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Have you ever played ‘Mafia’? Here is how to play at your next get together!

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I recently spent the evening with my sister and friends and we were all sitting around till it was suggested we play Mafia. I had never heard of this and as the instructions were given to me, I realized I just need to play and learn as I go. It was a blast!

Let me show you how as simple as possible. Many kids under about 11 or 12 may not be able to strategize well enough to enjoy the game, but teens and adults have a blast!

Object of the Game
Everyone is a part of a village and within this village are mafia members, village people, a guardian angel and a detective. There is also someone who needs to act as narrator. Goal is to rid all of the mafia!
Set Up
Works best at a minimum 10 people, but can do less as well. Choose a narrator who then takes little papers equal to amount of rest of the players and on 1 piece write “Guardian Angel”. On a second piece write “Detective”. On the rest write an M or drawy a stick figure (these are the villagers). You want the village people to ideally outnumber mafia members by about 1 player if that helps how you divide up M vs stick figures. Mix all up and have the players grab one, unfold and look at what they have WITHOUT telling ANYONE! DO NOT REVEAL WHO YOU ARE WITH ANYONE!! Fold your piece back up to redraw for next round.
Everyone (except narrator) sits in a room where everyone can see each other, but a tad spaced out so no touching. You have to be very quiet at “night” so remove loud jackets and have hands available to point/move in a way that is not noisy to those next to you. 
How to play
  1. Narrator: Ask EVERYONE to go to sleep. Everyone (but narrator) goes to sleep by closing their eyes. NO PEEKING! This is an honor system game and TRULY is more fun when you do not peek!
  2. Narrator: Ask MAFIA to wake up. Those that drew the letter “M” quietly open eyes. Don’t rustle around YOU DO NOT WANT ANYONE TO KNOW YOU ARE MAFIA BUT OTHER MAFIA MEMBERS! Narrator: ask Mafia “Who do you want to kill?” Quietly, MAFIA points to one person they collectively agree to kill. Narrator: say “MAFIA, go to sleep” MAFIA closes eyes now rest of the “night”. Narrator take note of who is “murdered”
  3. Narrator: Say “GUARDIAN ANGEL, wake up”. The Guardian Angel, quietly opens eyes. Narrator: ask “GUARDIAN ANGEL, who do you want to save?” GUARDIAN ANGEL: quietly point to someone to save. Narrator: say “GUARDIAN ANGEL go to sleep. They quietly shut eyes again for the rest of the “night”. Narrator take note of who is “saved”! HINT: you can point to yourself to save! 
  4. Narrator: Ask DETECTIVE to wake up. DETECTIVE quietly opens eyes. Narrator: say “DETECTIVE who do you accuse?” DETECTIVE quietly points to who they want to accuse. When they point to someone Narrator needs to nod head “YES” if that accused is a Mafia member or “NO” if they are not. Narrator: say “DETECTIVE go to sleep” DETECTIVE closes eyes again for the rest of the “night”. Now the Detective knows at least one person’s identity and has an advantage now
  5. Narrator: As EVERYONE to wake up. Now everyone opens eyes. Keep in mind if you drew a stick figure, you’re eyes have been closed the entire time! No one still knows who anyone is, except narrator and the DETECTIVE knows if his/her accused is or isn’t Mafia. Narrator: explain to the village (and you can be fun and creative with this-make it a story, etc..) to identify who was murdered (by Mafia) and reveal if they ended up also being the one saved (by Guardian Angel). Example: “Last night while everyone was sleeping, (name of murdered) was last seen working in the fileds. Unfortuneatley his/her body was found deceased in the creek and he was dead ( or if this person was saved-it can can go like he was working in the filed and someone attempted to drown him, but an angel appeared and scared off the murderer so he/she is saved)”
  6. Ask the group to collectively vote by majority vote on who murdered this person. This can get out of hand as everyone is defending themselves and plotting to find a murderer. Even if the murdered was saved, you are still looking for the now “attempted murderer” HINT: You can reveal who you are or are not. As you get comfortable with the strategy, you begin to fake who you are. This leads to fun arguments. To say you are detective when you aren’t will get real detective to reveal himself and no one knows who is telling the truth!
  7. Narrator: after some debating, find the one who seems most accused by everyone and ask that person to defend his/herself. Ask everyone again who voted for this person. If majority raises hand, they are out! Sometimes the room is split on accusing someone, in that case the 2 being accused each get a chance to defend themselves then ask for vote on each. Majority vote is out. HINT: we all know a few voted to murder this person, but we are looking to accuse only one! Mafia knows who each other is and really don’t want to vote for each other-unless it is strategic to!
  8. At his point 1-2 players is OUT! The accused and the murdered (unless the murdered was also the one saved-then they are still in) Once you are OUT you can watch (which is fun), but at anytime cannot speak the rest of the game!!
  9. Narrator and everyone take note of who is out (unsaved murdered and accused). Everyone (but narrator) close eyes and go to sleep for another long night!
  10. Repeat steps above and end up with another 1-2 OUT. HINT: If the Guardian Angel or Detective is one murdered or accused, you still go through the motion of asking them to “wake up at night”. Remember the entire game is trying to figure out who is who and who was who! You want players thinking they still exist somewhere in the game.
  11. Narrator: keep note of who is who. Only you will know when game ends. If there are 3 players left (2 mafia and 1 village person/angel or detective) game is over because MAFIA wins if they are majority. If 3 left are 1 mafia and rest villagers (non-mafia) then game continues until mafia is majority or last mafia member is voted accused. 
Remove all noisy clothing so you don’t rustle around if you are asked to wake up
Do not reveal who you are after drawing a character
Narrator: can make the game fun with creating story lines as you move the game along
Guardian Angel can point to own self to save
You can lie about who you are to throw others off while negotiating who is accused
Mafia needs to discretely stay united-remember goal is to eliminate all mafia
Mafia wins and game is over as soon as they are majority
If you are murdered and were not saved, you are out and cannot speak rest of game
If you are voted accused-you are out rest of game.

I found a fun video that explains this if you are more of a visual learner like I am! They do the traditional deck of cards and reveal their identities as they are out-this is optional. You can tweak it to make it your kind of fun or just write on pieces of paper if you do not have cards available.

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