Resource A Guide to Balancing Werewolf Games

Discussion in 'Forum Games' started by Teal, Nov 15, 2014.

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  1. Teal 黄前さん らしい ね
    Teal

    Member

    When creating role in Werewolf, it is good to strive for balance. Think "how much and in which way can this role influence the flow of the game?" If a role can throw the game totally off tracks by being used very well or badly, it might be imbalanced.

    I'll use SfA examples.
    SfA = A Sacrifice for Anti-Arceus
    You have to know the roles in that game to understand this guide. Writing this guide without my game as a reference would take too long. Tying the guide to SfA also makes the guide more practical and not just theory.

    What types of abilities exist?
    First off, let's classify abilities. I divide abilities in seven types:
    Social
    Social abilities have the chance to somehow provide information outside of the game thread (either anonymously or not).

    Examples:
    Masons (Cobalion etc.), Neighbourizers (Keldeo), Tweet (Swablu), Newspaper (Swablu), Notes of Wisdom (Meditite)

    Rulebreaking
    Rulebreaking roles break the general permise of werewolf in some way, for example by owning a double vote instead of a single vote. Stuff like impedes fall into this category too.

    Examples:
    Permanent death, only when lynched/killed
    Revival (Delphox), Zombie (Sableye), Prolonged Life (Hariyama), Death by Illness (Slowking)

    A single weighted, retractable vote
    Multivote (Kirlia/Grumpig), Early Lyncher (Grumpig), Vote Freezer (Goodra), Fake Vote (Mawile), 1-Shot Vote (Sableye), Tie Breaker (Conkeldurr)

    Freedom of Speech
    Voting Impede (Smeargle), Crush Voter (Kirlia)

    Manipulative
    Manipulative abilities change the intended flow of abilities or the game in some way. Because of their nature these are mostly wolf-roles.

    Examples:
    Role Blocker (Vanillite), Vote Control (Swablu), Clumsy Shield (Aegislash), Janitor (Vanilluxe)

    Non SfA-examples:
    Bus Driver (changes targets of abilities), Day Skipper, Night Skipper

    Investigative
    Investigative roles find out information about the roles or game.

    Examples:
    Activity Checker (Elgyem), Ability Calculator (Koffing), Town Dreamer (Munna), Naughty/Nice List (Delibird), Sketch (Smeargle)

    Common non SfA-examples:
    Cop, Watcher

    Pseudo-investigative (these roles have the ability to confirm players as town/wolf):
    Aura Sense (Lucario), Clumsy Shield (Aegislash)

    Chaotic
    Chaotic roles often have a considerable chance to backfire at the user, and they can potentially greatly influence the game. If a setup is desired to keep balanced, chaotic roles should only be used with great care and in few numbers.

    Examples:
    Role Eraser (Kangashkan), Hunter (Jynx)

    Common non SfA-examples:
    Townie Roleblocker, Townie Busdriver, Vigilante variations

    Gamebreakingly chaotic roles
    In right hands, these roles can affect the flow of the game so much that they break the whole setup unless nerfed in some way from the traditional formula:
    Cop, Priest

    Supportive
    Supportive roles help the town in a mostly peaceful way, they are kind of like a safety net for the town.

    Examples:
    Item Distributor (Delibird), Protecter (Absol), Selfprotect (Aegislash), Town Backup (Ditto)

    Oddballs
    Roles that don't really fit in the other categories.

    Examples:
    Gooey (Goodra), Personal Quest (Spoink)
    What is a good and balanced mix? What roles are desireable? What roles go well together in a setup?

    Claiming: provability & believability of roles
    Some roles can be proven easier than others. If every role can be proven, then depending on their roles the wolves might have an almost impossible time winning. Think: These x number of roles are in the game at lategame. Does the wolf lose just because I set it up too hard for him? Should town roles always be believable as town roles? (No, then the game would be over before it even started.)

    Roles can be divided in:
    Easily provable as town
    These roles are quite easy to prove and appear as town, at least when given a night.

