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The Mafia Series: Doctor

Updated on May 8, 2014

Goal

Firstly, if you don't know what mafia is, or how to play, see my previous hub

The goal of the Doctor is to prevent the person targeted for death by the mafia from dying. You will know you are the doctor if you have the red jack card (or whichever card the host designates as doctor).

In the night, the host will first ask the mafia to select their target. Then the host will ask the doctor, who has had his eyes closed while the mafia were selecting, to choose who to save. In the day, the host will reveal whether someone died (meaning the doctor selected the incorrect person), or whether someone was saved (meaning the doctor selected the correct person). If someone is saved, the host will announce, "Someone was targeted, but a cloaked figure emerged and saved them." This way, the identity of the doctor is not revealed.

The goal of the doctor is to continue saving people until all the mafia are killed and the townspeople win. The doctor does not have to necessarily even survive past the first round for the townspeople to win, but the longer the doctor survives, the better.


Society of the Machine

When a power hungry robot named Sudokus tries to take control of the galaxy, Earth becomes the last safe haven. It is then up to the humans, and what else is left of the rebellion throughout the solar system, to try to halt Sudokus’s progress. But Sudokus won’t easily be stopped, as he is fighting for more than imperial gains. He is also fighting to preserve his immortality.

Follow Leon’s journey as he attempts to save himself and his planet from being forever ruled by a machine while simultaneously trying to answer the question of whether the corruption of a robot would be any worse than the corruption of the people in power on his own planet.

Society of the Machine

Society of the Machine: Leon
Society of the Machine: Leon

Like Science Fiction? Like supporting independent creators? Please consider purchasing my book

 

Basic Strategy

There is essentially only one question the doctor must ask him/herself: who do I save?

Firstly, the doctor can save anyone--including him/herself. Therefore, the first thing to know is, as doctor, you should always save yourself on the first night. Think about it: you have no idea who the mafia will select. Even if all the mafia were to announce who they were upon receiving their cards and were to tell the group who they were going to kill, you still wouldn't know, because they could be lying. Of course, that scenario would never happen in a legitimate game, but my point is, no matter what you think, you have no idea who the mafia will select. I've seen many otherwise good players over-think the situation and select someone other than themselves on the first night, only to wind up dead and useless for the rest of the game. You have no idea who the mafia will pick, so save yourself, just in case.

Once the second night rolls around, then some strategy comes into play. Unfortunately, if you've never played mafia before, I can't quite explain how to know who the mafia are (or rather, I'll only attempt to tackle such an abstract topic in my future hub in this series on how to be a townsperson). However, if you have a sense of who the mafia are, then you must decipher who they will target next.

Sometimes you'll have an idea. For example, if the group discovers who the inspector is, then you'll most likely want to save the inspector in the night. However, beware of reverse psychology. The mafia may know that you will attempt to save the inspector, and therefore select someone else to kill--perhaps even you. However, they may also know that you know this, and may choose to go after the inspector. If you don't try to save the inspector and the inspector dies, the townspeople will blame you. However, if you do try to save the inspector and you wind up dead...

As doctor, it helps to know the people in the game. For example, mafia may target good players first, and if you know who the good players are, then you can save them. However, mind games are always at play. The mafia may know you'll do this and go after weaker players. However, I strongly advise against saving weaker players early on. Just take the loss and move on. It's better to incorrectly save either yourself, the inspector, or a good player, than to incorrectly save a bad player while one of those aforementioned players perishes like that can of green beans that was sitting down in the basement pantry for a couple months and should've still been good, but weren't for some reason.

As the doctor, who you save comes down to intuition. A lot of logic goes into it too, but you'll never actually know with certainty. Really, for all the advice I've given you so far and will continue to give you, none of it will really matter once the actual game starts. I am very good at playing the role of doctor, and while it's not all luck, I won't pretend like anything I do is guaranteed to work. Basically, I'm good at figuring out what the mafia will do, even if I don't know who the mafia are. In that sense, being doctor is like being an overpowered townsperson. You don't have any special knowledge, like the inspector does, you can only use your intuition to make an impact.

With that said, when the doctor role really gets interesting is when the game is about to end: the type of situation where there's only three or four players left, and if the wrong person dies, then the mafia will win. However, to best utilize your abilities here, you must 1) be alive 2) have been paying attention for the entirety of the game.

