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  1. #2: Seers/Cops and Keeping Good Cover (by Yates)

    Article #2: Seers/Cops and Keeping Good Cover
    - written by Yates

    “A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept.”
    ― Carlos Ruiz Zaf?n, “The Shadow of the Wind”


    This is a guide on understanding the basic principles of being a seer, providing seer cover, and the information generated by the scum team’s seer hunt.

    What is a seer?
    A seer [also known as a cop] is a basic Town power role with the ability to investigate one person per night in order to determine their alignment. The game mod then sends these investigation results to the seer/cop at the beginning of each new day. These investigation results are called "peeks."

    In basic games, there are three things that are always going to happen:

    1. A seer has to "drop peeks." This means that they have to find a way to post their results in the thread for the Town to see.
    2. The Town needs to provide "seer cover" [also known as "hypo cop'ing"]. This means that the rest of the Town should be providing fake peeks in order to confuse the scum team and hide the real seer results until it is safe for the real seer to claim or the real seer is killed.
    3. The scum has to "seer hunt." In basic games, the scum team does not have a lot of time to find the seer. In a typical standard game if the scum team doesn't find the seer by day 3 and the seer has 3 live peeks or 2 live peeks and a scum peek the game is mechanically locked and the Town always wins.

    Seer Hunt Clear
    Let's talk about "seer hunt clear" [SHC]:
    Seer hunt clear is when a person is "cleared" as Town because the scum team killed the person with a fake peek on them.

    Example:
    Yates fakes a Town peek on Thingy.
    That night Yates is killed by the scum team.
    Thingy is considered seer hunt cleared.

    Why? Look at point 3 above. The scum team has a limited amount of time to find the seer. They are very unlikely to kill someone who has a fake peek on scum. The reason they are very unlikely to kill someone with a fake peek on scum is because the "peek" is inaccurate which means that person can't be the real seer.

    To continue the example:
    Yates fakes a Town peek on Thingy.
    Thingy is actually scum.
    Thingy and his scum team now know that Yates is NOT the seer and will usually night kill someone else in an effort to find the real seer.

    How to provide cover
    The trick with providing cover is in figuring out accurate fake peeks and maintaining those peeks as the day progresses. As you saw above, once you fake a peek on scum the scum team knows you are not the real seer and that limits the pool of potential people who can be the real seer. This being the case, it is almost always advisable to fake your "peek" on someone you are Town reading. In order to do this, it makes the most sense for everyone to hold off on dropping their fake peeks [and for the seer to hold off on dropping their real peek] until there is enough information in the thread to give everyone actual reads. It is always easier to maintain a fake peek on someone you are Town reading anyway.

    Some people think it's a good idea to drop their peek in their first post. While this might seem like a good idea, since statistically you are more likely to randomly choose a villager, you make it harder for the real seer to pretend their read could also be fake. This method also relies 100% on luck. While luck is certainly involved to a certain extent, we also like to think of this as a game of skill. So why not use your skills by waiting longer in order to improve your luck?

    Make your peeks clear. Some people like to hide their fake peeks. This is a bad idea. If you get killed at night, you want your peeks to be OBVIOUS to the rest of the Town. This is especially true in Turbo games where every second counts. The less time the village has to spend figuring out your peeks, the easier it will be to soft clear Townies. Also, you will want your real seer to make their peeks obvious so you want to try to emulate that clarity. Using phrases like “if I’m the seer I peeked playerX Town n0” or simply “I peeked player Town last night” leave no doubt.

    Once you have committed to a fake peek, you have to stick with that peek. If I call Thingy my n0 peek and I suddenly start suspecting him [even though the scum team knows he is Town], it becomes pretty clear to the scum team that I am not the real seer because I "dropped cover." So if I call Thingy my n0 peek, he has to always be the "Towniest" person in all future reads lists.

    The hardest time to maintain cover is when someone claims to be the real seer. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and evaluate the authenticity of that claim before you just drop your cover [by unvoting or high fiving or something like that]. Scum will often fake claim seer when caught to see how people react so their team mates might be able to find the real seer.