    Examples:
    Slowking, Pikachu, Delphox, Lucario (depending on the result)

    Semi-provable as town
    These roles are not necessarily easy to prove, or maybe they can be "proven", but there can't be certainity, proving might require certain circumstances. Might not necessarily appear as a certain town role even when proven.

    Examples:
    Elgyem, Koffing, Munna, Ditto, Grumpig, Cobalion, Virizion, Terrakion, Keldeo, Delibird
    Smeargle, Swablu, Goodra, Vanilluxe (if janitored)

    Unprovable as town
    Impossible or almost impossible to prove under normal circumstances when pressured. Not necessarily that believable, or might appear as anti-town when proven, and thus hard to claim.

    Examples:
    Meditite, Conkeldurr, Kirlia, Aegislash, Absol, Kangashkan, Hariyama, Jynx, Spoink
    Mawile, Vanillite, Dusknoir, Arbok
    Easily provable roles should be rare. What's a good balance between semi-provable and unprovable roles, giving the wolves a fighting chance?

    Overall balance

    Here are some questions you should ask yourself about every role:
    1) How skill/luck-based is this role?
    => First you have to understand this: What is skill? Are there bad, good and best ways to use this role?
    => How desireable are luck-based and chaotic roles in your setup?
    2) How good is this ability/role earlygame, midgame, lategame?
    => What is earlygame, midgame, lategame in my setup?
    3) Should this ability be usable at any time or maybe not earlygame/lategame?
    => For example janitoring or skipping nights earlygame makes the town depressed.
    4) Can I use an "overpowered" ability in the game by nerfing the role or faction in another way, or should I nerf the ability itself?
    => Sableye only gets one vote, Slowking dies automatically, Munna can't be revived and has a flavour handicap, ...
    5) How does this ability interact with other abilities?
    6) What is the priority of all abilities? Which abilities happen last?
    => Usually, killing abilities are the last to activate.
    7) Bonus: Is it more practical to have some abilities useable during the day?
    => Maybe you come up with an ability that needs feedback from other players during the night. If you would have to rely on "info from A" => send info to B => await response from B, it could be more practical to request the "info from A" during the day.
    Example: Sketch (Smeargle): info from Smeargle (who he uses Sketch on) => host has to react => await info from how they use the new role (during one night) => request the first info during the day for a better flow

    Questions you should ask yourself about the game:
    1) How do I deal with flavour? How much should flavour be able to affect the game?
    => Flavour can be used to "pseudoconfirm" town even though that is dangerous. Maybe some red herrings aren't a bad idea. Maybe overreliance on flavour should be punished? Does forcing town to fake flavour balance out the fact that the wolves might have to fake flavour? What is a fair approach to this?
    2) Is my approach consistent?
    3) "Nothing to go off on day one" is a common attitude and problematic. How can I make the earlygame interesting?
    => Slowking and Sableye in SfA are roles that have the potential to give the town something to do D1, and Delibird is an earlygame discussion producer. Should there be a "good choice/route" for day 1?
    4) Honestly, would I prefer to play as wolf or town in this setup?
    => If you prefer one, maybe it means you should tweak the balance of your setup.

    Roles from SfA (raw beta versions):
    Smeargle
    Alignment: Anti-Arceus
    You are Modern the Smeargle. You are a highly emotional artist who lets his feelings flow into his artwork. You are eager to learn new techniques so you also like to copy other people in order to improve!

    You have a vision, your ultimate artwork is in the making: You shall design the new Paradise that is to be.

    Ability: Moody
    You must cast at least five different votes every day. (You must unvote between the votes.)

    Ability: Sketch
    Use: every unevenly numbered day
    You may PM me a player name. You will (partly) copy an ability from that player for until you can use Sketch again. The copied ability may be altered from the original. Not all abilities can be copied (you may wind up with no ability for some time).


