Your Legal Blog

Mafia (party_game) At Clarion Writer's Workshops

In 1997 Andrew Plotkin changed the rules to have a Werewolf theme. Contending that the term mafia did not fit the social reference of the game. However, the term Werewolf fit the game's reference of a secret adversary who looked typical during the daytime. Mafia and a variation called Thing has been played at sci-fi authors' workshops since 1998. Since then it has become a vital part of Clarion and Viable Paradise's yearly workshops. This new Werewolf variation of Mafia eventually spread to all the major tech workshops. Like the Game Developers Conference, ETech, Foo Camps, and South By Southwest. The Clarion Workshop is a six-week workshop for hopeful sci-fi and dream authors. Initially, an outgrowth of Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm's Milford Writers' Conference, held at their home in Milford, Pennsylvania. Robin Scott Wilson established it in 1968 at Clarion State College in Pennsylvania. Knight and Wilhelm were among the principal educators at the workshop. In 1972, the workshop moved to Michigan State University. It moved once more, in 2006, to the University of California, San Diego.

David Levine's Clarion Journal Excerpt

Below is an excerpt from David Levine's Clarion Journal: Week 6. Which was posted on 7/30/2000 accounting for one of his days at the workshop.

7/22/00 - Saturday

Awake at 7:00 (forgot to turn off the alarm, aargh) though I stayed in bed with my eyes closed until 10. Breakfast, shower, read the latest batch of diary pages from Kate, made up a to-do list for the weekend (aiee, it's huge). Wrote up Friday's diary entry. Most everyone else went to an Octavia Butler reading, but I decided to stay here, update my web page, and send my weekly email to friends and family. Then I took a nap. Left for the party at about 3. The directions said to head north on I-5 to the 164th Street exit, but when we got there there was no exit at that street number. Looked more closely at the directions: 164th Street SW. Aargh, we went north when we should have gone south! So I turned around and drove south (through a major traffic jam) to the other end of town -- all the way to Sea-Tac. But again, no 164th Street exit. Pulled over, found one of the other streets mentioned in the directions on the map. It turned out to be not a Seattle address -- if we'd kept going north in the first place, the street numbers would have started going down again. Aargh aargh! Finally got to the party an hour and a half after we'd left (should have been about 20 minutes). Fortunately, didn't miss the food. At the party, we had a good conversation with Octavia Butler, Steve Barnes, Tananrive Due, and Amy Thomson. Neal Stephenson was also there, though I didn't talk with him at all. The big event at the party was the game Mafia, the scourge of Clarion East -- a game of suspicion, paranoia, and murder for the whole family. I watched one game, got eliminated immediately in the second game for being too talkative for my own good. And got eliminated almost immediately in the third game for suspicious behavior. (They totally nailed me -- I was one of the bad guys. I'm not playing poker with this crowd.) It was very intriguing to watch the good guys trying desperately to nail the bad guys through logic and intuition, with no valid evidence in play. Mafia is a lot like "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder. After you die, you can see everything and it all makes sense, but you can't communicate your insights to the living. After playing the third Mafia game, Greg Bear fired up his astonishing audio-video system. Showing off with the first scene of The Matrix and the opening and launch/space warp scenes from Contact. After that, he and Steve Barnes gave us a big rah-rah talk about how our mission as SF writers is to do what the big special-effects films can't, to bring back bits of transcendence from the place beyond words, to write about what scares us and what we love. Back to the dorm with a lot of leftover food, arriving around midnight; to bed by 1:00. Much rewriting tomorrow!! Click here for David Levine's Clarion page and the full Clarion journal.

More Fun Facts About

However, this role-playing game was not only used at tech conferences. In 1998, some schools adopted variations of the game. Like, the Kaliningrad Higher school of the Internal Affairs Ministry created the Nonverbal interchanges textbook. Expanding games 'Mafia' and 'Killer' as a class on Visual psychodiagnostics. To show different strategies for perusing non-verbal communication and nonverbal signs. In September 1998 Mafia introduced to Princeton University's Graduate College. There they developed various variations of the role-playing game. The French version of playing Mafia also used the Werewolf theme in The Werewolves of Millers Hollow.
Image of Mafia (party_game) At Clarion Writer's Workshops