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Balance Question

TUF
Posts: 21,309
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5/17/2013 8:05:08 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Do you think mafia should start out with 3 mis-lynches or 4 right off the start of the game?

For example: 12 players, 4 mafia. Let's assume there are no other killing roles, or PGO's, etc.

DP1: Mis lynch
NP1: Night kill
Ratio: 8 town, 4 mafia.
DP2: Mis-lynch
NP2: Night kill
Ratio: 6 town, 4 mafia
DP3: Mis-lynch
NP4: Night kill
Ratio: 4 town, 4 mafia

Win.

Is this fair for the mafia and the town both?

In terms of balance I have been debating whether 2 or 3 mis-lynches to start is a good ratio. Of course it's really hard to judge sometimes, because when you do these, you generally don't factor in doctors, extra night kills, roleblocks, etc. I found a good way to balance things is to add third parties if you want to have more players, but don't want to mess up the balance already in place.

I would just like to hear some modding techniques from people like drafter, F-16, budda, and FT to see how to properly balance a game out.
"I've got to go and grab a shirt" ~ Airmax1227
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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5/17/2013 8:23:07 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The general baseline is player ratio, not mislynches, and the ratio usually runs from 1/4 to 1/3 Mafia, barring exceptional circumstances.

Using this, the number of mislynches actually increases with the total number of players.

Examples:
4 Town, 2 Mafia - 1 mislynch to lose
8 Town, 4 Mafia - 2 mislynches to lose
12 Town, 6 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose
...
N Town, (N/2) Mafia - N/4 mislynches to lose

It would seem that larger game sizes favor the Town, mathematically. I'm not sure this is the case in practice, as the interaction of more and more roles, and having more behaviors to analyze, obfuscates Town's efforts to figure the game out, balancing the effect of having more mislynches at their disposal. To contrast, look at the following ratios if we keep the available number of mislynches the same:

Examples:
8 Town, 2 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose
12 Town, 6 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose
16 Town, 10 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose

10 Mafia in a 26 player game would be outrageous, and 2 Mafia in a 10 player game would get some criticism unless they were balanced out with more powerful roles.

So, while I think the number of mislynches available to the Town is a game balance consideration, I don't think the game should be designed around a fixed number of mislynches. Rather you should add/remove roles to compensate for the drawback of fewer mislynches or the benefit of more mislynches.
TUF
Posts: 21,309
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5/17/2013 8:33:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/17/2013 8:23:07 AM, drafterman wrote:
The general baseline is player ratio, not mislynches, and the ratio usually runs from 1/4 to 1/3 Mafia, barring exceptional circumstances.

Using this, the number of mislynches actually increases with the total number of players.

Examples:
4 Town, 2 Mafia - 1 mislynch to lose
8 Town, 4 Mafia - 2 mislynches to lose
12 Town, 6 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose
...
N Town, (N/2) Mafia - N/4 mislynches to lose

It would seem that larger game sizes favor the Town, mathematically. I'm not sure this is the case in practice, as the interaction of more and more roles, and having more behaviors to analyze, obfuscates Town's efforts to figure the game out, balancing the effect of having more mislynches at their disposal. To contrast, look at the following ratios if we keep the available number of mislynches the same:

Examples:
8 Town, 2 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose
12 Town, 6 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose
16 Town, 10 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose

10 Mafia in a 26 player game would be outrageous, and 2 Mafia in a 10 player game would get some criticism unless they were balanced out with more powerful roles.

So, while I think the number of mislynches available to the Town is a game balance consideration, I don't think the game should be designed around a fixed number of mislynches. Rather you should add/remove roles to compensate for the drawback of fewer mislynches or the benefit of more mislynches.

That actually makes sense. Thanks for drawing that out for me!

