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Antrax's Guide to Being a Good Townie

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Original Publication: Prior to February 8, 2007 by Antrax

Intro – Why bother playing if I’m a Townie?

Most game setups initially favor the Mafia. This is extremely obvious in the Mafia vs. Townies only setup, where the Mafia will definitely eventually win if the Townies don’t do a thing. Even with more complicated setups (more than one Mafia family, Cops, bodyguards, Vigilantes), relying simply on the good guys with roles to defeat the bad guys with roles turns the game into nothing more than a lottery form. If the Cop nabs enough Mafias before being nabbed – hurray! If not – alas! I don’t believe playing like this is fun, at all. Being a Townie means you have no powers, that’s correct. But it still doesn’t mean you have to resort to passively watching the Vigilante and the Mafia slug it out.

Okay, so what constitutes a “good” Townie?

Townies are not completely deprived of power. They hold two pretty potent weapons – their vote and their brain. Obviously, the “best” Townie is the one who manages to trick the Mafia through his posts, tearing through their lies with spears of pure logic and ultimately emerging triumphant with their bodies hanging limply from their respective nooses. How many people do you know who can accomplish that? Seriously, as Townies, you are usually completely deprived of information. Everything you know, you know from other people’s posts. Those people might be lying, wrong themselves, or misinterpreting information they’ve been given. However, every Townie should be capable of doing something much more simple – not getting in the way.

How do I stay out of the way?

In order to detect careless Mafias, you usually look for people who seem to stand out in the crowd. So naturally, the first step would be “Act like a crowd”. Don’t try forcibly to shine every game. Don’t see mountains where there are mice. Some players act as though they have to dominate every game, regardless if they have a clue or not. Such behaviour will confuse the other players, possibly making them follow you in vain, possibly making them eliminate you and waste precious time. Moreover, it may also lead to Cops wasting investigations on you, Docs wasting protection on you after assuming you are a Cop, etc. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try and deduce Mafias; I’m saying that unless you really have something to contribute, shutting up isn’t a bad idea at all. SOME people are bound to have a clue. They either have investigative information, or they stumbled upon a mistake one of the Mafias made. However, a common Mafia tactic is to lead Townies around in circles eliminating each other, until they can be ultimately defeated. The best way of accomplishing it is through the use of CrapLogic™, which is using faulty logic in order to repeatedly cause the elimination of innocents. Mafias can lie all they want. But always, the person with the vote is YOU, the Townie, which leads to the second rule – "Use your brains". It is all too easy to say “I’m just a Townie. This game has a ton of posts, I can’t keep up. He seems to be posting a lot, he must be up to something. Vote: someone who will eventually turn out to be the Cop, but who was a little less eloquent than Mr. Frequent poster.” I love Townies like that when I’m Mafia. I can throw together the most pathetic argument, wrap it nicely with funny posts and demagoguery, and voila, innocent eliminations (More about this tactic in the next article – “How to be Mafia”). This tactic will fail if the Townies will feel just as obligated to the game, take their time to read through the various outstanding players’ arguments, and think for themselves. Don’t rely on other people’s summaries or behaviour. Read. Think. Vote. The third point to consider is that one of the advantages of Townies is numbers. As long as you believe that winning in Mafia means just having the side you belong to eventually win, you will clearly see the logic in the third rule – "Do not be afraid to sacrifice yourself". If you somehow, during the game, get the possibility to reveal a lie, don’t hesitate to do it, even though it would mean your probable demise soon (as it’ll turn you into a confirmed innocent, aka “bullseye” in Mafia jargon). Trading a Townie’s life for a Mafia member is always a good deal for the Town.

As you can see, by just staying out of the way and avoiding getting eliminated, investigated or protected, a Townie can help his group a great deal. The less people yelling “this and that are Mafia”, the more clearly the situation can be analyzed. I’m not saying all the Townies should shut up, every game. That’s incorrect, as it would encourage Mafias being silent as well, and help them blend in the crowd. What I AM saying is that, in order to be a good Townie, you have to use your brain before posting, ESPECIALLY before voting, and never hesitate to sacrifice yourself if the situation allows for it. Add to that acting in a non-suspicious manner, and you’ve increased the Town’s chances greatly, without having to nail even one Mafia.