A Beginner's Guide to Playing Mafia
How to Play Mafia
Mafia is a simply concept to grasp and is fun to play once you get the hang of it, but it can be frustrating, challenging, and confusing for beginners. Hopefully, this thread will help if you don't know how to play, but are interested in doing so. I also recommend talking to experienced players as well because anyone who has played before will tell you that the best way to learn is by playing more games.
If you're around the Mafia forum enough, you will notice sign-ups threads going up every once in a while. To sign up for a game, enter the thread and follow the host's instructions (which usually are to post stating your intentions to play). You are pretty much guaranteed a spot by doing this, unless there are no spaces left or the host doesn't want you in their game. In this case, you might be put in the replacement list to replace in for an inactive person.
When the game starts, you will receive a PM from the host that is your role. Your role is who you are in the game. It tells you your character (99% of the games here have a theme, so therefore, you will be a person from that theme), alignment, your goals, and what kind of abilities you have. You are not allowed to quote this information with anyone or screenshot this information to anyone unless specified in your role. You can, however, give details about your role in the thread, but please be careful to not break the host's rules by doing so. Note: Your role doesn't mean you roleplay, unless it says so in your role (which sometimes can be something known as a post restriction).
There are three main alignments in the game of Mafia - Innocent, Mafia, and Individual (any other colour). The majority of the Town (players in the game) will be Innocent Aligned. Please be aware that the Town may also specify only Innocent players. If you are Innocent, this is generally a good thing as you are considered a good guy. The Innocents are trying to get rid of everyone who is not Innocent aligned.
A small group of players form the Mafia (Mafia Aligned). Every night, the Mafia has the privilege to kill one player in the game. The Mafia wins when they make up at least half of the players remaining because of their ability to make a kill every Night. Please be aware that the Mafia know who each other are, and therefore, have the ability to communicate and strategize with each other. This is different from being Innocent Aligned because if you are an Innocent, you have absolutely no idea what alignment everyone else is unless you find this out via an ability in your role.
Then there is Individually Aligned, which speaks for itself. If you are Individually Aligned, you're in it for yourself and are trying to get rid of everyone else. Note: Just because there is more than one Individual in the game does NOT mean they are aligned. In some cases, there are 'other factions' that don't fall into Innocent or Mafia (and therefore, they can be perceived as being Individually Aligned), but in other cases, you will not be aligned with anyone but yourself. In almost all cases, a person who is Individually Aligned is the same as Innocent Aligned in once concept - they have on idea what alignment any of the other players are.
The day phase usually lasts about 24 hours, but it can be much shorter depending on the outcome, but can also be extended much longer if the host wishes (or if the host goes MIA, which is very possible these days). During the Day, the Town (all of the players in the game) will hope to achieve a lynch. A lynch is when the majority of the players vote for the same person to die. To vote for someone who you want to lynch (and if the majority is reached on that person, they will be killed), you must post this: Vote: Name. You can also post it as this: Lynch: Name.
If, at any point during Day, you wish to change your vote, you must post this: Unvote/Unlynch: Name. This will help the host heaps and bounds for when they are making a vote count to see if majority has been reached on a certain player. Also, you must bold your vote so that the host is able to see it, which again, helps the host out quite a bit when tallying the votes (creating what is known as a 'vote count').
Once majority has been reached on a certain player, a writeup will be made by the host and he/she will make a post that recaps what has happened in Day. Usually, the person who the town just lynched will end up being killed (because that's the purpose of lynching them). However, the person who you just lynched may have a special ability that could save them, or another person could have an ability that they could have used to save them. Regardless, the whole point of Day is to get together as a Town and try to lynch the non-Innocents. On the contrary, please realize that you don't know who the Mafia/Individuals are, and so they will try and blend in with the Innocents. This means that they could be guiding you to lynch one of your own, so that's where 'scumhunting' comes in (trying to find out who the Scum/Mafia are based on their gameplay).
You may notice that there is far more activity in the thread during the Day than there is at Night. This is because everything that occurs at Night takes place through PM. In your role, it will say if you have a special power or ability that you can use at Night, and if it's Night, that's the time to use it. In order to use your role, PM the host with what you wish to do. Please note that a role shouldn't be taken lightly - it can affect the entire game. Also, if you have a role but don't wish to use it (you don't have to use it unless specified that you must), let the host know anyways so that he/she isn't waiting on you.
Once the deadline has passed (the host will specifiy the deadline, don't worry), a post will be made that recaps the events that occured during Night. If your role doesn't involve killing someone or being killed, it won't be revealed what you did (so for example, if you chose to investigate someone, it won't say that in the writeup).
So that's all there is to Mafia, and hopefully, new Mafia hopefuls are reading this and thinking that it really isn't as confusing as before. Of course, there is actually playing the game where you need to use your wits and observations to make effective decisions, but I can't teach you that as you will only learn from playing games.
If you have any further questions about how to play, please ask in the Host List/General Discussion Thread. If you are an experienced player and feel I should add/change something with this thread, please let me know.