAYS MAKE THAT SAME DECISION IN THAT SAME SITUATION. You could be playing poker, get the same five hands in a row. If you're playing objectively, you determine the optimal play and you play it, and you don't let yourself be swayed by it not working the first few times. Over the long run, luck works itself out, and if you're playing objectively you will come out on top.

So how's this tied to mafia? Simple: Your teammates and their play, the distribution of roles, even some of the decisions made in a given game of mafia are luck-based, and play a critical role in the outcome of a game. Objectivity means that you can parse through the noise, figure out where you specifically made a mistake as opposed to luck breaking against you, and strive to correct the mistake you made for subsequent games. You'll find that despite the formats, roles and team distributions, certain players will consistently excel and certain players will consistently fail. Luck plays a part, but there is a foundational difference between these players that accounts for the disparity in their successes. Learning to recognize the source of that foundational difference is the key to self-improvement.

“...the right play is the right play regardless of outcomes. Objectivity is the ability to make a decision 5 straight times, lose 5 times because of it, and still make it the 6th time if it's the right play.”

Subset III: Respect

So you're rereading M1 objectively, trying to sort out where you made a mistake instead of someone else. You're doing your best, but to be honest, it's still hard. "Was it my fault for getting tunnel vision on this townie and getting him lynched, or was he really just acting shady and I was justified in seeing it that way?" "Did the town really catch me as a mafia, or did they just get lucky in misinterpreting something I said?" The most fundamental obstacle to being objective is learning proper respect for your opponents; underestimating them, or even overestimating them, will lead you to attribute certain things that were within your control to factors beyond your control, and thus hinder self-improvement.

The best example I can think of from the game was that krellin overestimated abgemacht in trusting him. He consistently gave abgemacht a higher degree of benefit of the doubt when abgemacht came under suspicion, out of meta knowledge that abgemacht, as an engineer, was likely to be thinking carefully and logically about whatever situation was under discussion. He's not wrong; abgemacht WAS carefully considering his situation. But abgemacht would do this regardless of alignment, and krellin allowed abgemacht to slip into his blind spot by chalking up differences of opinion to abgemacht seeing something he didn't, instead of abgemacht misrepresenting or distorting information to serve the mafia's agenda. I'm actually glad that the game broke this way, because I think overestimating your opponent is an easier mistake to correct than underestimating; overestimation is an excessive amount of FEAR, where underestimation is an excessive amount of PRIDE, and it's a lot easier to stop being afraid of people than it is to stop being prideful. When it comes down to it, if someone's being shady, don't make excuses for them. Press them on the points about which they're being shady and make them explain themselves. If you're satisfied, great, your foundation for being satisfied has improved. If you're not satisfied, even better, you're probably onto a mafia. Either way, proper respect for your opponents' capacity to manipulate and lie to you is crucial to recognizing where you made a mistake in your play, and therefore where you need to improve.

“Lying is a cooperative act. A lie has no power by its mere utterance. Its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie.”
President Eden (2427 D)
09 May 14 UTC
(+1)
Part II: Foundations

Foreword

Mafia is a game of persuasion characterized by competing factions with different information and numbers. These create different incentives for town and mafia behavior which form the fundamental dynamic of the game: a hunt in which the town are attempting to find the mafia before time runs out and the mafia win. By analyzing the differences in each faction's information and numbers, we can construct a sound profile of town and mafia behavior to develop in subsequent sections on the town and mafia game.

Subset I: Information

The amount of information that individual players have regarding the state of a given game is typically different, depending on how the roles are designed and the conditions of the format. However, it is always the case that the mafia have more information about the game state than the town. They already know the answers to the town's puzzle. The town, obviously, do not know the identity of anyone that isn't themselves (again barring specific role-related circumstances). The town players start in a state of ignorance and seek to solve the puzzle, while the mafia start in a state of knowledge and seek to prevent the town from solving the puzzle.

This creates the following differences in incentives:
1. Town players have to ask questions to learn other players' alignments. Town have to solve the puzzle in a limited amount of time before the mafia win. Thus the impetus on town is to be proactive, asking other players questions that lead in a particular direction in order to determine whether or not a player is a specific alignment. Mafia players don't have to ask questions to learn other players' alignments, so their attempts to emulate town in doing so will look comparatively forced and have less direction than those of town players.
2. Town players will have a naturally evolving picture of the game state as time goes on. As town players continue to get more information and talk to more people, their understanding of the players' alignment changes. Consequently, towns favor a dynamic game where changes in reads are logical, but frequent; they're naturally capable of talking about why their reads change. Mafia players cannot have an evolving understanding of the game state because they start with complete information about the game state, and consequently they favor a static game where changes in reads are infrequent. Any attempt to discuss changes in reads is necessarily artificial and again, comparatively forced compared to the town players.

