The Game

The Mafia has infiltrated the general population. Ordinary innocent citizens are known as John Doe, and they know nothing except that the Mafia is a bad thing, and that all Mafiosi should be killed. This must happen democratically, so every day there is held a public vote for a player that shall be executed and put out of play.

One untouchable called "The Inspector" aids the public in the quest against the Mafia, and this person works undercover, slowly identifying new Mafiosi, thus being able to influence the public opinion in the right direction. On the other hand, the Mafiosi cooperate in order to confuse and misdirect the outcome of the public votings in order to have innocent John Does killed instead of themselves. In addition, the Mafia kills a player every night.

Game summary

  1. Deal cards and establish identities. All cards are handed back in to the Referee, to avoid accidental exposure at later times.
  2. Night #1
  3. Day #1
  4. Night #2
  5. Day #2
  6. Night #3
  7. Day #3

This keeps going until there are no more Mafiosi left, in which case the public interest has won the game, or until there are no more John Does left, in which case the Mafia has won the game.

Player Constellations

When using a deck of cards, the usual configuration is that your role is:

The reason behind these "card rules" is that they shuld be as easy to tell from eachother as possible, to avoid misunderstandings and such. It is always very annoying to have to deal again because someone did not understand their identity.

These numbers may be adjusted to the number of participants, and also adjusted according to the skill of the players. The ratio of total players to Mafiosi should normally be about 3-5. Note that it might be possible to play with two Inspectors at large numbers of players, as the chance of an Inspector being executed or killed at an early stage of the game is greater.

How to start -- two different initial modes of play

Mode A.

With a Referee from the very beginning. The Referee's remarks are in square brackets - [ ]:
  1. The Referee shuffles and deals the cards.
  2. Conceal your own card after learning your identity.
  3. [Everyone closes their eyes on my count - 1,2,3.]
  4. [The Mafiosi open their eyes and learns eachothers identities on my count - 1,2,3.]
  5. [The Mafiosi close their eyes on my count - 1,2,3.]
  6. [The Inspector opens his or her eyes on my count - 1,2,3.]
  7. [The Inspector learns the identity of the first Mafia.] Here the referee point at one of the Mafia members.
  8. [The Inspector closes his or her eyes on my count - 1,2,3.]
  9. [Everyone opens their eyes on my count - 1,2,3.]
  10. In the daytime, after a brief discussion, a public vote is cast to decide who shall die first.

Mode B.

Without a Referee the first night. The reason for this is to be able to play with fewer participants, as well as being able to adjust the number of players to be odd. One player needs to be a "temporary Referee". This person's remarks are in square brackets - [ ]:
  1. The cards are shuffled and passed around.
  2. Conceal your own card after learning your identity.
  3. [Everyone closes their eyes on my count - 1,2,3.]
  4. [The Mafiosi open their eyes and learns eachothers identities on my count - 1,2,3.]
  5. [The Mafiosi agree internally which one of them shall reveal his/her identity, and this person holds up a finger.]
  6. [The Mafiosi close their eyes on my count - 1,2,3.]
  7. [The Inspector open your eyes on my count - 1,2,3.]
  8. [The Inspector learns the identity of the first Mafia, by locating the raised finger.]
  9. [The Inspector closes his eyes on my count - 1,2,3.]
  10. [The Mafia puts down his/her finger on my count - 1,2,3.]
  11. [Everyone opens their eyes on my count - 1,2,3.]
  12. In the daytime, after a brief discussion, a public vote is cast to decide who shall die first.
  13. This person becomes the Referee for the rest of the game, and Mode B is now equal to Mode A.

The first day

After the first night we move into the first day. The object of this first day is to decide which person to kill first, and it is almost always the stage that takes the most time in each game. Therefore is is advised that nobody is allowed to speak for too long at a time, and that the Referee (or the players themselves, in case one is playing by Mode B attempts to undertake the vote as soon as possible.

The chances are always great that an innocent John Doe is executed on the first day. The Inspector cannot risk exposing his/her identity by naming a Mafioso at such an early stage of the game, and unless a Mafioso has such bad luck that someone immediately nominates him/her, and in addition fails to make a good defense, there is practically no chance of getting caught on the first day as a Mafioso. So better to get on with it, and notice carefully who says what, how they act and what they vote.

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Last modified: Fri Apr 23 04:59:02 MET DST 1999