    Vanillite
    Alignment: Anti-Arceus
    It’s actually pretty annoying that everyone always wants a piece of you. So you started mixing some numbing stuff into your vanilla ice. Being popular is hard, isn’t it?

    Really, you wish you could just be another Pokémon. Like a Munchlax. Eat and sleep all day, and most people forget you even exist. Perfect. You heard that this not-suspicious-at-all Anti-Arceus can make your wish come true, so yay!

    Ability: Evolution
    During the night, you may PM me to activate this ability. If you do, you can not use any other ability that night. You will evolve and unlock a new ability.

    Ability: Vanilla
    Use: three times per game at night
    You may PM me a player name. That player can not trigger most active or passive abilities that night.

    Locked Ability: Traceless Teamwork (Vanillish)
    Use: once per game at night
    You can only use this ability if Dusknoir is alive. You may PM me to activate this ability. The player or the role PM of the player who your faction kills that night will not be revealed in the night update. They will be revealed at the end of the upcoming day instead.

    Locked Ability: Sauceless (Vanilluxe)
    Use: once per game at night
    You may PM me to activate this ability. The role of the player who your faction kills that night will be obscured to the town (you will get to know the role). The role will be publically revealed once you die.


    Dusknoir
    Alignment: Anti-Arceus
    You are the leader of the “Cult of Arceus”. Being a ghost, you have been around for thousands of years, wondering what the point of your life is. Some time ago you found ancient documents that reveal the Truth about how this world was created… It turns out that overwriting this world is not that hard?! You just have to recreate a ritual Game according to the Rules in order to summon an Arceus that can overthrow the current one and create a new world! Actually, that’s how the current world was created, too! Finally you have found a goal in your life: you must create a Paradise, where everyone can live happily!

    Ability: Reaper
    Use: once every night
    You may PM me a player name. That player will be killed.

    Ability: Cross the Boundary
    The only thing you lose upon your death is your ability to post in the public game thread.


    Goodra
    Alignment: Anti-Arceus
    You are the friendly neighbourhood dragon who is always smiling. Everyone loves you! That is kind of problematic, though, because when people touch you, they get slimy…

    Because you love everyone too, you want to make everyone happy! And what’s a better way to make everyone happy than to turn earth into Paradise? That’s what that ghost guy told you, at least!

    Ability: Gooey
    Anyone who targets you gets slimy. The public night update mentions any slimy player.

    Ability: Gootrap
    Use: once per game at day
    You may PM me to activate this ability. From that very point on, no player can unvote during that day anymore.

    Hidden Ability: Slime Cover
    Use: once per game at night
    You may PM me a player name. That player will receive the following regular ability for the remainder of the game:

    Swablu
    Alignment: Anti-Arceus
    You are Pathos the Swablu, manager of Stage Town’s favourite celebrity, Pikachu! Just like her, you like to talk a lot, too.

    Seeing the luxurious life that Pikachu and other celebrities have been living has made you so jealous that when you heard of the “Cult of Arceus” that wants to create a new Paradise, you decided to join them to get a taste of luxury, too!

    Ability: Tweet
    Use: once every night
    You may PM me a player name and a message of maximal 140 characters. I will PM that player in the following format (it is not in quotes):
    Ability: PR Management
    Use: once every night, including night 0
    You must PM me a headline and an article. These will be published in the upcoming public night update.

    Hidden Ability: Malicious Management
    If the player of Pikachu publically reveals their role through their ability, you will gain control of their vote for the rest of the game and this ability becomes unhidden:
    Once during the day you may choose to PM me the name of a player. Pikachu’s player’s vote will be placed on that player regardless of what they vote (your choice comes up in the vote count).


    Arbok
    Alignment: Anti-Arceus
    A long time ago your ancestor was expelled from paradise. However, you know… life here on earth isn’t that shabby either! Everyone has forgotten about that incident anyway.

    Just kidding. You want to get revenge and recreate the Paradise that once belonged to you – and get back your true form! In order to do that, you have to awaken another god that can defeat the current one and rewrite the universe.