Subset II: Numbers

The two factions in mafia are defined by their numbers and their different objectives. Town players have superior numbers and need only catch the mafia before their time runs out; mafia players have inferior numbers and need to survive.

This creates the following difference in incentives, with two key exceptions discussed afterward: Town players have nothing to hide and aren't afraid of dying. This doesn't mean that they won't fight to stay alive, but all else being the same town players have nothing to hide, while the mafia do. This stems in part from their information asymmetry discussed in Subset I, but it also has to do with numbers: townies ultimately know that their death, whether through nightkill or lynch, isn't a significant impediment to their faction's victory, and they play like it.
This manifests in a number of ways: townies aren't afraid to confront people, ask questions and get into arguments, because they have no special knowledge to be exposed and they naturally discuss their suspicions; townies tend to give more definite reads and commit to particular positions, because for them deriving information from those positions, and making other players commit to similar positions, is more valuable than appearance; even more subtle things like language choice, post flow and frequency change when you don't have anything to hide.
Of course, the mafia play the opposite way; they tend to avoid confrontation and arguments because they don't gain information from them and they stand to lose a lot if they come out of the argument poorly; they tend to be more equivocal in their reads and more reticent in committing to particular positions, because it gives the town information and reduces their ability to be flexible in seeking mislynches; their language choice, posting frequency and decisions on when to engage and when to disengage are more controlled and reserved.

The two key exceptions to the above:
1. LYLO. Short for "Lynch or Lose," this is the situation where the town only outnumber the mafia by one player. At this point, essentially all bets are off; town has a significant degree of information by now, and every player, town or mafia, has an overriding survival instinct, because the town lose if they misfire. Typically you can't derive anything about a player's behavior at LYLO because the town and mafia's incentives are too closely aligned.
2. Power roles. Although town players SHOULDN'T play like they have something to hide when they draw power roles, they often DO anyway. It's a natural impulse: you have a unique ability that threatens the mafia, so of course you don't want to advertise it so you don't get killed immediately and let your team down. This is counterproductive, for reasons I'll discuss later, but suffice to say that town PRs may throw a wrench in this.

Subset III: Profiles

To recap the preceding subsets...

TOWN
* Town players are relatively more proactive, and there's a relatively clearer direction to their questions and logic, than their scum counterparts.
* Town players make reasonable but frequent changes to their reads as a result of gaining information about the game state and the subsequent evolution of their understanding of the game state.
* Town players aren't afraid of dying and have nothing to hide, which manifests in town players being very willing to argue their points, confront people with whom they disagree, and take definite positions on the guilt or innocence of certain players.

MAFIA
* Mafia players are relatively more reactive, don't naturally ask questions about the game state, and when they do ask questions the direction of those questions is relatively less clear than their town counterparts.
* Mafia players make infrequent changes to their reads as the situation necessitates; their understanding of the game state doesn't evolve as the game progresses, and so they both naturally tend towards, and prefer to establish, a more static game dynamic, compared to their opponents.
* Mafia players are naturally more defensive and secretive than town as a result of their different win condition, which manifests in mafia players being relatively unwilling to get in protracted arguments with town players, relatively nonconfrontational in general and relatively less likely to take definitive stances on someone's guilt or innocence, compared to town.

Subset IV: Basic Principles

Here are some concrete pointers to improve your game regardless of alignment.

1. You don't have to claim, or fakeclaim, or tell anyone your role at all. There are a few circumstances involving power roles where you should more or less always claim, but mostly role claims are doomed to be unhelpful in the first place; either you're vanilla town in which case you truthfully roleclaim vanilla town or you're not vanilla town and you're probably incentivized to claim vanilla town anyway to avoid standing out. As a corollary, outside of aforementioned policy situations where you always claim, rolefishing should be avoided because the results of your search can only help the mafia by giving them greater control over the night actions.

2. Make sure everyone talks. Contrary to popular belief, while quiet players are anti-town in the sense that their silence doesn't leave other players anything to use to build on, frequency of posting and alignment do not have a significant correlation. As town and as mafia it's important to get quiet posters talking; town players need to hear from them so they can clear them, and mafia posters want them talking because quiet players who aren't proactive tend to be less attentive and therefore more prone to making an exploitable mistake in their comments.

