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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:39 pm 
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Hello all,

I have been getting a lot of questions lately about how the game of mafia works. Since it’s getting really annoying to have to answer the same questions multiple times, I’ve decided to write out a basic description of what mafia is, how it works, and what’s expected if you join a game. Mafia is a really fun game, especially for debaters. However, a good game of mafia can be ruined if people don’t know how to play it, or the players don’t abide by the rules. So, let’s get started.

Mafia: the Original Game
Mafia was originally a card game created in Soviet Russia as a social experiment (who says Communism didn’t produce anything?). In order to understand how we do mafia on HSD, you have to understand the original card game.
The most basic mafia game has two groups: the mafia and the townspeople. For the purposes of this explanation, we’ll assume there are 11 people playing. In a game of that size, there are 2 mafia, 8 townspeople, and a narrator. At the beginning of the game, the narrator shuffles the cards (2 face cards and 8 numbered cards) and passes them out. The people who get face cards are mafia; everyone else is a townsperson.

The game is divided into “days” and “nights.” After the roles are assigned, the narrator says, “The town went to sleep (everyone closes their eyes). Mafia, awake.” The two people in the mafia open their eyes and collectively choose a person to “kill.” Once a person is chosen, the narrator says, “Mafia goes to sleep. The town awoke, but (enter name here) was found dead.” The person killed by the mafia is no longer in the game.

After that, the day begins. The remaining players (both townspeople and mafia) accuse people they believe are mafia. The accusers may provide warrants and the accused may provide defenses. At the end of the day, everyone votes one person to “lynch”. That person is eliminated. Everything during the day is public. The goal of the mafia is to kill all the townspeople. The goal of the townspeople is to lynch the mafia. The nights and days repeat until one side wins.

Of course, this gets rather monotonous, so creative people have added some other common characters. The basic idea of these characters is used in most games here on HSD:
The Doctor- he may protect one person from a mafia attack. If the mafia attacks this person, he/she will survive.

The Sheriff- he may investigate one person per night to see if he/she is mafia.
The Wizard- he may prevent one person from using his/her powers per night.
The Lovers (2 people)- If one of these two people are killed or lynched, the other immediately commits suicide.
The Godfather, Priest, etc.- A mafia-type character, but instead of killing someone, the he/she can convert someone to his/her side.


Mafia: the Next Generation
Of course, someone (possibly Al Gore) eventually got the idea of putting mafia on the internet. This allowed games to a lot more complicated, since they are no longer limited by time. Going through 20 character’s actions in person would take a bit in person. Also, it allowed there to be multi-faceted characters since the roles are no longer limited to hand gestures (hand gestures are usually used to carry out night roles in the card game, since no one wants to reveal his/her role). Internet mafia is different from regular mafia in several ways:
1. The players are much more complicated. In the game I hosted recently, one of the characters could take any one of three actions per night.
2. Internet games are usually based on a central theme, such as Star Trek, Star Wars, CSI, LOTR, etc. However, the games are (hopefully) structured so that players don’t have to know about the source material.
3. Instead of cards, the roles are given through “role PMs,” which describe the character’s background and abilities. They are still randomly assigned.
4. Internet games usually have some “hidden mechanics.” Hidden mechanics are “land mines” set off by certain events occurring. They often include the deaths of a lot of characters at once.
5. The games are a lot bigger. The average HSD game has 20-25 people in it. The largest I know of was over 30.
6. There are a lot more kills made at night. The current record (without hidden mechanics), is eight.
7. There are often more than 2 sides. The game I hosted had 5 different sides, each with their own distinct goals. Sometimes a player’s mission is to simply survive.
8. A lot of the accusing/defending is done through Private Messages (PMs). Since players don’t want to reveal their roles, they often don’t want to post what they know about another person on the actual thread. It is not uncommon to lynch someone without any actual evidence posted in the thread. However, voting is still done on the thread.
9. All intelligence gathering is done via PMs, Facebook. Gmail, person-to-person, etc. It is almost never done openly on the thread.

