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  • posted a message on MTGS going away and the future of our Mafia Community
    I think I am also in favour of moving on - MTGS might be our home, but I can't see things really improving here if the entire staff and a number of exisiting communities move away. Certainly I would really want to hear from the new owner what any plans they have are to grow the site and what they think about the mafia sub.

    Really, it's a case of what the community wants more: to maintain history, identity, and status quo by remaining here, or to essentially become long-game specialists within another community and become part of a larger playerbase (with signficantly more potential players and games). Personally, I think treating this as an opportunity to grow is the better option than hoping MTGS keeps it together - MTGNews didn't after all. But it's a difficult choice for sure.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on MTGS going away and the future of our Mafia Community
    Wherever we do go, I think the key thing is to hit the ground really running - if we just rock up with Hill House mostly filled and fire it relatively quicky, and then just kind of do nothing else, there's a strong chance of us all just fizzling out. I think some focus needs to be made towards:
    • Pre-integrating with the selected community. Join their discords, play some games, learn their metas. It will make it more likely for natives to join our games if they recognise names they enjoy playing with
    • By the same token, do the same for other sites. We've had lots of generous offers, which shows that our community is valued as being skillful and worthy opponents. Even if we settle on one place as a home, some more digital exploration would help bring in newer players while also exposing us to new ideas to improve our own games.
    • Have some solid games in the pipeline. MTGS-level Specialties would be the best showcase of our uniqueness (and we should have something from the FTQs that could be ready to run soon), even if they might be a bit wacky to drop on an unsuspecting forum. But even our other game types showcase our own approach to things (and will be easier for others to understand and play in). The key thing is to make sure we have games of any kind to run to ensure we have momentum upon moving to stop current active players floating away.

    It's a bit hyptocritical of me to make these claims because I'm not really active enough to really help with them, but I really do think a transition with a run up and proper momentum is really important to keep the community together during a transition like this.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on Mafia Championships - Battle of 165 Sites
    Eco would love to represent the site, but unfortunately he feels unable to do so at the pace that MU would play at. 72 hours (at most) and thousands of posts per Day (even with the 200 posts max limit they're imposing!) would be really tough for me.

    Also Az has done it before, and while GJ and Tom would both be sound candidates, they both play on MU regularly so it might be nice to send someone a bit more MTGS native. Would definitely support Grapefruit if he wanted it - I agree that keeness is a very important factor.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on The Mafia Council & Helpdesk Thread
    Quote from Iso »

    I've noticed that TappingStones is not currently on the Blacklist or Probation list. I was under the impression that he was to be added?


    IIRC we were discussing whether or not to formally blacklist him when he announced his intention to leave the forum and never return. Since he's been true to his word, we never needed to actually add him to either list.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on The Mafia Council & Helpdesk Thread
    I wonder if the problem lies in the distribution of responsibility - at the moment, game hosts are the people most responsible for calling out and addressing negative behaviour (flaming/trolling/playing against win conditions/lurking/etc) and they are also responsible to handing out punishments of stern talking tos, replacements, or modkills. The problem lies that the game host also bears the latgest burden of dealing with those punishments in having to find replacements or deal with thei game becoming unbalanced by a modkill. This leads those game hosts to err on the side of caution and be conservative with punishments, which leads to inconsistency and line-toeing.

    A way this could be remedied would be to try and reduce the responsibility of game hosts - for example, if we could foster a culture of reporting posts that cointain flaming then we could instate a rule that says "if you get an infraction for flaming, you must be replaced". While that approach would be more rigid, it would see much more consistent reactions from hosts - as can be seen in other forum wide rules like posting role PMs, which hosts know (usually) means mandatory modkill. This would, of course, put the burden of deciding "sufficient flaming" onto the shoulders of the forum mods, but they are a) more trained in making that call and b) don't suffer the conlfict of interest around finding replacements/destabilising the game that a game host has.

    As an aside, I understand mods not wanting to red text offending posts, but some form of engagement would be required to make reporting feel more impactful. Perhaps something like a summary every month of mod activity (X posts were reported, Y warnings and Z infractions were handed out), just to provide something tangible to indicate that mods are reading reports.

