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 Ethics: Role randomization
 
What is the most you would do when randomizing as a host?
Always role randomize once only and give roles based on that. [ 15 ]  [65.22%]
Can role randomize a few times until a good mix appears or swap a couple of roles to increase enjoyment or balance. [ 6 ]  [26.09%]
Randomize then swap more than 2 roles to increase enjoyment or balance. [ 1 ]  [4.35%]
Choose every role yourself. [ 1 ]  [4.35%]
Total Votes: 23
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  Posted May 7 2015, 04:30 PM
The Ethics of Mafia - Role Randomization

I'm just interested to know if hosts have ever not fully randomized the role list. It is kind of a taboo question but an interesting issue. There are PROs and CONs on both sides.

This is just a cursory list and I can add to it later if people discuss this.

Reasons to randomize fully
It is fair to everyone.
Nobody can guess what role you might have been given.
No metagaming what the host would have done or defending yourself based on that.
No favoritism.
No host interference.

Reasons to swap a few roles
Nobody can guess what reasoning the host used.
People will be more satisfied with their role.
There is someone in a BTSC active enough to powerplay the actions.
To make an interesting baddie BTSC combo.
Barc is sick of being bad 5 times in a row. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/tongue.gif

Example Dilemmas to discuss:
1) In newbie mafia on BD, putting an experienced player with 2 newbies in baddie btsc helps them learn the game which is really the point. On the other hand, when me and anon26 were newish, we bonded for life from being baddies together. It was a hell of a ride. Many running jokes were set in motion. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/rofl.gif

2) Let's say in spymafia, player A is 99.99999999% going to spy player B, do you allow player B to be bad while Player A is sane/insane so baddies lose half their team immediately? There are many other combos that would work if you randomize a 2nd time but is that interfering?

3) In 4-faction mafia, if an entire faction is probable inactives or low-activity, do you ensure there is someone to powerplay the actions?

4) If you know someone will be upset to get role x again, do you re-randomize?
This happened to me a few years back and the player was very unmotivated after getting that role and clearly did not enjoy the game. Was also semi-inactive. (Obviously I hadn't re-randomized, not that he asked me to.)

Full disclosure: I will admit that on occasion I have skewed Slick into being goodie instead of baddie because he copes FAR better in a goodie role. It occurs to me that he is always saying he is "almost always good" so are other hosts doing this, too, or does he just happen to get the faction he plays best in? http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/unsure.gif This data shows Slick is clearly good a higher percentage of the time vs anyone else (except Coolkid http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/XD.gif ). Data sample is random, choosing people who have been playing for a while:

MM results from wiki, excluding indy/other factions, in order of # of times baddie.
Aura - 28 bad vs 48 good
Nana - 18 bad vs 28 good
Slick - 17 bad vs 76 good
Marth - 14 bad vs 41 good
Jay - 13 bad vs 20 good
Bb - 12 bad vs 28 good
Coolkid - 0 bad vs 8 good. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/stop.gif This does not help my case!

Interested to hear opinions on the dilemmas or you can anonymously vote above.




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  Posted May 7 2015, 05:15 PM
14 bad vs 37 good. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/hm.gif


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  Posted May 7 2015, 05:27 PM
I believe I should get a double baddie count for UMM6 http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/whistle.gif


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  Posted May 7 2015, 05:59 PM
QUOTE (Vommack @ May 8 2015, 07:45 AM)
14 bad vs 37 good.  http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/hm.gif


QUOTE (coolkid @ May 8 2015, 07:57 AM)
I believe I should get a double baddie count for UMM6 http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/whistle.gif


Thanks for you guys' intelligent comments to my thread. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/mellow.gif I should have known... http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/palm.gif I would probably get more insightful comments if I posted some low effort story about poop or the like.

You were Indy/Other in UMM http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/whistle.gif Whistle right back at ya.



