You are viewing the Wiki. To play the game, visit the forum.


From MafiaWiki
(Redirected from Wine in Front of Me)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

WIFOM is the dilemma that arises from trying to predict whether someone has made an optimal but expected choice, or a suboptimal but unexpected one.

The term WIFOM (short for Wine In Front Of Me) is named for this scene in the 1987 movie The Princess Bride:

Westley: "All right: where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right and who is dead."
Vizzini: "But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you. Are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet, or his enemy's?"

A Practical Approach

In situations such as the movie scenario mentioned above, one often may try to use what he knows of his opponent to make a better choice. However, in some cases this leads to recursive reasoning: "But that's just what he wants me to think, so I'll do the opposite. But maybe that's what he wants me to think, so I'll not do the opposite. But maybe that's what he wants me to think..."

In Mafia, the ability to determine a person's motives for their actions is a core element of Day play. However, a sufficiently self-aware scum-aligned player can make plays that look unmistakably Townish, and a sufficiently self-aware Town-aligned player can make plays that look unusually scummy. Thus, it is up to the observer to make character judgments on which players really are as they seem to be and which players are merely bluffing.

WIFOM is arguably the most misapplied term in the Mafia lexicon, and for years the standard approach has been to throw out any ambiguous evidence. This is not optimal, as WIFOM situations are generally not purely random. However, WIFOM arises precisely because someone is difficult to read, and the possibility of being wrong is inherent in making a choice.

Many times analyzing night kills, especially unexpected night kills, is considered WIFOM, as only the killers can say with certainty why someone died. At present, night-kill analysis is considered simply another possibly-reliable piece of evidence, neither useless nor authoritative.

WIFOM as Game Theory

Life Examples of WIFOM

  • When chasing down a dangerous criminal, a policeman comes to a fork in the road. To the left is a dark alleyway where the criminal would have a moderate chance of escaping (even if the cop correctly follows him that direction). To the right is a well-lit boulevard where the criminal would surely be caught. The policeman doesn't know which way the criminal went. If he guesses wrong, the criminal will easily make a clean getaway.
    • If you were the criminal, which way would you go?
    • If you were the policeman, which way would you guess the criminal went?
  • A large business is attempting to drive a smaller competitor out of the market. The smaller business must begin production on one of two products: The Smidge, which will bring in $1 million worth of income, or the Widget, which will bring in $2 million worth of income. If they select a different product than the large business, they will gain enough money to compete directly with the larger business. If they select the same product, they will be run out of business.
    • What product should each company manufacture?

Mafia examples of WIFOM

  • There is a claimed, proven cop and a hidden doctor and mafia. The mafia knows there is a doctor in the game.
    • As the doctor, who should you protect?
    • As the mafia, who should you kill?
      • Concept: The Mafia knows that there is a Doctor, and the Doctor's best play is to protect the Cop no matter what, so they should not try to kill the Cop. BUT the Doctor knows this too, and can protect someone other than the Cop in order to have a chance at stopping the night-kill. But the Mafia knows that the Doctor has this option, and they may be able to kill the Cop if the Doctor thinks that they aren't going to try it. But the Doctor knows... etc.
        • Caveat: If the Cop dies, nobody will believe a Doctor claim because you weren't protecting the confirmed Cop when it mattered.
          • However, if there are no more players in the game, if the mafia gets a kill this night, it is game over - if he kills the doc it's a mafia win, if he kills the cop it's just a draw. If the mafia fails to kill, and it is completely unknown to the cop if the last mafia is a godfather or not (he isn't), then the cop has some chance of finding out who it is, and a chance to come back to the same situation as before for one night (and give the mafia one more chance at winning). Depending on how you weight wins draws and losses, this situation could be completely balanced for both the doc and the mafia.
            Without the godfather dilemma, the situation is not balanced for the doc, but it is still WIFOM.
  • It is the final four, with two confirmed innocents and two non-confirmed innocents left alive. You are one of the confirmed innocents, and you strongly believe player A to be scum. The other confirmed innocent strongly believes player B to be scum. At night, the proven innocent who believed player B is a scum, is killed.
    • Who should you vote for?
    • As scum in this situation, would you have killed the person accusing you or the person not accusing you?
  • You are a Townie in three-player ELo with two other players who have cross-voted - who you vote for will decide the game. One of them has looked moderately scummy throughout the entire game and appeared to fly under the radar, while the other one has for the most part looked extremely pro-Town throughout - enough to make you wonder why they were never targeted by a night kill. Who should you vote for?
    • Caveat: A surprising proportion of the time, the correct answer is to eliminate the one who looks extremely pro-Town.
    • However, the mafia knows this, and may have not killed the pro-Town player because they want you to believe the pro-Town player is scum.
  • You are the only Mafioso left going into Night with four players alive. Of the three Townies remaining: one of them is a confirmed innocent who does not currently suspect you, one of them is a weak and eliminable player (an "easy elimination"), and one of them is an experienced thinker who will drag ELo out for days but is scummier than you. Who should you kill?
    • Concept: Killing the confirmed innocent, especially if you plan on going for the easy elimination, will probably cause the thinker to notice a trap (as if the easy elimination were indeed scum, killing the confirmed innocent would have been the worst kill they could have made). Killing the thinker may force the confirmed innocent to rethink their Town read on you for the same reason. Killing the weak player will result in a long and protracted ELo in which you and the thinker must convince the confirmed innocent that the other person should be the elimination. Also consider that all of the above is worst-case forecasting - there is a chance that the thinker or the confirmed innocent, if left alive, will go for the easy elimination without questioning the situation. Alternatively, the eliminable player may cast a vote for the thinker in self-preservation, since the thinker is scummier than you, and that would allow you to hammer. With all of the information about the game state on the table, there is no clear "best" kill from your perspective; however, you want to measure whether you want to be in a situation like the previous example.
    • or do you kill nobody and give the town more wrong options
  • Two players are left on a night phase: A town-aligned Bus Driver and a mafia-aligned Role Cop. The latter knows the former's role, and the former roleclaimed.
    • Should the Bus Driver use her ability?
    • Who should the Role Cop shoot?
    • Concept: Usually, the Role Cop would shoot the last townie, however, if the Bus Driver uses his role, then she would redirect the kill back to the Role Cop, who would die. The Role Cop sometimes has the ability to target himself, but that would only work if the Bus Driver uses her role, otherwise he basically kills himself.
    • The Bus Driver has similar questions. Should she use her role, assuming that the Role Cop will do the normal thing and shoot her? Or, if she thinks that the Role Cop believes her claim and tries to outsmart her, she has the option to not use her ability and hope the Role Cop kills themself.
    • Altogether, it's one giant mess. Some hosts declare a tie or an instant win for one side if that happens, or have a rule that prevents such a situation from arising (for example, no self targeting or no idleing).

By Other Names

In Mini 1002: Mafia en Français, DrippingGoofball determined that the French equivalent of WIFOM is LGCCMQLSVDMVEDJCLREHLBADTLIQAOECDL (Le Grand Cru Chassagne-Montrachet Que Le Sommelier Verse Dans Mon Verre Et Dont Je Contemple La Robe Et Hume Le Bouquet Afin De Tuer L'Idiot Qui A Ose Empoisonner Ce Divin Liquide). To the chagrin of the Académie française, it is not clear if this term will catch on with French-speaking scummers. For the record, a more literal translation would be VEFDM, for "vin en face de moi".

Other Uses of WIFOM

In the Free Market

See: WIFOMproducts®.

As an Acronymanteau