    Ability: Expelled from Paradise
    Unlike the other Anti-Arceus-aligned players you don’t know who your teammates are, and you don’t have access to the Anti-Arceus team-quicktopic either. They don’t know who you are either, but they know your whole role PM, so…!

    Ability: Searching for my…
    Use: once every night
    You may PM me a list of 5 players. You will be told who on that list has the same alignment as you. Once you have found all Anti-Arceus-aligned players, you will get access to the team-quicktopic.

    Ability: Poison Fang
    Use: every uneven-numbered game day
    You may PM me a player name. That player will be poisoned in the upcoming public day update and everyone will get to know that they will die during the end of the next day.

    Locked Ability: Delicious Apple
    Use: once during the game at night once you have joined your team
    You may PM me a player name. You will pass that player the item Leftovers. They may hold onto it or pass it. The player who holds it during the next night will eat it and die.


    Mawile
    Alignment: Anti-Arceus
    No matter how you see it, everyone lies. Really, every person IS a lie. A construction that is acceptable to others, hiding their true feelings. And you are no better.

    In your ideal world, lies do not exist. A place where it’s impossible to lie. That is your Paradise.

    Ability: Fake Words
    Your public vote does not count in calculations (it will be shown normally in the vote count). However, at any time during the day you may PM me the name of a player. That player will receive +1 to their vote count in secret.

    Mega Evolution:
    Once during the game on a day, you may PM me to mega evolve. Your “Fake Tears”-ability will provide a +3 vote count during that day.



    Sableye
    Alignment: Town
    You like diamonds so much that you want to find and eat them even if you are killed. Wait, what? Well, good thing you are a ghost.

    Ability: Zombie
    You may not vote. (If you do, you will be modkilled and entirely removed from the game.) You may keep talking even once you are killed.

    Mega Evolution:
    Once during the game on a day (while you are dead or alive), you may PM me to mega evolve. During that day, you may vote normally.


    Delphox
    Alignment: Town
    Welcome, welcome, why do you look so scared? Please come in and take a look at all the magic potions I have to offer. What do you mean, suspicious? I’m a legitimate wi… businesswoman, as they say.

    Ability: Magician
    Use: twice per game at night
    You may PM me a player name of a dead player. That player can talk (but not vote) during the next day.

    Secret Ability:
    [Revealed upon death] Afterlife Magic
    You may use this Ability at night once you are dead. If you didn’t use Magician while you were alive, you can still use it once.


    Slowking
    Alignment: Town
    You are like the grandpa of all citizen of Stage Town. If there is someone they can trust in such a crisis, it’s you.

    Ability: Known Town Leader
    Use: on night 0
    You may PM me to activate this ability. Your full role will be revealed in the upcoming public night update.

    Ability: Terminal Illness
    You will die after night 3.


    Hariyama
    Alignment: Town
    You eat more than you should but actually you should eat more than you should so it’s fine. It makes you stronger! It’s fine! Don’t worry!

    Ability: Thick Fat
    You will live one additional day after being lynched or killed. Your role will not be revealed at that time. You can not vote on the additional day.


    Ditto
    Alignment: Town
    Everyone wants you. Nobody can resist you. But in reality you are a bit insecure. Is the meaning of your life really just being someone else?

    Ability: Transform
    Use: once per game at day or night
    You may PM me a player name from a player that died in the latest (day/night) update. You will (partly) copy some/any abilities from that player. The abilities may be altered from the original. Not all abilities can be copied. You may PM me to ask about any possible changes first.


    Meditite
    Alignment: Town
    You just came back to Stage Town from an enlightening trip to the mountains and you are ready to leave your collected wisdom to posterity.

    Ability: Notes of Wisdom
    At any time while you are alive, you may write your thoughts on the game into a quicktopic that I will PM you separately. After you die, you must PM me the name of a player. That player gets access to the quick topic. (You can not write in the quicktopic anymore once you are dead.)


