The Mafia Game

by Gertrude
(Derby, UK)

An interesting Icebreaker Card Game

An interesting Icebreaker Card Game

(Photo from Justin Taylor)

A really fun and easy to learn game is Mafia. It costs almost nothing, is simple to set up and explain, and even kids can get the sense of the rules quickly. It is best with a group of between 15-25 that is a mix of kids and adults.

It requires enough thought and deduction that it keeps the adults on their toes, but kids add an element of chaos to it that gives them an equal chance of winning. To get started, you will first need a place where everyone can sit facing each other. You will also have to choose one person to be the moderator.

It is best if the moderator has played the game before, but if everyone is new, it will still be ok. It also helps if the moderator has a strong or humorous personality as they set the tone of the game. Next, you will need a deck of cards.

You do not need all of the deck, so pull out one king, one queen, and one ace for every 5 players. For instance, if there are 15 players, you will have 3 aces. If it doesn't come out even, round the number of aces down. Add the number of aces plus 2 (for the king and queen) and subtract from the total number of players. In this case, it would be 15 total players minus 5, so you would need 10 cards. These need to be plain numerical cards drawn from the deck. You now have your "mafia" deck.

The moderator then deals the cards out to everyone so each person gets one card. Everyone is instructed to look at their cards without showing them to anyone else. Those who have drawn aces are now the "mafia", the person who has drawn the king is the "detective" and the person who has drawn the queen is the "doctor".

The moderator then tells everyone to close their eyes. On the count of three, ONLY the Mafia open their eyes. Since they can see each other, they are revealed to both each other and the moderator. Then they are told to close their eyes again, the moderator counts to three and asks the doctor to reveal themselves by opening their eyes. They close their eyes, the process is repeated, but this time for the detective.

The moderator knows all of the key players and only the Mafia know each other. Everyone else who has received a numerical card is a "villager". The game can now begin. The goal is for the Mafia to eliminate all of the villagers before they are identified and eliminated themselves.

There are two cycles in the game, day and night. The moderator begins the game on a night cycle. Everyone closes their eyes and the Mafia opens theirs. Each member of the Mafia points as silently as possibly to a villager indicating that that person is to be assassinated. Then they close their eyes.

The doctor wakes up and points to a person they would like to heal for the next round, not knowing if that person was assassinated or not previously by the mafia. The doctor can choose themselves. Then the detective wakes up and points to a person they suspect as being mafia. The moderator will give them a thumbs up or thumbs down indicating if they were correct.

Now the "day" cycle begins and the moderator tells everyone to open their eyes. If a person was "killed" during the night, they are informed that they are now dead. If a person was correctly identified as Mafia during the night, it is revealed that they were indeed Mafia and they are now out of the game.

If a person was healed or saved, that is also revealed. The town’s people are now given some time to talk among themselves to try and determine who the Mafia might be. Of course, since the Mafia are hidden, it is assumed everyone is a villager and the real mafia will attempt to bluff or give misleading clues to point the blame elsewhere.

Once a person is determined by the group to be Mafia, a formal accusation is made. That person may defend themselves in any way they can. Lying, bluffing, stating reasons why they could not possibly be mafia, etc.

If the remaining villagers do not believe them, they are "executed" by the moderator and their card is revealed to the group. It will be quite possible that the group has selected the detective, the doctor, or an innocent villager at this point, but that person is still out of the game.

If the person can convince the accusers of their innocence, another target is chosen by the group and the same process followed so that every "day" cycle ends with elimination.

The night cycle begins again with the moderator instructing everyone to close their eyes and the remaining mafia choosing their victims. The detective and doctor (if still in the game) have their turns, then the day cycle begins again.

The game continues this way until either all of the mafia have been identified or eliminated or else all of the villagers are dead. Whichever team is left remaining is the winning team. It is more fun if everyone gets into character especially the moderator.