    Alternatively (or even additionally!) the council could be more of a first port of call for contentious behaviour. If standard procedure is for a host to raise grey-area behaviour with the council and they make a decision (involving but not driven by the host) that results in a judgement of "force replace or not", then the host again bears less responsibility for resolving the punishment and the council take any flak. This could be facilitiated with a formal inbox, discord channel, or designated "host manager" council member. I think a lot of the time hosts don't contact the council until things have already escalated, and even when they do, the council resolves things in a very ad-hoc way. A more formal process (even if it didn't have rigid guidelines) would hopefully make things more streamlined and consistent.

    Punishing lurking is more difficult because that is ultimately up to the game host. But I think a strong start is to examine what level of activity we really do expect - as Silver stresses, 1 post every 48 or 72 hours is really not actually enough. In parallel, any kind of system to encourage replacements would help bolster any kind of enforcement overhaul. Auto-ins are no longer sufficient incentive, so how can we encourage more people to replace into games?

    Overall, I think part of the issue is that game hosts are responsible for identifying unwanted behaviour, handing out punishment, and dealing with negative consequences of that punishment. This understandably leads to reluctance to commit in the hope that saying "cool it guys" will stop it. Splitting that responsibility burden with other parties who have experience and have volunteered to shoulder occasionally being the "bad guys" in controversial decisions should at least make punishments come earlier in the process and more consistently.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on Scum Love the King! - Game Over: Scum Actually *Don't* Love the King
    I don't think you can run a deliberately obnoxious, obfuscating, self-indulgent, self-imposed posting restriction and then complain (about sportsmanship!) when you get lynched for it. There's a really easy way of not getting polcy lynched and that's to play the game properly and consider the other players' enjoyment as well as your own.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on The Mafia Council & Helpdesk Thread
    Quote from Bur »
    I wish you all the best Eco, it's been a pleasure to work with you! Salve Pride


    You too, you are invaluable to the smooth running of the game queues and your assistance has been incredibly appreciated.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on The Mafia Council & Helpdesk Thread
    Hi everyone. I am regrettably announcing that after just over seven years, I am retiring from the Mafia council. It's been a satisfying honour to help guide the subforum through its ups and downs over that period, but after so long I can no longer muster the motivation and engagement required to properly fulfil the responsibilities of the Council. However, with the current combination of experienced hands and enthusiastic new blood, I have every confidence in the Council and the subforum going forward.

    As part of my retirement I will be transferring control of the discord server to current Council member SilverCrys, who will probably look at instating some moderators on it.

    I will still be around on the discord, and I will doubtless continue to play occasionally. I am still keen to review games, and will always be open to discussing mafia theory and mentoring.

    My sincere thanks to everyone I've worked with: councillors, secretaries, and forum mods alike. Special thank you to all the players and game hosts past and present: without you we wouldn't have our wonderful little corner of the internet, and I am so proud that I have helped look after it.

    Here's to the future.

    Eco.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on Secret Agent Mafia Game Over Mafia Victory
    More overall thoughts:

    Setup - In my opinion, this game was grossly town-sided. I predicted as much pre-game, but I very much underestimated it. I'm sure a lot of these things have been considered already, but I spent a lot of my solitude stewing over the setup so I'm going to comment at length anyway.

    VT Cop - This role is only fractionally weaker than a full alignment cop. With 11 not-him players, he investigates TEN of them as accurately as an alignment cop, with Riku being the only exception. The single coin cost isn't really a hinderance since being on the lynch is easy if you want to, I only wasn't because I a) didn't want to lynch my buddies and b) didn't want to give the town more tools. So as a 90% full alignment cop, the role is overpowered. And "follow-the-cop" is a significantly less fun game than mafia is. Role would be better as a vanilla cop, as at least the rich scum would show up clear and the potential existance of goons makes the cop far less certain. Or 2 or even 3 coin cost.

    Tracker/1-shot RB - This role is strong but fine. It could have been argued as a scum role, which is good. But it would be weaker (and much more interesting) if it could track messages. Since as the game stood, a positive result would be scum 3/4 actions (vezok, me, NK vs Tom), which is a high hit rate. Also him not costing coins to track was unexpected - it seems out of place in the setup, which I was expecting to have lots of weakish abilities that cost coins, rather than all the town power concentrated in two players.