Due to the behind-the-scenes nature of internet mafia, it can be confusing as to when days and nights are. The host will post in the thread the times and dates of days/nights. Since the players are from all over the country, it’s a good idea to know your time zones.


Mafia: Code of Honor
In regular mafia, it’s really hard to cheat. In internet mafia, to be honest, it’s really easy. It’s so easy an unusually bright lemming could probably do it. Part of the reason this subforum was created was to prevent cheating on the thread itself. However, it’s still relatively easy to cheat in other ways.

Here’s our policy: Don’t do it. Mafia follows an honor system, without which our games would descend into chaos. Here’s the basic things to know:
1. Do not break any of the rules posted in the opening post (OP). Some basic ones are no screenshots, no hacking accounts (we have some really creative people on here), no vote-changing, etc.
2. Do not break any rules in your role PM.
3. Do not look for loopholes. It is impossible for a host to see every possible scenario. Go by the spirit of the law, not the letter. One of the best games on HSD was ended early because of loophole hunting.
4. If you’re dead, don’t PM anyone about the game. It’s hard, I know (I die a lot), but just don’t do it.
5. There is a “black list” that is passed from host to host of known cheaters, suspected cheaters, and accused cheaters. Hosts may do with that information as they choose.
6. Each game on here represents hours of work, brainstorming, and energy. My game was literally five months in the making and consisted of about 10 pages of text in Microsoft Word. If you cheat, you are essentially making all that work for naught.
7. If you join a game, you are expected to finish the game. Each game is carefully balanced to give each side a chance to win. If even one player doesn’t participate, that balance is thrown off.
8. If you aren’t sure something is legal, PM the current host. Please don’t PM the permanent pseudo-mods (unless we’re hosting), for a few reasons:
a) We’re probably in the game, and that would put us in a tough spot.
b) We don’t know the overall setup, so we can’t really answer your question.
c) You could accidentally give away information better kept secret, especially if we’re on opposite sides.
Just a note on ethics:
Mafia is a game built around deception, lies, and cunning. Thus, it is generally accepted that such commandments as “Thou shall not lie” do not apply. It is understood everyone may be lying, so it’s not an issue. It is common practice to lie about your role in order to stay alive or gain an advantage.

Sometimes there is a “contract” made between two people before role information is shared. Usually, these contracts include no night kill (you can’t kill the other person if you have a kill power), no first vote (you can’t cast the first vote against the other person), and no share (you can’t tell your allies who the other person is) basis. It is considered unethical to break these contracts. While it is understood lying will take place, that does not excuse breaking your word. Even if you really want the other person dead, you should not violate your contract to do so.


Mafia: The Basic Gameplan
At first, mafia can be really daunting, but if you keep some basic strategies in mind, it is much less intimidating (there’s nothing groundbreaking here, and I’m not telling my personal strategies) Of course, you will have to change your strategy from game to game, and you should use common sense. However, here's a list of general guidelines:
1. Make contracts. If you don’t have a night kill, it makes sense to make the contracts described above in order to protect yourself. If you find an evil person, then you’re safe from them (but not necessarily their allies).
2. Make allies. Find people you can trust and who are on your side.
3. Find protection. If you are a powerful player, your side will want to keep you alive. Find someone on your side with a protect power and have them protect you.
4. Network. Figure out as many people as possible, either through hearsay, direct contact, or deduction.
5. Make a spreadsheet. It’s much easier to remember player’s roles and powers if you make an Excel spreadsheet of it.
6. Coordinate efforts. This is especially important if you’re evil, since you’re outnumbered. Usually one person will emerge as a leader on your side. Trust him/her to make the best decisions.
7. Ask for role PMs. The best way to make sure someone is telling the truth is to get their role PM from them. When you get it, check the writing style (including grammar, capitalization, etc) against your own role PM and the host’s other posts.
8. Be wary. People will lie to you, use you, and backstab you, especially if you’re not on their side (for instance, a neutral that allies with the evil side). Expect it, and plan ahead.
9. If you don't want to PM people, you can use the "lie low" strategy to avoid being killed by either side. Of course, you'll eventually have to take sides and trust people, though.