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Headbandz - Icebreaker for Parties

(Photo from marshmallowtiger via Photobucket)

This game is both simple and easy to learn. It's manageable for all ages so for anything like birthday parties, sleepovers with teenage girls, or even campouts with a number of 20-somethings.

Aside from these facts, it's also a versatile game and requires little to no supplies and is easy to make original and different each time around. All you need are a pack of index cards and a roll of tape and a pen.

The roll of tape isn't entirely necessary per se, but it makes it slightly easier. To start, everyone votes on a "topic" the index cards will have on them; this can be anything from famous people, to vegetables, types of candy bars that don't have chocolate in them, etc.

Any category will do. Let's pretend that the campers/sleepover crew chose "famous people who are dead now". So everyone or one person even, writes down the name of a deceased famous person and when everyone is done and the index cards match the number of people in the room, they are mixed together in a pool everyone picks from one at a time.

The game can start with any player. Once the player receives their card, they are not allowed to know what is written on it so instead, they tape it face out onto their forehead.

Once the first person is chosen, everyone tries to get them to guess who/what they are by giving clues and allowing the person to ask questions "Did I live in the 20th Century?" "Was I assassinated? "Am I male or female?" , etc.

The more out there or creative the people/things you've written down, the more fun the game will be and the more entertaining it will be to watch this person guess who/what they are.

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Fun Facts What You Need to Play

by Melissa
(Seattle, WA, United States)

All you need is at least 2 people to play and a deck of cards

All you need is at least 2 people to play and a deck of cards

(Photo from Tobi Firestone)

How to play: A deck of cards is placed in the middle of a group of people. Working in a clockwise rotation they take turns. When it is your turn to play you select a card from the deck.

If the card is an even numbered card then you get to ask any person in the group a question, and if it is an odd numbered card then you must list facts about yourself.

The number of facts that you list correspond with the number on the card. For example: If you draw a 5, then you would list 5 facts about yourself. If you pull an even card then you may ask any person in the group a question and that person must answer, if they do not wish to answer the question then they lose their turn.

If a person draws a face card (king, queen or jack) then they must state one fact about themselves and answer one question from each person in the group. Failure to answer one or more questions results in them losing only one turn and they are skipped over in that rotation, and cannot draw a card until the rotation comes back to them.

After a card is played it is then put in front of the person in 3 different stacks, one stack for even numbers, one stack for odd numbers and one stack for face cards.

Aces count as 1. When all the cards have been played the players then count their cards. Whoever has the most even cards then that person gets to ask one question to every person in the group.
Whoever has the most odd number cards has the choice of listing a fact or making a person of their choice list a fact.

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The Bingo Game

by Dawn Nelson
(Broadview, IL, United States )

(Photo from Play Among Friends Paf)

When my mom was in charge of the icebreaker games for a church retreat she went on she had to pretty fun games that I helped her make. One was a bingo game.

She went online to this site that let her print her own bingo cards and then she filled the boxes with random things about people.

For example: first time at the retreat; Over 50; likes to read; has children; has a cat, dog, bird; etc.

Then you had to go around and find people who matched the boxes and have them sign them. A person can only sign your card once including yourself. The first three people to get bingo won a prize.

You also don’t have to call it bingo, you can call it whatever five letter word fits your venue like party or sleep and then they would yell that out instead of sleep.

She also did a game where she passed out lifesavers and then split people up in groups based on the flavor they picked and had them answer questions that they had to decide as a group what they would answer.

For example: If you were stranded on a deserted island what five things or people would you take with you. Each group could only give five things so they have to talk to each other. Then they had to say out loud to group in general what they would be and why they picked those five things.

Another game I have played as an icebreaker is to break up the people into three or four groups and have them build a bridge out of tape and newspaper. You give the teams how big it has to be and a time limit.

When they’re done you see whose bridge can hold the most weight. When I played one of the opposing teams had a construction guy on the team and someone who did origami so not only did they win but they had cool paper hats at the end.

