THE DENTON MAFIA

Words by Christina Johnson/All Photos Courtesy of MafiaMakers, LLC

Are you looking for friends? Romance? Adventure? Maybe you’re just looking for a really intense weekend of role playing. Well, look no further! We’ve got the scoop on everything ya’ll need to know to get your year started off with with a bang. In the interactive game of Mafia, no one’s safe and family is everything.


The game “Mafia” was created by long-time Denton resident Cody Kitchens in 2005 with forty-five players and is still going today with up to 200 players per game. Kitchens, who serves as head gamekeeper, calls it a mash-up of “Oceans Eleven meets the Godfather meets LARPing” (though he emphatically noted that it’s more of a very cool, suave version of LARPing). Players are separated into “families” that compete against one another for three consecutive days. Points are earned by “killing” other players outside your family using a spoon or water-gun, winning competitions, and participating in community events and service projects. The goal is to out-play the other families and, in return, “win over the city” by serving it well.

A breakdown of how Mafia families work. Check out the website for more details about the game.

A breakdown of how Mafia families work. Check out the website for more details about the game.

One of the things that makes our city so great is the rich emphasis on community; Mafia is no exception, and is leading the way in its overarching goal of bringing the Denton community together in friendship, partnership, and leadership. Mafia partners with local businesses who serve as sponsors and judges of various competitions, including a couple of our local favorites, Boca 31 and The Bearded Monk. Mafia also seeks the betterment of the city through service projects and partnerships with nonprofits, such as The Wheeler House, an organization that provides healthcare and housing needs to women and children exiting difficult situations. Mafia families can earn points by helping various non-profits like The Wheeler House with needs that require time and man-power, such as renovations, building bunk beds, or helping with a food drive. A project that could take an organization weeks to do can be finished in hours by players hungry to bring their family to victory; it’s a win-win situation for both parties that leaves a lasting impact on all involved. Additionally, funds raised through smaller events like Mafia’s Casino Night and their Relay Race will go directly to non-profits as donations.

Mafia is currently accepting players for its 2017 game, taking place January 26th-28th. You can either sign-up solo or start your own family if you can find a group of ten. If you’re solo and nervous about meeting others, Kitchens assures that you will quickly assimilate into your family, and it’s entirely possible they will become your friends for life. Looking for love? Mafia has been the meeting place for nine marriages so far…YOU COULD BE NEXT. Are you competitive? A little bit crazy? This game might be just what you’ve been looking for. In the past, there may have been a concussion or two, along with a fall from a tree after hours of spying for intel during an Icepocalypse. If adventure’s your thing, there’s always the opportunity to fly internationally to kill past players who are worth extra points in “Witness Protection” (for real though - Austria, 2014). They call the game interactive for a reason, and they aren’t lying, y'all.

Mafia uses the strengths of each individual to help achieve victor

Mafia uses the strengths of each individual to help achieve victor

While the premise may seem simple, don’t be fooled; this game is not for the faint of heart. Mafia runs 24/7 and is rampant with paranoia, strong competitive spirits, and sleep deprivation. If taking on a new identity and crashing on a stranger’s floor for three days sounds like something you’d be up for, you can sign up on their website for only $20 until 11pm on January 25th. Just be prepared to watch your back; when playing a game centered around spying and mayhem, TRUST NO ONE.

2015 Mafia T-shirt Design

2015 Mafia T-shirt Design