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How to Play Citizen and Mafia

Updated on September 30, 2010

Ready to Swim with the Fishes?

Are you a good liar? Are you good at telling if others are lying? Even if you are terrible at both, Citizen-Mafia is a fun, tension-filled game of trying to figure out who's bluffing, who really is innocent (a citizen) and finally, convincing everyone else you are innocent - even if you are not. Bottomline: whatever you say, whatever your argument is, you need to be believable.

The game is the most fun if the players know each other, even if just on an acquaintance-level. The idea is to get defensive, even if it means going on the offensive.

Players and Setting:

The setting is a once-peaceful town which has been corrupted by the evil Mafia. The Mafia will be 2 of the players in your group.

The Mafia's sole purpose is to murder the citizens getting in their way. They have free reign of the town at night, but by day they are citizens-in-disguise.

One person is the moderator, who ends the daily lively discussions and provides the play-by-play in the 'morning' of who the mafia has chosen to kill off. He is actually in the know of who is mafia, so he cannot participate in the discussions.

How to Play:

The game is best if you have 9-13 players, but can be played by less or more. Players are either Citizens or Mafia. In addition, one of the citizens is the Investigator. Who plays what is determined by a drawing - you can simply write Cs and Ms on little strips of paper and put them in a hat, enough for each person to draw one. Each person draws one piece and shows it to no one. Only the investigator can announce that he/she is the investigator. (I've heard using playing cards - 2 black for Mafia, red for Citizens, and a Joker or similar for the Investigator)

You can start with 2 or 3 Mafia, and the rest Citizens

Order of Play:

  1. Everyone discusses who they think is Mafia. The moderator should let them have a reasonable time for this discussion. The group votes on the one person they think is Mafia (note - it could end up being a citizen, but no one can reveal their label until the game is over). He becomes the Investigator (moderator). If more than half the living players agree, then the elected person is unceremoniously removed from the game. There should always be an odd number of players during the day, so a vote will not end in a deadlock. Voting and debates may become heated. That's why it's so fun! You find unsavory qualities in all of your friends. :)
  2. After that vote, 'night has fallen' and the Moderator tells everyone to close their eyes. Then he says, "Mafia, please open your eyes." This is the first time the Mafia is revealed to the Moderator.
  3. The members of the Mafia then select someone they will murder, by just using their eyes. If it is hard for the Moderator to tell who they are looking at, they can point, but keep in mind, when people hear shifting next to them, they might think their neighbor is a Mafia member! The Mafia then close their eyes.
  4. The Investigator then tells the whole group to open its eyes and announces who was killed, i.e.: "John is dead." Or be creative as to cause of death.:) Moderator and deceased cannot say if he was a citizen or mafia.
  5. The citizens, realizing that their previous council did not root out all the evil, return to step one and play proceeds from there.

Winning Conditions

The game is over when:

  • All of the Mafia have been eliminated by the citizens. The Citizens win!
  • There are an equal number of townspeople and Mafia at the end of a "day". The Mafia wins.


During the first day, members of the Mafia have no information about who's in the Mafia or not. The person to get voted out is pretty random, so it's up to everyone to make a good, convincing first statement that will result in them not being voted out.

Once the first night falls, though, the Mafia will be able to act together to eliminate the citizens.


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    • profile image

      Ahmed Mostafa 6 years ago

      This game have also a doctor who can guess the citizen who killed and point @ him or point to him self if he choose the right one then there's no one have been the game have Mafia,Citizen, Investigator and doctor

    • profile image

      Icefrog 6 years ago

      >>>> If you want to play this, Go at Have a happy day

    • Pierre Savoie profile image

      Pierre Savoie 7 years ago from Canada

      This kind of game has been a folk game in Russia for a long time. The setting has also been changed into the "Werewolf" games. Ted Alspach's ULTIMATE WEREWOLF (Bézier games) has game variations that allow up to 68 players at a time!

    • AroundtownSue profile image

      AroundtownSue 8 years ago from Mountain View

      Denden, sorry for the VERY late response to this. You need a large group of people - maybe 8-10 to play. It's just a house party game...have fun!

    • profile image

      DENDEN 9 years ago

      now that i know how to play, where do i play?