3. Read objectively. Mafia being a behavioral analysis game, you can bet that the vast majority of arguments brought forth in the game are not ironclad. Even the best of cases have some holes in them that are covered with intuitive reads or other nonlogical sources of information. Be sure to read through every post to pick out the key highlights of a case or argument against someone. This is the key to making sure your lynches go through and stopping lynches you don't like.

4. Reread old posts. That's where all your data is. Present developments are important, but it's also critical to look at what dead players said, who the major players in a given day were, what the major events were, etc. Once you can construct a mental timeline of the major events and players in a given day, you can start doing serious analysis of other players by looking at their ties to those events.

5. Everything is need-to-know. It's important to make sure that you communicate clearly your reasoning for stating a given read and for changing that read, but it's also important to make sure that you're efficient with the analysis you try to present. If you don't think a particular event is important to your read on a player, don't try to incorporate it into your analysis. Give only what your audience needs to know. This trait will tend to help mafia more than town, because it gives mafia room to present a case that deliberately excludes key details; but if you're open and forthright when other people question you about excluding a detail they think is key, then you should be able to avoid suspicion as town.

6. Play to win regardless of your alignment and don't worry about your meta. As this group continues to play games together, certain meta trends will arise. It will be tempting to make purposeful alterations to your game in order to succeed; some players will intentionally talk less and choose to be unproductive as town to provide cover for their scum game, some players will choose not to put in the work to emulate their town game as scum in order to make themselves more obviously town when they draw town. Avoid this temptation. In the long run, there is no negative impact to one side of your mafia game by improving the other.

7. Don't play scared. This should come naturally as town, but some players, particularly town power roles, will be unwilling to play as fearlessly as a town player would be expected to play, because they feel that their special powers either entitle them or obligate them to prioritize survival over scumhunting. Do not do this. Huge props go out to all three of the town power roles in M1 here: krellin, Fasces349 and Thucydides all did a superb job of playing confidently and assertively and in my mind did a good job on the behavioral front of masking their identities as power roles by refusing to allow their special abilities to compromise their fearlessness. And on the mafia side, you can't play scared either, or else you'll be caught in a town full of fearless players. I don't think the M1 mafia had a problem with playing fearlessly, so props to them too. Remember, you either have nothing to hide, or you're trying to emulate someone who doesn't.

8. Occam's Razor. Default to the explanation with the fewest moving parts, and depending on alignment, suspect or cast doubt on people who don't. The simplest explanation isn't always correct, but it's often enough correct as a starting point. Determining what constitutes the "simplest explanation" varies from game to game, but in general you want to minimize the use of recursive logic explanations (known as WIFOM, or "Wine In Front Of Me"; c.f. Princess Bride) and explanations that involve players deliberately acting in opposition to their win conditions or incentives.

9. Appearances are more important than fact. This one is CRUCIAL. Mafia is a game of discovering the truth *and* convincing people that your narrative is the truth. In mafia it often boils down not to whose answer is RIGHT but whose answer others BELIEVE is right. You might have picked out the entire scumteam by Day 2, but if your posting is erratic and you don't explain yourself, no one's going to believe you and frankly, it doesn't matter if you "caught" them at all. The reason appearances matter here is because mafia are fully capable of telling the truth as well as town. More important than WHAT is said is HOW something is being said. Mafia will tell the truth and provide objectively correct analysis; they're reading this guide too, after all. What has to be considered is whether or not that analysis is driving toward a coherent, pro-town direction.
President Eden (2427 D)
09 May 14 UTC
(+1)
Part III: Town Play

Subset I: Principles

So you've rolled town in your next game of mafia, and you're ready to go catch mafia. ...How do you do it?

The first thing is that you need to signal to your teammates that you're on their team. You don't even have to know who they are to do this; as long as THEY know you're on their team, you're in a good position, because you can start to develop solidarity with your fellow townies and solve the puzzle. The first priority, then, is to establish your innocence. Once you've established your innocence, you'll want to start finding mafia, using our profile of the typical mafia player. As you're investigating and building your case, you'll also want to focus on posting productively, at a rate that is fast enough to force the mafia to keep up and avoids inactivity and stagnation but slow enough to avoid crowding out older messages due to excessive posting. When you have a case, present it coherently and efficiently. Then rinse and repeat until you catch the scum.

So the rough road map we're looking at is...
1) Establishing your innocence
2) Posting productively and generating cases

The section will conclude with a discussion on power roles and how to play them.

Subset II: Establishing Your Innocence

Remember, mafia is a game where it's important not what you know, but what you can convince others to believe. It's important to ensure that you are a credible player who others can trust to be honest and insightful in making your arguments. If you can convince people that you're innocent, you've laid the foundation for a successful town game.

