Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Star Wars Mafia

This post has no relevance to anything I usually post about. It’s just a really great game that needs to be shared (and explained so people can actually play it).

I did not create this game. That credit goes to Jordan Bolte, a graduate of Taylor my freshman year who I never actually met. My sister and I modified it a bit, adding and taking away characters and changing a few powers, but he came up with most of this.

But, seriously, this game is awesome. Even people who hate normal Mafia love it. The world needs to know about it. So bear with the lengthy rules. The best way to learn about this game is to play a round or two. It’s not complicated for anyone…except the Force, the narrator. So this document is really for all the wannabe Forces out there. Enjoy.

A Really Vague Overview

If you haven’t played Mafia, here’s the general idea: You pass out cards (in this case, notecards marked with names and a quick description of the character’s power) to everyone. The rest is divided into two parts that repeat until the game is over.
Night: Everyone closes their eyes. You tell the Mafia/Sith to wake up and kill someone. Then you ask the Jedi Masters (one by one) to wake up and use their powers.
Day: Everyone wakes up, and you announce who has died (or, in rare cases, that no one has died). The people discuss who they think is guilty. Lies, manipulation, confusion, etc. Then they nominate two people to the stand for a trial. They vote on who they think is Sith. Majority rules. Someone dies. And everyone goes to sleep again for the night.
Object: The Sith want to kill the citizens, especially the Jedi Masters, before they are killed. The citizens want to kill the Sith. The last side standing wins. For the Force, the object is to make up entertaining death stories and not give anything away to disturb the logic of the game.


The most important, minimum-needed-for-a-good-game characters (10 total, plus the Force) are marked with a star. General rule: Add the third Mafia when you have a dozen, and if you have more than 16, add another random Sith.

The Sith (known as Mafia in the original)
  • Emperor Palpatine*: the head Sith. If the Sith cannot agree on who to kill, the Force will ask, “Emperor, who would you like to kill?” and that settles that. (Highest ranking Sith - see notes on Death Star)
  • Darth Maul* (Middle ranking Sith)
  • Count Dooku (Lowest ranking Sith)
  • And, sometimes, Darth Vader (see notes on Anakin)

The Jedi Masters
  • Qui-Gon Jinn* (known as Doctor/Nurse in the original): Can point to one character to heal, hoping to guess the person the Mafia chose to kill. He can only heal himself twice during the game. It’s called mandatory compassion.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi* (know as Detective/Investigator/Police in the original): Can point to one person to investigate. The Force will then shake his head yes or no. Keep in mind, though, that Anakin may be innocent at one point in the game and guilty at another.
  • Yoda*: May raise one person from the dead during the game, including himself. This power must be used the night after he dies, but may be used before that, only during the night.
Force Tip: These are the only characters who will wake up during the night every round, besides Sith and Jango Fett.

The Flex Characters
  • Anakin Skywalker*: He knows who Amidala is and must copy her vote (even if that means voting against himself). If she dies, he becomes a Sith. (See “Rules for Obscure and Random Happenings” for more.)
  •  Death Star: At the beginning of the game, the Force will ask him to point to the right or left. If the Death Star is lynched, the lowest ranking Sith will be eliminated by the Force (does not include Anakin). If he is killed in any other way, the closest living person in the direction he chose at the beginning of the game dies with him. He only wins if he is alive at the end of the game.
  • Jango Fett: He knows who the Sith are, and they know who he is, but he is not a Sith and does not participate in Sith killings. Each turn, the Force will wake him, and he will indicate another player as his "clone" for the round. If Obi-Wan investigates the clone, the Force will indicate that the clone is a Sith. Jango wins only if the Sith win.