Alright, I think that’s it. If anything is unclear, PM any of the permanent pseudo mods (GtC, revgirl, LocutusofBorg, and Sharkfin). We have all played a lot of mafia here on HSD and are glad to help out. If you have any questions about a specific game, PM the game host (check the “Look Here First” thread for the game schedule). If you have anything to add/correct, post down below and one of us will edit the post.

Good Luck!
-Locutus and the pseudo-mods

PS
Wouldn’t “Locutus and the Pseudo-Mods” be a sweet band name?

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Google it, we're the second link that pops up. We're pretty proud of that.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:43 pm 
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(rare moment of mod humility)
How on earth do you sticky a thread?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:47 pm 
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LocutusofBorg wrote:
6. There are a lot more kills made at night. The current record (without hidden mechanics), is six.

Teehee.


This was my game :)

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:50 pm 
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LocutusofBorg wrote:
(rare moment of mod humility)
How on earth do you sticky a thread?

Unfortunately, I don't think we were granted that power. Argh.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:53 pm 
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Sharkfin wrote:
LocutusofBorg wrote:
(rare moment of mod humility)
How on earth do you sticky a thread?

Unfortunately, I don't think we were granted that power. Argh.

That would explain the lack of a "sticky this thread" button...
Nathan, help please?

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Google it, we're the second link that pops up. We're pretty proud of that.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:05 pm 
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Okay, maybe a *little* more important than Caleb...
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Stickified. :D If you have the privileges, there is a drop down menu at the bottom of the page where you can lock the thread, etc.

Very good write up. Though, I'm not sure I agree with this:
Quote:
Sometimes there is a “contract” made between two people before role information is shared. Usually, these contracts include no night kill (you can’t kill the other person if you have a kill power), no first vote (you can’t cast the first vote against the other person), and no share (you can’t tell your allies who the other person is) basis. It is considered unethical to break these contracts. While it is understood lying will take place, that does not excuse breaking your word. Even if you really want the other person dead, you should not violate your contract to do so.


I recall one game (the one with the GGVB) where I probably PMed everyone. I got a lot of information that way.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:09 pm 
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nayrb wrote:
Stickified. :D If you have the privileges, there is a drop down menu at the bottom of the page where you can lock the thread, etc.

Very good write up. Though, I'm not sure I agree with this:
Quote:
Sometimes there is a “contract” made between two people before role information is shared. Usually, these contracts include no night kill (you can’t kill the other person if you have a kill power), no first vote (you can’t cast the first vote against the other person), and no share (you can’t tell your allies who the other person is) basis. It is considered unethical to break these contracts. While it is understood lying will take place, that does not excuse breaking your word. Even if you really want the other person dead, you should not violate your contract to do so.


I recall one game (the one with the GGVB) where I probably PMed everyone. I got a lot of information that way.

In the game mentioned above, I was the leader of the bad guys, and I got killed the second day for pming everyone. :( A note: This is where being able to lie well comes in handy (I told everyone I was bad, and found out alot, but died young). LIE people!!! It is the ONLY way to SURVIVE!!!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:11 pm 
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Okay, maybe a *little* more important than Caleb...
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PMing everyone works best when you are a good guy. Then you can legitimately say you are good. You are in a very tough spot when you are a bad guy. I try and tell the truth as much as I can, but throw in some falsehoods when I have to. Sometimes, you simply get stuck either way. People assume if you don't PM that you are evil, at times. So it helps to claim you are "neutral."

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:15 pm 
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nayrb wrote:
Stickified. :D If you have the privileges, there is a drop down menu at the bottom of the page where you can lock the thread, etc.

Very good write up. Though, I'm not sure I agree with this:
Quote:
Sometimes there is a “contract” made between two people before role information is shared. Usually, these contracts include no night kill (you can’t kill the other person if you have a kill power), no first vote (you can’t cast the first vote against the other person), and no share (you can’t tell your allies who the other person is) basis. It is considered unethical to break these contracts. While it is understood lying will take place, that does not excuse breaking your word. Even if you really want the other person dead, you should not violate your contract to do so.


I recall one game (the one with the GGVB) where I probably PMed everyone. I got a lot of information that way.

