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Thread: #24: Intermediate Village Mash Guide (by Amrock)

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    seeker of the second outlet Voxxicus's Avatar Moderator
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    #24: Intermediate Village Mash Guide (by Amrock)

    Article #24: Intermediate Village Mash Guide
    - written by Amrock


    Introduction

    In this guide, I'm going to cover two essential aspects of good village mash play: the optimization of ITAs, and how to be a productive villager. Both are critical in order to have a village victory. This guide is intended for people with low experience with mashes.

    This guide is also going to build on the previous guide to large games written by Chris, although some things will differ from that article. If you have absolutely zero experience with mashes, I would recommend skimming that article before you read this one.


    Optimizing ITAs

    The key to a successful village is the optimization of In Thread Attacks (ITA). When an ITA session opens, everyone has the opportunity to shoot another player by publicly posting their name in thread. Usually, each shot has around a 15% chance to hit, and people have 1 shot per day.

    At first glance, these shots are simply a small chance for you to kill your top wolfread. But in reality, ITAs are the bread and butter of village mash play. They are the main source of both killpower and information for a village.

    Killpower

    In a normal game, you can use the daily elimination to get rid of all the wolves. It’s typically the main source of killpower for the village. But in a 120 person mash, with 30 wolves, you could eliminate correctly every day and still lose. What’s one kill in a game with 30 enemies?

    Now consider ITAs in the 120 person game. A single 15% shot to kill someone isn’t going to do much. But, combined, with 120 people, you’re going to get 18 kills, or 15% of the game dead, on average.

    Take a 7 person game. The first elimination is removing ~14% of the game. In a mash, with a 15% hit rate, and everyone shooting, you are always going to remove ~15% of the game on average. Think about how important each elimination is for a 7 person game - this is how important the first round of ITAs is for the village.


    Information

    In a normal game, you can use end of day votes and pushes to help determine whether someone is more likely to be a wolf or not. That’s because the daily elimination is the main source of killpower for the village. So if someone votes for a wolf at the end of the day, or pushes for a wolf to be killed by the end of the day elimination, they are more likely to be a villager.

    But, as explained, in mashes, ITAs are the main source of village killpower. And just like end of day votes/pushes can influence who gets killed by the elimination, people’s shots are what determines who gets killed by ITAs. See, a key element of ITAs for the village is that they are public. You have to put in the thread who you are shooting. And if someone shoots a wolf, they are also more likely to be a villager.

    Just like a normal game, in which votes on wolves do not lock people as villagers, and vice versa, individual shots do not lock players as certain alignments. However, someone’s voting/pushing record can be seen analogous to someone’s ITA shot record. Of course, just like in real mafia games, context is important when looking at shots. But, especially in the later game, someone’s ITA actions can tell you a lot.

    Normal Game Standard Mash Equivalent
    Daily Elimination ITAs (Killing)
    End of Day Votes/Pushes ITAs (Analysis)



    The Pillars of ITA Optimization are Organization and Discipline

    Even in a wildly disorganized village, ITAs are village-sided for reasons already mentioned (villager shots are village KP, and you can look at ITA histories). But in a disorganized village, you cannot force all shots to be pro-village.

    Consider a gamestate with a dearth of leadership. There are no consensus suspicions. Everyone has their own individual wolfreads. A significant consequence of this is that wolves cannot be held accountable for shooting non-suspicious villagers. If there are no consensus suspicions, a wolf can shoot any villager and pass it off as their own personal read. However, if there is a consensus, that is when wolves are forced to either shoot people the village wants to kill or draw suspicion themselves. They might even be forced to shoot their own partners if the consensus is accurate enough!

    How can a village reach consensus? This is where village leaders and shots lists come into play. The most effective way I’ve found to reach “consensus” suspicions is to have the most village read player(s) in the game talk to each other and create a list of consensus targets called a “shots list.” They provide a list of targets to the entire game, and everyone is “forced” to shoot their ITA shot to one of the players on the list. Any shot on this list is pro-village (as referenced earlier).

    In an ideal world, anyone shooting outside of the list would be heavily suspected, because it’s likely they are a wolf that is declining to help the village. Of course, in reality, villagers decide to ignore shots lists for ??? reasons. This is where discipline comes in - if you are a villager, even if you have your own wolfreads, shooting outside the list makes you indistinguishable from a wolf that is trying to escape shooting a pro-village shot. Just remember that mash villages need cohesion and teamwork in order to succeed, and shooting into the shots list is doing your part. Be a team player, and trust in the village leaders.

