The last several times I played Avalon, the Merlin kept getting assassinated. Even adding Percival didn’t help. I knew there had to be a way to counteract this, so I began searching online for a remedy. Lo and behold, I found this discussion: http://boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/14806/merlin-always-gets-stabbed
The main thing to keep in mind is that usually the other people make it super obvious that they’re not the Merlin. One trick to confuse evil is to be act super sure as a good person, even when you’re making guesses. Hopefully multiple people will be right, or the wrong ones will be seen by evil as Merlin attempting to throw them off. The other thing is that the game can be won even when Merlin does nothing, so Merlin doesn’t have to do a great job hinting and signaling to everyone.
The next two games didn’t see the Merlin assassinated. I think the advice helped.
On a semi-related note, we played Werewolf on Halloween. I’m not as big a fan of the game because there’s a lot more guess-work and a lot less deception. However, we played with a candle in front of every person. During the night, the moderator would blow out a candle. You’d awaken in slightly dimmer light, one candle extinguished representing the dead person. The atmosphere made the game way more fun. I really, really want to play with the Ghost role, where the Ghost communicates via Ouija board.
As a group, I feel like we sometimes get too stuck on a “right” way to play, when the game requires dynamic strategies to keep people guessing and to keep the game fresh.