Back to previous post: Creative Editing

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Open Thread 50

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

October 2, 2005

Traditional diversions
Posted by Teresa at 09:32 PM * 52 comments

Tonight is the first night of Viable Paradise, an annual week-long intensive SF & Fantasy writers’ workshop on Martha’s Vineyard. Patrick and I are teaching again this year, along with fellow instructors Steve Gould, Laura Mixon, Jim Macdonald, and Debra Doyle.

Workshop personnel usually spend this first evening playing Thing or Mafia. This year we started with a big round of Mafia: thirty villagers, of whom four were Mafiosi. When the smoke cleared, the villagers had lost, and all four Mafiosi were still in the game.


(I’m much better at Thing and Mafia when I’m playing on the side of the bad guys. I try not to dwell upon that thought.)

Comments on Traditional diversions:
#1 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2005, 11:32 PM:

I had missed the discussion of Thing in last year's post; thanks for re-pointing at it.

I recently got email from the inventor of Mafia (really!) and he gave permission for me to quote some of his comments on my web site. ( Cool the beans are, and so I serve them forth.

And another correspondent informs me that Mafia was a *television game show* on *Latvian state television* in the early 90s. Could anyone make this up?

#2 ::: Kylni ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 01:14 AM:

I knew there was a reason I loved this weblog. Well, actually I knew that I had lots of reasons, and what a lot of them were, but it seems every new post gives me a new reason.

Mafia is an awesome game; we played it all the time in the dorms a couple years ago. After so much playing, the basic game became boring, and we came up with many, many twists to it, including lots of roles pulled from various sources.

That link's from the livejournal we used for our decal (Student-run class) on Mafia and reading lies.

I like to think we have some of the most intricate Mafia games ever. I don't think they've gotten as large as 30 people, though. Isn't that a bit hard? Too many people to focus on? I think we decided the prime number was 8-10ish.

#3 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 09:23 AM:

I had so much fun playing Mafia and Thing at VP. Man, those are some good memories. I remember being hung for SMILING! A smile does not make me guilty!

Have a great week.

#4 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 10:41 AM:

I gather there were some elaborate late-night games of Mafia at Readercon this past summer involving folks with names like Letham and Delany. I've never played. I go to bed too early.

#5 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 10:43 AM:

Nothing is harder than playing yourself, and nothing is easier than playing your opposite.

#6 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 01:22 PM:

I've never played "standard" Mafia, oddly, but I recall spending awhile playing Speed Mafia through online chat. It was fun, till the group I was playing with mostly pulled itself apart from the tension between the people who wanted to view it as a game of pure logic and bluff, and the ones (like me) who wanted to treat it as a roleplaying game - to whom the first set of people's preferred playing style looks like the most blatant form of metagaming.

#7 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 01:57 PM:

That is a strange tension. Wouldn't you want to roleplay characters to whom the rules of the game apply? I.e., characters who are desperately trying to out-logic and out-bluff each other, based on what everyone says and does? I'd think that nothing would count as metagaming (except hacking into the chat server).

There is a thriving strain of web-forum Mafia/Werewolf, which usually includes role-playing. That is, an agreed-on scenario, and everyone is assigned public character roles (in addition to the game-mechanic "good or evil" role). Stargate, Buffy, pick your theme. But it seems to be taken for granted that the scenario serves the needs of the Mafia game, not vice versa.

#8 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 02:04 PM:

I will just sit here at the keyboard, scratching my head and trying to figure out what could possibly be the appeal of such a game.

(Why, yes, I am a boring old stick-in-the-mud.)

#9 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 03:21 PM:

By metagaming, in this context, I mean publicly discussing the moderator's intentions, what archetypes he's used, and how many of them. You're only supposed to bluff and second-guess the other players... though "supposed" is a dodgy sort of word.

#10 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 04:38 PM:

One of the more entertaining variants of "Thing" that I heard of involved a third character: the Loony, a Scientist who's convinced he's a Thing. I don't know if that set of rules allowed him to convince other people to join his delusion...

#11 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 06:40 PM:

Bruce: explaining why people find certain activities entertaining is a mug's, er, game, but I will try to offer a view:

-- The game has no element of luck. The civilians either interpret the clues correctly, or they die. The Mafiosi either move suspicion away from themselves, or they die. The angels have to determine how to pass their information without giving themselves away as angels or . . . you get the idea.* It has some of the attractions of poker -- you're trying to determine what the other players hold, while misleading them about your hand, but even the best poker player can have a lousy evening if the cards don't go his way.