    Making Shots Lists

    The priority of all shots lists should be to have people that will always die to village killpower at some point in the game. This can include people that have been generally suspected by the village, or even low posters that you don’t think will ever be able to clear themselves. A village leader should never put their own personal wolfreads on shots lists, especially players that are village read by others. As a village leader, your responsibility is to provide a guideline for players that will help the village in the long run. And that means compiling consensus suspicions and people that will always have to die.

    Some people say that shorter lists are better. In general, this is true. The longer the list, and the more options you give people, the more flexibility you are giving them. Flexibility helps wolves, as it provides an easier opportunity for them to shoot a strong villager - or even just a villager in general. Limiting options makes it more revealing if wolves decide to go off-script.

    An example of a good shots list is here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ladd The Village Leader (#9140)
    SHOOT UNTIL DEAD:

    Colin

    Acceptable shots:
    Maha
    Scoobs
    Spartan
    Mantizdreams
    XVII

    Do what u wish idrc:

    Dels
    S0meone23
    Cemeteries

    lmk if u want to add/remove someone, i still have no read on like half of these people lol
    In this game, Ladd was universally village read and was widely accepted as a village leader. At this point in the game, there were more than 120 people alive. This is a great shots list for three main reasons:

    - A perfect size. With a 120 people alive, you don't want to have a list of like 2 people, but you also don't want to give too much flexibility. There are 9 names overall, which is

    - The list incorporated some of Ladd's personal wolfreads, but also incorporated the thread's wolfreads as well. Remember, a good shots list will be an extension of the village as a whole!

    - On a more advanced level, Ladd's shots list had another good component - different tiers. By having Colin as "shoot until dead," he was signalling to the thread that Colin was practically an outted wolf. This allows villagers who were not as invested in the game to make an easy optimal shot.

    It's best not to overthink this. These are the three necessary ingredients to a great shots list.

    Forcing Wolves To Eat Themselves: Or Why Optimized ITAs Are So Powerful

    Earlier, I alluded to how organized and optimized ITAs can force every single shot to be pro-village. I like to think of this as forcing wolves to eat themselves - or shoot themselves in the foot. A common misconception is that the power of ITAs for the village is diluted because wolves can shoot too. People think that only 75% of ITAs should be village killpower, because 75% of people are villagers. This is wrong. All ITAs are good for the village, whether they are shot from villagers or wolves. That is because, with ideal ITA optimization, wolves are effectively forced to either shoot suspicious people or gain suspicion themselves, due to the public nature of ITAs. It’s not like wolves can shoot the top village player with their ITAs without making themselves obvious wolves. Indeed, every time a wolf shoots an ITA, they are forced to either give the village killpower (by shooting a suspicious person), or give the village information (by shooting someone non-suspicious, therefore making themselves look suspicious). It's a trade off that wolves are constantly forced to balance.

    This also includes shooting villagers who are suspicious. If there’s a villager that is highly suspected, a wolf could theoretically shoot them without making themselves suspicious. This is actually pro-village - they were likely dying at the hands of the village at some point in the game (whether it is through an ITA, an elimination, an action, etc). They are just expediting the process, which can allow villagers to find new suspects - who might be wolves! Indeed, the vast majority of ITA shots are pro-village, regardless of the shooter.




    How To Be Productive

    Mashes require a fundamentally different mindset than normal games. In a normal game, you can be productive by reading the thread, carefully analyzing posts, sharing your thoughts, making accusations, defending yourself, etc. But, at least in the early stages of the mash, these things are hard! You aren't going to be able to read everything, and you likely aren't going to be able to have any super substantiated wolfreads or village reads. Instead, realize that there are some very simple things you can do to be productive while village mashing in the early game - things I will be detailing here.

    Post

    You need to post, and be active. The biggest thing you can do to avoid being killed at the hands of the village is to post. As mentioned earlier in the article, low posters tend to die quickly in mashes. You need to make sure you aren’t in this group of low posters, or people are going to suspect you of being a wolf that is unsure what to post.

    Posting is hard in mashes. You haven’t read everything. You may be confused, and not sure what to do. It’s okay. Realize that almost everyone in mashes has absolutely no idea what they’re doing.

    It’s completely okay to simply ISO the top wagons and share your thoughts. It’s perfectly fine (and good, really) to ISO a player that you know well and share what you think their alignment is. It’s very acceptable to look at players in real-time and share your gut reactions. Don’t even worry about whether this looks wolfy or not - everyone is on the same playing field.