The benefits of establishing your innocence are pretty obvious.
1. Establishing your innocence gives you a credible platform to push the town agenda of developing frequent, productive posting and pressuring suspects to find scum. Townies are justifiably mistrusting of everyone to start the game; establishing your innocence allows townies to trust you and saves you time from defending yourself against accusations of manipulating the town to the mafia's advantage.
2. Establishing your innocence gives the mafia an uphill battle in trying to discredit you when you do get on the right track in suspecting them. The mafia's primary weapon in their conquest of a town is their ability to trust one another, and to exploit individual townies' inability to trust each other by capitalizing on mistakes and blowing them out of proportion, setting up viable lynch targets; establishing your innocence gives you some degree of latitude with the town should you make a mistake, and makes the mafia more reticent to get into a knock-down drag-out fight with you over your reads, which makes them less able to counter your reads when you do start to catch mafia.
3. Establishing your innocence gives the town a better chance of catching scum by reducing the number of viable mislynch targets. Especially near the end of the game, when you only have one or two mafia left out of seven or so total players, multiple townies confirming their innocence has a substantial effect on the town's ability to catch mafia. More passive mafias tend to get steamrolled late simply because all of the townies did a good job of establishing their innocence and were able to use process of elimination to kill off the scum.

So we've talked a lot about what establishing your innocence can do for you. Now it's time to talk about how to do it, right?

Almost. First we're gonna talk about what, then how. Specifically, let's talk about the profile of an obviously town player; once we establish what this is, how to become one follows pretty intuitively.

The town benefits from clarity above all else. Specifically, of its individual members:
1. Clarity of Word
2. Clarity of Direction
3. Clarity of Intention

Clarity of word involves the mechanical aspects of your posts. Are they concise and do they make the point you want to make in a coherent, easily-processed way? Can people easily understand what it is you're saying? Your posts need to be long enough to get to a useful point without being winding and losing their direction. You can achieve this with two simple processes. First, don't post just to post. Frequency is important, but you have to have a purpose to your post. Make sure there is a clear point to what you're saying. Second, when you finish typing up a post, before you submit it, reread it to make sure that you can follow your own point easily. If you can't, delete and start over. If you can, go through with a fine-toothed comb and cut out as much extraneous verbiage as you can before posting. Economy of word is crucial to convincing people that what you have to say matters and that they should be reading your posts.

Clarity of direction involves the content aspects of your posts. Is it clear what you want out of the town for this turn? Is it clear to specific people you're addressing what it is you want out of them? Direction can be anything, you can be pressing a specific person for reads, talking about power role policy, trying to convince the town at large to lynch someone, whatever; the point is to have a point and to make sure your point is productive. Once you've got a point, you're halfway there; clarity of word will help you make that point coherently, and clarity of intention will help you convince people that you're coming from the right place. Again, like with clarity of word, make sure there's a clear point to what you're saying. Another important aspect is being decisive. Don't be wishy-washy, don't give people reason not to believe you in your own posts. Mafia is a game about convincing people that you have the answers. If your posts clearly indicate that you don't believe in yourself and your direction, why the hell should anyone else? Make sure that you offer your own opinions and conclusions and do so without equivocation or waffling.

Clarity of intention tends to arise from the first two, but takes the question a step further. Is what you're doing in line with what a town player should be doing? Do your questions and arguments clearly work toward establishing the town's agenda of creating a productive posting environment and catching mafia? You need to make sure not only that your direction and phrasing is clear, but that both of them are coming from the right place. Make sure that your lines of inquiry and suspicion are leading toward a coherent end goal, and that that goal is pro-town, and you'll have demonstrated clear, pro-town intention and thereby established innocence.

Section III: Posting and Reading Strategy

Alright, so you've established your innocence. Excellent! Now it's time to find scum. You're first going to do that by reading the thread carefully, and then by posting competently.

First, reading and rereading. When you've got people online you wanna talk to, feel free to get into a conversational frame of mind instead of a more formal, message board mentality. People are much better at spotting false emotion and deception than they are at consistently producing it, so the more "in the moment" you can get your suspects to play, the better your read will be. Conversational back-and-forth puts mafia on the spot and makes it hard for them to keep their story straight.

