Mario Awards Killing Game III Feedback Thread

Roserade

"Write your way into his heart..."
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
Awards Killing Game III may have officially come to an end, but, while we hosts might step back for a few days to recover after this lengthy experience, the work on improving the Killing Game experience on the Mario Boards has not stopped. While there are plenty of issues we, as hosts, have recognized with this game - from roles we would have liked to balance better, to decisions we should have made earlier like suicide vote penalties, to better leverage of the points system, among other improvements we'd like to make - that we'll work to personally avoid in the future, as well as communicate to others looking to host a KG so they can avoid them, we feel it would be prudent to create a thread where participants and spectators alike could offer their own suggestions, observations, and questions for or about this game. It will serve as a public record which we can leverage for future games.

Note, that, between preparation for issue 150 and the work we have going on in our personal lives, we may not be able to immediately respond to questions and comments, but we will certainly make our best attempt to address anything which comes up. Feel free to make any critiques and comments about the game that you wish, but please keep this civil. We've seen in the past how differing viewpoints regarding how these games ought to be run and conflicts over certain suggestions can get out of hand, so please remember that the intent of this thread is to give everyone an opportunity to reflect on this game and improve it for the future. If someone makes a suggestion you don't like or disagree with, you can certainly offer an alternative take, but don't allow it to turn into a large argument. Remember, everything people post in here consists of suggestions. Nothing will necessarily be taken as law for future games, so you don't need to stress about it. Just offer, respectfully, your own thoughts instead of focusing on shooting down other suggestions.

That said, we want to hear what you have to say, so please suggest and comment away!
 

Jack Black

No gaming videos this week
I’d like the next game to tone down on the lore. I felt it had a bigger presence in this game then previously, with all of the tumble shenanigans during Eternal Star. In KG2 the only thing hinting towards the lore was the Dark Moon Shards which the players discovered themselves, this was rather secretive and didn’t impact executions or phase changes. In this game the hosts made a big deal out of Tumble, executions and phase changes started to involve, and he even appeared as a player during the final night. I also feel like it distracts from the murder attempts, which I think was a problem as it was one of the major complaints from the hosts, especially during Night 3.
 

Doomhiker

Cheep Cheep
Poll Committee
One thing that slowed down investigations was a lack of testimonies until late in the phrase. I do not blame this on anyone, as testimonies take a long time to make and life interferes, but I do feel that a new 24 hour phrase can be made where players can make and share their testimonies, but not investigate. Note that players should also be able to post and create testimonies in the investigation phrase too, but it would be recommended to make them early so the investigation can quickly start. Second, while I do not want to be rude, it does sadden me that Toadgamer gave up just because he thought he would not get far because he was a new player. The sign up page for the killing game should give examples of new players going far, like with YFJ living until endgame kg2. If another player absolutely gives up like Toadgamer did on the first night, without making an effort for an intesting case like with Star, then I do feel the hosts should, instead of killing a user, replace them with a backup, to give someone else a chance to play. Finally, while with roles with text-base fas that you can only really activate on purpose such as with Monokuma are fine as they are, text-based fas that effect your every message such as with Realah T. should have a "three strikes and your out" policy. So the first and second time they make a mistake, the hosts warn them via dm. This is to prevent them from dying from one single mistake in a text-based game, which feels a bit unfair.

As for a question, which roles do you think should have been balanced differently? How would you change the item shop?
 

Toadgamer

The self proclaimed gamer
I haven't been alive for long in this KG, mostly because it was my first one.

First of all, I'd like to congratulate everyone who got this far. I barely got through one night, pretty much because I'm (kinda) bad at this kind of thing.

Second, I'd like to say that it would be better if we had a bigger map and more options. That might make it easier, which isn't what I'd call a good thing, but it could also add up to the challenge, as you'll have to think deeper, otherwise you might very easily make a mistake.

Finally, I'm gonna say that I should pay more attention, as that practically was the reason I died early. But now I know how it all works and what I need to do.

it was really good, and hopefully next year will be an improvement.
 

Hooded Pitohui

The Bird With Batrachotoxin
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Lore is a very interesting component of the Killing Game to balance, isn't it? Ultimately, you don't want to smother the core gameplay by leaning too heavily into the lore. After observing that most players didn't pursue the lore last game, one of the things we wanted to focus on with this game was making lore more functional. Our original idea was to have all of the lore in the background, in the form of notes and hints towards the underlying story which were all tied to puzzles on the maps which had other, more useful awards in the forms of keys to locked rooms and coin bonuses. We really wanted to provide a useful and productive alternative for players who didn't want to try and murder or go wild with the memes and jokes every night.

Of course, one thing which we realized in the course of this game is that we also need to put a greater focus on incentivizing murder attempts. There was a dearth of murders at various points in this game, and it does admittedly make it quite challenging for the game to proceed with interesting cases when no one is murdering. One point of discussion that come up between us was the question of whether the "accidental murder" mechanic is actually counterproductive to the end of keeping the game flowing, and if we should return to the "if no one submits, it's a random lynch" policy. Sure, no one would be happy to be the death caused by a random lynch, and most folks might be irritated to have worked on night actions and then have that night effectively not go through, but... as it stands, accidental murderers have generally been unhappy with their positions, and these cases tend to be far more difficult to balance (see, for example, Raregold's case). Again, it's not something we're saying should definitely go one way or the other, but it's worth considering if the random lynch option would make for better motivation for players to actually submit murder attempts, along with stronger incentives per phase.

Oh, but forgive the meandering nature of this post. I'm trying to get out some thoughts while I have time. I noted we had intended for the lore to be mostly in the background this time, but it's safe to say Tumble ended up playing a key role in the late game. When we began to think about the possibility of an escape option, we wanted to change the approach from Awards KG II. Since the bulk of working towards escape ended up taking place in the game's final stages anyway, we decided it might be a good idea to just outright limit the possibility for escape to Endgame, so that the option was there even if no one or very few players pursued lore all game. However, we wanted to be very careful to ensure that "escape" wasn't the default option. At some point, we hit upon the idea of using Tumble to introduce risk into Endgame, along with the promise of a much bigger point bonus for winning the game over escaping. The idea was to use Tumble to create risk and a moral dilemma. If escape isn't completely certain, are you better off saving your own skin? Part of the reason for Tumble having a larger role in the later stages of the game before he became an actual player was to make it so he didn't seem like a hastily made addition.