-- Strategies are complex and shift as the situation changes. It's not the same thing every turn.

-- When you go to heaven, you get to watch the sinners below with full information. I suppose that isn't a plus if you're not the sort of person who enjoys the game.

-- It's a mystery-reasoning game that actually functions as such, unlike, to pick the most obvious example, Cluedo,** where the solution can't be pieced together from partial information -- either you somehow get access to all the cards, or you have to make a blind guess. (There have been several published games that tried to use the mystery-house format with more deduction -- particularly by making the killer an active player -- but they've all been rather clumsy, especially when they try to work without a neutral referee. Kill Doctor Lucky is a swell game, but it's not deductive at all.)

-- It's probably most like the parlor game "Murder," popular with the Algonquin Round Table crowd and raised to another level by Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins,*** but not requiring a large house and an entire evening to play. "Murder" was extremely popular during the Jazz Age, but seems to have faded, probably due to a decline in Country House Weekends, or maybe the end of Prohibition. Home video and microwave popcorn might have helped, too.

*"Morte alla angeli cosanostra anela."

**Clue, if you live in a place where the reference doesn't work.

***No, I am not kidding.

#12 ::: Jason Allard ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 06:49 PM:

I discovered Mafia at Odyssey this year. Well, The-Never-Ending-Odyssey really. I had a blast. In the end, it came down to me and two ladies. I had to choose who was the last Mafioso and convince the other to vote with me... We got lucky.

#13 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 07:56 PM:

"By metagaming, in this context, I mean publicly discussing the
moderator's intentions, what archetypes he's used..."

Ah. I see the difficulty. Hadn't considered that.

I guess you (as the moderator / initial scenario-setting) want to draw
cards to assign game roles, and then start choosing the character
roles... but no, that doesn't work either.

What you actually want is to assign the character roles first, and
then draw cards for the good/evil roles. And if Harry Potter turns up
Evil, well, you *go* with it. Blame Polyjuice. (Or, better, let the
players blame Polyjuice.) It rather destroys the standard RPG model
where the gamemaster designs a story... but a lot of modern gamers
would say that model should have been destroyed to begin with.

Now I'm thinking that mechanics of collaborative storytelling *can* be
designed to fit this, and without breaking the underlying Mafia game.
The players, in the normal round of discussion and accusation, make
statements about what happened. "I saw Steve crawling out from behind
the third-floor wardrobe." Overturning someone's statement costs a
bean. (You might not be *contradicting* him -- you could explain why
he was mistaken, or why you were *really* crawling out from there.) If
your explanation involves someone else, that person gets the bean.
When lynching time comes around, everyone who was right (voted to kill
a guilty party, or voted against killing an innocent one) gets an
extra bean on the next day.

Or something like that. This is off the cuff, probably needs
modification. But the point is that the beans are there solely to keep
the story under control -- to prevent an infinite regress of
yes-you-were no-I-wasn't. They don't determine who is evil; that is a
predetermined fact, and when it becomes public, everyone knows which
tale was a lie.

Keeping precise track of The Facts is probably impossible, but how is
this different from any other RPG session? Never mind real life.

#14 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 09:27 PM:

"Murder" was extremely popular during the Jazz Age, but seems to have faded, probably due to a decline in Country House Weekends

IIRC, Ngaio Marsh used a "Murder" party as a setup for a real murder in one of her novels. I don't remember the name of it off the top of my head, unfortunately, but it worked fairly well (lights go out, people run around, lights come on, one of party is dead-for-real).

#15 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 10:44 PM:

At Foo Camp '05, the Werewolf games ran until dawn every night. The games I played started with twenty-seven, then eighteen villagers. These were my introduction to the game.

I discovered that villagers have more to fear from their fellow villagers in the early rounds of the game than they do from the wolves. The wolves usually don't figure out who is the seer for several rounds, and the villagers are often overly quick to lynch their fellow villagers. This does two things that help the wolves: 1) it multiplies the risk of losing the seer each round; 2) it accelerates the increase per round in the odds the wolves will find the seer at night.

