Critical Play 1: is an online platform that revitalizes the classic party game Mafia. While no credits to developers or game company is attributed, transports players into a world of social deduction and strategic maneuvering.

With a minimum player count of 6, the game thrives on interaction and collaboration right off the bat. In terms of mechanisms, each player is secretly assigned a role aligned with either the town or the mafia. Therefore the dynamics of the rules allow the mafia to eliminate one town member per night, and act like innocent town members during the day. This creates an interesting aesthetic which is that of challenge, because if you are the mafia, you need to play it cool to not give it away that you know who was killed, but if you play it too cool it can come off as suspicious. The objective of the villagers is to out the mafia before the mafia outnumbers the town! There are 248 roles on the platform that add depth and replayability, but since we hadn’t played this game before, we just limited the roles to being either from the village or the mafia.

Compared to other social games I’ve played like Flip the Cup or Cards Against Humanity, Mafia has the aesthetic of discovery that I really enjoy. In the former examples, there is a set of cards that you can play from, or a certain cup you need to flip. Instead, Mafia is a game where the player is both discovering new clues as the deliberations go on. It is unpredictable what each villager/mafia is going to say (because it depends on people’s personalities), and absorbing information constantly keeps everyone very engage.

Another element of the game that makes it very fun is the narrative aesthetic. You aren’t just a player, you are embodying a villager or a killer. For instance, if you are the mafia, you might try to frame a villager as the suspicious one so that they get outed first. And if you are a villager, you don’t want to play the narrative of being too suspicious of a player being the mafia because if you are, they might kill you next for speaking out.

A moment of particular success of the game was when I got to be the mafia, and I started being very active and vocal about who “could” be the mafia to dissuade the villagers from thinking that it was me. So at the end, when I finally unveiled myself, I found so much satisfaction in playing my part of the narrative to steer people away from being suspicious. With that said, an improvement I would add to the game is to allow the mafia to kill two people on the same night, as well as for the villagers to to guess on two Mafia’s in the discussion. That way, you can allow more than 6 players to be in the game and have higher stakes when making decisions, adding to the discussion and challenge.

In conclusion, Mafia is an amazing game because it works with the aesthetics of narrative, discovery, and challenge extremely well without having complicated rules, which makes it perfect for a social game. Playing it again for sure!

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.