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Antrax on Mafia

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Original Publication: Prior to January 28, 2007 by Antrax


How do I win at Mafia?

This question really depends on how you define "winning". I believe the official definition of "winning" a Mafia game is surviving in it. I, however, have always considered myself to have won the game if the group I was part of won the game, regardless of my own demise, or lack thereof. I think everybody should adopt this view, as it allows for far more daring moves.


Which is better, being on the Town’s side, or on the Mafia’s?

Ah. That is a truly interesting question. I’ve written a simulation. First of all, of a game of 20 players (3 Mafia). Every day, the program lynched someone at random. Every night, it killed someone at random. The Mafia won with this setup 68% of the time. Then I added a Cop, which was more like a suicide bomber. My Cop would each night check someone. If that someone was Mafia, he got them lynched the following day, and then got killed at night by the Mafia. With this simplistic setup, the Mafia won only 32% of the time!

The next step was adding the Mafia members "not voting for each other". To do that, I gave the Mafia a chance of 1 in (Town_alive-Mafia_alive) of having someone else lynched, every round. That brought the Mafia win percentage up to 74%, even with my suicide bomber Cop. The conclusion I drew from all that is that (as expected) there is no definite answer to this question. Too much relies on the setup of the game, as well as on the performance of single players. Otherwise, it would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it? :)


An attempt to generalize Mafia:

For use in my next articles, I’ve tried somehow generalizing the "moves" of Mafia, so it can be discussed like other games. Due to the unique nature of the game, it’s not 100% correct, but nonetheless, here it is.

Vote
Casting your vote to lynch someone.
Kill
Any action during the night or day, meant to cause instant death to any player.
Investigate
Targeting a player at night, with the intention of gaining information about the game and/or roles of players.
Protect
Any action during the night, with the intention of preventing harm from any player.
Relay Information
Targeting another player at night in order for him to learn information you possess.
Recruit
Targeting another player during the night in order to change his motives to that of your own, and/or adding him to your group.

Notice all of the above are role-dependent. In addition, any player may post (except in really weird circumstances). Posting usually has a goal, and those can be broken down like this:

Attack
Any post that tries to persuade other players to Vote for the attacked person.
Defend
Any post that tries to persuade other players not to Vote for an attacked person.
Accuse
Claiming to have solid information (as opposed to speculation) regarding another player, to persuade other players to Vote for that person.
Clear
Claiming to have solid information (as opposed to speculation) regarding another player, to persuade other players to not Vote for that person.
Affiliate
Posting in such a way to make other players believe you and another person or group of persons are related by your roles. Can be simple affiliation ("mith and I are in the same Mason lodge.") or a more complex one ("I agree with Antrax. Soothsayer must be Mafia").
Instruct
Posting in a way to try and affect the target choices made by any group tonight. Can be simple ("Docs, defend me!") or complex ("The Mafia will no doubt target Samadhi tonight." (which might have one of many effects)).
Plant Information
Posting something obscure, with an intention for the meaning to be revealed later on in the game. For example "lynching me will get you literally nowhere" with the intention of revealing later on that you are lynch-proof, or voting for someone early-on with the intention of people lynching him after you die and turn out to be a Cop. A different variation of that is still under debate, and that’s using cryptography to plant the names of your Mason buddies in your posts.