    The truth to mashes is that, especially in the early game, what you post doesn’t matter much. Your reads don’t even matter that much. Anything you do, as an individual, isn’t going to matter much. Your number one goal as a villager is to avoid getting on shots lists. Spew out as many thoughts as you can. ISO the game host if you want to be caught up to any mechanical information, or just ask in thread. And don’t overthink it.

    Understand your role

    As a vanilla villager, your goal is to be killed by the wolves. You want to make the wolves waste wolf killpower on you, instead of a power role. You want to die as early as possible - at the hands of the wolves. Play as hard as you can. Project village as hard as you can. Make it impossible for the village to kill you.

    As a power role, you should still be trying to avoid being killed by the village. But you also have another duty to the game: optimizing your abilities. In any given mash, you can expect a large portion of village power roles to not even submit their action. Don’t insult the game - submit your actions. Make a conscious choice. And, specifically, if you are village killpower (like a vigilante), shoot into the consensus suspicions and wagons. Don’t hero shoot (shoot your own personal reads). Consider yourself an extension of the village as a whole - you aren’t going to win the game on your own, but you can do your part.

    Enter events

    Events are a key component of mashes. They are specific minigames that happen in the thread, and allow you to win prizes. Not only are events fun, but they can be game-swinging and much more important than people believe. The more villagers that enter events, the higher chance village has to win a prize. Entering events also prevents a wolf from entering the events! If you are active enough, and have the ability to do so, you should be entering all events you possibly can.

    One exception is that important village power roles should avoid entering events with a risk of death. Typically, the mash hosts will let you know if an event you are entering has the potential to kill you. If you are super valuable to the village, you don't want to risk dying!

    Quote Originally Posted by (False) God of Elements (#2113)
    Event

    Up to 10 players
    phoneposter friendly
    No risk of death

    Type some variant of "in" to in


    If you'll notice, "no risk of death" is stated. In an event with no risk of death, you should always be trying to enter.

    Attempt to understand game mechanics

    Read the original posts at the beginning of the game. Mashes often are very complex mechanically. You don’t NEED to sink a lot of time into the game, but you should at least be reading the beginning posts. They often contain a lot of information that is super useful and even necessary to understand the game mechanics. Don’t insult the game - do your part. If you have questions about any of the mechanics in the game, PM the host account and ask them! That’s why they are there. Do not be afraid.

    If you can, organize

    In large games, with nobody reading the entire thread, it can be impossible to keep track of things. In an ideal village, there will always be someone that is keeping a running list of all pertinent mechanical information. This includes information given from the host, information given from players, claims by players, and even charts showing who shot whom in ITAs. In my experience, the most successful villages are the ones that are organized. It only takes one person to do this - and if you have the ability, and the time, do it.

    A guide to getting good reads

    Getting good reads in a normal game is hard, but it’s infinitely harder in mashes. Nobody has any idea what they’re doing, and it’s really hard to tell the difference between a villager and a wolf. The reality is that nobody has the secret formula. However, I’m going to share some quick and dirty tricks.

    Utilize Meta: Meta haters, begone. The #1 way to tell someone’s alignment is to compare how they’ve played in previous games/mashes as different alignments. It’s really, really hard to fake your own village meta in mashes, with everything going on and all the chaos. People tend to have pretty distinct wolf and village mash games, and sometimes even a cursory skim and/or simple analysis such as “are they posting much less than they did as a villager” can be very illuminating. This is why I’m always an advocate of ISOing someone you know if you’re lost - you might be able to tell their alignment better than anyone else in the game.

    Sort by Post Count: Ever heard of SBPCBWE (Sort by Postcount, Become Werewolf Expert)? As cliche as it is, it tends to produce extremely good results in mashes. When push comes to shove, wolves tend to have a LOT harder time posting in mashes. People with high post counts tend to be villagers. Lower post counts tend to be wolves. Of course, there can be exceptions. But, as a general rule, this is actually a decent guide to determining someone’s alignment.

    Sheep good players, village leaders, and strong meta reads: There are always going to be village leaders, often ones with large numbers of reads. Believe it or not, these village leaders tend to have much better reads than the rest of the game. Some players in particular tend to have great reads consistently. If you find these players, and sheep (follow) their reads, you’re actually going to have decent results yourself. Similarly, if you see people with strong meta reads (say, someone they know very well, or someone they recently played with), these reads tend to be very accurate compared to other reads in the game and also are harder to fake. If you think the person sharing them is a villager, feel free to sheep them! Often times, the key to success is not finding your own reads, but finding a trusted villager and following their reads. There is no shame in this. It's just part of village unity.