I think, all in all, it's safe to say we and future hosts need to continue to refine the role of lore and and escape option in future games. It's not perfect yet, that's for certain, but I did feel the role of Tumble as a risk factor in Endgame was successful, and I do like the concept of smaller, independent map puzzles to give people mysteries to solve and work to do throughout the game. I think aiming for functional lore - lore which adds to the game without distracting from its core - should be a guiding principle when incorporating it.

That's very disorganized, and I haven't had a chance to cover roles and numerous other points. However, before I have to go, I want to pose a specific feedback question.

How did players feel about the Item Shop system? Speaking from my personal perspective - not on behalf of any other the other hosts or this game's design process as a whole - I ended up feeling that the system was fun and fitting for the Mario Party theme, but ultimately provided less return in terms of additions to gameplay and strategies than was worth the effort to have it. I would say that it would be reasonable to cut it from future games, or at least that there ought to be changes made to it if it is to be kept. I want to collect more thoughts on it, though. How do people feel about the Item Shop? Is it worth keeping? Should it be tweaked? If so, what would you recommend?

(I'd like to come back and add much more to this discussion of what this KG did right and what needs to be improved, but this will suffice for now.)
 

Roserade

"Write your way into his heart..."
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
I'm going to respond with some points of suggestion from the perspective of a two (three?) time host of the game. Know that I am not intending to immediately shoot down any suggestions, should it seem that way; if I contest an idea, it's because I'm unsure of how it would work as a suggestion for the future.

One thing that slowed down investigations was a lack of testimonies until late in the phrase. I do not blame this on anyone, as testimonies take a long time to make and life interferes, but I do feel that a new 24 hour phrase can be made where players can make and share their testimonies, but not investigate. Note that players should also be able to post and create testimonies in the investigation phrase too, but it would be recommended to make them early so the investigation can quickly start.
While I do agree that lacking in testimonies is always an issue with Killing Game, this system might create two problems: for one thing, if somebody was already failing to get their testimony up within the first forty eight hours of a normal phase, it's potentially going to be the same issue even if there is a phase before just to give testimony. The other issue is that there could be the exact opposite issue of what occurred this game: while in this game, players were finding evidence with no account to confirm where it was from, if this new system were to occur, there'd be a whole twenty four hours where you are witnessing claims without any investigation of evidence. Which one is deemed worse is entirely up to your taste, but I'd say that either of them can be a problem. The only way to really ensure people post testimony at all is to make it a mandatory requirement for players to make a testimony, and that itself could be argued to be unfair. How prioritizing testimonies getting posted is entirely up to whoever hosts, but I would personally disagree and say that this idea isn't as likely to solve many issues. That being said, it's never been seen in practice before, so it never hurts to try something once.

Doomhiker said:
Second, while I do not want to be rude, it does sadden me that Toadgamer gave up just because he thought he would not get far because he was a new player. The sign up page for the killing game should give examples of new players going far, like with YFJ living until endgame kg2. If another player absolutely gives up like Toadgamer did on the first night, without making an effort for an intesting case like with Star, then I do feel the hosts should, instead of killing a user, replace them with a backup, to give someone else a chance to play.
I will agree that I wish Toadgamer had pushed further with his case. He was unfortunately put into the position of murderer of his first day phase, it's rough to handle. However, I do feel that because he submitted a kill, and he signed up for the game to begin with, he understood what he could become faced with. At the end of the day, it was entirely Toadgamer's decision to remain completely silent, and us giving him ideas on how to act could be considered host interference. I will say that I do like the idea of giving examples of new players pulling off good runs in Killing Game, and wouldn't mind seeing that in the future, as further encouragement for new players.
As for the replacement system, I'm unsure of what exactly you mean. If you mean that we just replace that new player in the middle of the day phase if they're being completely unresponsive, then that's flat out not able to work. If you mean after a silent player is lynched, I'm pretty neutral on the concept. There have been games with revival systems in the past (such as my first one) for players who die before they get to play, so perhaps a similar system could be put in place for a replacement. The issue which comes with that is that it's dependant entirely on player actions, which makes planning it with a host's perspective tricky. Our game was tailored to have a specific system of how many people would die when, with some leniency for FA's. That alone is like a game of chess to manage, and to depend on player's actions further for replacement systems is just more to juggle. That said, it could certainly be tried, should somebody host a game with a complete AFK.

Doomhiker said:
Finally, while with roles with text-base fas that you can only really activate on purpose such as with Monokuma are fine as they are, text-based fas that effect your every message such as with Realah T. should have a "three strikes and your out" policy. So the first and second time they make a mistake, the hosts warn them via dm. This is to prevent them from dying from one single mistake in a text-based game, which feels a bit unfair.
I fully agree with you on this point. MCD's FA was quite the limitation, and he should've gotten a strike system. Roller had a similar FA, but I did warn him when he edged the line between what he could and couldn't say (albeit Roller's FA was a little more open-ended). A similar thing should've been done for MCD, and specified for in his rolecard.

Second, I'd like to say that it would be better if we had a bigger map and more options. That might make it easier, which isn't what I'd call a good thing, but it could also add up to the challenge, as you'll have to think deeper, otherwise you might very easily make a mistake.
Map size is another one of those elements that becomes tricky to juggle with KG. It takes practice to decide upon a good size, and you also need to account for a) a player count, and b) what each room is and what other needs/functions should be met on the map. My first Killing Game had larger maps, but I found that a majority of the map remained untouched for most of the game, so about half of the rooms went unused entirely. With Bowser's Castle, at least, I'm pretty sure almost every area of the castle was visited once. So while maybe making the map larger wouldn't hurt, I found that for this game specifically and the player count we had, the maps' sizes supplemented the game well. Should a game be more focused on a larger number of players, or some other aspect that warrants a larger map, they should by all means make the map larger.