If mafia makes up half of the total players and there are several mis-lynches, the game can still be very unbalanced. So I should probably stick with what I have been doing, and focus more on balancing roles, than trying to work my head around the numbers so much.
"I've got to go and grab a shirt" ~ Airmax1227
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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5/17/2013 8:42:58 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/17/2013 8:33:06 AM, TUF wrote:
At 5/17/2013 8:23:07 AM, drafterman wrote:
The general baseline is player ratio, not mislynches, and the ratio usually runs from 1/4 to 1/3 Mafia, barring exceptional circumstances.

Using this, the number of mislynches actually increases with the total number of players.

Examples:
4 Town, 2 Mafia - 1 mislynch to lose
8 Town, 4 Mafia - 2 mislynches to lose
12 Town, 6 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose
...
N Town, (N/2) Mafia - N/4 mislynches to lose

It would seem that larger game sizes favor the Town, mathematically. I'm not sure this is the case in practice, as the interaction of more and more roles, and having more behaviors to analyze, obfuscates Town's efforts to figure the game out, balancing the effect of having more mislynches at their disposal. To contrast, look at the following ratios if we keep the available number of mislynches the same:

Examples:
8 Town, 2 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose
12 Town, 6 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose
16 Town, 10 Mafia - 3 mislynches to lose

10 Mafia in a 26 player game would be outrageous, and 2 Mafia in a 10 player game would get some criticism unless they were balanced out with more powerful roles.

So, while I think the number of mislynches available to the Town is a game balance consideration, I don't think the game should be designed around a fixed number of mislynches. Rather you should add/remove roles to compensate for the drawback of fewer mislynches or the benefit of more mislynches.

That actually makes sense. Thanks for drawing that out for me!

If mafia makes up half of the total players and there are several mis-lynches, the game can still be very unbalanced. So I should probably stick with what I have been doing, and focus more on balancing roles, than trying to work my head around the numbers so much.

Not to mention if the mafia makes up half the total players, they win. So you can have 100 players with 50 mafia and, technically, 25 mislynches, but the Town can't win because the mafia controls the vote.

There is actually some very interesting math behind more simplistic games
http://en.wikipedia.org...
FlippantBuoyancy
Posts: 447
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5/17/2013 10:20:19 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think there should be enough mislynched to discourage 1for1 trades. So if you have 3 mafia, at least 3 mislynches, if you have 4 mafia, at least 4 mislynches, and so on.
FourTrouble
Posts: 12,759
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5/17/2013 10:36:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/17/2013 10:20:19 AM, FlippantBuoyancy wrote:
I think there should be enough mislynched to discourage 1for1 trades. So if you have 3 mafia, at least 3 mislynches, if you have 4 mafia, at least 4 mislynches, and so on.

This was me, sorry was on phone forgot I was signed into flippant. The above formula is simple but I think it's best. If the mafia are 4 in number but only need 3 mislynches, it would encourage CCs and other kinds of plays that definitely overpower the mafia. You'd need a very strong town to counter it.
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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5/17/2013 10:46:31 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think that's a bit strict, since it puts the Mafia at no more than a 1/4 of the total player count, assuming a successful Night Kill.

I think it is more important that the players can reasonably estimate how many mislynches they have, so they can behave accordingly.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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5/17/2013 11:12:19 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Drafter, you make good points and I completely agree that with 25 mafia, 3 mislynches would be too little. But that means that 25 mislynches are appropriate as a general guideline.

TUF, my view is that the number of mislynches available should be between (m+offset) and (m-offset) where m is the number of mafia. With larger sizes (>20 players) the offset goes up. For DDO games, I'll say that the offset has to be strictly 1. So, in my games, you'd be looking at (m-1) to (m+1) mislynches.

Number of mislynches is a quick way to check whether the game is balanced. Too often mods overpower the town but make them lose if they mislynch twice maybe even once. This is hardly balanced as all town have to do is make a couple of mistakes and they are done. A truly balanced game (for 15-16) players should require that town makes multiple mistakes to win to give both factions a fair shot.