...and why don't you agree with it? It seems that if it's not unethical to break the contract then there's no reason to have one in the first place...

And as to my list of strategies about PMing, it's only a guideline. Of course you adapt from game to game.

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Google it, we're the second link that pops up. We're pretty proud of that.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:32 pm 
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LocutusofBorg wrote:
PS
Wouldn’t “Locutus and the Pseudo-Mods” be a sweet band name?


WAY. COOL.
Though I personally think Gandalf and the Pseudo-Mods would be a little bit cooler...
The four of us should definitely start a band.

As for PMing, don't let it fool you- There was only one person that I ever PM'd back in Leanne's and John's game, and I didn't get lynched until the final day.

If Nathan wasn't in it, I totally would have made it to the end. :P

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:09 pm 
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LocutusofBorg wrote:
lucky13 wrote:
revgirl wrote:
LocutusofBorg wrote:
PS
Wouldn’t “Locutus and the Pseudo-Mods” be a sweet band name?


WAY. COOL.
Though I personally think Gandalf and the Pseudo-Mods would be a little bit cooler...
The four of us should definitely start a band.

As for PMing, don't let it fool you- There was only one person that I ever PM'd back in Leanne's and John's game, and I didn't get lynched until the final day.

If Nathan wasn't in it, I totally would have made it to the end. :P
The only reason you survived that game was BECAUSE of Nathan ;) Had he not been drawing all the attention to himself, everyone would have suspected you, because when you don't send PM's, and people start to get lists of who everyone is, eventually, they see you aren't on the list! So they vote you off, but in that game, Nathan was your savior. ;)

Bingo

The life expectancy of a "lie low" strategy is about 3-4 days max. Then it looks like a giant red florescent (sp?) sign saying "I'm evil!"

I never even told Nathan who I was until the night before the last, thank you very much.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:14 pm 
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revgirl wrote:
LocutusofBorg wrote:
lucky13 wrote:
revgirl wrote:
LocutusofBorg wrote:
PS
Wouldn’t “Locutus and the Pseudo-Mods” be a sweet band name?


WAY. COOL.
Though I personally think Gandalf and the Pseudo-Mods would be a little bit cooler...
The four of us should definitely start a band.

As for PMing, don't let it fool you- There was only one person that I ever PM'd back in Leanne's and John's game, and I didn't get lynched until the final day.

If Nathan wasn't in it, I totally would have made it to the end. :P
The only reason you survived that game was BECAUSE of Nathan ;) Had he not been drawing all the attention to himself, everyone would have suspected you, because when you don't send PM's, and people start to get lists of who everyone is, eventually, they see you aren't on the list! So they vote you off, but in that game, Nathan was your savior. ;)

Bingo

The life expectancy of a "lie low" strategy is about 3-4 days max. Then it looks like a giant red florescent (sp?) sign saying "I'm evil!"

I never even told Nathan who I was until the night before the last, thank you very much.

Right, but he took all the attention away from you. Everyone was busy trying to figure out if he was telling the truth or not. Plus, I guess he figured he wanted you alive as a scapegoat or something. He probably could have gotten pretty much anyone killed he wanted to.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:32 pm 
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nayrb wrote:
Stickified. :D If you have the privileges, there is a drop down menu at the bottom of the page where you can lock the thread, etc.

Very good write up. Though, I'm not sure I agree with this:
Quote:
Sometimes there is a “contract” made between two people before role information is shared. Usually, these contracts include no night kill (you can’t kill the other person if you have a kill power), no first vote (you can’t cast the first vote against the other person), and no share (you can’t tell your allies who the other person is) basis. It is considered unethical to break these contracts. While it is understood lying will take place, that does not excuse breaking your word. Even if you really want the other person dead, you should not violate your contract to do so.


I recall one game (the one with the GGVB) where I probably PMed everyone. I got a lot of information that way.

Based on your responses (both of you), I think you're talking about two different things:
Locutus, you're talking about a "contract". You have to actually make a contract first.
Nayrb, you're talking about simple communication; I think you're assuming that the contract is implicit or assumed and not stated or agreed to.

