Bring Your Own Character: Day One

bring your own character byoc

Welcome to The Bookish Games, a variation of the game most commonly known as Mafia or Werewolf. If you want to know more about The Bookish Games, including How to Play, please check out the links in the menu.

NOTE: Only players who have signed up for the Game should comment on this post. If you are not a participant but want to talk about the Games, please contact us on Twitter and we’ll send you access to the Spectator chat.

The Players

byoc-day-one

Game Master’s Notes

Some final tips and reminders before we start:

  • Please make sure you have read your Role email prior to commenting in the game. Remember, there is a requirement to be included in your first comment on Day One’s post. If you do not include it, we’ll know you haven’t read things completely. Please don’t let us down.
  • It is also assumed by now that you have read and agreed to The Rules. Any violation of the rules will result in a warning, followed by a disqualification. (Don’t forget, you can get a pass if there’s a certain week you need to be excused from the participation rule. Just contact us!)
  • Because it is Day One, you really have nothing to base your votes or suspicions off of yet. Our main advice is just to have fun and vote however you want in the beginning. Even if Day One ends with someone on your team getting voted off, you will still learn a lot of valuable information by observing who defends who and how people respond to being voted against.
  • When voting, please type your vote in ALL CAPS and on a separate line from the rest of your text so it is easy for Inge and me to spot. Votes are not final until the deadline, so you can choose to switch who you vote for throughout the Day. You can also choose not to vote. Votes can be canceled anytime by commenting CANCEL VOTE.
  • There is no option to “reply” to other comments on this blog. This is to ensure that all comments appear in chronological order. If you want to respond directly to someone else’s comment, we recommend starting your message with “@PlayerName:”.
  • We are currently using Greenwich Mean Time for game deadlines. A countdown has been added to the blog menu to assist players in knowing how much time they have left to vote. During the last 24 hours of a Day, it will transition to hours left instead of days. (You can also use this link to see when the deadline occurs at your local time, just add your location!)

As always, don’t be afraid to contact us if you have any questions or concerns during the Game. We are here to help and want to make this as fun of an experience as possible!

It is now Day One.

You have until Saturday 8pm GMT to discuss suspicions and cast your votes. Once the deadline has been reached, the person with the most votes will be eliminated.

Good luck!

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The Bookish Games: Bring Your Own Character Sign ups

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The Bookish Games

Welcome to The Bookish Games, an online version of the party game Mafia that has been floating around the internet since 2013. If you haven’t participated in the Games before and what to know what it’s all about, be sure to visit the links provided in the menu (to the left on computers, top of the page for mobiles). There you will find a rundown of how the game works, the rules all players must follow, and archives of the previous editions of The Bookish Games.

The main thing to be aware of if you are thinking about participating in The Bookish Games and haven’t played before is that this game requires a major time commitment. At the very least, you will have to dedicate an hour or two each week to The Bookish Games if you want to play it properly. The Bookish Games involves reading comments left by other players (generally over 100 comments per game Day), analysing information from comments and player deaths, contributing to the Day discussion, and submitting the Night Action form for your special power (if any). Please take this into consideration before signing up to play.

(But also, don’t let that warning scare you off because these games ARE are a lot of fun. Don’t believe me? Check out this page of testimonials where players from the past discussed why they love The Bookish Games.)

Bring Your Own Character Edition

This edition of The Bookish Games is unlike the rest. Instead of being prepared in advanced and themed around one specific piece of literature, we are handing the power over to the players. While we might implement some twists to the set-up here and there just for fun, the characters and roles that exist within this edition are entirely up to you. That’s right, we’re hosting a “Bring Your Own Character” edition of The Bookish Games.

When you complete the sign up form for The Bookish Games below, you will be asked to submit your top three choices for a character from a book you’d like to play as and what role you believe should be associated with that character. The list of possible roles you can choose from can be found on The Roles page. Only one role can be submitted per character.

Once the deadline has arrived, we will look go through all the sign-up forms and assign players one of the three character/roles they requested and organise them into different team(s). Warning: We will do our best to make this a balanced game, but if every player wants to be a Serial Killer there is only so much we can do. Prepare for chaos.

Sign-Up to Play!

The deadline for sign-ups is Saturday, January 5th with the games starting on Tuesday, January 15th. As this game does not involve a premade set-up, there is no limit to the amount of players who can sign up to play. Anyone and everyone is welcome, as long as each person agrees to follow the rules.

To sign up, please fill out the form embedded below. We will be updating the sign-up list with confirmed participants below as we receive the forms.

