Note to the reader: While this popular party game has long been called Mafia, I no longer advocate for calling it by that name. Mafia is a term that refers to crime organizations that are often associated with specific countries and cultures; most notably, Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Irish. In the same way that we do not want to glorify so-called drug ‘lords’ that have destroyed lives in Spanish-speaking cultures and beyond, we also do not want to glorify organized crime in any culture. Some popular alternatives to Mafia are:
- Loup-garou or Werewolf – which is a role-playing game in its own right (with additional roles)
- Cucuy or Bogeyman
- Asesino or Hitman – for those teachers that prefer to use the same concept as traditional Mafia
- Bad Unicorn – a spin for elementary students, developed by Erica Peplinski
- Survivor – a non-violent version in which class members are ‘voted off the island)
For the purposes of explaining the rules and connecting you with resources, I will refer to the game commonly known as ‘Mafia’ -and all of its adaptations- as ‘Elimination’.
What is Elimination?
Whatever version of the game you play, Elimination is THE most fun, most compelling game that you can play in your language classes–and when you take time to master the art of making input comprehensible, it will unlock language for your students like never before!
I first blogged about Elimination (as Mafia) in 2015, and since then the game has taken on quite the life of its own!
Here is the original post that details how to play the original Elimination game with your language students:
Here is a post explaining a much more simple version of Elimination, developed by Ben Wang, that is ideal for early language learners:
Check out these posts that I have gathered about Elimination from around the Internet: