WIFOM is short for Wine In Front Of Me.
WIFOM can refer to either:
- a play characterized by an infinite regress of reverse psychology. This means it could be reverse psychology, or reverse reverse psychology, or reverse reverse reverse psychology, etc. In the game of mafia, a play can be a statement made in chat, or it can be a vote made during any meeting.
- the infinite regress of reverse psychology itself; in other words, the thought process which is either a cause or an effect of such a play.
1: In a setup with a fool, a person claims mafia. He could really be mafia. However, he could be a fool, pretending to be mafia so as to get lynched. He could also be mafia, pretending to be fool so people will say "He's probably fool pretending to be mafia".
2: A mafia fakeclaims cop, and as part of her fakeclaim she releases a fake report saying that another player is sided with the village. Later on, she is found to be mafia and lynched, but her mafia partner is still alive. The player she reported on could be mafia, and the fake report was intended to make him look less suspicious in the eyes of the town. However, he could actually be a villager, and, anticipating that she might get lynched, the report was actually intended to make him look like mafia in the eyes of the town to ensure he is lynched and the mafia wins. Or it could be that he's mafia, and she anticipated she might get lynched, she wanted to town to think that the report was intended to make him look like mafia in the eyes of the town so they would lynch him, so the town avoids lynching him and mafia wins.
3: A doctor is about to vote in her night meeting. Since the only clear at the moment is a cop, it could be that the mafia expect the doctor to protect the cop, and as a result the best play for the doctor is to protect anyone but the cop. However, it could be that the mafia expect the doctor to protect anyone but the cop, and as a result the doctor will likely lose the game for the town unless she protects the cop. Or it could be that the mafia expect her to protect the cop out of fear of losing the game when the mafia shoot him, therefore they shoot someone else, and as a result the best play is to protect anyone but the cop.
4: A fully clear cop says they have a guilty report on a mafia. It could be a real guilty report from a clear, and fighting it is futile. However, it could be a fake report meant as a reaction test, and the quality of the mafia's reaction could be vital in determining whether the clear determines guilt or innocence. However, it could be a real report, and the cop, anticipating the mafia thinking it might be a fake report, is looking carefully for reactions from the guilty's possible mafia partners, and therefore it would be best for the guilty to fight it as little as possible.
5: A player says and votes in ways that seem to consistently benefit the town during the first couple days of the game. Later in the game, at 3-player LYLO, he votes for you, who happen to be a blue. The other player defends you. It could be that he really is town, and he's just mistaken on his hunch that you are mafia. However, it could be that he is mafia, and was doing his best earlier in the game to appear as town so that he could convince the town to lynch you at LYLO. Or it could be that he is town, and she wants you to think that he is mafia and was just trying to appear protown earlier in the game, because she is mafia and wants you to give her the hammer, and your only hope is to turn on her, despite her defending you, and convince the other player to vote for her.
Pervasiveness and Skill
As Example #5 shows, WIFOM is a pervasive element of the game of Mafia. In fact, virtually every play by scum during the day has some element of WIFOM to it, because of the requirement that they blend in with the rest of the village during the day. Bussing is an example of a play that mafia often make, even though it helps the town in the short-term, as WIFOM to obscure whether they are scum or village.
Even among the village, opportunities for WIFOM abound. Doctors, bodyguards, and watchers also wish to blend in with the rest of the village and may use WIFOM to avoid getting shot, or they might even try to deliberately appear scummy so that mafia keep them alive and hope the town turns on them. Bombs, oracles, and sometimes even ordinary villagers may wish to come off as doctors, bodyguards, or watchers so that they might get shot (instead of more important PRs).
Even a cop choosing who to investigate at night can have elements of WIFOM. A certain player may be the best target for an investigation if he lives through the night, but the mafia may anticipate this and choose to kill him the same night, making the report useless. Or the mafia may figure that he won't be investigated because the cop fears he will be killed, and the mafia may choose to kill someone else instead. And so on.
WIFOM is virtually everywhere in Mafia; therefore, the better is player is at WIFOM, the better that player is at Mafia. Expert Mafia play is about using WIFOM continuously to make oneself unpredictable and unreadable, being able to determine the roles of and predict the choices of other players, and manipulating the actions of the other players subtly yet efficiently to ensure your victory.
Although WIFOM is a powerful tool for making fooling the opposition into making choices that benefit you, it is possible to overuse it.
For example, let's say the doctor tries to come off as deliberately scummy by voting for a villager who is virtually (but not quite) clear. Although it might prevent mafia from shooting the doctor, these actions could also lead the town to turn against the doctor and attempt to lynch him, virtually forcing him to claim aloud and ensuring that he is shot the next night.
Mafia can overuse WIFOM too. For example, let's say a janitor cleans up the tracker in Setup163 and then buses not one but both of her mafia partners in order to gain credibility with the village. On the last day, she fakes a guilty report on a blue, who predictably says she is fake. Although the double bus may make the so-called tracker look better, at the end of the day the janitor and the fake guilty cross votes, and it all comes down to a single vote by the last villager to determine if the mafia wins or loses. If he chooses correctly, the mafia lose everything because the janitor put all of her eggs in one basket.
Although WIFOM is an important part of Mafia, almost all WIFOM plays involve a deviation from the most direct strategy for victory. A slight deviation from the most direct strategy can be good because it keeps your opposition on its toes and, if you're successful, caught unawares. However, deviate too far from the most direct strategy and you'll find yourself helping your opponents more than you help yourself.
The term comes from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sPVEBAtwmg in The Princess Bride in which the character Vizzini (played by Wallace Shawn) is given a goblet of wine by a masked man (played by Cary Elwes), who also gives himself a goblet. The masked man claims that one contains poison and the other doesn't. Vizzini is now in a dilemma — which goblet contains poison, the one that's closer to him or that one that is farther? From this point, he starts waging a "psychology war" with himself. After thinking out loud about it for quite some time, the masked man says that Vizzini won't get any tells out of him. Vizzini finally chooses a goblet, they both drink, then Vizzini falls over dead.
Ironically, the masked man's game may have inspired WIFOM thinking in Vizzini, but it was not a WIFOM play. The masked man had poisoned both goblets, as he had developed an immunity to the poison.
|LYLO, MYLO, WIFOM, Bus, Bandwagon|
|Counter-claim, Fillering/Filler, Claim, Meta, WIFOM, Sheep, Fakeclaim, Joint|