The Mafia Party Game is a fun game involving deception and strategy! The goal for the innocent townspeople to successfully identify the mafia, while the goal for the mafia is to secretly “murder” the townspeople. This game works best indoors with a group of about 8-10 people.
Setup for the Mafia Game
One person needs to be the moderator of the game, to oversee all the activities and narrate the events that occur in the game. This game requires a way to determine who is a “mafia” person and who is an innocent “townsperson.” Typically, there are two people who are “mafia,” and two people are “police,” while the rest of the players are normal townspeople. In this case, the easiest way to assign roles is to use a standard deck of cards and use two Ace cards to indicate who the mafia are and use two King cards to indicate to the “police” are. Use other cards to indicate that a person is not a mafia person. Deal one card to each player and do not let anyone reveal their identity.
Playing the Mafia Game
The goal of the mafia is to “murder” (eliminate) the entire town, one person at a time, secretly during the night. The goal of the police is to identify the mafia and to get the town to vote to kill the mafia during the daytime. The goal of the townspeople is to also eliminate the mafia.
1. Identity Discovery and First Murder
Once everyone receives their identity (mafia or townsperson), the moderator asks everyone to close their eyes. It is “nighttime.” The moderator asks the mafia to “wake up,” which means the people who received a mafia (Ace) card open their eyes and acknowledge each other. The moderator then asks the mafia to choose someone to “murder.” Both mafia agree on a person to “murder,” pointing to the person. The moderator then asks the mafia to go back to sleep. The moderator then asks the police to “wake up,” which means those who received police (King) cards open their eyes and acknowledge each other. They also go back to sleep. Finally, the moderator asks everyone to wake up, as it is “daytime.”
Once it is daytime, the moderator reveals the person who was “murdered.” This person, killed by the mafia during the nighttime, cannot talk and is out of the game. During the day, players can accuse other players for being a “mafia” person. If someone accuses another player, another person must “second” the accusation. If there is a person who seconds the accusation, then the accuser explains to the group why he or she thinks the person is mafia. If the group decides to take it to a vote, then everyone votes on whether or not to kill the accused person. If there is a majority vote, then the person is killed. The moderator asks everyone to go to sleep (to close their eyes), as it becomes nighttime.
Again, the process repeats in a similar fashion. The moderator asks mafia to wake up (only their eyes are opened) and choose a person to murder during the nighttime. Even if there is only one mafia left, the moderator should not give any clues about the number of mafia remaining. The mafia point to a living person and then go back to sleep. The moderator asks the police to wake up (only the police’s eyes are opened). The moderator asks the police to quietly point to one person that they suspect to be the mafia. If the police point to a mafia member correctly, the moderator nods his head. If the police point to someone who is not mafia, the moderator shakes his or head no. The moderator asks the police to go back to sleep (eyes closed), and then the moderator asks everyone to wake up (eyes open).
4. More accusations
The moderator reveals the latest murder, and this person is also eliminated (must remain silent the rest of the game). The accusation process repeats again, in which one person can accuse another person as being mafia, and if there is a second accuser, then the accused person must give a defense and then the entire town votes. If there is a majority, then that person is killed. Steps 3 and 4 repeat over and over until the ending condition is met (see next section).
The game ends when one of the following occurs:
- Mafia wins: At least one mafia is still alive, and everyone else is murdered or killed except one person.
- Townspeople win: All the mafia are eliminated, and the moderator announces that the town has won.
There are many variations to this game. For example, one person can secretly play as a “Medic,” which is an additional role that secretly gets to point to a person who is protected for the night. The medic can point to himself or herself as well. If the mafia point to the same person who is protected by the medic, no one is murdered that night and the moderator announces during the next daytime that “Nobody was murdered.”