 

Confirmed Players

  1. Rashika (@RTheBookOwl)
  2. Val (@InnocentSmileyx)
  3. Harker @ The Hermit Librarian
  4. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight
  5. Dana Jan (@DanaBartelt)
  6. Megan (@Megan_Roze)
  7. Anne (@amengelhart)
  8. Kerys (@kerys_howarddd)
  9. Jenn (@bookish_ginger)
  10. T
  11. Crini (@xcrini)
  12. Charli (@charli_c_)
  13. Sana (@artsymusings)

Spectators

  1. Asti @ Asti Stenning (mod)
  2. Inge @ Of Wonderland (mod)
  3. Maraia (@maraiazoo)
  4. Beth (@ArtemisHi)
  5. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence
  6. Greg (@GregsBookHaven)
  7. Joséphine (@wordrevel)
  8. Jade (@bedtimebkworm)
  9. Flynn Bantau (@ChibiHako)
  10. Kritika (@spidersilksnow)

If you would like to be added to the Spectator Chat, a place where you can share your thoughts about the game with the moderators, eliminated players, and other spectators, please leave a comment below. 

Thanks in advance to everyone who signs up! We’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

The Bookish Games: Feedback Results

Now that a couple of weeks have passed, it is time to discuss the results of the feedback we received!

Thirteen people were kind enough to submit the feedback form with each person having played at least one edition of The Bookish Games in the past. While that’s not a massive number, I’m happy with it. We’ve had over 100 people participate in The Bookish Games since its launch five years ago, but many of those players have been inactive since the relaunch. I’m assuming everyone who chose to fill the form out is still following along with the games, even if they’re just spectating, and as those are the people that will be affected by any changes that take place as a result of this feedback their opinions matter most to me right now.

Oh, but if you DID want to submit the feedback form and just forgot over the last few weeks, don’t worry, it’s still open and accepting responses. Visit this link and provide your input.

Twitter Account

I’m glad to see that the addition of The Bookish Games Twitter account has been appreciated by players so will definitely continue utilising Twitter for future editions of The Bookish Games.

Annoying players by tagging them in status updates on Twitter was one of my main concerns with the account, so I’m glad to see such a positive response for this question. I will continue to tag players during future updates, unless a player is using an alias. (As Beth mentioned in the comments of the last feedback post, tagging Twitter accounts connected with aliases would sort of defeat the point.)

As you can see, the responses to this question are a bit spread out with an equal percentage of players for and against blog post promotion. I think as a compromise I will take the middle option: I will promote the blog posts of The Bookish Games participants, but only if they mention The Bookish Games or relate to the theme of the current edition.

If you would like to keep up with what fellow participants are posting, I do create a public Twitter list at the start of each edition of The Bookish Games with all participants as members. Follow it! I devoted a section of my Tweetdeck to the Vicious list last game so I could keep track of all participants and see what was going on, I found it helpful.

I feel like I’m still at a little bit of a lost when it comes to this question. I have had concerns brought up to me in private, which is why I decided to include it in the feedback form, but it seems the majority of players aren’t bothered.  As I still am not convinced it’s the best option for the game, I’m going to sit on this one a bit longer.

Alias Option

As two-thirds of the respondents voted for some variation of “yes”, I will offer aliases as an option for the next edition of The Bookish Games. It might not be a permanent option for all future editions of the game though, we’ll give it a test run and see how it works first.

Inactive Players

Thank you to all who provided feedback to this question, as I know open-ended responses require more effort than just ticking an option!

Based on the responses above, I will double the comment minimum to four comments per Day and include an emphasis on the actual amount of time this game requires. I will also include some kind of tick box for prospective players to mark confirming that they are aware of the time commitment prior to signing up.

I also really like that last suggestion of posting player interviews in the lull between games in which players are able to candidly share their thoughts on The Bookish Games. It might not happen during this break as I’ve been busy with other projects and it’s almost time to launch sign-ups for our next edition, but I do plan on implementing it in the future. So whoever suggested that, thanks!

Replacment Players

I’ve always felt like players who were eliminated from the game shouldn’t be allowed to re-enter the Game, but it seems a majority of players would prefer that over anything else. As a result, I think there will now be a new option when players are eliminated from The Bookish Games: you can either choose to join the Spectator chat as usual where you can discuss the events of the game with spectators, other eliminated players, and the moderators OR you can be added to the replacement waitlist.

I like this option because I do believe it is better to return to the game without access to the Spectator chat page as discussion often revolves around things not noticed or commented on within the daily game chat. It also means that those who were eliminated during the first few Days or Nights would have a better chance of returning to the game, if they so desire.

Players who return to the game would be required to use an alias though, just to help limit confusion.

Smaller Games

I’m glad to see that for the most part players are happy no matter what the size of the player base. I think we will continue planning games with a similar player base for now, but may explore a smaller game option in the future.

Day/Night Lengths

As the game currently stands, I only have twelve hours to sort out everything between the end of a Night and the start of the following Day (update the graphics, write the blog post, contact elimianted players, let players with special powers know the results of their actions, update the current edition game page, schedule tweets, etc.). It can all be a bit much, especially when those twelve hours typically fall over the time I prefer to be sleeping. As a result I will be taking twelve hours from the Day, as suggested by a handful of players above, and shifting it to that “Twilight” phase to make it a little easier for us moderators.

