Not really. The reason a Doc claims to save himself from Lynch is that he’ll be Doc Night 2 also, and Night 3, etc. Better to Lynch a likely Vanilla. But with all Townies having roughly equal value, it wouldn’t much matter if you claimed or not; indeed specific claims might be anti-Town if Scum had a Blocker.
I still think it’s a mistake to save players from themselves. The best way to deal with a cascading claim-fest is for Town to not automatically spare all power role claims. If Town play suboptimally, then they might lose as a result. This does not mean that there’s a flaw in the rules of the game; it just means that it is a game.
I haven’t played mafia in a while, but I always took these sorts of things as simply part of the mechanics of the game. As said, the craziness of the end of the day is more a result of the specifics of the game setup in terms of power roles rather than the general mafia rules. It is the responsibility of the town to make the tough decisions early about whether a given role claim is sufficient to save someone or if voting for another, forcing another claim, possibly a more valuable role, and giving more information to the scum is worth it. Basically, end of day shenanigans isn’t so much something that should be eliminated by changing rules, rather it should be recognized as suboptimal play and allowed to either be remedied by the town or manipulated by scum.
And as for not being available for the end of day, it can confer a disadvantge, but considering that roles are typically assigned randomly, other than poor luck, it doesn’t necessarily favor one side or the other. I think the best control for this is simply ensuring that days and nights are long enough for everyone to typically weigh in multiple times. Similarly, I think the onus should be on the town to set reasonable limits to help control any potential chaos. It should be up to town to enforce some minimum time on a claim so that everyone can weigh in on it and they should weigh increasing suspicion on anyone who doesn’t follow such established rules. Sure, there’s some meta-gaming involved there, but I’d always felt that manipulating meta-gaming in such a way was in poor form anyway.
The all power crazy games are fun, but I find more and more often that I’m more engaged in the game, and more interested in whats going on once the powers have cleared, or in games with very limited power roles (if any).
I’d love to play in a straight vanilla game, and one of my most favorite variants is F11.
But the downside is that from a VT perspective the Days of mafia are like cheap beer: You have to suffer through the first couple before things start getting interesting.
I personally am not a fan of closed setups because you start meta-gaming into what roles “might” be in the game (cf the infamous Chia Bingo Manager), and I feel that to be a detraction from the actual game, but IDK if I’d push for all games to be open setup in the rules themselves. It’s certainly a factor you have to consider in balance–Mafia being a game of trading numbers for information, having an open setup basically hands Town free information from the very beginning about what and how many roles exist in the game, as well as how close they are to victory or loss.
I definitely like the “Vanilla role PM is known to everybody” rulechange that we (at Idle’s Psychopath boards) made early on, though. Using role pm wording as a “handshake” for vanilla players so they can town-confirm each other seems kinda cheat-y, since Vanillas are not technically supposed to have that kind of power.
I’m a big proponent of open setups. Closed setups make it harder to play well, because players don’t know what they’re up against. But I don’t usually go so far as to reveal the precise role distribution. A little uncertainty is better because it forces the players to think more, instead of relying on mod-given information.
I don’t think that a more open setup favors either side. After all, most power roles are town, so letting the scum know what the town has helps them.
Well, a too open setup definitely favors Town, since it makes roles confirmable by lack-of-counterclaim. But you can get around that by having a list of roles and just saying that the game will consist of some subset of those roles, and there may be multiples of some.