I was a villager eliminated in the first round in the first game I played. I was a villager eliminated in the third round in the second game I played (and the seer was eliminated by a lynching in the first round). I'm pretty familiar now with the degree with which the game can be fun for dead villagers to watch.

I came up with a novel strategy that I tried to play when it was my turn to offer a defense in the second game. I falsely confessed that I was a werewolf, and I proceeded to finger the people at the table I thought were the real wolves. I had hoped this would prompt somebody to start a discussion about my motives. I'm sorry to say this didn't work at all. The villagers were seized with a blood lust and lynched me without any discussion other than to laugh at me.

Oh, and for the record: I was right about one of the people I fingered as a wolf. It was still fun to play, and I learned to see the wolves as the good guys. Next time I play and I get dealt a villager card, I'm going to try to help the wolves kill as many villagers as possible. On general principle.

Villlagers. Must. Die.

#16 ::: Varia ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 11:08 PM:

Initial caveat: I am absolutely sure this question has been asked, and answered, to the point that I feel like an idiot for asking.

Secondary caveat: I looked, both on the archives here and by googling, and found nothing. Possibly because I can't come up with a decent search string on google. "thing rules"? no.

So the question: are there rules for these games or variants (e.g. Werewolf) easily available online?

thank you, and I promise this question is being asked out of weak google-fu, rather than actual laziness.

#17 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 11:23 PM:

More luck-based is da Vinci Games's BANG! (The Sheriff is public, the deputies, outlaws, and renegades are not...if the Sheriff kills a deputy, he loses all his cards.)

#18 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 11:29 PM:

Rules of Mafia, offered with extreme diffidence. I am sure there are better links, but this came up first. Sounds like a lot of fun!

#19 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 11:39 PM:

the parlor game "Murder"

Okay, how does that one go? It is a difficult thing to google for.

are there rules for these games or variants (e.g. Werewolf) easily available online?

You could start by trying the links Teresa put in her post. Or go to Wikipedia and search "Werewolf" or "Mafia".

#20 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 12:15 AM:

the parlor game "Murder"

Hm. Is that this one? Murder in the Dark

Though I'm a little puzzled how that one is supposed to be a mystery. Doesn't the detective just accuse whoever is standing next to him? But maybe with the right embroidery it could be made to work.

Also, apologies to Varia -- I just reread the rules to Werewolf this afternoon, and was convinced I'd got them from a link from Making Light. But the link in the "Thing" post for "Mafia" turns out to be broken, so I guess I googled it after all. So try here: Werewolf

#21 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 12:37 AM:

Er, yes, that's the URL I posted above. Sorry -- it doesn't show up as
a link on the page; possibly that's the confusion.

I have been tracking variants of the Mafia game for a while.

"Murder in the Dark" (as described) is a different principle; it's
based on physical evidence. You try to see who moved, who is standing
near who, etc. Same goes for the "winking" murder game. The key
principle of Mafia/Werewolf is its perfect circle: your claims and
accusations are based solely on what other people say -- on *their*
claims and accusations. (Thing falls into the same category, which is
why I list it as a variant.)

#22 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 01:11 AM:

John M. Ford wrote:
"It has some of the attractions of poker -- you're trying to determine what the other players hold, while misleading them about your hand, but even the best poker player can have a lousy evening if the cards don't go his way."

Well, since poker has no attractions for me.... (Or most game-playing in general.)

"Does Not Play Well With Others" is something one occasionally sees on other people's t-shirts. I should probably have it tattooed across my chest.

Part of this is that I've never developed any degree of aptitude for being actively misleading or deceitful. I suck at it. I can usually manage, when absolutely necessary, to be evasive, or elliptical, or (mostly) just keep my mouth shut. But telling a direct lie is almost impossible, and almost invariably is accompanied by weeks or months of guilt and shame. And when I find other people are lying to or deceiving me (or I think they are), I... ummm... don't like it. So I've never understood the appeal of games that involve lying, bluffing, or deceit. I have enough trouble coping with that in real life; I don't need to do it for fun.

#23 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 01:17 AM:

I think it was Justine who infected the fannish community at large with Mafia.

I suppose part of the technique of successfully misleading is to speak from a frame of reference where what you are saying is true.

This seems to be how Republicans do it.