    Rich Townies - I am absolutely baffled as to why these guys counted as vanilla. The game becomes a million times more interesting if they show up as not-VT to the cop and can be tracked (and also show up as non-vanilla on Vezok's cop shot). On top of that, having three Rich Townies vs one Rich Scum should really have meant all or most of the Rich townies should have been cleared once GJ flipped - it was clear scum needed more power than 2 Rich + Vezok, and GJ not claiming Rich meant that the scum didn't think it was a safe claim (which it probably is if they have 2 since that would suggest more). So potentially clearing THREE townies off one scum death is broken, and I'm incredibly glad everyone just ignored it. Furthermore, they didn't really add anything to the game - messaging is already of limited use, and the ability to send an extra one doesn't make them any more useful.

    Messaging - This came up in spec chat, but ultimately the mechanic was a bit pointless - as borne out by the lack of messages sent. It was correctly identified that those who can use it most (power roles) are constrained by it costing their Night action. And there's very little need for other townies to send messages since their thoughts would already be in thread. Very infrequent are the times where you do an important enough re-read during Night that absolutely MUST be passed on. Sending messages mostly only existed to prove another Night action wasn't taken (which would have been very breakable if scum had been relying on more roleblocks near the end of the game). The tracebility of knowing who gets coins also limited the ability for the scum to send disruptive/misleading messages.

    Rich Scum - Seperate to the issue of him clearing the Rich townies, this role plus the sharing of coins made it look like just a goon who existed to give us a bonus-start coin that we could use to rush Vezok's vanilla cop shot or ensure we got a Night action. This made it appear unsafe to claim, whereas I imagine the mods were expecting all the Rich guys to claim at once and have a jolly old laugh at it all. It would have been very useful to know there were other Rich players in the game! This isn't necessarily bad, but I think it indicates the designers not considering the game from the scum perspective and just looking at the game with full knowledge.

    Scum Vanilla cop/RBer - This role is crap: the 2-cost vanilla cop is very weak, overcosted, and tells us nothing about the Rich townies. I think a 1-coin rolecop would have been completely fair, even if the roleblock cost 2 coins. A second roleblock shot would have been nice, but that's not a disaster.

    Quartermaster - I am generally against giving scum roles that only exist to appear town. I am rather against scum roles that are difficult to use for the scum (Watch shots are much better at finding protectives than investigatives, and giving an item to a scum buddy is high risk). I am very against roles like that that give the town very powerful tools (like Watch shots and Roleblocks). I am completely against it when the items you can give are actually traps because the town already so much investigate power that more is suspicious AND they already have a bonus roleblock, AND the role itself doesn't really fit into the setup on the town side. Pretty much everything about my role was a disaster and I'm quite cross about it (apart from the flavour, that was cool). It's one thing to give scum a role that actively works against their own team, but quite another to stip any benefit from it as well.

    Overall - I'm disappointed in the balance and setup to be honest. I know this isn't easy and the focus was more on the possibilities of message sending and how Rich townies or scum might use them to gain an edge, but it really shouldn't be that hard to work out that a virtually full alignment cop is overpowered and that the scum have some seriosuly crap tools that double as traps, and that the town power could be more distributed. The lack of protective roles is insufficient as a balancing factor, and just makes the whole thing more swingy.

    I don't know what the actual involvment was for each member of the mod team, but I have some advice that I intend constructively:
    • Wuffles - Your games are always town sided (and I'm going way back to thgames ings like Fairytale Mafia) because the town get more and more interesting tools than the scum do. This appears to me to stem from your preference/ease with creating town roles and a dislike/struggle with scum roles. Your games are super cool and imaginative, but you need to focus on the interplay and fun for the scum more than you currently do, and confront (the diffcult act of) cutting or modifying stuff that is really cool but ultaimtely not good for the game as a whole.
    • Osie - I think you need to spend more time looking at the bigger picture of a game. I think you can focus too much on minutiae or neat interactions/possibilities or individual things being cool and lose sight of the overall balance/interplay between teams.
    • Grapefruit - I understand your desire to explore the "additional messaging" mechanics, but you need to produce more incentive to use them - people don't need to send thoughts, and only rarely will gambit by privately revealing action results etc. I think ultimately the space has been explored and found to not be nearly as interesting as it could be in principle, but I can't fault your dedication. I do, however, think you need to ensure that games you make not only have a neat mechanic and ways to interact with it (message passing or not), but that they are also fundamentally balanced. Recall, for example, the dubious usage of the Jailer in Neighbours, and I think there's something of a (small dataset!) pattern of getting caught up in mechanics and the excitement of how they might be used that neglects the important step of bulding solid, balanced foundations.

