Do I Amuse You?

Talking Time Mafia has started up again. After a few go-rounds with fairly staid, conventional variants, it looks like we’re throwing out all the stops for this one. I give you Mafia Vs. Capcom. This ruleset looks to be hideously complex, with strange rules and loads of powers. I suppose the idea is that, like the real Marvel Vs. Capcom, everything is so broken that the broken stuff starts to collide and creates a strange sort of balance.

I’ve got a fairly strange history with TT Mafia myself. I’ve never played it, but since about the third game I’ve been doing regular summaries of each in-game Day. I can’t really give you a good explanation for my motives, here. Initially it was kind of a gag — the joke was that it would be a Cliff Notes-inspired recitation of the events of the game, complete with canned literary “analysis” and forced symbolism.  People seemed to take to it, though, especially those who weren’t playing and didn’t have time to read the full thread (which can get pretty long and dense — some teams have even used wordiness as a battle strategy, crushing their opponents’ will to continue by drowning them in meaningless text). I figured since these were performing a real function, I should play them straighter, so they got a lot dryer and more concise in subsequent games.

My concern with the Mafia games we’ve played so far is that they’ve almost all been blowouts, with one team having never really been in it for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s due to luck (one game almost all the power roles were dead by the end of the second Day) and some due to stellar skill, but there’s never been a really close, down-to-the-wire game where a single vote made the difference. There’s been a lot of concern about whether the game should favor the Citizens or the Mafia, but that’s beside the point to me — the game should give each side a fair chance to overcome their disadvantages and win. We’ve tried a lot of variants — high-powered, low-powered, many powers but they’re gimped, many players, few players — but it seems almost inevitable that whichever side gets an early enough advantage wins. I’m not sure how to fix this given the restraints we’re working under; I just find it odd and a little unsettling.

So, anyway, I’ll be doing summaries again this time around. I’m uncertain as to whether or not I’ll be posting them to this blog as well as the thread. They don’t make a whole lot of sense without context and I doubt they’re too terribly interesting for a general audience, but… if the goal here is to write every day, I don’t see why the summaries shouldn’t count. They’re a lot of work, after all. Surprisingly so, given that they don’t require much in the way of composition or style — intentionally so, because I don’t want to project my opinions into a game that I’m not playing. Besides, I’m having a hard enough time dreaming up new topics as it is — I don’t want to just talk about video games every day.

(You can stop snickering at the naive assumption that I have anything remotely resembling a “general audience,” thank you.)


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