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Posts: 4468/4986
(21-Jan-2007 at 00:25)

Introduction to Mafia

Introduction to Mafia

Welcome to Mafia, a forum game between two or more groups. The goal of the game is basically to be the last one standing with your group. The most basic design element in all games is Uninformed Majority versus Informed Minority.
The best way to learn the game is to play it, so after reading this post, just sign up!

A game is divided into continuously alternating parts: Day, and Night. The players in a most elementary game are divided into two groups, a large Town and a small Mafia.

Town The majority of the players, usually a rough 75%. These do not know each other, and may only communicate inside the thread.
Mafia A minority of the players, usually a rough 25%. These do know each other and are allowed to communicate outside the game.

Night During the Night, the Mafia makes one kill. There is no talk in the thread. After having made their decision, the Mafia PM's the Moderator with the name of the person they want dead.
Day After the Night action is complete, the Moderator re-opens the thread and announces the results of the night: One Townie has died. The entire group now goes on to decide on whom to lynch.

Lynch During the Day, every player may vote someone they want to lynch. Once a majority has been reached, this player is lynched and killed. Since the Town is in the majority, the Mafia will of course be pretending to be Town, just as anyone else.

Winning The winning group is the one that stays alive the longest. The Town's way of killing is through the Lynch during the Day. They must be careful not to be influenced by the Mafia in their voting process. The Mafia's way of killing is through the Nightkill, and through misleading the Town into lynching one of their own.

At this point you might be wondering how the Town will ever achieve a win. After all, unlike the Mafia, they do not know each other and have nothing at all to go on.

In this most basic set-up, the best strategy the Town can follow is to try and find links between persons in the voting discussion. Examples:
- When Player 1 is lynched and it is revealed that he was Mafia, the Town can grow very suspicious of Player 2 who kept on defending Player 1 in the discussion.
- When there are no leads whatsoever, yet a few people are quick to vote for someone and end up lynching a Townie, the Town can become very suspicious of people quick-to-vote.

Apart from this, the Town has little other hope than a Mafia making a mistake. For example someone posting "As I told you through PM...", but such mistakes are very rare.

At the moment, the game does not look very colorful. There are basically two ways to enhance the game, and both are very common. One way is to give players roles with special powers, another way is to have a theme.

Mafia is mainly about two things: (1) Information, and (2) Eliminating Players. Almost all possible roles have to do with one or both of these, by giving a player special abilities. I will post a long list of common roles below, but a few basic examples will be needed here to illustrate the point:

Cop A Cop is almost always a Pro-Town role. A player who is a Cop has the ability to investigate one person at night. He will usually receive either "Guilty" or "Innocent" as result from the Moderator. Guilty usually means a person is Mafia, Innocent usually means the investigated player is Town.

This role of course greatly adds to the game. As you know, the Town must discuss who to lynch during the day. Imagine they picked Player 1 and are voting for that person. Player 2 however has been given the role "Cop", and happens to have investigated Player 1 on a Night. He received the result "Innocent". Because of this, he does not want the Town to lynch Player 1, so he defends that person. However, defending someone too openly may cause the rest of the players to wonder if Player 1 and Player 2 might be in a Mafia together.

After receiving a Guilty result, a Cop will try to help a Town focus the discussion more towards that person, and even try to get that person lynched. Appearing "lynch-eager", may cause the Town to go after the Cop himself though.

Now perhaps you are wondering why the Cop doesn't simply say that he is a Cop, and that he has investigated someone. There are multiple reasons for this. Here are a few:
- If he says he is a Cop, the Mafia will want to kill him as soon as possible. If there are no Docs, who can protect people at night, the Cop is likely to be dead the next day.
- Even if someone claims to be a Cop, the Town should not immediately believe him. After all, it is possible that someone from the Mafia claims Cop, and even sacrifices one of his mates.

Doc Our second example, the Doc, can protect one person at night. The Mafia will not be able to kill the person he protects.

Here is one example of how this role adds to the game. What if there is a Cop, and he has already said that he is a Cop. The Doc of course wants to protect the Cop, because it is a powerful role on his side. The Mafia knows that the Doc wants to keep the Cop alive. The Mafia will therefore probably decide not to hit the cop, because that will waste them a night. However, the Doc knows that the Mafia is not very likely to attack the Cop, because they expect the Doc to protect him. Therefore, the Doc may want to protect someone else. This goes on infinitely.

To find many more roles, see below.

Apart from having roles with special abilities, adding a Theme to the game greatly enhances the fun. This is not only for flavor or roleplay. The discussion will change severely due to a theme. Rather than lynching, the Town may vote on a person in order to pressure him to reveal his role. If he is a Townie, he can give them his own role. If he is a Mafia, he must think up a fake one.

For example, imagine there are 10 players in a game themed Lord of the Rings. There are 6 votes on one player needed in order to lynch that person. Of course the Town does not want to lynch someone who is on their side, so they put 5 votes on that person and ask him for his role. The pressured person has little choice: Either he tells them his role, or they will vote that last vote and kill him.

Now imagine the pressured person is Frodo Baggins. He will probably post "Don't lynch me guys, I am Frodo", or something like that. The Town is likely to reason that Frodo is such a major character that he is bound to be in the game, and that this player really is Frodo. Provided no-one else claims the same role.

What if the pressured person is a Mafia though? In fact, what if he is Sauron himself! One possible approach he could take is to make up a Fake RC. In other words, he claims to be someone he isn't. This game has 10 persons, out of which he knows there are 3 Mafia. He reasons that the 7 Townie roles are probably filled by Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli or Boromir. Because these highly likely roles are already over 7, he assumes that other roles such as Elrond, Faramir, Arwen and Galadriel are not in the game. A good bet for him would be to claim to be one of these persons.
If he has bad luck, the Town doesn't believe his role is in the game and lynches him anyway. If he has even worse luck, he chose someone who is in the game.

Imagine there are 8 people playing a Mafia with as theme Harry Potter. The moderator divides the roles randomly as follows:
  1. Player 1 Town Harry Potter
  2. Player 2 Town Ron Weasley
  3. Player 3 Town Hermione Granger
  4. Player 4 Town Albus Dumbledore | COP
  5. Player 5 Mafia Peter Pettigrew
  6. Player 6 Town Madam Pomfrey | DOC
  7. Player 7 Town Severus Snape
  8. Player 8 Mafia Lord Voldemort
Night 01
Now this particular game starts with a Night. Player 5 and Player 8 (Mafia) determine they want to kill Player 3. They PM this to the Moderator.
Player 6 (Doc) has no idea, and randomly protects Player 8.
Player 4 (Cop) has no idea, and randomly investigates Player 1.

Day 01
The Moderator announces that Day has begun, and that Player 3 has died. He also tells everyone that Player 3 was Hermione Granger, and had no special powers.
The Town starts discussing then on who to lynch, and there are some people who want to lynch Player 1. He has 4 votes on him already, with 5 votes needed for a lynch. Player 4, the Cop, decides to go out in the open. He posts that he is a Cop and knows Player 1 to be innocent.
The Town decides to go after Player 2 then. Player 2 immediately sees where this is going, and decides to tell everyone he is Ron.
The Town then decides not to lynch someone today.

Night 02
Player 5 and Player 8 (Mafia), want to kill the Cop (Player 4). However, they assume that the Doc will protect Player 4. The Mafia knows that the Town will not lynch Player 1 (confirmed to be innocent), or Player 2 (claimed to be Ron). Because the Mafia hopes the Town will lynch one of their own, they decide to kill Player 2.
Player 6 (Doc), protects Player 4 (Cop).
Player 4 (Cop), investigates Player 5 (Mafia).

Day 02
The Moderator posts that Player 2 has died, and was a Townie without powers.
Player 4 posts that he has investigated Player 5, and has received a Guilty result. Player 5 tries to get out of it, but has no chance. The Town lynches Player 5 and has gotten rid of one Mafia!

Night 03
Player 8 (Mafia) is now alone, and decides to take his chances on Player 4 (Cop).
Player 6 (Doc) figures that the Mafia will assume he protects the Cop, so decides to protect Player 1 instead.
Player 4 (Cop) investigates Player 3.

Day 03
The Moderator announces that Player 4 has died, and was a Cop.
The Town does not know who to go after. They randomly settle on Player 7. Player 7 posts that he is Severus Snape. The Town believes Snape is bound to be Mafia, and thus lynches him. They find out they lynched a Townie.

Night 04
Player 8 (Mafia) decides to kill Player 6 (Doc).
Player 6 (Doc) protects Player 1.

Day 04
The Moderator posts that Player 6 has died and was a Doc.
Only Player 1 and Player 8 are left. Player 1 knows he is good, so he votes Player 8. He will never reach a majority though, so the Mafia has won. (Technically the Day can end in a No Lynch, and in the next Night the Mafia will kill Player 01).

A Mafia can become much more complex than the above example. Usually, games have more than 8 or 10 players. It is common to have around 20 people at the start of a game.

One way to increase the complexity of the game is to have more than two sides. In our explanation and examples so far, we have seen a large Town against a small Mafia. You could just as well have a large Town against two small Mafia's though. Think for example of Lord of the Rings. One Mafia can consist of Sauron and his troops, another Mafia can consist of Saruman and his servants.

Another way to increase the complexity of the game is to add many more roles with special powers, or access to information. Apart from the Townie / Mafia / Cop and Doc which we have seen so far, there are many other possibilities. I will list these below, though the list will not be complete.

Play in a Game When a Mafia has not yet started, it is probably still accepting sign-ups. Post in the thread that you want to play. The Moderator probably has stated in his opening posts how many players he is looking for.

Create a Game First make sure that you understand Mafia and are up to making a game. Activity from a Moderator is very important! After that, you can sign up in the appropriate thread to join the waiting list.

Ask for Help while Playing Whatever you do, do not message someone you are not allowed to communicate with outside the thread. If you are in a Mafia, message your Godfather. If you are a Mason, message your Mason. In case of doubt, always message the Moderator. Any questions about the game, or your role, can be answered by the Mod.
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Posts: 4468/4986
(21-Jan-2007 at 00:26)

mafiascum - Famous forum dedicated to Mafia.
Newbie Guide - The Newbie Guide on mafiascum.
Flash Introduction to Mafia - Another Newbie Guide, using Flash, on mafiascum.
Wikipedia - Article on Mafia

Vote Counter - A useful tool to count votes with. Unfortunately it does not (yet) allow for Double-Vote Townies and stuff like that.
Role Assigner - A great tool to randomly assign roles to people.

Queue - UT's Mafia Mod Sign-Up Queue


Vanilla Townie This is a normal Townie, with no special powers. He cannot do anything during the Night, and posts and votes normally during the Day. He wins with the Town.

(Vanilla) Mafia This is a normal Mafia. He can communicate with the others in his Mafia outside the thread, and at Night the group as a whole kills one player.

Godfather This is the leader of a Mafia. He is the one who PM's the Moderator who to kill. He has the final say on this. It is very common to give Godfathers 'Investigation Immunity', which means they will show up as "Innocent" when a Cop investigates them.

Cop A Townie who can investigate one person during the Night. He will receive a result "Guilty" or "Innocent" from the Moderator, and thus finds out whether someone is Townie or Mafia. There are exceptions, so results are not always entirely trustworthy (see for example the Godfather).

Doc The Doc can protect one person during the Night. If the Mafia hits a protected person, this person will not die.

Masons Masons are two or more Townies who know each other. They are allowed to communicate outside the thread. Masons are useful in protecting each other from being lynched, though they may seem to be Mafia working together from the perspective of other Townies. Many varieties are possible with Masons, but the Mason role in itself gives no other powers.

Serial Killer This is in fact a Mafia in one person. The Serial Killer wins when he is the last one left, so he has to get rid of all the Townies and of all the Mafia. He usually gets one kill at Night. Because it is hard to play, a Moderator may give a Serial Killer 'Investigation Immunity' or some other benefit.

Vigilante A Vigilante can kill at Night, just like the Serial Killer and the Mafia, but he is allied to the Town. This means that unlike the others, the Vigilante must be extremely careful with his kills. He wants to kill Mafia's and Serial Killers, but he doesn't have any investigation powers. Usually the Vigilante is not obliged to kill.