#24 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 01:43 AM:
It's a mystery-reasoning game that actually functions as such, unlike, to pick the most obvious example, Cluedo,** where the solution can't be pieced together from partial information -- either you somehow get access to all the cards, or you have to make a blind guess. (There have been several published games that tried to use the mystery-house format with more deduction -- particularly by making the killer an active player -- but they've all been rather clumsy, especially when they try to work without a neutral referee. Kill Doctor Lucky is a swell game, but it's not deductive at all.)

That's not entirely true of Clue(do), as it is also sometimes possible to draw conclusions based on what questions other players are asking. This would work better if the game didn't require you to move from room to room via dieroll.

Of the thematic deduction games I have played the one that does the best job of allowing players to reason from partial information is Mystery of the Abbey, which is essentially The Name of the Rose: the Boardgame. It is, granted, rather chaotic, and often requires playing hunches, but I like it. It is still a rather different experience from Mafia/Werewolf.

#25 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 02:48 AM:

P J Evans wrote: Ngaio Marsh used a "Murder" party as a setup for a real murder in one of her novels. I don't remember the name of it off the top of my head, unfortunately

That was her first novel A Man Lay Dead (1934). There's another interesting Murder party in Carter Dickson's The Ten Teacups* (1937, US The Peacock Feather Murders), which doesn't feature an actual death but is central to the setup of the book's locked-room murder. I'll probably think of several more the moment I send this....

Apparently the idea is older than I thought: see here.


* "Of the Ten Teacups, of course I dare not say a word." -- G.K. Chesterton, The Club of Queer Trades

#26 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 08:26 AM:

Ooo, I bet you could make a variation called Cylons. The Galacticans have to figure out who the Cylons are; the Cylons can replace humans with Cylons, or kill them. One of the Galacticans is a Baltar - he can figure out whether someone is a Cylon if he's ever in private with them, but will be lynched if the Galacticans figure out who he is (I'm not good at rules; killing the Baltar needs to be a victory condition for the Galacticans, I think). The Cylons can't kill or convert the Baltar.

Needs work. Those of you who play these games, can you help?

#27 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 09:05 AM:

General outline of "Murder" as it was played in the days of F.P.A. and Scott & Zelda*:

Players gather and are dealt cards, one of which says, "You're the killer." Everybody else is a potential victim, unless another card designates a "Detective;" this person shows the card and sits out the next sequence somewhere he can't observe it. Lights are dimmed and everybody starts wandering around the house. It's possible, of course, to do the "safety in numbers" thing, but it's contrary to the spirit of the game, and will only prolong it. At some point the Killer finds a victim, and executes the crime with a tap on the shoulder or a note saying "Congratulations, you're dead." Victim falls dead, often being allowed to scream. When victim is located, everybody gathers and starts discussing the case. If there's a Detective, he organizes the questioning; if not, the other players take turns asking who-what-where etc. (At least there are no pesky motives.) Victim, of course, can't contribute at all and can start drinking at once. Lucky st-- uh, anyway, key point is that everyone except the Killer must tell the truth; the most fruitful approach, if you are not guilty, is to try and catch the Killer in a contradiction. Usually there's a set time for questioning. Then, either the Detective fingers his suspect or the players all vote. (Generally the Killer puts in a blank ballot.)

Sondheim has done elaborate variations on this, involving scripted plots and planted clues. There's a story that during one session, a player was trying to pry out a clue -- a Polaroid taped to the bathroom wall behind the sink trap -- and stood up to see Tony Perkins in the mirror, and hear the line, "I'm sorry, [person,] but I'm going to have to kill you now." Now that's entertainment. Recall that Sondheim and Perkins wrote The Last of Sheila, and you probably get a handle on the style of play.

*There should probably be a stage version, set at F.P.A.'s house (he had a big country place and loved doing this) with Parker and Benchley and the lot of them. (Once Harpo Marx was the killer. Unfortunately, he gave himself away by leaving a note that said "You are ded."[sic]) The obvious plot -- a real stiff -- is too obvious; it should just be a character comedy. But you all knew I was weird.

#28 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 10:18 AM:

Ooooh, someone else who's played Wink Murder! I once scandalized several troops of my fellow Girl Scouts with that one. (For people who haven't played it before: everyone sits in a circle and blinks at one another. One person has been randomly chosen as the murderer, and winks at their intended victims, who then drop dead, ideally with gruesome sound effects.) The varient we were playing had people guessing the murderer's identity at random intervals -- if they were incorrect, they died.

