How To Play

How to Play Party Mafia

Most everyone has at least heard of the popular party game Mafia, also known as Werewolf in the Night. If you've never played it before, let me just say that you are missing out on one of the best party games ever created. Mafia is a fantastically fun game to play with friends, families, coworkers, and even complete strangers! Before we get into how to play Party Mafia, let's first take a look at how to play the original game.

Traditional Mafia or Classic Mafia

This version of Mafia requires nothing more than a deck of cards and at least 5 people, but hopefully you can round up at least 7 people to make the game more fun. Choose the most experienced person to act as the moderator, while everyone else takes a seat in some sort of circular setup so that everyone can see everyone's faces without too much effort. To setup the cards, you need to decide how many mafia and how many detectives will be in the game. Here is my recommendation.

Recommended Number of Mafia and Detectives:

  • 5 - 6 Players: 1 Mafia, 1 Detective
  • 7 - 11 Players: 2 Mafia, 1 Detective
  • 12 - 15 Players: 3 Mafia, 2 Detectives

For each mafia, put one Ace in the deck. For each detective, put one Queen in the deck. For the rest of the players, put any regular non facecard in the deck. Now pass out the cards randomly to all players. Let them know that an Ace is a mafia member and a Queen is a detective. After the players have checked their card and are aware of their secret identity, collect the cards. They will not be needed the rest of the game. Here is a short Mafia Moderator Script you can use to start the game:

"Everyone heads down and eyes closed.
Mafia awake and find your other mafia partners.
(If there are even number of players) Mafia choose one player to murder.
Mafia close your eyes.
Everyone awake."

If you have an even number of players, I like to have the mafia kill one player the first heads down so that you always have an odd number of players during each townhall meeting. This avoid deadlock votes. Now ask each player to introduce themselves to the group with the following line:

"Hi my name is _______ and I am not mafia."

This is a good ice breaker and a nice way to see whose nervous or if anyone has any tells. Now players are encouraged to start accusing who they think is mafia. Play continues until a majority vote is received for one player. That player then may say some last words of defense, and then a final vote is taken. If a majority vote is received, that player is executed by the townhall. The executed player then makes one of the two following statements, and must tell the truth:

"I am mafia."


"I am NOT mafia!"

This player is now removed from the game and can no longer speak.

All players now put their heads down and close their eyes and the night phase begins. Here is a simple script for the moderator:

"Everyone heads down eyes closed.
Mafia awake.
Choose who you want to murder.
Mafia eyes closed.
Detectives awake.
Detectives choose who you'd like to inquire about to see if they are mafia.
(Moderator indicates with a nod if that person is mafia or not.)
Detectives eyes closed.
Everyone awake.
______ has been murdered by the mafia.

Play continues until mafia represent a majority of the players remaining or until all mafia are dead.

Strategies for Mafia

As a mafia member, you want to obviously blend in with the rest of the citizens. The best way to do this is to "act normal". This means a lot of different things, but try and play exactly the same way you would if you were a citizen. If you're talkative, be talkative. If you're a quiet player, be quiet. But be inquisitive, accuse people but not too much. Don't nervously laugh or do silly awkward things..these are all tells. Don't defend your other mafia members too much. It's ok to steer the conversation away from them, but don't dig in if it looks like they're going down.

As a detective, ask a lot of questions to see how people react. Try and make the people you know are mafia look guilty without blowing your cover. Once mafia knows you are a detective they will definitely murder you the next chance they get!

As a citizen, pay attention! Everyone acts a little different when they're hiding something. Try and pick up on whose a little more nervous. Pickup on the forced laugh. Look at voting patterns. Most importantly, if someone is nervous, be careful! They just might be the detective!

Pay attention to who voted and who did NOT vote. This is a critical piece of mafia and is one of the only ways to gather information as a citizen. If, for example, a mafia was just executed during a town hall meeting, it's likely the other mafia member either did not vote for them or was one of the last ones to come on board after it was clear the writing was on the wall. Also, remember who, if anyone, was defending that player when pressure was mounting towards them. However, if a citizen was just executed during a town hall meeting, it's likely that anyone who did NOT vote for that player is a citizen! Any mafia members want to kill citizens as fast as possible, so they have no reason to hold back their vote. Realizing who did not vote for an innocently executed citizen is a key way to figure out who your citizen allies really are.

Finally, pay attention to who was murdered by the mafia. Try and figure out who amongst the group is most likely to pick that person and why. Were they feeling threatened by them during the last town hall meeting? Was the person murdered related in any way to anyone else in the group? Many times people will murder their spouse or closest friends since they can read them so well.

Party Mafia the App

Now that you know how to play Mafia, it's time to take it to another level! The Party Mafia app will change how you play Party Mafia. First, it removes the need for a moderator so that everyone can play. It makes sure that the game advances along without rounds taking too long. Once everyone votes on their apps that they want someone to die, it will automatically trigger an execution. It also allows you to see and track who everyone thinks is the most suspicious. Each time a player is added to a player's "Kill List", their suspicious meter will go up. If you see your own suspicious meter going up, it might be time to start playing defense, and sometimes the best defense is a good offense!

There are a few differences in the app vs classic mafia.

  • Night time has been renamed to "moment of silence". This is because players are no longer required to close their eyes.
  • Mafia do not collaborate on who to kill. Instead, a different mafia member is selected as the hitman each round and they alone get to choose who they want to kill.
  • Detectives do not collaborate and don't know who the other detective is. This means they might inquire about each other, but they also cannot share their knowledge.

Party Mafia Expansion Roles & Secret Identities

The basic version of the game comes with three secret identities required to play the game: mafia, citizens, and detectives. However, there are lots of additional expansion roles you can purchase to make the game more interesting! We recommend only trying out one new expansion role at a time, as just adding one new role will add a completely new twist on the game. The extra expansion roles are given below:

The Drunk: A good guy. Knows one mafia and one detective, but is unsure which one is which.

Lawyer: A good guy. Each night can choose one person who can NOT be voted out the next townhall meeting.

Bodyguard: A good guy. Can choose one player to protect from the mafia each night. Any attempt to murder this player will fail.

Mortician: A good guy. Can inquire once per game about a deceased player to determine their secret ID.

Private I: A good guy. Knows who the detectives are.

Bounty Hunter: A bad guy. Mafia can see the bounty hunter, but the bounty hunter cannot see the mafia members.

Wannabe: A bad guy. Mafia cannot see the Wannabe, but the Wannabe can see the mafia members.

Rogue: A bad guy. Can't see the mafia members and they can't see him either.