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Breaking Strategy

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A breaking strategy (also known as gaming the system) is one that has been found to be objectively superior to any other strategy, often due to some flaw in the design or balance of the game, and typically resulting in one side having an insurmountable advantage once executed. Since they work better than any other strategy, there is no reason not to use them every time, and so gameplay becomes dull for both sides.

The classic example of a breaking strategy is Follow the Cop, where a known investigator and a hidden protector combine to produce a string of results. If this happens the scum must either counterclaim the investigator or kill the protector, the former guaranteeing loss of a member, and the latter being difficult and impractical. These two strategies then become the only viable strategies if the setup is known or correctly expected, the metagame suffers, and town wins the majority of the time.

For another example, a Mass Roleclaim in some Theme Games (specifically, ones where almost all of the obviously good named characters are in the game) will force the evil players to either claim names that are much more obscure, or claim a major role name and hope they manage to get the other player eliminated. Some mods combat this by providing a safeclaim.

The original Open Setup for Newbie Games (Original Newbie) also developed some weaknesses to being gamed; this led to alternate setups being made available which negated that number-based analysis.

Note that breaking strategies do not necessarily have to be inherent to a setup; sometimes they can arise naturally during play, often as a result of scum making inadvisable claims and then struggling to substantiate them. These sorts of breaking strategy are less maligned, because they are developed opportunistically, and often not repeatable.