The Assassins' Guild: Michaelmas 2003 Mafia Game Rules

1.0 Introduction:

Mafia is a mock combat game for a medium number of players. The players are split into two groups, the mafia (about 20% of the players), and the townspeople (the remaining 80%). The mafia must try to kill all the townspeople and the werewolf. The townspeople must uncover and kill the mafia and the werewolf. The werewolf must be the last survivor. The game shall be open to people who live for much of the time within a five mile radius of Great St Mary's Church in Cambridge city centre.

It is recommended that those who wish to play be quite familiar with Assassins' Guild events.

If you have any questions about these rules once you have read them thoroughly, please ask for clarification from the Umpire as she will be only too happy to provide it.

1.1 Preparation:

Everyone who wishes to play should provide the Umpire with:

Anyone found to have supplied false or misleading details to the Umpire will be disqualified, but I'm sure it's not necessary to say that.

1.2 Preliminaries:

For any deliberate breach of the rules a player may be in serious cases, disqualified from playing. This is a game which only works if everybody plays along.
The spirit of the rules is more important than the actual rules themselves. Rules are made to be bent here and there. On the other hand, the Umpire will not be bound by the rules if they feel that someone is attempting to exploit a loophole. If in doubt, email the Umpire with your question.
In general, a victim is not dead unless they know about it. No weapon can be considered to have any effect unless it actually does something (the more dramatic the better!)
No one may attempt to impersonate the Umpire or any authority figure (either in person or through messages etc). Taking or attempting to read items in the Umpire's pigeon-hole, or trying to hack into the Umpire's computer accounts, is also strictly forbidden. In particular, it is safe to open the door to the Umpire or any player claiming that status.
Players must inform the Umpire of all kill attempts they make, and also of any attempts on their own life. Feel free to dramatise the events in your report.
Exercise common sense. Players are entirely responsible for their behaviour. Avoid inconveniencing other people, especially porters and the general public. In particular, do not knock on your target's door at unreasonable hours.
This game depends on trust and gentle(manly/womanly) conduct. Please be honest about whether or not you are dead. Honour among murderers and all that.... However, it is perfectly permissible, and encouraged, to lie about other matters. Your location, the vital status of others and events you have witnessed are all open to extreme creative reinterpretation. By the same principle, don't believe everything you hear. Lying to the Umpire on game-related matters is strictly illegal- and rather pointless.
You must expect other players to have nefarious intentions at any time during the game. Do not involve (or cause to become involved) college authorities or other non-players to eject or intimidate those attempting to kill you or others. If you feel players are behaving unreasonably, contact the Umpire.
If the game becomes tediously slow, and/or the Michaelmas main game approaches, the Umpire may organise a lynch mob. Players will then be asked to democratically select somebody to be strung up by the town hall.

2.0 Aims:

The main aim of the game is for everyone to have a good time. The aim of the mafia is to eliminate everyone else. The aim of the townspeople is to clear the town of the mafia menace, and also the werewolf threat. The aim of the werewolf is to be the last individual standing.

3.0 Weapons:

IMPORTANT:   Since recent events, and the public awareness of guns, and gun-related crimes, players should be very careful when using weapons in public. Any guns, or other weapons, that look realistic should be made to look obviously like toys - e.g. spraying them bright colours. Anything that looks too much like a real weapon the Umpire will refuse to licence for use. In all cases players should be careful about any weapon used in public, and should avoid themselves being seen using them.

The following gives an outline of the various weapons which can be used against enemies. It is not an exhaustive list and players are encouraged to use their imagination; however, the Umpire may make any kills carried out with an unauthorised weapon invalid, so do come and check before using your latest creation in the heat of battle. In general, all weapons must be completely safe (for both people and property) and actually do something, to indicate to the victim that he/she has been killed. All non-obvious weapons must be clearly labelled.

Messy weapons and water weapons should be used sensibly; where the rules state "with care", no large-calibre water weapons (larger than a Super-soaker XP270 or a Storm Force 2) should be used, smaller water weapons should be carefully aimed and not used to excess. Don't use messy or water weapons against people carrying something expensive or wearing formal clothes; they might get annoyed.

