High-risk plays

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  1. #1

    High-risk plays

    I wanted to discuss some scenarios, many of which I have personally been in, which can enable the use of unconventional/high-risk gambits. Because of their "feast-or-famine" nature, when these types of strategies work they can seem like brilliant plays. but when they fail, they can seem like throws/trolling. I have ended many games with praise in the former case, and with threats of being reported in the latter case.

    The line between overly aggressive gambits and malicious gameplay can be very thin, often times at superficial glance appear to be only distinguished by whether or not they worked (which is of course highly luck-dependent). I think there can be a productive discussions in exploring some of these scenarios and whether these strategies provide an expected risk-adjusted/probability-weighted positive effect on the role's win condition.

    Scenario 1: The Unlucky Sheriff

    We have all been there before. Sheriff (LW: n1: NS n2: NS n3: NS n4: NS) being put onto the stand and having nothing to show for it. This is made worse if all of the individuals you investigated are also dead (and thus appearing to be just a cheap fake LW cobbled together with information that everyone already has).

    In this situation, being put on the stand based on an evil accusation, in my experience, very often results in a lynch. The lack of a convincing LW combined with whatever accusation which brought you to the stand, usually makes it impossible to compel voters to INNO rather than GUILTY.

    One common strategy that many people who play with me frequently know that I use in this scenario is to falsely claim jester (by claiming an impossible role in the save, typically evils like cult or MM or arso). Unsurprisingly, this can lead to some angry towns when I flip sheriff.

    However, the reason I choose this approach is because I want to try and adjust the odds in which I face an overwhelming likelihood of being lynched. There is no incentive to die honorably as my LW does not benefit the town. The only possible way that I can help the town is to continue living, continue investigating, and hopefully find a worthwhile lead.

    The reason for false jester claim is twofold: 1) dissuade towns from voting GUILTY on someone you know is town (yourself) and 2) dissuade evils from killing a neut benign at night. Both goals serve to maintain the town population count, as well as extend your personal survival in order to continue investigating.

    In situations where town is on the fringe of losing majority vote, towns are much more likely to INNO if they feel pressured to not waste a lynch on a neut benign (even with a solo guilty + doc) as they will feel pressured to lynch an evil. Because evils are likely to avoid GUILTYING a jester as well, it further increases the odds that you survive a trial that you otherwise have no defense for.

    Q: But that doesn't make sense, because even if you come up with a lead, nobody will listen to you.

    A: False. Just staying alive adds tremendous value as a voting town, doubly so if you can get a lead. Once you present a lead, it is likely that you will be targeted by evils, and even if you did not, you can still -SUICIDE in order to publish your lead to the town. A -SUICIDE should not be considered a poor strategy if you were going to get lynched before anyway. Not only that, it implies that the town was able to shift their lynch to another target. While the other target might also end up being town, a 10% chance of lynching an evil is better than a 0% chance of lynching an evil (which is what happens if you are lynched).

    Q: By claiming jester, you will cause damage to towns' abilities to analyze graveyard and role-count.

    A: This is true, but keep in mind it cuts both ways as evils will be confused as well, and more likely to target poorly; evils tend to avoid wasting nights killing jesters, and if there are town killings in play (vet, bg, etc.) this increases the likelihood they will hit a dangerous town rather than killing you. Even if they do kill you anyway, it will be at the cost of an evil night, not a town lynch.

    Q: By claiming jester, you will bait jailor and vet shots.

    A: In a desperate scenario where town is close to losing majority vote, I believe jailors are misplaying by executing a jester rather than searching for evil killing roles. I believe a similar dynamic exists for vets, as they can find NI/kill evils with their bullets. Nonetheless I believe it is still better for a vet to waste a bullet than for town to waste a daytime lynch.

    Scenario 2: The Hateful Vigi

    Simply put, I employ this when a Mafia/Triad Support is still in play and I suspect a possible Consigliere/Administrator who has outed an evil, but especially if it is a neut killing like MM. After I confirm myself as vigi, I publicly state that I will be killing an invest role that is (any degree of likelihood to be a town) after publicly accusing them of being a Consig/Admin.