If there is a contract made, it must be followed. (Did I get it right?)

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:34 pm 
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Wait, do you guys seriously not have sticky-ing powers? Not even in the drop-down menu?

~GtC

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We walk in faith and remember long ago
How they killed Him and then how on the third day He arose.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:35 pm 
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willmalson wrote:
nayrb wrote:
Stickified. :D If you have the privileges, there is a drop down menu at the bottom of the page where you can lock the thread, etc.

Very good write up. Though, I'm not sure I agree with this:
Quote:
Sometimes there is a “contract” made between two people before role information is shared. Usually, these contracts include no night kill (you can’t kill the other person if you have a kill power), no first vote (you can’t cast the first vote against the other person), and no share (you can’t tell your allies who the other person is) basis. It is considered unethical to break these contracts. While it is understood lying will take place, that does not excuse breaking your word. Even if you really want the other person dead, you should not violate your contract to do so.


I recall one game (the one with the GGVB) where I probably PMed everyone. I got a lot of information that way.

Based on your responses (both of you), I think you're talking about two different things:
Locutus, you're talking about a "contract". You have to actually make a contract first.
Nayrb, you're talking about simple communication; I think you're assuming that the contract is implicit or assumed and not stated or agreed to.

If there is a contract made, it must be followed. (Did I get it right?)


That's not so much a rule as a suggestion, though. You can't have any hard-and-fast rules about honesty in a game built around lies, otherwise every game would consist of all the good guys posting, "I give my word that I am a good guy!" And then the bad guys couldn't do the same because of the honesty rules.

There are no honesty rules in Mafia. But if you lie all the time, then nobody will believe you. That's just basic crying-wolf theory. ;-)

~GtC

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Their bullets can't stop the prayers we pray
In the name of the Prince of Peace
We walk in faith and remember long ago
How they killed Him and then how on the third day He arose.
-- Rich Mullins, 'While The Nations Rage'


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:05 pm 
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Gandalf_the_Crazed wrote:
Wait, do you guys seriously not have sticky-ing powers? Not even in the drop-down menu?

~GtC


Nope, we can't lock or sticky.
We're uber pseudo. ;_;

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:37 pm 
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revgirl wrote:
Gandalf_the_Crazed wrote:
Wait, do you guys seriously not have sticky-ing powers? Not even in the drop-down menu?

~GtC


Nope, we can't lock or sticky.
We're uber pseudo. ;_;


According to the mod lounge,

1) Josh might have fixed it.
2) Matt did fix it.

Either way, it has been fixed'ed.

~GtC

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Their bullets can't stop the prayers we pray
In the name of the Prince of Peace
We walk in faith and remember long ago
How they killed Him and then how on the third day He arose.
-- Rich Mullins, 'While The Nations Rage'


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:13 pm 
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Question that's not really pivotal, but I thought I'd ask it:

Why does everyone want the good side to win? I mean, srsly, why not say "I'm a bad guy, all bad guys contact me" and everyone try to be on that side (openly) instead of always trying to be good and be on the good side when you know you and about half-a-dozen others are on the bad side?

Just sayin. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:41 pm 
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GumboSoup wrote:
Question that's not really pivotal, but I thought I'd ask it:

Why does everyone want the good side to win? I mean, srsly, why not say "I'm a bad guy, all bad guys contact me" and everyone try to be on that side (openly) instead of always trying to be good and be on the good side when you know you and about half-a-dozen others are on the bad side?

Just sayin. ;)

Because most of the time the bad guys are out numbered by a somewhat wide margin.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:19 am 
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thatguy wrote:
GumboSoup wrote:
Question that's not really pivotal, but I thought I'd ask it:

Why does everyone want the good side to win? I mean, srsly, why not say "I'm a bad guy, all bad guys contact me" and everyone try to be on that side (openly) instead of always trying to be good and be on the good side when you know you and about half-a-dozen others are on the bad side?

Just sayin. ;)

Because most of the time the bad guys are out numbered by a somewhat wide margin.

but if everyone wanted to be bad, then they could all say "hey, I'm bad" and out smart the good guys....I mean srsly, peoples...

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