Fantasy Flight Games
The Godfather liked the Detective. Had known him since he was a scruffy kid playing ball in the street. But the Detective knew too much, was too close to discovering too many secrets. He may even already suspect that the friendly man down the block who'd first taught him how to throw a punch was actually the head of the Mafia. The Godfather liked the Detective quite a bit, but family was family, and for the Mafia family to survive, the Detective had to die.
Mafia: Vendetta is a party game of bluffing, suspicion, and murder, created by the team at Hobby World and based on an original game design by Dimitry Davidoff. In Mafia: Vendetta, a town is torn apart when the resident Mafia begins to murder its enemies. The Mafia members all dwell within the town and participate in the community as if ordinary civilians, publically talking about the murders with fear and astonishment, accusing other civlians of being mobsters or Thugs. They aim to keep their identities concealed and to keep killing until they dominate the town. But the civilians are willing to go to any means necessary to condemn the murderers and eliminate crime. Anyone could be a part of the Mafia. Everyone is suspect.
The game takes place over a series of rounds, each proceeding from night to dawn to day. Every night the Mafia kills another person, every day the civilians gather to discuss the murders, choose suspects, and vote to condemn someone to death. Most players take on the roles of civilians, a few play the Mafia members hidden among them. One player is chosen as a facilitator who will run the game and, at every dawn, reveal to the civilians what murders occurred under the cover of night. The civilians win if they can condemn all the Mafia members to death. The Mafia wins if it can kill off enough civilians to become the majority in the town.
The Dangerous Dark of Night
In the quiet, dangeorus, dark of night, individuals go about their solitary business and the Mafia holds its secret meetings. When night falls and a round begins, all players close their eyes. The facilitator then calls out every role in the game, giving each player a chance to use any special abilities. At some point during that role call he will awaken all the members of the Mafia. Together, the Mafia silently selects a civilian to kill.
Thugs, who kill but have no other special ability, make up most of the mafia. Depending on the size of your group, however, there may be more powerful mobsters in your midst. The Lawyer, for example, can investigate a player each night and learn that player’s role. Knowing this information may lead the Mafia to kill that player immediately, or spare them… temporarily. If someone who isn’t part of the Mafia has fallen under suspicion, the Snitch can badmouth that player, so he appears to be a Thug to anyone who investigates him. The intimidating, cunning Godfather can silence a player so that, although still able to discuss the town’s affairs, that player cannot vote to condemn anyone to death.
Civilians may also act during the night, but no civilian knows what any other may be doing. The Nurse, for example, can select a player to protect for the length of that one night, but that player will never know that the Nurse was looking out for him. The Bodyguard has a similar ability, except that if an attempt is made on the player he chose to protect, the Bodyguard is killed instead. The Priest can kill or investigate someone, but the screen of the church confession booth reveals more than it hides. Anyone investigated by the Priest learns the Priest’s true identity as well.
The Harsh Light of Day
At the break of dawn the town wakes up to discover what happened overnight. The facilitator reveals who was killed by the Mafia and whether anyone was killed by a civilian, and all players murdered must immediately reveal their roles and withdraw from the game. Then dawn brightens into day, and all players, civilian and Mafia, discuss last night’s events, the murders, and the Mafia in general. Together, the community must nominate two suspects to face an immediate trial of their peers, and while everyone is eager to point fingers, there's no way to tell who is telling the truth and who has something to hide, no way to know for certain whether a suspect is truly guilty or wrongly acused. Nevertheless, each suspect must be voted on by a raise of hands and whichever earns the most votes is condemned to death.
Most civilians are innocent Bystanders, able to participate in the discussion, name suspects, and vote to kill. Among you there may also be civilian leaders, like the Priest, or specialists, like the Nurse and Bodyguard. The Judge is a civilian leader whose vote has extra authority and counts as two votes, although his identity is known only to the facilitator. The hyponist is a specialist who can hypnotize a player at night – that player’s votes then matches the hypnotists at the next day’s trial. But while the Judge can also investigate a player’s identity, and therefore base his vote on some (limited knowledge, the hypnotist cannot, and chooses his victims knowing nothing more than any other ordinary bystander. Remember, the Mafia members know each other from the start of the game. The civilians, however, must suspect everyone else if they want to uncover the Mafia – and if they want to survive.
In the day’s discussions the Mafia members must deflect suspicion away from themselves and each other, directing it towards civilians they would like to have killed. At the same time, it is in these discussions that the Mafia is at its most dangerous. It has a chance to manipulate the civilians, and perhaps even persuade them to eliminate the Mafia’s intended victims, so that the civilians hand the criminals victory despite themselves.
Loners and Crime Wars
Mafia: Vendetta also includes two alternative modes that introduce a third party to the town. In the Loner mode, a single, murderous character joins in, bearing allegiance to no one but himself. That Loner may be a Psycho who kills off other players one by one simply for the joy of killing, or a Femme Fatale, willing to murder anyone but the most innocent bystanders. The Loner may even be an joking Imposter who has infiltrated the Mafia by pretending to be a Thug. Any Loner wins by surviving long enough to see the Mafia becomes the majority in town, or if he murders everyone else and becomes the sole living person in the town. The civilians may win if the Loner remains among them, but the Mafia has to eliminate the Loner in order to truly take control of the town.
In Yakuza mode, a new criminal syndicate arrives in town, determined to take it over from the Mafia. To win, the Yakuza players must not only eliminate the Mafia, but also cut the number of civilians down to equal or less than their own number. If only one Yakuza and one Mafia player remain alive in the town, no winner is declared, since the two would naturally eliminate each other – and no town is left for them to control.
Trust No One
No matter what your role is, no matter mode you play in, you must kill to survive. If you want your killing to bring you victory, however, you’ll have to convince others to vote alongside you, carefully use your special abilities, and choose your victims wisely. Play your civilian role or conceal your Mafia role well, be ruthless, and trust no one. Your life and the future of your community depend on it.
30 - 45 minutes
7 - 17 players