So when I played the murderer, I killed off several people in quick succession and then guessed somebody else as the murderer. Voila. I was dead, and everyone else died through attrition as they made guesses. Nobody thought to guess the dead people. (Next round, they added a new rule: the murderer had to be alive at the end to win. These were the same people who insisted on using the little check-off sheets to play Clue, so I wasn't very surprised.)

Mafia I was introduced to my freshman year of college, by some of the older physics majors. It was big in the science fiction society, too. One of the frequent players in that group did a formal study that demonstrated that in the first round, the villagers are far better off choosing their lynching victim at random than discussing it. Which makes sense -- the werewolf/mafia is around to deflect suspicion from themself, and the villagers don't have much information to draw on.

Does the fandom variant include the moderator coming up with descriptions of the horrible deaths of the villagers who perished in the night? That's always been one of my favorite bits.

#29 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 10:44 AM:

A question about Thing: what procedure do you use to notify the new Thing of its Thingitude, without risking revealing any information to the remaining scientists?

#30 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 12:00 PM:

There are "murder" train excursions, also. Still a captive party involved, but instead of being stuck in a house, you get the scenery passing by you.

Thanks, Dave. (I grew up with my mother's collection of Marsh, Allingham and Sayers. Agatha didn't do anything for me, unfortunately.)

#31 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 01:27 PM:

"what procedure do you use to notify the new Thing of its Thingitude,
without risking revealing any information to the remaining

At night, when everyone still has their eyes closed, the moderator
walks around the circle of players. (Being sure to make a complete
circuit.) He taps the appropriate person quietly on the shoulder.

#32 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 02:05 PM:

The difference between the game described and the "Murder Mystery Parties" that are commercially staged (or that you can buy prepackaged) is that the latter are plotted in advance. In the hotel/train versions, there's usually (not always) a cast of actors who do the principal playing, with the audience competing to unravel Whodidit, while in the home game there are cards giving each player's backstory and motivations. These were really popular a few years ago, but seem less so now.

I once was having coffee in an English hotel that had been largely taken over by one of these games. Out the window, in the courtyard, a chap in a black cape was having Words with an outraged Edwardian gentleman, while the paying customers looked on from the sidelines.

There have also been some staged at Mohonk Mountain House, with scripts and direction by Donald Westlake and his wife; one of these, Transylvania Station, had Steve King and Gahan Wilson participating. That one and at least one other were turned into books (with Wilson covers), though I'm not sure whether they were descriptions of the game or fictionalizations of the storyline.

#33 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 02:11 PM:

Oh, and. Elise has asked if anybody would be interested in taking time out from the steady intoxication and panelistic debauchery of World Fantasy in, oh god, a month, for some games of this variety?

I have no idea if a suitable location can be found for this at this date -- the Concourse isn't huge -- but if you're attending and interested, send me an e-mail and I'll try to get a coordinated list together, or at least figure out if there's a proper quorum manes.

#34 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 03:04 PM:

I have a copy of _Transylvania Station_. It's basically the
introductory material of the mystery game. The opening message that
everybody sees, followed by the character packets that would be
handed out to each player.

(The latter are written as second-person narration, with the notional
listener being... I'm not sure who. A hypothetical person to whom the
character is introducing himself. It's a little weird. No, it's not
the same second-person model that text adventures use...)

The book also includes a quiz, leading up to "who's the murderer?"
Presumably you're supposed to be able to figure it out once you
correlate all the (limited-viewpoint) info from the character section.

At the end is a bit with all the answers, in the form of the What
Actually Happened explanation.

#35 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 03:19 PM:

Er, *first*-person narration, I meant. Ha ha. Oops.

Second-person is what's normal in RPG writing ("You're an elf with
vast tracts of...") but this is first-person ("My name is Giddy
Newborn and I'm twenty years old...") Threw me off stride, anyway.

