What the Heck is Mafia?

Mafia is a forum game of strategy, deduction, persuasion, clever traps, nerve and deception. Every game is unique and playing it with those who play diplomacy as well makes it all the more challenging and interesting. We have a unique mafia community on the site and we're always looking for fresh blood.

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What the Heck is Mafia?

Postby Crunkus » 06 Feb 2013, 00:16

Mafia can be played face to face, in real-time online, or as it is most commonly played here, in a forum setting. Mafia typically needs to be run by a GM who coordinates the details of the game. It goes by a variety of names. It seems to have begun in Russia as a party game sometime in the 80's. Numerous variations on the basic game mechanics can be played. It's played on numerous websites and gaming communities. It involves engaged communication, critical thinking, deceit, and reading what lies behind the words of others.

Almost everything can be modified, which is why it is very important to carefully read the individual rules of the game you are playing and ask your GM questions about them before you begin playing whenever possible. If you are GMing it is very important to be explicit in your rules.

  • There are generally two teams (or factions), generally known as the town and the mafia.
  • The town have superior numbers (often by a factor of at least 2 town for every 1 mafia at the start of the game) but do not know the loyalties of anyone else in the game other than themselves.
  • The mafia has superior information, but fewer numbers. They generally know who each other are, and can often communicate with each other privately.
  • The town wins, generally speaking, when all the mafia have been eliminated from the game.
  • The mafia win, generally speaking, when their numbers are equal to or greater than the number of town remaining in the game.
  • Many games also assign roles to players. These roles will often feature special abilities and detail how they can be used. See the glossary for details. Sometimes the roles in the game will be public knowledge in the rules. Sometimes they will not be public knowledge. Your role is usually, but not always private information at the beginning of the game. Deciding when and how to reveal information about yourself (or lying about it) is often an important part of the game. Roles can be team specific (certain roles will only be held by one team or another), or team-independent (any team can in theory possess any combination of roles)...depending on the rules of the game.
  • Play proceeds in two phases, day and night. Play begins typically with the first day phase, but this is not universal. If play begins with a proper night phase (night #1) the rules of your game should specify this.
  • Each day the entire playing group interacts by posting to a game thread and collectively decide by some kind of vote to "lynch" one player in the game. Votes are generally performed publicly and in thread, though the details vary from game to game. That player is removed and it is usually revealed whether they were town or mafia after being removed from the game.
  • Each night discussion in thread generally ends, and the mafia generally decide upon one player to eliminate from the game through a "night kill" or "assassination".
  • Night phases often features role-related orders submitted via private message to the GM. If you're not sure what to do during a night phase and your GM hasn't messaged you...message you GM and ask them what your options are during this night phase if any. Most GM's will prompt you if you need to submit orders. Check your game's rules for details.
  • Night Zero is generally a period before the beginning of the first day when the mafia often have communication privileges with each other. It does not typically feature a night kill or role orders and the rules of your game should specify if they do. It's a great time to ask your GM lots of good questions.
  • Players often spend the day trying to figure out (or at least appearing to figure out) why other people do the things they do or say the things they say. A good starting point is to remember that the mafia by and large communicate with each other and already know the actual alignment of everyone in the game. Even if they are trying actively to appear as a town member, it is often easy to let slip something called a scum tell that suggests they aren't really trying to figure out who is scum and who isn't, because of course, they already know. It's also easy to think someone has offered a scum tell when they haven't. It's about engaging with the other players, and trying to work out what makes them act and vote like they do. In the end, seeing who votes for who, when, and how is often an important source of information...but context is everything.

There are many sources of good information about the game.


Feel free to use this thread to ask general questions about the game and this sub-forum. Someone from the community will undoubtedly be along soon to answer your question.

By the way, welcome to the sub-forum. We're always looking for new players. They are cherished and they make the games richer. Please don't hesitate, join a game and give it a shot. If you're ready to read the game thread actively and participate in the game you signed up for...we want you in the game.
Last edited by Crunkus on 09 Feb 2013, 03:50, edited 12 times in total.
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Re: What the Heck is Mafia?

Postby joelsdaman1 » 06 Feb 2013, 00:52

Question, not about the game, but the subforum.

How do we sign up for a game? I'm a tad confused about that.
How is an atomic wedgie different from a regular wedgie?

Let's find out.
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Re: What the Heck is Mafia?

Postby presser84 » 06 Feb 2013, 01:17

joelsdaman1 wrote:Question, not about the game, but the subforum.

How do we sign up for a game? I'm a tad confused about that.


Go to the Pending Games forum and look for games that 1) interest you and 2) are looking for interested players. Post in that thread that you are interested. The GM will PM you when the game is looking to start (there is a queue) to confirm you are still interest in participating and when the game begins.

You can also look at the Games in Development and post interest there but since the games are not yet queued there may be some time until they are played, if at all.
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Re: What the Heck is Mafia?

Postby starshooter7324 » 09 Feb 2013, 00:24

I think just this simple post makes Mafia x10 more nooby-friendly. :D
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Re: What the Heck is Mafia?

Postby joelsdaman1 » 13 Feb 2013, 04:16

How does one go about making their own Mafia game?
How is an atomic wedgie different from a regular wedgie?

Let's find out.
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Re: What the Heck is Mafia?

Postby Crunkus » 13 Feb 2013, 04:18

joelsdaman1 wrote:How does one go about making their own Mafia game?


Try reading this document.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me privately. I try to help when I can.
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Re: What the Heck is Mafia?

Postby presser84 » 13 Feb 2013, 04:19

joelsdaman1 wrote:How does one go about making their own Mafia game?


This might help you get started...
viewtopic.php?f=434&t=26182

then post your more flushed out idea here
viewforum.php?f=434
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