The key to Mafia is guessing who the mafia is, and for no one is this more important than the doctor. The last thing you want to do is have a choice of who to save and end up accidentally saving the mafia because you're going into it blind. I'm not going to run through every scenario right now (although I'm working on a project that will), but let me just set up one scenario for you--one that happens quite often. There's four people left (we're still in our twelve person game). With handiwork from the inspector, and logical deductions from the townspeople and doctor, you know that the one remaining mafia is either player x or y. In a close vote, you kill person x, who turns out to be a townsperson. Now, you know with 100% certainty that person y is the mafia, but you can't kill them until tomorrow. What's worse, if you don't save the right person tonight, then the mafia win. Who do you save? You can save yourself, but at this point, the mafia probably knows you're doctor, so he wouldn't attack you...or would he? You could save the other townsperson, but isn't that just what the mafia wants you to do? It's not an easy decision to make. I'm not going to tell you who to save either. I just bring this up to point out how important the doctor's role can be at times. What would I do in this situation? Depends. I would study the mafia, try to get into his/her head, try to think what I would do in his/her situation. I would think about everything that had happened thus far in the game. Most doctors would probably get scared and save themselves out of an animalistic type of survival instinct. A smart mafia would therefore probably attack the other person. But not all mafia think the same, and not all doctors think the same.

In the next section, I'll discuss advanced tactics.

Question

How Do You Prefer to Play Doctor?

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Advanced Strategy

Selfish Doctor:

Sometimes it is most beneficial to always save yourself, no matter what. Even if you have reason to suspect someone (perhaps even the inspector) may be killed in the night, you may still choose to save yourself. Here's the logic: the doctor isn't going to win the game in the beginning, but he/she may be able to win it in the end. For example, everyone will praise the doctor who saves someone on the first night, but no one will remember that save if the mafia go on to win anyway. However, the doctor who saves the right person on the last night of the game will be the unequivocal hero. Not that this is about heroics. What I'm saying is, the value of the doctor increases as the game goes on, so it's best to be alive at the end. Therefore, one strategy is to always save yourself no matter what. That way, you'll be alive when it matters most--at the end.

Be warned though; this strategy is best if you have a good record as being doctor. No point in only saving yourself if you're going to pick the wrong person at the end anyway. Also, remember that saving yourself in the night doesn't guarantee that you won't die, because the townspeople can always kill you in the day. To elaborate on that, consider this: people will want some sort of proof that you're the doctor when push comes to shove, and if all you can say is, "I don't know anything because I just keep saving myself every night," the chances that you'll be voted off increase significantly.

Doctor as Second Inspector:

Play the game long enough, and you'd probably figure this one out on your own relatively easily. However, it is worth elaborating. If you select someone to save, and the host announces in the daytime that the save was successful, then it's almost certain that that person is not a mafia. The only way they could be mafia is if the mafia decided to kill one of their own in the night, and then you also just happen to select that person,and the chances of both those things happening in the same night is minuscule. Now, much like the inspector, you may not want to come out with your information right away. You can say, " I know person X is not mafia because I saved them," but then the mafia will know you are doctor and will either try to kill you, or they will kill others while you're busying saving yourself. However, be aware that you do have this information to reveal at some key point.

Doctor, Come Out:

If you've been keeping up with the series, it may appear I'm just borrowing strategy from the old inspector edition here, and I am, but all for a good cause. Much like the inspector, the doctor can, in at a seemingly pivotal moment of the game, ask for the doctor to come out. Anyone who comes out is almost guaranteed to be mafia, and you should try to vote them dead that day. As always, there's a caveat to remember though. This false doctor who has come out may be able to convince the townspeople that they are the real doctor and you are the fake doctor, but even if that happens and the townspeople kill you mistakenly, at least they will immediately realize their error and know who to kill the following day.

Doctor, Save Me:

Upon going into the night, feign a reason to suspect that the mafia will kill you. Make-up (or it could be true, I suppose) something to the affect of, "Person X is mafia and now they're going to kill me because they know that I know." Then, follow that up with, "Doctor, you have to save me." This places into people's subconscious that you are not the doctor. Now, whether you choose to save yourself that night, or save someone else is dependent on the situation and your feeling about it, but its a good way to reduce the mafia's suspicion of you. Unless the mafia are crafty and see through your strategy, that is.

I'm the Doctor:

The opposite of "Doctor, Save Me," is just to come right out and announce "I'm the Doctor." But why? you ask. It's simple. Much like the inspector coming out puts the doctor in an awkward situation (as I've discussed previously in the series), the doctor coming out puts the mafia in an awkward situation. I've hinted at this at several points, but never fully fleshed it out--and probably still won't here--but when the mafia know who the doctor is, then it presents a challenge to them. They must decide if they should try to kill the doctor now that they know who he/she is, or if they should just assume that the doctor will continue saving him/herself. Most likely, the mafia will avoid attacking you as the doctor if they know you're the doctor, meaning you'll be safe; however it puts everyone else at risk, which is the drawback. Think about it this way: if the mafia avoids you, and you choose to save yourself, then there's no chance you can save anyone else. However, if the mafia avoids you and you try to save others, and you do successfully, now the mafia knows that you're not saving yourself and could attack you again. You may think, "well then I'll just go back to saving myself," but the mafia may also know this, and go back to attacking others. What I'm saying here is, this strategy guarantees nothing, but it is a strategy which could provide benefits simply from confusing the mafia.

What Kind of Doctor Are You?


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Stay Tuned

In the next installment of this series, I will turn to the evil side and discuss strategies on how to be the mafia.

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