How to play the Russian mafia game
Mafia game was invented in Moscow in 1986 by Dima Davidov who was inspired by then popular Italian series "La Piovra" starring Michele Placido. It is a great game to play with a big number of players, starting from at least 6 players and up to 16 players. It trains strategic thinking, intuition, attention, team thinking. Can be played at a party, or during the trip.
In order to play the game, all you need is a deck of usual cards. The cards are sorted by their color as the players are divided into peaceful citizens including the Mayor and gangsters including the chief gangster (mafia). The number of cards is the same as the number of players and there always is the king of hearts (for the Mayor) and the king of spades for the chief of gangsters. The deck is shuffled and the cards are distributed between the players. As for other cards, they are taken the following way:
- 6-7 players = 2 black cards + others red
- 8-10 players = 3 black cards + others red
- 11-13 players = 4 black cards + others red
- 14-16 players = 5 black cards + others red
All players should be informed about the number of black cards.
As the cards are distributed between the players, they all secretly look at them, then put their cards aside back up. Nobody knows everybody else`s cards. Usually, the hearts signify peaceful citizens and the spades the gangsters.
The leader then declares "Nighttime" so everybody goes to sleep, all the players close their eyes. Excepted the gangsters who wake up suddenly! At the moment when the leader says "Gangsters wake up!" those players whose cards are colored black open their eyes and look for the others with the eyes open. Thus gangsters recognize each other. Then they close their eyes again and the leader announces the dawn.
At the dawn, everybody opens their eyes and the players start the discussion concerning whom they suspect as gangsters. The goal for the peaceful citizens is to find the gangsters by the way they behave. Maybe they look a little suspicious, their eyes look strange, etc. For the gangsters it is important to hide their real personality and to survive. As the suspected gangster is voted by the majority of the voices, the person is conducted to 'death' and reveals his or her card. If the Mayor is killed, the game is considered over and the gangsters win. If the chief gangster is killed, the game is over likewise and the peaceful citizens win. Everyone then can reveal their cards. If the person killed is neither the Mayor nor the chief gangster, the game continues. The 'killed' player then just watches the game.
During the next night phase the Mayor opens his eyes and kills the person he considers as a gangster. He can do so just by pointing at this person. As the "city" wakes up, the leader announces the one who was killed this night. This person can only watch the game now.
Then follows the discussion again with the final decision to kill the suspected gangster.
Next night is gangster`s night and they decide to kill the person whom they think to be the Mayor.
If the Mayor is still alive, the game continues till either gangsters or peaceful citizens win. At night time either the Mayor or the gangsters wake up. They take turns. At day time the vote takes place. The players can vote just by raising their hands. It is up to the leader then to keep an eye on how many gangster and peaceful citizens are still alive.