How to play
Welcome to the Mafia game! This is essentially the party game Mafia, but each player plays as a character, and the events of the game are in comic form.
Before we get to the rules, here are some things to remember:
Take nothing personally
People get eliminated, that’s just how it works. If you don’t idle, you’ll always get another chance to play. Your character can be reused.
Suspect with respect
Quality of work, or any other kind of personal attack, is NOT a good reason to suspect someone. This game WILL make you paranoid, but be respectful to others, and remember that it’s just a game.
This is a story AND strategy game.
Don’t focus so much on strategy that you miss the story and the dimensions added by the characters and conflict, but don’t let the characters’ actions trump the game structure.
To join a game, sign up when a GM announces it. The GM moderates the game, rather than participating. Everyone else, once they create a character, is sent a PM stating their role. Here are the basic roles:
- Townspeople: The innocents. These are the majority of players.
- Mafia: Who win by killing off the innocents. There are handful of these, about 20–25%.
- Police: An innocent who can detect a player’s role.
- Doctor: An innocent who can protect other players from attack.
These are the basic roles. Additional special roles or other structures are up to the GM.
There are night and day phases. Each phase typically lasts a few days. Slower or faster pace is up to the GM.
At night, the mafia decide together who to kill, and tell the GM their decision. The GM will set up a page for Mafia to discuss and compare notes. (Google docs is good). The mafia chooses a target by majority vote. If there is no majority, there is no hit and the townspeople get a free vote.
The police will decide on a person whose role to investigate, and tell the GM, who will then reveal it to him/her.
The doctor will decide on a person to protect, and tell the GM. The doctor can protect anyone, including him/herself.
(Optionally, the game can be made tougher for the innocents by only telling the cop whether a player is sided with innocent/guilty. Also, the doctor can be made not to protect themselves. These details are up to the GM.) Once all targets are in, the GM creates a comic showing who was killed. (If the mafia and doctor selected the same target, nobody is killed.) The dead person is dead, and is not allowed affect the gameplay further. They can still add to the story with epilogue pages. These depend on the details of the theme.
The living players each vote for one they suspect is a mafia member. You are allowed to discuss your vote publicly, to rally against someone. You are also allowed to communicate with each other privately and discuss suspects. Whoever receives the most votes is killed. They are “dead” and their role is revealed.
However, if there is a tie, there will be a revote between the tied. The tied are not allowed to vote in the revote. If the revote leads to another tie, the kill will be decided randomly.
Also, if one of the tied has idled, there is no revote; they are automatically killed. If more than one of the tied has idled, the revote will be between the idlers. All others are free.
Idling is failing to vote during the day, or failing to perform your special role during the night. Idling players spoil the game, so before joining a SJM be sure you read this.
- All players should have computer access at least once a day for as long as the game runs.
- If you fail to vote once you will get a warning PM from the GM.
- If you fail to vote twice, you are removed from the game.
- If a special role idles at night, there is no penalty, but they fail to help their respective side.
- If you have idled in multiple games, then it is up to the GM to allow you in a game or not.
- Invalid votes or targets from anyone also count as idling. Be sure that you pick someone who is still alive. If there is a tie you must vote on one of those in the tie!
- You must send your vote from your own account. It’s not allowed to have someone else send your vote.
- GM’s reserve the right to bug you with friendly reminders if the deadline runs near.
- You can avoid idling by sending in a ‘default’ vote at the beginning of the day phase. If you decide to change your vote, send another PM.
- While not always strictly required by some GMs, it’s important to post at least one drawing for each day/night cycle. This can be anything from a full multi-panel comic page to a single panel scene. You can suppliment a single panel drawing with some descriptive writing in the author/comment section.
The game ends either when the last Mafia member is killed (Innocent victory) or the Mafia members outnumber or equal the Innocents during the day (Mafia victory).
Additionally, third party roles (fool, lovers, etc.) can have their own win conditions.
Neither side can win by default, i.e., by someone on the opposing side idling. If anyone idles during a ‘game point’, idling penalties still apply, but they remain in the game.
All players must create a character. The character should:
- Fit the announced theme.
- Be sentient enough to vote or kill.
- Be killable. No Godmods or Mary Sues.
- Not be too detailed, have room to develop.
- Have a role/job. (Cook, mechanic, plumber, etc.)
Comics are the essence of this game! All players should make a comic at least once every other phase. Comics take time to make, but even if they’re sketchy, even if they’re one or two panels, as long as they’re comprehensible, draw. Inactive players tend to be suspect. ;)
When drawing other characters, stay true to them. No deaths or murders happen except the mafia’s kills and the votes. Only the GM draws those. (In other words, it’s okay to draw an accusation of guilt, but not okay to draw another character in the act of murder.) Nobody leaves or enters the town.
Other than that, come up with creative ways to enhance the story. Can two characters flirt or fall in love? Can a wager take place? Any prejudices or grudges? This is what adds variety and makes it fun!
To sign up for a session you’ll need to enter before the game starts. If you need extra time to create your character profile art, you can post a temporary text description page. The GM decides the cut-off point. Please make sure you will have at least enough free time to participate in voting and character discussion, since leaving before your character leaves the game may negatively unbalance the gameplay for other players.
If this is your first time, leave a comment on a session’s starting page asking for posting permissions, or contact Kree via the Contact Info on his profile.
Once approved as a co-author, you’ll be able to add comic pages. Please be sure to select the correct chapter, and misuse of comic uploading may result in loss of permissions. If you need an edit done to a page that you cannot do yourself, or you need the page moved to a new position, please contact Kree via the Contact Info on his profile.
As a rule of thumb, use this format for character profile titles:
Ref: (Character name) by (Author name)
And for game pages titles it’s good to use something structured, like:
D1 - (Title) - (Character or Author name)
D1 is short for “Day 1”,
N1 for “Night 1”, etc. After the game starts but before the first mafia kill is usually named Day/Night 0. Players are also allowed to post Epilogue pages if they want to tell more of their character’s stories, even after the next game starts.