Outside of this, though, you should be taking a pretty careful, deliberate approach to reading the thread. It's actually a good idea NOT to read the thread post-by-post in chronological order; especially if other players are taking up the conversational idea I mentioned above, you're going to find yourself going through a lot of posts without really getting anywhere concrete. Instead, read with a "zoomed-out" perspective; skim through conversations, stopping only if something catches your eye as particularly suspicious, and try to get a quick read on whether the people involved are town or mafia and move accordingly. If you start reading through every single post looking for suspicious things, you're going to find suspicious things in every post. Skimming is a good way to check your own natural mistrust as a townie of the other players. Look for key identifying features like who's controlling the flow of the discussion and where they're taking it, who the major actors are, and what the motives of the players might be in asking particular questions or pushing particular reads. In particular with this last one, ask yourself: "What town objectives is this player attempting to achieve with this post? What scum objectives?" Far more often than not, posts that fall in line with town motivations come from a town perspective, and the same for scum. If you see a post in isolation that looks to be pushing a scum objective, ask first, accuse later. If you've got multiple posts that are doing this, and the answers you get to your asking don't satisfy you, then pull the trigger and make a case.

As far as posting strategy, the same characteristics that allow you to establish your innocence should come out in your posting and allow you to be effective in making your points and pushing your reads. Be clear in word, direction and intent. Condense your thoughts and reorganize sentences to fit a more natural logical progression.

One key area newer players struggle with is asking good questions. Too often newer players will post the very noncommittal "So X, what do you think of Y?" questions and get nowhere as a result. These questions suffer from a lack of direction because X doesn't know what the asker is looking for with respect to Y. Instead of asking X what he thinks of Y, we can make this question much better with some simple modifications. "So X, do you think Y is town, and why or why not?" This requires X to commit to a concrete position -- Y is town or Y is not town -- and provide at least superficial reasoning as to why. The asker can then look at X's reasons and, if unsatisfied, ask questions about those reasons. Follow-up questions like "Alright, now what about Z, is Z town and why/why not?" are great as well because the asker gets X thinking about Y in comparison to Z, which inspires not only comparison questions about how the two are playing but thoughts about whether Y and Z are on the same team.

No matter what you ask, remember to try to predict the answers you would expect town or scum to have to your question. Remember the old legal adage: Never ask a question you don't already know the answer to! Even if your prediction for the answer is wrong, it's important to try to predict it. If your mark answers the question as you'd expect a particular alignment to answer, good, you've got something to work with. If not, explore it more.

Section IV: How To Be A Good Power Role

The first thing you should do as a town power role is to strip away the title. "Power role" carries an arbitrary implication of extra importance, as though you suddenly have some reason to play differently. Don't do this. Think of yourself as just another townie with an ability, and play like it. Don't get self-preservational because you're worried about letting your team down.

Avoid claiming if you can help it of course; mafia typically have a strong incentive to get rid of you and while you shouldn't get preoccupied with survival, there's no reason to throw away your ability by getting killed early, either. Good times to claim are (a) if you're about to be lynched, (b) when you're at LYLO (lynch or lose; scenario where there's only one more townie than mafia), or (c) when you have important information about the game state that's worth giving up your anonymity over.
President Eden (2427 D)
09 May 14 UTC
(+1)
Part IV: Mafia Play

Subset I: Principles

OK, so you rolled scum instead. Now that the town knows how to be super-towny you're gonna get steamrolled and it'll be game over, right? No! Here's how you play the mafia side of the game and succeed.

As the mafia it's important to recognize that you're playing a stall game. Time is mostly on your side, not the town's. The key to playing the mafia side successfully is having a good temporal understanding of the game. Time is on your side in terms of numbers and pressure; as the game goes along townies must be increasingly accurate in their lynches despite the mafia faction having a larger proportion of the town to dissuade people from those correct lynches. However, time is against the mafia in one big respect: information. As the game goes on, the town get more information which allows them to make more accurate reads and lynches. Therefore, the mafia's top priority is denial of information.

Scum play a more reactive game; instead of having a set "formula" like the townies do (establish innocence => ask good questions => pressure suspects => make good cases => lynch scum), scum adjust to the play of the town. It does no good for example to suggest that scum emulate good townie play in a game where townies aren't playing well, because then they stick out as being "too" townie and eventually people wonder why they haven't been nightkilled. Scum want to blend in, which requires flexible reaction to the individual game instead of a formula. Instead, this section will be more topical in nature, dealing with various happenings that mafia need to be able to deal with.

Subset II: Team Dynamics

The first thing to do whenever your scumteam starts out is to feel one another out in the scumchat for play style differences and approaches to the game. Successful scumteams typically have a roughly 50/50 split between players who are relatively active and players who are relatively quiet. The active scum are referred to occasionally here as "misdirectors," while the quiet scum are "deep threats."