With a full day devoted for mod-work, I am open to the idea of shifting the Day/Night phases to different days of the week. The actual deadline times will have to remain the same as they’re the easiest for me to ensure that I’m around when all the action happens, but if shifting the days would make it easier for players I’m down. Think about what day you’re most likely to be available for a chaotic deadline and vote in the poll below (all times are GMT):

The Next Edition

As mentioned in the previous post, Inge and I are planning a Nevernight edition so expect that in the near future, but thanks to your votes we will be launching the Bring Your Own Character edition first! I have a feeling it’s going to be super chaotic but also a lot of fun so am looking forward to it. Start brainstorming your characters/powers now, if you haven’t already…

It looks like the next edition of The Bookish Games will be here before you know it. We’ll start sign ups for The Bookish Games: Bring Your Own Character edition the first week of January with the games launching the week of the 13th.

And for those of you who submitted interest in and ideas for co-hosting a future edition of The Bookish Games, stay tuned! As we only tend to get through four games a year with our current player base, it might be a while before I can take you up on your ideas, but I have them all saved for future reference. You won’t be forgotten!

Until Next Time…

Thanks again for taking the time to fill out The Bookish Games feedback form, for those of you who did. I appreciate any and all feedback in order to make this the best experience it can be. And oh yes, I can’t wait for the madness to start all over again. It ended much too quick last edition.

If you haven’t joined our mailing list yet, be sure to sign up! I’ll be sending an email out with information for when the sign-ups for the next edition go live when it’s closer to the time, so it’s the best place to be if you want to get involved. (Or, you know, just follow The Bookish Games twitter account. I usually post everything on there too.)

The Bookish Games: Feedback

We would love your feedback in regards to The Bookish Games went and what you would like to see in the future. Please let us know what you think regarding the following points (and anything else!) using the feedback form provided.

My current thoughts and concerns in relation to each section of the feedback form can be found below.

Twitter Account

The Bookish Games Twitter account was created early 2016, but I didn’t actively use it until the Vicious edition. During the game I used the Twitter account to provide voting updates, remind players of deadlines, nudge inactive players to meet the comment minimum, and highlight shifts in discussion.

I personally felt like the Twitter account was a beneficial tool in keeping players engaged. Unless a player is signed up for email notifications, they may not be aware when sudden shifts occur within the game so regular tweets help players keep track of voting patterns and changes in discussion. I also personally liked that I could use Twitter to send out information regarding player inactivity and Night player actions, as I find DMs a lot easier to manage than emails.

Of course, there have been some flaws with the Twitter account. I originally stated that responses to the account’s tweets were fine as long as they were general or vague in nature. Unfortunately I do believe that at times these responses, usually in GIF-form, were a bit too specific to gameplay. It was hard for players not to interpret those GIFs as possible indicators of a player’s alliance one way or another and that extra information doesn’t seem fair for those players who did not have access to or regularly visit Twitter. As a result, I am considering enforcing a “no comment” rule in regards to the Twitter account if a player is alive in the game, but would love to hear your thoughts.

I also wondered if players would like me to promote their posts while the game is going on. I did create a Twitter list for players who were signed up to the Vicious edition of The Bookish Games which anyone could follow and use to keep in touch, but I didn’t actively attempt to promote any posts. Would that be something you would be interested in as a player of the Games? Or would you like the account to be limited to game updates?

Alias Option

The alias option was discussed quite a bit in the spectator chat (so no worries if those who participated do not want to repeat themselves in the feedback), but in case you missed it: I’m considering giving players the option of using an alias when playing future editions of The Bookish Games. It will not be required, but there as an option for those interested.

There are a couple of reasons why I like the option for players to use an alias. For one, I think players are almost always impacted by previous editions of The Bookish Games. For example, let’s take Greg. He played great as a mafia member during the Vicious edition, escaping almost all suspicion until the end. When the next game starts, if Greg decides to join, it is almost guaranteed that no one will trust him. He may not get voted out right away, but everything he does will likely be scrutinized moreso than ever. And sure, that is part of the game so some may just think “you made your bed, lie in it”, but you’ll all really regret having that built-in bias if he turns out to be your Town’s only Cop or something like that.

Pretty much any player who has played a previous edition of the Game is facing an uphill battle from the start. Sure, newbies do get their fair amount of suspicion, but usually this revolves around inactivity moreso than anything else. For veterans, it’s anything and everything. So I feel like allowing the options for aliases would allow veterans to enter the games with a clean slate.

Of course, the other reason why I think aliases would be a good idea is because I find it so exhausting when players try to use “What Would Asti Do?” when playing the game. They look at what I’ve assigned players in the past, try to determine just how many newbies I would actually put on the mafia team, and so on and so forth when making their arguments for who to vote for. And don’t get me wrong, those are all valid strategies to figuring things out. I don’t blame you for using them. But sometimes it takes a little bit out of the fun for me? Because then it’s less about players playing the game and trying to figure each other out, and more about the players using what they know of me and how I set up the game to “crack the code”. (I then also feel bad when players get eliminated as result of this logic as in the end it reflects more on me than them.)