Due to hat envy we made teach all of us how to make our own hats for the next twenty minutes. It was lots of fun. Hope these ideas are helpful for whatever you are planning.

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Play MAFIA Card Game on Adult Parties

by Tucker

(Photo from MCAD Library)

This game is called Mafia. The rules of this game are simple and easy to remember. If there are ten people playing, then you take nine cards from a deck: an ace, a king, a queen, a jack, and five number cards.

One person of the ten is designated as "god", who will narrate the story of a pretend town. "God" will hand out the cards to every other player, making sure that no player knows what card each other has. "God" will then tell the townspeople to go to sleep (cover their eyes).

First, "god" will tell the mafia (the person with the king) to wake up (open his eyes). "God" will ask the mafia who he wants to kill. Silently, the mafia will point to one of the players, and, once "god" knows who is about to be killed, he will tell the mafia to go back to sleep.

Second, "god" will tell the nurse (the person with the queen) to wake up. "God" will then ask the nurse who she ants to save. Just like the mafia, she will point to some player that she thinks might be killed that night and choose to save him (she can only save herself once in a game). Then, "god" will tell her to go back to sleep.

Third, "god" will tell the ace detective (ace) to wake up. "God" will then ask the ace detective whom he wants information on. The detective will point at a player, and "god" will either nod his head if the pointed-at player is the mafia, or shake his head otherwise.

Remember to be silent, so that no one knows if the ace detective knows who the mafia is. Then, "god" will tell him to go back to sleep. Fourth, "god" will tell the citizen with the gun (jack) to wake up. "God" will then ask the citizen with the gun, who only has one bullet, if he wants to use it, and, if so, on whom.

This player can use this bullet once per game, on any other player, including himself (for strategic purposes). After either shaking his head to indicate he doesn't want to use it, or pointing to the person he wants to use it on, "god" will tell him to go back to sleep.

After all of this, "god" will tell the entire town to wake up, and he will then retell the story of what happened last night. He's not allowed to say who killed whom, or who saved whom, but he is free to be creative with his story.

Here is an example of what he can say: "Last night, as Judy was watering her herb garden, she felt a hankering for a provolone cheese and salami sandwich. Motivated by her hunger, she set off to downtown, whistling as she skipped.

Unfortunately, she never made it to Joe's Famous Provolone Cheese and Salami Sandwich Store, because she was stabbed in the jugular with a very sharp spoon. Luckily, some anonymous citizen who happened to have received medical training for spoon-related injuries got her situated before the damage became fatal.

You're welcome, Judy. In an unrelated event, Sam was shot last night in a bowling alley. Poor guy." After "god" is done telling the events of the previous night, he lets the townspeople discuss the events and decide who they think the mafia is.

Utmost secrecy is required for this game to be fun. If you are the nurse, you're not allowed to tell anyone. Same goes for the citizen with the gun, the ace detective, and especially the mafia. If you are the ace detective and you know who the mafia is, you are allowed only to say things like "I really think it's so-and-so, guys".

Eventually, there will be a vote as to who the mafia is. The most suspected person will be killed by the rest of the town. No one is allowed to reveal their cards or their identity until the end of the game.

The game ends immediately when either (a) the mafia is killed, in which case the townspeople win, or (b) at the end of a public execution, three people remain and one of them is the mafia (because one person would be killed in the night by the mafia, and the other would be left alone against him), in which case the mafia wins.

If you have more or less people, you can add more mafia, or take out the citizen with a gun or some of the regular townspeople, to make the game more interesting. Be creative, and have fun!

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Party Icebreaker Game - Was it you?

(Photo from Ian Hughes)

Boulder One of the best ways to get a party going is to get people talking. Often it is hard, even for adults, to start a conversation with a stranger. One of the best ways for people to connect and enjoy themselves is through a guided game. But at a big party, it needs to be simple and easy to play while standing and walking around.

The perfect game is “Was it You?”. In this game, every participant will pick a card (Index card size) from a deck. Each card has a unique question that requires you to answer in writing.

