In post 852, Human Sequencer wrote:
Has the following hypothesis ever been considered:
Surviving is an easier concept to grasp for a newbie, as opposed to scumhunting. Beyond that newMafia have a PT with which they can openly ask how to play and openly communicate with another player whose alignment is known to be the same as theirs. There's no paranoia for newScum.
In theory, the same should be true of newTown with regards to the IC, but that never happened in all the three newbie games I've been in.
Therefore, I put it to you that any setup that has a 50/50 winrate in the newbie queue will in-fact be sided towards town, and beyond that 'game balance' perhaps isn't so important.
Well, there was the experiment with giving scum daytalk (i.e. the ability to use the scum PT regardless of whether the game was in a day phase or a night phase) in Newbie games. For a while, they won almost every game, although it's widely suspected here that that was at least partly a statistical anomaly.
I think that there's another issue at play, though, rather than just communication issues. In setups where the scum have a relatively free choice of who to kill (such as Matrix6, given that the most commonly seen strategy is to try to keep the town power roles hidden), the scum nightkill is a very powerful weapon when the players differ in strength, as it makes it possible to eliminate the strongest Town players and leave the weakest players alive. (The clearest example of this is to take the following two setups which have similar results from random lynching: 11 Vanilla Townies versus 2 Mafia Goons, with a standard kill; and 7 Vanilla Townies against 3 Mafia Goons, with no nightkill. Both of these are predicted to have a town win rate of around 40% if players lynch randomly. Current belief is that the former setup is too scumsided to run – it's never
been won by town on mafiascum.net – and that the latter setup is townsided.)
Now, in most games, we can assume that there's a spread in skill among the players. In the Newbie Queue, though, that's especially true; at least one player (the IC) is chosen specifically for their experience and has requirements to make sure that they have a sufficiently high skill level to teach the game well; meanwhile, new players vary wildly in how skilled they are, as do SEs (some SEs are highly experienced players just looking for a simple game, others are players who feel that they're not very good and aren't ready to play in the other queues). So games with a normal day/night cycle are likely to show more scumsided results in the Newbie Queue than elsewhere.
That said, it's unclear what it means for a setup to be "balanced". In general, I think you have to balance setups against the sorts of players that are likely to play them. The game will be very demoralizing for town if they need to randomly draw a "perfect team" in order to win. (The game's also unfortunately rather demoralizing for scum if a good player replaces into a bad player's town slot, as that can completely change the dynamics of the game and disrupt the strategy they were using; part of the reason the nightkill exists is to give scum a way to counter that.) So if scum have the strategizing advantage, we need to give town a little extra help in order to ensure that both teams have a fair chance. (And of course, a major part of the game is that scum are meant to have
an information advantage; that's one of the main defining factors of how scumteams work in Mafia. So if the advantage turns out to be larger than expected, we can give town an advantage that fits their strengths to compensate, such as extra members or power roles.)