[Balance Discussion] The Haunted Village (13p) v2.2

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Post Post #0  (ISO)  » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:05 am

The Haunted Village
13-player open setup


Village (10)Undead (3)
Villager
(vanilla townie)
Ghoul
(goon)
Priest (3)
(cop)
Vampire (2)
(roleblocker)
Witch Hunter (2)
(JOAT: vig, cop, track)
Death Knight (2)
(avenger*)
Wizard (3)
(vigilante)
Ghost (2)
(framer)
Enchanter (1)
(rolestopper*)
Zombie (3)
(delayed lynchproof*)
Healer (2)
(doctor)
Banshee (2)
(non-consec strongkill*)
Angel (2)
(day/night vengeful*)
Immortal (2)
(godfather)
Trickster (1)
(non-consec invisible*)
Witch (1)
(rolecop)
numbers show the role's weight in § points (see below)

Setup generation:

  1. The village start with §5-9 points. The undead start with the same number minus three.
  2. The village are then randomly assigned roles whose combined worth equals their § points. The chance for each role to appear is the following:
      Priest - 25% (1-25)
      Witch Hunter - 20% (26-45)
      Wizard - 15% (46-60)
      Enchanter - 10% (61-70)
      Healer - 10% (71-80)
      Angel - 10% (81-90)
      Trickster - 10% (91-100)
  3. The undead are told which village roles are in the game and have 24 hours to pick their own powers from their pool (no duplicates allowed).
  4. The game begins when all roles are distributed and confirmed.

Sample setup:
  • Village points = rand(5-9) = 8. Undead points = 8-3 = 5.
  • Village roles: {3} -> priest (3/8); {18} -> priest (6/8); {99} -> trickster (7/8); {68*} -> enchanter (8/8)
    *repeat random until a 1-point role is drawn
  • The undead are told there are priests, tricksters and enchanters. They pick immortal, ghost and witch.
  • final setup: 2 priests, enchanter, trickster, 6 villagers, immortal, ghost, witch

Unique role abilities and interactions:

Priest, Witch Hunter
  • Holy Water: immortals return favourable (innocent) result; a ghost's possessed target returns unfavourable (guilty) result

Witch Hunter
  • can only use one skill per night
  • if roleblocked or targeting an invisible target, the abilities are not wasted

Wizard
  • Fireball: will not kill a healed or shielded target

Enchanter
  • Spell Shield: protects the target from harmful magical abilities, but will not stop normal kills
  • vampires, ghosts, and death knights won't affect shielded targets
  • banshee wails won't kill shielded targets
  • shielded zombies won't reanimate for the night
  • witch divinations on shielded targets return "no result" as if roleblocked

Angel
  • Smite (day active): if lynched, the angel can choose to smite someone
  • Retribution (night active): if the angel dies at night, the heavens will open up and strike one target of its choosing
  • if the angel's target is undead or possessed (but not an immortal), it will instantly die

Trickster
  • Invisibility: the trickster can turn invisible and become immune to all direct night actions except strong kills
  • after turning invisible, a trickster must wait one full night before it can become invisible again

Death Knight
  • Dark Ward: wards a target to kill its killers if it dies
  • since this kill is reactive, it bypasses invisibility but not spell shield

Zombie
  • Reanimation (reactive): if lynched, the zombie will rise from the dead on the next dawn, but only if another undead exists
  • will be slain for good if killed in any way other than lynching
  • if dead and awaiting reanimation, the zombie cannot be put to rest by normal means
  • will not reanimate if doing so will endgame the remaining players

Banshee
  • Death Wail: if the banshee performs the undead kill, it can instead choose to use its wail
  • the wail kills through invisibility and healing, but is blocked by an enchanter's spell shield
  • after wailing, the banshee must wait one full night before it can wail again

Other mechanics:
  • the undead have daychat
  • the undead who performs the kill can also use their other powers on the same night

Author's thoughts:
  • Numbers can be tweaked for extra balance

Spoiler: Changelog
2.2
  • Removed neutral roles entirely as they were too difficult to balance and no longer served their purpose in the setup
  • Renamed ranger to wizard. Wizard's kill is now magical and therefore blocked by enchanters. It does not go through healers or invisibility.
  • Zombies that are due to reanimate are unkillable again
  • Tweaked some colours and role descriptions

2.12
  • Zombies will not revive if reviving will cause them to endgame the remaining players

2.11
  • Enchanters now only shield from undead and neutral abilities
  • Angels can now only kill priest guilties (meaning they kill possessed villagers, but not immortals or normal villagers)
  • Reduced village max points from 10 to 9

2.1
  • Simplified the random assignment for village roles to use simpler percentages and only one randomisation instead of two
  • The village now start with 5-10 points and get their roles before the undead. The undead are then told what roles are in the game and given points to pick their own roles
  • Duplicate village roles no longer increase the role's cost
  • Priests and rangers are now worth 3 points
  • Witch Hunters no longer have a watch ability and are worth 2 points
  • Trickster's ability is now active instead of passive
  • Angels now have a vengekill at night instead of suiciding. The vengekill works on priest guilties (including ghost possessions) and fails on priest innocents (including immortals). Angels are now worth 2 points
  • Zombies can now die while waiting reanimation
  • Temporarily removed the neutral roles pending further rebalance

2.0
  • Reworked setup generation system. Previously village roles appeared based on undead's choices for their own roles. Now uses points for each role the undead choose, which are then converted to village roles via double layered random distribution
  • Added ranger and ghost
  • Tricksters now turn visible for one night if targeted by a night action, instead of being permanently invisible
  • Angels can now suicide at night and kill all who visit them that night
  • Neutrals now have a fixed 50% chance of appearing

1.1
  • Removed excess colours
  • Kills no longer use different flavour
  • Psion is now immune to holy water while not invisible (since it is a living human)
  • Mind flayer's base kill is now a strong kill
  • Banshee's strong kill is now non-consecutive
  • Improved the conditions of an enchanter appearing and reduced the likelyhood of neutral roles

1.0
  • Added
Last edited by MiniDeathStar on Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:32 am, edited 32 times in total.