So yes, I am thinking of including the option for aliases in future editions of The Bookish Games and would love to know your thoughts. So far the consensus seems to be that it may be helpful for those who use it, but those who don’t may find themselves in even more of a sticky situation as there’ll be less vets in the open to analyse.

Oh, and it would also require more work as each player would have to remember to comment under their aliases, and who knows just how long it would take before someone inevitably messes that up.

Inactive Players

I always struggle when it comes to inactive players. It’s rare that such a player actually reaches out to me to be replaced. Usually they wait until disqualification is inevitable, and then they toss me a half-hearted apology and that’s that. And I don’t hold that against them, I understand The Bookish Games requires a lot of commitment and things happen, but I wish there was a way I could deter inactivity from being such an issue.

I’ve been brainstorming a couple of things I could try to do to help limit this issue with inactive players, but the only things I could think of are adding a time disclaimer to the sign-ups and possibly increasing the comment minimum.

When it comes to the time disclaimer, I thought maybe I could warn players in big bold writing when signing up that The Bookish Games would require at least a hour of their time each week in order to play effectively? Obviously some players spend much more time than that reading through everything, analysing  comments, and typing out their thoughts, but I feel like stating a time minimum such as a hour might be a better indicator for players to gauge just how much of a commitment the Games can be versus two measly comments.

The other option is to increase the comment minimum. I’m not sure what I would increase it to (four comments? five?) and I’m not sure how much it would change anything (as players may just pop in and post five generic comments not contributing anything and that’d be that), but it would at least provide a little more to work with that the current two-comment minimum.

So yes, I would love if you could share your thoughts on this. There may be another solution that I’m just not thinking of that could make a load of difference. Any feedback you have would be appreciated.

Replacment Players

To go along with the inactive player problem, I also wanted to ask your opinion on replacement players. When a player is disqualified, I put out a couple of tweets asking if anyone would like to join the Games as a replacement player and that’s that. Unfortunately, I usually don’t get much of a response as the Games can be quite overwhelming to come into once they’ve already started and usually since I can’t confirm disqualifications until the last minute I have a small time frame to find them.

I am curious what players think should be allowed when it comes to replacement players. Do you care if a player has had access to the Spectator Chat prior to joining The Bookish Games? What do you think about a player returning to the game after previously being eliminated?

Obviously players who are following along in the Spectator Chat are the best option for replacing an inactive player. They’ve showed active interest in following the Games and as such it wouldn’t be as big of an ask to have them join in since they already know what’s going on. The only issue I have here is the fact that those in the Spectator Chat may be influenced by what is being discussed prior to joining the game. No confirmation of any roles or actions is provided in the Spectator Chat so everything they have access to prior to joining in is pure speculation, but it’s still things that might not have been discussed within the game itself. Does that bother people? Or no?

The other option for replacements is players who were previously eliminated in the game. (I know Jeann would’ve jumped right in when Kait was disqualified, if given the chance.) Of course, not only would the issue above still exist with eliminated players, we’d also have to consider which eliminated players would be allowed to return and how. I don’t think players with active special powers should be allowed to return to the game as those player would have extra knowledge influencing their decisions that others wouldn’t (how their Night actions were impacted by others each Night). I also feel like since players were eliminated for a specific reason, bringing them back might be… an insult to players still in the game?

I guess if we were to go the eliminated players as replacement route, my ideal would be to limit to Townies who had no special powers or information, offer it in chronological order (so offer it to Day/Night One eliminated players, then if they’re not interested Day/Night Two eliminated players, etc.), and require players who return as alias. Thoughts?

Smaller Games

One option that might help with the replacement player problem is setting up games with a smaller player size. Would you still be interested in playing the game if there were only ten spots available to sign up?

There’d be less going on within the game set-up due to the limited player size (less special abilities, less twists, etc.) and it would mean games would not take as long with only ten players to sort through and limited people available to contribute to discussion, but the basics would all still be there. It would also mean that we’d have a lot more people sitting out or following along in the spectator chat, available to jump in if/when a disqualification occurs.

My main concerns with a smaller game size, apart from the fact that we wouldn’t be able to add as many fun twists, are that it may be harder for new players to sign up and the Day/Night lengths may need to be shortened quite a bit (maybe cut in half so 2.5 days in a Day and 1 day for the Night?).

Day/Night Lengths

Speaking of Day/Night lengths, if we keep the larger player size are you happy with how the Day/Nights are currently split up? Sometimes I wonder if the Day portions are too long since all the action mainly happens during the last 48 hours anyways, but I feel like as people are busy different days/times of the week it’s better to have those days there when needed.

I wouldn’t mind shifting the Day/Night phases to cover different days of the week (so making the Day phase last Monday through Friday and the Night phase Saturday and Sunday, or something like that), but again that is up to you. My main concern is ensuring that I am available to update things for whatever deadline we choose as a lot has to happen behind the scenes during each transition from Day to Night and Night to Day, but as long as I think I can make the time work I am open to suggestions for change.