Doomhiker said:
As for a question, which roles do you think should have been balanced differently? How would you change the item shop?
The biggest thing I'd like to say about the roles in this game is that we upped the ante... A little too strongly. The last three games felt a gradual rise in role power and diversity, and our goal for this game was to further the spectacle of the previous Killing Games, which was ultimately for better or for worse. To whoever hosts the next Marioboards KG: I strongly recommend to you to tone down on the role power. Do a "soft reboot", if you will, of the KG role standards here. Some of the roles we created for this game (looking at you, Baba) were completely busted, and investigations become more of an issue when role abilities are what hinders them. Fun roles shouldn't be sacrificed, but the power to the extent that some players were given this game was immense.
As for the roles specifically this game, there were some that could've been toned down, but also definitely some that could've been toned up. A lot of the worse roles in the game were ones designed later, with the big obvious example being Realah T. (MCD's role). All he could really do is fix rooms, and his FA was far too restrictive. At the time his role was created, we were in a rush to finish them up, so if we had given ourselves more time to review our completed roles, I think we would've found a better balance with abilities overall.

The Item Shop has left a mixed impression on me. Items were used, but it was rarer than they were, and they were stacked on top of a game that was already filled to the brim with different diverse abilities. If an item shop like this were to occur, I'd say it should be in a game where the role powers are much more subdued. In this game, it was just as likely for somebody to be frozen with an Ice Flower DX as it was for them to be frozen with a role power.
Another issue that came with the Item Shop was the coin system. The coin system, and the entire concept of the Shop itself, really, was added late into development, and a concrete system for collecting coins was not adequately established. We didn't have the time to make up how coins should be distributed for, say, a correct lynch. Rather, we just went "Yeah, we'll throw them all over the map and have them find it." Any player who explicitly went looking for coins was likely to find some, but it wasn't a full, reliable setup. Awards Mafia had a system of coins awarded for correct Mafia lynches and general surviving phases, among other things, so I'd point towards that idea for if a future coin system were to appear.
The one massive upside to the Item Shop, however, was the NPC's. Toadsworth and Toady added a ton to the game, and were absolutely some of my favorite elements we included. The amount of interaction and fun that was had with them was worth the price of admission. NPC's can exist independently of a Shop just fine, but we put them in the Item Shop regardless, and I'm happy we did. For that reason, I think my opinion on the Item Shop leans more positively than negatively, simply because of the player opportunities that came from it. Still, the game could've functionally been the same without it. We'd just be without the Toady marriage.
 

Junko Enoshima

Killing Game Founder
Well, I guess it's time for me to come in here and give my thoughts. I'll mostly be sticking outside the realms of roles balance and such, because that's mooostly already been touched on. I do think my role was hideously underpowered though, especially looking at roles like the Flavio one. I hope I get a more powerful role in the next game.

Anyway, first of all, I do have to commend how the plot of the game was handled, especially the end sequence, elements of which I might even borrow myself because of how interestingly it went. The only issue I probably had was that the solution wasn't made clear through investigation, but through us basically being told, and as such, the pacing felt kind of off towards the end as a player. The exception to this maybe being Doomhiker having found Bowser. In general in a game like this, I think the option for an early escape should be available if players are good at puzzle solving. I do like how Tumble's reveal went down, but I think I would have probably liked to see Tumble's reveal and endgame synced up with player actions and discoveries moreso than an arbitrary night count.

Now, the other thing I want to talk about is the item shop. Over the years since I tried items in a kg, I've kind of gotten really soured on the concept. I feel like unique items with abilities found scattered around the map are a good idea that gives an incentive to explore. The issue with an item shop meanwhile, is that while anyone could have a random map item, adding to the mystery, the second an item shop item is involved in some way, the entire mystery just turns into timelining out who went to the item shop.

That wasn't a big issue this game exactly, but stuff like that does turn into an issue as games revolving around items start to slip into familiarity.

I also think, mind you, that the NPCs should have been detached from the shop and maybe given some more to do. As someone who never had any coins due to them being stolen, I never actually even met any of the NPCs in my nights. I think I beat up Toadsworth once for an investigation, but that was the entire length of my interactions there.

It was a pretty good game overall though honestly. Had a great time.
 
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BBQ Turtle

Crazy sponsors lady.
Wiki Patroller
Awards Committee
One thought I had about the Item Shop is that perhaps it could sell something different from the items. With as much freedom as there is to take objects from various rooms in the house, combined with everyone's creativity and role powers, some of the items can basically be replicated without having to buy from the shop (So for example, in Peach's Castle, you could take a banana from the pantry, eat the banana and you end up with a banana peel, and if it's not slippery enough you can just put some oil on it). So, I don't know how viable this is, but perhaps instead of buying items from the shop, other things could be sold instead, such as information about other players or rooms on the map, or perhaps some clues to some of the puzzles. Obviously you wouldn't want any of those things to be a dead giveaway, so it could be things like a clue to another player's role power or perhaps a clue towards their role itself, potentially allowing players to start guessing what their role and associated abilities could be. For rooms, it could be something like informing them of a room's special feature which isn't explicitly stated in the description, and for puzzles, it may give a clue to the context of them (So, for the one in Peach's Castle about putting the locations together, it could hint about thinking back to previous games) or perhaps suggest where an additional item for it may be located. I don't know how well that would all work, but it could be a different way to handle the shop.
 

Alex95

NIWA Nut
Wiki Administrator
I died Night 3, so I don't have a lot of experience with how things played based on my interactions, but

My biggest issue was the maps. Not that they were overly large, just that I had little idea what was in them. This is something that irked me in last year's game, too. All we get are bland maps. Yeah, there's an explanation, and your imagination can fill in the gaps, but I wasn't sure what I could and could not do or interact with in the rooms. Peach's Castle was a bit of a maze to walk through, with an inner and outer layer of rooms, though.