    I’ve gotten above average reads in mashes for years by following this simple formula. Of course, there are also conventional ways to read people - like whether they have villagery/wolfy tone, whether they have bad pushes, TMI, have done good ITA shots, etc. All of these things can still be used, but sheeping/meta/post count are the best.

    Conclusion: Being Productive

    There are a lot of things you can do to be productive in the early stages of a mash. Posting as many thoughts as you can and entering as many events as you can is important. Understanding how to play your role and attempting to understand the game mechanics - and possibly even organizing them - will go a long way. Don't worry so much about getting good reads - everyone sucks during mashes. Utilizing meta, post count, and tactical sheeping is a great way to get better than average ones.

    Cliffs:

    • ITAs are the bread and butter of the village. ITAs are not only the main source of killpower for mash villages, but also the main source of information!
    • A perfect village will be mechanical with ITAs - village leaders create short and sweet shot lists, and everyone is forced to shoot within the list or be killed themselves. This forces all ITAs to be pro-village in nature, no matter the shooter, and optimizes them.
    • Individual villagers are not going to have much individual impact, especially early in the mash, but there are still ways you can be productive and help the village as a whole early game. Make sure to post, enter as many events as you can, submit your actions, try to understand game mechanics, and organize.
    • Getting reads in mashes is hard, but sheeping village leaders and strong meta reads, utilizing meta yourself, and sorting by postcount are some simple ways to get above average reads in the early stages of a mash.
    Last edited by Voxxicus; July 11th, 2020 at 04:12 AM.

  2. ISO #2
    I was gonna try to write something similar at some point, but this is good

    maybe I'll do one for wolfing, or maybe I'll keep being lazy

  3. ISO #3
    I make poor decisions when drunk Viggorous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voxxicus (#1)
    Optimizing ITAs:

    Amrock

    The end.
    Fyp

    Edit: nice article, now even plebs like me can mash like a real champion
    Last edited by Viggorous; July 11th, 2020 at 06:49 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by DoubtingThomas (#1916)
    u are the imbecile for wanting to lynch me after that d1

    just please never call yourself
    VIGGOAT or whatever that $%#! you say

    cuz it's really not true not at all after your recent performances and you must feel it

    or are you just spite killing me like you did RC?

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    Mantichora's Avatar Game Manager
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    nice

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    Mafia Backup Amrock sheepsaysmeep's Avatar Game Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by moth (#67)
    Stop calling things natural. This world isnt natural. You can get butt implants and $%#!
    Quote Originally Posted by roro__b (#8185)
    I see this game as an experience that makes you that little bit stronger afterwards but you thoroughly hate it and it's a disaster while you're in it. I see probably every game of mafia like that, but especially this one. Like getting dumped, or being in a car accident, or a house fire.

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    Klopp Killa Panther's Avatar
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    If you don’t know what to do

    Read people you know. Try to find villagers first.
    If that’s not working just read live thread and see if you have an opinion on a back and forth.
    If that’s not working shoot Klopp and then start solving.

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    Klopp Killa Panther's Avatar
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    Good job amrock

    Also important to know who NOT to shoot in ITA and you should be following the mech/claims posts. If you’re a villager and want to die sooner, be the one who makes those posts.

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    Wants It More LanMisa's Avatar
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    I find it quite ironic that Amrock's guide was posted a few days before he ended up ravaging town in a Mash.

    The guide is well written though, so props for that.

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    Wants It More Hally's Avatar
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    now amrock needs to write a “how to powerwolf the $%#! out of a mash” article


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    GOAT Tier insomnia's Avatar
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    Nah this just didn’t work

    Quote Originally Posted by hunter2 (#8219)
    #$%#!Disney

    ~meta is trash.

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    Mafia Backup Amrock sheepsaysmeep's Avatar Game Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by moth (#67)
    Stop calling things natural. This world isnt natural. You can get butt implants and $%#!
    Quote Originally Posted by roro__b (#8185)
    I see this game as an experience that makes you that little bit stronger afterwards but you thoroughly hate it and it's a disaster while you're in it. I see probably every game of mafia like that, but especially this one. Like getting dumped, or being in a car accident, or a house fire.

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    bbt's Avatar Moderator
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    I can't miss an opportunity to use dog

    Quote Originally Posted by Chemist1422 (#122)
    bbtbh wolf because bbt actually made reads
    Quote Originally Posted by roro__b (#24)
    bbt would never be less than 100% serious!!

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