Warning: This section covers FAQ for Mafia and is transcluded in the Mafia Guide for newbies. Please don't make changes unless you wish these changes to be included in that guide!

The following is a list of basic strategy and tips.

Overall Day Strategy

Things you should keep in mind during the voting process:

  • Always contribute as much as possible
  • Don't lurk in the thread without posting and displaying your opinion about a current debate. It will make other people suspicious of you
  • Never reciprocal-vote (vote for someone right after they vote for you), it gets you nailed down as either a noob or a baddie, neither is good for you.
  • Vote early and be prepared to come back on a lot and possibly change your vote
  • Don't change your vote too much or too quickly (this is called flip-flopping)
  • Be aware of any extra voting capabilities your role has (such as double-voting power or something similar)
  • Don't mindlessly "bandwagon", (basically jumping on a popular vote)
  • Don't say things like "Vote for me and the Goodies will be sorry" or a similar threat, regardless of whether it's true or not. If you do, people are more likely to gang up on you
  • Don't assert that you're Goodie/Innocent without backing it up
  • Don't make provocations and accusations based on 'previous playstyles'. Just because someone is acting different/similarly to a previous game means nothing. The way a person plays the game varies greatly each time depending on the overall game rules & setup & current situation as well as the faction and even the specific role within the faction. (this might also be frowned upon as metagaming when it is avoidable).

Innocent/Goodie Role Strategy

  • Goodies: Don't give away your role or even give clues about your role unless there's a very strong incentive: the result has to be positive for the Goodies, as your own life (and thus further use of your ability for the good guys) is in grave jeopardy now
  • A good defense isn't just claiming you are a Goodie and expecting it to work. It's true that you're assumed innocent until accused as guilty, but once that happens, people look at you with a skeptical manner, and you have to prove your innocence rather than just stating it... but not necessarily outing your role, just defend your interests in the game. It helps when the accuser is more specific about why they are accusing you, so you can counter them. Watch out for 'vague' accusers
  • Saving roles: be careful when someone in the thread asks to be saved or says someone else should be saved. It could very well be that that person needs saving, but it could also be a trap; a baddie ploy, trying to draw away the saving role's ability... to either a baddie or even a random Goodie(so as to not implicate) that the baddies know they aren't going after. You also have to take into account that the baddies read the thread too - if they think someone is likely to be saved, they probably won't go after them, which means you might be able to cover multiple bases by saving someone else who is more subtly involved but still a possible target
  • Goodie killing roles should be very careful, and exercise their right not to kill (which they usually have). It's dumb to kill on the first night, when you have no info. If a killing roles goes on an goodie-killing-spree (accidental of course), it can really hurt the goodies, so be careful about who you kill and look for subtle clues for suspicion
  • Overall, your goal is to help the Goodies win: this goal is more important than your life. Even if you die, you still win with the goodies(if the Goodies win of course), so sometimes sacrifice is necessary. Nobody wants to die of course, and usually dying hurts your team, but it will happen, many times undoubtedly
  • If you're being voted for en masse and are planning to out yourself (ie, reveal your role) as a last resort, don't do so at the last minute - do so in the middlish, giving plenty of time for people to get on, read, discuss and change their votes. Revealing info at the end of the day helps nobody (except the baddies)

Mafia/Baddie Role Strategy

  • Baddies: Work well as a group! Get to know each other, know what time zones you are in and what times (relative to each other) you are likely to be on, so you can get discussing and targeting (especially for night) done with lots of time to spare for good conversation, strategy, etc. Always talk to the others before coming out with a crucial post in the game thread
  • Try to convince people that so-and-so is a baddie, but not with obviousness, unless you are claiming a spylike role (either openly or behind the scenes). Take advantage of the mental directions people are thinking in and use them to build suspicion for someone
  • Again, work together as team - timing can be everything sometimes, and being all on and voting as a block can get you nailed like fish out of water. Don't ignore each other, though. You need to pretend like you are treating the others as anyone else, with no special treatment. Don't convey any sense of mutual secretive understanding between you and a fellow baddie
  • One of the coolest thing about being a baddie is being able to learn from your peers, some of whom are probably more experienced than you and can help and direct you strategy-wise
  • The more a baddie faction discusses (about all kinds of different aspects of the game), the better they do as a group. In Classic Mafia, the Mafia's BTSC forum had about 25 topics (most of them courtesy of dawh/sparrowhawk)- and guess what? They won!

Independent Role Strategy

  • Independent roles are among the hardest to play, and yet the most rewarding. If you can pull off an independent victory, you have some skill. Usually, you have no BTSC and aren't part of a team - a solo flier. Because of this, you need to watch everything carefully and try to distinguish between teams and roles.
  • Oftentimes, Independent roles benefit from knowing as many roles as possible, as their win conditions are usually connected with certain specific roles. Initiate discussion in the thread to learn more, and always be waiting and watching for a good opportunity.
  • If you are a role that must choose sides at some point, keep a good and accurate-as-possible tally of which side is doing better at each moment and how things affect the situation.

Advanced Strategy

The tips above cover the most basic strategy, and at times, more complex strategy may contradict some of them depending on play styles and tactics. Strategy is so varied and complicated in Mafia that it can't be conveyed in a guide. Each needs to learn and develop it on his own. Some tips on gaining experience and improving one's strategy skillset:

  • Keep some sort of spreadsheet or other document to keep track of roles. It will help you immensely!
  • Go back and read! This can't be stressed enough! Often you will find the most important clues & contradictions in what people have said earlier.
  • After the game is over, go back and read it all over again, if you have the patience - except this time, you know who has what role, and can make more sense of the strategies, plots, and motives behind everything that happened. This will give some deep insight on strategy.
  • Talk on the thread after the game is over, discussing strategy points and good moves that others and yourself made. This will broaden your repertoire of good strategy ideas.
  • If you were part of a BTSC-endowed baddie faction, you can gain excellent strategy skills by playing and following and being directed by your fellow baddies, who may be more experienced than yourself. Or regardless of faction, if you are working with someone else via BTSC, that can boost your strategy skillset
  • Read, Read, Read the more you put into Mafia, the more you get out. Touch up on strategy, ideas, tips (and nostalgia) by reading or re-rereading older mafias & discussions.
  • Listen to your "Elders", but don't take their word for it: more experienced mafia players can be great sources. But you have to remember two things: (1) Game Count does not necessarily equal Experience. (2) If the advice is given inside a Mafia game, look out for factors that could cause them to lie to you ... trust no one (except maybe BTSC mates, though in some games they are untrustworthy too!)

The above are just some basic tips to help you on your way - you will learn more as you go.