I suppose the best way to fix this would be more detailed maps, which I know can take a lot of time. But hey, I'm totally down for using RPG Maker to help with that 👍

Also let me live past Night 3
 

Amoeba

Goomba
I guess I will give my two cents. So first, the item shop. I have a very biased opinion on this because I never had any coins. In fact, after being robbed twice in the first night (then I got mugged) I actively avoided seeking out coins, because I thought "what's the point? I'm not sure if any future nights will stock items I want, or if my wallet will survive that long with the thief roles running lose" so I only interacted with one of the NPCs once when he wasn't even at the shop.

On the topic of thief roles, player on player sabotage seemed really punishing this game, and multiple people were knocked out per night. Sometimes they just had a pathing or timeline issue, so they sat and twiddled their thumbs instead of doing actions (which is more of an issue with submitting your actions before hand, so there's no improvization input from the player). I honestly tried to get involved with lore right away, but competing with other players lost me the end half or two thirds of my night. It's almost as disheartening as being the victim, because all your night actions you worked on are wasted. So no lore for me this game.

I know not everyone was satisfied with their roles, but mine was very fun. Lots of applications, so much that I didn't even use them all. That's a lesson for me to take to my next KG experience. That's what I like to see in a rolepower, so I'm not stuck with a power only for murder, sabotage, investigation, or whatever.

The maps were a lot bigger than my other 2 KGs I played. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, makes it easy for the murder to happen without witnesses, which is good for the killer (though it is countered by the fact that everyone grouped up all game, and the killer was never at the player hosted events that I recall) but also, it's a lot to take in, a lot to remember, and that caused some confusion.

The hosts, and players despite their distasteful actions in-game, were a fun group. I think everyone got along in Discord, for the most part and if they didn't it was probably MFan's fault :p.

Good game!
 

John Doe

Ace Ice Cream Salesman...?
Well, now that some time has passed and the dust has all settled, I suppose it's time for me to give my two cents.

Before I start, I just wanna give a huge shoutout to Hearts for being my partner in crime throughout the game, both when looking for lore and during investigations. One of my favourite things about KG is meeting new people and making new friends, so thanks for being trusting of a total stranger who blew a kazoo up in your face and set you on fire. It was great working with you and I'm so proud of you for winning!
Also shoutouts to Beowulf for being willing to work together again even though he died before any of our plans came to fruition. At least there's always next time!

And now onto the meat and potatoes of the post. Some of the things that I'm gonna go over have already been mentioned before, but I still want to go over them a bit just so that the hosts can see what I agree with and what I don't etc etc

Obviously, first thing to talk about would be the lore. I talked about this a little in the discord, but I did like how a lot of the functionality for escaping was limited until the end of the game. I think it was a unique way of tackling the issue of lore distracting from other night actions and from murders by not having escape achievable until the very end. As someone who investigated lore a lot in both this game and the last, I felt like I had to spend a lot less time solving long puzzles in this game to find key lore items, which freed up more time for me to goof off in other ways. It also felt like it served as a better 'alternative ending' since it could only happen at endgame. Of course, with that all said, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with allowing early escapes, just that I thought this method worked pretty good for this game.

Now, in regards to Tumble and some other endgame related mechanics, I know a few people have put their two cents in, and I'm just gonna jump off of FWD's post to start myself off:

Anyway, first of all, I do have to commend how the plot of the game was handled, especially the end sequence, elements of which I might even borrow myself because of how interestingly it went. The only issue I probably had was that the solution wasn't made clear through investigation, but through us basically being told, and as such, the pacing felt kind of off towards the end as a player. The exception to this maybe being Doomhiker having found Bowser. In general in a game like this, I think the option for an early escape should be available if players are good at puzzle solving. I do like how Tumble's reveal went down, but I think I would have probably liked to see Tumble's reveal and endgame synced up with player actions and discoveries moreso than an arbitrary night count.
As someone who was investigating lore throughout the duration of the game, I'd just like to say that Hearts and I knew basically 90% of how to escape by the end of Night 4. We knew that we needed both the Giant Star and Ztar, and that we needed both Bowser and Peach to use it's power, and that we needed to do a ritual with them to forge the Eternal Star. The only thing we didn't know was where Bowser and Peach were, which became apparent the following day phase. So the solution was definitely made clear through investigation, but I do agree that the secret message from Kamek was probably unnecessary. Last game, our escape happened quite organically: we had a group of people which gradually grew as we came across people whose goals were the same, and we ended up functioning as a real team without the hosts ever doing anything to push us in that direction, so when we won it felt like a well-earned victory. In this case, such alliances no longer existed, and the message from Kamek feels like it was a way for the hosts to "strongly encourage" the remaining players to work together because they otherwise wouldn't have. I think the endgame next time should be a little less forced and more natural. There were people alive who knew exactly what was required to escape (apart from the "nobody can die" part, I guess, but that could have been explained better in one of the notes or information sources that mentioned the imbalance of Hope and Despair required), so it should have been up to them to act on that on their own instead of being egged on by the hosts to get the true ending. If people aren't collaborative enough to work together to escape without being prodded by the hosts, then there probably shouldn't be a big escape at all IMO. It would have also worked as a way to form real tension during endgame without having to resort to adding in Tumble.

Speaking of which, let's talk about the blue die for a little bit. I think most of how he was handled was good. He was forshadowed well through the notes in both castles, and by the time he was revealed properly in the game, I think a few of us who had been investigating (and knew our MarioWiki lore) had figured out his identity. He's a fine enough choice for the mastermind of a Mario Party themed KG. I also think that, putting aside my misgivings about how endgame was set up, having Tumble as an extra player was a unique idea to add tension to the finale that might not have been there. It's terribly unbalanced to have him be played by a host, who knows all our roles, items, locations etc, but I'll give it props for being something different.

