4 stars

(also known as Werewolf or Mafia)

Assassin is a great game - it's simple to setup, needs no equipment, and is heaps of fun.  You need at least 7 or 8 people to play. Assassin Youth Group Game

There are five roles people play in the game - The killers, a medic, townspeople, and a moderator.  For a group of eleven, the ratios should be approximately:

  • 2 Assassins
  • 1 Medic
  • 1 Policeman
  • 6 Townspeople
  • 1 Moderator

Except for the Moderator, the other roles should be allocated secretly.  Normally, the Moderator writes them on cards and hand them out, so no one knows what role others are playing.  The moderator should be someone who knows the game well (perhaps a leader to start out with). 

In a nutshell:

  • The two assassin's objective is to work together to assassinate all the townspeople (including the police & medic)
  • The townspeople's objective is to vote out both the assassins

The game starts with the moderator telling everyone to close their eyes. 

Once all eyes are closed, the moderator asks the Assassins to open their eyes.  Given it's the first turn, each assassin will discover the fellow 'assassins'.  The moderator asks the two Assassins who they wish to kill.  They silently agree (by pointing to someone) who to 'kill' that turn.  Once they have selected someone, the moderator thanks them and asks them to close their eyes. 

The moderator then asks the Medic to open their eyes.  They can then choose someone to 'save' (more on what this means later).  Once they have selected someone to save, the moderator asks the Medic to close their eyes

Finally the moderator asks the Policeman to open his/her eyes, and select someone to accuse (of being an assassin).  The moderator must honestly (and silently) answer the policeman with a nod or a shake of the head whether the accused is one of the assassins or not.  The policeman then closes their eyes. 

That's the end of the first round, and the moderator then asks everyone to open their eyes. 

The moderator announces to the group who was killed during the night.  The person who has been killed takes no further part in the game.  It is essential they are not allowed to talk. 

(Note that if the person the assassins selected to be 'killed' was also the one selected by the medic, the moderator only reveals there was a failed assassination attempt (and doesn't give any further information) so the person remains alive). 

It is them up to the remaining group members to discuss amongst themselves who they think the assassins are.  After a few minutes of discussion, the group must vote (one at a time) who they think is an assassin.  Given the roles have been handed out in secret, the early rounds are often full of speculation, people justifying their innocence, or explaining their suspicions.  And as the game progresses, lies, deception and strategy creep in.  When all votes have been cast, the person with the most votes is out of the game (and must also not speak again).  If there is a tied vote, give the group another minute for further discussion then vote again.

The policemen add a twist to the game - if they have accused someone and learnt they are an assassin, they may choose to disclose this to the group, but doing so has consequences - will the group believe they are the policemen?  Often doing so puts a bigger target on their back - the assassins may choose to target that person next round.  Or if the group are suspicious they may revolt and vote that person off.

The game continues on this cycle, with everyone closing their eyes, the assassins again selecting someone to kill, the medic selecting someone to save, the policeman someone to accuse, the moderator announcing who was killed, then voting again.  If the medic and/or policeman have been voted out, the moderator should continue pretending to ask them to select someone to save (or to accuse) just so the townspeople don't know who those people are.  If one of the two assassins is voted out, the game still continues with one assassin. 

As the game progresses, less and less people are in the game, and people (especially the medic and policeman) build up more and more knowledge of who the assassins may be.  Thus the discussions get more and more interesting.  It's recommended the medics and policemen keep their identity a secret in the early rounds to avoid being picked off by the assassins.  There comes a time however when it may be beneficial to reveal their role to the group, especially if the policeman has an accusation confirmed.  Whether they can convince the rest of the group they are genuinely a policeman (and not an assassin posing as a policeman) adds to the mystery!

Adjust the number of policemen / assassins according to the size of the group.  For 15 players, have two policemen, for 20, have three assassins, etc. 

  • Free / Low Cost
  • No equipment needed
  • Night
    • Indoor
    • Large area
    • Small area
    • Teens (Age 16-18)
    • Young Adults

    Group Size
    • Small Groups (1-9 people)
    • Medium (10-29 people)
    • Large groups (30+)

    • Longer (30-60 mins)
    • Medium (11-29 mins)
    Submit your vote:



    Great game - highly recommend this one!
    - John (31 Aug 2006)

    this game is more popularly known as mafia. the 'assassins' are the 'mafia'
    - stowe (3 Sep 2008)

    Fun game, it goes very quickly with only 11 players.
    - Marcie (7 Sep 2008)

    One of the best games I've ever experienced, and the kids love it too. Believe it or not, my kids that range from 9 to 14 can grasp how to play. Ealier than 9, however, and they have trouble keeping up with the rules.
    - Dan (12 Oct 2008)

    My kids love it. It's fast and easy to play. I always get a kick out of how they gang up on each other.
    - Matt (9 Jan 2009)

    We put a Christian twist on ours and changed the roles and the back story:

    2 Assassins = Royal Guards
    1 Medic = Angel
    1 Policeman = Pastor
    6 Townspeople = Christians

    The back story being that the Royal Guards are undercover and secretly arresting Christians in the middle of the night. The Christians need to expel the Royal Guards before they are all arrested. The angel can shake the bars of the jail cell loose and the pastor is trying to find out who the undercover Guards are before it's too late!
    - Rachel (21 Feb 2009)

    Great game...played at WVA and mixed characters from other stories in.
    - Wendy (17 Jun 2009)

    I love this game! We play this at my summer camp (wildwood ranch) all the time! Only difference is we call it "Mafia". I was trying to get the rules so I could teach it to my friends on the block. Thanks for posting the game and my friends will have a lot of fun playing this awesome game!!!

    ~Thanks Again!!

    ~Whitney G.
    - Whitney (29 Jun 2009)

    this game is very very good!
    - michael (13 Nov 2009)

    i've played it before. its a good illustration too. i'm teaching my youth about peter and john in acts so i changed the names. assassins- saducees, medic- christ, police officers- peter and john, and townspeople- jews (thanks) when i played before it was with a half deck of cards. kings are police, queens are nurses, jacks are assissins and numbers are townspeople.
    - caleb (8 Dec 2009)

    Everyone loved this game
    - c (11 Feb 2010)

    I love this game! it is super fun and easy to play.
    - Katie (18 Apr 2010)

    I love this game. I used to play it in high school and we played it on our senior trip the whole week. So glad I found this. I had forgotten how to play. Can't wait to teach it to my youth group kids!!
    - Kelly (19 Nov 2010)

    Love this game!! it's very well thought of, I like how someone changed it to a christian perspective... The christians should always win lol
    - rebecca (1 Dec 2010)

    I cannot figure out the role of the policeman.
    - Dennis (23 Jan 2011)

    @Dennis - each round the policemen have the opportunity to accuse someone and learn from the moderator if that person is an assassin or not. Once they correctly accuse someone, that knowledge they have adds another element to the game. They can share the knowledge with the group, but to do so means outing themselves as the policeman - something that increases the risk they will be killed next! Of course there's the risk the group may not believe they are the police either (and think they are the assassins trying to cover their tracks!). If you play the game a few times, the roll will soon become apparent

    - admin (23 Jan 2011)

    Here is the way our youth group plays. The point of this version is to emphasize that "our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against...the spiritual forces of evil". It is also helpful in emphasizing the importance of spiritual gifts.

    2 people play the "Spiritual Forces of Evil" (assassins)

    One of the forces of evil has the extra power of "discourager". This means he gets to point to someone and negate their spiritual gift for that turn.

    The other force of evil gets the power of "silencer". That means he gets to choose one person to be silent during the daytime. The silenced person also doesn't get to vote that turn (but they can still use their gift during the night).

    8 people play "Children of God"

    Four of the Children of God are secretly assigned spiritual gifts.

    One gift is "discernment". This is the same as the role of the policeman.

    One gift is "healing". This is the same as the role of the doctor.

    One gift is "leadership". This person gets his vote counted twice.

    One gift is "encouragement". Whoever the encourager chooses gets his spiritual gift doubled. There is no effect if he chooses a force of evil.

    The forces of evil go first by choosing one of the Children of God to die.

    Then the discourager (who is one of the forces of evil) chooses someone to discourage. If he picks a person with a special gift, that person doesn't get asked to use his gift this round. (And, of course, the discourager now knows the identity of his target.)

    Next the encourager picks a person to encourage. If he picks a person with a gift, that person gets to use his gift twice. (Healer heals twice, or the discerner discerns twice, or it is announced that the leader gets four votes instead of two).

    Next the healer goes, then the discerner goes.

    Finally, the silencer picks a person to silence.

