Most of my friends, for one reason or another, are international exchange students. They’re from Madagascar, China, Lithuania, and dozens of other amazing countries. Our dormitory is filled with diverse food, languages, and cultures every day of the week, and this is an incredible experience I’m glad I’m able to have at university.
There are so many nationalities in our friend group, and sometimes uniting these wildly different people can be a challenge. So, one of the ways we solidify our friendship is by playing games – specifically, the game Mafia.
Mafia is a game that uses logic and reasoning, and is best played with a semi-large (8+) group. In other words, the perfect party game for highly intelligent international kids. Below is everything you need to know about Mafia – let me know if you play, and what you think!
Get a group of players together (we usually have around 12 people), and have everyone choose a card (we have professional cards, but you can simply write on bits of paper). There are several different types of cards:
Narrator: the person who tells the whole story, neither good nor bad
Townsperson: “good”, usually 1-2 people have this basic townsperson card
Doctor: a townsperson who can save only one person throughout the entire game
Police: a townsperson who can point to someone they’re suspicious of and have the narrator confirm (with a thumbs up or thumbs down) whether or not that person is Mafia
Mafia: “bad”, usually 1-2 people have this basic mafia card
Axe: a mafia member who can “cut off” either a person’s hand or mouth, meaning for the next day (and only the next day, they regain control of hand or mouth the day after) they either can’t vote or can’t speak
Bomb: a mafia member who, if they die, can choose one other person to die with them
Alien: an alien is a fake townsperson who chooses a “proxy” – random person in the group, can be anyone. If the proxy is killed, the alien “activates” and become an evil alien who wants to be killed in the daytime. If the alien is killed in the daytime, the alien “implodes”, thereby killing everyone else and winning the game. If the activated alien is killed at night, nothing happens except for the death of the alien.
Lovers: two random people in the group that the Narrator chooses, can both be mafia, can both be townspeople, can be one each. They try to save each other every day and win the game for themselves, but if one Lover dies the other one does as well.
HOW TO PLAY:
The Narrator sets the scene, describing the town and explaining the game. Then, the Narrator commands everyone to go to sleep – aka close their eyes. The Narrator then calls each character one by one.
Every night, the Mafia (about 3-5 people) vote to “kill” one person. The Axe also chooses a different person to either cut off the hand or the mouth. The Doctor can decide whether or not to save that person, but, remember, they can only save once throughout the whole game. The Police can wake up and point to one person, and the Narrator will tell them (using thumbs up or thumbs down) whether or not they’re Mafia.
Then, it’s the morning (aka everyone opens their eyes), and, depending on whether the doctor saved someone, someone is either dead or killed. So in the morning, everyone tries to figure out who among them is Mafia. By the end of morning (about five minutes), you vote who you suspect. Each person you suspect has one minute to say why you shouldn’t kill them/to point fingers at someone else/etc. Then everyone votes again whether or not to kill one person. You have to kill one person every day, and after you kill that person, the Narrator tells you whether or not that person was a Townsperson, Mafia, Alien, Bomb, or Lover (because Alien, Bomb, and Lover affect other people in the game, and Townsperson and Mafia are the key groups). Narrator does NOT tell you if someone is Doctor, Police, or Axe.
The goal of the game is to have your “group” left standing, so either Townspeople/Doctor/Police, Mafia/Axe/Bomb, Alien, or Lovers. In order to win, you need to be cunning, intelligent, and good at strategy.
May the odds be ever in your favor!