Elenion

Mid-Range Game 28: Knives in the Dark

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Great game all, and thanks to @Elenion for GMing it! I think I pretty much win honorary eliminator this game. I don't think I cast a single vote for an eliminator until the last cycle when it was too late to matter. Oh well. :rolleyes:

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Well, although it was still a definite mistake on my part to sign up, it was a pleasure meeting and then subsequently killing all of you.

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15 minutes ago, Madagascar said:

Well, although it was still a definite mistake on my part to sign up, it was a pleasure meeting and then subsequently killing all of you.

why do you say that?

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Well done, Elims, and thanks for helping me out (and I didn’t know who was Elim or village until just the last cycle, actually). I played this role super passively, trusting in my ability to garner votes for...absolutely any reason possible, and it worked out. Other players would probably have taken a different tactic, but it’d have been a fun role for many players, I suspect. Great choice, @Elenion!

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Great game! If I may say, I really liked the mechanics and the different roles we had. They were pretty balanced, it seemed, since there were two factions of elims with less than the normal amount of people. Three Escaped Inmates, three Skybreakers, one Crazy Ivan, and the rest villagers.

The RP and write-ups were really good; I hope to play a game like this again.

As this was my first blackout game, I must say I enjoyed it much.

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I HAD YOU. I HAD YOU. I died knowing who was an elim. If only I had had enough time to speak up earlier. It still feels good  to know that I had totally figured out. Although, Stink, maybe not be so obliquely suspicious? 
And great job with this game Elenion. I'm glad I joined. I have a little more confidence in my analysis abilities (as long as I remember what Orlok points out as being suspicious when he's village). 

Edited by Steeldancer
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Well, I’ve tried roleclaiming twice.

First time I did it to two Elims, who subtly misdirected me and killed me N8. 

This time, the Elim just shot me right away. And I have to say, I kinda preferred it this way. Good job Orlok, and may you always be Nale when there is such a role. 

Oh, and of course thank you to @Elenion for running this and helping me get hints in the dead doc. 

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35 minutes ago, Fifth Scholar said:

This time, the Elim just shot me right away. And I have to say, I kinda preferred it this way. Good job Orlok, and may you always be Nale when there is such a role. 

Actually, he was also Nale in QF25...

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59 minutes ago, Fifth Scholar said:

Well, I’ve tried roleclaiming twice.

First time I did it to two Elims, who subtly misdirected me and killed me N8. 

This time, the Elim just shot me right away. And I have to say, I kinda preferred it this way. Good job Orlok, and may you always be Nale when there is such a role. 

And that is why you never ever ever ever roleclaim. 

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6 minutes ago, Herowannabe said:

And that is why you never ever ever ever roleclaim. 

Always roleclaim. Just lie about it half the time.

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Good game everyone, I enjoyed every minute that I was alive. Orlok, I still don't know how you figured everyone out so quickly, but good for you anyway. Thanks so much Elenion, it was a very well constructed game. 

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Game Balance Thoughts:

Distribution: First thing to address: the RNG was an absolute sadist this game. While I was RNGing roles, it stacked the Skybreakers with Jon, Kynedath, and Orlok. Jon got moved into Crazy Ivan because Shqueeves dropped out (it was going to be Shqueeves), and the sadistic RNG replaced him with Aman. I let that one go, but I swapped Kynedath for another player (RNG chose Stick) because I didn't want the Skybreakers having all vocal players. As for numbers of players, there were 18 non-Neutrals that I needed to distribute to the 2 elim teams and the village. I chose 3, 3, and 12, because 4 to start would have been too high and 2 would have been too low. This gave the Inmates a chance to get 4 with their conversion, which along with Mad's extra life was balanced out by the fact that two of them were on the Skybreaker death list. Overall I was very happy with the distribution; one thing that I might change if I ran this again was trade one of the more-active elims for a mid- to low-activity villager, because I felt that in the early game the elims were doing more against each other than the village was doing to them.

