Remember my mafia selfie from last year? Well, this month there was another mafia party with the same group. The perfect occasion for my monthly selfie! Now, if you’re confused about this mafia thing, let me explain what it’s all about.
Mafia: the rules
Mafia is a mind-twisting, manipulative, super cool party game. All you need is a regular set of cards and at least eight players. There are also retail versions of this game, and there’s a very similar game called Werewolf. Maybe you’ve heard of that one before. But for now, let’s focus on the card version of Mafia.
Each of the players gets a card. Aces if you get a card with a number on it, you’ll be a regular civilian. If your card is an ace however, you will try to murder all peasants as a member of the mafia. The number of players determines how mania mafiosi the game will have. In our situation we had twelve players, of which four were the mafia.
The game should be lead by a game master, or narrator. The narrator knows everything and will make sure the game runs smoothly. Each game starts at nightfall, when the whole town is asleep. Everyone actively closes their eyes. The mafia will wake up and murder one of the civilians. (By pointing at them, it’s all very safe, don’t worry). At sunrise, everyone can open their eyes and the narrator will tell who has died. Dead civilians can now keep their eyes open during the whole game, but they are not allowed to talk anymore.
During the day, the civilians will discuss who is suspected of being a member of the mafia and should therefore be hanged. This is where the mindfuck begins, as four of these seemingly innocent people are actually Mafiosi! It is obligated to hang a person. After the prosecution, the killed person will reveal its card. Best case scenario: a Mafioso was hanged. Worst case scenario: an innocent civilian was hanged.
Then night falls again and the whole shebang starts over. The game ends when there are either only Mafiosi or only civilians left. You win as a team. So even if you’ve been killed in the first night, you can still win the game if the last person standing is a civilian. Same goes for the mafia.
To make the game more interesting, there are many special roles the civilians can play. There is so much to choose from, I cannot possibly explain them all in this one post. Instead, I will explain two of the most popular extra roles; the sheriff and the doctor. These were also the two roles we played last weekend in addition to the mafia and the civilians. The sheriff was represented by a King and the doctor by a Jack. No-one knows who they are of course, otherwise the mafia wouldn’t hesitate to kill them immediately!
The sheriff is a special civilian, who will wake up during the night, after the mafia has killed a person. The sheriff will point at one of the players to check if they’re mafia or civilians. The game master will then sign whether it’s a mafioso or not.
The doctor will also wake up at night, after both the mafia and the sheriff have gone back to sleep. The doctor will cure one of the people by pointing at them. If this is the person who has been killed by the mafia, the person will be magically revived and no-one will have died that night.
These are just two of the many roles that can be played. If you’d like to know more about the special characters, check out this wiki page about the game.
The game will be most fun if you try to play a role.
‘When the mafia had to kill someone, I felt the person sitting next to me wobbling on the couch. So I think he pointed at someone and is probably the mafia.’
‘Around 4 am I heard strange noises outside. When I looked out of my window, I couldn’t see anything, but I heard the slamming of a door that I immediately recognized as my neighbor’s old Saab, followed by a weird scratching sound. I wondered, what was he doing up so late at night? And what was this scratching sound? I found this very suspicious. I have never trusted my neighbor very much. I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned out to be mafia.’
Which one’s more fun? The latter, right? The more details you give about your character, your neighborhood and your experiences during the night, the more fun it will be. Try to incorporate everything you’ve heard or felt (or maybe even know for sure if you happen to be the sheriff) into a little story.
Can you imagine how fun this was to play with a theater group? To add to the atmosphere of the night, we all dressed up ’30’s mafia style.
If you’ve never tried this game, you really should. It’s loads of fun. If you already know it, I’d love to know what your favorite role is!