How to Play Mafia?

Mafia is a popular group or team social game played at events or parties. Dmitry Davidoff from the USSR created it in 1986. There are many variations to the original game that have been created over some time by many people. Mafia is also known as Assassin, werewolf, or village.

The Game Mafia: Overview

The minimum number of players required to play the game is seven; two people are Mafia, and the remaining five are innocent. A single match is played in 2 cycles, namely day and night. The game setup is based on a local town setting where the majority of innocent villagers battle the minority of the Mafia.

During the night phase of the game, the players with night-killing talents eliminate other players stealthily, while the remaining players fight over who the killer is and vote to have them killed during the day phase. The game is over when all the villagers have successfully eliminated all the members of the Mafia or when all the mafia members have eliminated all villagers.

The players that start as werewolves in the game are immediately aware of one another's actual identities. On the other side, the villagers only receive information regarding the overall number of werewolves participating in the game; they have yet to learn who the werewolves are or which players are acting out the role of the villagers.

In a Mafia game with an open configuration, all players are aware of the number of each powerful role present; but in a game with a closed configuration, only a subset of the players have this knowledge. The system is said to be partially transparent when only a portion of the power dynamics are revealed.

Let's now learn the basic rules and settings of the game.

Basic Rules and Setting of the Game

During the game, there should not be any external disturbance; otherwise, the game's mood gets disturbed.

  • One player is set to become the 'narrator' in the game.

  • Two people play the role of the 'mafia.' With more players, the number of mafia members can be increased accordingly. One player plays the role of 'the doctor.'

  • One player takes the part of 'the police.'

  • The remaining people take the role of 'the villagers.'

During the night phase of the game, all the players except the narrator have to keep their eyes closed. The narrator will instruct various groups to wake up and perform their actions. They always communicate in sign language to maintain the decorum of the game. Finally, the narrator will tell everyone when to wake up.

The people playing the role of 'the mafia' are not allowed to announce their roles to other players. Although the players with the role of 'the doctor' and 'the police' are permitted to disclose their roles during the day sessions.

Here, the players who are 'the mafia' can also pretend to be playing the role of 'the police' and 'the doctor' since they are allowed to lie. The game will always begin in the night cycle.

The Night Phase of the Game

In the night cycle or phase of the game, the narrator instructs all the players to put their heads down and close their eyes. After that, the narrator announces the people playing the mafia role in waking up and deciding whom they will target. They inform the narrator of whom they chose to kill and then put their heads down.

Then the narrator asks the person playing the role of 'the doctor' to wake up and choose one person to save. If the doctor selects the person chosen by the Mafia to be killed, then that victim is saved and survives the night. Otherwise, the victim dies. Here, the doctor can also choose to protect himself.

Then the narrator asks the doctor to put his head down and asks the person playing the role of 'the police' to wake up. Then the player selects the person they suspect to be a mafia member.

The police can verify with the narrator if they have chosen the correct mafia member. If they have chosen the right member, then it is up to the police to convince the other players that the suspect is a mafia member. Then the narrator asks the police to put his head down and finally asks all the players to wake up.

The Day Phase of the Game

At the beginning of the daily cycle of the game, the narrator tells all the players who were killed during the night phase of the cycle in a storytelling fashion and also tells whether the doctor saved the person. After this, a discussion is held where all the players discuss recent events.

During the talks, if a player has a suspicion of another player, the accusations begin. During the charges, players accuse each other by stating that the other person is a mafia member. These accusations are then seconded by another accuser that explains the reason behind the allegations. Then the accused also defends themselves by explaining why they are not a mafia member.

After some time, voting is held where all the players vote in or against the accused. After getting a majority against the accused, the accused is out of the game, and the accused then discloses whether they were a mafia member. After a person is removed from the game, the night phase of the game begins again.


The game of Mafia is a classic party game and continues to be played when there are many players available to play the game. Some tips make the game more entertaining and attentive, such as trying to sit in a circle in a quiet room to add a touch of thrill and make the environment severe and tense. The day phase of the game is usually more significant than the night phase since voting, trials, and discussions are held during the day session of the game.