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Hosting Guide

Page history last edited by Liggy 4 years, 9 months ago


By Fiver, sections 6, 12, and 13 by Liggy





1. Getting Hosting Approval

2. Is Hosting Right For You?



3. Hosting Sign-ups Requirements

4. Getting Your Game Hosted

5. If Your Game Isn't Picked



6. Random.org and Role PMs

7. Host-Player Dialogue

8. Writing the Story

9. Phase Length

10. Awarding Phantoms

11. INSTAs and Phantoms



12. The Post-Game Topic

13. Awarding MVPs






1. Getting Hosting Approval


Designing TWGs is fun, but a lot of work: it would be a shame if you were unable to host your game after putting in all of that time and effort. Before you even start thinking about hosting, consult this topic, which indicates who, among all the people who have played TWG at LLF, has been deemed by the TWC to be eligible to host a game. If you're listed under Ready, you're set, and you can get started on making that game. If you're listed under TWC Approval/More Activity, you'll likely be approved to host if you ask, and that should be your first move. If you're listed under Not Ready, you may want to set aside the idea of hosting temporarily, and concentrate on contributing as a player. Chances are, with a few games under your belt, you'll be moved to the Ready list and you'll be in business. 


2. Is Hosting Right For You?


So you've been approved by the TWC. Great! But before you rush off to start building your game, remember that while hosting a TWG can be a very rewarding experience, it's not for everyone. First and foremost, hosting is a time-consuming process. Most games take anywhere from a week and a half to three weeks to complete, and some particularly large or complex games, such as those that offer multiple opportunities for guarding, lynchblocking, or reviving, may extend into a fourth week and beyond. If a Hosting Topic goes up at a time at which you expect you'll be busy over the ensuing few weeks, you may be better off not applying to host that particular TWG. 


Prospective hosts should also be advised that hosting can be challenging at times; you may have to clarify rules or impose discipline on players on the fly, with little time to consider the exigencies of the circumstances. You have to remain unbiased at all times, and you have to be particularly diligent in guarding your knowledge of your game; even the most prudent host slips up sometimes. You have a responsibility to be online to post the end-of-phase results at or around the time you've specified as often as possible, and if you elect to write a story to accompany your game, you have an obligation to see it finished. If you don't think you can meet these criteria, you may want to reconsider applying to host a TWG.




3. Hosting Sign-ups Requirements


To host a TWG, you must meet the following qualifications:


1. You must have participated in at least three TWGs.


2. You must demonstrate knowledge and proficiency within the workings of TWG. This doesn't nececarily mean you have to be an outstanding player, but a host must know how the roles work and generally how to create a balanced TWG. TWC is here to help with the later, but only if the game is passable to start with: If a great deal of things need to be changed, the game will not be accepted.


3. You must be an active member of the TWG or LLF community. Inactive members will require a full consensus of TWC in order to host, even if they have shown proficiency in the past. Inactivity kills TWGs, even more so if the HOST can't even bring themselves to update.


4. Even if you are qualified to host, you must have your game approved and looked over by at least two TWC members before entering it into a hosting ballot. If we don't respond, PM it to us again. I repeat, it must be approved by at least 2 TWC Members.


5. To host a rTWG, you still must meet all of these qualifications. No exceptions.


4. Getting Your Game Hosted


All right, you had a great idea, and you've put it to text. You've submitted it to a member of the TWC and it's been approved as balanced. Now, all you need to do is get the go-ahead to host it! Here are a few tips to help make your dream a reality:


1) Give your game a memorable name.


The name of your TWG should convey something about either your story, the game structure, or both. If you're using Zelda series characters for your roles, give your game a Zelda theme. If you're running a mystery game, call it "Mystery at X" or something of the sort. If your game puts a new twist on TWG mechanics (say, role theft or private voting), emphasize that. You want players to remember exactly what your game entailed when they see it listed in the Hosting Poll. There's nothing wrong with a cheesy play on words if that's what people will remember.


2) Colour-co-ordinate and number your roles.


