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What is Mafia? - A Friendly FAQ

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What is Mafia? - A Friendly FAQ
Post By Admin. 09/08/09, 04:44 pm

What is Mafia? - A Friendly FAQ

Hello there~! There have been lots of people wondering what all of this is about and there have also been a lot of people wanting an FAQ, so here it is: CNZ's own Mafia FAQ.

FAQ Contents

This is an ordered list of all questions in this FAQ.
• What is Mafia?
• What's this about lynching?
• What does it take to play this game?
• I'm keen! How do I sign up?
• People are trying to lynch me, what can I do?
• What's roleclaiming?
• I died just when I found out some important information! Can I tell someone?
• Can I talk to anyone about the game?
• What sorts of roles are there in Mafia?
• I've just received my role PM and I hate it! Can I get another one?
• I feel the moderator was unfair in a decision, what should I do?
• I'm in the Mafia, but I really don't like my family/being a criminal. Can I just get them all lynched?
• Someone in my family just voted for me! What should I do?
• I'm interested in moderating a Mafia game. How can I do this?
• Got any useful links I could use?

What is Mafia?

Mafia is a forum based game that has evolved from the party game known by the same name. In Mafia, people must sign up for a game by choosing an available number during sign ups. The number they pick will determine their role.

Once the game has started it normally goes into Day One. During the Day Phases, people may actively speak to each other in the thread about the game to decide who they should lynch. It is important to be careful of what you say, as everyone playing, including your enemies, can read what you say.

Once some one has been lynched, the player 'dies' and is removed from the game. From there the game moves into Night Phase. During Night Phases, no one may speak in the thread unless told otherwise in their role PM. All people with 'night actions' must PM the Game Moderator (GM) stating who they want to use their Night Actions on. Once all Night Actions have been received (or once the deadline for handing in Night Actions has been reached) the GM will write all the Night Actions into a passage called a 'Night Story'. The Night Story explains the night's events in a cryptic, entertaining way. The Night Story will then be posted and all surviving players may resume posting and must find someone to lynch for that Day Phase.

What's this about lynching?

Lynching is one of the biggest parts of Mafia. During the day, everyone may discuss who they want to lynch. When someone has been lynched they are removed from the game and may not disclose any information to the living players or use any actions. For someone to be lynched there must be a majority vote against them. For instance if there are 10 players in game, then 6 people must all vote for the same person for that person to be lynched. If there are 15 people in game, then 8 people must all vote for the same person to be lynched. All lynch votes must be posted in bold so that the GM can spot it easily.

What does it take to play this game?

The most important things you need to play the game is basic knowledge of how the game is played and knowledge of the rules! You should always read the rules stated in the first post of a Mafia Game as the moderator may or may not have altered them to their liking. You also probably should not play these games if you take things too personally and are easily stressed. In a game of mafia you CANNOT take things personally, nothing is personal in mafia, no matter how hard people pressure you. You shouldn't take being lynched or killed personally, it's just how the game is played. For your own good, if you are an emotional person it would be unwise to play this game. You have been warned.

There are also various tactics when it comes to playing. Some you may learn as you go along. Others you will have to discover by yourself.

I'm keen! How do I sign-up?

Before a Mafia Game starts, there are the Sign-Ups. You'll have to get in quick to pick your number. Your number will determine your role. Roles will always be different in different games. Once the sign-ups are full and you've received your role PM, the main thread should be posted and you'll be able to begin playing.

People are trying to lynch me, what can I do?

To throw off a lynch, you must defend yourself. If you are in the mafia, it may not be a good idea to get your fellow mafia friends to defend you as it would most likely put more suspicion on the both of you. There are many things you can do to defend yourself from being lynched. These can include suggesting a better person to lynch for whatever reason, using an ability given to you by the mod that allows you to avoid it (if you have one!) or roleclaiming.

What's roleclaiming?

Roleclaiming is a tactic that involves disclosing your identity. It is against the rules to fully quote your role PM, however the GM may allow you to paraphrase it to support your claim. Your claims to not necessarily have to be the truth. If you are lying it is called a 'fakeclaim'. Fakeclaims are often used by scum to prove their innocence. Using a fakeclaim is dangerous as someone else might have that role and counter your claim. Normal roleclaiming is also dangerous for townies as it allows scum to know who you are and if you're worth killing.

I died just when I found out some important information! Can I tell someone?