For one last lore-related aside, I think it would be nice if it were possible to limit certain roles ablities to 'cheat' the lore. As an example, I found a key Night 2 which opened up the Power Moon Processor... only to find that Perch had already blown a hole in the wall. I believe a similar thing happened to Hearts with the prize he got for finishing the Electric Maze, where the door which the key opened had already been broken by FWD. For someone who spends a lot of time investigating lore, you feel kind of cheated when you put in all that work only to find out someone else cheated the system and got it the easy way and you wasted all that time for nothing. Now, for something like the PMP, it doesn't really matter that much, but I think especially important lore items like the Star/Ztar should be kept off limits unless you can solve the puzzle in the correct way, kind of like how the room Peach was in was locked until Endgame.

Moving on to something that's a little less lore related, I'd like to give a bit of input on the map designs. Firstly, I'd like to say that I really liked the design of Bowser's Castle. It felt like almost every room had a purpose, with a good mix of practical rooms, like the mechanics shop, kitchen, etc, and more special rooms, like the wedding chapel or the hall of princesses. I can't comment too much on Peach's Castle since I wasn't really there, but the impression I get from looking at the map is that it's a little confusing to look at with the double layered rooms, and there also seems to be a lot of, for lack of a better term, "Room Tunnels", where you have a series of rooms that lead in a long line to a dead end. I feel like this would be a bit of a time waster (e.g. wanting to go to room 12, you have to go through rooms 7, 8 and 9 first) and this can also minimise escape routes. I didn't pay a lot of attention to Peach's Castle so IDK how this practically affected the game, but I feel like the other maps did a better job of having rooms organised in ways that you don't have to go too far to get where you need to go. As for Eternal Star, the main feedback that I would give is that, although the SMG theming was appreciated, I felt like a lot of rooms had very little practical purpose, such as the Asteroid Raceway, Shrinking Tiles Room and Flip Switch Room, to name a few. I think the most important thing in making a map is making sure that there is a reason why a room or area exists. Ask yourself "Why would a player visit this room?" and decide if you really need it, or if theres something more important you could replace it with (like a kitchen lol). One last thing about ES: it was kinda weird how there were several points of interest on the roof but no obvious way to get up there. IDK why it was that was but maybe next time a ladder or some stairs would be good?
As for a question regarding map design: during Night 3, I bought a mini mushroom and used it to explore the monty mole holes, since the item description seemed to hint at it being useful for getting into small places, and the map description for the railway station mentioned the size of the holes, so therefore it made sense to investigate them. And while it was cute discovering a little mole family underground, I didn't get any items and the mushroom wore off not too long after, so I had basically spent 15 coins for absolutely nothing. So my question is: was it ever intended for players to enter the holes (and were there any other places that could have been accessed with the mini mushroom)? If it wasn't planned, then I understand the lack of a reward, but I feel that player exploration should be rewarded, rather than feeling like a waste of time and resources.

Next, I'll share my thoughts on the item shop. I think I'll mostly echo Pito's thoughts. It was a nice enough addition, but I feel like it didn't really have any huge benefits. I also agree with FWD in that I feel like it can make murders too easy to solve. To take an example that (theoretically) could have happened: Night 1 I made a kill attempt using a Banana Peel and my weapon, Truewaker. The idea was that Truewaker was planted in the roof, so that someone would walk into the room, slip on the banana peel, and then summon Truewaker from downstairs when I heard the thud, thereby impaling them with the pliers. However, when I planned this murder, I didn't realise that Toady would snitch and tell everyone that I visited the shop. It's risky enough to have someone see that you went to the item shop, but the fact that the hosts outright confirm it to us (and when requested, even the fact that you walked past) makes it highly impractical to use the items in a murder. And if that's the case, I feel like there's no point in including it. It is a Killing Game, after all. If NPCs telling things wasn't a factor, then I would probably be a bit more neutral on the shop. It's not a bad idea, but it also isn't really necessary. Awards Mafia used to have this issue of "feature creep", where every game had to include something to make it bigger and better than last time. Locations! Weather! Items! All gimmicks that, while not necessarily bad on their own, could end up stacking up together and making a huge mess for hosts and players alike (looking at you, Awards Mafia 5). So I just feel like hosts should be careful not to bog down their games with things that unnecesarily complicate their games for little reward.

Speaking of making things bigger and better, only to have it make a mess... let's talk about roles. My feedback in this regard is basically to reiterate what Rose said, that the roles in this game often felt like they were too big and too crazy. I know from my mafia hosting days how fun it can be to think up a bunch of really cool unique roles, but unfortunately it's also very easy to leave balancing by the wayside when coming up with these roles. They should still be fun, of course, but toning things down would be good, especially when it comes to murders. It feels like almost every murder in this game happened with the help of some role trickery, and while it's good that people were able to find such creative ways to use their roles, it also makes it very difficult to prove that someone did a murder when the method was that they used some ridiculous role power that we could never dream up, rather than using things that can be found around the mansion.
Also this has been mentioned to death, but obviously FAs should be better balanced next time too, not only to be equal with other players, but also in a way that properly balances your role. For example, my role was primarily geared for murdering, but my FA prevented me from murdering other murderers with my weapon. This created an odd balance, where the further into the game we got, the less useful it became. During Night 6, I felt like FWD was becoming quite a threat and considered killing him, but due to my FA, if I had killed him by utilising my role, I would have died as well, which not only means that there's no mystery but it also just sucks since it means the only people I can kill are the pacifists, who aren't really a threat. I think Rose mentioned after I died that I could have killed indirectly with Truewaker e.g. by using it to knock down chandeliers, but that wasn't really clearly communicated in my rolecard so I just figured I couldn't use it in any kill attempts against murderers at all.

