What Is Mafia?
Mafia is a dynamic game of logic, deceit and interpersonal relationships. Every game is slightly different and is always a challenge for everybody. It is a psychological game where innocent members of the town try to discover the identity of mafia hiding amongst them using limited information.
The game (also popularly known as Werewolf) was created by Dmitry Davidoff in 1986 in Soviet Russia. It originated as a party game intended for a live setting, but has since then become popular on forums.
For the purposes of this guide, only FORUM games of Mafia will be discussed. If you would like a detailed history of the game itself, or if you would like to read about variations other than Mafia, Wikipedia has a great Mafia (game)
What Are The Teams And Win Conditions?
Mafia games consist of two opposing factions; One good team (the town) and one evil team (the mafia). The goal for the town is to eliminate all the members of the mafia, whereas the mafia team wins by achieving equal numbers with the town, since at that point they can’t lose.
All members of the town are informed only of their own identity; they have no idea what roles other players in the game have. The mafia team, on the other hand, has the advantage that they all know each other’s identities. However, the town starts the game with more members than the mafia. For example, in a 9-player game, you might expect there to be 2 mafia and 7 townies. In this sense, the game is often referred to as a battle between the uninformed majority and the informed minority.
The game comes down to whether the town can sniff out the evil mafia members before it is too late.
How Does Gameplay Work?
Once roles have been assigned and a mafia game has started, there are two different phases throughout the game:
- During the Day everyone is “awake” and allowed to discuss inside a game thread. Townies are trying to identify the mafia. The mafia is attempting to blend in, often by pretending like they're trying to hunt for mafia. While it is Day, the players can vote for whomever they think is a likely mafia. Players may change their votes or unvote if they so wish.
If the game is a Deadline Lynch game, the player with the most votes at the end of the Day's time limit is lynched and their role is revealed. Alternately, the game might be a Majority Lynch game, which means that Day will end when a single player has received a majority of votes.
- Sleepy time. There is usually no posting in the thread at Night, but this can vary depending on the game type. During the Night the mafia discuss amongst themselves and decide on someone to kill. While that's happening, there may also be special roles aligned with the town that have certain actions they can use at night. For example, a very popular role is the Cop who can submit a name to the moderator each night and learn that person’s alignment. All night actions must be submitted before their deadline.
Phase duration may vary from game to game. In turbos, the Day Phase is typically 18 minutes long and the Night Phase is usually around 6 minutes long. In normal games, it is common to see anything from Fast Games (12-hour Day Phases combined with 12-hour Night Phases) to Slow Games (5-day Day Phases and 2-day Night Phases). Of course, this is all up to the Game Host and/or players.
All mafia games cycle back and forth between Day and Night, until one team is left victoriously standing.
What Are The Common Roles?
If you wish to learn more about roles in mafia, please refer to our Role Database, which contains information on almost 500 unique roles. If you only wish to learn about the common ones, you can filter by “Common”.
How Are The Games Hosted?
In addition to the players involved in the game, there also needs to be a moderator (referred to as a "Host" or "Mod") to initiate and oversee the game. Mafia Universe offers automatic game hosting. This forum does not require a human host if the players wish to play a basic game on their own. Information on using the forum's Modbot is contained in the Starting a New Game
Why Should I Play?
To socialize in a way you've never seen before. To find the unknown members of the mafia and hide if you are one. To capitalize on other people's mistakes and learn from your own. To enhance your decision-making capabilities and rhetorical skills. And...
For the THRILL of victory and the AGONY of defeat!