    Kirlia
    Alignment: Town
    You are a teenage girl who is very emotional. With all these new psychic powers awakening and all, it’s understandable that you are a little bit mentally unstable…

    Ability: Crush
    Use: on night 0
    You must PM me a player name. That player will become your crush.

    Ability: Love
    You may only vote for the same player that your crush has voted for at that moment. (If your crush decides to change their vote, you don’t have to follow.)

    Ability: Scream
    If your crush is dead, your vote will count as two and you are free to vote whoever you like.


    Absol
    Alignment: Town
    You are Sister Angelica the Absol. You have sworn your loyalty to Arceus, but are often misunderstood as a deliveryman of chaos…

    Ability: Looking for my child
    Use: once every day and night
    Looking for your child, you must PM me a player name.

    Ability: Redemption
    You can only use this ability when you are dead. Once every night you may PM me a player name. (If you died by lynch, your chosen player may not have voted for you during the day you were lynched.) If that player was to be killed during that night, nobody will be killed. If a player is successfully protected with this ability, it stops working.


    Keldeo
    Alignment: Town
    You are one of the legendary swordsmen of justice, but you feel kind of alone and want a training partner in order to grow stronger.

    Ability: Friendship is Magic
    Use: once per game at night
    You may PM me a player name. At the start of the next day, you and that player will get a quicktopic where both of you may share your thoughts on the game as long as both of you are alive. When the other player dies, you may use this ability again.

    Secret Ability: Secret Sword
    If you PM me the player name of Cobalion, Terrakion or Virizion you will join the Council of the Swordsmen instead.


    Cobalion
    Alignment: Town
    You are one of the swordsmen of justice. But what exactly is justice, and what is justified?

    Ability: Council of the Swordsmen
    You may share your thoughts on the game with the players of Terrakion and Virizion in a separately sent quicktopic. (You do not know the alignments of those players.)

    Secret Ability: Take the Lead
    Once six town-aligned players have died, your role will be revealed in the quicktopic.


    Terrakion
    Alignment: Town
    You are one of the swordsmen of justice. But what exactly is justice, and what is justified?

    Ability: Council of the Swordsmen
    You may share your thoughts on the game with the players of Cobalion and Virizion in a separately sent quicktopic. (You do not know the alignments of those players.)


    Virizion
    Alignment: Town
    You are one of the swordsmen of justice. But what exactly is justice, and what is justified?

    Ability: Council of the Swordsmen
    You may share your thoughts on the game with the players of Cobalion and Terrakion in a separately sent quicktopic. (You do not know the alignments of those players.)


    Jynx
    Alignment: Town
    You love him to death, and he loves you to death too.

    Ability: Icy Kiss
    When you are killed or lynched, you have to PM me a player name. That player will die in the upcoming day or night update.


    Pikachu
    Alignment: Town
    You are the star of Stage Town. Everybody loves you. Basically, Stage Town is just a huge stage for you!

    Ability: Tonight’s Persona
    You may only use one ability each night.

    Ability: Rock Star
    Use: once per game at night
    You may PM me to activate this ability. Your full role will be revealed in the upcoming public night update.

    Ability: Classical Beauty
    Use: once per game at night
    You may PM me a player name. You will get that player’s item, if any.

    Ability: Pop Idol
    Use: once per game at night
    You may PM me a player name. That player can not trigger any active or passive non-lethal abilities that night.

    Ability: Professor
    Use: once per game at night
    You may PM me a player name. You will learn a random non-hidden or secret ability name of that player.

    Ability: Pro Wrestler
    Use: once per game at night
    You may PM me to activate this ability. Your vote will count as 2 during the next day.


    Aegislash
    Alignment: Town
    You are the weakest Aegislash you know and you feel bad for it. Even your little brother is better than you. Life sucks, but at least you are alive.

    Ability: Clumsy Shield
    Use: once every night
    You may PM me a player name. If you were to die that night, your chosen player will die instead. If your chosen player's alignment is Anti-Arceus, they will not die. This ability can only activate once.


