I’ve identified four categories in which to classify games/game mechanics.
Category A is for features which may be controversial, but which are not bastardry in their own right. These may be freely used in non-bastard games without warning (n.b. this does not mean that it is necessarily a good idea not to warn players about them, just that you don’t have to).
Category B is for low-level bastardry. Loosely defined, this category is for features which do not interfere too much with the core concept of mafia games, but which are nonetheless controversial enough that players should be warned about them. Any game that deploys one of these features should warn players that the game contains low-level bastardry, or that a specific low-level bastard feature may be present.
Category C is for high-level bastardry. Loosely defined, this category is for features that represent a significant deviation from what most people would consider acceptable game design. Any game that deploys one of these features should warn players that the game contains high-level bastardry, or that a specific high-level bastard feature may be present.
Category D is for extreme-level bastardry. This is essentially any game feature which renders the game unplayable from a ‘serious’ perspective, with the game being played solely for comedy purposes. A game in this category must warn people that it is an extreme bastard game.
On the basis of the above definitions, I would like to propose the following categorisations:
Category A (Non-Bastard)
- Non-sane roles e.g. Insane Cop, Paranoid Doctor
Hidden passive role abilities e.g. an uninformed Miller
Hidden bonus win conditions
Unhelpful roles e.g. Beloved Princess, Suicidal roles
Time Traveller roles
Cults and other recruitment roles
Temporarily hidden win conditions
Lie detecting roles
Useless roles e.g. a Nurse without a Doctor
Oracle/inventor roles, if used with care
Emergency rule/setup changes (avoid if at all possible)
Category B (Low-Level Bastardry)
- False setup info
Misleading mod statements
Hidden active role abilities e.g. if a Cop was not told that they could investigate people
False win/loss conditions
Hidden win/loss conditions
Death Millers/ false role reveals
Category C (High-Level Bastardry)
- Spoiler-reading roles
Deliberately/negligently unbalanced games
Roles in which it is impossible to win as
Roles in which the ‘win’ is determined by the mod e.g. mod’s bastard child
Mid-game rule changes
Mid-game setup changes
Category D (Extreme Bastardry)
- Games determined largely or solely by mod intervention
Games with constant setup/rule changes
Naturally, the list can never be a complete one, but it should help give an indication of what is and isn’t bastard.
So what do people think? Is there anything that I’ve missed that should be up there? Or for that matter is there anything that you think I’ve categorised wrong? Once we've got something close to consensus, we should have a good guide to go by.