The Next Edition

Lastly, the feedback ends with thoughts on the next edition(s) of The Bookish Games.

I am currently reading Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight thanks to Inge’s encouragement, so once completed we will probably start discussions for possible set-ups in relation to it. (I mean, it revolves around a school of assassins. How is that not perfect for The Bookish Games?) I’ve teased the possible idea here and there online and there has been some excitement in response, so I’m excited to see what we can come up with.

I did have another thought for a possible edition of The Bookish Games: Bring Your Own Character. If we were to go this route, each player who signs up for The Bookish Games would be allowed to submit two or three character/power combinations they would be interested in playing pulling characters from any book they so desire and powers from those listed on the Roles page. Once submitted, I would do my best to divide all the players into teams and assign them character/powers from the preferences provided to create as close to a balanced game as possible. (This would be a Role Madness version of the game though with almost everyone likely having special powers so balance would be near impossible to ensure.) Then the game would continue on as normal, with teams working to eliminate their threats through votes and Night kills.

I think this edition could be fun because it’d give players a chance to involve themselves in the set-up by choosing roles they’re interested in playing and would remove the requirement to know about a book to understand possible twists and turns, but it could also be quite chaotic and unpredictable with so many power roles involved.

So yes, please let us know which edition you would like to see next! And if you have your own idea for other editions you’d like to see in the future, there’s an option for that too. Inge and I will likely be set in doing one of the two (if not both) options above, so it may be a little while before we get to your suggestion. But I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas you have and possibly working with you to set-up an edition in the future.

That’s it! Feel free to submit all your thoughts in regards to The Bookish Games in the feedback form and share any others you may have in the comments below. I’m excited to read your responses and work with you on making this silly little game the best it can be. 

Vicious: Game Over

Welcome to The Bookish Games, a variation of the game most commonly known as Mafia or Werewolf. If you want to know more about The Bookish Games, including How to Play, please check out the links in the menu.

THE GAME IS NOW OVER!

Eliminated:

  • [DAY] Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight as Victor, Team Victor (Town), Cop/Doctor (able to investigate OR protect one player each Night)
  • [NIGHT] Crini (@xcrini) as Barry, Team Victor (Town), 2x Vigilante (able to target another player for a Night kill twice during the game)
  • [NIGHT] Harker @ The Hermit Librarian as Samantha, Team Victor (Town), Townie (no special powers)

Survived:

  • Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm as Eli, Team Eli (Mafia), Bulletproof (could not be killed at Night), 2x Strongman (able to make mafia’s Night kill almost unstoppable)
  • Beth @ Beth Wade as Serena, Team Eli (Mafia), Roleblocker (able to block one person each Night from using their ability, if any)
  • Greg @ Book Haven as Stell, Team Eli (Mafia), Goon (no special powers)
  • Kritika @ Snowflakes and Spider Silk as Dane, Team Eli (Mafia), Goon (no special powers)

MAFIA WINS!

Wait, what?! How is the game over if there’s still eight players left in the game?

Well, let’s just do the math, shall we? There are eight players left in the game, but half of those players are mafia and the other half are powerless Townies. If we were to let Day Five go live, the Town would have no possibility of gaining majority vote. The best outcome they could hope for is a tie. And as no remaining Town players have any special powers, there’d be no saving numbers once Night Five rolls around. The game would just progress with the mafia picking off the remaining Townie players one by one.

I’ll provide my thoughts about how we got to this end down below in my Game Master Notes, but for now let me just extend my congrats to the mafia team and commend them on their impressive game play. From Day One your team was threatened, but you somehow managed to pull yourselves together and make it to the end (apart from Anne, RIP).

The Mafia team as a whole gets my MVP vote for this edition for playing so masterfully, but if I had to choose just one I’d give that award to Greg. For being his first time participating in The Bookish Games, he played a nearly flawless game. Out of all of the mafia players, I think he was the one to escape most notice due to his mild activity levels and lack of crazy accusations, among other things. Good job Greg!

THE SETUP

Inspired by Vicious, there were a couple of twists built into the set-up of this game (some of which were sadly unused). These twists included: Cop-Doctor Combo, Reviver, Vengeful, V.E. SCHWAB, and Near-Death Experiences. Read on to find out more (and beware since there are some spoilers for the first book).

Victor and the Cop-Doctor Combo

In Vicious, Victor is able to control pain. He can either choose to amplify it or take it away, depending on his mood and motives. Adapting this to The Bookish Games, we decided to give Victor both Doctor and Cop abilities.

The Doctor ability is fairly self-explanatory. He is able to take pain away, so why not interpret this as him being able to heal others? The Cop ability, on the other hand, we attached to his increasing of pain ability. If he wanted information from someone, such as their alliance, surely he could increase their pain, torturing them until their alliance is revealed?

