This guide is about my strategy for advanced agents players, that often leads to a win, especially against less experienced players.
The Idea Behind This Strategy
As you probably know, nodes can be secured or get hacked by one, two or three hackers at the same time. Agents will see how many hackers hacked the node, which is why hackers should never want to see "2 hackers detected" or "3 hackers detected", as it gives a huge information to agents.
To avoid double hacks, a protocol exists, saying what hackers should do if they are two or three in a same node:
- Rule 1: If the person who proposed the node is a hacker, he has the decision of a hack or a secure. Every other hackers in the node should secure.
- Rule 2: If the person who proposed the node is an agent, hackers repeat what they've done in the previous nodes.
- Rule 3: Well... Don't use this rule. For two reasons.
1 - Developers don't want you to use or spread this rule. I don't actually know it, and that's a good thing. Hackers already win more often than agents.
2 - Many people don't know this rule, or have a different version than yours. Using it thinking your hacker buddy knows it is risky.
This strategy is based on this fact that hackers should struggle with the 3rd rule. We will try to force hackers to be together in a node where the first two rules don't apply, forcing them to mess up.
Yes, sometimes you only play with level 30 players, so they might know the 3rd rule, which is why it is better to use it when you see several NTF Agent skins in your game.
The First Node
You're agent. Your goal on the first node is to get the maximal odds for the strategy to work on the 2nd node. Here is how you can do it:
- Try to be in the first node. Accept whenever someone puts you in his prop. This is the most important thing.
- If you're proposing, put yourself with the person that looks the most like an agent to you.
The Second Node
This node is the most important. You managed to get in the first node and it got secured? Congratulations! The Plimpton strategy can continue.
Let's say you are player A. You went in the first node with B. The other players are C, D, E. (We will assume you're playing in a game of 5 players, which is the most common).
- Your prop will be... C, D, E. Yes. I know, you're not putting yourself in your node. Here is the reason: if the two hackers are in this node, they won't be able to use the first rule of the protocol (because you are the one who proposes!) nor the second rule (because the first node was A, B).
- Try to convince everyone to accept your proposition, or try to get the hammer.
- If, let's say, C, agrees with your strategy and proposed C, D, E, tell everyone to refuse. Because if C is hacker, he will be able to use the 1st rule of the protocol.
Three possible outcomes:
1 - Node secured: Great! You've most likely caught the two hackers. They didn't know who should hack and who should secure. B is highly possibly agent, so convince everyone to do n1 again on n3, and you get 3 secured nodes.
C, D and E will probably say you could also be a hacker with B. Just tell them that if this n3 is hacked, you will propose n2 again on the node 4.
It is even better if the node A, B is proposed by C, D or E, because they could see a double hack on node 3, to their point of view.
2 - One hacker detected: Well... This is unlucky. Two possibilities here: there was only one hacker in this node (which means B is hacker), or there were 2 hackers, but they were lucky.
No, this was not a wasted node. How many times did you see a single hack on node 2 in regular games? Pretty much all the time, because if the one who proposes the node 2 is agent, he only has 1/6 chance to get the two agents right. Just continue the game like a normal game.
3 - Two hackers detected: If this happens, you win 66% of the time. Maybe even more. Just re-propose node 1 on node 3, as A and B are confirmed agents for everyone, then try to guess between C, D and E. You have two tries, so you win 66% of the time.
You can actually try to guess who are the two hackers, because they will often be those who try to convince you not to use this strategy, like "A sus, you're not putting yourself in your node!!! This strategy is so stupid, why wouldn't you put yourself??? What if there is only one hacker in your node??"
How Often Does It Work?
Let's talk about probabilities. I will assume that nobody knows the 3rd rule of the protocol for now. I will take this into consideration at the end.
You're agent. The odds for C, D, E to contain 2 hackers is equal to the odds for B to be agent, which is 50%. (it's actually a little bit higher than 50%, bacause B secured n1. Some hackers hack n1, yes.)
- If B is hacker, then node 2 is always single-hacked.
- Otherwise, if B is agent.
Let's say the two hackers, C and E, chose randomly between "secure" and "hack" on node 2.
- If they both secure (25% of the time): you win 100% of the time.
- If they manage to get a single hack (50% of the time): the game continues like a normal game. But in that case, keep in mind that B is hacker 66% of the time, which means this node was not as useless as you would think.
- If they both hack (25% of the time): you win 66% of the time.
Let us assume that "normal" games are won 50% of the time by agents, according to statistics (games containing a secured n1 and a single-hacked n2).
That gives us a global probability of 7/12 = 58.3333% to win a game with this strategy. Quite better than the original 50%.
Yes, you may know how to counter this strategy, and some players may know the 3rd rule of the protocol. But it's largely compensated by all the infos you get from the chat and the votes. Once again, only use this strategy when new players are in the game.
If You Are Hacker, Here is How to Play
An agent uses this strategy in your game? Here are three ways to make him fail on node 2:
- Be lucky.
- Use the 3rd protocol (not recommended).
- If you're alone in node 2, just secure.
N1 and N2 will be secured, but N3 and N4 will necessarily be both hacked. Agents will realize that the second node had a hacker, and they will just play a guessing game.