The Mafia Game
|The Mafia Game Banner|
|The Mafia Game|
The IRP, current home of The Mafia Game on Neoseeker
|Creator||Dimma Davidoff (See History)|
|Player(s)||Minimum of 5 recommended with virtually no upward limit|
|Where To Play||Neoseeker's Interactive Roleplay Forum|
The Mafia Game is an advanced form of the game of Murder, wherein a group of players are typically "locked" into a room with a "killer", with the killer eliminating the players one at a time until the players can discover his or her identity. In the game of Mafia, the Uninformed Majority is pitted against the Informed Minority. That is to say that, in the basic form of most games, there is a "Town" ("good" aligned players who know only their own identities) and a "Mafia" ("bad" aligned players who know the identities of their team mates in addition to their own).
Popular theory says that this form of the game was created by Dimitry "Dimma" Davidoff in 1986, though some serious attempts to date the timeline of Mafia's translation find that there is evidence that he was not the first to create the game.  However, it is fairly certain that Mr. Davidoff created the game independently, regardless of past instances of its play, and the creation of the Mafia Game remains Mr. Davidoff's call to fame to this very day, with both MIT6 and the Games+Learning+Society referring to him only as "a psychologist who has been playing games for twenty years."  
The game of Mafia is a widespread party game, being played both in person (as was originally intended) , and, perhaps even more popularly, on the internet. Sites such as EpicMafia have even been set up to fully automate gameplay, eliminating the need for a moderator to enact game events. However, the majority of these systems require gameplay modifications to be built into the programming, some which end up ruining the game's sense of spirit and togetherness.
 Format and Basic Rules
There are several aspects to the game of Mafia which are required to keep it functioning. Explained the below are the most important and the most basic of these mechanics that allow the game to be played in an enjoyable manner, as well keeping the game orderly and unbroken.
 The Moderator
For most games, one person will be assigned the moderator, though it is nearly as common for there to be a co-mod to assist with vote counts. The moderator(s) knows the identity of all players, as it is the moderator who assigns them. To be fair and to keep the spirit of the game alive, roles are assigned randomly; giving out specific roles to friends or enemies is frowned upon in ALL cases.
Before the game begins, the moderator must plan the game and balance the roles. The outcome of the game will ultimately be decided by players themselves, but the moderator must ensure that each player has an equal chance, while simultaneously adding mechanics that will make their game unique and exciting. Once a theme is chosen, this process can begin. The moderator will then choose characters pertaining to their chosen theme, give abilities to these characters based on the character's personality and the moderators ability to explain each character having that ability, keeping the abilities balanced as they go. Role PM's and role titles will have to be written. Most often there will be a waiting list of upcoming games. Once the preceding game ends, or comes close to ending, the moderator will open sign-ups, allowing players to enter the game. Then, Role PM's will be sent out to all who signed up, the first game thread will be opened, the opening write-up posted, and the game begun.
During the game, it is the moderators duty to set times for beginning and end of the Night and Day Phases (see below for more on the Phases), keep vote counts during the Day Phase, receive PM's containing targets during the Night Phase, enact all effects promptly, write and post write-ups dealing with such effects (if such effects are public), replacing inactive players, and keeping the peace by modkilling those players who put themselves above the rules.
After the game, a moderator will often write an epilogue containing behind the scenes information of each character, and sometimes, the moderators thoughts on the game as it progressed. This is, of course, not necessary, as the game is over, though it is custom to at least post the role PM's of every character.
Generally speaking, there are two alignments: scum (non-town aligned) and Town (town aligned).
Townies and Masons will be considered Town aligned players in nearly all situations, save for in games with the most complicated game mechanics. Likewise, Mafiosos, Cult Members, and Serial Killers will all be considered scum.
Serial Killers are technically Individually aligned, however, there ability to kill any player without real penalty to their ability to win leaves them usually counted among the scum. Though other Individual aligned players, such as Survivors, need only to survive til the end of the game to win, and generally have no ability that would either benefit or hurt any other faction.
 Day Phase and Night Phase
Gameplay is split into Night and Day Phases. During the Night Phase, all players with active night abilities (investigators, killers, protectors, roleblockers, etc), send in their abilities to the moderator via PM, or in some other private and discrete manner. Night Phase generally lasts 24 hours, or until every player has sent in their ability for that night. Because it is generally believed that talking during the Night Phase will draw the Mafia's attention to a player more than talking during the Day Phase might, discussion generally dies down, and any posts that are made will usually seem worthless. Though playful antics such as what usually accompanies the Night Phase [i]can[/i] be analyzed and used to detect scum...or used by scum to lead an attack on a Townie.
During the Day Phase, discussion is higher, and players are more willingly to openly share and analyze information. This is because, during the Day Phase, all players vote to lynch (kill off) another player. Lynch is achieved with a majority vote (one high than half, or half rounded up). There are roles that effect this, however, leading them to need more or less than a majority vote.
When referring to Night and Day Phases, Night Phase is generally considered the scum's phase, due to their ability to kill off players without risking their identities, and Day Phase is considered the Town's phase, due to the fact that the Town will hold the majority of the players in the game for the majority of the game, and a majority is needed to lynch a player.
 Roles and Role PM's
Most players will have abilities that allow them to effect the outcome of the game, whether it be by killing another player, protecting another player from being killed, discovering the alignment of an enemy or an ally, or simply having their votes count for more than the other player's.
For more on these, see Roles.
Roles will come packaged in your Role PM. Below is an example Role PM:
|You are Robin (Tim Drake): Teen Titans Aligned Boy Wonder1
Dick is dead. Jason has been dead for some time. No one’s seen the Spoiler. You’re the only Robin left. Even Batman is having second thoughts about training a protégé. In the recent battle, everyone resented you and your team for your ability to take down crime, but now, with the death of Nightwing…. If even he was too weak, then surely the current Titans are as well. First you’re too good, now you’re too young. Perhaps you’re simply resented. In any case, you’re team, past and present, has gathered for the coming fight. Feuds will be temporarily put aside. Those in mourning will turn their sadness to anger. And you are their leader.3
However, there is an unfortunate side to this mess. Your communications have become shut down.4
But you can still use your own skills. You may investigate a player’s alignment, or investigate a dead player. You can investigate a dead player at any time, but you may only investigate a player’s alignment at night. You may only use one ability per cycle. If, for example, you investigated a body on Day 1, you would not be able to do anything on Night 1.5
To use either of your abilities, PM one of the following to Glotnot. Forensics can be used at any time, while Investigations can only occur at night.
You win when all threats have been beaten.7
1This is what's known as a role title, though often it will be a colour other than black. Generally speaking, Town is Blue, and the Mafia is Red, though some moderators will deliberately break this tradition. This is the only line of any PM from the moderator that is allowed to be directly quoted by a player, unless told otherwise. Explicitly restating any other part of a role PM is almost always a modkillable offense.
2Pictures are optional, and used as an extra by some moderators.
3The first paragraph is what's know as flavor text. Essentially some character background and the characters place in the current theme or storyline.
4This says that the character may not discuss the game with any player outside of the game thread. This is one of the most important aspects of the game, and is run on the honour system.
5This is a description of the character's ability; this character is both a Forensic Investigator, and a Cop, though in this case, only one ability may be used per phase cycle.
6The player was instructed to send his commands in a strict format, sending in one of the two forms in code tags to the moderator. Though not always necessary, the moderator will sometimes write specific instructions for the use of a role.
7The last line is the character's win condition. Upon it's completion, his team will win. For the Town, it is nearly always to defeat all threats, though specific wording may vary.