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Post Post #1  (ISO)  » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:44 pm

woah my eyes

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Post Post #2  (ISO)  » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:45 pm

mafBlack theme :)

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Post Post #3  (ISO)  » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:49 pm

yeah, I am using mafblack.

Ow, my eyes.

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Post Post #4  (ISO)  » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:50 pm

Better now?

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Post Post #5  (ISO)  » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:46 pm

First thought is that the baseline setup, if scum pick no powers, is bad for town.

9v3v1 with a cop is swingy as hell and the result is most likely going to depend on who gets killed at night. (I'm ignoring the SK powers as they seem pretty unlikely to make a difference in this scenario.) The JOAT is even weaker than a cop and has a good chance of dying before getting to use more than the cop and the vig.

Taking a brief look at the powers scum can choose:

Godfather in return for cop/JOAT-- This one might be worth it, but it would be kind of sad to see a situation where it is. The only reason to pick it is if someone is so sure they will be cop checked that they're willing to give town a significant buff for it-- since of course GF does nothing if a cop never checks it. Also it could be argued that this option helps scum even if they don't pick it-- because then cops will fear a godfather and may avoid checking an otherwise good cop target. I might pick this as scum, but only to give it to a partner who will very likely (>75%, ballpark) be copped N1.

Lynchproof in return for JOAT/vengeful-- First of all, there's a huge difference between JOAT and vengeful, so if they pick this they're hoping that town already has a JOAT and therefore will get the far-less-useful vengeful. Other than that, the zombie leads to nasty WIFOM in LYLO where town has to lynch the zombie last to win, and otherwise the zombie serves only to waste a lynch. The vengeful mostly balances that, as the effect of vengeful is to give town an EXTRA lynch, but if town doesn't have a JOAT and they get one instead of getting a vengeful, town gets an extra lynch (via the JOAT's vig) and then some. Probably not worth it to pick.

Roleblocker in return for giving town a doctor-- I don't see why they'd open that can of worms, even a roleblocker probably isn't worth the ability for town to protect its cop and the cop's innos. Furthermore, this risks the RB dying early which not only allows the doctor to conftown themself by claiming but it might open them up to follow the cop. Overall, I don't think scum should ever pick this option, especially since if they don't pick it, they won't have much they'd need to roleblock anyway.

Non-consecutive strongman in return for bulletproof-- There's literally no reason to pick this unless town already has something that can stop kills, i.e. a doctor. (Unless they want to kill the SK at night, but that seems remote since if they hit the SK they will know who it is and try to lynch them.) And since I don't think scum should ever give town a doctor, I don't think they should ever pick this either. If they do pick vampire for some reason, it's probably smart to pick this as well. This goes badly if the strongman dies early as, like you said, the bulletproof becomes an unkillable conftown which, contrary to what you said, is REALLY unbalanced if it actually can't be killed. I don't think you need to make it active but maybe just making it passive non-consecutive is fine (so if they're attacked, they survive but lose their power for the following night).

Rolecop in return for weird rolestopper that can only stop strongman kills but not regular ones-- This option probably doesn't matter; the likelihood that the rolecop will find something useful is low, and it's probably balanced by the fact that if the rolecop does die early, the rolestopper will be confirmed.

Death Knight's not a bodyguard, it's a role that I'd call "Avenger" but I've never actually seen. (If you want to get cute you could call it a "bomb-izer" :P ) Probably not worth it since it gives town more PR's.
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Post Post #6  (ISO)  » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:32 am

I see. Thanks so much for the review!

It does make sense that the undead have no reason to pick vampire if not picking it leads to fewer roles that are worth blocking. As for the vengeful, the idea behind it is that it can slay a zombie if the hunter shot is out of commission. It is a 1-for-1 exchange, but it's better than having a confirmed scum alive that can vote and disrupt discussion.

I like the non-consec idea for the trickster. I'll do that.

The Death Knight's main role is to guard valuable scum, like an outed zombie that's getting vigged/sk'd. Otherwise it acts as a counter-balance to the SK, at least until it dies.

Anyway, in light of what you said about balance, I think I'll revise the setup generation algorithm to make it more random and more similar to setups like JK9++ and C9++, so there *would be* some incentive to pick roleblocker, rolecop and strong kill. I'll update the OP when I'm finished. Thanks again! :)

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Post Post #7  (ISO)  » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:08 am

All right, I did my best to rework the setup generation to make it more similar to other random open setups

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Post Post #8  (ISO)  » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:02 pm

No problem. You clearly have a good intuition for the elements that make an open setup fun and interesting, and balancing setups like this with tons of possibilities is very difficult. I'm not sure how vocal I've been about it, but the two common setups that are most similar-- C9++ and Stack the Deck are, in my opinion, pretty bad setups, but not for a lack of trying. When I've tried my hand at designing setups like this, I've usually ended up in a point system like you have-- see here where I tried to rework the concept of Stack the Deck in a way that I thought was more balanced and interesting. You seem to have similar aims, coming from a more themed perspective.