Sex sells; just ask iDOWN. When a prospective player (and voter) looks at your game, he should see immediately how many wolves there are (red text), how many special humans there are (blue text), how many ambiguous roles exist (orange text), and the like. People are lazy, and they may not want to bother to read any structure synopsis you include at the bottom of your post. To make things as easy, stick to the traditional colour setup: 


1. Wolf Role

2. Wolf Role

3. Wolf Role


4. Ambiguous Wolf Role

5. Ambiguous (Special) Human Role


6. Special Human Role

7. Special Human Role

8. Special Human Role


9. Human Role with Passive Ability/Fixed Item

10. Human Role with Passive Ability/Fixed Item

11. Human Role

12. Human Role

13. Human Role

14. Human Role


15. Unaffiliated Role

16. Unaffiliated Role


All wolf roles should be coloured red, including the Master Wolf, with the exception of any ambiguous wolf roles, such as the Wolf Spy or the Wolf Thief, which should be coloured orange. If your game includes a Wolf Spy, Wolf Thief, or other ambiguous wolf role, you must have at least one ambiguous human (the Millwright) or special human role. If you choose to include special humans among your oranges, be sure these are roles that could conceivably be faked by the Wolf Spy or Wolf Thief. The Coroner, for example, is almost impossible for a wolf to fake; it should never be coded orange. 


All special humans should be coloured blue, or orange as outlined above. Humans with special attributes but no special powers can be coded green or blue, at the host's discretion. Loners and other roles with no wolf or human affiliation should be coloured purple. Roles with fixed human or wolf affiliation should not be coloured purple unless absolutely necessary for balance purposes. 


Items are coloured pink for ease of reading. 


The colour codes are as follows:


Red: #FF0000

Orange: #FF8000

Blue: #0000BF

Green: #00BF00

Purple: #800080

Pink: #FF0080


So, a relatively basic game might look like the following:


1. Master Wolf

2. Brutal Wolf

3. Wolf Shaman


4. Wolf Spy 

5. Millwright 

6. Millwright


7. Seer

8. Guardian


9. Miller

10. Mason

11. Mason

12. Human (Stopwatch)

13. Human

14. Human

15. Human

16. Human


17. Loner


Note, again, that despite being seer'd green, the Master Wolf is coded red for easy reading. Similarly, the Miller is coded green, despite being seer'd red. 


3) Write every role out.


Easy as pie. Prospective player want to know how many roles are in your game, and they don't want to have to count to obtain that information. Avoid constructs like the following:


Mason x 3

Human x 6


Instead, list them out:












It's nitpicky, yes, but it will help your chances of getting your game picked. 


4) Provide Role Descriptions.


Commonly used, familiar roles probably don't require them, but they can hardly hurt. Players do not want to have to cross-reference between the Role Reference topic and the Host Signups topic just to remember what the Clavin does. If you've invented an entirely new role, or you've modified an existing role in some way, be sure to include a brief description of the new role when you post your game idea. That said, don't go overboard: you want to give people the general idea of how your game will play out, not every last detail. Those sorts of things can be address if and when your game is selected. 


5) Take recommendations into consideration.


If someone suggests something to you and you like it, don't hesitate to make that change to your game. Be mindful, however, that the delicate wolf-human balance may be swayed as a consequence. Be sure to post again to inform everyone if you've changed your game so that they can re-evaluate it, and be mindful that too many changes, especially in short succession, may turn people off of your game. 


6) Sell yourself.


Sound enthusiastic. Don't say you don't think your game will get picked; expect to be picked, and do everything you can to make it happen! Bold your title, provide a story teaser, respond to posts from players who have questions. 


5. If Your Game Isn't Picked


If you don't win, don't complain, and remember that there's a good chance that you'll be picked the next go-around, be it with the same game idea or another. Chances are, every game idea has something worth taking from it; don't be afraid to recycle your ideas. Consider approaching a member of the TWC and asking for advice on how you can improve your game. If you're really stuck, approach one of your friends about co-hosting. A second party may be just what you need to access fresh ideas and drum up more support for your game. 


