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Survivor type roles

F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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10/5/2012 11:52:47 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I am trying to figure out what is the best way to balance a "survivor" type role into the game and thought I'd post some analysis on it. I include serial killers in this analysis - they are essentially survivors with kills. I am against plain vanilla survivors but survivors with kills (serial-killers), roleblocks and other such cool abilities, maybe suvivor JOATs as well are not such a bad idea. But we also have to try and not make them too overpowered like Dexter in bluesteel's dexter mafia. Let's use a point system.

A plain vanilla survivor that appears guilty/not town to investigations has 0 points. This assumes that the role wins as soon as the game ends for factions other than themselves. For instance, if the mafia are all dead or if the mafia is about to win, survivor wins instead.

These are the common ways to beef up the survivor.

1) Making them appear innocent to investigations should be about +1 point.
2) Making them bulletproof should be about +1 point.
3) Giving them a kill (serial killer) should be about +2 point.

4) Altering their win condition and having them required to survive until they are the last man standing as opposed to just until the game ends should be -1 point.

I think the best way to balance is to give about 2 points to the survivor. That means that if it is a vanilla survivor, it would be balanced (in my opinion) to make them both bulletproof and appear innocent to investigation. Too many mods include vanilla survivors who have no powers and appear guilty. Although, I have seen such a survivor win a game (Social's Philosopher's mafia), it was more due to luck than anything else.

If we have a serial killer, 2 points would suggest not giving any other powers if they simply have to survive till one faction would have won although I personally would have added more (the point system isn't perfect in this regard). However, one of my favorite ways to get around this is to require the serial killer to be the last man standing in order to win. This would create some fun hypotheticals where the mafia is all dead but the sk is still on the loose. In my Action Movies mafia, I used a unique role where the serial killer starts off with 0 points (can choose to be bulletproof or inno to investigations), then advances to 1-2 points, where appears inno to investigations and can choose to be bulletproof or kill, then to 3 points, where he is bulletproof, appears inno and must kill. Of course, I applied a -1 throughout the game since he had to live to the end of the game.

Other games had interesting observations. Bluesteel's Dexter as I mentioned not only gave the SK 3 points, but added a recurring janitor on top of that so let's say 2 more points making it way overpowered.

In Danielle's classic mafia, the survivor appeared inno to investigations and in TV shows, he was bulletproof and won the game. Both times, I would say about 1 point, which is pretty steep.

In BlackVoid's Death Note, the survivor could choose which she wanted to be. I believe bulletproof was chosen. That is about 1 point. Let's say lynchproof is one point as well. A pretty difficult proposition but survivor won anyways.

Other unique ways of beefing up the survivor
- Give them extra votes like in Sci-Fi mafia.
- Give them anti-town abilities like in Interwebz mafia where the survivor had a roleblock.

Two things that I would like to see but haven't seen so far are:
- Give them PRO-town abilities like tracker and don't give the town a tracker obviously. A survivor tracker might be thought of as town. Of course making them bulletproof would be way overpowered so probably not. But of course a bulletproof survivor-tracker who has to be the last man standing in order to win and appears innocent to investigations may be a fvcking awesome idea.

- Give survivors JOAT roles with both pro-town and anti-town abilities and give plenty of them:
How about infinite X Doctor (to protect themselves), Lawyer, Kill but can only perform one each night if they have to survive till one faction wins and allow them to use two each night if they have to survive till the game ends?

Another thing - the abilities given to survivors are primarily of two types:
- To protect against mafia (like bulletproof)
- To protect against town (like inno to cops, being a ninja, janitor, lynchproof)

There has got to be some way of quantifying all of them but I can't think of any yet.

Anyways, those are my opinions? What are your thoughts? How would you incorporate such roles into your games?
BlackVoid
Posts: 9,170
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10/6/2012 12:43:15 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I used multiple third parties in my first 3 games, but now I'm pretty nervous about putting them in. I really don't like the idea of serial killers because they have the potential to wreck the game one way or another. They can kill a whole bunch of townies and lead to a quick mafia W, or kill multiple mafiosos and lead to a quick town W. Examples:

Solar System - the town lynched scum the first 3 DP's, yet were at LYLO on DP4 because the SK killed all townies.