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  Posted May 7 2015, 07:35 PM
Well I've only hosted one game so it's not like I have a lot of experience with this but I randomized the roles once and went with that when I hosted although if I'd known 2/3 of the baddie team was going to be inactive I might've rerolled it. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/sigh.gif


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  Posted May 7 2015, 07:36 PM
At least for me, I think the bigger thing is whether or not I know ahead of time as a player that that's how the roles are being distributed.

I forget which game it was, but we found out after the game that the roles were hand-selected rather than randomized, and if I recall correctly, what upset me (well not really upset. It wasn't a big deal to me) wasn't so much that the roles were hand-selected but that I felt like I has been misled about that.

So at least from where I sit, that might be something else that we could play with in game designs? But I definitely think it needs to be stated up front if it won't be randomized.



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  Posted May 7 2015, 07:42 PM
In my first few games I worried about meta when so and so got a certain role, that people might guess it, and would re-roll the whole roster. But I have since learned to not care about that and just roll once and move on.

If there is an issue with a roster, I prefer to re-roll the whole roster to keep it random, but if the issue is just one player then I can see how just switching that 1 around is useful.

And it is funny that Slick has the highest goodie avg and Jay the highest baddie avg.

Edit, Shadow, I think roles should always be random.

This post has been edited by _Nana7: May 7 2015, 07:44 PM


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  Posted May 7 2015, 07:54 PM
QUOTE (_ShadowAngel @ May 8 2015, 10:06 AM)
At least for me, I think the bigger thing is whether or not I know ahead of time as a player that that's how the roles are being distributed.

I forget which game it was, but we found out after the game that the roles were hand-selected rather than randomized, and if I recall correctly, what upset me (well not really upset. It wasn't a big deal to me) wasn't so much that the roles were hand-selected but that I felt like I has been misled about that.

So at least from where I sit, that might be something else that we could play with in game designs? But I definitely think it needs to be stated up front if it won't be randomized.

Wow, really? That is kinda sneaky. Well, I left this out of my OP in case people got all militant but here:

Thought experiment: Would it be a viable experiment to have "Host selected roles" game, with it specified in the OP? Enter the WiFoM because it is exactly that, WIFOM. Nobody could guess the reasoning behind who got what role and favouritism would be prohibited; you'd have to give reasons for who got what role. Also, the host could randomize them and SAY they chose them individually. Or not totally "host selected", but that the randomizing process is in the OP. Meaning if it doesn't say anything in the OP, you can be sure it was 100% random.

The thing is, it would make "what would the host do" part of the game. The host could then use WIFOM like putting the person they least know as Indy, 3 newbies as bad and giving their biggest enemy the best role. Or make barc baddie. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/tongue.gif Or put everyone in the exact role you'd expect like
Slick - save or role spy
Nana - Indy
Jay, Barc, (... who else?) Maybe alexey - baddie
SaaB - goodie but acts bad and is spied as bad. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/XD.gif lol, jk
coolkid or yuiop - "RID the entire roster to win"

http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/XD.gif



"Agh! My brain hurts! I think I'm going to need some glasses, a moustache and a handkerchief"
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  Posted May 7 2015, 07:58 PM
QUOTE (_Nana7 @ May 8 2015, 10:12 AM)
In my first few games I worried about meta when so and so got a certain role, that people might guess it, and would re-roll the whole roster. But I have since learned to not care about that and just roll once and move on.

If there is an issue with a roster, I prefer to re-roll the whole roster to keep it random, but if the issue is just one player then I can see how just switching that 1 around is useful.

And it is funny that Slick has the highest goodie avg and Jay the highest baddie avg.

Edit, Shadow, I think roles should always be random.

Re your edit: I'm not bringing this up to change anything. I am bringing it up to discuss ideas and see what people really think. I would hope people can say what they think without being scared they will look bad, since this is a taboo kind of question. I can imagine people hanging back from answering.

Edit - more like "The Philosophy and ethics of Mafia" type thing.

Edit 2 - like "Dilemma number 4 I would not give in because then everyone would be requesting roles and it s that player's problem." You know, like reasons for and against each situation. Oh well.