The last point I want to quickly mention is the whole issue of not getting murders. I know that there are obviously a lot of factors in play here, and others have said most of what I wanted to say about this, but I will say that I think Pito is right in that some more focus should be put on incentivising murders. I always thought it was strange that motives were dropped from Eternal Star onwards, with the only real host provided motive being "well I'm sure you don't want any accident murders this late in the game". I don't know why this happened when the hosts had previously been complaining that not enough people were killing. In any case, I think it would be good for some more motives to be made, and to make them something that's really enticing for a player. Something like "Swap two players" is fine but ultimately doesn't really matter as much in the long run when we're only staying in the first castle for one moe phase cycle anyway. I'm not sure what you could do instead, but I think that if you really come up with something good, then it'll help the players be more willing to take the risk.

This post ended up being a whole lot longer than I thought it would be! I know I've said a lot about what I want improved, but I just want to say that, for as many things as I thought could be better, there are far more things that I thought were done really well. I don't have time to list everything, but I just want to say to Rose, Pito, LTQ and Geeky that you guys did an absolutely amazing job! I had an absolute blast playing this game, and I'm sure everyone else did too. Thank you for all the hard work and time that you sacrificed so that we could have fun murdering each other, marrying NPCs, hunting ghosts and blaring the kazoo in peoples faces. It takes a lot of dedication to see a KG through to the end, and I'm very grateful for everything you've all put into this.
 
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Hearts

In search of Doc P
I'll throw my two cents in as well while the game is still pretty fresh in my mind. I don't think I need to say this given my post in the lounge thread, but just in case: this is going to be mostly criticism due to the nature of the thread, but that in no way means I didn't enjoy the game overall.

Lore: I thought the lore was handled well overall. People who were interested in it and actively sought it out could begin connecting the dots before the Tumble reveal and the endgame, but it wasn't prevalent enough to distract from the killing aspect. Since I had been snooping for lore the entire game, the events of Eternal Star all seemed like a logical progression to me, and I felt like I was rewarded for investigating lore by having more knowledge about how things would pan out toward the end. I did feel a bit cheated when all of the endgame players were basically given the information about escaping that I had gone out of my way to find for free, but it didn't bother me much since I revealed everything I knew about the ritual to them on Discord anyway for cooperation's sake. The final room being unlocked for us via host intervention was also a little underwhelming, but I understand that was probably done to give everyone a chance since nobody had found the key through normal gameplay.

Puzzles, locked rooms, and hidden stuff: Most of it was pretty straightforward. Some puzzles required knowledge of certain games or Marioboards lore, but most of them could be easily solved by anyone. One complaint I have is that while most puzzles and locked areas rewarded players with useful clues about escaping or more practical tools for gameplay, a few of the prizes were functionally useless, like notes or entire rooms with no apparent purpose beyond flavor (such as the locked mystery room in the basement of Bowser's castle). This led to some occasional disappointment where even a small prize like 10 coins in addition to the flavor could have made the effort more worthwhile.

I'd also like to add to what Nitwit mentioned about players "cheating" with role powers to bypass requirements. Personally, I think that creative uses of role powers should be encouraged. I definitely made liberal use of my own to explore and interact with the map: demolishing the wall at the back of the Baby Bowser room, destroying the Power Moon Processor, and stopping time to cheat the Electric Labyrinth. On the other hand, I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't a bit disappointing to spend multiple nights solving a multi-step puzzle by lighting up all of the buttons in the Flip Switch room, placing the special gear in the Engine Room, and clearing the Electric Labyrinth only to find out that the key I got was useless because FWD destroyed the gate already.

I'm not sure how hosts decided which role power actions were allowed. For example, it's pretty logical to use Perch's bombs to blow stuff up, including walls. But does that mean he could access any locked room without needing a key? Or did it only work with certain walls? Dupe Face couldn't access locked rooms with his role, so that wouldn't be very fair. My role card stated that my chaos spear could destroy objects it came in contact with, so could I have been blowing up more walls too? I only destroyed the one in Baby Bowser's room because it was already cracked and thus implied to be breakable, and I knew the Power Moon Processor needed to be destroyed or otherwise disabled to get rid of the magical barrier in the library. I didn't feel like I was bypassing any requirements when performing those actions. I don't even know how FWD destroyed the gate that he got through, but considering how broken his role power was, I think it could be chalked up to a role not working as hosts intended.

I'm rambling a bit but the point I'm trying to make is that there's a distinction between "creative" and "unintended" uses of role powers, and it's not clear whether some actions were valid uses or simply cases of players interpreting roles in ways that hosts didn't account for but couldn't argue with. This caused me to essentially waste part of my actions on all three nights of Eternal Star to get a useless key. If players do manage to bypass requirements like keys, it might save some ire to have a way to prevent other players from wasting their time trying to do things the orthodox way. At the very least, I would have appreciated being told which room the key belonged to if it was no longer needed. Its appearance alone didn't make it obvious to me, so naturally I assumed it fit the last locked door on the map. I was banking on finding Peach behind that door (and I was right), so if I knew that the key I found belonged to a room that was already accessible, I could have at least made other plans on the final night. I think it would help to decide ahead of time whether there are any puzzles that can't be solved or any rooms that can't be accessed through unconventional means, then deciding the rest on a case-by-case basis as players experiment with their roles.

Endgame: I already talked about this a bit in the lore section, so I'll keep my thoughts here brief. The Tumble battle was executed well, and I appreciated how some aspects of the endgame rules were even foreshadowed by lore that I found (such as the ritual failing if anyone dies). Tumble's knowledge of our roles, locations, and inventories made him feel like a very real threat and made sense from a story perspective. I was actually terrified of using my teleportation in endgame despite how useful it could have been, because I didn't want to risk my chaos emerald ending up in his hands when he knew that destroying it would trigger my forbidden action. Having two ways to win also spiced things up with the element of potential betrayal, and I had some fun planning for multiple scenarios in my actions. In case anyone wondered why I left the room to grab a gun among other things, I was totally ready to kill everyone if I needed to. But all's well that ends well, right fellas?