Questions examples are:
  • What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done in public?

  • What was your nickname in High School?

  • What is the weirdest job you have ever had?

  • Describe a time when you got caught in a lie.

  • What is your biggest pet peeve?

  • Name something that most people don’t know about you.

  • What was the name of your first pet?

  • As a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”

  • Describe a time when you “got away with it”.

As guests join the party, they will select (1-5 or more depending on the party size) of these cards and fill in the answer anonymously. They will fold the card and put it in a fish bowl / jar.

Periodically throughout the party, the host will mix up the cards in the jar and then walk around the party for guests to pick questions from the jar. If the guest selects their own question, they simply put it back in and select a new card.

Each guest will have a card with the question & answer submitted by someone at the party and your mission is to figure out whose answer it is! As you mingle with guests at the party, you have an easy way to spark up a new conversation by trying to figure out if they were the author of your card.

Once you find the card source, they will sign the card. Once you have a signed card, you can go back to the bowl for more. There are many ways to get creative with this. To make it a bit harder, you can add a rule that no one is allowed to ask the question verbatim.

This requires some creative conversations in order to extrapolate the answers from the party goers. Guests can fill out more cards, or gather more cards from the fishbowl unlimited times. Whoever collects the most “signed” / correctly guessed cards by the end of the night wins!

But more importantly, it’s a super fun way to learn more about your coworkers, friends or friends to be.

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by Belle
(USA, Tennessee, Nashville)

A naughty icebreaker game for adult parties

A naughty icebreaker game for adult parties

(Photo from Luca Masters)

This would be a fun game to play at college parties or at bachelorette parties. The idea is loosely based on 'Apples to Apples' but not quite the same and more adult-themed.

You would gather the players (minimum of three maximum of maybe ten) in a circle and there would be four different decks of cards. The first deck would be all sorts of different kinds of underwear; thongs, lacy sexy victoria's secret undies, granny panties, etc.

Some of the cards would say 'NONE' aka no panties. You'd pass each player three cards from this deck face-down. The second deck would be sex toys; vibrators, tie-ups, but some cards would say NONE, aka no sex toy.

Each player would get three of these cards face down. The third deck would consist of sex positions, and some cards would say NONE indicating no sex.

Each player would get three of these cards face down. One 'appointed' member per round is chosen and this would be the person distributing the cards but not playing the round themselves. The appointed person would pick a 'subject' for the round.

If at a college party, just point out a guy at the party, if a bachelorette party, maybe consider the groom or the best man or even pick a hot celebrity. Each player would then pick up their cards and they'd have to pick a combination of what they'd want to do with that person.

Everyone would close their eyes and the appointed person would collect the chosen cards in an order no one else would see and set them down in a random order. Then everyone could open their eyes.

The appointed person reads the cards and the whole group would have to guess which person is most likely to have picked that combination.

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What Happens Next

by Clarence Knight
(New York, USA )

This is a game that is about what happens next? The scenario can be of any incident that is incomplete. The player has to select the right answer that is on the bottom of the card under the incident.

Each player is given a set of three cards and gets three chances to guess the right answer. The red card means that the player is not on the right track to the right answer.

The yellow card means that the player is cool and warming up to the right answer. The green card means that the player got the answer right at the first try.

The game requires players that are teamed up in twos. The playing cards are numbered and color coded according to red, yellow and green. At the end of the game, the team with the most green cards wins.

The incident word cards are red with black lettering of the incident along with photos to make the action more vivid. The player reads the incident and asks, “What happens Next?”, If the team player answer is far-fetched then the red card is played.

The rounds of players each get a turn at asking “What Happens Next?” If the team gets the green card at the first try, they receive a bonus round and start the game over after receiving the green card.

The green card means that the winning team gets two chances to score a green card. The duration of the game is dependent upon when the other players are content that the two players are in sync because of the number of green cards.

If there is a tie, then the team with the most yellow card wins at the incident game of “What Happens Next?”

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