This post has been edited by _Auramyna: May 7 2015, 08:02 PM


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  Posted May 7 2015, 08:03 PM
No question or opinion should be taboo, I want everyone to feel free to think and say whatever.


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  Posted May 7 2015, 08:12 PM
Being serious, I think I manipulated one role once as a joke. Beyond that, I've been all random as far as I remember.
QUOTE (_Auramyna @ May 7 2015, 07:54 PM)
Thought experiment: Would it be a viable experiment to have "Host selected roles" game, with it specified in the OP?  Enter the WiFoM because it is exactly that, WIFOM.  Nobody could guess the reasoning behind who got what role and favouritism would be prohibited; you'd have to give reasons for who got what role. Also, the host could randomize them and SAY they chose them individually.  Or not totally "host selected", but that the randomizing process is in the OP.  Meaning if it doesn't say anything in the OP, you can be sure it was 100% random.

The thing is, it would make "what would the host do" part of the game.  The host could then use WIFOM like putting the person they least know as Indy, 3 newbies as bad and giving their biggest enemy the best role.  Or make barc baddie. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/tongue.gif  Or put everyone in the exact role you'd expect like
Slick - save or role spy
Nana - Indy
Jay, Barc, (... who else?) Maybe alexey - baddie
SaaB - goodie but acts bad and is spied as bad. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/XD.gif lol, jk
coolkid or yuiop - "RID the entire roster to win"

http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/XD.gif

Now, this is an interesting idea... I might have to steal that sometime http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/devil.gif I guess there could be an argument that it could give the host too much influence over the game's outcome(IE stacking a side with who the host views as stronger players) but I certainly think it's an experiment worth running.


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  Posted May 7 2015, 08:12 PM
QUOTE (_Auramyna @ May 7 2015, 08:54 PM)
QUOTE (_ShadowAngel @ May 8 2015, 10:06 AM)
At least for me, I think the bigger thing is whether or not I know ahead of time as a player that that's how the roles are being distributed.

I forget which game it was, but we found out after the game that the roles were hand-selected rather than randomized, and if I recall correctly, what upset me (well not really upset. It wasn't a big deal to me) wasn't so much that the roles were hand-selected but that I felt like I has been misled about that.

So at least from where I sit, that might be something else that we could play with in game designs? But I definitely think it needs to be stated up front if it won't be randomized.

Wow, really? That is kinda sneaky. Well, I left this out of my OP in case people got all militant but here:
Well if I recall correctly, it was his first game to host here, and I think the site he came from typically did hand-select roles http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/shrug.gif
Thought experiment: Would it be a viable experiment to have "Host selected roles" game, with it specified in the OP? Enter the WiFoM because it is exactly that, WIFOM. Nobody could guess the reasoning behind who got what role and favouritism would be prohibited; you'd have to give reasons for who got what role. Also, the host could randomize them and SAY they chose them individually. Or not totally "host selected", but that the randomizing process is in the OP. Meaning if it doesn't say anything in the OP, you can be sure it was 100% random.

The thing is, it would make "what would the host do" part of the game. The host could then use WIFOM like putting the person they least know as Indy, 3 newbies as bad and giving their biggest enemy the best role. Or make barc baddie. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/tongue.gif Or put everyone in the exact role you'd expect like
Slick - save or role spy
Nana - Indy
Jay, Barc, (... who else?) Maybe alexey - baddie
SaaB - goodie but acts bad and is spied as bad. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/XD.gif lol, jk
coolkid or yuiop - "RID the entire roster to win"

http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/XD.gif

IF considerations of role selection were to be a factor, I had another idea for a possible WIFOMy way in which that could be done, and which would basically be player-selected. I mean, you'd need to control for multiple people wanting the same roles and some roles not being wanted, but overall, it should work. Each player would send in a ranked list of their top 5 roles and pick a number 1-100, and the host would start from a randomly selected number, and the closest player to that number would get their first pick, and moving out from that number would determine the order in which other players get to try for their first pick. You could either say that each player, in order, would get their highest remaining pick, or that you'd go out, looking only at first picks, then start over looking at the un-assigned players' second picks, and so on. There are probably a couple of other ways you could get a basically player-selected role roster, but the overall concept is an interesting one to explore, IF role selection becomes another thing that hosts can play with.

