Stealth's Guide to Newbie Hosting
I've been playing FM since before I was in high school. I've been playing arcade mafia for longer. It's kind of awkward.
Hosting is a very fun experience, but not one that anyone should try unless they want to try it. If you don't enjoy hosting, the quality of your game will suffer. I've hosted games that I didn't enjoy before. I've also hosted ones that I have really enjoyed. The extreme variance in quality is very noticeable to your players. It is very important that you do not force yourself to host.
Lets be real here, if you're here, you either saw this post on the sidebar, or you're specifically searching for hosting related material. That means you already have a setup you want to run. Great! You either made a setup that you like or you have decided to run a previously approved setup. If you haven't already, make sure your setup is in the FM queue. Ask an FM staff member to do that for you. Easy peasy. These days there tends to be a one to two month gap between adding your setup to the queue and when it actually gets run.
An FM staff member will notify you when it's your turn to go. At this point in time, you'll want to do three things.
1. Post your signup page. If you're a new host, your game will probably fill up pretty quickly. People like playing FM and a possible new good host is always exciting.
2. Roll your setup. Unless an element is specifically said to be random, you will want to balance the setup by hand. For a post more specifically about setup balance, view this one.
3. Create your organization. I use a spreadsheet to help me keep track of which players are what roles. I do not respond to any PMs without referencing my spreadsheet. You can either bind your roles to the signup order, or randomize the roles so that the signup order doesn't matter. I do the second one because I like looking at my spreadsheet and going "damn this scum team is stacked/fucked".
If you do not take the necessary steps before the game to keep yourself organized, you WILL hate yourself.
Here's every single code command you need to know for the game.
Don't be afraid to move EoD or EoN around a few hours to better accommodate your schedule. What you should not do is delay the game for 24 hours unless it is an ABSOLUTE EMERGENCY. You'll lose the momentum your game has; your players will be irritated at the delay and the game will start to drag. It makes for a less enjoyable experience for everyone. If you are not in a position where you can't start the day or night, you either need a cohost or you need to find an FM staff member to try to open the thread for you. The show must go on.
[L]5[/ L] This sets the votes-to-lynch. In this case, they're 5. You want this to be at 50% of the amount of players, +1 (or 51% if that's confusing) For 9 people, it's 5. For 10, it's 6.
[resetcount][/ resetcount] Resets the votes
[mayor]15807,2[/ mayor] This will give me an extra vote. Here's how it works. The first number is the user ID. This can be found in the URL of each profile. It's almost always 5 digits. The second number is the number of votes the person should have.
[COUNTDOWN]00:23:59:59[/ COUNTDOWN] Countdown timers suck balls. To do 24 hours you'll want to put it in like that. To do 48 you change the 00 to 01.
Each night you should catalog all night actions in your spreadsheet. Once ALL of the night actions are in, or once the deadline is hit (I lock all night actions an hour before day starts because this usually takes 30 minutes to an hour), start going through the OoO and generating feedback. You generally want to do this referencing the OoO to avoid host errors. There's typically one scenario that comes down to an order of operations once every two games or so. Please be attentive to it.
Before you send out night feedback double check EVERYTHING. If you have a cohost, have the cohost double check everything if they're there. Hell, ask a dead player to double check everything. People make stupid mistakes. You're a person. Be careful.
I encourage every new host to read through this game. This is the single worst game in site history. The reasons you should do this are twofold.
1. It's actually functionally impossible for you to host a game that is worse than this one if you're not trying to. You'll feel better about your odds if you read this.
2. This is a great example of someone who ISN'T following the correct steps.
Remember that your first time hosting is not your best game. You will improve. Your goal is to make it enjoyable for yourself first, and your players second. It doesn't have to be perfect. If you mess up that's totally OK, everyone has done it at one point in time,
including me, and I'm perfect.