    Then everyone wakes up and play proceeds as normal. However, the moderator has to remember to secretly tally the leader's extra votes. The moderator doesn't announce his tally unless it effects the voting results.
    - Jeff Wilhite (20 Feb 2011)

    I don't like this game... for the same reason I don't like playing the card game "Cheat".
    If we are trying to encourage truth and trust with our youth, then a game where the whole point is deception is counter-productive. It may seem like innocuous fun, but next time you are about to play this game; sit out, and ask God to show you whether it is truly helpful.
    The argument could be made that we can have it as a lesson to the bible but so could getting two sibling kids to make out in front of the group to represent the story of Amnon... may be informatively awkward, but doesn't mean it would be helpful to the growth of the group.
    - Asher Wolfson (14 Oct 2011)

    My youth group loves this game...but what do you do when there's a tie during the vote? Also, do you allow private sidebars during the discussion phase? Can players show each other their papers?
    - Sarah (9 Nov 2011)

    Great! But what do we do if the policeman were correct?
    - Thawng (15 Dec 2011)

    Thawng - we've added a clarification above, but the only consequences if the policemen is correct is that they know for sure who the assassins are. It's then up to the Policemen how they use this information, and whether they can convince the group to vote off the assassins. If I'm a townsperson, I don't know for sure who the policemen are - they could be assassins lying to protect themselves!

    - Youth Group Games Admin (15 Dec 2011)

    so the assassins can also pretend to be a policeman? hoe do they do that?
    - aubrey (18 Feb 2012)

    this game is so awesome!!!
    - caraway kids (9 Mar 2012)

    Great game thanks! Best game I have known about yet :)
    - Marawan (15 Jul 2012)

    will try it with my groups. looks interesting
    - (19 Jul 2012)

    gr8 game
    - Kalee (6 Sep 2012)

    Why do we play this with youth groups? It causes me horrible PTSD flashbacks. I don't want leaders playing this with my kids either.
    - Jeri (9 Oct 2012)

    I played it at my youth group. It was fun.
    - dillon (5 Dec 2012)

    Can the doctor heal him/herself?
    - Isabel (1 Feb 2013)

    My youth group loved this game, until one of our kids was actually murdered in the street. There's just something about making light of one of the 10 commandments that just doesn't do it for our group anymore... :/
    - Cris (8 May 2013)

    This game is great! Our youth minister called it 'Wolf', though.
    How we decided roles was with some 'Uno' cards.
    The 'skip' card meant you were a wolf, numbers meant you were a townsperson, 'change color' cards meant you were a medic.
    We didn't have a policeman, everyone just debated and majority ruled.
    - Azelia (1 Jul 2013)

    I really like this game and its just incredibly fun! I would like to know more about the advanced game where you have the villagers with gifts. Can anyone explain it more further in details? Like more rules and tips for the game.

    P.S I would like to know more games like these. It doesn't have to be exactly like this game but more to the uniqueness of the game. Hope someone replies! :)
    - Zack (30 Aug 2013)

    Wow, amazing game, can't wait to play it with my group !
    - vito (15 Jan 2014)

    Awesome Ice Breaker!
    - zheyi (1 Mar 2014)

    My group of friend will always play this game whenever we have our reunion. Haha
    - Momok Tomok (18 May 2014)

    what's going to happen if the assassin and the medic chooses the same towns person?  no one will be eliminated?
    - uennei (22 Jul 2014)

    @uennei That's correct!
    - admin (22 Jul 2014)

    We play with a Cupid. They select two people whom, if one dies, so is the other. We call them Romeo and Juliet. We also call the policeman the detective. It is great fun if the mafia and detective are Romeo and Juliet
    - Jude (30 Nov 2014)

    What happens between rounds, do they mingle and talk or stand in a line the whole time?
    - (3 Jun 2015)

    What happens in between rounds, do they mingle and talk or stand in a straight line on stage?
    - Bubba (3 Jun 2015)

    I just have one question, when does it end? Until both assassins are voted out? Or until they kill all contestants? And a second question, they vote someone out believing he/she is the assassin, that person is out of the game? And it has to be a majority of votes? Or everybody must agree?
    - Mel (3 Jul 2015)

    I've played this with campers, and they always love hearing how the "assassins" killed off their victim. Ex. The assassins didn't like one player so they turned him/her into a crayon and left him/her to melt in the hot sun. It gets really funny, and the kids enjoy it.
    - Michelle (21 Jul 2015)

    This is just another adaptation of the game Werewolf. Personally werewolf is way more fun!
    - Laura (19 Aug 2015)

    We played this game 2 months back, the kids loved it. Ages arranges from 12 -16years of age. Thanks Matt for the introduction to the game.

    - Genecia (15 Dec 2015)

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