Roleblocker The Roleblocker can block someone from performing their Night action. This can be beneficial to the Town, if he blocks a Serial Killer or Mafia Godfather for example. It can also hurt the Town though, when he blocks a Cop or a Doc.

Self-Save Townie A Townie who has a number of self-saves which he can use during the night. Basically this is a Doc who can only protect himself, and only for a limited amount of times. The amount is usually 2 or 3, though can greatly vary.

Double-Vote Townie A Townie who's vote during the day counts double.

Turn Coat Townie A Townie who can be recruited by the Mafia. He can be recruited in various ways. For example, the Mafia knows there is a TCT out there and may PM the Moderator one name per night to try and find him. Another possibility is to have the Turn Coat join the Mafia when they try to kill him.

Miller A Townie without powers who appears "Guilty" upon investigation, while being Innocent.

Activated X This can be any role (hence the X), but only comes into effect after some triggering effect. For example, you can be an Activated Serial Killer. This means that you are in potential a Serial Killer, but will not have the SK's abilities until your role is triggered. The death of the existing Serial Killer is likely to trigger an Activated Serial Killer.
Another way of calling this is:

Retired X This can also be various roles, though is usually a Cop or a Doc. A Retired Doc cannot do anything at first, but when either one or all the Docs are killed, he becomes a regular Doc.

Paranoid Cop This role makes the player believe he is a Cop, while in fact he is a Paranoid Cop. He always gets "Guilty" as a result of his investigations. He is allied to the Town, but can cause them much damage.

Naive Cop This role makes the player believe he is a Cop, while in fact he is a Naive Cop. He will always get "Innocent" as a result of his investigations. He is allied to the Town, but can cause them much damage.

Crazy Cop This role makes the player believe he is a Cop, while in fact he is a Crazy Cop. He will get entirely random results of his investigations. He is allied to the Town, but can cause them much damage.

Insane Cop This role makes the player believe he is a cop, while in fact he is an Insane Cop. His results from investigations will be the opposite of what a normal Cop would get. If he discovers this, he can function just as well as a normal Cop of course.

Super Cop Like a normal Cop, but with more investigations than one per night.

Super Doc Like a normal Doc, but with more protections than one per night.

Faith Healer A Doc with only a 50% chance of successfully protecting someone.

Please note the following:
(1) This list is far from complete
(2) Some roles are also known by other names
(3) Many Moderators like to create combinations or entirely new roles, especially when this fits their theme
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(21-Jan-2007 at 00:39)

In an effort to keep the original content visible please forward any information or possible updates to PM Apeiron so he can update as needed.

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(25-Jan-2007 at 17:31)

Re: Introduction to Mafia



/in Means the poster wants to join a game


Ability Power, something special someone can do (ex. Investigate, Protect, Double-Vote)
Activated An ability which needs to be triggered in a way. For example there can be an Activated Serial Killer who only becomes an active Serial Killer once the original Serial Killer dies
Alive Anyone still in the game, not Nightkilled, Lynched or Modkilled


CC Character Claim - The act of giving a name, not what powers you have
Cop Can investigate someone at night
Crazy A status a Cop can have, instead of ordinary investigation results his results are random


Day Stage of the game in which discussion is open, and the group can choose to lynch someone
Dead Anyone who was in the game previously, but is removed through Nightkill, Lynch or Modkill
Doc Can protect someone at night
Double-Vote Power which makes someones vote count double


Fake RC Faking to have a certain role
Finger of Suspicion 'Officially' declaring the poster is suspicious of someone. Not common on UT (anymore)
FoS Finger of Suspicion


Godfather Leader of a Mafia Group. Sends in their Night Kill and has the final say in it, often has Investigation Immunity
Guilty A possible outcome of an investigation by a Cop. Guilty means the person is Mafia or Serial Killer - unless something messed up the investigation of course (ex. Paranoid Cop, Miller Townie)


