February 17, 2009

Multiplayer Online Mafia (Social Engineering) Game – EpicMafia.com

Posted in Games at 11:16 pm by gloriouscomputing

If you haven’t heard of the real life party game Mafia, you are missing out.

The biggest problem with that game is that you need at least 5 people to play. Unless you are living greek-style, getting that many people together to play Mafia can be challenging. Not to worry! In comes the internet, where you can now play Mafia with total strangers.

While obviously the Poker Face aspect of the game isn’t part of this chatroom-like version, you won’t miss it. EpicMafia has done a good job thinking out how players will play. While apparently there was a big issue with people leaving the game mid-game in its early age, the game has adapted a point system that rewards winning, and punishes leaving games before they are over.

There is a lot of depth to this game, but don’t let that scare you off. The game’s Wiki is great, and includes a JargonFile-like listing of all the terminology that other players are going to use. For example, you will soon learn that “NL” means No Lynch, meaning that the town is not going to lynch anybody for that day, since they don’t want to risk mislynching.

I didn’t think an online version of Mafia could be very good, since anybody could just claim to be Villagers, and there’d be no way to tell who was the Mafia. This is not the case at all. People are very paranoid, so the slightest things will give you away. Also, since there are many specialized classes that you will randomly be stuck into at the start of each game, the focus will end up being on Claims and Counter Claims for a particular class.

For example, there might be 2 Mafia, 1 Villager, 1 Cop, 1 Tracker, and 1 Doctor. The Mafia picks one person to kill each night, obviously. The villager does nothing special. The Cop can pick one person per night, and will be told if that person is Mafia or not. The Tracker can choose one person a night to follow, and will know who that person visited that night. Finally, the Doctor picks someone to safe per night, and that person won’t die if he’s picked by the Mafia. If everybody claims who they are during the day, it will often go down to a 1vs1.

If 1 of the 2 Mafias claims to be the cop, his word is now only against that of the real cop. It’s all about social engineering. How convincing are you that you are the real cop? You might have evidence on your side (You might have claimed someone was mafia, who was subsequently lynched and found out to actually have been mafia), you might have timing (being the first to claim a class usually helps), or you might just be very good at lying.

Anyway, I hope I have convinced you that an online version of Mafia can be fun, so go on and give it a go. I will reveal my EpicMafia.com username on a need-to-know basis (If you know me in real life, for example). 😛  EpicMafia.com