#36 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 07:41 PM:

Bruce: other appeals to such games (seen from the outside -- I don't try to play them):
- it is just a game; you can take on a persona for a few hours, and do so without the mechanical operations of too many RPGs.
- you can even take a role very far from your own personality; cf Teresa's comment that she does best as a Mafioso.
- you can also explore boundaries of truth and trust, without going all woo-woo about it. (No Circle Game here.) This is especially true in Diplomacy, which is one of the great examples of a game with no randomness beyond other people's personalities; you have to be good at both trust and distrust, and at making a path between them. (Diplomacy differs from most of the examples here in that everybody has to continuously decide when to speak truly or falsely.)

#37 ::: Sundre ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 09:32 PM:

Mm. Now I really want to play. I wonder if I can sucker some people into this at a Halloween party? Judicious application of chocolate and alcohol should do it.

#38 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2005, 12:42 AM:

Sundre: this is purely a general caution, but unless the guests at a party (of whatever sort) are used to playing group games, or have been notified in advance that some such thing will be going on, they often rebel at being "required to have fun" in some particular, rule-based way. Many people will go along with it, either out of curiosity or to avoid being odd-man-out, but, well, you know your guests and I don't.

#39 ::: Sundre ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2005, 07:44 AM:

John: Thanks. This bunch is pretty easygoing, and some of them are into various sorts of gaming already. Don't worry, I'm planning to talk to them ahead of time to see who's interested, and I won't actually strong-arm anyone into it. Unwilling players don't make fun.

#40 ::: Yoon Ha Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2005, 04:06 PM:

Such nostalgia.

Teresa, I see you are at work suppressing your evil tendencies. Or making us think you are. Or making us think you think you are. Man, I love/hate recursion. =)

#41 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2005, 10:53 PM:


At last! I'm not the only one with the dirty little secret: I don't like Thing or Mafia either.
I played at VP, just to join in, but I couldn't force myself to exert any brain power to find out who was what. Frankly, Scarlett, I just don't give a damn about who's a Mafioso.

With that attitude, I was always one of the first two or three to die.

#42 ::: Ogi_Ogas ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2005, 12:05 PM:

Teresa's victorious performance as one of four Mafia in a field of 30 players was nothing short of masterful: each round, Teresa suffered fervent (and accurate!) accusations, yet she always deflected these charges onto someone else. Her deft parries and misdirection are even more impressive when one considers how unrelentingly difficult it is for Teresa and Patrick to survive in a game of Mafia/Thing packed with aspiring writers, as the two editors tend to be picked off almost immediately, regardless of rationally deduced guilt or innocence (because the Tor duo are the most conspicuous players? Or is it just sublimated fear?)

#43 ::: cd sees comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2005, 03:00 AM:

At least it sure looks like it, both here and in the "More Stuff" thread.

#44 ::: Earl recommends third strike spam punishment ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 04:23 AM:

Trifecta for this particular flavor of spam.

#45 ::: Xopher sights spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 07:16 PM:

Please. Cialis trial pack? Are they STUPID???

#46 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 09:27 PM:

Is trying out a Cialis trial pack a traditional diversion? Or a recently invented one?

#47 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 09:47 PM:

Erik: No, but trying to sell such things certainly is!

#48 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 10:13 PM:

Erik, surely Mr/Ms pack isn't offering him/herself to be tried out! I'm sure the gratitude that he/she has expressed so sincerely has its limits.

#49 ::: RainbowSnake ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2009, 02:28 AM:

Hi, I'm not sure what this site is about, but I've followed Google searches as I'm intrigued about the werewolf variant "The Thing" that you guys play.

There's been some recent discussion and playtesting at BoardGameGeek, including one guy's suggestions for different rules that he reckons work better. (YMMV)

BTW my research has lead me to discover that many Singaporeans play werewolf/mafia under the name of "Polar Bear". Seems an odd theme, would be easy to pick a polar bear from a bunch of hunters!

#50 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2009, 08:28 AM:

The actual thread over at boardgamegeek that RainbowSnake refers to seems to be this one:

#51 ::: David Goldfarb sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2013, 01:08 AM:

Obvious commercial linkage.

#52 ::: Inez Aldred ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2014, 01:47 PM:

Hi, My ancestors , the Bucks and Dyes were from Woodnorton and surrounding areas, my grandmother was born in one of the cottages and her mother and grandmother before her, my mother remember holidays in woodnorton as a child stayin in the cottage.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

If you are a spammer, your fate is in the hands of Jim Macdonald, and your foot shall slide in due time.

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.

(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.