Strategy and Style
Now we’ll take a look at the various styles and strategies players can use to win the game. Players from either the Town or the Mafia have one goal in mind: take out players of the opposing faction. Note that this is not a recipe to follow. Doing so is the best way to become predictable and eliminated by other players. Varying styles, mixing and matching strategies from both defensive and aggressive styles of play, and trying different things are very important parts of playing. Here are some ideas to keep in mind while playing (some of these do not mix together):
• Lying low. When a player chooses to lie low, their goal in doing so is to gather the maximum amount of information about other players while others gather the minimum amount of information about them. Lying low helps you survive as Mafia or Innocent. But there’s an art to flying under the radar in mafia games because being totally inactive or barely posting can attract more attention from other players. If you look like you’ve got something to hide, other players will assume you do. Therefore, while lying low, it’s important to still participate by voting but let others take the initiative when it comes to deciding the target until you have enough information to make a move.
• Observe voting patterns. It is the prime way to gather information for players aligned with the Town or Independents players. It only requires reading and comparing the attitude of players towards certain votes. For example, if a player has consistently been quick to vote when that target was part of the Town but was very slow to vote when the target was Mafia, the player is probably a Mafia. All players should go back and examine old votes.
• Make Alliances. Cooperation is also a low risk option because it allows you to have some degree of protection against being voted out as you gather players that will depend on you and therefore be less interested in voting against you. Even if you’re a Town player unknowingly allied with a Mafia player, s/he will be less likely to target you if they know they have your cooperation. All the while, you might be collecting information about them. That being said, partaking in alliances carries its risks as mafia players will use them to collect information on the Town. Withholding information or lying, even as an innocent player, can be useful.
Alliances are beneficial for everybody. Trusting blindly in your partners can lead to you being used. Sharing information, however, is very useful for everybody, especially innocents. Innocents need information to guess Mafia. Mafia need to know who has threatening roles. Independents need to know where to side themselves. Temporary alliances can help all of these needs.
• Vote Strategically. Someone playing a more aggressive type of play will often take the initiative in votes, using their votes to force confrontation. This can be used to garner reactions and fish for Mafia and Innocents. Consider this when examining past votes.
• Claim Roles. Getting information about other players is crucial, so claiming a role is a good way to get people to claim back and form alliances. Lying, especially for a Mafia, is a useful tactic but carries the risk of being suspected should the lie be discovered. Also, consider that claims given by other players may be lies from a mafioso.
• Forge evidence. This is not possible in all games, as some hosts will prohibit posting private conversations in the game thread. But if they don’t, nothing prevents a player with the necessary computer skills from creating fake evidence to incriminate another player.
Now, keep in mind these factors when deciding which strategies might help you. These aren’t the only 3 factors; the game you’re in might require a different approach. Consider these guidelines:
• Alignment. The defining characteristic of the Town is that they are uninformed about other players, while the Mafia players know of teammates' identities. Therefore, townspeople need alliances more than Mafia do. Also, when not Mafia, you could be nightkilled. Remember how your strategy will make you look like Town or Mafia.
• Role. Some roles affect how you can play. For example, on the Town side, a player with the cop role can get information efficiently on other players and does not need to be risky to get information. A Mafia role like the Godfather can get away with being slightly more aggressive because if he arouses the suspicions of the cop, the cop will think the godfather’s innocent.
• Temperament. Players should consider what they are good at and what they are known for. Players should generally play to their strengths. Should they be known for a particular style, they should consider how people will react to them playing differently.
Overall, players should understand that they have numerous options at their disposal and realize that mafia games also require improvisation and adaptation with those options. The style and strategy players choose in the beginning might not work during the endgame or only works in large games. Again these are only examples; don’t follow them exactly — players will be quickly identified if they do. Ultimately, players should experiment various play styles and find one they are comfortable with.