Plessiez (with help from others) has created a brief Q&A introduction to the game of Mafia
. If you take nothing else away from this post, it should be that (1) Mafia kicks ass and that (2) you should sign up double-quick. It is known. ;)
Q. So, what's the game all about then?
At its heart, mafia is a conflict between two teams - a small team of people who know each other, and a large group of people who don't know who else is on their team. Both teams want to remove members of the other team from the game until only their team is left. There are two ways a player can be removed from the game - either by being voted off by a majority of players during the day phase of the game, or by being "killed" by somebody (or somebodies) at night.
Because the small team has the ability to kill people every night they are usually called the assassins, or some variant of that. And because it's generally agreed that making a habit of nocturnal murder is, at best, morally dubious, the opposing team are usually called the innocents.
Q. Wait ... the "day" phase? What's that?
The day phase is just the name given to the periods of the game when people are allowed to vote. Normally this lasts for either a pre-set length of time or until the players agree on how they're voting. They can either agree to vote somebody off - or to lynch them, as it's normally phrased - or vote to go to night without voting off anybody.
At night, people can still discuss the game on the thread, but there is no voting. Voting only resumes when the mods post to announce that night has ended.
Q. ... the mods?
The game moderators. The people who run the game - who assign people to teams, who post to announce when a day phase has ended or begun (and who has died at night), who try to make sure everybody follows the rules of the game and who do lots more stuff that we haven't mentioned yet.
Q. So I win by surviving to the end without being voted off or killed at night?
Mafia is a team game - you win if your team wins, even if you die before this happens. And if your team loses, you lose - even if you're alive at the end of the game. There is no individual winning or losing.
Q. Okay, so I need to help remove people on the other team ... how am I supposed to do that?
If you're working for the innocents, you need to try to lynch the assassins. This means you need to look for suspicious behaviour, and then if you think you've found somebody suspicious, try to persuade other people to vote for them. Of course, none of the other innocents know you're innocent, so they'll be thinking of trying to get you
If you're with the assassins of course, you want to get rid of innocents. You get to kill an innocent every time the game goes to night (more or less ... read on to see why this isn't completely true), but you can also try to get innocents lynched during the day.
Q. So during the day people argue about whom to lynch, and at night the assassins kill people, and the game ends when one side is completely removed from the game? Is that it?
That's the basic idea - but there's more to it than that. People on both sides can also have "roles". These give people special abilities - they might be able to do things at night, or have secret knowledge, or be immune to another role's night actions, or something else completely.
The roles used in any game can vary depending on the mods, but there are a few standard ones.
For example, Finders
can investigate people at night to learn which team they're on; Vigilantes
are (usually) innocents who can kill one person at night once during the whole game; Healers
can chose one person each night to protect from being killed; and Sympathisers
are supporters of the assassins who cannot kill at night but come up as innocent when investigated by Finders.
Q. Wait a minute ... how do the assassins agree on who to kill without giving themselves away on the thread? Are people allowed to talk off of the thread?
Yes and no. Some people - like the assassins - are allowed to talk to some other people outside the game thread. However, most people are not allowed to do so. This is an important thing to remember - unless the mods tell you you can talk to somebody about the game outside the thread, you shouldn't do it. If the mods find out you are talking outside the thread to people you shouldn't be, you may be modkilled.
When the mods step in to remove somebody from the game, we say that that person was 'modkilled'. This is normally done because the person in question has broken the rules of the game in someway. Being modkilled isn't just bad for the person being killed - it is also very annoying for other people playing, and can often seriously damage your team's chances. People who are regularly modkilled are likely to find that they are banned from future games.
Q. Hmm. How long does all this take?
Normally games can last about a week - sometimes longer, but hardly ever as long as two weeks. Of course, the game goes faster when the people playing have time to post more - normally the mods will require everybody playing to make at least one post every 24 hours or so. Failure to do this will result in you being modkilled to keep things moving for everybody else. If you don't have time to play, you shouldn't really sign up.
If you want to try the game but aren't sure you'll have time to commit to a longer game, you might consider signing up for a mini - these are generally smaller games with fewer people and rarely last more than a week.
Q. I was following the current game, and I didn't understand what was meant by ...
There's a lot of jargon and shorthand to keep track of in the game. Here's a quick list of the most widely used stuff - don't be afraid to ask the mods about anything else you need explained.
- coroner Finder - a game in which the mods will reveal the role and/or team alignment of players when they die.
- confirmed innocent - somebody who has been investigated and found innocent by the Finders, or has been proven not an assassin in some other way. Similar terms include PI (probable innocent), VPI (very
probable innocent) and NCI (nearly confirmed innocent).
- short for Faceless Man. Another name for the assassins.
- this is the discussion board
where spectators and dead players can discuss the current game and the mods have posted spoilers. All new players should sign up for an account on this board before the game starts.
- roleplay - each game has a unique story and setting to start the game off and many players roleplay by acting within that setting, though mostly only at the start of the game.
- out of character - indicates a message such as "I will not be able to post for several hours" that is meant to be from you as opposed to from your Alt or game character. OOC statements should be written in italics
Q. I want to play; what should I do?
Just wait until you see somebody start a game thread in Forum Games, then follow the instructions there (normally this means sending a PM to House Targaryen, but this can vary from game to game). Please do not
post on the game thread itself - in many games the identity of the people playing is kept secret until the end, and this means you shouldn't admit in public that you're planning to play. People posting on the thread can also make it harder for players to read the thread once the game begins.
Q. Um ... how can the identity of people playing be secret? Surely everybody knows?
Actually, no. Most of the games we run use alts
- seperate accounts on the board named after various Houses from the ASOIAF series - to disguise who is playing. When you sign up, the mods will send you the information you need to log in as one of these alts. The alt display names are changed fairly regularly; this means that the House name you log in as will not necessarily match the House name everybody sees on the thread. Please don't log-in as any alt other than the one that the mods assigned to you. Also, during the game, please remember to log-in anonymously when in your alt account. This stops people being tempted to make arguments based on who was viewing the thread at a given time; (this sort of thing is frowned upon).
If this sounds confusing, you may want to wait for somebody to start an altless minigame. Probably half of the minigames people run don't use alts, while the bigger games almost always do. However, don't feel that you have to start with a minigame - picking things up as you go during a bigger game works fine too.
Edited by Sophelia, 25 September 2007 - 02:12 PM.