Learning From Competitive Online Mafia Games

[August 2023]

What Makes a Good Online Mafia Game?

Made Man Mafia aims to be the most fun Mafia-themed game online. To work out how to do that, let's look at the competition. What they're doing well, and failing to do, and how MMM can be improved.

Mafia Games are abundant

There are many Mafia-themed games online. NewRPG alone has 271 text-based browser games with "Mafia / Mobster" as the theme. Nobody has time to play them all, and many haven't stood the test of time. Most Mafia Browser games fit into three categories.

  • Hardcore Mafia Games - Games where your character can be shot and killed by another player and take you out of the game.
  • Energy-Based Mafia Games - Games where your character accumulates energy to spend on training in the gym and committing crimes.
  • Round-Based Mafia Games - Games where you play a new character in each round to try and win prizes and medals.

Hardcore Mafia Games

There's definitely a thrill in taking out a rival completely. As a player, it gives a real sense of progression and power to be able to defeat other gangsters. These games usually try to balance their kill systems by making bullets scarce and offering life insurance programs. The biggest aim seems to be to try and stay alive as long as possible.

  • Sense of Power from killing enemies
  • Cement your advantage by making enemies restart
  • Fairly limited set of targets
  • Difficult to catch up to long time players
  • Some games are arbitrarily reset if it becomes unbalanced
  • Can attract trolls

Energy-Based Mafia Games

These games are usually more casual and have a slower pace. They are often more about building up your character and family, and less about attacking other players. They tend to have a lot of different activities to do, and a lot of different stats to build up. They are usually more about the journey than the destination. Most of these games give your character a level, upon which much depends. Features can be locked behind level gates which can take a long time to reach.

  • Easy to get started, with a good sense of progress in early levels
  • Lots of these games have a good variety of mini-games and daily activities
  • More stats to build up
  • Unlock more advanced gameplay at high levels
  • Can eat a lot of your time, with lots of events that use short timers
  • Can be quite shallow, most of the game is clicking buttons to build up numbers of crimes, jailbreaks, or player level.
  • Many of these games tend to be very similar, and not be supported for very long.
  • Can be difficult to find a family

Round-Based Mafia Games

Round-based games are usually more competitive. They are often more about the destination than the journey. On the face of it, these games are usually more simple, although there have been some cool developments over the years. The premise is to be the top dog, the head honcho, the Capo di Tutti Capi (Boss of all bosses) when the round ends. Do this by being the richest. Simple right? Use more turns than your rivals, and you'll usually end up with more money. Recently, some of these games have been adding more ranking categories for each round. This means you don't necessarily need to be online when the round ends to win, and can build an unassailable lead through clever and committed play.

  • Win and collect credits, medals, and cash for being the best player
  • Start a new round with a different name and try different strategies
  • The playing field is regularly leveled, lots of opportunities to win
  • These games tend to have a more regular income they can re-invest
  • Cash prizes can be won without spending in some games
  • Can have a steeper learning curve, but deeper gameplay
  • Competitiveness may be too much for some people
  • Some families can be suspicious of new players

Made Man Mafia is a Round-Based Game

MMM fits squarely into the third of these categories. There is much to be learned from games in the others also! We aim to take the positives of these other games and mitigate the negative aspects. In MMM you can count yourself within the elite of the game in a short space of time. Choosing how to spend the credits and cash you've won can make a real difference in each subsequent round. We think there is a lot of potential here. The buzz and excitement of winning ranks should pair nicely with daily activities from Energy-Based Mafia Games.

So, copy + paste?

No! We don't believe in copying. It's what makes MMM completely unique. Instead of copying ideas, we look at the concepts and understand why they work. Here are some examples of gameplay features we created after being inspired by other games.

The Commission

Running a family can mean organizing over a dozen other players. It's not for the faint of heart. Some games give free subscriptions with the proviso that the player helps bring new players to the game. We think that's unfair to paying customers, has no thematic advantage, and can erode support for the game. Instead, we worked out that we wanted to reward the players who take time to organize their families and keep the game exciting. Being a top 5 family boss grants a player a place on the powerful Mafia Commission. Members get their base turn speed boosted by 500 for the rest of the month (double the base rate), and they get to propose and impose conditions on other players. Some positive, some negative!

Mafia Intel

A feature we made for one of our old games was "Make a Deal". Regular turn usage would reward active players by generating tickets to make a lucrative deal with a hot-shot mobster. It would have been easy to copy the concept, but we wanted to go one better! Cue Mafia Intel. Throughout your regular gameplay, the Intel system simulates the connections that your character makes with others in the criminal underworld, and generates intelligence for you. You can act on these pieces of intel to get exclusive rewards. Other players can hamper your intelligence gathering to add another layer of realism to the game.

Levelling Up

Most games seem to have a leveling system these days. In MMM, we eschewed that for a long time. Mainly because leveling systems tend to be too much of a grind. It doesn't really have a place in MMM. So what do we do? We take the best bit (the Reward) and give you upgrade tokens based on your performance. These can be used to add permanent bonuses to your account which apply in every single round you play.

Unlockable Upgrades.  Spend tokens to activate powerful Mafia themed upgrades. Upgrade system for Made Man Mafia

Picking the right updates

With such an array of possibilities, it can be difficult to work out what fits into a game. The temptation is to add everything. Our approach, here at MMM is to only add features that will solve a problem, or provide something new and unique to do. We love it when players cross over from other types of Mafia games and share their ideas. Check out what MMM has to offer, and come play a few rounds! Let's put retro Mafia games back on the map, and breathe some life into the text-based games.

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