Normal Citizens
  • Queen Amidala*: She does not know who Anakin is, but he copies her vote. She tries to protect herself so that Anakin won’t turn to the Dark Side.
  • Luke Skywalker*: He can survive one attack by the Sith. This does not apply to lynching (death by the people).
  • Han Solo*: He may shoot one character during the day. Once he has used the power, it’s gone and everyone will know who he is. This power must be used before his death. If he is on the stand and uses his power (which often happens), the Force will pass the round and go immediately to nighttime. If he uses his power before anyone is put on the stand, the round continues as normal. (Note: if playing with Chewbacca, house rules dictate that if Han shoots Chewbacca, Han also dies as a penalty.)
  • Lando Calrissian: He may freeze one person, including himself, in carbonite for a full round. This means that person may not die by the Sith or be lynched that round. That person also may not speak, vote, or use any of his powers until the round is over. If he freezes someone while on the stand, the round is passed and everyone goes to sleep.
  • R2-D2: He knows who C3PO is, and when one dies, they both die. If one is healed by Qui-Gon (thus escaping death by Sith), the other is healed too. If one is frozen, both are frozen. And so on.
  • C3PO: He knows who R2-D2 is, and when one dies, they both die.
  • Chewbacca: If Chewbacca is put on the stand and lynched, the other player put on the stand dies with him.
  • Mace Windu: Once in the game, he may replace one player who is nominated to be lynched with the person who nominated him. He may not use this power to take himself off the stand.
Force Tip: The only people you really need to remember are Luke, Amidala, the Death Star, and Chewbacca.

Silent Citizens
  • Princess Leia*: She may not speak at all. She may not use official sign language or write words down. Gestures and mouthing words are acceptable.
  • Admiral Ackbar: He may only say “It’s a trap.” He can be as creative as he wishes with the arrangement and inflection of those words, but that’s all he can say. All other rules applied to Leia apply to him.
  • Ewok: This character may not speak or even mouth words, but may only grunt, squeak, and gesture.
Force Tip: Anyone can pretend to be silent citizens. It happens a lot. I love it when two Leia pretenders are put on stand and have a frantic gesture war. Or when a Sith mistranslates everything Leia says. So good.

Force Tip: Tell everyone that they may not directly state who they are. First of all, this makes them very vulnerable to the Sith. Second, it’s not nearly as fun as vague hints and random Star Wars quotes and inside jokes. Trust me.

Force Tip: If you made a mistake or forgot something important, have everyone close their eyes and say, “There was a disturbance in the Force,” then ask a bunch of unnecessary questions in addition to your real one (i.e., if you want the Sith to remind you who they killed, also ask Amidala to raise her hand and Yoda to open his eyes) so no one can figure out anything from your mistake. I’m big on the Force and dead people never giving anything away.


Rules for Night (for the Force): For the first round, recollect the cards, put them in order, and have everyone look up at you one at a time. Exceptions: Have Amidala raise her hand, and Anakin wake up to see her. Have R2-D2 and C3PO wake up together. And have Jango Fett wake up after the Sith, but while they're still awake. When the Death Star opens his eyes, ask him to point to the right or the left (you might want to write down what he chooses). For all other rounds, have everyone close their eyes. Have the Sith wake up and kill someone. Then have Qui-Gon wake up and heal someone. (Say this even if Qui-Gon is dead, although he can’t actually heal anyone posthumously. Same with Obi-Wan.) If playing with Jango Fett, have him wake up and indicate his clone. Then have Obi-Wan guess someone and nod or shake your head right then to indicate if he’s found the Sith or not. Then have Yoda wake up and ask if he chooses to use his power. Yoda must use his power the round after he dies, but he may choose to use it before then. Then have everyone wake up and announce the death (if no one died, don't stay the reason, just say, "No one died tonight.").

Rules for Trials/Lynching: After discussion is dying down, the Force says that the first two people to raise their hands will nominate someone to the stand. Each nomination must be seconded by another person. The two people on the stand are given a chance to defend themselves without interruption from the townspeople, and in the order they were accused. Then the Force asks who wants to vote for each, starting with the first person to be nominated. Everyone must vote, and they may only vote once. Majority rules, and if there’s a tie, the last person to die gets to break the tie. If the townspeople have no nominations, the round is passed without a trial.
Force Tip: Try to keep things moving during the discussion time if people are just rambling, but don’t move to trial too soon if people are actually saying intelligent things.

