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Being a good IC

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Original Publication: May 2, 2008 by andycyca and elias_the_thief
Revised: January 9, 2009 by Vel-Rahn Koon
Revised: April 4, 2009 by Vel-Rahn Koon
Revised: February 10, 2010 by Vel-Rahn Koon

Article

Be friendly, be helpful, and don't do stupid things. 
- Thestatusquo
These are the most general tips on being a good IC. While you will not be strictly held to these as an IC, 
violating one or more of these tips on multiple occasions may lead to you being blacklisted from playing as an IC.
- Vel-Rahn Koon, Newbie List Moderator
  • Attitude:

Rude, unhelpful, and/or inattentive ICs do not provide a good experience for players, new or old. Attacking someone is part of the game, but that should be tempered with civility. Don't treat the new people with kid gloves, but don't be the reason they never come back to the site either.

  • Never flake/be replaced:

For a newbie, games are a new and strange experience. It is difficult enough for them to attempt to get reads on players and understand what is and is not scummy without having to deal with people coming in and out of the game willy-nilly. They already have to deal with other newbies consistently being replaced, so don't add the ICs to the list of people who are unstable in the game. Secondly, getting replaced as an IC is a very difficult thing for a mod to deal with, as ICs are scarce. Think of your signing up as an IC as a donation. When you flake or ask to be replaced, it's like donating 75 cents to th Salvation Army, and then walking halfway to your car, turning around, and taking it back out. It's mean, and it doesn't make any sense. Of course there is room for real life crises to occur, but remember that being replaced as an IC is more difficult for the mod, and has a greater impact than it would in a normal game.

Lurking kills newbie games. There are only 7-9 players in the game as is, so there are a decreased number of people posting in the game to begin with. Do not subtract from that number. Make an effort to post in the game, and post regularly. As an IC you are at least partially responsible for the flow of the game, because very often the other players in the game will not understand why more discussion is a good thing. You want to lead by example. Secondly, you want to give the newbies a good first experience. GAMES WHERE NO ONE IS POSTING ARE NOT FUN. Give them a fun game. Give yourself a fun game. Don't lurk.

Newbies get paralyzed all the time, trying to sort out what happens next. When ICs lurk, it provides an example that this is 'how it's done' on this site, which hurts every game they will be in in the future until/unless they learn otherwise. - Mr. Flay
  • Self-Voting/Hammering:

Most of us know that there are very, very few circumstances when self-voting and/or hammering (as Town) is actually helpful to the town. This type of behavior should be kept out of Newbie games, because it does not teach the new players how to play the game correctly. You are not playing to fulfill your win condition as a Town player when you self-vote or self-hammer - a better example to set would be to show the new players how to talk your way out of that situation. Failing that, let the other players lynch you, as you're supposed to do. Remember that voting is the primary method we use to judge people's alignments, and by taking away someone's vote by self-voting, you are denying the town needed information.

Of course, if you're scum then feel free to self-vote/self-hammer. Self-voting/self-hammering as scum denies the town information and IS playing toward your win condition by confusing the remaining townies and allowing your partner to hide in the confusion.

  • Treat the game like a normal game:

The easiest way for newbies to learn is to watch good players playing at their best. Do not attempt to water down your game, or play any differently in terms of your objectives as you would in any other game. Make sure you're playing to win, and make sure you attack just as hard as you would in any other game. Do not attempt to coddle the newbies by playing down to their level, as that will not help them advance as players, and that's pretty much the point of the game.

Remember, while it's supposed to be an introduction, a newbie game is first and foremost a game of mafia, just as real as any other game on the site. A newbie is playing a newbie game because he wants to play mafia, so you should really play mafia with them; have fun, be as aggressive as you'd normally be, don't feel like you should pull your punches in a way that will hurt your game play just because you're worried about scaring off newbies or whatever. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't be nice to the newbies in general, of course, but if you're town and think a newbies acting scummy, or if you're scum and think it's in your best interest to try to get someone lynched, don't be afraid to go after him or her with everything you've got just like you would anyone else. I know when I was a newbie, I would have hated to feel like I was being handled with kid gloves, especially considering the shock going into a normal game would be after that. - Yosarian2

While you might be playing with some players who know the ropes, most likely you'll be playing with people that do not necessarily know very much about mafia. This means that it is your responsibility to attempt to instruct them! That is why you're there, after all. Make sure that they are not confused by the terms you are using, or about what is going on in the game. I don't expect anyone to sit down and "teach" as a college professor would. But you should be ready, willing, and able to explain why you don't put someone at L-1 on page 2 of Day 1. Or why it's not optimal for someone to claim their role if they're not at L-1. Or that you should wait to hear a claim before you hammer someone who is at L-1. You get the point :)

  • Explain everything as much as you can:

By the same token, don't be a mystery. While in some situations is best to hold back reasons for various in game purposes, newbie games are probably not the place for such tactics. Because they are just getting their first taste of mafia, your insights and reasoning are valuable to them. Seeing the way that experienced players think about the game will help them develop their own scum hunting skills later on down the road.

I think it's important to try to explain possible situations where a newbie might make a disastrous mistake that loses the game (such as Day [3] voting), so that they can avoid it. - Mastermind of Sin
  • Ethics:

It is important to remember that playing as an IC you take on two completely different roles. You take on the role that the mod PMs you, but you also take on the role of an IC in the game. When you take game actions, you should ask yourself "am I acting as an IC or as a (insert role here) right now". While it is okay to lie as scum, it is NEVER okay to lie in your role as an IC. Never lie about game theory to get a tactical advantage. When you are acting as an IC, try to be as helpful and honest as possible, but when you are acting as scum, be as deceptive as possible. It's a tough thing to juggle, but it's worth it. Your primary role as an IC is to teach good gameplay. However, situations could arise where your ability to teach is counter-productive to your role as a scum. In these situations, as scum, take notes on anything you say or do that you would have done differently as town. After the game, explain why you did what you did, and what you think the correct town play would have been.

I expect a scum IC to teach correctly and also play to win - almost all the time that's just the smart play. The only difference being, really, that a scum IC will tend to teach things that are true and are sound, logical advice but also just happen, in this one specific case, to lower the town's chances of winning due to factors the town can't possibly know about; or else, the scum IC will give good pro-town advice, but then will use the trust he gets from the town from that good advice to lead the town on bad bandwagons until the town loses. Good scum play is generally very similar to good town play, as far as the uninformed observer can tell. - Yosarian2
As scum, I think you should be as helpful as possible without compromising your own ability to win the game. Play like you would if you were scum in a regular game, but explain all the things that we assume players in regular games would know and understand. If you're scum, it's very important to sit down after the game and explain anything you omitted during the course of the game.... [Y]ou shouldn't purposefully give bad advice on how to play the game, because that turns people away when they find out you screwed them over like that just to win a newbie game when you're supposed to be helping them. - Mastermind of Sin
  • What to Teach?

Realize that there are dozens of different individual rules and theories that could crop up in any given game of Mafia. I think it is an unrealistic expectation for an IC to try to cover every situation. Remember that for a Newbie game we just want to provide an example of how a game functions with the basic mechanics explained. You can't possibly cover it all, so don't try to do so. On the flip side, make sure that whatever theory does get covered is fully explained and understood by all.