Weapons should be specific to the victim - killing bystanders is to be avoided even when the effect is harmless.

Guns, knives, swords, grenades and darts will kill instantly if they hit the head or torso. If a limb is hit then it can no longer be used for the duration of the encounter.

Remember that if you bear a weapon in public, you run the risk of being identified as a mafioso. More to the point, please don't get the police or college authorities annoyed at us by excessive waving of toy guns.

3.1 Gun

Represented by water pistols, rubber band guns (or rubber bands fired by hand) and other soft projectile weapons. BB guns are NOT allowed.

3.1.1 Water Weapons

You must get a definite hit with the main jet. If you just splash them with water (e.g. at extreme range or out of ammo) then it is only a flesh wound - they can carry on as normal. If they are hit in the head or torso then they are killed instantly.

If your private room contains expensive equipment (e.g computers) which may easily be broken by maniacs with water pistols, you may ask the Umpire and have it declared out of bounds for water- based weaponry only. Your assassin will be reminded of this. Note that other weapons may still be used, and also that you may not use water weapons out of such a room.

Water pistols may not be used in shops, or in places which contain electrical equipment.

Water and messy weapons MAY NOT BE USED in the rooms of non players, and must be used with care in staircases and other indoor areas.

3.1.2 Cap Pistols
Cap pistols may be used, with a clear shot from less than one metre range to claim a kill. You may say "bang" instead of firing the gun, as with any other gun. If you do not say "bang", the cap gun must go off to claim the kill.

3.1.3 Flame-thrower
Represented by a bottle of lemonade, hose-pipe etc. Rules much as for water-pistols. These should probably only be used in summer.

3.1.4 Other Projectile Weapons

Rubber bands fired from the fingers, small rubber band guns, Edison Giocattoli orange pellet pistols and all Nerf weapons are allowed. Anything else must be shown to the Umpire before use. Guns must not look like real guns. Pellet guns must not have the orange piece at the front of the barrel removed, and should be decorated in some way to make sure they look like toys.

In this game, pellet rifles will be allowed. Please be sensible and don't wave them around too much in public.

Head shots should be avoided where possible with all forms of projectile weapon.

3.2 Contact Poison

This won't be available.

3.3 Club or Cosh

Represented by a cardboard poster tube or a newspaper rolled up and stuck with Sellotape. Either should be clearly labelled "Cosh". The effect of a cosh depends upon the location of the hit:-

      Head .......... Unconscious for 5 minutes.
Body .......... Immobilised but conscious for 5 minutes.
Arm or Leg .... The limb is immobilised for 5 minutes.
3.4 Knife

Foam, soft rubber, retractable plastic or cardboard knives may be used. If the knife has been made by you eg. from cardboard, it must be plainly labelled "KNIFE". Plastic ones which are more obviously knives don't need this. Plastic swords are permitted, but please be careful. Cardboard swords must be clearly labelled "SWORD". A rolled up paper tube is a cosh, not a sword.
Plastic light-sabres count as swords and do not require labelling.
No metal knives may be used, including cutlery.
Latex weapons (as used in LARP games) will not be allowed in this game.

3.5 Garrotte
Represented by handkerchiefs, or, far better, toilet paper.

3.6 Grenades
Confetti in bags made from tissue paper or water bombs may be used.
3.7 Poison Gas
Poison gas weapons will not be allowed in this game.

3.8 Dart or Arrow
represented by a grape fired from a catapult or a dried pea from a pea-shooter. This has the same effect as a gun. Avoid head shots. A paper plane may be used as a poisoned dart, provided it is clearly labelled as one and has contact poison on it. Being hit by a random one in a boring lecture does not count...

3.9 Poisoned Food or Drink
Use Tabasco sauce or peppermint essence in sufficient quantities to taste.

3.10 Special Letters

These will not be available for this game.

3.11 Bombs

No bombs. Sorry.