    Elgyem
    Alignment: Town
    You are an alien who has come from another planet as a scout to check what kind of life is lead on this planet.

    Ability: Activity Check
    Use: once every night
    You may PM me a player name. You will be told if that player used any non-passive ability that night.


    Delibird
    Alignment: Town
    During the day, you work as a deliveryman for Pokézon. But during the night, you become Delibirdman, an undercover agent working for Santa Claus!

    Ability: Naughty/Nice List
    On night 1, you will be sent a list of six random alive player names. The alignment of at least one of those players is Anti-Arceus.

    Ability: Present
    You have four items to give out during the night.
    Night 0: Life Orb
    Night 1: nothing
    Night 2: Eject Button
    Night 3: Assault Vest
    Night 4: Safety Goggles
    Each Night, PM me a player name to pass the item to. (Usually they can keep the item or pass it the next night.)

    Items (not know to Delibird):
    @Life Orb
    You received a Life Orb. It must not get in wrong hands, but the power is so overwhelming that you can not hold on it for long. You must pass this item to another player during the next night.

    @Eject Button
    As long as you are holding this item, if anyone targets you with an ability except for the night kill, all abilities (except for the night kill) that night/day targeting you will fail and the Eject Button will disappear. You may pass this item to another player during the next night.

    @Assault Vest
    As long as you are holding this item, you can not trigger any active or passive abilities. You can not be killed during the night. If you survive a kill with this item, it disappears. You may pass this item to another player during the next night.

    @Safety Goggles
    As long as you are holding this item, you can not be affected by any negative abilities excluding the nightkill. You must pass this item to another player during the next night.


    Spoink
    Alignment: Town
    How long have you been looking for it now, hopping every second in order to live while hoping to find relief? It has begun to feel like a distant myth.

    Ability: The Legendary Life Orb
    You need to get the legendary orb soon in order to evolve.

    Secret Ability: Pearls
    At any time during the day, you may ##VOTE instead of ##vote. If you do, your vote weight is 3 instead.

    Secret Ability: Swines
    Use: once during the game at night
    You may PM me a player name. That player will need two less votes than normal to be lynched (for the remainder of the game).


    Conkeldurr
    Alignment: Town
    You have built like every house in this town. This town technically belongs to you. Kids these days should learn to respect their home and especially their elders. Kids these days…

    Ability: Life Experience
    At the end of the day, if there would be a tie in the vote count, your vote counts as two. When you die, you must PM me a player name. This ability will be passed to that player.


    Munna
    Alignment: Town
    You often dream of sweet paradise… you wish you could escape there! You even met your future husband in a dream. Unfortunately you haven’t met him in real life yet. But you know: Dreams come true!

    Ability: Dream
    Each night you will receive the Pokémon species of a random town-aligned player.

    Ability: Sweet Paradise
    You can not be resurrected.


    Kangashkan
    Alignment: Town
    You are the caring mother of Stage Town. You will take care that none of your children take the wrong path. Unfortunately, sometimes that requires using force.

    Ability: Fix the Kid
    Use: once per game at night
    You may PM me a player name. That player will lose all their non-lethal abilities for the remainder of the game.


    Koffing
    Alignment: Town
    You are a Koffing that likes calculating. A lot. You also like to "ban" people from playing with you, but that kind of has a backlash.

    Ability: Ability Calculator
    Use: once every night
    You may PM me a player name. You will get to know the number of abilities (including locked, hidden and secret) that player has.

    Ability: Smog On
    You can not be poisoned.

    Ability: MineSweeperHax
    You require only one more vote than 1/3 of the votes to be lynched.


    Lucario
    Alignment: Town
    You are a very sensitive youngster. Your fighting skills aren’t very honed yet, but you always give it your best shot!

    Ability: Aura Sense
    Use: once during the game at night
    You may PM me a player name. If that player is Anti-Arceus-aligned, you will kill that player and die in battle.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2016
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