Rules for Dead People in General: Once you’re dead, no talking to people in the game about anything related to the game (hints, advice, fake voting, angry retorts that someone is lying). Also, no dead people may wake up during the night until Yoda uses his power. When Yoda is awake, the Force will call the dead to raise their hands so he knows who he could raise, and the dead may beg and gesture frantically to persuade Yoda to raise them. If Leia, Ackbar, or the Ewok are killed, they must remain silent until Yoda uses his power. Someone pretending to be a silent character may choose to remain silent after death. Obviously, after Yoda uses his power and dead people see who the Sith are, they must not give anything away, or they will be re-killed by the Force and exiled from the galaxy.

Rules for Death by Sith: The Force will make up a ridiculous Star-Wars related story about the individual’s unfortunate death, ending with the name of that person. If Qui-Gon heals the person who was supposed to die, no name is mentioned. The Force should simply say, “No one has died this round.” If the Sith try to kill Luke, since he has the ability to survive one Sith attack, the Force will say, “Luke has used his power. No one has died this round.” That way, Luke knows that next time he’s really dead and won’t go blurting out, “But I’m Luke Skywalker!” and give stuff away.

Rules for Death by Lynching (i.e., the people voting to kill someone): No one can reveal what their role is after their death until the game over. The Force is responsible for saying that the game is over when the last Sith (or last citizen) is killed.…remembering to be careful about the Anakin/Darth Vader switch.
Force Tip: Never, never end the game too soon. Once, there were three people left: Anakin (turned Darth Vader), Emperor Palpatine, and Yoda. Right before he died, Yoda raised Amidala, forcing Anakin to turn good and vote against his will to lynch the Emperor. Sometimes, the impossible happens. When in doubt, let it play out.

Rules for Obscure and Random Happenings:
  • If Amidala dies, Anakin turns to the Dark Side. But if Yoda raises Amidala from the dead, he must now copy her vote again and can choose whether to betray his former fellow Sith or keep quiet about who they are. Either is valid. That next round, he may not open his eyes when the Sith awake. Hopefully, the Sith will realize what happened and re-kill Amidala, in which case Anakin is on the Dark Side again. (I know, it’s complicated. But it has happened.)
  • If Lando freezes the last Sith, he may not kill anyone that night, and the Force will just announce, “No one died.”
  • No, Sith may not kill themselves during the night. They may accuse each other all they want during the day. But no suicides.
  • If something random happens during the voting process (i.e., someone announces that the person they’re voting for is Anakin because he was forced to vote for himself to copy Amidala’s vote), the Force must use discretion about when to allow a revote and when the results are final.
  • If Chewbacca is on the stand with someone and Lando freezes the other person on the stand, Chewbacca dies alone.
  • If the person targeted to be killed by the Death Star cannot be killed (for example, he was frozen by Lando), skip that person and kill the next person in that direction.

Okay, I think that’s it. Put any questions or obscure and random happenings that I might have missed in the comments, and I’ll try to address them.

May the Force be with you.


  1. This game is awesome! I have to go kidnap 10 people now and play it! But where am I going to find 10 Star Wars nerds at an engineering school...

  2. So much fun!! You might want to add in the "Random and Obscure Happenings" that if, for some reason, the person closest to the Death Star in their killing direction can't die (like if they're frozen), the line of fire simply skips that person and continues to the next closest person in the same direction. Also, what happens if the Sith kill C3PO and Qui-Gon heals R2?

    1. Good point on both counts. After much deliberation, we finally decided that Qui-Gon's healing of one droid applies to the other since they're already at a disadvantage. Thanks, and let me know any Random Happenings that come up with the new characters.

  3. I love this game! Thanks for posting it.

    Sorry, but I'm just... crazy... :-P heehee... and an insane nut/fan of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon... they're so awesome!!!

  5. This is J Bolte. So glad you enjoy the game. :-)

    Great evolution of the game. I like the Chewie idea, and the addition of Mace Windu is a masterstroke. Let me know if you want the original rules or anything like that.

    1. I feel like a celebrity has visited my blog! Seriously, though, this game has gone through many rounds at Taylor and beyond. It even has 4 decks of official laminated cards in circulation. Thanks for creating it!