(Just a note-- I know it seems cleaner to just edit the current version of the setup into the OP. The downside is that if anyone else comes to the thread and reads my comments, they'll make no sense, and they'll have lost some of the context for the discussion. Probably a good middle ground would be to have the current setup in the OP but keep previous revisions in a spoiler.)

First of all, your role selection mechanism seems a bit overcomplicated. By generating random numbers, you're really just assigning straight probabilities to each role being chosen, but taking several steps to do it:
Priest: 24%, Witch Hunter: 23.5%, Angel: 7.5%, Ranger: 15%, Healer: 12%, Enchanter: 9%, Trickster: 9%. I would recommend standardizing this distribution a bit, so people don't have to wrack their brains as much over what's more likely.

Concerning the point values of the roles themselves, there's two things to consider. The power of the roles relative to each other (to keep swing down), and the power of the town roles relative to the scum roles (to keep balance even).

Cop should definitely be 2. Maybe even 3. Vigilante's probably as strong as cop with so many counters to cop in the scum arsenal, so if you do buff cop to 3 vig should go with it.

I'm leaning toward increasing the range of town points from 1-2 to 1-3, because the enchanter is very weak and probably not even half as good as a cop or vig. And a doctor is definitely stronger than a bulletproof but not as strong as a cop. If that's the case, probably: priest 3, witch hunter 3, ranger 3, enchanter 1, healer 2, trickster 1, angel 1. A few things to note in this though:
Witch hunter seems to fit between a 2 and a 3. I doubt they ever use their track or watch because the other powers are so much better. Perhaps you could eliminate the cop shot, then I think it would be comfortably a 2.
Trickster's power is very much dependent on whether scum have a strongman. Maybe just nerf them back to 1-shot and down to 1 point.
I understand why you made the modification to angel. But I personally would hate having that role, and I suspect most people would not enjoy it, because it puts so much emphasis on predicting whether you're going to die, and if you're wrong, you can singlehandedly screw town over. You could just allow the angel to get a vengekill whether they get lynched or NK'd. That would probably make it a 2, since fakeclaiming it is suicide and nightkilling it is dangerous.

About the scum roles, the points seem about right, although I don't think zombie should be 3, it probably should just not exist at all. (How awful would it be to lose as town after lynching scum in LYLO because you happened to lynch the one that comes back to life?)

One caveat is that many of the scum roles only seem useful against certain town roles. As callforjudgement (the best reviewer I know) said in response to my setup, with a similar idea:
In post 4, callforjudgement wrote:One awkwardness in the setup is that the immunity roles (such as the Godfather) might randomly end up not protecting against anything; perhaps picking the Godfather should force there to be a killing or role-investigation role in the setup (likewise for Framer forcing a role-investigation role, Roleblocker forcing an active role).

This issue applies to almost every scum role; avenger is useless with no vig, tailor and godfather are useless with no cop, strongman is useless with no doc or bulletproof. Perhaps my proposed solution to this problem could work for you: allowing scum to pick how MANY points they want, then letting them see exactly what roles town get before choosing what roles they want.

If you do go with my point rework, you'll probably need to adjust the balance of points between the two factions. Off the top of my head, it seems like town might be balanced with 3 or 4 points if scum have none, so if you start scum with 2 you should start town with 5 or 6, depending on other balance considerations.

Two more things that I will touch on only briefly, because I need to go soon:

One, the duplicate role clause. I don't see why, if town gets one of a certain role, a second copy of that role adds more town utility. If anything, it adds less, because they'll be counterclaiming and stepping on each other's toes, as well as potentially targeting the same player and wasting potential. If you want to discourage role duplication, you could just ban it. This would work better if the scum know which PR's town have, so they don't randomly claim into a CC. If you don't go that route, I'd recommend just treating duplicate roles like any other.

Two, the SK. Certainly, SK's are a question where the MS community is split. I fall pretty strongly into the anti-SK camp, because of the types of games I prefer, but I'll endeavor to keep all points of view in mind, as I know there are many players who like them, or at least don't dislike them. But I do believe, as a designer, that everything should serve a purpose in the setup, and the SK seems like an unnecessary intrusion of the theme. Sure, the theme is cool, but this is an open game and not a theme one. Balance should take priority over theme and I feel like the SK roles were just thrown in there. You presumably mimicked the 50% chance of an SK from C9++, which is also questionable in that regard, but at least the existence of an SK is in some way factored into the balance. If you're going to keep the SK, you need to factor it into the balance in some way. That's very hard, because SK introduces a shitton of swing. Keeping swing down in general makes the game more enjoyable (nobody wants to be the victim of a blowout, and even the winners won't feel as much satisfaction if a few lucky SK kills were the reason they won so easily).

Sorry for yet another text wall. I didn't intend to write so much, but this is an idea with many complexities and intricacies and I find it interesting to discuss :P . Bear in mind, of course, that everything I say is my opinion. Also, a lot of my more qualitative review comments hinge on whether I would find the role or mechanic enjoyable, and I am clearly not a representative sample of MS players.

