A forum game of secrets and treachery
August 19, 2015 8:04 PM   Subscribe

You may have heard of Mafia, a psychological party game where players try to weed out the killers in their midst.

You may not have stumbled across NeoGAF's ongoing forum-based mafia games, though. Each season, games are hosted with media "flavors," chock-full of back-stabbing, mind games, and more twists and turns than a double helix. This season you can follow the madcap, Cthulhu-esqe adventures of tourists stranded on a island with insane cultists. Or perhaps you'd rather go back to Despair Academy with a psychotic teddy bear, or observe as ISIS agents try to catch those KGB bastards.

In past seasons, games took place in a galaxy far, far away, a village full of animal friends, and the beautiful, perilous isle of Sicily.

And, of course, you can always join the waitlist to become a part of the action.
posted by anthy (22 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Does anyone here play this online? My partner and I love mafia (and related board games like the resistance), but part of my interest is being able to look people in the eye to read them.
posted by lownote at 8:14 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I've never had very good experiences with forum games, but I'm really tempted to waste a bunch of time on this and sign up for a NeoGAF account.

A private forum I'm in tried to get through a Game of Things which I moderated and we still haven't finished in 2 years because they're too damn lazy to make guesses.
posted by numaner at 8:27 PM on August 19, 2015


There's also epic mafia, an online live game that is a bit faster paced and doesn't use a forum system.
posted by Alterity at 8:37 PM on August 19, 2015


numaner: "Oh man, I've never had very good experiences with forum games, but I'm really tempted to waste a bunch of time on this and sign up for a NeoGAF account."

It might have changed since I first registered, but NeoGAF is a bit of a chore to get into -- you have to sign up using an institutional email (like college or ISP) and wait on a fairly long waiting list to be approved.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:45 PM on August 19, 2015


I've played a ton (and designed-run about as many) play-by-email versions of these with different themes. They are awesome. I am considering taking small stipends to do this for groups. Memail me for details.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:27 PM on August 19, 2015


I don't understand the game.

From Wikipedia: "Day... Discussion ensues. At any point a player may accuse someone of being a mafioso and prompt others to vote to lynch him."

Discussion based on what? Blind guesses?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:51 PM on August 19, 2015


Watching for patterns in who's making accusations and who's dying at night it's a big part of the game.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:57 PM on August 19, 2015


Discussion based on what? Blind guesses?

That sounds like something a mafioso would say!
posted by Tsuga at 9:58 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


What fascinates me most about this, is that it was invented in Moscow in 1986/1987, and by 1995 was already a long-standing traditional game played at my college in Tucson, Arizona. I thought it was from like, the 50's.
posted by mrdaneri at 10:22 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Seeing what happened to Blargonaut in the Cthulhu game brought a tear to my eye.
posted by sophist at 10:29 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, man. I haven't played Mafia in over a decade, but there were a few years, right around the turn of the millenium, when that game wasthe very breath of life.

Come to think of it, if it weren't for Mafia, I probably wouldn't be married.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:42 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


ost about this, is that it was invented in Moscow in 1986/1987, and by 1995 was already a long-standing traditional game played at my college in Tucson, Arizona. I thought it was from like, the 50's.

I've just assumed it was invented by Tom Lehrer in 1956 like everything else
posted by grobstein at 10:54 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Another fantastic place to play is at the mafiascum.net forums, which have been running for well over a decade. I was about to say don't be turned off by the Web 1.0 forum design but then I remembered most of the people reading this would be familiar with the similarly dated Classic MetaFilter theme. The people are friendly, the game design is consistently top-notch (games have to be vetted by reviewers before being run) and the site has a lot of dedicated functionality to make playing the games smooth and easy.
posted by president of the solipsist society at 11:23 PM on August 19, 2015


Where do I start in the NeoGaf thread? I'm really confused.
posted by gucci mane at 11:47 PM on August 19, 2015


Wow I tried reading through the Cthulu one... There's a LOT of rules talk even after the game officially starts
posted by Bwithh at 1:34 AM on August 20, 2015


There's a variant of Mafia called Werewolf, which I see people playing late into the night in the hallways at GenCon every year.
posted by Gelatin at 4:21 AM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Werewolf variant is also a HUGE tradition at DragonCon. Late night, early morning, in long panel lines. In past years, these impromptu games have gotten so huge and boisterous that the game has been kicked out of the main gaming table room this year, and given a whole separate floor of the same hotel so they don't disrupt the other tabletop gamers.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:29 AM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Discussion based on what? Blind guesses?

That's sort of the fundamental problem with Mafia, yeah. The Detective will eventually know a little more than the other players, but it's also possible for that player to get knocked out by chance in the first round. It usually devolves into ad hominem shouting match.

Avalon is the definitive Mafia, if you ask me. Like Resistance, there's no player elimination, so the fact that the first round is a blind guess doesn't turn it into a slog.* The most important difference is that Avalon features a Merlin player role instead of a Detective, who knows from the beginning of the game which players are on the side of evil. Merlin has to be discrete, though, because if the evil players can successfully identify Merlin at the end of the game, they win. The biggest difference this makes is when you're evil: When you're lying and you know someone at the table knows you're lying but you don't know who it is, it becomes a totally new, much more interesting game.

My win record with Mafia is very good, especially with people I know, because I can play it cool and honest on either side. Avalon turns me into a sweating, swearing pile of pleas and accusations; I love it so much.

*The rote first round is considered kind of a minor problem with the game, but it happens very quickly, so it's sort of accepted as part of the set-up ritual. A random player picks a random team. There's room for a bit of low-value psychology and reverse-psychology, and sometimes people take the opportunity to act like clowns or dicks, but the team is almost invariably approved within a minute or so.
posted by WCWedin at 6:22 AM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mafia (and Werewolf) are lynch mob simulators.

I found them fun at first until I realized, uh wait, everybody's being literally the worst possible version of themself. Nope
posted by effugas at 9:14 AM on August 20, 2015


the similarly dated Classic MetaFilter theme

Timeless. The word is timeless.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:24 AM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


My husband's nephews and nieces love this game. I never am that interested in playing, but I am regularly called on to describe why the Powerpuff Girls are busy saving Townsville and can't stop the Mafia murders.
posted by immlass at 1:01 PM on August 20, 2015


Being in Utah, it's a frequent game played among Mormon youth as it's a good group activity with clean fun. We have a friend who throws parties that inevitably end in several games of Werewolves. I play along and then find ways to get myself killed so I can stand around and drink and snack while watching everyone else fight and j'accuse each other (plus I can watch the doings in the night phase that way). There are some fun variations on the genre that try to increase the intelligence behind lynching day phases but I'm usually too drunk and too lazy to latch on to the nuances of reading people and what not.
posted by msbutah at 3:31 PM on August 26, 2015


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