Page 922 - Mafia, Part 21

17th Jun 2017, 6:00 AM in Intermission 10
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Mafia, Part 21
Average Rating: 3.5 (4 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 17th Jun 2017, 6:00 AM edit delete
Author: DragonTrainer

Newbiespud's Note: And that's the end of the Mafia guest arc! Feel free to go back and look at the Night Phase pages now if you skipped them.

There's one or two more guest comics from other people, and after that... Well, I'm putting these all up about a month in the past, so I'm not sure at time of writing what's coming next. Either back to regular episode comics or maybe one more IDW arc...

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



CocoaNut 17th Jun 2017, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
I'm actually planning on trying to get the extended family to play Mafia this Thanksgiving using a similar composition to this. We should have enough people. The question is if we'll have enough volunteers.
DeS_Tructive 18th Jun 2017, 1:59 AM edit delete reply
Try to find One Night Ultimate Werwolf, instead. It's basically the same game, but a lot more accessible, works with smaller groups and doesn't have the "I was out after the first night and now I'm bored out of my mind" effect many dislike.
Dadada 20th Jun 2017, 1:15 AM edit delete reply
I'm doing it now while I'm in Europe.
Huor 17th Jun 2017, 6:04 AM edit delete reply
Playing Mafia without revealing roles on death is so wrong it makes my head hurt. It's literally impossible to work out who's town and who's scum without that knowledge. The town's best possible strategy is literally to lynch people at random and hope it works out.
Ronnie Simonds 17th Jun 2017, 6:40 AM edit delete reply
It's doable - some consider it the default way to play. It's much more difficult and intrigue filled, obviously. No doubt that's why Rarity suggested it!
Guest 17th Jun 2017, 8:28 AM edit delete reply
Yes, that's the way Mafia is supposed to be: a game of random murder and baseless accusations. Many are the ways to play it, but few are the variations where anyone has any real information.
Digo Dragon 18th Jun 2017, 6:50 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
So it plays like a game of Paranoia? ;)
Night Owl 18th Jun 2017, 1:04 AM edit delete reply
Even when revealing roles at death, it's often just lynching people at random for the civilians. That's why I don't like this kind of game. If I want randomness, I'll just play bucking Monopoly, at the very least some players will get to take a cash shower.
TaiGambol 19th Jun 2017, 5:16 AM edit delete reply
I play Town of Salem semi-avidly, which has many more roles and up to seven sides in play at any one time, and random-lynching is heavily discouraged in that game.

Granted, for any one given player, there's very few ways to be 100% certain what someone else is saying is true, so if you define 'random' as 'cannot be solved by robots' then yeah, you're not gonna enjoy it.

But when you start putting multiple stories together, and weighing likely roles versus claims, and adding whatever your own role's abilities are into the mix, you can get surprisingly good ideas of who's what.

Or you can get completely fooled by the last living Mafia you didn't know was in play, being led into lynching the Werewolf you could have dealt with in other ways, only to be killed that night for a last-minute Mafia clutch win, all because you missed one possibility and acted on bad information.

Random play tends to make for bad play. Educated guesses and information sharing tend to make the game favour the Town roles significantly - the goal of any good 'evil' team tends to be disrupting information sharing, or ideally being able to feed false information.
Someguy Somewhere 17th Jun 2017, 7:27 AM edit delete reply
If anyone wants to watch a few games of this on YouTube, look for The Upper Hive by Alfabusa. He's the creator of If The Emperor Had A Text-To-Speech Device and ran a couple games of Mafia with Warhammer 40k flavoring. His group is very, very silly and usually pretty fun to watch.
ANW 17th Jun 2017, 7:29 AM edit delete reply
Time for the results.
If you guys go back to part 0, I posted a prediction contest.
The winner with five correct guesses is
You had Trixie Shy Dash Rarity and Soarin right.
Your prize is, the Breath of Truth.
Now you can blow disguises away, both physical and magical.
ChaoticBrain 17th Jun 2017, 8:22 AM edit delete reply
I'm a longtime reader of NewbieSpud's work, but I've only just now made an account with Comic Fury. I have a need to strongly opine about this guest arc, and I don't want anyone to think that I'm not ready to defend my position to the death.

Now then, onto the editorial.