    The reason for this is twofold. If the target is actually a town (which Mafia/Triad will very clearly know since it is not one of them) it provides an indirect protection as they will seek to kill a different target as they do not want to waste a kill when vigi will already target them. If the target actually is mafia, there is an overwhelming likelihood that I will be targeted by mafia. This provides opportunities for invest roles to find leads out of my death (as I am a confirmed vigi) - in extremely lucky cases a bg on confirmed vigi could even lead to a shootout.

    The question is, do I actually ever shoot the target I publicly accuse? Typically, no, at least not on the night following. If I am attacked and survive, I will push to vote up the original target for a refreshed LW, and after that, I will consider shooting on the next night. But the real strategy here is to "bluff" a vigi attack in order to protect a possible town invest role and potentially bait an evil onto me.

    Underpinning the strategy is the attempt to try and "expand" the vigilante role from just a point-and-click killing machine to try and manipulate/provoke evils.

    Q: What if the target had uncovered and lynched a Mafia/Triad? Shooting a confirmed town invest would be malicious gameplay.

    A: False, because very frequently a mafia invest role may sacrifice a teammate in order to appear "confirmed." While the odds are more likely if it was a neut killing (e.g. MM) that they uncovered, lynching a fellow evil is not necessarily a bad strategy, and thus town should not assume it is a 100% confirmation that the invest role is town.

    Scenario 2.5: The Traitorous Gangster

    This leads to my sub-point, which is that purposefully exposing and lynching a fellow Mafia/Triad should not be considered a throw, even if it does not lead to a Mafia/Triad victory. While it is rude to your teammate, it can be a valid strategy, especially with a weak TG that is easily manipulated. If a potential spy is in play, it should not be expected to premeditate this strategy during night-chat either (and PMs during day are even more suspicious).

    Scenario 3.X: Tactical Town Deaths

    In the current meta of 8331 and 933, in general towns should be far more aggressive with tactical sacrifices in order to enforce and propogate information. 933 in particular should be town-favored, except many players are not experienced enough and are often fooled by evils or just pure spam. In 50% of games, town gets a significant advantage and should be far more aggressive in order to force a victory - aggression that can sometimes be seen as throwing since it involves death of town roles.

    Sheriffs in particular should -suicide if they have a lead, especially if town is already in a strong position (e.g. 6 towns, 1 mafia, 1 NK), as it reduces the likelihood of spam/nonsense confusing towns and allowing evils to kill while town wastes time. This is particularly if leads are nearly foolproof as there are no more framers, witches, etc.

    Similarly as a vigi, when town is in an advantageous position, the best way to press that advantage is to actively shoot invest roles that claim to have a concrete lead e.g. shoot lookout if town is not believing/lynching according to their claim that # is evil.

    Again, in these scenarios, while you would be delighted to end up killing an evil role, you are actually intending to kill a town in order to enforce confirmation of the town role, prompt town to follow their lead/LW, and press the town's numbers advantage against a minority of evils that cannot actually survive a town that trades blow for blow.

    In the case of 6 town vs 1 GF vs 1 SK, two towns at most will die at night to GF and SK. This increases to 3 if vigi shoots an invest role. The next day, the town vote is 3 votes (sufficient for a lynch) vs 2 evils, which guarantees that town can now follow the invest LW and lynch an evil. The count is now 3 town vs SK. This is a reasonable position for town.

    On the other hand, if town is unable to secure a convincing lead, each day that they do not lynch an evil, they lose 2 towns. 6 towns 1 GF 1 SK is actually not a huge lead because it means if they fail to lynch an evil on the first day, they are reduced to a 2v2 by the second night, which is almost a guaranteed town loss.

    You can see here how the immediate 6v2 numbers game is not nearly as critical as ensuring that information is confirmed to accurately enforce a 3v2 lynch.

