Welcome to Forum Mafia! This guide will hopefully give you information about how to get started with finding games you might be interested in playing, signing up for those games, receiving your role card, and getting started with the game itself. Please note that this guide is focused on how to sign up for an S-FM game -- the procedures for M-FM and FM games may be slightly different, in terms of signup locations. The basic process is as follows:
- Finding a game with open signups. You can find signups in the Signups subforum.
- Reviewing the game setup. You should review the setup in question to see if it is the right type of game for you. Usually the host provides a link to the setup in the signup thread. Otherwise, check the Setup Workshop subforum. Feel free to leave questions / feedback for the hosts as well!
- Signing up for the game. If you are interested, you can sign up for the game with "/sign" in the signup thread. Usually signups are either first-come, first-serve or randomized after a certain amount of time if too many people sign up. You can also be a reserve with "/reserve" in case signed up players can no longer play.
- Receiving and reading your role card. The host should indicate in the signup thread when the game is likely to begin. Right before then, the host will send you a role card, which may include information about your role and allies / night chat (if applicable). Please do not discuss any of this information with anyone else.
- Starting the game. When it is time for the game to start, the host will create a new thread for the game in the Ongoing Games subforum. He or she will also customarily PM players to notify them that the game has started.
More detail on each step is provided below for your reference.
Finding Open Signups
The first step to playing Forum Mafia is finding a game setup that interests you. For S-FMs, you can find the list of games currently accepting sign ups in the Signups subforum. Please note that signups will remain in this forum for some time after games have filled up and begun so it may be helpful to read though the signup thread in question to make sure you have not missed the game.
Reviewing the Game Setup
Usually signup threads will have a link to the game setup in question as well so that you can review it. If not, you can locate the game setup yourself in the Setup Workshop subforum. S-FMs can vary greatly from conventional (similar to the mod) to very experimental so we would highly recommend that you read through the game setup carefully to see if it is a game that seems interesting to you, in terms of theme, roles, game mechanics, or otherwise. For example, some players greatly dislike Cult setups, while others would prefer to play them. Please note that when you sign for a game, you are making a commitment to play in that game, so if one does not seem right for you or you do not think you will be able to play, we would recommend not signing and waiting for another game that seems like a better fit.
Asking the Host Questions
Game setups are often subject to change by their creators based on questions asked by players or balance concerns raised by the Forum Mafia staff. If you don't understand something, don't be shy! You might be helping the host out a lot by uncovering an ambiguity that he or she neglected to notice. If you are not understanding something, that could mean others are having the same problem, and it is far better for issues to be discovered before a game starts as opposed to after that time. To the same effect, if you feel like a setup is unbalanced toward one side or the other, please provide your feedback as well so the host can consider what you are saying.
Signing for Games
So, you've found a setup that looks interesting and which is accepting signups? That's great! The next step toward playing is signing up for the game in the game signup thread. You can do that with any number of statements of interest, the most common being "/sign" or "/in". Please note that signups are usually either first-come first-serve (the first X people who sign up will get into the game) or are left open for a certain amount of time (e.g. 24-48 hours) and if too many people sign, the host will randomly select among the players who signed up to decide who will to play.
If you didn't sign up for a game in time or weren't selected by the host, you can still "reserve" for the game. Reserve effectively means that you are on standby in case any of the players selected are not able to play the game at any point during its duration -- for example, they become too busy or need to be replaced due to inactivity. Often times, players who may not have enough to time to play a game, but who might still be interested, elect to reserve for a game so that if their plans change and a spot opens up, they still have the chance to play.
Receiving and Reading Your Role Card
After you have signed and been accepted into a game, you will need to wait until that game begins. The host should keep people updated on the status of the game in the signup thread. Prior to the game starting, you should receive a Private Message (PM) from the host with your role card. Depending on the host, you may just receive the name of your role or you may receive the name of your role along with a copy of its abilities (if any) from the game setup page. To the extent your role has allies, your role card should include their names. Please note that you are usually not permitted to chat with your allies before the game begins, so please refrain from doing so unless the host has allowed you to do otherwise (which would be very rare and noted in the setup). You should also be careful not to share information about you role with anyone but the game host to ensure that information remains secret.
Understanding Night Chats
In addition, to the extent your role has a night chat (most Mafia roles as well as certain Town roles like Masons), the host should have provided you with a link to your faction's night chat. On our site, these night chats are mostly often hosted on a site called Quick Topic (or QT for short). These QT links are accessible by ANYONE who has the link so please do not circulate the link to anyone during the game itself because that could compromise the game for your faction. After the game has ended, players often share these chats for others to read through in terms of curiosity, but it is polite to ask the game host first before doing so.
Please note that you are usually not permitted to post in night chat outside of certain specified times during the game (usually night) -- therefore, you should be careful not to chat there unless the host has allowed you to do so. Hosts usually lock the night chats down before the game or during day cycles so players cannot accidentally chat there, but this does not always happen, either due to host preference or forgetfulness, so you should not depend on the host locking the chat being your indication of whether you can chat there or not. When in doubt, please ask the game host before doing so.
Finding the Game Thread
When a game begins, hosts will create a new thread for their game in the Ongoing Games subforum. Many will also send a PM to all players notifying them that the game has started and sometimes provide them a link to the thread. Once the host has created the game thread and indicated that the game has started, you should feel free to post. Please note that some games begin with a "Night 0", in which case, you will have to wait until the first game day to post (and hopefully, the host has closed the thread in the interim).
For Additional Information
This ends our discussion of how to sign up for a Forum Mafia game which has covered signup pages, game setups, signing, reserving, role cards, night chats, and the game thread. Good luck in your Forum Mafia game! For further information on in-game strategy and considerations, please consult other articles on this Wiki, which cover strategy elements and how to approach the game once it has begun.