Remember, contributing positively as a player and in the TWG community is the best way to get noticed as a potential host. Moping about how you lost or boycotting TWG until you get to host is not going to help your case. 




6. Random.org and Role PMs


Sending out role PMs might seem to be the simplest part of hosting, and it definitely is one of the less complicated parts, but that doesn't mean it's entirely straightforward! A player's role PM is their first introduction to the game proper, so make sure it's a good one! In general, the role PM should make the role clear and tell a player everything they may want to know about it. A player should be able to read their role PM and know exactly what their role can do, as well as everyone on their team (if they happen to be a wolf or third party, that is). And, if your game has a theme, it's nice to make the role PM follow it! If the roles in your game are based around characters from some sort of work, it's nice to include a picture or a short description of who the role is based off in the PM. While this is not strictly necessary, it helps the player understand more about the context of the game and their role and, perhaps more importantly, makes them more excited for the game itself!


However, when sending out role PMs, be careful not to include anything that may be used to a particular role or team's advantage. If your human PM says "Sorry, you're just another lame human.", a particularly astute human player might lament in the thread that he's "just another lame human", confirming his humanity to other people who received the same PM. Likewise, if you rush through the process and send out a common role PM (such as the normal human role PM) via BCC (Blind Carbon Copy), humans can use details about the PM to confirm their or other humans' identities. There are many ways to avoid this problem: one of the easiest and most effective is to just post all the role PMs (with any identifying information removed) shortly after the game starts. Of course, this isn't always possible, such as in the case of a mystery game, but even in this case it's always a good idea to publicly post the human role PM (or make up a human role PM, in the case that you didn't actually send one out!). In the case of the BCC issue, it's usually better to take the time to send out each role PM one at a time than to use BCC.


The last consideration to make before sending out the role PMs is assigning the roles themselves. Ideally, this should be done randomly. The easiest way online is to use Random.org's list randomizer to randomize either the role list or player list, and match the two up to assign the roles. Avoid the urge to manually assign roles or reroll the roles in order to balance the skill level between teams! While you may think that the players won't be able to tell, if you get a reputation for doing this, players will start trying to "play the host" and may suspect wolf teams more or less based on how likely they think the host themself would allow the game to start with that team. This kind of analysis, regardless of how true it is or not, just makes the game less fun for everyone. If you think a particular team might be unbalanced skill-wise, see this as an opportunity for the players to prove themselves!


7. Host-Player Dialogue


So, the game has begun! Don't think everything is easy from here on, however: You've still got story segments to write, PMs to process, and votes to tabulate. Additionally, players will almost certainly have questions about their roles and the game in general; do your best to monitor both the topic and your PM inbox for these questions, and to answer them as promptly and as thoroughly as possible. Beware, however, that it can be tempting to give away information to players that they shouldn't have. For example, a player may come out in the game topic as the Wolfsbane; a full 24 hours might pass without counterclaims, leading the players to assume that, yes, the player in question is, in fact, the Wolfsbane, as he claims. Then, another player might ask you a question about the Wolfsbane role, say, "Can player X be lynched?". An imprudent host might respond "Yes, the Wolfsbane can be lynched", thereby implicitly confirming Player X as the Wolfsbane. 


Depending on the structure of your game, you could receive any number of special player PMs each night phase. Be sure to respond to each of these with an acknowledgement that you received the PM and that the player's action will be carried out. This may seem perfunctory, but mistakes happen, PMs are occasionally overlooked, and you could inadvertently deny a player access to information he is entitled to. A response from you will set that player's mind at ease.


8. Writing the Story


Your story can be as simple or as detailed as you like. My only recommendation is that you remain consistent: don't post a one-sentence story segment one day and a twenty-paragraph one the next. If you're not planning on writing a story for your game, tell everyone that in the Host Signups topic; prospective players deserve to know what they're voting for. 


If you're planning on writing lengthy story segments, consider either budgeting some time immediately before the end of each phase to prepare its story segment, or updating the game, then editing the story into your post afterward. This will allow your game to continue on a strict schedule and keep the players happy. 