    Q: What if as vigi you hit a BG? This could result in 1 GF kill, 1 SK kill, and 2 town deaths since vigi chose to attack a town. 6v2 suddenly becomes 2v2 in one night.

    A: This is one of the few cases where bad luck results in a worse outcome in targetting a town. However, the blame is not entirely on the vigi, but rather spread across the town.

    1) If the bg is on the town invest because that town invest is confirmed, the vigi should not have to shoot them in order to confirm their LW - the rest of the town (6v2) should be lynching according to their leads. This is a failure on the part of the town as a whole, not just the vigi.

    2) If the town invest is NOT confirmed (which is why town is not lynching according to their LW) then bg should NOT be on that role. A bg that protects an invest claim that the town does not trust/believe is usually not a good strategy because they still won't be trusted the next day and evils are more likely to target confirmed roles. Unsurprisingly, the bg should also stay on confirmed roles since evils rarely know how many bgs there are until they die to them.

    Scenario 4.X: General Win Condition Questions

    Is asking to be converted into cult considered griefing? You are still playing to win but you are technically cooperating with an entity that you are supposed to lynch at the moment.

    Is indirectly playing to enable conversion considered griefing? (e.g. as vigi shoot enforcer rather than cult to potentially allow them to convert you) You aren't going out of your way to obstruct your win condition but you are opening the opportunity to leave behind your current "team" in order to maximize your personal chance of winning.

    Is killing "potential" allies considered to be griefing? E.g. Evils killing survivor, mafia/triad killing witch, judge killing evil for solo win, etc. They are not part of your win condition and you can choose to kill them but it is unnecessary to ensure your own win condition.


    These are just a few examples, but I think it is already plenty of room for discussion. Would be curious to hear what others think about each scenario.

  2. #2

    Re: High-risk plays

    I'll answer scenario 4.

    1. Say there is a vigi, a mayor and a cult and the night is about to start. At night, a vigi can shoot cult and win for town, but he asks cult "hey cult convert me, I will shoot mayor". This is gamethrowing.
    2. Say there is vigi, enforcer, 2 cults. In this case, the only way for vigi to win is to be converted to cult, so he can ask cult to be converted while he shoots the enforcer. This is not gamethrowing. There is simply no way for you to win as town.

    Going for solo wins is not gamethrowing. In fact, I encourage evil neutrals to always go for solo win. On the other hand, I encourage mafia/triad to kill neutrals if they can afford it.
    I have no use for these bloodless minnows. Bring me a prey that will sate my bloodlust. I hunger.

  3. #3

  4. #4

    Re: High-risk plays

    short answer:
    senario 1: not throw because you are trying to win

    senario 2: game throw. There is a difference between might and must. Unless the vigi is trying to prove his role, in that case the vigi should explain the reasons for shooting the seemed-to-be invest not only after being reported, but also in the game so as to let town know that you are helping.
    If you are a confirmed vigi then you should do this even less. Unless town is on the verge of being overpowered and gambling is your best choice.

    senario 2.5: if the lynched evil is being suspected anyways, then it's not gamethrow. It's just usually people don't plan that tactic more than 1 in-game-day ahead of time.

    senario 3: i would not call it gamethrow, the reason is: vigi shooting a town who is gonna be lynched by town the next day effectively eliminates a night which evils can attack, which in your case ends up saving 1 life.

    senario 4: i don't think so, because in that case amne converting into jester is gamethrow? it only says your role's win condition, didn't say about sticking to your original role. PLUS at the end of game usually everyone (alive) can be converted to cult, you just have to lynch cult during day to get more space.

  5. #5

    Re: High-risk plays

    Scenario 1:
    If I were the unlucky sheriff, I would probably claim Sheriff, give my full lw, and explain to the town that my role is possible in this setup. I would also check the log for other players who have not given a full role/lw, and I would tell town to inno me and get a claim from someone else. If the town lynches me anyway, then that's a shame. You win some, you lose some.

