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Stop Bussing!

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Original Publication: September 23, 2013 by Mastin2

Revised: June 29, 2015 by Mastin2.

Last Revised: July 21, 2017 by Mastina.

Original Thread.


So I've held this belief for a while, yet in spite of my efforts, the problem of bussing is just as common as when I started my crusade against it. My belief that bussing is bad may seem irrational at first, but it is backed by a long list of reasons from experience and simple logic.

Let's start simple:

Basic theory of bussing:

Back in the day, bussing was a groundbreaking concept. Voting a scumbuddy was thought nearly impossible, not because it hadn't been done before, but because in their eyes it was borderline playing against your wincon, delaying victory intentionally. That's why it worked: there was an incredible risk for scum to do it, high enough that town players thought it impossible; that thought generated the reward necessary to make the bus worth it.

However, over time, bussing became more mainstream. By 2009, people had enough familiarity that it had lost its edge; it was just uncommon enough to where scum carefully chose whether to, and towns had to guess if they had. That dilemma drove bussing--was it worth it? Was more gained than lost through it? It required extensive thought and careful analysis to determine.

Not so anymore.

Bussing's too common!

So common that it is more shocking to see someone not bussing than it is to see someone bus.

If I see a scum lynch, I immediately begin analyzing the players on the lynch, looking for the bussers I'm near-guaranteed to find. Vice-versa, too; if I see a town lynch, I look off the wagon to see where the scum are. In both cases, it's obviously not the only place I look, but it tells you what I expect these days in a game.

The point's been lost.

The point of bussing has been forgotten.

The point of bussing wasn't "oh, you're scummy, so a town-me would be voting you, sorry mate". The point of bussing was to gain more than you would lose. Risk-Reward analysis was the driving force behind the decision to bus, and almost nobody (except a small minority of mostly-pre-2010-joindate players) does so anymore.

You Are Biased

Scum aren't as scummy as you think!

You are the informed minority. You know more about the setup than the town does. Knowing your scumbuddies are scum, you're going to pick up on scumtells from them that a town player would never catch. Seriously. Towns are more idiotic than you think they are. They're not nearly as smart as you give them credit for.

Not even you. This is a semi-common mistake, borderline scumtell: a player confident and competent in reads being scum bussing, when that same player as town misses things. That sudden aptitude for picking up things is an alarm bell. You're not as good as you think you are. As town you make mistakes; as town you know you make mistakes and thus display less confidence. As scum you're smarter; as scum you're more inclined to bus, wrongly assuming your town-self is that smart and would lock onto what your scum-self just did.

Never be restricted!

Seriously, you can get away with some absolutely incredible BS.

A common mistake made by scum is assuming they must play smart, and equating "bussing = smart, not bussing = dumb, dumb = scum". While this may be true of specific players (whose competency as town is such that they must fake incompetency in order to not screw themselves over), 99.99% of players aren't like that. Including you. Dumb isn't scum; if anything, people see it as town.

As long as the town will write it off as a mistake a town player will make, you can pull off some incredible ploys. And trust me: town players aren't scumhunting gods; they make LOTS of mistakes! So as scum, you can make a ton of seemingly-incredible "mistakes" that further your wincon. This type of "Refuge In Audacity" WORKS. (And on that note, never do something as scum because you feel you "have" to do it. Do things as scum because you want to.)

Towns win because of bussing!

And an incredible number of scum wins are a result of not bussing.

Or more accurately, strategically bussing. Which doesn't mean, "Oh, you're clearly going down, so I'll get the towncred by joining your lynch". That's not strategy; it's stupidity: you'll get no towncred from it. I also don't mean, "hardcore tunnel on a scumbuddy"; that's also painfully transparent to any half-way competent town. Strategy means running the risk-reward carefully.

Ask what's gained/lost by bussing.

It really does make the difference.

Perception = play.

Primarily, you're not perceived by who you push (that's part of it, but not all), but how and WHY: the way you pushed is far more important. What does this mean?

Bussing won't win alone.

Because bussing won't give you your objective. (Your objective is to find the fastest, easiest route to endgaming town by controlling half of it. Bussing does the opposite by default.)