I will say, though, if this continues the way it seems to be going... I would totally play in it. :]
"When your back's against the wall it's time to turn round and fight." -John Major

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Post Post #9  (ISO)  » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:09 am

In post 8, Something_Smart wrote:No problem. You clearly have a good intuition for the elements that make an open setup fun and interesting, and balancing setups like this with tons of possibilities is very difficult. I'm not sure how vocal I've been about it, but the two common setups that are most similar-- C9++ and Stack the Deck are, in my opinion, pretty bad setups, but not for a lack of trying.

Actually, I didn't know that! I've almost never visited the setup-craft section and the last time I was on MafiaScum was umm more than a year ago. I suspected that the *9++ setups weren't super balanced, but the one game I played on JK9++ was super fun, even tho the serial killer got a derpwin in the end. That said, I'd personally love to see them remade with a point system.

When I've tried my hand at designing setups like this, I've usually ended up in a point system like you have-- see here where I tried to rework the concept of Stack the Deck in a way that I thought was more balanced and interesting. You seem to have similar aims, coming from a more themed perspective.

Great minds, et cetera :D

(Just a note-- I know it seems cleaner to just edit the current version of the setup into the OP. The downside is that if anyone else comes to the thread and reads my comments, they'll make no sense, and they'll have lost some of the context for the discussion. Probably a good middle ground would be to have the current setup in the OP but keep previous revisions in a spoiler.)

Noted! That seems like a good idea, but since the setup is so long I'll probably just write a changelog instead.

First of all, your role selection mechanism seems a bit overcomplicated. By generating random numbers, you're really just assigning straight probabilities to each role being chosen, but taking several steps to do it:
Priest: 24%, Witch Hunter: 23.5%, Angel: 7.5%, Ranger: 15%, Healer: 12%, Enchanter: 9%, Trickster: 9%. I would recommend standardizing this distribution a bit, so people don't have to wrack their brains as much over what's more likely.

I'm actually really bad at maths and I thought that two layers of randomness would spread the power distribution more evenly between investigative, killing and protective. I never figured that it would come down to simple straightforward percentages in the end because... I don't know! :')

Concerning the point values of the roles themselves, there's two things to consider. The power of the roles relative to each other (to keep swing down), and the power of the town roles relative to the scum roles (to keep balance even).

Cop should definitely be 2. Maybe even 3. Vigilante's probably as strong as cop with so many counters to cop in the scum arsenal, so if you do buff cop to 3 vig should go with it.

You're right that cop is great even with the counters, but I'm not sure if it's *that* great? Consider the cop gets a guilty, the guilty is lynched and turns out it was innocent (tailored). Then the cop gets vigged at night, but a death knight is on the cop and the vig suicides on it, which is just ouch. Besides, the scum would be a lot more confident in claiming cop with guilty, then trying to attribute the mislynch to a tailor. Especially if it's a zombie fakeclaiming.

Then there's the matter of invisibility and enchanters which waste nights with no results. Invis is not bulletproof, it's more like a buffed-up ascetic that stops most anything except reactive and strong kills. Anyway, I agree it the priest should at least be a two, and the vig maybe three.

Witch hunter seems to fit between a 2 and a 3. I doubt they ever use their track or watch because the other powers are so much better. Perhaps you could eliminate the cop shot, then I think it would be comfortably a 2.

I think the track and the watch are *relatively* more valuable than usual in games with lots of power roles and lots of potential for fooling a cop. But I will think about the cop shot. It's mostly included for flair, because why wouldn't Van Helsing carry a vial with holy water to test his targets? :P
What if I got rid of the watch instead?

Trickster's power is very much dependent on whether scum have a strongman. Maybe just nerf them back to 1-shot and down to 1 point.
I understand why you made the modification to angel. But I personally would hate having that role, and I suspect most people would not enjoy it, because it puts so much emphasis on predicting whether you're going to die, and if you're wrong, you can singlehandedly screw town over. You could just allow the angel to get a vengekill whether they get lynched or NK'd. That would probably make it a 2, since fakeclaiming it is suicide and nightkilling it is dangerous.

I could make the invis active and non-consecutive, which would make it about as useful as a commuter (about as, because commuters dodge even strong kills). Do you think that's worth 1 or 2 points?

As for the angel, originally it was a vengeful bomb, but I thought that was WAY overpowered since it's guaranteed to kill scum. I like your idea that gives it a vengekill instead, BUT doesn't that make it even swingier than normal? If it kills town, that's 2 townies down in one night. I could get around this by making the night kill only work on cop guilties, and have the role be worth two points, but I don't know if that'll be balanced or not.

About the scum roles, the points seem about right, although I don't think zombie should be 3, it probably should just not exist at all. (How awful would it be to lose as town after lynching scum in LYLO because you happened to lynch the one that comes back to life?)

I've played a game on another site whose setup included an almost identical to the zombie role. It was great for fakeclaiming and wasting a lynch, but not much else. Vig/sk and even vengeful make it considerably less powerful than it normally would be. You do have a point that it would suck lynching the "wrong" scum at LYLO and losing the game, but that's also the danger with lynching an SK. It just means LYLO comes 1 vote earlier.

I think there are things in mafia that are just impossible to balance well to everyone's satisfaction. In newbie games, having one scum lynched D1 is almost 100% town win. If that scum is a roleblocker, town just follows the cop. It's super boring and cheesy but we've accepted it as part of the game. Don't get lynched as a mafia roleblocker before the cop dies.