EDIT: and, of course (at least to me), in all of these cases, maintaining the balance of the game would need to be considered with this unusual role selection method as a factor in the design phase.

EDIT2: It might also be something that could be played with more in anon-games? Since it's harder for the players to use "Oh, it's Barc, he must be baddie again" or some such to WIFOM around players and roles if they have to figure out who players are first.



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  Posted May 7 2015, 08:22 PM
I have vague recollections of randomizing roles, deciding that it could cause problems for a legitimate reason (I think it was having a very inexperienced / probably inactive baddie team), and re-randomizing the whole roster. That was quite a long time ago. Then later on in my hosting career I remember randomizing roles for X-mas Gifts mafia and having the baddie team be Araver, Aura, and Boq and I ran with it. The baddies won, but only by a hair because people forgot to gift their actions on the final day phase.

Were you expecting a point to any of my rambling? I hope not.

At any rate, I think the prime directive is that games ought to be fun and a close second is that they ought to be fair. Usually the two go hand-in-hand but not always. Non-random role distribution is a mild infringement on the second directive, but I think it can be justified through the first. Especially if random.org wants to have the baddie team be a bunch of people who signed up a couple of weeks before the game started, had their initial MM post be to sign up, and haven't logged on since.
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  Posted May 7 2015, 08:55 PM
QUOTE (_Auramyna @ May 7 2015, 04:59 PM)
QUOTE (Vommack @ May 8 2015, 07:45 AM)
14 bad vs 37 good.  http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/hm.gif


QUOTE (coolkid @ May 8 2015, 07:57 AM)
I believe I should get a double baddie count for UMM6 http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/whistle.gif


Thanks for you guys' intelligent comments to my thread. http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/mellow.gif I should have known... http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/palm.gif I would probably get more insightful comments if I posted some low effort story about poop or the like.

You were Indy/Other in UMM http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/whistle.gif Whistle right back at ya.


I was effectively a secret baddie inside the baddie team, hence twice the baddie manipulation http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/shifty.gif and twice the stress http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/frantic.gif http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/pant.gif http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/lol.gif

I have always randomised. I one time switched a bluebie who was likely to be inactive out of a key role, otherwise I have let things be.


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  Posted May 7 2015, 09:55 PM
Very nice to actually get to talk about this taboo http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/smile.gif

First the confession: I've mostly randomized only once.

Reasons to press random.org again: factions full of newcomers/low post count or (only two times I can remember but won't necessarily divulge) metagaming ahead of the game it would most likely have caused massive unhappiness with a certain pair on the same btsc. The temptation is there and if you're reading this please don't tell me you'd gladly walk 10 miles under heavy rain IRL because you rolled "leave umbrella at home" before walking outside.

I am totally against switching b/c the temptation starts to build up and it can easily degenerate into more switching and post-game viewing as hand-picked. What opened my eyes was reading the scandal in one of the first Mafias on BrainDen (the first in which unreality was a player if I recall correctly). I've found most arguments valid but was genuinely surprised by the uproar.

Most of the games where I did not reroll despite having a nagging feeling I can't predict how much fun and or balance will be affected (e.g Having an unknown player as the indy, having a too strong baddie team etc) have proven my fears wrong. There was one I'd go back in time and reroll, but mostly I don't regret. The host is not omniscient and some preconceptions are better left outside while hosting.

Slightly off the topic - I do remember talking about this with almost all my cohosts after the initial role list. But what happens in co-host btsc is sacred (and deletable) so the confession stops here http://mafiamaniac.org/smile/tongue.gif. Except when they decide to make it public (such as our dissapointment with how rolling worked out in Quantum Leap).


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