    If I were reviewing a replay in which the unlucky sheriff chose to appear as a Jester, I would need to analyze the full situation to consider whether the person threw the game. If there was no remaining space in the setup for a Jester, then appearing as a Jester would certainly be an irresponsible choice. Is the unlucky sheriff a well-respected player? Or does the unlucky sheriff have a history of trolling and claiming random roles for no reason?

    Scenario 2:
    I don't think I would be witty enough to claim Vigilante publicly before I shoot. It's a risk I usually wouldn't take. If I wanted to confirm myself as vigi, I would probably shoot someone who was lurking, or someone who made a suspicious role claim.

    When I review situations like this, I focus on actions, rather than threats. I would not pay much attention to the threat that the Vigilante made, and I would focus on who the Vigilante actually shot. If the Vigilante didn't shoot the trustworthy townie, then there would be no misconduct at all. If the Vigilante shot the trustworthy townie, it would be tougher to decide. If the townie was 100% confirmed, the Vigilante would be throwing. If the Vigilante did not claim to have killed the townie, it would be throwing since the Vigilante is surrendering his confirmed status.

    Scenario 2.5:
    I usually don't attempt to lynch my Mafia/Triad teammates. It's a risk that I find to be unnecessary and frequently counterproductive.

    If I see a Mafia player lynch a teammate, I check to make sure the Mafia player did it strategically, rather than out of rage. "sheriff here, 15 is mafia" is ok; "15 is mafia, he's a shit player, fuck him" is gamethrowing.

    Scenario 3:
    I agree with your logic and I don't really have much to say. This is a risky play with significant potential benefits. I am glad when I see people utilize this strategy.

    Scenario 4:
    I'm a longtime player with all role wins and almost 40k points, so I'm not too focused on ensuring that I win. Recently, I haven't asked to be culted. When I'm Mafia/Triad/NK, I like to let neutral evil roles win with me.

    Every player's first priority should be to ensure that their team wins. (Neutral roles except for cult are considered to be "on their own team") If it's clear that your team cannot win, then you can be a bit more loose. But you should really be trying your best for your own team to win.

  6. #6

    Re: High-risk plays

    First off, I really love the fact that you're trying to experiment with strategies. Too many players are obsessed with night actions and the "follow the leader meta" and basically don't even pay attention to the game.

    Scenario 1: I would personally do that, even though I've never done it before. There's a lot of potential strategies revolving around lying and the sheriff role; say you weren't ever actually Sheriff to begin with, and that instead you were some Town role and got Audited. If you're good at reading people, you can just claim you were Sheriff and say you found X to be Mafia, but were AFK and forgot to do anything about it. Obviously this is a very risky strategy, as you could literally fuck people over by claiming an investigative role and taking up a potential slot. What you could do is PM a player (if you trust them not to rat you out) and tell them what you actually intend to do.

    Scenario 2: I don't see how claiming vig could bait a Mafia onto you, unless a) The mafia are really smart, and trying to frame the guy you accused or b) The guy really is Mafia. There is no reason to kill a Vig who's planning to kill a confirmed Town Role. If anything, you should attack that guy alongside that Vig to ensure that you break through the investigative's protection.
    But yeah. It could protect them though. I've done similar things in games where I accused people of being Jesters (that really makes EVERYONE in the game suspicious of them; it's worse than calling someone Executioner)... the thing is that people may lynch you for it lol. If you accuse a bodyguard of being Jester, there's a chance they may not protect you, even if you're confirmed

    Scenario 3: Town should 100% get roleclaims from everyone on D2, or D3 at the latest. Push your scumreads, and clear your townreads. So, I'd say Town should always be aggressive.
    Also yeah, there are some scenarios where killing an investigative role could be useful, though it's also the case that if people didn't listen to him whilst alive, they might not listen to him eveen dead... trust me, people are stupid.

    Scenario 4: Depends... it really depends. Usually I'd say it's not a gamethrow but it depends.
    Quote Originally Posted by blinkskater View Post
    Polish my nuts and serve me a milkshake. Anyone who uses scum syntax will be lynched.

  7. #7



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