I think zombies aren't nearly as gamebreaking as protected cops who can clear people faster than scum can kill them. But, if people feel that lynchproof scum is irredeemably unfair and punishing the town for guessing right, I will just think of something else to replace the zombie with. I'm not super attached to it at all, I just think it synergises with the rest of the setup.

One caveat is that many of the scum roles only seem useful against certain town roles. As callforjudgement (the best reviewer I know) said in response to my setup, with a similar idea:
In post 4, callforjudgement wrote:One awkwardness in the setup is that the immunity roles (such as the Godfather) might randomly end up not protecting against anything; perhaps picking the Godfather should force there to be a killing or role-investigation role in the setup (likewise for Framer forcing a role-investigation role, Roleblocker forcing an active role).

This issue applies to almost every scum role; avenger is useless with no vig, tailor and godfather are useless with no cop, strongman is useless with no doc or bulletproof. Perhaps my proposed solution to this problem could work for you: allowing scum to pick how MANY points they want, then letting them see exactly what roles town get before choosing what roles they want.

You're absolutely correct. That was my initial design, but then it turned out to be better to just not pick any powers. Why roleblocker if not picking it leaves nothing decent to roleblock anyway? Why strongman if there's no trickster otherwise?

If you do go with my point rework, you'll probably need to adjust the balance of points between the two factions. Off the top of my head, it seems like town might be balanced with 3 or 4 points if scum have none, so if you start scum with 2 you should start town with 5 or 6, depending on other balance considerations.

I like your point rework!

One, the duplicate role clause. I don't see why, if town gets one of a certain role, a second copy of that role adds more town utility. If anything, it adds less, because they'll be counterclaiming and stepping on each other's toes, as well as potentially targeting the same player and wasting potential. If you want to discourage role duplication, you could just ban it. This would work better if the scum know which PR's town have, so they don't randomly claim into a CC. If you don't go that route, I'd recommend just treating duplicate roles like any other.

This is actually one of the things I was influenced into by C9++, where one cop is worth one "Investigative" point, but two cops are worth 4 points. But if cops are worth 2 or 3 points, it will be redundant. I like your suggestion to have town draw their roles first and giving scum the opportunity to choose theirs during the pregame, based on what they know town have.

In this case, I might have to reinstate the different flavour for different kills so scum wouldn't be so much more informed compared to town.

Two, the SK. Certainly, SK's are a question where the MS community is split. I fall pretty strongly into the anti-SK camp, because of the types of games I prefer, but I'll endeavor to keep all points of view in mind, as I know there are many players who like them, or at least don't dislike them. But I do believe, as a designer, that everything should serve a purpose in the setup, and the SK seems like an unnecessary intrusion of the theme.

When I designed the theme the first time, town had no vig except the hunter's shot. The SK was included to fill in that role and pose more threat to the zombie in general. I like SKs over vigs because one bad vig who only shoots town is really frustrating for town, whereas the SK is scum so it's more excusable. SKs can also be endgamed by scum so they'll naturally want to kill scum if town's numbers dwindle too much, but if the scum become too few, the SK will want to shoot town again. It's kind of self-balancing that way I feel?

Plus, the death knight / avenger was included to reduce swing from the SK, that's why originally an SK would only enter the game if scum had a death knight or too few powers. Now that I *mindlessly* (:P) copied the 50% from C9, and included a full vig, the SK no longer filled its niche. I know you're against them on principle, but if you had to choose between vig and SK for this setup, which one would you keep?

Sorry for yet another text wall. I didn't intend to write so much, but this is an idea with many complexities and intricacies and I find it interesting to discuss :P . Bear in mind, of course, that everything I say is my opinion. Also, a lot of my more qualitative review comments hinge on whether I would find the role or mechanic enjoyable, and I am clearly not a representative sample of MS players.

I will say, though, if this continues the way it seems to be going... I would totally play in it. :]

It's totally fine!! When it comes to forums I prefer text walls, they save time compared to bite-sized segments split over 12 hour intervals :P

Thank you so much for the quality reviews and the warm reception! :oops: I would love to host a game with it in future, even if I'm the only one who ever does it :wink:

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Post Post #10  (ISO)  » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:11 am

How do you feel about making enchanter's shield only work for undead abilities?

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Post Post #11  (ISO)  » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:55 pm

In post 9, MiniDeathStar wrote:You're right that cop is great even with the counters, but I'm not sure if it's *that* great? Consider the cop gets a guilty, the guilty is lynched and turns out it was innocent (tailored). Then the cop gets vigged at night, but a death knight is on the cop and the vig suicides on it, which is just ouch. Besides, the scum would be a lot more confident in claiming cop with guilty, then trying to attribute the mislynch to a tailor. Especially if it's a zombie fakeclaiming.

Then there's the matter of invisibility and enchanters which waste nights with no results. Invis is not bulletproof, it's more like a buffed-up ascetic that stops most anything except reactive and strong kills. Anyway, I agree it the priest should at least be a two, and the vig maybe three.

I think that scenario more speaks to the strength of a tailor than to the weakness of a cop. If scum manage to guess the cop's target, they get rewarded with one mislynch. Maybe another, but probably the cop will not immediately be lynched. Certainly not vigged, due to fear of a death knight. And yeah, scum can fakeclaim cop, but that's a very high-power role and could get them in trouble when the other roles claim. All in all, the tailor is a threat to the cop, but the tailor is worth its own points and its power shouldn't be taken into account in determining the cop's points.
It is also possible to run into a trickster/enchanter. But even that's not a wasted night, as it basically confirms the subsequent trickster/enchanter claim, roles which are otherwise hard to confirm.