There are other factors to weigh. While number of mislynches available is an extremely important part of balancing a mafia game, also consider how many power roles the town has, any "free" mislynches via paranoid cop, how does vigkills affect mislynches, vengeful townies, no lynches etc.

In Naval Warfare for instance, I intended to allow town 4 mislynches (even after mafia get both their extra kills from the mines) - the same number of mislynches as the number of mafia. Yet, mafia not only successfully got their kills, but town no lynched twice, cutting down this number to three. 2 no lynches = 1 mislynch from a mod POV (although from a player POV, mislynch is better).

Consider the number of killing roles you have as well. If you have a vig/JOAT with kills, major reassessment of balance needs to be done. Also, does mafia have extra kills? That's another factor to consider.

In my last game, I had all these things and it still didn't go out of hand. I agree the mafia were probably powerful (but this was an issue of what roles they had rather than them needing very few mislynches).

My philosophy has been to include enough mafia roles to negate all town power each night if used correctly. However, I think I should lower it a little since my last game didn't go very well for town (besides FT and IFLY). Town should be expected to catch mafia mostly based on behaviors. Roles are supplemental tools, not the nd all of catching mafia.

In my next game, I intend to account for no lynches so I'll probably have 13 players with 3 mafia. That matches up perfectly. Even if town no lynches once, they still have 3 mislynches before they need to lynch the 3 mafia. Meaning to win, they have to hit mafia more often than town.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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5/17/2013 11:17:18 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
To illustrate:

DP1: No lynch (10-3)
NP1: Kill (9-3)
DP2: Mislynch (8-3)
NP2: Kill (7-3)
DP3: Mislynch (6-3)
NP3: Kill (5-3)
DP4: Mislynch (4-3)
NP4: Kill (3-3) and town loss
Buddamoose
Posts: 19,448
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5/17/2013 11:28:07 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I always just go with a 1/3-1/4 ratio of mafia votes to town votes(including third parties). Generally I will make sure that if i add third parties in, that the ratio of scum to townies does not go beyond 1/3 and near 1/2. Which is why if I were ever to mod a smaller game, and I think I have in Electronics mafia, I include no third parties.

I think Electronics was 12 total players for 9'townies and 3 mafia(1/3 mafia vote to town vote, and 1/3 scum to town ratio.
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drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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5/17/2013 12:20:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Another thing to consider is how many "mislynch" targets are built into the game.

On the simplest end, Godfathers and Millers increase mislynches (Godfathers because they encourage town to look elsewhere, Millers because they attract undue attention)

On a more complex end you have otherwise "scummy" roles and characters, which are necessary to a degree, or else the Mafia will stick out like a sore thumb when forced to fake claim.
Logic_on_rails
Posts: 2,445
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5/17/2013 6:25:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
There's simply not enough information to answer the question. The number of mislynches allowed depends on roles, story background, potential recruitments, third parties etc. It's the moderator's job to make an evaluation of game balance given game design. That's a complex task far beyond general rules. Sure, general rules can help, but much better to figure it out for yourself.

The Castle in the Sky had an interesting design that completely discarded most game design principles. You could argue that I didn't quite make the game well of course, and this might well be true, but that's not because I discarded the principles. I made a Mafia with less than 1/7 of the players alive, yet easily compensated them for instance.

In A Not so Quaint Town I think town had 2 or 3 mislynches. Not much in the set-up, but they had a near-unstoppable vigilante.

My first 3 games all held to a view of 3 Mafia with 15 players. It's tough, but doable for Mafia to win in most of those set-ups.

I could go on, but it's a moderator's decision to make given the specifics.
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Bullish
Posts: 3,527
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5/17/2013 7:19:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Wikipedia says that study says 2 Mafia (no Godfather no Cop) in any non-exaggerated situation is well balanced. But when you take reading into account, 3 is probably better. Only go to 4 when Town has OP roles.
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