Great game for limited space or if you’re stuck indoors. Also good for smaller groups or over-nighters.
The object of the game is to not get killed. It takes a lot of explaining, but once you get it, it will quickly become a favorite. You need at least 8 players to make the game interesting. You need a deck of cards, or slips of paper with the identities on them. For 10 or more, there should be 2 Mafia, 1 Angel, 1 Cop, and the rest townspeople. For less, have only 1 Mafia. Try not to play with more than 30, because it turns into a huge shouting match. Distribute the identities secretly. Everyone should keep their identity a secret, but if they choose to they can reveal it as part of strategy later.
Here is an outline of how to play each round:
FIRST GET IN A BIG CIRCLE SITTING DOWN.
- Narrator says “Town go to sleep.” All players put their heads down and close their eyes.
- N: “Mafia wake up” Only the mafia open their eyes and look at narrator.
- N: “Mafia, who do you want to kill?” Mafia have to point to someone in the room and agree on that person. Narrator nods to let them know they understand.
- N: “Mafia go to sleep” Mafia close eyes again.
- N: “Cop wake up” The cop opens eyes. “Who do you think it is?” Cop points to someone they suspect is a mafia. Narrator either nods yes or no. Now the cop has an advantage for later. “Cop go to sleep”
- N: “Angel wake up” Same deal. “Angel, who do you want to save?” Usually, the angel points to him/herself, in case they were picked to be killed off. But sometimes they are gracious and point to someone else to be saved, especially if they have an idea who has been picked by the Mafia. “Angel go to sleep”
- N: “Town wake up” At this point, everyone opens their eyes, and the narrator announces who is dead, or that no-one is dead (if Angel managed to save them.) Everyone gasps in surprise, and then the accusations fly.
- Narrator asks for accusations as to who the town thinks the mafia is. It’s usually a good idea to limit it to 2 or 3 per round. To make it more interesting, I always insist on the accuser making up some creative reason why they are accusing so-and-so. (like, “I heard them leave their house last night” or “look how muddy their shoes are!”)
- Narrator then allows each of the accused to defend themselves. This whole process can get really rowdy, and you need to be careful not to offend the sensitive kids. The narrator must remain neutral, but can egg on either side with “facts.”
- After a few minutes, narrator should announce that it’s time to vote. By a show of hands, go through each accused. The one with the most votes gets “killed” by the town and is therefore dead.
When someone is “dead” they cannot participate in the accusations. They are not allowed to talk. However, they get to keep their eyes open and find out all the answers to the mystery. Remind students not to cheat, because the temptation is great to do so! The game ends when either both Mafia are killed off (town wins) or are the only ones left (mafia wins).
The advantage of being the cop is that they can say “I’m the cop, I know the Mafia is so-and-so.” However, they should be careful, as sometimes the town doesn’t believe them and the cop ends up getting killed off! Also, you can play that once the Angel is killed off, that’s it, or that he/she can continue to save people because they don’t technically die.
Added by Becky Heffner
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.