Leadership Inspirations Activities


Test your group’s investigative skills in this game of strategy and deception


20-30 minutes

Team Stage

Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity



Deck Of Playing Cards Or Index Cards



Test your group’s investigative skills in this game of strategy and deception. Try to find out who the “Mafia” are before they eliminate all of the townspeople. This group game involves lots of strategy, knowing how and when to reveal your identity, who to trust, etc.



  • Arrange participants in a circle.
  • You need the following roles. Assign them to playing cards or write them on index cards:
    • Narrator (Facilitator)
      • They will follow the Instructions below to control the flow of game play.
    • Mafia (one to five ratio, e.g. 15 participants, 3 mafia members)
      • Their goal is to keep secret that they are Mafia and blend in with the Townspeople. For them to win the game, they want to eliminate the Townspeople one by one each round but not eliminated (voted off) during the day.
      • Playing Card: Aces
    • Police (2-3 members)
      • These members try to figure out who is guilty of being a Mafia and who is innocent. Thus, their goal is to help the Townspeople vote correctly in who to eliminate during the day (the good people, not the bad!). They generally want to keep their identity secret so that the Mafia cannot eliminate them early.
      • Playing Card: Kings
    • Doctor (1-2 members)
      • This optional (but recommended) role serves one purpose – to try to protect people during the night. They can also be selfish and choose to save themselves.
      • Playing Card: Queens
    • Townspeople (remaining members)
      • Their objective is to try to figure out who is a member of the Mafia, and to eliminate them from the town during the day.
      • Playing Card: Numbers 1-10
  • Distribute the cards to each person, reminding them to keep it a secret. Explain what each of the roles are.
  • Each round is a “day” in this town. The Narrator follows the Instructions for each round.
  • Facilitator Note: As you play, it may be helpful for you to write down who is in what role so that you can keep track of the progress of the game.


  • Nighttime
    • “It is nighttime, so everyone please go to sleep.” (Everyone puts their head down and closes their eyes)
    • “Mafia, please wake up.” (Only the members of the Mafia quietly open their eyes. The ones that are “alive” (some may be voted off in each round and will no longer participate) quietly and unanimously choose a person to eliminate by pointing to someone in the group. The narrator silently takes note of the person chosen.
    • “Mafia, please go to sleep.” (The Mafia closes eyes and places their heads down again.)
    • “Police, please wake up.” (The member(s) of the police that are still alive open their eyes and quietly points to one person who they suspect is a member of the Mafia.
    • The narrator quietly nods or shakes his or her head to indicate whether that person is indeed Mafia.
    • “Police, please go to sleep.” (The member(s) of the Police close their eyes and place their heads down.)
    • “Doctor, please wake up and choose someone you’d like to protect.” (The Doctor, if still alive, wakes up and silently points to someone they would like to protect for that day.)
    • “Doctor, please go to sleep.” (The Doctor closes his or her eyes and puts his/her head down.)
    • “It’s morning. Everyone please wake up.” (Everyone opens their eyes and raises their head.)
  • Daytime Update
    • The narrator will announce the person who was eliminated, unless the doctor correctly selected the person who was targeted by the Mafia for the night. The person who was eliminated MUST quietly leave the circle. This person may not speak to anyone for the remainder of the entire game, but he or she may now keep his/her eyes open to watch everything (a very important role!).
  • Daytime Discussion/Voting
    • The Townspeople (along with the Mafia and Police who may pretend to be Townspeople) then nominate and vote on people who they suspect is a Mafia. Each person nominated may make a defense and plead their case. The person receiving a majority vote (50% or above) is eliminated. After someone is voted off, the day is over. The day may also end without any eliminations if the entire group decides to do so. The day ends, and the game starts again (Nighttime, Daytime Update, Daytime Discussion/Voting).
  • How to Win
    • The Townspeople win if they successfully eliminate all Mafia members. The Mafia win if they successfully eliminate all the Townspeople.


  • The Narrator can tell a fun, creative story while providing the Daytime Update, detailing how players were eliminated or saved in the night.
  • If you have a large group, you can add roles to complicate play and challenge strategies. Examples include:
    • Grumpy Old Person: takes someone with them when they are eliminated
    • Witness: is told who the Mafia are the first night
    • Traitor: works to protect the Mafia
    • Siblings: if one is eliminated, so is the other
  • Also known commonly as Werewolf or Assassin.


  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Group Dynamics

  • What are the traits that make someone successful on this team? What are the traits that make someone unsuccessful on this team?
  • What motivates our group?
  • How does our group dynamic affect the way we get work done?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?