I think the track and the watch are *relatively* more valuable than usual in games with lots of power roles and lots of potential for fooling a cop. But I will think about the cop shot. It's mostly included for flair, because why wouldn't Van Helsing carry a vial with holy water to test his targets? :P
What if I got rid of the watch instead?

As far as I can remember (I read Dracula last year), Van Helsing doesn't use holy water, and most of the stuff he does use (holy wafer, crucifix, garlic) is actually for the purpose of protecting people from vampires, not identifying them :P

Nerdy nitpicking aside, don't forget what I said about the SK; mechanics should really be more important than flavor in open games. You shouldn't include a role simply because it makes flavor sense, if it doesn't make mechanical sense. The track is definitely weaker than the cop. Watcher probably is stronger than cop, but more importantly, you already have a cop (AND a vig). It's a bit redundant to begin with, and I think removing the cop will make it less redundant and also less likely that half the town gets confirmed N1. (The way it is, it's theoretically possible for three different cops to get innos N1, totaling enough confirmed town to solve the game on day 2.) Is there a mechanical reason to leave the cop shot in?

I could make the invis active and non-consecutive, which would make it about as useful as a commuter (about as, because commuters dodge even strong kills). Do you think that's worth 1 or 2 points?

Probably 1. Commuter stopping all actions versus only kills is probably worse because it interferes with town roles while not really interfering with scum roles at all. (The only scum role that gets affected, aside from tailor, is rolecop, and if they know there's a commuter and get no result, they can guess they probably found it.)
As for the angel, originally it was a vengeful bomb, but I thought that was WAY overpowered since it's guaranteed to kill scum. I like your idea that gives it a vengekill instead, BUT doesn't that make it even swingier than normal? If it kills town, that's 2 townies down in one night. I could get around this by making the night kill only work on cop guilties, and have the role be worth two points, but I don't know if that'll be balanced or not.

It's not swingier than a one-shot vig, and it's definitely not swingier than the original angel role. A vig can cause two town deaths anytime they shoot, and the original angel can cause two town deaths by activating their power when they aren't killed.

I've played a game on another site whose setup included an almost identical to the zombie role. It was great for fakeclaiming and wasting a lynch, but not much else. Vig/sk and even vengeful make it considerably less powerful than it normally would be. You do have a point that it would suck lynching the "wrong" scum at LYLO and losing the game, but that's also the danger with lynching an SK. It just means LYLO comes 1 vote earlier.

I think there are things in mafia that are just impossible to balance well to everyone's satisfaction. In newbie games, having one scum lynched D1 is almost 100% town win. If that scum is a roleblocker, town just follows the cop. It's super boring and cheesy but we've accepted it as part of the game. Don't get lynched as a mafia roleblocker before the cop dies.

I think zombies aren't nearly as gamebreaking as protected cops who can clear people faster than scum can kill them. But, if people feel that lynchproof scum is irredeemably unfair and punishing the town for guessing right, I will just think of something else to replace the zombie with. I'm not super attached to it at all, I just think it synergises with the rest of the setup.

I agree that it won't necessarily break the game. But... I don't really see what the point of it is, other than to piss the town off and make them waste an extra lynch. You're right that scum RB getting lynched D1 in a newbie or a follow the cop combo is more gamebreaking, but those roles, when not breaking the game, serve to balance it and make it interesting. The only interesting thing about the zombie is that if the vig can manage to guess it and shoot it, town doesn't have to waste a lynch. But I don't expect a lot of vigs to shoot someone because they think the person is a zombie, and I certainly don't see them thinking that and being RIGHT very often.

With regards to the reworked point system: it seems to be an improvement. Fine-tuning the exact numbers will have to wait until we figure out what's up the SK, because that affects it enormously. I will say, though, that I think 10 town points and 7 scum points is too many. With that kind of craziness, it's almost impossible to know what's going to happen or even understand what is happening as a player. While there are definitely people who thrive in that kind of environment, most of the rolelists that this setup will produce won't be like that, and so it's not likely to attract players who want madness. I'd recommend capping town points at 9 or 8.

Also, this just occurred to me, but you might want to add another weaker investigative role for town. If by chance they don't get a cop or a JOAT, they're left with zero investigative power, which is rough and it weakens protective roles, which do best when they actually have information to base their protection on. Additionally, with no investigative power, the town won't be able to confirm or refute anyone's claims (aside from the vig, obviously). Maybe town could use some kind of weaker investigative, like a neapolitan for 2 or a motion detector or vanilla cop for 1.

In this case, I might have to reinstate the different flavour for different kills so scum wouldn't be so much more informed compared to town.

Eh, maybe. I'd argue against it especially if you keep the SK, because it lets them claim vig. I guess you could let the SK pick their kill flavor.

When I designed the theme the first time, town had no vig except the hunter's shot. The SK was included to fill in that role and pose more threat to the zombie in general. I like SKs over vigs because one bad vig who only shoots town is really frustrating for town, whereas the SK is scum so it's more excusable. SKs can also be endgamed by scum so they'll naturally want to kill scum if town's numbers dwindle too much, but if the scum become too few, the SK will want to shoot town again. It's kind of self-balancing that way I feel?

I mean... while an SK is scum and it's more justifiable for them to kill town, they are also an extra scum that town needs to get rid of. And if they do kill town, it means that town has more enemies to get rid of and less time to do it in.