Good lord, this arc SUCKED. Like, NewbieSpud couldn't even DREAM of authoring an arc this boring. And I'm more than happy to tell you why.

First of all, apparently DragonTrainer has never heard of basic game balance. There's only five night phases, and the townies guessed correctly 4 out of 5 times. But apparently, that was the absolute minimum by which they could possibly win the game. So the Mafia just have to evade the townies twice to win the whole thing. Yeah, that sounds super fair. (By contrast, if there were only three mafia, then it would have been a 'best 3-out-of-5' situation.)

Oh, and let's not forget the astonishing lack of dramatic tension, even if you didn't read the night phases (which I had to, since I had never heard of Mafia before and didn't know how to play). Once Big Mac was eliminated, the plot reached its highest level of tension, i.e. the next mistake the townies made would be their last. And so the remaining 80% of the arc became critical decision after critical decision, hitting the exact same high over and over again until you become more numb to the highs than a speed junkie. About the only way this tension could have resolved in an interesting manner is if the townies had lost in the very final day phase, turning the game into a hard-earned victory for the mafia.

What I'm most disappointed by, however, is the fact that DragonTrainer completely lacked the imagination to think outside the magic circle. That is to say, it would have been nice to see what the eliminated players could do now that they were technically not part of the game anymore. And it almost seemed to touch on that, with Twilight being tempted to blab for the last two day phases. But nothing ever actually came of that.

What WOULD have made for a more interesting story is if, in a sudden twist, Twilight fails to keep her mouth shut and blabs on Fluttershy just before the deciding vote. As a result, the game is ruined, and all the townies' miraculous victories suddenly go to waste. Now chaos erupts in the room, as nobody is happy with the game being spoiled at the last minute. Twilight feels horrible, and she rants about how distressing it was to have to watch the game unfold while being powerless to stop it. The other players angrily bear down on her, telling her that 'watching helplessly' is what makes the game fun, and she's just a spoilsport. Then Twi loses it, screams that there's nothing fun about acting like total sociopaths, and storms out in tears. Twilight's friends go to comfort her, and they all learn a friendship lesson about how different people find fun in different things. The players all reconcile with Twilight, and tensions cool down. Everyone shares a laugh at the experience, and declares their first Mafia game a success, even if it technically wasn't.

Nope. Nothing nearly so imaginative. It just plays out like a regular Mafia game. Townies win. That's it, game over. My god, was that ever a letdown.

And that's not even getting into the prolific amount of spelling and grammar errors, and the egregious overuse of certain screenshots. All in all, this was a dull, DULL way to spend 21 pages. It would have been an improvement to just not update at all for seven weeks; at least then I would have been eagerly anticipating the next Friendship is Dragons story, instead of unwittingly witnessing the most monotonous arc to ever disgrace the site.
Lurking zombie 17th Jun 2017, 10:14 AM edit delete reply
You do know this is a guest arc, right?
Classic Steve 17th Jun 2017, 12:33 PM edit delete reply
That's why he(?) said NewbieSpud couldn't dream of writing an arc this boring.
Obilisk 17th Jun 2017, 2:58 PM edit delete reply
I agree entirely, these guest comics were absolutely awful. I mean, most guest comics are, but this was a TWENTY-ONE PART guest comic.

Please limit guest comics to one per guest if you do them at all... even if it means no comics for a while. That way, even when they're awful, at least there's hope the next one will be better.
Winged Cat 17th Jun 2017, 4:07 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Eh, the other guest arcs I've seen weren't bad, and this one seemed okay to me. (Not commenting on my own guest arcs, of course, just the multiparters by others that I've seen.)
albedoequals1 17th Jun 2017, 5:36 PM edit delete reply
How much are you paying for this comic? I think the rest of us are getting it for free. Nobody is under any obligation to appeal to you personally. If you feel you can do better, by all means do so, and post it where we can see.
Skorzah 17th Jun 2017, 9:23 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I really liked this one too! It's just for fun guys.
DeS_Tructive 18th Jun 2017, 2:12 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, I'm gonna disagree. As an avid player of all kinds of bluff/intrigue games (The Resistance, Coup, One Night Ultimate Werwolf, Junta, Sheriff of Nottingham, etc.), I enjoyed the arc.

The author did a good job of blending the game mechanics and the player/pony personalities.