The Escaped Inmates: I wanted this faction to feel like a stealth mission. For this purpose I made them role-heavy with lots of individual talents that contributed to that feeling. Drake was a scan-blocker. Although the only thing he could counter was a role-scan, it gave the Inmates the ability to hide their Psychiatrist (which would have been a very interesting role-name to scan given that in one of the first write-ups I specified that the Inmates had escaped from a mental institution) and also gave the faction flavor as a faction hiding in plain sight. Kynedath's ability was so that they could lock down a village or Skybreaker power rule that claimed to them without having to kill them, yet another way of hiding in plain sight. Madagascar had the conversion, and for balance reasons she had an extra life to ensure that she didn't die early before she could find a good target. I also balanced this role by making all Skybreakers and Crazy Ivan immune to conversion. All in all I thought that the Inmates were very balanced, able to withstand the Skybreaker assault but not possessing very many aggressive powers.

The Skybreakers: While the Inmates were role-heavy, I wanted the Skybreakers to feel more unified and based on faction powers. Both Skybreaker Apprentices were essentially vanillas, but they had access to the faction-wide kill action and scan protection. Their win con involved keeping Nale alive, so I gave Nale an extra life so that he couldn't just die out of the blue. The Skybreakers kill action I thought was very thematic, but their scan protection was a little less so. If I was running the game again I'd drop that power, because even if they were scanned by the Detectives then they could just claim village or neutral. Also, the Skybreakers won very early this game, but I think some of that was luck: Drake was lynched out of the blue C1, and Lady of Chaos claimed a suspicious role to Orlok. Had these not happened I think the Skybreakers would have still won, just later in the game.

Crazy Ivan: The name comes from a term that originated in the Cold War, but now means any sudden change of plans. I wasn't sure whether or not to put Crazy Ivan in the game, because he doesn't necessarily fit the source material, but this entire game was tongue in cheek so I figured why not. As much as Ivan was in the game to troll people with the hiccups, he was also a balancing factor. His win con depended on votes getting thrown around, so it was in his best interest to promote voting and discourage inactivity. Since his win con depended on numbers, the village and elims both had things that they could offer him: votes on him and protection, respectively. He didn't need to be balanced against too much; the village's counter to him was the Detectives, which I explain below in their section, and the paranoia that he might be an elim. In this game Ivan ended up working with the Inmates, because they offered to kill Devotary who hadn't been infected yet.

The Undertaker: The Undertaker was supposed to be the walking inactivity filter who could discriminate between those lurking or suspiciously inactive and villagers who just got busy. Ironically enough, the RNG pitched it to the game's most inactive player, who was then lynched based on his inactivity. Had he been active, I don't think any elims were ever targets, but I would have felt better about the village's chances in the late-game.

Proto-Radiants: I gave 2 of these to the village and 2 of these to the Inmates, so damage from the Skybreakers was spread around. The Inmates ones I've already addressed. The village proto-Radiants were a Proto-Windrunner and Lift. The Proto-Windrunner was a filler role, one with an ability that could be very effective in the late game but could do as much harm as good in the early game. Lift was the village's only protection, and her sudden death C1 certainly didn't help the village. She could target the same player twice in a row, but she couldn't save herself, which was a safeguard against mayoring.

Detectives: The Detectives had two major purposes: get information out and force some roles to keep their heads down. Eternum did a very good job at the first of these by confirming players' claims. There were 3 roles that I figured would show up as sketchy to the Detectives: The Undertaker, Crazy Ivan, and possibly the Psychiatrist. Crazy Ivan in particular was to be the one most affected by the Detectives, because if he was accruing a lot of votes he would likely pick up a scan, and with a role name like Crazy Ivan you're not likely to be village. This didn't come up this game, however, because Ivan claimed Neutral early and was not scanned.

Scholars and Politicians: The Five Scholars (something I didn't notice until Ecth told me) and the Politicians were all village to start. This threw off metagame analysis about what roles would be on what sides. The Scholar role actually ended up being very potent in the endgame, preventing STINK from taking over with his vote manip, but I originally intended it to be this game's version of a vanilla role. The Politician was a standard vote-Soothe, and it didn't end up getting put to much use because the Scholars survived so late. Speaking of that: what was up with the Scholars staying alive? They made up 5 out of the 12 villagers, but after half of the village died, all 5 Scholars were somehow still alive to be 5 out of 6 living villagers at the time. That's just crazy right there.