And yeah, SK's if they live long enough will try to shoot scum, but (a) they could fail, dooming town for the SK's mistake, and (b) they could get lynched before they have a chance, for instance if town mislynches day 1, SK and scum hit town night 1, and they hang the SK day 2. This ignores PR's of course, but town's already in MYLO after only one mislynch.

Plus, the death knight / avenger was included to reduce swing from the SK, that's why originally an SK would only enter the game if scum had a death knight or too few powers. Now that I *mindlessly* (:P) copied the 50% from C9, and included a full vig, the SK no longer filled its niche. I know you're against them on principle, but if you had to choose between vig and SK for this setup, which one would you keep?

Even trying to look at it from a neutral perspective, I think vig makes more sense. There are situations where an SK fits decently well in the setup, but I don't think this is one of them. The death knight, while it can COUNTER the SK, doesn't reduce swing; it actually increases it, since it can make it so rather than one scum dying overnight, two scum die overnight. Vig is just easier to control for, because you know vig will be trying to shoot scummy players, whereas it's impossible to predict the SK's strategy.

In post 10, MiniDeathStar wrote:How do you feel about making enchanter's shield only work for undead abilities?

I think it would be pretty unlikely to ever do anything. Despite that, it still could come in handy, for instance, targeting a likely cop check to prevent tailor interference, or targeting the cop to keep a roleblocker off of them-- which is good even if it doesn't actually stop an ability.

I think it would remain at 1, but it would probably be more fun to play knowing you can only stop scum abilities, as opposed to how it is now where you're probably more likely to mess up a town power.

Thank you so much for the quality reviews and the warm reception! :oops: I would love to host a game with it in future, even if I'm the only one who ever does it :wink:

You're welcome :P I'm glad you find my comments helpful... but at the same time, I did notice that you made pretty much every change I suggested in my last post, and little else. While obviously I don't think those changes were bad, I'm a little afraid that I'm taking over. Maybe it's because this is a type of setup where it's very hard to say "this should be changed" without saying how it should be changed... regardless, if you want me to start offering multiple suggestions when I say I think something should be changed, I can start doing that :]

Though that said, I'm already investing quite a lot of time into this. Writing this post took me the entire length of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' The Getaway-- yes, this is how I measure time :P
(Also, amusingly, when I was writing about the angel role, the song "Goodbye Angels" was playing :good:)
"When your back's against the wall it's time to turn round and fight." -John Major

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So I can only post on evenings and weekends (EST)...

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Post Post #12  (ISO)  » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:08 am

As far as I can remember (I read Dracula last year), Van Helsing doesn't use holy water, and most of the stuff he does use (holy wafer, crucifix, garlic) is actually for the purpose of protecting people from vampires, not identifying them :P

Details! :mrgreen:

Nerdy nitpicking aside, don't forget what I said about the SK; mechanics should really be more important than flavor in open games. You shouldn't include a role simply because it makes flavor sense, if it doesn't make mechanical sense. The track is definitely weaker than the cop. Watcher probably is stronger than cop, but more importantly, you already have a cop (AND a vig). It's a bit redundant to begin with, and I think removing the cop will make it less redundant and also less likely that half the town gets confirmed N1. (The way it is, it's theoretically possible for three different cops to get innos N1, totaling enough confirmed town to solve the game on day 2.) Is there a mechanical reason to leave the cop shot in?

I think the real role of a witch hunter is utility. It can serve as a cheap backup cop (if a proper cop doesn't exist or is dead), and it can be a vig in a pinch—while being a lot cheaper than both. I was actually debating giving it a doc shot as well, but I thought it would make it too strong. That said, most anything makes flavour sense with the witch hunter (roleblock, rolecop, jailkeep, neapolitan, etc).

As for the angel, originally it was a vengeful bomb, but I thought that was WAY overpowered since it's guaranteed to kill scum. I like your idea that gives it a vengekill instead, BUT doesn't that make it even swingier than normal? If it kills town, that's 2 townies down in one night. I could get around this by making the night kill only work on cop guilties, and have the role be worth two points, but I don't know if that'll be balanced or not.

It's not swingier than a one-shot vig, and it's definitely not swingier than the original angel role. A vig can cause two town deaths anytime they shoot, and the original angel can cause two town deaths by activating their power when they aren't killed.

If the angel's kill only works on cop guilties, do you think it works as a limited investigative power of sorts?

I agree that it won't necessarily break the game. But... I don't really see what the point of it is, other than to piss the town off and make them waste an extra lynch. You're right that scum RB getting lynched D1 in a newbie or a follow the cop combo is more gamebreaking, but those roles, when not breaking the game, serve to balance it and make it interesting. The only interesting thing about the zombie is that if the vig can manage to guess it and shoot it, town doesn't have to waste a lynch. But I don't expect a lot of vigs to shoot someone because they think the person is a zombie, and I certainly don't see them thinking that and being RIGHT very often.

I think the fun with the zombie comes with the incentive to make more daring fakeclaims (like angel), which scum normally avoids as too risky. I think a well pulled off fakeclaim can even be fun for town, whether they see through it or get fooled.

What if the zombie reanimates from nightkills instead? Or reanimates once from any death? Or, the other option is to make zombies reanimate forever, but once they die the first time, they would lose the ability to vote and limit their utility to strategising and doing the scum kill (why would town let the obvious zombie vote anyway?). In this case, I might add a full tracker as an investigative.

