If you were lucky enough to know the internet when it was in its infancy you may be familiar with chat forums. Sure chat forums are still used but with nowhere near the frequency that they were in the good old days. However with the advent of chat forums came the chat forum game. Some of these were dull but one in particular still endures (if you know where to look)
Mafia the game that keeps giving
If you haven’t heard of mafia then you are in for a treat. The basic premise is very simple everybody is given a role by a moderator. There are town members and mafia members but nobody knows anybody else’s alignment. Apart from the mafia who are allowed to communicate outside of the main chat. Nobody else is able to do this and attempting it is cheating!
Phases in mafia
There are two phases to a game of mafia. It begins with the day phase. During this phase, the town can nominate and vote on people to lynch. The idea is to try and lynch members of the mafia. The town wins when all threats to their existence have been eliminated. Of course, this is difficult as the mafia can communicate outside the thread and try and lead the mob to lynch town members.
The day phase is usually timed but can sometimes be ended early if a lynch is achieved. This is done when a person has more than 50% of the potential votes.
The night phase is also timed and gives the mafia chance to cast a vote on a town person to be killed. The moderator will write up what happens during the night phase. Sometimes there will be clues in the write-up but these can be red herrings.
Of course the above is just a vanilla game featuring the town versus the mafia. There is a warring faction version where you have several mafia groups all working to try and be the top family. Theme games are also very popular where the characters are from pop culture. For instance, you could have a Star Wars mafia where the mafia is “the empire”.
Other Mafia Roles
The vanilla game is fun in its own right but in order to make the game less passive, there are roles that can be added in order to make things more interesting. Here are some examples:
The Serial Killer
This is particularly useful in bigger games as it means there are two kills during the night phase instead of just one.
This person gets to investigate one person during the night phase. Sometimes they can tell their alignment, sometimes they can only see if they have taken part in some sort of activity. Of course, it is a difficult role because once you have info if you reveal it and it implicates the mafia you will have a big target on your back. That is where a bodyguard can be helpful
Bodyguards can protect one person during the night phase. Sometimes this is made extra interesting by making the bodyguard a “paranoid gun owner”. This means if somebody targets them they get killed instantly.
This is only scraping the surface of what you can do with the game. Often the theme you are using can lead to really creative powers to give your players making for memorable moments and exciting adventures.
Joining a game
If you are a regular poster on a forum why not introduce the game to your friends, Failing that you can find mafia games at the online community. They are currently based at mafiascum.net. Here you can get your feet wet by joining a newbie game, learn the terminology and read up top tips for ending on the winning side.