You need at least one ringleader, who's going to get involved with the town, attempt to steer lynches and spread disinformation to disrupt the town's progress. Ideally you'll have a minimum of two such players so that they can riff off of each other and support one another as needed; it's a lot of pressure being the lone scum attempting to steer the town, so having a second one on-board helps a lot.

That said, active players tend to get killed early, and consequently active scum tend to get lynched eventually for not being nightkilled. Thus it's also important that the mafia have at least one player and ideally two who can remain out of the spotlight, look reasonably townie but not rock the boat, and come out of the inevitable death of the misdirectors looking clean. This is where your more quiet players come in, they're already accustomed to lying low so they're excellent candidates for this. If your team has member-specific powers instead of faction-specific, you'll want to adjust accordingly.

If you have nothing but active players, this can be a boon simply because you're able to crowd out the active townies with a few nightkills and break any ability of the town to get you lynched; but having a lot of active scum is a big risk because increased activity tends to lead to increased information being given to the town and increased risk of getting caught. On the other hand, scumteams without any active posters are typically doomed to failure; with no one running smokescreens and misdirection to throw off the town, the town tends to get organized and steamroll.

Once you've divided up roles, you'll typically want to give the primary deep threat shotcalling power. You'll organize the team's general strategy around getting this primary deep threat into the endgame, so you'll want to let him or her call the shots on who to engage, how, and why; on who to kill; etc. This makes the team more efficient and reduces the chance of a scum player going "lone wolf" and trying to make something happen on his own (which usually doesn't end well for the mafia).

Subset III: Posting Strategy

In general, just try to look like your understanding of the game state is evolving. Don't be static with reads, hold on too long to old material, etc. Respond to things as they're happening and try to be sensible about it. It's okay to be wrong; townies are all the time. Just make sure it makes sense when you are wrong.

In particular, remember to post misleading analysis. This goes double if you're a misdirector, as that's your exact job title. You have to make bad cases against townies but make them look like they're not intentionally bad. This isn't as hard as it sounds; the townies don't know the difference unless you're really obvious about it. Make cases like you would as town, look for people who agree and try to persuade them to push with you like you would as town, but if they start to take over and do most of the legwork, step aside and let them be the most outspoken proponent of your lynch. Townies tend to have a kneejerk reaction where they kill the most outspoken proponent of an incorrect lynch; if you let it be another townie, you've got another lynch seeded, which might lead to another outspoken townie getting killed later, etc. Let the town do your dirty work if they start to come to your side of things!

Be careful with engaging vocal townies, especially ones who are being townread. Typically when you're trying to get the lynch you want as scum, you want to start by persuading people who are inclined to agree with you, and build up a coalition of voters who aren't going to push back hard against you. Once you've got a reasonably sized group for the size of the game ready to kill your guy, then you can afford to engage the more vocal townies with the help of your newly-recruited supporters.

Don't forget to have active conversations with your scumteam on the thread, too. One of the easiest ways to catch the quiet partners of active scum is when you notice, on rereading, that occasionally active scum will talk to everyone BUT their quiet partners. So especially, make sure your misdirectors have substantial interactions with the deep threat, so you don't lose your deep threat to a simple mistake like this right off the bat.

In general, don't rush to correct mistaken assumptions or faulty logic unless it's being used to catch a teammate. No one's going to know that you noticed the faulty logic if you never say anything about it. You may be tempted to make these kinds of corrections to get town credit. Avoid this. Mistaken assumptions lead to faulty premises and bad information, which means that the longer you allow it to sit before it's discovered, the less time the town has to act on correct information.

In sum: remember to engage teammates, let the townies run with their own mistakes unless they're incriminating a parter, work to mislead the town actively, and feel free to violate any of the above at your leisure to win a particular game, because above doing all of this, scum win by being unpredictable.

Subset IV: Dealing with Accusations

The reality is that you will be accused of being scum in a game and at some point it will be true. If you're accused, then remain calm and address the holes in your opponent's case. Short of being mod-confirmed there will be holes in the case; cases are never truly ironclad. Don't get flustered, don't get angry at your accuser, just demonstrate briefly why you're town and move on to accusing other people. If it looks like you're going down then avoid saying anything that would tie you back to your teammates; if you can't think of anything to say that wouldn't, don't say anything.

On the other hand, if it's a teammate, you've got a difficult decision ahead of you. Where possible, always try to raise an alternate case against someone else, and avoid weighing in on the case against your teammate. If directly asked, answer according to the specific situation and try to find an excuse not to vote for your teammate if you can without being obvious about it. Your best chance of getting your teammate off the hook is to make a better case against a townie. If it looks like your teammate isn't going to get off the hook then you might want/need to bus them depending on how the situation looks.