Poor Shannon had the option of using one power or the other each Night, so not only had to choose who she wanted to target but also which power she wanted to use. As you’ll see when visiting the GoogleDoc link below where we keep track of each Night form submission, this wasn’t ever an easy decision for her and rarely worked out in a beneficial way. (Of course, even if it had, who knows if it would’ve made a difference the way the Town came after her Day Four.)

No Regular Cops?

As a follow-up to explaining Shannon’s Cop-Doctor role, I would like to take a moment to explain why there were no individual Cop or Doctor roles in this game. I honestly thought when setting this game up that the Town had a lot of advantages. 

There were a lot of ways for the Town to stop themselves from being killed (Bulletproof, Commuter, Cop-Doctor, Bodyguard, Reviver), and even a couple of opportunities for them to return the favour (Vigilante, Vengeful). With so many opportunities to make the Mafia’s Night kills fruitless within the game, I felt like adding extra protective roles was unnecessary and that any investigative roles could become too powerful with the potential of so many Nights without kills. As a result, when I decided to incorporate the roles into the game I did so with caution, combining them into one and giving all the power to one player (sorry Shannon).

That being said, I did originally consider giving the Cop power to Mitch when trying to determine various set-ups for this game. I thought it sort of made sense, what with his hacker abilities. But when I was originally playing with my near-death experience idea (see below), I decided I wanted all non-EOs to be powerless so took away Dol’s and Mitch’s abilities. It was only due to Inge’s persistence that they ended up having any abilities at all, chosen to fit what she thought best reflected the book.

Sydney the Reviver

A special EO power prominent in Vicious that was incorporated into this edition of The Bookish Games was Sydney’s ability to revive dead people.

This type of role is generally frowned upon by the Mafiascum wiki, which is where I pull most of my information when setting up this (and previous) games. Reviving eliminated players from the game makes them near untouchable for the Mafia. The Town people know not to vote for them because their alliance/role has already been revealed, and it’s generally assumed that any Doctors will protect them at Night.

In order to help fight this role’s potential for being overpowered, I did two things. The first is obvious, I limited the ability to only being used once within a game. After a player’s death was revealed, Joséphine had until the following Night to decide whether or not she wanted to bring the eliminated player back into the game. (The eliminated players were not able to access the dead player chat until the decision was made.)

The second limitation was not as obvious, and it may have affected the outcome of this game. (Sorry Town!) In Vicious, when Sydney revived Barry it affected his EO abilities, making him immune to Victor’s pain management. She didn’t know it would happen, she just took a chance at reviving him and the effect was realised after the fact. As a result, I decided that when a player was revived, he/she would be revived as a powerless Townie. This was a necessary limitation to help ensure that someone like Shannon didn’t take over the game.

Let me explain that. Say Shannon was killed Day Two and revealed as Cop/Doctor. Joséphine would’ve very likely revived her that Night, knowing she was such an important player. If Shannon were allowed to keep her powers, the rest of the game could’ve potentially been a disaster. Everyone would’ve known they could trust her decisions, they would all do what they could to protect her each Night, and it would just turn into a waiting game with Shannon investigating a player each Night until she found a mafia member, everyone voting for that one person when she reveals their mafia alliance during the Day, rinse and repeat. It would just take away a lot of what makes the game fun. So to avoid that, the revived-as-Townie rule came into affect.

I didn’t tell Joséphine that would be the case when a player was revived though. You see, I’m an evil mastermind. I like to tell you the basics when it comes to your role, but sometimes I may not mention all the details. (In other words, always check out The Roles page once your role has been assigned to you just in case I “forget” to mention some important details.) So when Night Three came around Joséphine decided to revive Asiya, hoping that if she was targeted for a Night kill Asiya’s bodyguard powers would kick in and keep her in for another Day, but instead she still died and Asiya came back in as a powerless Townie. Whoops. Sorry Joséphine. (And contrary to what some suspected, Asiya did not die protecting Joséphine, she was the Mafia’s intended kill Night Two.)

Vengeful

Aw, I’m so sad this role didn’t get used!

When browsing through the list of possible roles for The Bookish Games on Mafiascum, we came across one called Vengeful. As that was the name for Vicious’s sequel, being published on the day of our sign-ups, we felt it was only right that we give it a little nod in this game. And of course we named the character after the author, Victoria.

The role itself was set up just to match the description provided by the wiki. If Jenn was lynched, she would’ve been allowed to submit the Night Action form to kill one of the players who helped vote her out. Unfortunately she was murdered so nothing happened.

The Nameless and V.E. SCHWAB

It is time to reveal the mystery around Betty… and Heather… and Erica.

You’re right. Usually when I add characters to the game who don’t already exist within the book, I generally just call them “Nameless Townie 1” or something generic like that. This edition though? I decided to switch things up.

