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4 Things Learned After 400 Hours of Town of Salem

For this installment of Flashback Fridays, contributor DC shares a couple of things that she learned while playing Town of Salem. The original version of this post can be found on her blog.

While I’ve always had a fascination with words, using them to spin tales of deception has never been part of my agenda. That is, until I started playing Town of Salem.

And I don’t mean just one instance either. I mean spending 400 glorious hours of manipulating words in order to get myself killed (on purpose) or to convince the other 14 people I’m playing with that I’m actually NOT out to kill them.

It has been a pretty interesting journey for me, trekking through those stories and figuring out the truth behind all the lies. I am, by no means, the best player out there. Nevertheless, I have learned a few things in my 400-hour Town of Salem game mark that have helped me emerge victorious several times. Here are 4 of them.

The Fine Art of Deception

Town of Salem (TOS) finds its origins in the party game Mafia, the StarCraft II Mafia mod, and the card game Werewolf. All these games are about getting a role and using that role’s abilities to make your team win. As you never quite know who’s who (unless you’re part of the Mafia or in the coven of vampires), it becomes the ultimate guessing game in finding out who to kill and who to save.

When I started out, I had no idea at all what I was getting into. My little sister just told me to join her in the game then quickly gave me some tips… But I was hopelessly lost on what I had to do.

Why was that guy saying I’m part of the Mafia when I’m not? Why do I always get killed on the first night? That guy asked for my role, and now he’s trying to get me lynched! What?

Town of Salem Day 1
And why do people say the weirdest things on Day 1?

The more I played TOS, the more I discovered the undeniably simple truth: 100% of the players I’m with are lying. If I wanted to actually win, I needed to get with the program and start lying, too. And that’s just what I did.

I listened to others as they spun their tales, and tried to emulate their techniques. I wasn’t always successful with my stories, but I’d like to think that I can lie a tad more convincingly now, as compared to when I first started. Undeniably, that’s just part of the game. Love it or hate it, you are going to have to use some form of deception in order to carry out your role, whether you’re a Mafia man or a Townie.

If you want to win the game for you and your team, you’re going to need to get creative and manipulate some facts, pronto. Just remember to do it with finesse and style.

Mayor acquitted by Town
Plus you can get achievements for some cool, deceptive shindigs too, like one of my proudest achievements to date: being acquitted without revealing to the Town as Mayor!

Knowledge is Power

One of the most powerful things you can have in this game isn’t exactly a Serial Killer’s knife or a Werewolf’s rampage. It’s actually the capability of using your wits to bend the truth and survive long enough to win.

That being said, yes, knowledge is power. Mix this knowledge with the fine art of deception, and you’ve got a powerful combination. Based on my 400-hour gameplay, I firmly believe that there are two kinds of knowledge necessary to my victories.

The first one lies in having in-depth knowledge of class roles and responsibilities. I say in-depth, because to properly play out a role in Town of Salem requires more than just the information in the little text box on the right-hand side of the screen.

Knowing what the other roles can do will not only help you do your role better (after all, that little box doesn’t tell you how to jail people as Jailor or how to do a seance as a Medium). It will also help you figure out which player has which role, especially if you’re playing in Classic mode.

I am second Jailor
Pro-tip: Unless you really want to get executed, don’t claim to be the second Jailor when you’re jailed, ffs.

One way to improve your knowledge in this department is to read through the TOS Wikia. The wikia will tell you about the “hidden” things you can do for a class. For example, I’m surprised that many people don’t know that you could clean gas off yourself as an Arsonist. More importantly, it also has lots of helpful tips and pointers you can use to improve your gameplay, no matter what role you get.

For the other kind of knowledge…

Hi! I'm Camille. When I'm not micromanaging my cities or traversing dungeons, I bake cookies and write things. I play too much Team Fortress 2 & Town of Salem and I am secretly in love with John Galt. Check out more of my writings at or tweet me at @geekyDC.

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