3.12 Others

It is possible to use 'novelty' weapons which aren't in this list. Email the Umpire before using such a weapon. A kill using a non-sanctioned weapon may not be accepted! Also remember that the weapon used may well be included on victim's death report, giving evidence about the killer.

4.0 Death and Dying:

Deaths should be reported to the Umpire as soon as possible after the event, stating all salient details (when, where, how, and whether any innocent bystanders were killed). It is best if both assassin and target report the death to make sure there is no mistake. Victims should not make their deaths public on IRC for at least an hour after death, and should state no details about time, manner or place until it is up on the news.

The standard kill-reporting procedure will be to place a report detailing the individual killed, the manner in which their body was found, and the (approximate- e.g. "pellet gun" not "Jeff Watson") murder weapon. Time and place of death will be recorded. If the killer wishes to "leave a note", this may be emailed to the Umpire and will be added to the kill report. More full reports may go up after game end.

In the event of a dispute, a "discussion phase" can be declared between the players involved in the disputed incident. You are not then out of bounds for anyone else who comes along independently, so take it somewhere where this isn't likely to cause further complications while the incident is being sorted out.

Dead players may UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES pass information to live players, apart from the fact that they are dead. This is vital to the running of the game and cannot be stressed enough. They should also shut up about the game as much as possible, to avoid giving additional information or emotional input.

4.1 Injuries:
Any limbs hit by a weapon are rendered useless in game situations for the duration of the encounter.
4.2 Zombies:
There are NO zombies: corpses cannot interfere any further with the game. In particular, they cannot warn their friends or pass on any information about live players.
4.3 Public Kills:
Kills made in public places, with obvious weapons may result, at the Umpire's discretion, on the killer's real name being put in the news. This is to discourage firefights in public areas, and people being worried about people waving fake guns around. If your kill is seen by many non-players, and you did not use a subtle weapon, then your identity may be revealed.
4.4 Disputes:
Any disputed kills must be sorted out by the players in question on the spot, either by reasoned discussion, or by honourable duel. If this is for some reason impossible, the players involved should refrain from discussing the incident with anyone but the Umpire and each other until the matter is settled.
4.5 Double Kills:
In the event that two players kill each other at approximately the same time (within a fraction of a second or so), they are both dead.

5.0 Special Players:

5.1 The Mafia:

At the beginning of the game, a small number of randomly selected townspeople will be told that they are members of the mafia. The mafia will be identified to each other, but not publically. The mafia must try to eliminate all non-mafiosi.

If the Umpire feels the game is going too slowly and may not finish in time for the beginning of the main one, the name of the most idle mafioso will be made public. Sorry guys, but you are largely responsible for making the game exciting.

5.2 The Illuminati:

At the beginning of the game, a very small number of randomly selected townspeople will be told that they are members of the Illuminati. The Illuminati will be identified to each other, but not publically.

To begin with, the Illuminati may investigate a live player every two days. They must jointly decide on a target and inform the Umpire of their decision. The Umpire will then inform them of the player's mafia status. The rate at which investigations are allowed will be controlled by the Umpire. The werewolf will appear as non-mafia to the Illuminati.

5.3 The Werewolf:

The werewolf is a single character, also randomly selected, whose job is to kill anybody and ultimately survive everybody. The werewolf cannot be a mafioso or illuminatus (or, obviously, a Seer). The werewolf only wins if he or she is the last individual alive, which is a harsh victory condition for what should be a very fun role. The werewolf also has a special advantage due to the debatable undead status of the species- he or she will be told whether players who die were mafia or non-mafia.

5.4 The Seers:

The Seers are townspeople who can use mystical powers every second night to check a live player of their choice for lycanthropy, in an effectively similar manner to the Illuminati checking for mafia. Mafia will appear as non-werewolves to the Seers. The Seers will not know who one another are, and will have separate guesses. This is to avoid weakening the mafia, without allowing doubling up of roles.

6.0 Rules of Engagement:

6.1 Permissible Targets:

You may legally kill any player or witness, within reason. If you try and kill the entire market square, you're on your own.