Avoid busing teammates if you don't have to do it. Town credit is incredibly ephemeral in this game; you might think you're set for life after leading the charge against a teammate, but the reality is that if you don't continue producing then your goodwill with the town will evaporate. There are some circumstances near the endgame where it's appropriate to bus; for example, if one of your misdirectors is getting a little heat and you're one lynch away from LYLO, it's okay for your deep threat to spearhead the lynch of the faltering misdirector, because that will probably buy enough time for the deep threat to win. Remember, while you want to avoid busing where you can, you don't have to have everyone survive, either; you only need to make sure that at least one player survives to the endgame, and as long as the team wins, that's all that really counts.

Subset V: Nightkill Strategy

This is typically pretty subjective and depends a lot on the individual game state. In general I operate on the principle that townies are fundamentally insecure about their reads and can be dissuaded from pursuing their reads with enough pressure on other players. Therefore, I like to shoot players whose most recent reads imply a game state that I like. The results are somewhat counterintuitive, because it means I start off by shooting people who are nearly universally townread and think I'm town. They're some of your best supporters to pocket. Why do this? Because a corpse can't change its mind. You go into the day with the confirmed townie not only saying you're town but being unable to change his mind, you're looking pretty good. Furthermore if someone's pushing on you but not doing a good job of it, they look really bad when one of your supporters ends up dead. Some people go the opposite way, though, and they like to shoot people who are on the right track and accusing scum. This has another advantage -- a corpse can't argue with you, after all -- but it can leave you at risk if other townies see this and start putting the pieces together.

The main principle to being successful with nightkills is the same as with everything on the mafia side of the game: time is on your side, so be thinking ahead and plan your moves out before they happen. Kill people before they get too far on the right track to derail. Hit likely townies who are saying things you like so that they don't get a chance to change their minds. Whatever you do, make sure your kills are staying ahead of the curve.
President Eden (2427 D)
09 May 14 UTC
(+1)
alright feel free to post now
Chaqa (2672 D (B))
09 May 14 UTC
TL;DR getting lynched first again
krellin (80 D X)
09 May 14 UTC
Totally agree with the krellin criticism re: abge. I will also say that apart from analysis of him as an engineer/critical thinker, I also just kinda like the guy (blush) and felt guilty lynching him. I know, stupid, but an important point -- don't be afraid to kill those you love. :)
uclabb (589 D)
11 May 14 UTC
bump
Starring and bumping for convenience.
bump to avoid threadlock

eventually i'll add to this with more advice etc. as it comes to me, feel free to ask questions here too (so long as they don't pertain to an ongoing game!)
Chaqa (2672 D (B))
01 Jun 14 UTC
I have a question. If you're mafia, should you ever hold your kill?
The only time I ever hold my kill is if:
a) we're at MYLO ("mislynch and lose," a situation where there are exactly 2 more town than mafia at the start of a day phase)
b) the town votes to no-lynch and
c) all of the players still alive are reasonable suspects (or in odd cases like M2 with the QA)

In most other situations you want to kill and get closer to numerical parity
Chaqa (2672 D (B))
10 Jun 14 UTC
Bump


14 replies
denis (864 D)
10 Jun 14 UTC
replacement for england live game
http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=143179
0 replies
Open
PSMongoose (2384 D)
08 Jun 14 UTC
Let's Discuss Music! - Too Many Hateful Threads!
Amidst the foul name-calling and abuse, let us create a shining beacon of constructive discussion! Post your favorite genres along with your favorite examples of artists and works from that genre.
9 replies
Open
Victorious (768 D)
22 May 14 UTC
Biggest Loser Game
For the people who dropped out of the Gunboat Tournament, Who fancies a Best Looser Game? Its for the dropouts who would like to continue a bit. Its a best out of three, WTA, same scoring system and 36h phases.
107 replies
Open
krellin (80 D X)
29 May 14 UTC
(+2)
Sowden the Patriot
http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/edward-snowden-interview/exclusive-edward-snowden-tells-brian-williams-u-s-stranded-him-n116096

Yeah....I've changed my view. He's a Patriot. Yes, he committed an illegal act...but sometimes a good man must break the law to do the right thing. Had he worked for Enron, he'd be a hero, a -, and the government would protect him. But when you are blowing the whistle on the government...
183 replies
Open
mapleleaf (0 D X)
08 May 14 UTC
(+3)
If you didn't know how to wipe your own butt, and everybody refused to help you...
...would you just accept it, being happy and unique, or would you aggressively seek help to change?
22 replies
Open
abgemacht (840 D (G))
09 Jun 14 UTC
Horse Racing
A few weeks ago, I jumped on the California Chrome bandwagon and discovered that I quite enjoy horse racing. I don't really know anything about races not in the Triple Crown though. Are there good ones I should be watching out for?
12 replies
Open
ILN (100 D)
07 Jun 14 UTC
She Got Game
http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201406041714-0023791