If you put together the names for all the characters who existed in the game but not in the book, the first letters would combine to spell V.E. SCHWAB, the author of Vicious. (Victoria, Erica, Samantha, Charlie, Heather, Whitney, Amanda, Betty)

Why did I do that? Well, why not? The numbers were right and I thought it would be a fun little easter egg, so I did it to see if anyone would figure it out. (No one did, but that’s not surprising. Half of the nameless Townies were still alive at the end of the game and you guys had a lot of other things on your mind.)

On top of that, I felt that giving names to the nameless would be helpful in case players decided to revert to name-claiming to win the game. In the Harry Potter edition of the game, we got to a point where everyone started to name claim and the bad guys had to frantically come up with some sort of name to prove their innoncence (which was sort of fun in seeing what they could come up with, but frustrating because really the game should’ve be won based off such cheap measures). By giving innocent players unknown names in the book, it meant that if name-claiming became a thing, the decision still wouldn’t be straightforward. Sure, players like Victor and Sydney wouldn’t get voted on because everyone knows they can be trusted, but Erica and Heather and Betty? The only way to be sure would be to vote them out, making the game a bit more fun.

Near-Death Experiences

This was another little detail we added to the game but was never used. (To be fair though, I knew going into the game that it would be highly unlikely to happen as it all came down to Beth roleblocking Crini or Shannon protecting a player from Crini’s or the Mafia’s kill. But if the perfect storm happened to create the possibility, I wanted to be prepared.)

In the book, people who go through a near-death experience gain powers (often relating to their death). As a result, we decided that if a powerless player had a near-death experience in the game (targeted by the Mafia for a Nightkill but saved by a Doctor, for example), he/she would be granted a special ability. The special abilities Inge and I chose for the near-death experiences included: Vanilla Cop, Hider, Paranoid Gun Owner, and Vanillaiser.

Inge did ask if we could consider changing the NDE to include those who were nearly lynched but survived at the end of the Day, but the game had already started at that point and I don’t like to make any changes to set-up once the game gets going out of fear some kind of bias revealing itself, so it was kept how originally planned. That may have made things more interesting though, if we included near-lynches. Maybe next time.

BEHIND THE SCENES

As always, here is the information for the secret pages and access to the master sheet where we kept track of each Day/Night actions. If you have questions about anything, don’t hesitate to ask!

  • The Mafia Night Chats – The Mafia Night chats have now been imported! You can find what the mafia was saying at Night by looking at the blog archives or visiting the Night links on the Vicious Edition game page.
  • GoogleDoc Spreadsheet This is the Master Spreadsheet that Inge and I used to keep track of everything in the game from number of comments players made to voting history to Night Action form submissions. Click the tabs on the bottom of the page to see what went down each Day/Night.
  • Spectator Chat (password: blackedout) – Here you will find what was said behind your backs by the spectators and ghosts! (Don’t worry, it’s nothing too bad.) As you will see, activity in the chat picked up quite a bit once Night Three rolled around not only because there were so many eliminations but because Joséphine’s death meant I no longer had to wait an extra Night to send eliminated players the chat details.

GAME MASTER’S NOTES

Wrapping the Game Up:

Oh boy, let me just say this: it doesn’t matter if I know the identities of all the players in the game and all the twists that have been implemented, I never know exactly how everything is going to play out. It’s part of what makes this madness so fun.

Town, you were so close to figuring things out so many times. It was like the name of the Mafia was right there on the tip of your tongues… but then you would get sidetracked and vote someone else out instead.

Just think about it: Day One and Day Two, you nearly had Beth. Day Three, you almost had Anne. Day Four, well, I’m not sure what happened there. I thought for sure Jade would be a target after her name was mentioned Day Three and Anne was executed, but for some reason that vote just never picked up traction. But still, all it would’ve taken was one or two of you to switch votes on any of those Days and things could’ve been different. For some reason though, it never seemed to work out.

And don’t tell me it’s because I made that mafia team too strong. I definitely didn’t try! I knew Jade and Anne would be good because they’re active players who have played before, but the other three? Well yes, Beth played the last edition so maybe I should’ve had a better gauge on her, but she died Night Three and tbh I was such a mess that edition that I really couldn’t remember how she played so felt like I was willing to take a chance there. And Greg and Kritika? They were brand new to this game! I had no clue what to expect with them.

I figured with Crini and Shannon and Joséphine and Jeann and Sana and ALL THE PEOPLE being Town, there was a good chance this Mafia team would be crushed. I was wrong.

And contrary to popular belief, I did not individually handpick roles for players! For the first time ever, I used a random number generator to assign roles. Hence the reason why some powerhouse players such as Jeann and Sana were plain Townies and some newbies to the game such as Stephen and Kait were given special powers. So take that all you who think trying to predict what I would or would not do is the best way to figure out this game. I mean, the random number generator did assign roles similarly to what I probably would’ve done so there were no major surprises and you still probably could’ve accurately guessed who had special roles and who didn’t, but hey. I actually didn’t do it all myself this time.

