This leads us to our next topic: Status Quo and Apathy. We mentioned Status Quo in the beginner section, but let’s define its use here. Status Quo refers not to the obvious state of the game or the individual reads of any players in it, but rather to the collective unconscious of the game and where its opinions lay. In essence, what the town would do if every player simply voted without any new information gained and without new interactions changing their views. Status Quo is an overview of the state of the town as a whole.
Similarly, we can define apathy in the way that the town as a whole is unwilling or unable to escape from its current status quo. Apathy isn’t a positive or negative connotative in this fashion, though often used negatively. Apathy levels are simply the amount at which nothing will change in the game. If Apathy is at 100 percent, then the game will play out its course exactly as planned from the prior day and as predicted. If it’s at 0, the result may still be the same, but the ability to PREDICT that result, AND the amount of CHANGE IN THE STATUS QUO (even if the lynch didn’t) is measured here.
So what do these have to do with scum? Everything really. What people don’t realize is that scum completely control the pace of the game, and so, in essence: Scum set the baseline for the Status Quo and Apathy level of the game. What is meant by this is that because scum know the correct answers and because scum have the night kill, if the Status Quo does not benefit scum, they can simply kill someone that will cause a major shift in the game’s understanding. If it does benefit them, they can kill obvious kills that will lead to the same conclusions.
Because this level of analysis is first order, this means the town is completely capable of understanding this is happening to them and they do. Literally, the paranoia that a universally town read player may be scum hiding deep within the folds of town is nothing other than town shaking the status quo. And as town has more numbers than you, they are the ones who truly hold the keys to the ability to DEFINE the status quo, if not the ability scum have to set its baseline.
So where does that leave us as scum? What can we do to use the Status Quo and Apathy as weapons in the game? Let’s look at the obvious one first, Apathy.
Apathy as a weapon in Mafia is well known for its… unsavoury response. Townies don’t like when scum players make other people care less about the game. In my mind, if you’re not breaking the rules of the game, it’s fair game. Townies have a right to kill players who are bad or increase apathy, right? So we have a right to induce it and dare them to. How does scum increase levels of apathy? Firstly, if apathy is the ability for town to change the status quo of the game over the next day, removing the players who will make the most impact on that status quo is a good way. Not just players who have already made their impact; no, the most beneficial kills are the ones where the player has given the incorrect opinion and then dies JUST before they would change it. There’s an art to killing a player the night before they were going to reverse their reads and catch scum, but you get a sense for it the more you play.
Be on the lookout for anyone who is a bit on the fence, or seems disaffected with the direction of the town. Especially if they’re a competent and dangerous player. This is where your connections with players will come in handy, because when you get the sense a player is shifting out from your control, or that the connection is changing its identity, it may be time to let that fish loose. The benefit of performing this is that you can use their last wishes to your advantage keeping status quo where you want it, but also that you’re reducing the number of players who would have fought to make people reconsider.
Additionally, another method to use is simply to demotivate the town. If you have someone who is in firm command of the town, manipulating them (or just being that person yourself) will give you the ability to quash the rebellious spirit of the townies until they comply. If a townie thinks they aren’t being heard, often their response is to attack the one who is suppressing them. If they can’t do that because of the power dynamic or town reads or whatever, they become DEPRESSED. They think no one will listen to them and they stop TRYING. NOTHING IS EASIER TO BEAT THAN A TOWN WHO DOESN’T CARE. It’s essentially the art of war. Fighting is good, winning without striking a blow is better.
Finally you can increase apathy by making the thread hard to read. This should be made clear: Don’t deliberately make the thread a $#@!post zone and call it scumplay. Don’t insult people and make them not wanna play anymore and call it scum play. (People will get mad, insults will get thrown… if you make someone wanna quit that way you’ve got bigger problems and you should apologize. I know I’ve done it, I’ve been that angry and I’ve regretted it every time.) No, the method described here is an inundation of INFORMATION. Flood the town with posts that discuss the same things again and again, not by spamming, simply by having the same conversation 10 different ways. Encourage a spammy poster to go on a deep dive where they post 20 long wall posts about every interaction in the game that NO ONE WANTS TO READ. Townies are susceptible to the concept that they feel they need good reasons to kill someone, and don’t consider “is overloading information instead of analysis” to be a good one. People call it a policy lynch and then $#@! goes wild. Until townies are willing to lynch people who do this kind of play (and sometimes you convince townies to do it for you even) doing this is the punishment that townies get for not wanting to lynch policies/information overloads. Feel no shame in doing this. If it makes a player not want to read the thread, guess what they will do? They’ll default to their start of day reads and just go with those instead of reading 20 pages of nonsense that makes their eyes cross.
So if apathy is driven up when the status quo is good for scum, obviously scum benefit. And if the status quo doesn’t benefit scum? Scum can use night kills and proper day play to let town hang themselves… then drive them into their graves.
In summary, and I’ll make this point abundantly clear: Until the town decides that combating apathy by treating those who spread it as scummy is something they will do, use apathy to your advantage without any shame. It is the single best way to control the actions of the town en masse.
One of the best ways to spread apathy is to simply say the game is drowning in it already, then say you’ll combat it… then push for the status quo in a loud manner. People will often confuse “loud and active and rallying” for “decreasing apathy” when in truth you can actually increase apathy by forcing people to remain on the same path while being sly.