Playing as Agent
Broadly speaking, agents have three main objectives. Determining hackers, determining agents, and securing nodes.
The most valuable information for determining a player's identity are their votes, propositions, and use of hammer. As an agent, you want to use this information to create reasonable suspicion around players who you think are hackers. Once you create reasonable suspicion around one player, you can begin to determine the identities of the others.
Many players forget that as an agent you don't only have to determine who the hackers are, but also prove to your teammates that you are an agent. The easiest way to do this is to avoid suspicious behaviors (e.g. proposing disadvantages nodes, passing hammer, accepting out of node, etc).
As an agent you always want to include yourself in a node maintenance team, as any team that does not include you is more likely to be hacked. You must also pay close attention to who has been in hacked nodes and who has been in secured nodes. If there is a player that has been in multiple hacked nodes with different partners, you almost never want them in your proposal.
- Accepting Out of Node
- Proposing Disadvantages Nodes
- Accepting Disadvantages Nodes
- Making Fallacious Arguments
- Passing Hammer
As agent you want to recognize suspicious behaviors to determine hackers, while avoiding them yourself to prove you're an agent.
Playing as Hacker
In general, hackers have three main objectives: Proving innocence, subverting agents, and hacking nodes.
The best way to prove your innocence is to act like an agent trying to prove themselves to their teammates. Avoid suspicious behaviors, and you will quickly gain the trust of the other players.
The hardest part of playing hacker is subverting the agents while keeping your innocence. Most of the time however, you won't need to pass hammer to your hacker buddy, or propose a disadvantages node to win the game. All you have to do is create reasonable doubt surrounding the agents decisions. Keep an eye out for agents who exhibit suspicious behaviors and question them on it. If they fail to give an adequate answer, you can often convince the other players not to put them in their proposals.
Ideally, you never want to be in more than one hacked node. While this is achievable in seven to eight player games, it is impossible in five or six player games. A common strategy is for one hacker to hack the first two, and for the other to hack the third. If the group becomes suspicious of one hacker, the other can hack the node.
Another strategy for hacking nodes is for the hackers to include each other in their proposals. If you're not careful this can lead to a double hack, which you mostly want to avoid as hacker. Fortunately there is a widely accepted method of determining who hacks in a node with two hackers. This is protocol.
- The player who proposed the node hacks the node.
- If an agent proposes the node, the last player who hacked hacks the node.
- If an agent proposes the node and no one has hacked yet, the first player in the proposal order hacks the node.
As hacker, you want to avoid suspicious behaviors to prove yourself as agent, while subverting the agents decisions by creating reasonable doubt and hacking nodes.
Tips, Tricks, and Common Mistakes
Mindnight can often feel like it has a steep learning curve, this is because there are many mistakes new players make that can jeopardize their game.
Avoid chatting unless you are convinced that if you don't say something you will lose the game. There are lots of ways to slip up as agent or hacker when trying to explain yourself, so don't bother.
Don't accuse players without good reason. No one will believe you if you think someone is a hacker because they 'are talking funny'.
Often times players will excuse suspicious behaviors with ridiculous arguments. Such as 'I'm just trying to speed things up' or 'I don't really care anyway'. These do not excuse suspicious behavior, please don't try to reason with insanity, it will not serve you.
Mostly, chatting won't benefit you. Insulting people however, is an easy way to lose or get yourself banned. Keep any discussion you have friendly and respectful, don't be afraid to challenge someone's argument, but don't be rude either.
Sometimes players will propose disadvantages nodes under the guise of testing for a hacker. Usually, this is not a valid excuse, as there are few situations where it benefits the agents to have a hacker in the node. Only once you've confirmed enough agents and hackers that the last hacker can be determined through a test is this strategy valid. Otherwise, call players out on it.
It's easy to get swept up in accusations and insensible strategies. Avoid these, think rationally, and you'll drastically increase your odds of winning.