So I posted up some thoughts on playing mafia a while ago. And I thought... I spend a fair amount of time in actual mafia games talking about what mafia hosts should or should do. Well... I don't want to give a definitive ruleset on what to do and what not to do, but I decided to put some thoughts out there for discussion. As a mafia game host, I think it'd be beneficial to at least read these since I think these elements deserve some thought to them before just putting them in your game. Even if you don't agree, it'd be good if you made the conscious decision to disagree or to disregard with my reasoning. I'll start with some thoughts on the basic ruleset: clues/no clues, night order and roleclaiming. I won't talk about specific roles and actions until Kitsu's mafia is finished. Feel free to discuss or ask questions, or ask about certain elements of games you particularly want answers for! On Clued and Unclued: There are arguments for why you'd want clued or unclued mafia. I'm inherently biased towards unclued due to what I look from my mafia games but it's your choice and your responsibility to balance catering to your audience (if they prefer clued) and your own personal preferences. Here are some reasons why you might want to do either: Clued: Some people don't play mafia for the logical argumentation, partial information and suspicion. This is especially true in newer players, who aren't as experienced with either the game or the playgroup and don't know people as well to make those awesome adrenaline rush plays of catching someone's slip and running them down into a lynch vote. Clued mafia gives town something to talk about from day one, not having to wait for other people to speak and having to try to discern the subtle hints of how people play. Some people also just enjoy solving word association games and that's what they want to do in a game of mafia, and you can't fault people for that. There's a rush to getting a particularly difficult clue as well. Unclued: On the other hand, making up difficult but not frustratingly misleading or impossible to understand clues is really, really tough. Often, you get into situations where your clue actually better refers to someone you didn't intend, since you were trying to make your clue so obscure. Other times, you frustrate players like Scizordoom and Dragonfire who have some, ahem, clear associations often exploited by clue makers. Personally, I believe clues are incredibly distracting to town, since it gives something for bad players and mafia to rag on about over and over, ignoring the actual evidence they could be looking for out there. It also feels terrible as a host when your clue is basically discovered within two posts and then the mafia just dies, just like that, through no fault of their own. Oops, I guess that great clue I spent three days coming up with isn't as good as I thought. Semi-clued: Honestly, I'm kind of amused at how this took off among some hosts. Basically, your clues refer to the player's roles rather than their actual person. The reason I began this in the first place was to appease people that wanted clues, while not giving them clues. However, over time I've come to realize that it has a few merits. Just be aware that these are the merits, rather than the idea that they're actually helpful towards finding mafia. Basically semi-clues can tell town a couple of things: if there is a Serial Killer, a possible Vigilante, more than one mafia faction. This is compounded with mafias with a very closed cast and predictable characters, so with those town can quickly figure that out. I think that's a good thing, being able to account for those creates opportunities from within town and mafia. But if you don't have any of those, maybe it's not really as useful except as maybe flavour. But don't trick your town into thinking that semi-clues mean more than they are. They basically mean nothing as to finding mafia unless paired with a flavour cop (an investigator who finds the target's weapon, or some specific identifying element). On Night Order: If at all possible, I think it's best if night actions were not completed immediately, but were rather gathered in a "Nighttime Document" by the host, who then completes all the actions at the end of the night. Obviously this does not work for temporary night talking or other things that are very time dependent. The best idea I think would just be to avoid those roles and try to recreate something similar but without the timing requirement. There are situations you can break this rule though. The Olan role from FFT mafia stopped the day or night and just moved the game on the next period. That wouldn't be as big a deal since it ends the night anyway. But there are maybe some other issues with the role. The other option is to just have timing roles that don't interact with each other. Usually that means you'll want no roleblocker. Or just have them happen in the order that they come in. That can be a little random though since people log in at different times. But it's your choice. On Roleclaiming: Roleclaiming can feel incredibly unfair. If everyone is a part of a clear cast in a themed mafia game, I agree. Basically you can confirm everyone's role with wikipedia and lynch those who don't claim. There are some huge benefits to roleclaiming too, however. As a tool to keep the power of mafia in check, it's invaluable. Basically you can turn pressure into roleclaims, so that mafia have future targets, but you've given a player an opportunity to convincingly explain why he or she shouldn't be lynched. Especially in games with no clear cast (like Mega Magic Mafia) roleclaiming would be totally fine. Mafia are allowed to lie. In fact, in a lot of games, the host will give each mafia a "fakeclaim," which is a role that the host thinks is plausible and may have put it in the game but didn't so the mafia can use it to bluff their way through a forced roleclaim. It also gives the cop a way to "cash in" so to speak on their investigations. However, on OI we've been getting pretty good at getting around not being allowed to roleclaim by just claiming having done this or that or having had this information. It's basically roleclaiming without naming the role. So I guess that's good as well.