As far as story ideas are concerned, hosts are given significant latitude. Past TWGs have featured pirates, cubicle workers, and breakfast cereal mascots, among others--let your imagination run wild! Just because we're playing The Werewolf Game doesn't mean that every game's story need feature werewolves. Of course, if the werewolf element fits your game, by all means, use it; just don't feel pressured to do so. 


9. Phase Length


As a host, it can be difficult to balance the need to keep the game moving with the players' need for ample time to come to their decisions regarding whom to wolf, guard, seer, vigi, and the like during the night phase, and whom to vote for during the day; wolves in particular need time to exchange IMs or PMs before deciding on their nightly kill. You should allow a minimum of twenty-four hours for all night phase actions, and approximately forty-eight hours for the day phase. To avoid confusion, I would recommend maintaining the same phase-ending schedule. 9:00 or 10:00 PM EST/EDT seems to work best for most players; most of the players on LLF live in North America and are online around that time, and most game action occurs at the beginning and the end of a phase. If an INSTA occurs, end the day phase immediately, but extend the night as much as necessary to maintain a consistent phase end time. 


10. Awarding Phantoms


Phantoms are every host's worst nightmare: TWG is most fun when everybody is participating, and while Real Life naturally steps in sometimes, it's unfair for a team of active, involved players to lose because other members of their team couldn't get on to vote consistently. There's not much a host can do to alleviate Phantom acquisition aside from extending the day phase, which is strictly discretionary. If the day phase is scheduled to end in a matter of hours and four or more players have yet to vote, and doing so would not significantly advantage one team relative to another, consider extending the day by 24 hours. This applies especially over family holidays and (obviously) periods during which some or all of the players are unable to access the forum, for whatever reason. 


It is difficult to encourage activity once a game has begun, but consider reminding people in the Player Signups topic of the responsibilities inherent in signing up to play a game, namely, to be active. If someone says he is only signing up "because player X told me to", consider encouraging that player to remove himself from the player list. Chances are, he won't play much anyhow. 


11. INSTAs and Phantoms


The term INSTA, or Insta-lynch, should be one every prospective host is familiar with, but it's such an integral part of the game that I think it bears reviewing here. The generally accepted definition of an INSTA is that it occurs when one player receives more than 50% of the possible lynch votes during the day phase. While this is true in the majority of cases, there are some exceptions to that general rule. A better definition would be as follows: An INSTA occurs when the number of votes cast for a single player is greater than the highest number of votes any other player could acquire were every player who has not voted for the first player to vote for the second. Take the following examples:


Example #1:










Donkey Kong



Assume that no Phantom votes have been awarded yet this game. Let's say that Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, and Yoshi vote Bowser. If the all the remaining players (Wario, Donkey Kong, and Bowser) were to vote for Luigi, for example, Bowser would still have the most number of votes against him. This is an INSTA scenario. 


Example #2:





Luigi [PHANTOM x1]





Donkey Kong

Bowser [PHANTOM x1]


In this case, Luigi and Bowser each have one Phantom. Let's say that only Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad vote Bowser this time. Four votes plus a Phantom is greater than 50% of the total possible lynch votes. However, if Yoshi, Wario, Donkey Kong, and Bowser all were to vote Luigi, Bowser and Luigi would be tied at 4.000001 votes each, and a Knife in the Box would occur. This is not an INSTA scenario, and the day would not end early. 


If your game includes one or more of the Mason King, Charismatic Human, or the Mason King roles--or any role that can manipulate lynch voting trends--don't forget to add an extra vote to the appropriate player's target. This could cause an INSTA to take effect without the players' knowledge. It's your job as host to anticipate these situations and end the day in a timely fashion. 


As an aside, Phantoms are awarded after all other outcomes of the day phase have been resolved. That is to say, if a player earns a Phantom during Day 5, it will not be counted against him until the Day 6 voting. If a player receives his third Phantom of the game, he is still eligible to be killed by the Brutal Wolf or an item effect (for example, Corroborating Evidence) that day; if he survives, he is then removed via Phantom in a process commonly referred to as "Phantoming out".