IIRC If I recall correctly...
Inactive Someone still in the game but no longer reading or posting in it (reading but not posting is called Lurking)
Innocent A possible outcome of an investigation by a Cop. Innocent means the person is Town - unless something messed up the investigation of course (ex. Naive Cop, Investigation Immunity)
Insane A status a Cop can have, instead of normal investigation results, he receives the reverse
Investigation Immunity Someone who is Guilty, but will show up Innocent when investigated by Cops. This is often given to Godfathers


Lurking Reading but not posting, often in order to stay below the radar
Lynch Kill through the voting process during the day


Mafia Can refer to (1) the entire game, (2) the group(s) antagonistic to the Town (ex. "Voldemort Mafia"), and (3) a person antagonistic to the Town, but not the/a Serial Killer (ex. "You are mafia!")
Mason Role that allows that person to speak to a designated other player, without being in a Mafia together
Miller Townie that shows up as Guilty upon investigation
Mini Mafia A Mafia Game with fewer players than normally, usually about 12-15 players
Moderator Designer and organizer of a game. Receives Night Action PM's, posts Day/Night posts, sets the rules etc.
Modkill Being removed from the game by the Moderator, for Inactivity or breaking a rule


Naive A status a Cop can have, instead of normal investigation results he only gets Innocent
Night Action Power that can be used at night (ex. Investigate, Kill)
Nimon Skywalker Refers to a previous game in which Nimon pulled of a Fake RC as Luke Skywalker when in fact he was Darth Vader
No Lynch Not lynching someone that day. Some games only allow the town a limited amount of No Lynches, thus forcing them to lynch someone once the limit is reached (often set on 1)


Overpowered A (too?) strong role. For example, an Unkillable Unlynchable Serial Killer would be overpowered


Paranoid A status a Cop can have, instead of normal results he gets "Guilty" all the time
PM Private Message


QFT Quoted for Truth, thus expressing agreement


RB Roleblock
RC Role Claim - The act of claiming what powers you have
Replacement Someone who replaces a player
Resurrect Bringing a dead player to life, does not necessarily give them their previous role
Retal Vote Voting for someone for no other reason than that they voted for you
Revive Bringing a dead player to life, does not necessarily give them their previous role
Role An ability and - in themed games - name of a character. Every player gets a Role from the Moderator (ex. Lord Voldemort - Godfather, Gollum - Serial Killer)
Roleblock/er Action / Person that blocks someone from performing their Night Action
Role Claim Posting what your role is. Name (ex. Gandalf) or ability (ex. Doc), and whether truthful or lying.


Sane A status a Cop can have, simply means that he is a normal Cop
Scum Anyone not on the side of the Town
Self-Save Night ability which allows its user to save himself that Night, usually there is a limit to the amount of times this is possible (often 1, 2 or 3)
SK Serial Killer
Subgame A game set up around the Mafia Game. It can for example consist of solving a riddle, after which the solver gets a bonus in the Mafia.
Subgames can be directly related to the Mafia (having an influence on the proceedings in the Mafia), indirectly related (being themselves influenced by proceedings in the Mafia, but not able to influence the game), or unrelated (such as a puzzle which offers no benefits, and in which no clues are taken from the game).
Involvement in a Subgame can be automatically (see BrandonC's Politics Mafia as an example), voluntarily (Puzzles and Riddles) or involuntarily.
Far from every game has a subgame, and it is usually of minor importance if important at all.
Super Means a role is stronger than it usually is (ex. Super Doc can protect more than one person at night)


TCT Turn Coat Townie
Theme A story (ex. LotR, Harry Potter, an Anime Series) or collection (Superheroes, Cookies, Chess Pieces) added to a game to bring some flavor to the Mods posts and the Roles
Townie Anyone not scum
Turn Coat Townie Someone on the side of the Town at first, but through some way recruited to the Mafia


Unvote Removing ones previous vote
UT Utopia Temple


Vanilla Townie Townsperson (non-scum) without powers
Vig Vigilante
Vigilante Townie that can kill at night
Vote X Adding support to the lynch of X, usually done in bold
Vote Count Count of the votes that have been cast so far
VT Vanilla Townie

Please note that this list is not complete

Last edited by Pip Squeek, 12-Nov-2007 at 07:03.
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