    How to drop peeks as the seer
    Hopefully, everyone in the Town is savvy enough to know how to properly fake peek. [If they don’t? Refer them to this article post game!] One of the best ways to do this is to “disguise” your peek as a read. As you read above, the players who are better at providing seer cover drop their peeks based on reads. If they are doing this, it will make things a lot easier on you. If not, then it doesn’t matter too much because the scum will see your peeks and hopefully assume that your peek is “too easy” of a target because it is clearly based off of a read.

    The trick to providing the Town with your peeks is to make them indistinguishable from fake peeks but also clear. If you are the seer you want there to be no doubts about who your peeks are. This is especially true in Turbo games where every second counts. Using phrases like “if I’m the seer I peeked playerX Town n0” or simply “I peeked player Town last night” leave no doubt. If you bury your peeks in long reads lists or rambling posts, there’s always a danger they will not be seen.

    The biggest challenge you will face is when someone fake claims being the real seer. A good Town will evaluate all claims and will not immediately drop seer cover. If they do? You may be forced to unvote or vote for someone in order to appear to be a regular Townie. Even if you change your vote back, the hope is that your flinch will make the scum team think you are not the real seer because the real seer will know not to flinch. Ideally, you will have a Town hero who does NOT flinch at all and will eat the bullet for you at night. Knowing when to counter claim is an art and a whole topic of its own that I will leave up to you.

    Cliffs:

    • EVERYONE should provide seer cover.
    • Peeks should be clear.
    • Seer cover based on reads is usually more accurate than random luck.
    • Don’t drop cover.
    • Seer hunt clear is a real thing.
  2. This is a splendid article. Good job, Yates :y: ...

    This is a splendid article. Good job, Yates

    Quote Originally Posted by Thingyman View Post
    Cliffs:

    • EVERYONE should provide seer cover.
    • Peeks should be clear.
    I will first comment on these two things.

    I agree with these 100% if you are talking turbos. They are fast paced and you don't have time to be thoroughly rereading people for peeks.

    I don't necessarily agree when it comes to normal length games though. For one, it might be a very viable strategy in bigger games to not leave any peeks for the first 1-2 days (as both cop and VT). There can be several reasons for this and it all depends on the situation and how you feel about the general cover. I know that cops have sometimes been very wise to not leave any peeks or even try to blatantly seem like they aren't a cop either because they want to live longer that way or because they felt that the VT's in general were leaving very weak peeks and therefore didn't want to make themselves obvious. And as VT, you might even feel that you're more likely to attract a kill by not leaving a peek, either because you are usually bad about keeping up your cover (or even doing correct cover in the first place) or because the scum will treasure the opportunity to take you out without it resulting in a SHC. I did this latter thing all the time on my Danish forum because I knew the scum would always take me out Night 1 as long as I didn't give them a reason not to.

    Re: peeks having to be clear. Again, I agree when it comes to turbos.

    ... But I have a caveat when it comes to regular length games. I think it's very poor play in regular length games to be doing the mafia's job for them by making every peek super clear and very easy to find. Instead, I think you should aim to make your peek unambiguous and clear UPON THOROUGH REREADING. In other words, you should not be making a post that says "X is my peek".

    Instead, if you have 50 posts during a day phase, you should be aiming to include your peek somewhere in one of those posts in a way that isn't immediately noticeable, but once you reread all of that person's posts it should be apparent what the peek is. The rule here is then that you must only speak in certain terms about the alignments of your peeks and never any other players. I.e. in your 50 posts there should be a lot of "this person is wolfy", "man, he's gotta be a wolf, I think, no?", "Y seems like his typical villa game" etc., but only once should you say "X is villager", "Y is doing all these things, let's lock him in as villager", "Z is at the top of my villa list" etc.

    This used to be the seer cover meta on 2+2 in 2009-2010, but it has since been phased out with the new generations unfortunately, which I think is a crying shame. The idea behind is that if everyone makes it so that you must read all of a person's posts in order to know the peek, then the wolves need to spend A LOT OF TIME each night trying to find the cop. This is huge. Wheras for villagers, it's not that much extra work, because they only need to reread one person every day.

