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Stories as a mechanic in Mafia

Logic_on_rails
Posts: 2,445
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3/4/2013 12:14:37 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Occasionally a moderator uses stories, backgrounds and such to set the stage in Mafia. Some moderators like myself consider stories to have the potential for subtle game balancing of a sort - characters can be put in positive or negative lights, one can fake claim story characters etc. Of course, there's a certain entertainment value if the writer is decent, but that's a side point.

My question to this community is to what extent can narratives be incorporated into a Mafia game? Furthermore, could frame stories work?

There are obviously matters to consider, copying and pasting of story text is one issue. Secondly, whether people would actually read the stories or give them their proper due as a game mechanic - if one were to verbalise many of the investigative roles into vague interpretations one obviously weakens the strength of the investigation, but you'd have to read the story to get the result! Do people think that a significant story element can detract from certain 'core' elements of Mafia? Why or why not?

The next point is frame stories where multiple narrators are used. These are obviously things that require significant concentration to grasp at times. For an example of a frame story, Heart of Darkness with it's multiple narrators of sorts will suffice. Frankenstein has even more frames. My question is does a theme with various frames become a chore to play? Secondly, do readers on DDO have the comprehension skills to successfully interpret stories?

This is not to say that Mafia could be made into a set of stories, far from it! I'm merely looking to see community views on the use of story. Currently I have the seed of a regular game, and the vision of multiple frames working in a fascinating creation. This vision would be a terribly difficult undertaking, so I want to see the community's view on stories first.
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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3/4/2013 12:40:16 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The extent to which stories can or should be incorporated into mafia games depend of how you plan the game to play out and the original purpose of the game.

Mafia at its core is a game based purely on behavioral and logical analysis. Many games on mafiascum are designed in this format often having no roles. Town doesn't know who the mafia is but the mafia do. They have to pretend to scumhunt. These contrived actions then give them away. An extension of this would be to add standard roles like cop and doc into the game to assist town in its quest for finding mafia. A further extension would be to add themes where mafia are required to fake-claim. Note that mafia in its purest form does not require fake-claiming from the mafia.

As you keep adding roles to the extent that most people have night actions, the game changes into a puzzle to be solved as opposed to a social game where scum are found based on the fact that they are informed. This is not to say that behavioral analysis plays no role but rather it reduces to being just a starting point for scumhunting as opposed to the end all for lynching a player. When was the last time you lynched a player without a claim?

I like puzzles. They are interesting when done well by a competent moderator. While solving puzzles, we need to recognize that we are not playing "mafia" in its pure form but rather that the games we play on DDO are hybrid games consisting of a combination of "mafia" and puzzle-solving. I like to think of it as a spectrum. Every game has different combination of puzzle-solving and mafia involved. I would say most games on mafiascum are about 90% mafia, 10% puzzle-solving. I'd classify my Fire and Ice game under the same category or maybe more puzzle-solving. Note that I am just throwing the numbers off the top of my head. I'd say the beginner's .1 games are 100% "mafia" with no puzzle-solving. Your games Logic, I would say involved a very high percentage of puzzle solving with complex OPs, storylines, plots, and all the characters and roles seem to "fit." I'd say likely about 80% of your games come down to analyzing the OPs, spotting fake-claims, and seeing how roles "fit." This is shown by the general comments you make at endgame as well when you often point out a piece of the puzzle that town may have missed.

To what extent can narratives be incorporated in the game? To any extent you want. If you want to make a game where puzzle-solving is your goal, go for it. Just expect the puzzle-solving to dominate the posts from the players with behavioral analysis only a secondary concern.

As for my opinion: I love your stories so I'd probably read them all especially if they involve swordfights.
tvellalott
Posts: 10,864
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3/4/2013 11:23:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/4/2013 12:40:16 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
The extent to which stories can or should be incorporated into mafia games depend of how you plan the game to play out and the original purpose of the game.

Mafia at its core is a game based purely on behavioral and logical analysis. Many games on mafiascum are designed in this format often having no roles. Town doesn't know who the mafia is but the mafia do. They have to pretend to scumhunt. These contrived actions then give them away. An extension of this would be to add standard roles like cop and doc into the game to assist town in its quest for finding mafia. A further extension would be to add themes where mafia are required to fake-claim. Note that mafia in its purest form does not require fake-claiming from the mafia.

As you keep adding roles to the extent that most people have night actions, the game changes into a puzzle to be solved as opposed to a social game where scum are found based on the fact that they are informed. This is not to say that behavioral analysis plays no role but rather it reduces to being just a starting point for scumhunting as opposed to the end all for lynching a player. When was the last time you lynched a player without a claim?

I like puzzles. They are interesting when done well by a competent moderator. While solving puzzles, we need to recognize that we are not playing "mafia" in its pure form but rather that the games we play on DDO are hybrid games consisting of a combination of "mafia" and puzzle-solving. I like to think of it as a spectrum. Every game has different combination of puzzle-solving and mafia involved. I would say most games on mafiascum are about 90% mafia, 10% puzzle-solving. I'd classify my Fire and Ice game under the same category or maybe more puzzle-solving. Note that I am just throwing the numbers off the top of my head. I'd say the beginner's .1 games are 100% "mafia" with no puzzle-solving. Your games Logic, I would say involved a very high percentage of puzzle solving with complex OPs, storylines, plots, and all the characters and roles seem to "fit." I'd say likely about 80% of your games come down to analyzing the OPs, spotting fake-claims, and seeing how roles "fit." This is shown by the general comments you make at endgame as well when you often point out a piece of the puzzle that town may have missed.

To what extent can narratives be incorporated in the game? To any extent you want. If you want to make a game where puzzle-solving is your goal, go for it. Just expect the puzzle-solving to dominate the posts from the players with behavioral analysis only a secondary concern.

As for my opinion: I love your stories so I'd probably read them all especially if they involve swordfights.

Great post. I totally agree with F-16 here. Our mafia games are mostly puzzles and the best puzzles are interesting ones, rather than difficult or extravagant ones.
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