A special case of this is Catherine Zentile, who is not on any account to be shot. (There is no reason why you should want to kill Catherine, and the Umpire would like to be involved in a whole game in which her beloved neighbour does not get brutally murdered).

6.2 Out of Bounds Areas:

No assassination attempt may be made if victim or assassin is in an out-of-bounds area. The following are always out of bounds:

Assassinations CAN take place in the Phoenix User Area, Cockcroft 4, departmental/college computer rooms etc, but only as follows:

Should the situation occur again, computer rooms in libraries are defined as computer rooms, not libraries. A computer room is, in general, defined as a place where the public (or any clearly defined group, e.g. members of a college) are permitted to use computers. Players' private rooms do NOT count.

"Formal college dining halls" shall be taken to mean in a hall for the purpose of eating food which is served to the table. We are aware that this applies to some colleges' informal dining arrangements.
Any meal where you get the food yourself from a servery is in bounds.

The Umpire would like to encourage people to keep their playing to University grounds if at all possible. If you must attack on an open street, then please be careful about showing visible weapons where members of the public might see them, and call the police.

Any further suggestions should be communicated to the Umpire as soon as possible. Please use your common sense!

7.0 Reporting:

Whenever you make an attempt on the life of another player or an innocent, successfully assassinate him or her, are attacked yourself, or become involved in any other game related incident, you must notify the Umpire as quickly as possible. If you can, confirm the exact details of the event with the other assassins involved — though be careful about exposing yourself to danger, when doing this.

Players may gather after an incident to discuss what happened, and will be under a no-kill zone during the discussion, until the players disperse.

In general, all players concerned should submit reports; the Umpire can update the game news more quickly and with fewer problems if this is done.

7.1 Witnesses

A witness is any player or non-player who is in a position to see an assassination take place. Witnesses can, of course, talk about the assassination to other players. The same rules about dead men, tales and not telling apply to non-players as to players. This is probably unenforcable, but do try not to let dead witnesses tell you anything of importance. It's got to be left up to player honour really. Be sensible about what witnesses you eliminate.
In the case of player witnesses, dead men MUST tell no tales. By signing up, you promise to take secrets to the grave with you for the duration of the game. Dead players are invited to talk on the #corpses IRC channel, to other dead people, which offers a useful vent for frustrating desire to discuss game happenings.

8.0 The Umpire:

This game's Umpire is Jenny Chase of Girton College. (

The primary method of contacting the Umpire is through email, though players are welcome to visit if they're feeling fit. The Umpire is immortal. Jenny Chase lives in E21a, Girton College. Both the corridor and the room are no-kill areas. They are also non water zones. The Umpire will not take a dim view of players who run into her corridor in order to escape an attacker, because if you've run from town you probably deserve to escape.

If you have any queries, send mail or visit the Umpire (but try to arrange the meeting beforehand), preferably before the query becomes a matter of life and death (yours or anyone else's).

Player-Umpire communications may be made public at the end of the game for everyone's enlightenment and amusement. If you do not wish a certain communication to be made public, please tell the Umpire.

9.0 Administrivia:

NOTE: It is the responsibility of players to read their e-mail and read the news. Players are deemed to know information as soon as the Umpire send e-mail to that effect or publish the details on the website.

This may seem a bit unfair, but is less so than expecting the Umpire to guess if a player has logged on recently.

9.1 Web Pages:

The game has its own World-Wide Web pages, which will host these rules and game news:


To avoid waste of bandwidth, game news will not be distributed by email.

9.2 Newsgroup:
The Guild also has its own newsgroup ( which players may use for discussion, etc. Also, it has been suggested that the empty newsgroup be used for in-game discussion. These are accessible from within the Cambridge University Data Network only.
9.3 IRC Channel:
For players wishing to chat, and socialise with other members of the guild, there is an IRC channel on the Student Run Computing Facility that people are more than welcome to visit. Connect to #assassins, on the IRC server The Umpire will have a presence on this channel for people who wish to contact them. There will also be a separate channel, #townspeople, for in-game discussion.



The history of this set of rules is thought to be:

The Umpire

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