Why was this game Hidden Info?:

1. I wanted the Skybreakers to come out of the blue to kill proto-Radiants, and them have to figure out that they were being targeted. Also, the Skybreakers would have no idea exactly what abilities the proto-Radiants might be manifesting.
2. If it was publicly known what Ivan did, people wouldn't be so paranoid about them, making their win con easy.
3. The Escaped Inmates had the flavor of hiding in plain sight, and I thought revealing their name to start would hurt that.
4. All extra lives were on Evil-only roles, and I didn't want their survival to out them as evil.
5. I wanted the Inmates conversion to be a nasty surprise, and the alignment of the convert to be kept secret.

TL;DR: Overall this game was balanced. I do think the Skybreakers could use a couple minor tweaks to prevent them from winning as early as they did, but even with that the game stayed balanced and all factions had a good shot at victory at at least one point in the game.

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I just think that it's funny that of the total two games I've played here, I've always had a role with two lives. Clearly everyone should just give up trying to kill me at all, ever. Anyway, I thought it was quite interesting, and might have to steal the Crazy Ivan role sometime when I make my own games.

Edited by Madagascar
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So the Skybreakers killed or helped kill six of the nine evil lives within the first two cycles, and then the village completely failed to kill any evils. Towards the end of the game, the Five Scholars brutally murdered each other instead of finding any Escaped Inmates. Mark up another victory for unified insanity.

I think the Skybreakers might have worked better as a neutral faction. If the Skybreakers hadn't won so early, both the village and the Escaped Inmates would have had to chew through 4 lives in order to win, with the scan turning into a kill if Orlok died. As it turned out, the early Skybreaker win turned it into a simplified balanced game. I don't believe the Skybreakers need any other tweak, as their early win was mostly due to the fact that three of their four targets roleclaimed.

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1 hour ago, Elenion said:

in one of the first write-ups I specified that the Inmates had escaped from a mental institution

I missed that little tidbit. If i had noticed it maybe I would have been a little more suspicious of @Madagascar. Probably not though, With a role name like "psychiatrist" I probably would have trusted her more. :rolleyes:

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I was thinking at one point, once it started looking like there were no alignment scanners, of claiming to be one myself and having the ability to psychoanalyze people to see if they were sane or not. That would have been an interesting way to try to twist Psychiatrist. That or just my actual power, sans conversion, on the grounds that as a mental health professional I was used to fighting insane people and thus could put them in straitjackets the first time they came for me. In the end, I was lazy and it didn't seem like I'd really tell everyone that even if I weren't evil so I just let the pigs do the talkin' I guess.

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1 hour ago, Madagascar said:

I was thinking at one point, once it started looking like there were no alignment scanners, of claiming to be one myself and having the ability to psychoanalyze people to see if they were sane or not. That would have been an interesting way to try to twist Psychiatrist. That or just my actual power, sans conversion, on the grounds that as a mental health professional I was used to fighting insane people and thus could put them in straitjackets the first time they came for me. In the end, I was lazy and it didn't seem like I'd really tell everyone that even if I weren't evil so I just let the pigs do the talkin' I guess.

The way I visualized the role was that you were able to use your reasoning and counseling skills to convince the mob or killer that killing you would be a poor choice, but I actually like the straitjacket idea more.

 

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This game is rather overdue for getting closed up. Thanks Elenion for running such an interesting game, and to all the players playing. Congratulations to the Skybreakers and the Inmates for your individual victories, particularly the Skybreakers for completing in an impressively short period of time (*cough*Orlok*cough*).

As always, if anyone would like to try their hand at running a game, just get a hold of SeonidAlvron, Orlok or myself. Not only will we get you added to the list (and the GM PM group), but we and the committee (Aonar, Aman, El, Joe, and Stink) would be more than willing to help out in any way we can. 

You can also post game ideas, ask questions, and get feedback from everyone over in the Art of Game Creation thread too. With all the games we've run so far, we have plenty of experienced GMs who can help you refine any game you're working on.

Thanks again to everyone who played, and we look forward to killing seeing you in future games!

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