Maps: I can't comment on Peach's Castle, but the sizes and layouts of the maps I played on felt great. They were big enough that there was a lot to explore and interact with, but not so huge that everyone missed each other wandering about a labyrinth. Most areas had multiple getaway routes that made things fair for culprits, too. There was a nice variety of rooms with interesting contents (for murder, lore, and just for fun), and I appreciated how many of the rooms fit the themes of each map. I do agree with Nitwit that some rooms seemed to have no incentives to visit them at all, though. That's actually how I decided where to hide the ztar on night 6: why would anyone go to the Shrinking Tiles room? It's probably difficult to design a large map where every single room serves a functional purpose, so I understand some rooms being less appealing than others, but it's probably best for these kinds of rooms to serve as "connector rooms" between other more useful ones.

Items and coins: The item shop and coin system were mostly fine. I agree that it wasn't practical to use shop items for murders due to how easily they could be traced, but I thought of the shop items as better for support anyway. Using the ice flower to freeze a piranha plant, Nitwit using his mini mushroom to explore, that kinda stuff. I think that if the item shop makes a return next game, it should be taken further in that direction. As for coins, I didn't find very many of them throughout the game unless I specified in my actions to look for coins in a room, so I'm not sure how prevalent they were. I think it could be a good idea to add more ways to obtain them, like a little payout for a correct vote in a case.

Cases: The cases were a bit of a mixed bag for me, but in a way that wasn't entirely the hosts' fault. The generally low number of murder attempts throughout the game meant that hosts had to work with what they got, including several accidental kills. I'll touch a little more on my problem with some of the cases when I discuss roles, but for the most part the cases that didn't revolve around role shenanigans felt fair for both the killer and the innocents. Even when I killed someone on accident, I felt that the hosts gave me enough ways to weasel my way out of suspicion, and it ultimately worked. Phase lengths felt perfect, too.

One thing that bothered me about investigations was the ability to recognize specific objects missing from rooms. Even when a player had never entered a room before and the objects in question weren't listed in the map descriptions, they could immediately identify specific objects that were missing during the day phase. For example, someone found out that I took a thermometer and a syringe from the Doctor's Office despite not knowing how many should have been there, and they even knew that it was specifically a mercury thermometer. I think those kinds of details should be reserved for players who have already visited those rooms previously and would be familiar with their contents. Giving that kind of information freely to investigators lets them trace the origins of evidence very easily, which puts killers at a significant disadvantage.

Incentives: The lack of murder attempts this game speaks for itself, I think. Players are much more likely to kill when there's a motive to do so. Sure, successful kills net you some points in the final score tally, but is it worth the risk of being caught and knocked out of the game early? More rewards for successful murders or even just for attempting would have ensured a lot more violence, and potentially better cases for hosts to work around. Even when I did attempt, I wasn't doing so because I wanted to, but merely because I preferred to keep the ball rolling without more accident kills (which I ironically ended up doing myself). The motives don't have to be anything crazy, but relying on players' bloodlust alone isn't always going to cut it when people could be doing lore stuff or shitposting instead. Additionally, murder incentives could encourage people to vote more too, to prevent successful killers from making use of whatever advantage they acquire.

Roles: I was a big fan of the wide variety of roles in this game. Every role felt truly unique with multiple abilities to take advantage of in addition to their stat spreads. Some were considerably stronger than others, potentially even too strong (I thought mine was broken until I found out about Perch and FWD), but it's nice that they all had tools to play with and there weren't many "boring" roles. The roles being based on different characters was also a nice touch, and it added another element to trying to guess somebody's role.

The downside to the power and variety of roles was their effect on solving cases. It was nearly impossible to figure out how some murders went down when roles were used, which is likely an effect of the "role powercreep" that others have mentioned. Even in Perch's case where he was correctly identified as the culprit (after a coin toss) due to other factors such as his timeline and locations, he was left dissatisfied because nobody figured out how he actually did it. As I said before, I don't necessarily think that role powers should be stifled just because they're used in creative ways. Players who actually submit clever murder attempts should be rewarded for using their imagination for interesting kills, but special care should be taken to ensure that the case is still solvable through some means.

Stats: This is related to roles, but I want to talk about stats for a bit since nobody else has brought them up yet. This was my first time playing in a KG with stats, and I had mixed feelings about them. They add another element of strategy to the game and help to diversify the roles, so they're definitely a fun idea in theory. In practice, though, I got the impression that some stats had much more of an effect on the game than others.

In particular, the speed stat felt really important. Waking up early meant I could have first dibs on anything I wanted each night, sneak around unnoticed by anyone but other 5s, and mess with people who were still asleep. Then I could perform a bunch more actions as the 4s started to wake up, then the 3s, etc. On the other hand, I almost never felt limited by my low social stat. Most of my interactions with other players were planned ahead of time, so I didn't need to persuade anyone. The only time it might have hindered me was when I interrogated Vruet and blasted him into a wall, and even then, it hurt him a lot more than it hurt me. I'm also not sure how much the stamina stat actually affected my ability to perform actions. Granted, my stamina stat of 4 was on the higher end, but I felt like I did quite a lot some nights and never got very tired or had to stop. Strength and stealth are pretty straightforward, though. I think that for the next game, if stats are still a part of roles, their effects should be a little more balanced.

I thiiiiink that just about covers everything I could suggest. I'm not really a KG veteran, nor have I ever hosted one, so take my opinions with a grain of salt. Despite the paragraphs of criticism, it was a fantastic game overall and I'm glad to have been a part of it. Looking forward to playing with you guys in another KG soon.
 
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Roserade

"Write your way into his heart..."
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
The amount of feedback that has been received in this thread is amazing, and I incredibly appreciated the amount of insight and reflection you all have truly expressed here. Seriously, I had a smile on my face reading all of it, even the criticism. I'm going to give a final set of responses, and leave the door open for Pitohui for a bit, and then call this thread completed (unless anybody has some pressing follow-up comments or questions). The Awards section of the Boards does need to be archived at some point, after all.