Absolutely not! Not unless someone's Role PM allows them to talk to the dead! If you are dead you may not talk to anybody that is living about the game. If you are caught doing so, the person you were talking to will be modkilled and you will earn yourself a bad name in moderator's books.

Can I talk to anyone about the game?

If someone has been or is still in the game you may not discuss it with them unless your Role PM says otherwise. Roles that can normally contact people include Mafia, Masons and a Cult. If you are caught talking to someone when you're not supposed to, both players will be modkilled.

What sorts of roles are there in Mafia?

There are almost infinite possibilities when it comes to roles. Mods will often make up their own roles as well as using common ones. Games will always have a Mafia, a Cop and a Doctor unless it is a bastardmod.
Here is a flash compilation of roles: Mikeburnfire's Flash Roles

I've just received my role PM and I hate it! Can I get another one?

Nope, you're out of luck I'm afraid. All you can do is grin and bear it or leave the game.

I feel the Game Moderator was unfair in a decision. What should I do?

Never question the Game Moderator in the thread if the decision has anything to do with something that shouldn't be known to the Town. However, feel free to contact the Moderator about it. Keep in mind that moderating can be a lot of work, and if you are griping about something that is completely within the rules of the game, you will probably just annoy the Moderator.

I'm in the Mafia, but I really don't like my family/being a criminal. Can I just get them all lynched?

Technically, this is perfectly possible. However, the goal of the Mafia family is to kill all non-mafia players. Getting your own allies lynched as a joke or because you don't like them is against the spirit of the game, and will likely earn you the lasting distrust of other players. However attacking your partners is a legitimate (and common) tactic, but it should be done strategically, not spitefully (see below).

Someone in my family just voted for me! What should I do?

One of the common Mafia strategies is to have some of the family voting against each other, so that if one member gets lynched, the others will look more innocent. This is a natural part of the game, and is sometimes called distancing or bussing.

I'm interested in moderating a Mafia game. How can I do this?
Well before you even think of moderating a game you should have played at least one full-sized mafia and one mini-mafia. Once you feel you've got the hang of playing you may reserve a spot on the Mafia List.
When designing your game you should be sure to follow the Ten Commandments of Mafia Game Design.
You should also be sure that you've read all the tips and guidelines for actively modding a game.

Got any useful links I could use?

External Links -
Mikeburnfire's Flash Version of a Beginners Guide to the Game of Mafia
Mafiascum's Glossary of Mafia Terms - Note that some may not apply to games on this forum
Mafiascum's Gaming Theory

Links to CNZ Threads -
CNZ's Mafia List
CNZ's General Mafia Discussion Thread
CNZ's Ten Commandments of Mafia Game Design
CNZ's Moderating Guide
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What is Mafia? - A Friendly FAQ Vide
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Re: What is Mafia? - A Friendly FAQ
Post By Zeorymer. 14/10/09, 11:00 am

Arguments and Fallacies – A Beginners Guide for Mafia Players.


Why you need to read this.
How an Argument is constructed.
Non-specific fallacies
Common Mistakes/ Bad Arguments
How should I deconstruct an opponents argument?

Why you need to read this.(Why this guide was written)

After observing and playing quite a few mafia games, I began to notice flaws in reasoning that were allowing arguers to get what they wanted without much opposition. Players were not picking up on the mistakes in reasoning, and faulty conclusions were reached, more often than not getting the wrong person lynched.

This guide is not ”how to spot scumtells”, it is to help players that are being backed into a corner by arguments they do not understand how to fight back against. It is to help find the arguing flaws that are being exploited. This guide will teach you to understand an argument, fallacies that can (and are) being made, and how to avoid them.

How an Argument is Constructed.

An argument consists of premises (P1,P2,P3) and conclusions (C1,C2,C3). The premises exist to support the conclusion. For example
Quote :
P1: I have one item in my right hand.
P2: The item is a spoon.
C1: There is a spoon in my right hand.(From P1 and P2)
This argument is deductive; this means that the premises guarantee the conclusion. If there is only one item in my hand, and that item is a spoon, then it is not possible for anything else to be in my hand.
The other type is a non-deductive argument. This does not mean one which does not support its conclusion, but one that strongly suggests a conclusion, rather than guarantee it. These are more common in mafia.
Quote :
P1: Player A can talk outside the thread.
P2: Mafia can talk outside the thread.
P3: Mafia roles are the most common type of role that can talk outside the thread.
Therefore, probably
C1: Player A is mafia.
Note that this argument does not guarantee Player A to be mafia. However, the evidence strongly suggests this to be the case. Non-deductive arguments usually involve a degree of probability or prediction.