Also, this just occurred to me, but you might want to add another weaker investigative role for town. If by chance they don't get a cop or a JOAT, they're left with zero investigative power, which is rough and it weakens protective roles, which do best when they actually have information to base their protection on. Additionally, with no investigative power, the town won't be able to confirm or refute anyone's claims (aside from the vig, obviously). Maybe town could use some kind of weaker investigative, like a neapolitan for 2 or a motion detector or vanilla cop for 1.

The angel can work as a sort of one-shot cop when it dies. Other than that, vigs can sort-of-confirm tricksters. Plus, there are many setups that don't have investigative roles for town, even in newbie games. I don't know that it's such a hard requirement. In pretty much all of my town games we caught the scum via day play and the investigatives were mostly a non-factor.

I personally think another sort of cop would be too much for this setup. But if you feel too strongly about having another investigative, how about an innocent child for 2 points that turns into masons if drawn more than once? In return, scum could get an invisible role on their own, to make tricksters less confirmable.

I mean... while an SK is scum and it's more justifiable for them to kill town, they are also an extra scum that town needs to get rid of. And if they do kill town, it means that town has more enemies to get rid of and less time to do it in.

And yeah, SK's if they live long enough will try to shoot scum, but (a) they could fail, dooming town for the SK's mistake, and (b) they could get lynched before they have a chance, for instance if town mislynches day 1, SK and scum hit town night 1, and they hang the SK day 2. This ignores PR's of course, but town's already in MYLO after only one mislynch.

Regarding (a), I think I'd feel better if SK's mistakes doom town, because this is partially on town for not scumhunting the SK out. Where if vig mistakes doom town, town couldn't have done anything about it. As for (b), town is also in MYLO after one mislynch and one vig hitting death knighted town (5:3).

However, you're right that having an SK means fewer villagers and more scum to get rid of, and less time to do it. If we get super technical, it's D1 MYLO assuming undead and SK kill town every night and town lynch only undead on every Day after (it'll be 2:1:1 on D4, where town can only win if scum kill each other). That's why I was thinking of adding 1-2 more villagers.

For setup generation: I was thinking that if town drew at least one vig, the undead could pay 2 points to convert one vig into an SK.

Even trying to look at it from a neutral perspective, I think vig makes more sense. There are situations where an SK fits decently well in the setup, but I don't think this is one of them. The death knight, while it can COUNTER the SK, doesn't reduce swing; it actually increases it, since it can make it so rather than one scum dying overnight, two scum die overnight. Vig is just easier to control for, because you know vig will be trying to shoot scummy players, whereas it's impossible to predict the SK's strategy.

I guess I can't argue with that. :P

I'm glad you find my comments helpful... but at the same time, I did notice that you made pretty much every change I suggested in my last post, and little else. While obviously I don't think those changes were bad, I'm a little afraid that I'm taking over. Maybe it's because this is a type of setup where it's very hard to say "this should be changed" without saying how it should be changed... regardless, if you want me to start offering multiple suggestions when I say I think something should be changed, I can start doing that :]

I think this is mostly a combination of your being persuasive, my being super agreeable as a person, and because nobody else is commenting. :wink: Moreover I know I'm biased as the setup designer and I'm not looking at it from a more neutral POV, and I'm maybe a bit overly attached to the flavour, so I appreciate suggestions from a mechanical perspective.

Though that said, I'm already investing quite a lot of time into this. Writing this post took me the entire length of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' The Getaway-- yes, this is how I measure time :P

Lmfao, that's how I measure cooking times :lol:

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Post Post #13  (ISO)  » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:35 pm

If you go with the idea of having the zombie ressurect every time, I wouldn't give them ability to carry out the NK. In fact, why not just make it a scum treestump with a post limit per day?

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Post Post #14  (ISO)  » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:00 pm

if there's no other treestumps its a confirmed scum
also post limits are extremely unfun
"invisibility is actually braindead" -- RadiantCowbells

lets make an mtg cube

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Post Post #15  (ISO)  » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:19 am

That's the idea though. It's something that ressurects, so it's guaranteed scum anyways, and the post limit is so that the guaranteed scum doesn't drown the thread in shitposts, and is more there for strategizing with the remaining scum members.

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Post Post #16  (ISO)  » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:07 pm

In post 13, Sukima wrote:If you go with the idea of having the zombie ressurect every time, I wouldn't give them ability to carry out the NK. In fact, why not just make it a scum treestump with a post limit per day?

I'm mostly reluctant because that'd be a) unspeakably boring for the scum and b) not worth spending any points on. Moreover, I don't think post limits are necessary. I already include a rule against off-topic and disruptive posting in all my games, which is valid for all players (nobody likes 100-page games of which 50 pages are just banter).

The main issue with the zombie as it is is that town can expect to have at best 3 mislynches to work with (barring extra NKs / saves), and if they don't have a vig, a zombie will effectively reduce them to 2, since if they lynch it at LYLO it will revive and endgame them. A vig or an angel is supposed to make up for that, and they did in the initial design. Now that town roles are random, the zombie becomes potentially overpowered.

On the other hand, a zombie that only revives from night kills is incredibly underwhelming and probably not worth picking. And a treestump zombie is effectively a ghoul that can keep talking once it dies. It offers literally nothing unless the player behind it is exceptionally good, in which case they probably won't die and should pick a more useful role.

The compromise solution I'm leaning after is to not allow reanimation in cases where it will end the game.


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