12. Post-game Thread


The post-game thread is your last duty as a host, and it's the place where players and spectators alike discuss how the game went and share their thoughts about it. There are much fewer conventions for the post-game thread than for the rest of the hosting process, so feel free to decide as a host what you want to include! Remember that at this point, the game is officially said and done, so you are free to disclose anything you want about the game. However, there are a few things that you should always try to include in your post-games:


1) The winner(s) of the game.


Obviously, the players of the game want to know who ends up winning in the end! This may seem redundant or unnecessary if you already posted the winner at the end of the actual game thread, but the post-game is the first spot people are going to check when looking back at old games, and no one wants to look at two spots just to see who won the game.  Likewise, you should also post the winners in the last post of the game thread, for similar reasons.  Future players reading the game are going to want to know the result without having to check another thread entirely.


2) A list of the roles of the game, along with who had them.


This is the other aspect of the post-game that you should always include, as the role reveal is one of the most fulfilling aspects of the end of the game as a player. It allows the players in the game to see which of their suspicions were correct and which weren't, and who had them completely fooled. It also allows people rereading the game in the future to go in knowing the roles, which allows them to make more sense of the players' actions throughout the game.


3) Player comments.


While not nearly as important as the previous two, and not something every host does all the time (I've been guilty of forgetting myself sometimes), this is something that a lot of players look forward to and it makes for a satisfying conclusion to the game. As the host, you're in the unique position throughout the game to see everything that is going on as it happens, allowing you to know exactly what everyone is doing at any given time. Player comments is where you as the host can give a shout out to a player who was doing a lot behind the scenes, or even just comment on what a particular player was doing and how well you think it worked. A lot of players like reading their host comments, as it often gives them ways to improve their game, and if they played well it's extremely gratifying for someone to comment about that in the post-game. Just keep in mind that even if you don't include player comments, you should still include...


4) MVPs.


I'll get into this more next section, but even if you elect not to do player comments or you don't have much to say, you can almost always find at least one player deserving of "Most Valuable Player". While this is something you also don't technically have to include, it's a simple thing that makes a big impact, and it is very rare that there is no one deserving of the award in the slightest.


Some other things that hosts have including in their post games that you may want to use as well include:


5) A log of all the actions taken by players over the course of the game.

6) Overall analysis of the game/design of the game.

7) Humorous quotes throughout the game.

8) Some sort of congratulatory picture for the winning team or conclusion to the story.


Keep in mind that you don't have the post-game entirely finished before you post it, and it is quite common for a host to only include the role reveal and winning team in the initial post and add everything else they want to include later. While there is something to be said about posting a completed post-game all at once, the players themselves have a lot they want to say, so it's important to get the post-game up quickly so they can start discussing it!


13. Awarding MVPs


As before, even if you don't have much to say about the players in your game, it's still a good idea to award an MVP (or a couple!) in your game. Players can put a lot of effort in a game of TWG, and receiving MVP in recognition for that effort is incredibly rewarding. As to who specifically deserves MVP, that is entirely your decision to make as a host. There's a lot of way a person can influence a game in TWG, so it's your call as to which way deserves more recognition!


Keep in mind that there is nothing stopping you from awarding multiple people MVPs if you feel more than one person deserves it. It's common for hosts to award an MVP to both the winning team and the losing team, and it's not unheard of for two people on the same team to share an MVP for a particularly impressive joint effort. Some games may also award MVPs in other categories, for example a symmetric faction game may award Role MVPs for the best performance of a particular role, or a host may award an MVP for special humans and an MVP for normal humans. Regardless of what you decide, let people know their efforts didn't go unnoticed!


Other awards hosts have given out in the past (that are by no means required) include "honorable mention" for players who had a noteworthy performance but didn't quite earn an MVP and "MIP" or "Most Improved Player" for players who had a substantial improvement in performance in the current game when compared to previous games. If you want to give out either of these awards or any other you think is worth noting, give them out! This is your last chance as host to do so, and any award you feel fit to give out will be greatly appreciated by players.

Comments (1)

KT said

at 5:01 pm on Jun 30, 2010

Fixed a typo if anyone was wondering.

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