Oh, and the fact that the mafia only killed high-powered players? That was luck. They had no clue who had what powers. The characters on their team may have been “cops”, sure, but they weren’t actually given any Cop abilities. Night One and Night Two they targeted individuals who didn’t say much and couldn’t help players determine any Mafia identities, it just so happened that their targets (Jenn and Asiya) both had special powers. Night Three and Night Four? Well, they guessed that maybe Joséphine and Crini had special powers, but that wasn’t even their main motivation for targeting them. They wanted to get rid of the analytical players who they felt threatened by, and Joséphine and Crini were the ones leading the charge during those times. (Though I don’t know, I would’ve been tempted to keep Crini around just because she seemed to be a little of course after her one successful Night kill. 😂)

So yeah, all that to say that this whole edition was just a series of unfortunate events for the Town. They couldn’t get the votes they needed to vote for the Mafia players when they had them on the board, the Mafia players themselves were lucky in managing to eliminate a powerful player each Night, and there were a handful of issues in regards to player activity (or the lack thereof) that distracted the Town from their goal.

But hey, prior to this edition the mafia had only won two out of nine games so it was about time they had another win. 😅

Funny moments:

We thought it might be fun to wrap this post up by sharing some of our favourite moments from this edition of The Bookish Games.

Day/Night One: Shannon’s safety

Obviously the running joke from Day One was Shannon and how she was risking her real life to check in on the events of the Day while driving her car. (I definitely do not recommend!) The mafia even considered eliminating Shannon for her own safety, but luckily she learned her lesson.

Shannon@Jade I agree about the seemingly throwaway votes. I assume they haven’t had a chance to check in, but since I’m typing at red lights… (erm, don’t be like me, kids)

Anne: Oh, my one other random thought was that maybe we ought to eliminate Shannon for her own wellbeing and safety. 😂😂😂

Shannon: @Asti, I stayed in the parking lot to comment so I hope you are proud 😂 …  I was very good this time! My son was like “mom can we GO!?” and I said “Noooo Asti will be mad if I comment at red lights again” 😂

Day Two: Confusion about Betty

I’ve mentioned the reasoning behind the Betty name up above, but let me just assure you that the mass confusion about Betty after her death brought me so much joy. It’s nice to throw you guys off every once in a while, even if it did cause a major distraction for the Town.

Harker: Before diving into Day Two: I’m not sure I recognize the character Betty. Could anyone enlighten me? I recently finished the book and it doesn’t ring a bell.

Dana: I don’t know who Betty is either. Maybe some names were made up due to there not being an abundance of characters in the book. Or maybe she makes an appearance in Vengeful?

Jade: So, i hadn’t planned on reading Vicious just yet, but after the last Day ended I was dying to know who Betty was haha (not that it really matters I think). So I started reading the book and inhaled practically half of it yesterday! I thought I met Betty yesterday in the book but turns out that characters name was Beth LOL. I did a search for Betty on my kindle and nothing came up. Has anyone read Vengeful? Is she a character in there? I might be a mystery unless Asti decides to enlighten us. I don’t think they usually make up names because we’ve had “nameless” townies before… but maybe they did this time just to confuse us!

It even was mentioned in Shannon’s blog post in which she reviewed Vicious:

I bought this like 503 years ago, and probably would have never read it if not for Bookish Games, tbh. (Lot of good it did, I still have no freaking clue who Betty is.)

Day Three: The Dreaded Blockquotes

And of course we can’t forget Day Three and the massive fails when it came to players using blockquotes. I’ve never felt so needed in my life.

Jade: WOW. Somehow in my comment where I explained how to do a blockquote I completely did it wrong?? What I tried to blockquote didn’t blockqoute, and what I tried not to blockquote did… I don’t know how I did that but if a mod could fix my comment for me it would be greatly appreciated!! I’m so embarrassed hahahah.

Anne: Omg you can tell I’m still half asleep. Can a mod help me with my blockquote fail? Lol 😨

Thank you, Asti! Do not blockquote before coffee, folks!

Greg: This was supposed to be block quoted as well.

Clearly I’m block quote challenged. *sigh*

Anne: Oh clearly take block quotes away from me. >.<

I’m going to go hide in a corner from absolute shame. I reread it twice!!!

Asti?! Help? lol

(Did you notice something interesting about the players who made those blockquote mishaps Day Three? They were all Mafia players. Dun Dun DUNNNNN!)

We Need Your Feedback!

Okay, I was going to end this section of the blog post asking for your feedback regarding certain elements of The Bookish Games, but as this post is already MASSIVELY long and I have no internet it will have to wait until another time.

Please check back next Saturday, November 10th, for a feedback post to go live for The Bookish Games. It won’t be specific to how you felt about this edition of the game (feel free to complain or cheer about the Vicious edition in the comment section of this post). Instead it will ask for your opinion on some general things about The Bookish Games including the Twitter account, amount of players, etc.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of The Bookish Games and look forward to seeing you for the next one. Don’t forget to join our mailing list if you want to be notified when sign-ups for the next edition go live and we’ll see you next week for our feedback post. 

Asti & Inge