If you want towncred (near-universally the only objective of bussing), play solidly instead. Which generally involves being a strong player, working with others, being reasonable, charismatic, and involved in the game, showing effort and attempts to scumhunt.

Solid Play != Bussing.

Solid play does not require bussing.

Because bussing is such a minimal factor in how you're read, it becomes largely unnecessary to do. Bussing CAN be part of playing solidly, but it is not a requirement (and can, counter-intuitively, actually be a hindrance) for it.

Bussing IS allowed...

In spite of what I've said, my rule isn't "no bussing at all!".

It just means that you need to get the most bang for your buck in the bus. The most bang for your buck is not going hard on your scumbuddy immediately. It's not in cross-bussing. It's also not joining in just because your scumbuddy's going down. It's in, via the overall play in relation to the bus, gaining more than you have lost.

Run math carefully!

Game type, setup, and situation changes the vital percentages behind decisions. For instance, in a micro, bussing D1 is practically suicide: no scumbuddy, three needed mislynches, all while dodging town PRs of which there will be 2-3 minimum, typically. But that same bus D2 is more viable, albeit still risky. Yet on D3, it swings back: with both scum alive, why are you trading the potential immediate win for a far-lesser potential 3P lylo win? No towncred is given for cross-bussing in lylo, especially if you/your scumbuddy are two of the more suspicious players; cross-voting could cause a loss you'd otherwise win.

Bussing in minis is safer, but only once. The loss of a single scum member isn't much of a hindrance, yet when done, it needs to be set up such that the remaining scum aren't at risk of being lynched, so must be carefully planned and executed to get the payoff. If you get down to 7 players with two scum, it might be viable again, but that runs the same risk as in a micro.

It's usually best just to get a win with all three scum--and yes, it IS possible to do.

Bussing in a large is fairly similar: done once, and you'll generally be fine. Losing one member will put you at a disadvantage, but if your team was reasonably sized, only slightly so. It's particularly useful to get rid of a weaker scumbuddy you fear will drag you down. Yet tread carefully; it must be done with caution, and repeating on a second scumbuddy leads to a slippery town win slope.

Few games are all-or-nothing.

They can happen, but mostly, scum assuming "defending scum = all-or-nothing" are wrong. It generally increases the all, yes! By keeping scumbuddies alive for as long as possible, lylo comes much faster. The mistake is assuming that it's too great a risk, erroneously fearing the nothing.

Why? Again, your town-self is not a scumhunting god. Nor are your scumbuddies. It's entirely reasonable for a town-you to townread your scumbuddies and defend them from attacks, so don't fear doing so. Especially if a town player does it! If THAT player, who's town, legitimately townread your scumbuddy...why can't you as town have done the same? Town players will have mistaken reads. You as scum can have "mistaken" reads, too.

"I'd do it as town!"

Well, see above about the town-you not being as smart as you think the town-you is. It's harsh, but admit it. Unless you're Paragon-levels of good, it's simply not true.

And furthermore...

Don't play as if town.

Scum shouldn't be playing as if town.

You're not town so playing as if you are is playing against win con.

Instead, you should be playing to appear as if you are town.

This subtle wording alteration makes all the difference. If you're playing as the town-you when you're scum, you're actually playing as a survivor and not as scum. The approach you SHOULD be taking is to make yourself look as close as you can be to your town-self while furthering your scum agenda. Your scum agenda isn't "fuck my scumbuddies, I need to live!". It's getting to 50% of the living--which is much faster WITH those scumbuddies.

When all else fails...

Don't do what's expected. For instance, a scumbuddy on a downward spiral who puts their scumbuddies in their scum-list has just condemned their scumbuddies to death, because the scumbuddies who weren't there before but are there now have just been identified by this transparent tactic. Towns are smart enough to see through the wifom. Instead, try the opposite; put scumbuddies who were null or scum in your TOWN list; you'll practically clear them once you're lynched.

In other words, once expect bussing. They do not expect heavy defending.

A word of warning:

These tips are geared towards current site meta. If I have my way and people listen to my advice, these tips will be obsolete within half a year. But right now, they'll work like a charm.

In summary:

Think before you bus, don't default to the bus.