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Troll: The Provoking



The Purpose Of The Game

The purpose of the game is to cause the creation on the target venue of threads that swiftly grow to include a large number of posts. This is generally done by provoking what is known as a "flame war", since these kinds of arguments are the only way to generate the huge post totals that are required to win a game of Troll.

These threads are then scored by the TrollMaster, using a system described below. Players score points for threads which are designated as "scoring threads" for them. The player with the highest total is declared the winner.


If a player creates a thread on the target venue using his primary account, that thread is designated as a "scoring thread" for him. It is advisable when creating a scoring thread to email the TrollMaster, to ensure that he does not overlook it.

Starting a scoring thread in this manner costs the player 50 points. Any additional posts made to the thread by that player, using either primary or shadow accounts, costs a further 5 points. However, every other post made to the thread by any other person (either another player, or by a non-player) scores 1 point.

Therefore, a thread created in this way needs to get at least 50 posts beyond the initial post before it starts to give a positive score.

If a new thread is started by someone else (typically a non-player), but is clearly (in the opinion of the TrollMaster) related to, and inspired by, either an existing scoring thread allocated to one of the players, or to the actions of a player - then that thread will also be declared to be a scoring thread for the player concerned. In addition, the player scores a 20 point bonus for the creation of this thread. (You also score the one point for the first post to the thread).

Note:- The 5 point penalty applies to any post made by a player to one of his scoring threads. So this penalty still applies to scoring threads which they player did not start.

Tip:- When a thread is started by a non-player (or theoretically by a player using a shadow account) and is clearly inspired by either one of your threads or by you yourself, it is a *very* good idea to email the TrollMaster to let him know (and humbly suggest that it be designated as a scoring thread to you).


Jim, using his primary account "seamus", creates a thread entitled: "faggot europaens should SHOVE thier metric system up their ASSES!!!!!!". This thread swiftly grows to 85 posts, including an additional 3 posts from Jim on his shadow account "brit_boy" asking why "fucking yanks can't use a decent system" and 1 by one of his fellow players (using a shadow account) saying "who cares, this thread is getting boring, lets stop."

At this point, an outraged non-player starts a thread with a title of: "Does it matter which measuring system we use?". The initial starting post in this thread makes clear references to the thread created by Jim. This thread grows to 35 posts in length, helped by one from Jim saying "yes it does, you euro twat!!!!!".

Finally, someone starts a thread saying: "Can the moderators please ban seamus?". This grows to 7 posts.

At this point Jim's score is 92 points. This breaks down as:

Creation of initial thread: -50 points
Additional self posts to thread: -15 points (3 posts)
Other posts to thread: +81

Bonus for inspiring second thread: +20
Self posts to second thread: -5 (1 post)
Other posts to thread: +34

Bonus for inspiring third thread: +20
Self posts to second thread: 0 (0 posts)
Other posts to thread: +7

There are also some other ways to score.

If an existing member of the target venue announces that they are "leaving", and directly links the decision to leave to your actions, you score a bonus of 20 points. (And if they choose to create a new thread to announce that they are leaving, then you of course score an additional 20 points for that thread).

In addition, if the person "leaving" is a published gaming designer or writer, then the leaving bonus is increased from +20 to +50.

Summary of Scoring:

Starting scoring thread: -50
Additional own posts to scoring thread: -5 per post
Other posts to scoring thread: +1 per post
Other person starting "inspired" thread: +20
Inspiring person to "leave": +20
Inspiring designer to "leave": +50

Moderator Actions

Most venues will have moderators, whose primary duties are to protect their venues from the disruptive effects of a game of Troll being played. Many Troll players dislike moderators because of this. In fact, this is a very short-sighted view, since the presence and actions of moderators add greatly to the subtlety and strategy required to play Troll.

There are three typical actions which moderators can perform that affect a game of Troll. These are:

a) Banning accounts.

b) Deleting threads. (Often, they actually move the thread to their own private moderators forum, for use either as a training device, or just something to read and laugh at).

c) Deleting posts from an individual thread. (This is not used on some forums).

The rules for handling this are as follows:

If an account is banned, then it simply means that this account cannot be used anymore. However, the player is still in the game. Thus, if all three of a players accounts are banned, then the player can no longer do anything to influence the game. However, scoring threads started by that player are still scored at the end of the game. (Conceivably, if people start threads to discuss the banning, the player can continue to gain additional scoring threads after being banned).

If a thread is deleted, then that thread no-longer counts as a scoring thread. Unless the thread was "snapshotted" (see below) that entire score is lost.

The same situation applies where individual posts are deleted. Unless previously snapshotted, these posts are lost.

When Results Are Calculated

In a short game of Troll, taking perhaps a few hours, then all scores can be calculated by the TrollMaster at the end of the game. (The TrollMaster should look at the timestamps of posts to ensure that posts added to a thread after the close of play are not counted).

However, in a longer game (say 5 days) there can be a problem with threads being removed before the end of the game. In this case, it might be determined (before starting the game) that the TrollMaster will snapshot scores at preset times (such as 8pm each day). When scores are snapshotted, the TrollMaster works out the scores up to that point. The next time that he works out scores (either the next snapshot or the end of the game) he only scores posts made since the last snapshotting.

Snapshotting ensures that when a long-running thread is deleted, not all the scores built up are lost. When a long running game, especially when played in a moderation-heavy environment, is not snapshotted, it can cause the game to be played in an over-cautious fashion. In the worse-case scenario the game can effectively shut down with a couple of days still to go, because everyone is scared of losing their scores.