As for your suggestion... How is that an improvement? Both the FID and the OP:GL3.5 groups are laid back gamers who generally enjoy the other's company. All of them being upset about a "ruined" game is wildly off character. At the worst, Twilight would angst about ruining the game before the rest of the group reassures her that all is well.

That being said, I think it's a shame that you found it necessary to sign up to unleash such an outburst of negativity, when you never had the need to sign up to write something positive. It almost feels like you're missing the message of FID/FIM. ;)
Digo Dragon 18th Jun 2017, 6:52 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I found the arc interesting because if nothing else, I learned a new game to play with a group of friends.
Jennifer 18th Jun 2017, 12:33 PM edit delete reply
One, you don't need an account to post - I haven't.

Two, I'm not particularly enamored of the arc, mostly because I've never really understood the game - although I can say that "watching" it played out this way has helped enough that I look forward to trying again. But - different strokes for different folks. Also, sometimes a comic, or an arc, won't strike you as enjoyable. It happens. I didn't find it especially interesting, but above all, I can't fault DragonTrainer for *trying*.

Better to try and fail, than never try at all. If you think you can do better - let's see it!
Anon 18th Jun 2017, 9:38 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I have to agree here. Mafia is just a game that doesn't translate well at all to comic.

It's a game that's fun to play with friends, but I wouldn't even call it a roleplaying game (at least, not the versions I've played). You're playing in the moment to see who beats who and who has a good poker face, not telling a collaborative story.

The issue was made worse here because there were so many characters and every character was referred to by two names (human and pony), sometimes making it hard to follow. Then each round was dragged out over several panels, and there wasn't really anything in terms of a dramatic payoff. There aren't really any stakes in seeing who gets eliminated because again, it's not really a narrative game.

Props to the DragonTrainer for seeing this through to completion, and I'm sure they did their best, but I think that this was unfortunately just not a game that's suited to comic format. The quality was on par or better than several of the other guest comics, but this one also went on for a VERY long time, meaning that those who didn't like it were forced to slog through it for much longer than the usual two or three page guest comics. It's just an unfortunate storm of circumstances.
BR549 19th Jun 2017, 4:17 AM edit delete reply
I have to say...I loved it, and I'm wondering if we were even reading the same comic, from your description. o_O
Zatch P 19th Jun 2017, 7:21 PM edit delete reply
I thought it was way too long, but would've been good if it was condensed somewhat. It's been almost two months on this one thing, that's just too long. And it's basically unrelated to the main comic, you could easily replace the pictures of ponies with humans and there'd be no difference to the arc.

Basically, if this all took place over maybe 7-8 comics, that would've been okay. It took way too long, and eventually I just started wanting things to be over with. Perhaps it would've been better to have been an introductory session of the game with just the Mane Six and the DM, and not these other characters (who I don't know, which didn't help things for me personally). Would've been quicker, and that would've probably saved it for me.
aerion111 20th Jun 2017, 2:43 AM edit delete reply
It should perhaps have been kept a bit shorter, so it doesn't drag on for those who don't like it.
But I think it was fine, for a guest arc.
If Newbiespud'd done something like it as part of the main story, I'd consider it a strong contender for 'worst arc', but guest arcs are limited in a lot of ways.
HopeFox 18th Jun 2017, 12:43 AM edit delete reply
I really loved this arc! It was just so clever. There was a lot of thinking to be done at each day and night, trying to reason out who was who, or what everyone was thinking. And the use of screenshots was spot on. The Mafia hit sequences were hilarious and weird.

And on top of all of that, I'm inspired to run some kind of fandom-themed Mafia game on a roleplaying forum I frequent. Nice work!
Wulfraed 18th Jun 2017, 5:54 AM edit delete reply
The town may have won... But having started out with, what was it -- 4 mafia, 2 cops, nurse, and 4 civilians (population 11) -- to end with a population of just 2... Pretty heavy losses there. Even if you exclude the mafia, you've gone from 7 to 2.

