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How to play Mafia Game, a Korean Game

by Joycifer Mafia is a very well known game amongst a lot of K-Pop fans since it’s a popular game for K-Pop idols to play during variety shows and livestreams. This game can be played with big groups, but you should have at least 7 people. Around 20 people might be the maximum number of people in one game. It’s a game involving 2 different teams (the mafia and the townspeople) with 4 different characters (Mafia, Citizens, Doctor and Police) plus a Moderator/Mayor. The Citizens, Doctor and Police all belong to the team of townspeople while the Mafia forms their own team by themselves. In the beginning of the game, each player is given one of the characters without knowing any of the other players' characters. There can be multiple Mafias and their task is to kill all the players. There is only one Police and they try to eliminate the Mafia. There is also just one Doctor and they can choose someone to save each round. There can be multiple Citizens and they are “just” regular citizens of the town. There is also a character called the Mayor or the Moderator and I’ll explain more about it below.

EXO in the middle of a game of Mafia. Who do you think is the Mafia? Image credit: @yep4andy (Youtube)


You start the game by picking someone to be the Moderator or Mayor of the game. They will secretly choose who is going to play the different characters. You can use notes with the characters written on them or you can use playing cards like shown on the image below. In that case you’ll need enough cards so each of the players gets a card and you need to pick out the proper suits of the cards so that the roles are correctly distributed. For example, if you have 12 people playing the game, you’ll need 3 cards for Mafia, 1 card for Police, 1 card for Doctor and 7 cards for Citizens. There should be 1 Mafia for every 3 Citizens.

In this example we have 4 Citizens, which means we’ll add only 1 Mafia.

Image credit: WikiHow

So the Mayor is a person who will not directly be playing the game, but will help oversee the game and if they’re good at storytelling they might even add a fun twist to the game from the side. The Mayor will also make sure to tell the players when they should sleep and wake up, when they get eliminated and make sure the time for discussion doesn't drag on for too long.

Mafia is played in cycles of nights and days.

During the night phase, the Mayor will tell everyone to close their eyes and fall asleep.


When everyone has their eyes closed the Mayor will instruct only the Mafia to open their eyes and they will pick a victim to kill for the night. They’ll have around 60 seconds to pick who to kill. Remember, this has to be done while staying quiet since the other players can still hear. They can’t see signs and gestures though, so pointing at the player they wanna kill is a good choice. If a non-Mafia player opens their eyes during the night phase they are eliminated from the game. If the Mafia can’t come together and decide who to kill within the time limit, they will automatically forfeit their chance to kill someone during that night phase.

After a choice has been made the Mayor will tell the Mafia to yet again close their eyes and fall back asleep.

Step 2: The Mayor will then tell the Police to open their eyes and to point to one player who they suspect is part of the Mafia. There is only one Police in each game so they’ll have to rely only on their own instinct and any clues gotten throughout the game to choose one player as a suspected Mafia.

The Mayor will then in silence show if the Police were right or wrong, they can, for example, nod or shake their head. The Mayor will then tell the Police to fall back asleep. If the Police made a correct guess, that player will be eliminated when it’s time for the day phase to start, but if the Police made the wrong guess, at least they’ll know that that person is truly part of the townspeople and can guess for another player during the next night phase. If you want to change the game up a bit, you can also let the Mafia stay in the game even after the Police made a correct guess. That way the Police will have to convince the townspeople during the next day phase who the Mafia member is.

Step 3:

The next step is for the Mayor to tell the Doctor to open their eyes. They will now point at a player they want to save. If this person is the same person that the Mafia chose to kill, they will be saved from being eliminated. If they pick any of the other players, nothing will change and the person the Mafia chose will still die and get eliminated when the day phase starts. After the Doctor makes their choice, the Mayor will tell the Doctor to close their eyes again. If the Mafia kills the doctor during the night phase, the townspeople can no longer be saved in future rounds.

Seventeen playing the Mafia game - Wonu, the Doctor, saves himself

Image credit: [GOING SEVENTEEN 2020] EP.40 Don't Lie Ⅱ

Step 4: The night phase is now over. At the start of the day phase the Mayor will tell all the players to wake up. This is the chance for the Mayor to shine and tell a thrilling story about what went down during the night. Up until now, none of the players know what’s been going on. A simple example would be: “The Mafia attacked poor James, but luckily the Doctor heard the ruckus and came quickly to save them. Sadly, the Police weren't able to catch the Mafia member so they’re still on the loose…”

When the night's events have been described, the Mayor gives all players around 5-10 minutes to discuss what happened and try to figure out who the Mafia members might be. Mafia members could use this as an opportunity to cast suspicion onto someone else or to convince players they are actually one of the townspeople.

When discussions are done, the players are allowed to cast accusations of someone being a Mafia member. The accusation must be seconded by another player to move on to voting.

If it is seconded, the accusation is explained during a 30-second time period and the accused will thereafter be given a chance to defend themselves for 30 seconds as well. The accuser might use observations or make up reasons to why they think the person is guilty. Players can tell the truth or lie about their roles to prove their innocence, but no one is allowed to show their card/note that shows their actual character.

Step 5:

Now the Mayor will ask all the players to vote if they think the accused is actually guilty or innocent. You can choose to have votes open for all to see or if all players instead close their eyes while voting with a thumbs up or down to keep it anonymous.

BTS members vote while playing Mafia game

Image credit: Run BTS! EP.72

If the votes say guilty, the player is eliminated from the game, no matter what the truth may actually be. If the votes say innocent, the player is saved and gets to stay in the game. However, if the player is found innocent, you must start a new round of accusations. Every round must have a player found guilty and eliminated. So this time let someone else make an accusation. Step 6:

When a player is found guilty, they show their card and is now eliminated from the game. They can now keep their eyes open even during the night phase, but they are not allowed to talk or interfere in anything that happens during the rest of the game. The night and day phases will continue until all of the Mafia or townspeople are eliminated. So if the Mafia manages to kill everyone without getting caught, they will win the game, but if the Citizen manages to figure out who the Mafia is, they will win instead.

The winner will be announced by the Mayor. If you could play Mafia with any K-Pop group, which group would you pick?

[ENGSUB] Run BTS! EP.72 {BTS and Mafia} Full BTS playing a game of Mafia. What team will win? no one can play the Mafia Game better than EXO Pure chaos when EXO plays the Mafia game while livestreaming. [GOING SEVENTEEN 2020] EP.40 돈't Lie Ⅱ #1 (Don't Lie Ⅱ #1) An immersive game of Mafia played by none other than Seventeen.

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