Mafia game

It's going to be a dangerous night and fierce clashes as the Mafia has once again taken over the city. Sheriffs' shots and civilians' screams echo in the distance... Can they defeat the bad guys and take back what belongs to ordinary civilians? Find out in Mafia, a fast-paced, highly entertaining game full of intrigue and blood-curdling suspense! In this guide you will find the rules, player characters and tips for playing Mafia.

Instruments needed for the game

Mafia is played with a normal deck of cards. Depending on the number of players, different numbers of cards are played. There are many variations of the game, especially when playing with a large group of people, when new characters and special rules are invented.

There must always be at least one moderator in the game who does not own any cards. Choosing a great moderator will add a new colour to the game, as you will not only play, but also be immersed in an interesting story that you will participate in and create!

The best online casinos offered for games

Mafia player characters

Aces - Mafia figures (the bad guys who commit crimes and "kill" the innocent)

Kings - Sheriffs (good players who influence other players by learning at least one role during the game)

Damos - Doctors (The good ones, who can protect the innocent and themselves. You can only protect yourself every other round, as it is possible that the Doctors will abuse their position in order to stay in the game until the end)

All remaining cards are Civilians (nare completely neutral players because they have voting rights)

Additional characters are possible if there are many players. This will add even more surprises to the game, for example:

  • Bartender - a mafia member who has the power to undo a character's action during the night, e.g. when a doctor is protecting a member, he can undo the protection.
  • The lynchpin - considered innocent, capable of killing one player a night.
  • Magician - on the side of the innocent. You can choose between killing one of the mobsters or saving the one who is about to die. Appears only once in the game.
  • Werewolf - presumed innocent, belongs to the Mafia at night. If he is killed, his identity is revealed.
  • Curious Tom - has the right to close his eyes at any moment, and learns the characters of the characters. Often killed because he knows "too much".
  • Grandma with a gun - presumed innocent, she can kill anyone she wants every night. If the sheriff is chosen, both die. If it's the mafia's choice, not her, but a mafia figure dies. Nobody ever knows whose fault the death is.
  • Cupid and lovers - Cupid is a virgin and can choose 2 players for the "first night". One of them dies immediately, the other dies of a "broken heart". The lovers can be resurrected by the moderator and learn their roles.
  • Informant - finds out who the Mafia is, but can't tell anyone. During the night, the moderator allows them to open their eyes before ordering the mafia characters to close their eyes and raise their hands. The informant helps the good players, but is killed if he turns himself in.
  • Battleship - cannot be killed by the mafia. You can only vote in the game.
  • Bandit - helps the mafia, has no vote.
  • Advocate - chooses who they want to defend. Once you have chosen a person to defend, you cannot vote the next day.
  • Rambo - can throw a "grenade" at a player, taking the lives of two other players sitting next to him.
  • Bus driver - can secretly change the roles of two players.
  • The outsiders - look like innocents, waking up to the choices of the mafia and doctors. If an outsider is chosen for murder, the moderator can secretly tell them.

How many players play?

"Mafia can be played by 5 or more players, so it's best to have a large group of friends and acquaintances. That way, you'll have a fun night out. 

It is said that the most interesting game starts when there are at least double-digit numbers of players. 

Mafia for 5-8 players. The cards are as follows:

1 moderator, 2 mafia characters, 1 sheriff, 1 doctor, 0-3 civilians

 Playing 9-12 players

1 moderator, 3 mafia figures, 2 sheriffs, 1 doctor, 2-5 civilians

 Playing 13-16 players

1 moderator, 4 mafia figures, 3 sheriffs, 1 doctor, 4-7 civilians

Goal of Mafia

If you are dealt a Mafia card - Aces - your goal is to eliminate all remaining players - Sheriffs, Doctor and Civilians.

 If you are dealt cards other than Mafia cards, your goal is to remove all Mafia characters from the game.

How to play Mafia?

The game has two phases - day and night. Night, when the mafia chooses to "kill" the innocent, and Day, when the good players try to kick the mafia out of the game.

For example, if there are 10 players, only 9 cards are played (the moderator does not receive a card). The following cards are played:

  • Aces of drums, hearts, wines - 3 mafia characters
  • Queen of Hearts - 1 Doctor
  • Kings of Wine and Crosses - 2 sheriffs
  • Seven of Drums, Four of Clubs, Ten of Hearts - 3 civilians


The moderator shuffles the cards and distributes one to each player, which they can look at in secret. At the start of the game, all players' cards must be turned over and arranged in a circle on the table.

The game starts when the moderator asks all players to close their eyes. Then, at his command, those players who have Mafias cards - that's how they find out they are accomplices.

The Mafia's next task is to decide which player they want to eliminate first. They do this secretly, so that their opponents don't realise, by moving their eyes, head or showing special hand signals. In this case, the Mafia chooses to eject the player with the drum seven - one of the civilians. Then the mafia figures close their eyes again.

