I have no idea what happened to my original thread so here we go again, those who signed up please do it again so I can form a list.
For those who are interested to join the game this is a flash intro to the game, watch this and you will know how the game works: http://cataldo.freeshell.org/mafia/mafiascum04.swf
This Q&A covers more ground and provides good info so check it out if you had questions after watching the beginner's guide:
Q. So, what's the game all about then?
At its heart, mafia is a conflict between two teams - a small team of people who know each other, and a large group of people who don't know who else is on their team. Both teams want to remove members of the other team from the game until only their team is left. There are two ways a player can be removed from the game - either by being voted off by a majority of players during the day phase of the game, or by being "killed" by somebody (or somebodies) at night.
Because the small team has the ability to kill people every night they are usually called the assassins, or some variant of that. And because it's generally agreed that making a habit of nocturnal murder is, at best, morally dubious, the opposing team are usually called the innocents.
Q. Wait ... the "day" phase? What's that?
The day phase is just the name given to the periods of the game when people are allowed to vote. Normally this lasts for either a pre-set length of time or until the players agree on how they're voting. They can either agree to vote somebody off - or to lynch them, as it's normally phrased - or vote to go to night without voting off anybody.
At night, people can still discuss the game on the thread, but there is no voting. Voting only resumes when the mods post to announce that night has ended.
Q. ... the mods?
The game moderators. The people who run the game - who assign people to teams, who post to announce when a day phase has ended or begun (and who has died at night), who try to make sure everybody follows the rules of the game and who do lots more stuff that we haven't mentioned yet.
Q. So I win by surviving to the end without being voted off or killed at night?
No. Mafia is a team game - you win if your team wins, even if you die before this happens. And if your team loses, you lose - even if you're alive at the end of the game. There is no individual winning or losing.
Q. Okay, so I need to help remove people on the other team ... how am I supposed to do that?
If you're working for the innocents, you need to try to lynch the assassins. This means you need to look for suspicious behaviour, and then if you think you've found somebody suspicious, try to persuade other people to vote for them. Of course, none of the other innocents know you're innocent, so they'll be thinking of trying to get you lynched.
If you're with the assassins of course, you want to get rid of innocents. You get to kill an innocent every time the game goes to night (more or less ... read on to see why this isn't completely true), but you can also try to get innocents lynched during the day.
Q. So during the day people argue about whom to lynch, and at night the assassins kill people, and the game ends when one side is completely removed from the game? Is that it?
That's the basic idea - but there's more to it than that. People on both sides can also have "roles". These give people special abilities - they might be able to do things at night, or have secret knowledge, or be immune to another role's night actions, or something else completely.
The roles used in any game can vary depending on the mods, but there are a few standard ones.
For example, Finders can investigate people at night to learn which team they're on; Vigilantes are (usually) innocents who can kill one person at night once during the whole game; Healers can chose one person each night to protect from being killed; and Sympathisers are supporters of the assassins who cannot kill at night but come up as innocent when investigated by Finders.
Q. Wait a minute ... how do the assassins agree on who to kill without giving themselves away on the thread? Are people allowed to talk off of the thread?
Yes and no. Some people - like the assassins - are allowed to talk to some other people outside the game thread. However, most people are not allowed to do so. This is an important thing to remember - unless the mods tell you you can talk to somebody about the game outside the thread, you shouldn't do it. If the mods find out you are talking outside the thread to people you shouldn't be, you may be modkilled.
When the mods step in to remove somebody from the game, we say that that person was 'modkilled'. This is normally done because the person in question has broken the rules of the game in someway. Being modkilled isn't just bad for the person being killed - it is also very annoying for other people playing, and can often seriously damage your team's chances. People who are regularly modkilled are likely to find that they are banned from future games.
Nice, two more and we can start. By the way I assign the teams by draw via a special software designed for this same purpose. If we get 12+ players I will include a limited number of roles but to spice things up I'm not gonna say what roles, only those who get them know about them and how they work.