    Despite all my complaining, the game was fun-if-nervewracking, and there was a lot of scope for interesting things to happen even if they didn't manifest, as well as future design space. The flavour was good and the moderation was excellent. I would certainly encourage Grape (and his reviewers) to continue making games, just with more introspection about overall balance.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on Secret Agent Mafia Game Over Mafia Victory
    Quote from Rumanshi »
    I'm confused why you didn't use any VCA vaimes. Eco never voted a buddy, and always NKed people starting to find him suspicious. There was tonnes you could do.


    While this is very true, there's a a decent amount of hypocrisy here - orthodox analysis isn't exactly a common component of your play, and I think a lot of people would really appreciate it if it was. Without rolling power, you'd have very much been in the frame for the lynch on D1.

    Also I'm going to hold you to this:


    It'll be good for your health, and maybe your scumhunting too.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on Secret Agent Mafia Game Over Mafia Victory
    /me exhales breath held for months.

    I have a lot to say about the setup, but I'm on a phone so right now I'm going to bask in this win. Thank you Highroller, and no hard feelings vaimes I hope.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on Secret Agent Mafia Game Over Mafia Victory
    Quote from Highroller »
    Eloquent as always.

    Ecophagy?


    Trust yourself.

    And I won't strangle you if you lynch Vaimes.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on 2018 Mafia Awards - FINALLY HERE!
    At long last, it's here! The MTGS Mafia 2018 Award Podcast can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/ecophagy/mtgs-mafia-awards-2018

    Thanks to Shadow and Bur for spending all that time talking mafia, and extra thanks to Osie for not only doing the talking, but also editing it all as well.

    Collected data for the year showing what games everyone played and winners and losers can be found in this spreadsheet. Thanks to all 80-odd people who played in 2018!

    For those who lack patience, award winners are spoilered below, along with the percentage of the vote they accrued.

    Player Awards:
    Best Town Performance (Individual): Azrael in Zero Escape (46%)
    Best Mafia Performance (Individual): Grapefruit21 in Pirates (43%)
    Best 3rd Party Performance (Individual): Dead heat tie between Gentleman Johnny in Proson Block and Azrael in Pirates (50% each)
    Best Town Performance (Group): Friends & Enemies (40%)
    Best Mafia Performance (Group): Pirates (71%)
    Best Town Player: Rhand (43%)
    Best Mafia Player: Tomsloger (43%)
    Best Newcomer: Sentenza (50%)
    Most Entertaining Player: Tomsloger (64%)
    Most Improved Player: Grapefruit21 (53%)
    Best Overall Player: Grapefruit21 (64%)

    Mod Awards:
    Best Design: Zero Escape by Bur (46%)
    Best Flavor: Arkham Horror by DV (69%)
    Best Read: Friends and Enemies by tomsloger (64%)
    Game of the Year: Friends and Enemies by tomsloger (43%)

    Thank you everyone for your patience in getting everything together, I think we rather ought to start earlier next year! Hopefully it was all worth the wait.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on Secret Agent Mafia Game Over Mafia Victory
    Quote from Highroller »
    Incidentally, the item I got was a one-shot roleblock. Woulda been really useful yesterday...

    So, I'm going to reread the thread and then cast my vote. The thing is, I'm probably not going to have a whole lot of spare time tomorrow, so the vote will probably come Thursday. So I guess you guys are going to have a day of staring each other down.

    ... I'm kind of afraid to think of what might happen by the end of Wednesday.


    The sexual tension might become unbearable by then.
    Posted in: Mafia
  • posted a message on Secret Agent Mafia Game Over Mafia Victory
    Posted in: Mafia
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