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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:54 am 
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Advice for New Mods

Game Balance is a measurement of how fair a game is. The more balanced a game is, the more the outcome of the game will depend on the skill of the players, the more interesting it will be for the players.

Most games are said to be balanced if all players have an equal chance of winning at the beginning. In practice, not many games are truly balanced. Most of the time there is an advantage on one side. However, if the advantage is small enough then it is convenient to say that the game is balanced.

Before the game ever gets started, the Game Moderator should spend some time thinking through possible ways the game could proceed to an Endgame; if many of those possibilities seem to be heavily weighted toward either the ProTown or Scum players, it's possible that the game is not properly balanced (like a set of scales).

There are some basic ways to tip balance in either direction if one group is getting too powerful:

If Scum is too powerful, here are some tips, in rough order of usefulness:
- Give the town more power roles!
- Take away some scum power roles.
- Introduce more factions (this actually hurts the scum, they have higher chances of killing each other)
- Take away scum/add townies
- Make all cops (if any) sane.

If town is too powerful, here are some other devices:
- Take away power roles.
- Add misleading roles (insane/paranoid/naive cops, millers, etc.)
- Add enablers, or roles such as the Beloved Princess who, when killed, will force the town to skip the next day phase.
- Add scum power roles!
- Fuse factions.

Adapted From: http://mafiascum.net/wiki/index.php?title=Game_Balance

Game Breakers

The next thing you want to do is look for combinations of roles that could turn into a game breaker or at the very least a hard to defeat strategy. The most common is a fatal cop and doctor combo. Just because they are the two most common roles does not mean they should be in every game. Far from it! Cops and Doctors should only be paired some of the time, and even then make sure that the mafia can handle them. Doctors are special roles because whether or not they are in the game, they will still have a strong effect of people’s play. If you want cops and doctors together but know that their power would be too great for the mafia, consider reducing their power somehow; forcing them to operate every other night is an effective mechanism (see Kirby Mafia) as is limiting their targets. Remember that just the mere presence of a doctor significantly boosts the power of every information role in the game. A tracker/doctor combo is just as deadly, if not more so, than the standard cop/doc, so be cautious. Other things to look for are vote manipulators that could work in conjunction or any possible way for a key mechanic to be abused that might lead to a breaking strategy, and anti-town factions. One thing that is very often overlooked is that having more than one anti-town faction (for example, a SK and mafia as opposed to just mafia) often makes all anti-town factions less powerful (unless your SK is nightkill immune, in which case he will probably not be affected). In the above example though, it depends on who the SK hits, but having extra anti-town factions will always make the game more random if anything.

Confirmations

Confirmations can really mess up an otherwise balanced setup, so be very careful about them. Your next step is to look for roles that can confirm themselves (not necessarily as town, but also possibly confirming their power roles). If for whatever reason 25% or more of the town can confirm themselves in this manner, it is highly suggested that you remove some of those roles. Confirmations can take a setup that even may look balanced in scum’s favor and severely break it for the town (see Color Mafia for a sketchy example of this). Roles that can easily confirm themselves include trackers, masons, inventors, roleblockers, vigilantes (with distinctive kill types), and vote manipulators (although this won’t as easily confirm people’s innocence). If you see too many such roles, remove some. You’ll be glad you did.

Test Runs

If there is only two factions (a mafia group and town), then you’ll be able to calculate, barring vigs, protections, or no-lynches, how many lynches the town has to catch scum. Let’s take a look at a simple 16-player setup to see how it’s done:

12 Townies 4 Mafia

Assuming we start in Night, the worst case scenario for town is 4 mislynches and 4 nightkills over 96 hours ending in a 4-player endgame with a mafia win. The best case scenario is to lynch correctly each time, being 4 lynches and 4 nightkills over 96 hours, leaving 8 townies left.

Now, look at the longest town win, and the longest mafia win. The longest win is the win that takes the most time to achieve for each side. For the town, it’s 168 hours (7 days and 7 nights) ending with two townies left alive. The town mislynched thrice, then lynched mafia every day afterward. The slowest mafia win was exactly like the town’s, but on the final day, a townie was lynched. So you’ll note that after three mislynches, the town must lynch correctly every day thereafter. This is the point of lynch-or-lose, and until the mafia are all gone, the town MUST lynch scum every day to survive.

This means that out of a total of seven lynches, the town must lynch correctly four times, leaving us a rate of 57.14%. The opposite of this (42.85%) is the percent of the time that the town can mislynch. I can’t really give you advice on what percent is best, because power roles can change balance quite a bit. Consider how much room for error there is, and remember that the town will usually be a little better off than you can simulate since they can spot slips, tells, etc.

If you’re looking at multiple factions, things can end much quicker if the anti-town factions just happen to wipe each other out for the most part early on, so you can’t go through it in a linear fashion. Instead, do the longest win and loss from town perspective, assuming that no vigs act and no kills are prevented, and also assuming that anti-town roles hit town each night. If there is no way for town to win if anti-town kills always hit town, you might want to check your balance with power roles. If it’s not much better, you probably should adjust things pretty significantly.

Adapted from: http://mafiascum.net/wiki/index.php?tit ... een_Liquid

Another Long Modding Guide

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:05 pm 
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Thanks, that's a great post.
Quote:
If Scum is too powerful, here are some tips, in rough order of usefulness:
...
- Introduce more factions (this actually hurts the scum, they have higher chances of killing each other)
I assume this means more factions of MAFIA, rather than more factions of town. Having town split into factions seems to really help the mafia, since suddenly Town A are almost as happy to lynch Town B as they are to kill a Mafia member.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:33 am
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Location: Plato's Cave
Quote:
Thanks, that's a great post.
Quote:
If Scum is too powerful, here are some tips, in rough order of usefulness:
...
- Introduce more factions (this actually hurts the scum, they have higher chances of killing each other)
I assume this means more factions of MAFIA, rather than more factions of town. Having town split into factions seems to really help the mafia, since suddenly Town A are almost as happy to lynch Town B as they are to kill a Mafia member.
I believe so, yes.

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