The moderator then asks Doctoral open your eyes. Again, the Doctor secretly tells the moderator which player he wants to protect in this round. In this case, the Doctor chooses to save King of the Crosses - one of the sheriffs. After choosing a player, the doctor also closes his eyes.

It's your turn to open your eyes for sheriffs. They must again choose one player. If the chosen player is a member of the Mafia, the moderator will give them a thumbs up or thumbs down.

If the thumb is up, the sheriffs realise they have chosen the bad guy, if the thumb is down, the good guy. In this case, a civilian is chosen - the four of clubs. Sheriffs close their eyes.


The moderator then summarises what happened by telling a story (because it's even more interesting!). He starts: 'Last night, a group of mafia persisted in their search for those who stole their money. Because of 'dirty games' they had removed one of the civilians from their sight - a drum set of seven, because the doctor chose the wrong person to protect." The seven of sevens card and the player are removed from the game.

If the Doctor has previously chosen to protect a player chosen by the Mafia, that player remains in the game. Likewise, if the Mafia had chosen the Doctor instead of a civilian or a Sheriff, the Doctor is the only player who can keep his life.

 The players then discuss for about 3-5 minutes which players could be mafia characters. After selecting 2 possible mafia characters, for example the ten of hearts - civil and the ace of wines - mafia character, players vote again and choose to remove one of them from the game.

In this case, the players make a mistake and are eliminated from the game the ten of hearts - civilian. The card is removed from the table. An important aspect is that none of the players can show their cards, not even those who have already been removed from the game.

Again the moderator tells all players to close their eyes and the game starts again - the Mafia chooses a new offering.

The best online casinos offered for games

Who won?

There are 2 possible endings to this game - bad guys and good guys: 

The Mafia wins if they manage to eliminate all remaining players throughout the game. If there are at least 2 mafia players left at the end, the mafia is still considered the winner of the game.

Other players win if all Mafia characters are removed from the game.

Unexpected circumstances

Sometimes you may find yourself in situations where you don't know how to get out of them or what move to make. The following rules will best help the game moderator. Some of the most common situations and how to deal with them:

  • Sometimes it happens that a player accidentally wakes up at the wrong time. The solution is simple - either restart the round or remove that player from the game immediately.

For example, when the Mafia asks for a wake-up call, the doctor suddenly wakes up. The host announces a new game or secretly kicks the doctor out.

  • If you are a moderator and you forget which character is which and what happened in the last round, you have the right to restart the game in order not to prejudice the interests of the players and not to change the course of the game in a sympathetic way.

For example, you forget which person the mafia wanted to kill, so you tell everyone to shut up again, and the mafia to shut up again, and you ask them again which player was unlucky.

Psychology and advice

It's probably already clear that Mafia is a psychological game, so pay attention to your players' emotions, body language, gaze and breathing. Even if you are close friends with the people you are playing with in real life, bear in mind that they may be your opponents in the game and don't let sympathy win.


Some people are good at hiding emotions or faking them, so when you ask them if they are civilians or mafia or doctors and they smile naively, don't jump to conclusions.

There have been cases in the game where players smile and appear to be lying when they are in fact ordinary civilians.

Don't be too quiet either, as you may give the wrong impression later on by talking like crazy. Other players may then think that you are only talking because you want to get them out of the game.

If you are in the mafia, try not to show signs of being in a team. On the contrary, keep a cool head, ignore each other, and you may even start to blame each other. In this way you will confuse the other players and have a better chance of winning.

And when it comes to the mafia, it is important to learn how to wage war - not just to try to take out the others as quickly as possible, but to sacrifice one's own for the sake of a more interesting game. For example, in an 8-player game, there are 2 mafia members. You have already killed 3 people, and there are 3 more to go, but in order to defeat them, you can confuse the players' minds and kill your own.

Nobody will ever suspect that the mafia can kill another mafia player, so they will start removing their own players - the good ones - from the game. You can also sow doubt by commenting that you played well and eliminated another opponent. People are very influenced by comments like that.

If you're a sheriff, you have to learn to protect others. If you already know who the good players are, try to save them.

For example, if you are playing against 2 mafia characters and one of them is dead, you can use your rights to tell the other players that there is only one mafia character left in the game, and that they should all join forces to defeat him. This is considered to be an aggressive way of playing.

Mafia game history

The Mafia card game originated in the Soviet Union in 1986, and was developed by Dmitry Davidoff while he was studying psychology at Moscow State University. Its original purpose was to be used as a teaching method to show how group behaviour and hidden roles work.

The game quickly gained popularity among students and spread to many schools in Russia.

The Mafia game reached Western audiences in the 1990s and became a favourite party activity in places such as schools, camps and social events. Flexible rules and a fun style have led to many different versions of the game, including special themed versions or online platforms.

Overall, the history of the mafia shows that it started as a learning game, became a favourite among different cultures and has remained very popular as a social guessing game.

More card games click here, And if you're interested in casino games, visit our casino games page.

The best online casinos offered for games