Should sexual harassment of women in online games have real world consequences?
20 replies
Open
Fluminator (496 D)
08 Jun 14 UTC
(+1)
Too many topics about Mapleleaf. Let's make another one.
I muted all the threads about mapleleaf and it's like all the drama he's causing vanished. Fascinating how well that worked. (I guess I didn't mute this thread. That would be weird muting your own thread though.)
6 replies
Open
Yellowjacket (835 D (B))
08 Jun 14 UTC
(+1)
The poo maple
As I was cleaning my mapleleaf, I discovered it was covered in poo. I got it all over my shorts. When I checked if it did happen, I got it all over my hands. I've washed them 3 times and they still smell like maplepoo.

Please advise.
5 replies
Open
krellin (80 D X)
08 Jun 14 UTC
(+4)
Maplepoo Donations
Since it is quite evident to all that Maplepoo it yet another Canadian that really wishes he weren't, and he has obvious jealousy issue with the US - his desired dwelling place, but that his criminal record (or some such thing) is preventing him from becoming a US citizen, and thus he has taken to rather amusing constant stream of America bashing to try to soothe his saddened soul....let's take up a collection and send old maplepoo the biggest US flag we can find.
3 replies
Open
Jamiet99uk (35 D)
07 Jun 14 UTC
(+3)
I'm back.
Hey gang. Having spent the last week in hospital, I'm back. Hopefully that was the last operation I'll need. Going to need to spend the next few weeks healing, but that'll give me plenty of time to join some games. Thanks very much to abgemacht for sitting my account for the last week.
7 replies
Open
Maniac (344 D (B))
08 Jun 14 UTC
Quick question about NMR stats
When are they updated? A member's stats says he has never NMR'd but I know this is false - are stats only updated when the game ends?
8 replies
Open
Ruisdael (1534 D)
07 Jun 14 UTC
An Idea for World Games
Most of my recent games have been World, and I've found that once you get 20+ units, the list of orders can become quite unwieldy. Since you develop different "fronts" involving different sets of units, it'd be really cool to be able to arrange my own units to I could keep all of my South American guerrillas separate from my Mongolian hordes (Inner and regular). Would this be simple/worthwhile to incorporate?
12 replies
Open
timdamage (827 D)
08 Jun 14 UTC
Looking for 2 players, game starts in 4 hours
Game = Supersonic2
Password = vengabus

We had two late dropouts, looking for two players to join. 2 days/turn, 70 stake. Anyone welcome!
0 replies
Open
mapleleaf (0 D X)
06 Jun 14 UTC
(+1)
american school shooting celebration and mockery thread.
S.P.U. baby. Two weeks after Isla Vista.
102 replies
Open
Alpha@Omega (183 D)
07 Jun 14 UTC
triple crown
Who has bets in? Who is going to win?
4 replies
Open
SYnapse (0 D X)
05 Jun 14 UTC
Boring forum
no threads that I particularly want to engage with at the moment. Somebody change this!
28 replies
Open
bo_sox48 (4844 D Mod (G))
05 Jun 14 UTC
(+1)
So I Just Finished High School...
...I did the last assignment in my basement in pitch darkness with Pentatonix blaring in my face.

What do I do now...
128 replies
Open
SYnapse (0 D X)
06 Jun 14 UTC
(+2)
D Day Anniversary
70 years ago today Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy facing an array of artillery, machine guns, mines and barbed wire. Boys as young as 15 or 16 fought on both sides.
65 replies
Open
ERAUfan97 (506 D)
07 Jun 14 UTC
S.A.T.
anyone remember when they took theirs? People make it out to be soooo horrible but I took mine today and it seemed easy.
7 replies
Open
NigeeBaby (100 D (G))
06 Jun 14 UTC
Defence Spending ..... interesting stats
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-27727486
18 replies
Open
denis (864 D)
07 Jun 14 UTC
Replacement in a live game
http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=143078#gamePanel, England may go CD, replcement if any wants though it is an admitedly shitty position to take over
0 replies
Open
AryavP (100 D)
07 Jun 14 UTC
Diplomacy What Up
Looking for two more players to join DiplomacyWhatUp
0 replies
Open
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