On the other hand, with the "inquest" (card reveal), at least the players had some information to work with. The One Night Ultimate *** not only have no staged reveals, but have certain roles that swap cards in the night -- so one might be arguing a position they no longer even hold.
Captain Snark 18th Jun 2017, 9:47 AM edit delete reply
For the most part I liked the arc. Yeah the two mafia kills a night early on seems kind of OP and the ending was rather anticlimactic, between neither Pinkie or Twilight actually blabbing and Fluttershy doing crap all to try and defend herself. (I know that's her character but still...) Still overall it was interesting and enjoyable, and I certainly wouldn't mind if DragonTrainer tried doing a sequel.
Kira 18th Jun 2017, 1:13 PM edit delete reply
Would love to see the Aangvanced guy do a game of mafia bullshit drama is what hes good at.

Sorry DT I love grand line 3.5 but this was pretty mundane Really really basic game of mafia but i think that's mostly the fault of the game being terrible to translate to a comic

Would like to see how a custom game played out TownOfSalem is my goto so a game with a werewolf a bodyguard a veteran and the mafia having roles would be much more interesting i think
you know that guy 19th Jun 2017, 12:11 AM edit delete reply
I disagree. This was not a basic game of Mafia at all, and it should have been - especially given its two main objectives: to introduce Mafia to readers who mostly didn't know its rules; and to provide a framework for the story.

anti-HEROES did a very nice version of Werewolf (another name for the same game) in which we only saw things from two people's point of view. Many of the players didn't know each other. The rules of the game were quite simple (one Cop, one Mafia, one lynch, one kill) and provided a nice framework for the story. Obviously that game setup is unbalanced, but it works for story reasons.

The story is interleaved with other stories in the same webcomic, but you can read it here:
Xelmon 20th Jun 2017, 11:39 PM edit delete reply
Ha-hey! The town wins!

I found it interesting to see unfold, and I dunno about you guys, I quite enjoyed it!

I do have to note, it *really* helped to skip Night Phase! The slight suspense kept it interesting all the way till things got concluded.

Reading through once more I can see how over the... Wow, almost two months this could get super boring, even perhaps painful. Kinda like watching the worlds most predictable TV show.

As for the screencap quality variance...
Well, there's so much you can do with that, and I think it turned out to be fiiiiine!

So Nice job DT! I can only assume how happy/scared Spud was when he saw the submission. xD
hariman 29th Aug 2017, 6:44 PM edit delete reply
This reminds me of my couple of games of Werewolf, which is almost the same as mafia, only with Werewolves, and sometimes vampires, if the group is big enough.

The first game of Werewolf was rather meh, due to random accusations from a drunk player. I still dislike the word "J'ACCUSE!", thanks to that game of Werewolf.

The second one? Was a ton of fun! Both due to a lack of drunken accusations, and due to being the Seer, so I got to heavily contribute and give the Townsfolk an advantage early on, by confirming two of the werewolves. While I almost messed up by protecting a Vampire, who was not a werewolf, another player remembered that the Vampires were a factor, and was right.

While I didn't last the full game, I'm 100% sure that the advantage of two werewolves removed was a major factor in the eventual victory of the Townsfolk.
Cheerful_Dragon 13th Aug 2018, 3:01 PM edit delete reply
On my first read-through, I skipped the night pages. (I also managed to skip the second to last day by accident).

It was fun, looking at the screenshots.

Have Twilight ruin the game, and turn it into a friendship lesson? Maybe, *if it was a MLP episode.*. It's not.

Two kills a night? Yea, that's kinda excessive.

And, up until now, I've only ever played forum play-by-post mafia. Usually with powers. Lots of powers. The one time I played a powerless game, it was ... well, just random, it seemed.

Second read through, I included the night pages. Up until now, I'd never understood how real-life mafia worked. How do the bad-guys co-ordinate?

Now that it's not a spoiler, I *LOVED* the use of Flutterbat for her mafia screenshots.

But, it definitely seems that the rules were not explained. Rainbow's clear "How did she die?" with the answer of "a double kill guarantees a death" definitely is an indication that the rules were not clearly explained.

But yea, game balance. The rule I heard was that the townies should be able to mess up just under half. So if it's expected to be 5 votes, they can mess up twice -- with a starting kill, that means 6 expendable townies. If you don't have that many, then you can't do double kills.

Whether it was a good story, or a bad story; whether it was good game balance, or not; whether it was an opportunity to teach a friendship lesson, or not:

This was interesting enough that I tried to solve it (messed up when I skipped a day), and still enjoyable when I read the whole thing.

So, I enjoyed reading it; I enjoyed the screencap choices; I had a good time.