Firstly, I'm happy to hear that the people who investigated lore felt satisfied with the escalation and conclusion of the game. Going into this, I really did have the idea of being able to pull off a strong story in my mind. I personally adore writing out plots, especially for KG's, so to see a "grand vision" of sorts come together meaningfully was nice. I'm unsure if there's really a way to make the story beats feel more natural for those who didn't explore the lore, but hopefully the progression of the hosts/plot still felt natural to some degree.
As for the Kamek message, I can see how it felt like a random jolt when it came to a natural story progression. Our rationale for including it was for two reasons: one, it was to show more characterization with the hosts; two, and more importantly, it expressed the idea that there is another option, and that the "if anybody dies" system was in place, as well as a few other minor details. I suppose I feared that if we made Tumble's Endgame announcement too strong, without any indication from us of there actually being an alternative, then the players would feel cheated of an alternate ending. That was definitely a dumber consideration of mine, because you all are intelligent and knew what needed to happen.
Despite that hiccup, however, I'm still personally satisfied with the narrative we strung together, and I believe that we made Tumble the threat that he needed to be for our story to feel satisfying.

For the Item Shop comments, I'm first going to say that I agree that the NPC discussion system, while nice in concept, wouldn't help anybody who used their item directly in a kill. I'm also going to agree, though, that I don't feel like our intention was ever for the items to be used for the kills themselves, and would rather be supplements to other areas, such as player interaction. One item I wish that we had looked closer at was the Burn Heal, which was the only item that was conceived for only investigation (really out of necessity). Looking at items that can impact the game in other ways, such as during investigation, may have been a better direction to take them, as opposed to primarily physical items for the night. I do appreciate how some of the items were utilized, regardless of their lack of usefulness in actual kill attempts.
I'd like to commend BBQ's idea for an Item Shop system, and wouldn't mind seeing a concept like it implemented in the future.
To branch off of FWD's comment of the NPC's existing outside of the Item Shop, I certainly agree they could. I'm neutral on the NPC's placement in the game, because on the one hand, they were strung to a shop system that not everybody participated in, and they could've existed anywhere else. On the other, they gave an incentive for some players to visit the shop to begin with, and it gave them a natural place to exist (which fell in line with the Mario Party theme). I think NPC's are meant to be played with, and I have no comment to how they should be implemented in the future, though maybe with some reserve towards the snitching policy.
Also, I will say that there was a consideration to include a system of receiving coins for correct lynch votes, but there was some discussion about it being unfair to killers etc. I don't recall the full details of that conversation, but do know that it happened, and for some reason or another we shot it down. It's worth reexamination in the future, though.

I'm happy to hear that the people who played on Bowser's Castle appreciated its design. I focused on exactly what Nitwit mentioned: looking at a blend of functionality and uniqueness with every room, with enough space in-between to get from place to place. Some were certainly goofier than others, but I believe every room for the Castle felt like it organically belonged there. Speaking for the ???? Room, I definitely believe looking back that some sort of prize should have still be reaped from the room. I was conveying the room's information to LTQ right around the time I was leaving for my vacation, so it wasn't a consideration that crossed my mind, even though it should have. Making certain that there are benefits to exploration is always a plus, and is good to keep in mind for any future hosts.
Speaking of exploration, let's talk about the ways roles were utilized on the map. I'm going to be completely transparent: most of the role-map tomfuckery was a result of ideas or plans that were out of the realm of our consideration as hosts. Quite honestly, a lot of KG Host is improvisation, and continuing to set rules while the game is going. Hell, we hosts had a channel in the server explicitly designated for putting in any addition rules or clarifications we included later. Even with all of this in mind, there are still some ideas that catch you entirely off-guard. I never thought that anyone would ever the Monty Mole Hills with the Mini Mushroom, so I had literally nothing planned for that. Likewise, with Perch's role, I didn't anticipate him wanting to just blow up the wall to a lore room, but he did and I thought it felt reasonable at the time. There were a few times in the game where I'd just go "I shouldn't have allowed that lol" and I know that Pitohui had done the same. In short, in a game with as extreme of roles as we had, it's hard to find a middleground to where your role still has importance to its function, but that secrets are still maintained. I will say that some of the "cheats" to get to items definitely were unbalanced, and more care should be taken with their retrieval in the future.

Incentives, somehow, managed to be one of the trickiest things to manage for me. They ended up being more of an afterthought; we hosts realized near the point of starting the game that we didn't really have an incentive system in place, so we rushed out the first couple. We did not have a solid plan of how we'd handle them moving forward, and I think that's part of why they just fell away in Eternal Star. I'd like to propose to whoever hosts next to keep an incentive system, and to really consider and plan out your incentives in advance, which was something we should have done.

Hearts makes a good point on item identification in rooms that you've never been in, and was an aspect I'd never considered before, so I recommend looking at that in the future.

I don't know if there's much we can do re: player sabotages. Traps and events like those are usually planned by players themselves, so if they happen, they're typically players' faults. I will say that some accidental knockouts did occur this game, however, and those could be limited. But yeah, sometimes you get aggressive players with aggressive playstyles, and that's the scope of it.

I agree with the comments on stats given by Hearts. Some did end up becoming more pertenent than others, and reconsideration of their function wouldn't hurt. I will say that this system of five stats was tuned down from eight, and the five we have are what I believe to be your "essentials" if you're going to include stats in your game, so I'd still look towards them for inspiration.

I think I've exhausted every other point in this thread, so if I missed anything or you'd like for me to reiterate on anything further, please let me know. Thank you all again for such a fun game, because it wouldn't have happened without you, and your feedback is accepted gratefully. This KG was certainly an experience I'll never forget in this community. It almost feels nostalgic already to look back at our early planning and early game, and this game honestly gave me a lot of direction and made me discover things about myself, as funny as it is. So thank you one more time, and I hope I'll see you around (even if it is just for the next KG). Cheers!
 
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