    The problem with this is of course that it's need to be a prevalent meta that everyone is sort of onboard with. I took a break from 2+2 and returned to finally become cop for the first time after 5 years of playing the game and I left my peeks as we usually did in 2009-2010... Except the meta had changed and people thought that I hadn't left any peeks, even though I had very unequivocally called certain people "villagers" (I just hadn't said "they are my peek").
  3. I am confused by this. It's very vague. I want...

    Quote Originally Posted by Thingyman View Post
    The scum has to "seer hunt." In basic games, the scum team does not have a lot of time to find the seer. In a typical standard game if the scum team doesn't find the seer by day 3 and the seer has 3 live peeks or 2 live peeks and a scum peek the game is mechanically locked and the Town always wins.
    I am confused by this. It's very vague.

    I want to make the rule super clear to everyone:

    In a vanilla game, you should ALWAYS (literally, always) be aiming to peek a person of the same alignment as your other peeks. I.e. if you have a n0 villager peek (and that person is still alive come Night 1), then you should peek for another villager on Night 1.

    This is a mathematical fact. The reason is that villager peeks and wolf peeks do NOT overlap when it comes to locking the game.

    To make this very apparent imagine a final 5 scenario with 2 scum alive where you claim with one scum peek and one townie peek. You know the roles of 3 out of 5 people, but you haven't locked the game. Instead you should have been trying to get to this final 5 with either 2 townie peeks or 2 scum peeks, either of which would've locked the game.

    I hope I explained it well.
  4. Across the entire forum mafia world, I would say...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist21 View Post
    What size game is considered standard?
    Across the entire forum mafia world, I would say 9-13 is a standard sized game. And for most communities, anything with 20+ players is considered large or very large. Ofc, on this site, we don't consider it large until you hit at least 30+ players.
  5. Indeed. This also happens to be what I focus on...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist21 View Post
    I think the simplest and most accurate way to put what Yates was trying to get at is that if a seer can clear half the game as Town, then the game is locked.
    Indeed. This also happens to be what I focus on achieving as Vanilla Townie in games (through reads).
  6. I lolled and @ Yates Yeah, no, I know the...

    Quote Originally Posted by Owner Of A Lonely Heart View Post
    Oh I thought SHC was @Scott Howard clear; I guess that's not the case.
    I lolled

    and @ Yates

    Yeah, no, I know the article was just meant as a basic guide, and I think that was the best way to write the article. My post wasn't meant as a criticism, just as a natural discussion point since some people will probably wonder if your post is what they should do in any and all situations. And I also just wanted to talk about optimal cop cover meta for regular games, since that hasn't been a thing for several years unfortunately :P
  7. Yeah, of course. We're also gonna have a list of...

    Quote Originally Posted by Owner Of A Lonely Heart View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Thingyman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Owner Of A Lonely Heart View Post
    Oh I thought SHC was @Scott Howard clear; I guess that's not the case.
    I lolled

    and @ Yates

    Yeah, no, I know the article was just meant as a basic guide, and I think that was the best way to write the article. My post wasn't meant as a criticism, just as a natural discussion point since some people will probably wonder if your post is what they should do in any and all situations. And I also just wanted to talk about optimal cop cover meta for regular games, since that hasn't been a thing for several years unfortunately :P
    I would like people to explain their abbreviations or acronyms for things so I can understand what they are saying better.
    Yeah, of course. We're also gonna have a list of all abbreviations at some point.
  8. We do not. Very, very few forum mafia communities...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zuras View Post
    General question before I comment the article:

    do you play here with post-mortal wills/testaments?
    We do not. Very, very few forum mafia communities do this. I only know of it from Town of Salem (a 3d chat mafia game) and some live game variants.
  9. Zuras Would you by any chance be interested in...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zuras View Post
    General question before I comment the article:

    do you play here with post-mortal wills/testaments?
    @Zuras

    Would you by any chance be interested in writing an article for the university? If you want, it could be focused on "live mafia" - it doesn't have to be about forum mafia at all.
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