Next we must determine whether the argument is sound or not. We check this through two steps, logical and material.
To pass the logical step, a deductive argument must entail(guarantee) its conclusion, and a non-deductive argument must strongly suggest its conclusion. This is called validity.
To pass the material step, the argument must provide reasonable evidence. If a premise is something that can't be accepted with more evidence, it fails materialy. This is slightly more difficult to gauge in mafia, when most information cannot be confirmed until death, but it generally holds true.
If the argument is valid and true then it is sound. If either of these can't be applied, then the argument needs to be revised or ignored.

How an argument works between 2 or more people.

Person A presents Evidence 1. Evidence 1 is made up of premises that support a conclusion. Person 2 presents Evidence 2. Evidence 2 is a counter-argument to Evidence 1. Evidence
2 states that in some way, Evidence 1 is incorrect, by either denying a premise, or by showing an alternate conclusion is possible.

Co-Dependent/Independent Arguments

An argument is co-dependent if all the premises must be used together to support the conclusion. If one of these premises is faulty, the conclusion is false.
Independent is opposite. An independent arguments succeeds if any one of its premises support the conclusion.

Fallacies – What should be avoided.

Fallacies are reasoning that appears to be convincing, but fails to abide by the above method of an argument. In no particular order, here are some common ones that plague mafia;

-Attacking the Arguer
Instead of providing an argument that counters another argument, the arguer states that the arguments is bad because of something the arguer is.
Quote :
I can't believe you because you are a Christian and believe in God, which I don't believe in.
Attacking the arguer in no way proves the argument is unsound. The arguer has no influence on the quality of the argument he/she presents. All arguments must be based off the premises and conclusions, not who gave them. It is better to call someone out on doing this, rather than continue arguing in this style.

Just avoid. If you have to use one, say you are. Generalizations and stereotypes can often be misleading if used incorrectly.

-Irrelevant Conclusion
When the conclusion is not supported by the premises. This usually occurs when the conclusion given is similar to the actual conclusion that should have been reached logically. The conclusion diverts attention away from a fact rather than address it.

-Begging the question

The conclusion is also a premise.
Quote :
Aliens exist because aliens exist.
This is essentially, a conclusion without premises, or a premise without a conclusion. Half an argument.

-False Cause
Incorrectly assuming one thing follows another.

-Loaded Questions
Where something has to be assumed in order to answer the question. To avoid this, give clear statement answers instead of just yes or no, or ask that the question be rephrased
Quote :
Have you stopped beating your wife?
Both a Yes or No answer imply that at some point you were beating your wife.

-Straw Man
In a response to an argument, the second person claims that the first persons argument is bad by misrepresentation of the position of the first argument. This is always fallacious and should be avoided.

-Proof by verbosity
Quote :
Considering my huge amount of research, I must be right.
No. Always check the facts of any argument. This occurs because people become lazy when reading arguments.

-Negative Proof
Quote :
You can't prove I am scum, so I must be town.
A lack of proof does not guarantee the opposite.

Non-specific fallacies

Always argue clearly. Check and double-check before posting.

Common Mistakes/ Bad Arguments

-Argument from repetition – We've heard this before, so we don't care about your argument.

-Appeal to ridicule – This argument sounds ridiculous, so I don't have to accept it.

-Raising the bar – I would need more proof than that.

-Cherry Picking – It happened once or twice, regardless of how many times it didn't.

-Poisoning the well – I've already said we can't believe anything you say, therefore you are wrong.

-Tu quoque (You too) – You're wrong because you wouldn't act on it yourself.

-Appeal to wealth/poor – You are right/wrong because you have played many/few games.

-False Dilemma – A and B are our only options!

All of these are bad arguments designed to shut down someones argument. They are bad because they all fail to counter the argument being presented, and are based on assumptions rather than evidence.

How do I deconstruct an opponents argument?

  1. Find the conclusion. What point is this argument trying to make?
  2. What premises support this conclusion?
  3. Do the premises support the conclusion? Are they believable? Would I need more evidence to accept this?
  4. Does the argument commit any fallacies? (If yes, then the argument is usually bad)
Deconstructing an opponents arguments is critical to countering it – its important to know what point is trying to be addressed, and gives you a heads up on how to attack back.

Links for those interested in the more academic version of this:
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