Dexter - The town mislynched like 4 straight times and played pretty badly, but the SK killed half the mafia, so town ended up winning.

SK's probably are the easiest TP role to have a chance at winning, but they're pretty risky to have in the game. That said, I do have a really sick idea for an SK role that would make the game pretty interesting, I'll tell someone if they PM me.

I don't know about your proposed point method, though. It seems like the numbers you're assigning to various powers are pretty arbitrary, and there doesn't seem to be an objective way of measuring what worth a role should have. Personally, I think a Bulletproof Godfather/survivor is OP because quite literally, the only thing they have to do is act pro-town. Behavior is the only way you would figure it out, but since a Survivor isn't in a mafia PM, town thinking will come second-nature to them.

Giving them town roles makes sense. In Sci-Fi I gave LK the ability to vote an insane amount of times, and no one really thought he could be TP except PR. The proposed role of Bulletproof Tracker sounds interesting.

It would also work if you give them win conditions other than "you win when you survive to endgame", "you win when you're the only player alive", etc. Drafterman had 7 third-parties in Batman mafia and they all had unique win conditions. Those type of things can help them out.
Logic_on_rails
Posts: 2,445
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10/6/2012 12:43:29 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Oh, I had so much fun trying to work 'survivor' (read: killer or other types...) roles into my old design! It's actually not impossible to give these 3rd parties a really decent chance, but balancing them with the town and Mafia is an awfully, awfully difficult task. The balance, while fair, will be extremely precarious, and town can easily lose despite playing brilliantly. Conversely, replace Mafia with killing 3rd parties and if they target each other ... easy town win. Precarious.

My 3rd party survivor roles actually have a number of tricks behind them that you haven't thought of. Also, the allowable strength of a 3rd party depends on factors like the strength of opposing factions and how much information is given. Misinformation and information are controllable by the mod, and have value. Point systems inevitably fail to issues where the value of quantifiable objects is overemphasised due to the inability to quantify other things.

If you want to discuss this with me we ought to do this via PM.
"Tis not in mortals to command success
But we"ll do more, Sempronius, we"ll deserve it
BlackVoid
Posts: 9,170
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10/6/2012 12:47:07 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I just remembered. The most fun way to make a 3P role for the player is to make it skill-oriented. In other words, if the player plays extremely well, he will succeed. If he doesn't and makes some wrong decisions, he doesn't. An example would be the Cult Reviver in Golden Garden. That role was very skill-oriented. It relied on the timing of the revivals, who to pick, when to not revive and stay bulletproof, and when to use the x1 lawyer.
Logic_on_rails
Posts: 2,445
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10/6/2012 12:47:56 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Oh, one thing to mention... only an idiot makes 3rd parties win in 1 on 1 scenarios. Yes, that's beyond stupid. Do not do it.

My threshold has tended to be 4 players for single survivors/killers, although I haven't tested it in practice.

One thing I'm going to reiterate is that your methods mentioned above F-16 are not exhaustive. I've developed many other 3rd party devices of sorts. Again, this needs to be done in a PM...
"Tis not in mortals to command success
But we"ll do more, Sempronius, we"ll deserve it
Mestari
Posts: 4,656
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10/6/2012 1:53:51 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I had an SK who investigated inno in MQMQM mafia. I've realized that's a problem as there is no reason to suspect he isn't the vig and also because I made it so that he won if he was the last man standing. This meant that he tied even though it came down to him and one mafia. Had he killed the mafia he still would have had to kill the entire town before somebody deduced he was a SK. Standard non-cult third parties need alternative win conditions due to their size.
Rules of Mafia

1. Mestari is never third party.
2. If Mestari claims an intricate and page long TP role, he's telling the truth.
3. Mestari always jointly wins with the town.
3b. If he doesn't he's mafia.
3c. If he was mafia you wouldn't suspect him in the first place.
4. If you lynch Mestari you will lose because he will be the third party Doctor or some other townie power role.
5. DP1 lynches are good.
6. The answer is always no.