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Mafia Wars
Zynga mafiawars.jpg
Developer(s) Zynga
Publisher(s) Zynga
Platform(s) PC, Mac OS, iPhone
Genre(s) Multiplayer Browser Games
Input methods Mouse

Mafia Wars is a multiplayer browser game created by Zynga. It was the 2009 Webby Award People's Voice Winner in the Games category.[1] It is available on several different social networking sites and on the iPhone.



Mafia Wars is available on Facebook, MySpace, Tagged, Sonico, and Yahoo!.[2] On April 8, 2009, Zynga released a version of the game as a free downloadable iPhone App.[3]

On Facebook alone, as of October 2009, Mafia Wars has more than 25.9 million monthly active accounts.[4] Some players and clans create multiple accounts to utilize the benefits of the three basic character builds available: Fearless, Maniac, and Mogul.


Mafia Wars is set in New York City and Little Italy, with the option for players to travel between New York, Cuba (level 35+), and Moscow (level 70+) and Bangkok (which is yet to be released) upon unlocking items from New York levels, and in 2010, Las Vegas. The game revolves around doing and mastering jobs in order to earn cash and experience, with the goal of establishing and advancing one's criminal empire.[5] Players create mafias by recruiting players and using reward points to hire extra mafia members. Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Friendster allow players to recruit from within their network of friends to build their mafia and fight against other players.[5][6] Players can also improve their stats by visiting the Godfather or making a micropayment.[5]

Gameplay revolves around timers: players have limited energy (for doing jobs), and health and stamina meters (for fighting other players), in a manner similar to an RPG game,[7] which slowly recharges over time. With the help of other mafia members that have been recruited, players can eventually fight other players, which may or may not result in the theft of cash, "icing", or "death" of the other player. The game operates on a level up basis. The player earns experience points by completing jobs. Players who manage to complete special tasks (e.g., winning fights against bigger mafias or winning fifteen fights in a row) are labeled as having accomplished an "achievement", resulting in a bonus for the player.[8] As they level up, more jobs and features become available, such as the ability to visit Cuba to expand their criminal empire.[9]

After a significant in-game marketing blitz, Zynga added a new city, Moscow, on September 24, 2009.[10] Once a player reaches level 70, they are granted access to Moscow, and they get to choose between the Thieves in Law Vory or the Russian Mafiya. Two upcoming regions are Las Vegas, coming out in 2010, and Bangkok, coming out January 2010, where the player will get to choose from the Triad and the Yakuza.[9][11] The current ranks/episodes are the following: Street Thug, Associate, Soldier, Enforcer, Hitman, Capo, Consigliere, Underboss, and Boss in New York; El Soldado, El Capitan, El Jefe, El Patron, El Padrino, and El Cacique in Cuba; and Baklany, Boets, Brigadir, Avtoritet, Vor, and Pakhan in Moscow.

Character Classes

There are three classes that a person can choose from in the beginning of the game. Each class offers a reduced amount of recharge time to one of the three timers. The three classes are:

Maniac: This class has an energy recharge timer of 3 minutes, unlike the other two classes which have a timer of 5 minutes.

Mogul: This class receives money from properties every 54 minutes as opposed to the usual 60, as well as a 5% increase in profit from businesses in both Moscow and Cuba. Moguls with Rackets will get 10% more cash from their rackets.

Fearless: This class receives a health recharge time reduction (every 3 minutes as opposed to the usual 5). [12]

Updating and server issues

Mafia Wars' parent company, Zynga, has worked to adapt multiple changes within the game, introducing various "beta" features into the game, such as robbing (wherein players can rob each others' property). These features are often removed without warning, and newer players have reported that the property and task interface is substantially different between that of newer players and those who have been playing for a time.[13]

In October of 2009 Rackets was added to New York replacing the old Properties. Those who joined up around then were given the new way of making money and had to play alongside players who had the older (and seeming more lucrative) properties method of raking in the cash.[14]

"However, in the same month, the 'robbing' feature was disabled. And in December 2009 "Mafia Mike's" could be acquired just like any other property. Unlike before, when the purchase of a Mafia Mike's was limited by the size of a player's Mafia.", according to Dan Hanes, owner of "", a site which provides instructional guides and videos for players.


The makers of a similar online game, Mob Wars, sued Zynga over their launch of Mafia Wars, accusing Zynga of copyright infringement. Zynga made some changes to Mafia Wars so it wouldn't resemble Mob Wars as closely, but Mob Wars creator David Maestri moved forward with his lawsuit.[15] In September 2009, Maestri and Zynga settled the case for about $7–$9 million, less than the $10 million Maestri had originally demanded.[16]


On December 17, 2009, it was announced on the Official Blog that 50% of the sale of limited edition - Haitian Drum, will be donated to FATEM, a non-profit organization that works to provide economic advancements for the Haitian community of Mirebalais. [17] [18]
On January 14th, 2010, it was announced that 100% of all contributions to Zynga's Haiti Relief Fund - provided by purchasing new limited edition item "Haitian Relief Drum", will be donated to help the people of Haiti who are suffering from the devastating consequences of the earthquake on January 12, 2010. [19]


  1. ^ "Webby Nominees". The Webby Awards. Retrieved 2009-06-25.  
  2. ^ "Mafia Wars on". Retrieved 2009-06-24.  
  3. ^ "Mafia Wars by Zynga Hits the iPhone". IGN. 2009-04-08. Retrieved 2009-06-24.  
  4. ^ "The Top 25 Facebook Games September 2009". Retrieved 2009-10-11.  
  5. ^ a b c Boychuk, Ben. "Mob Games for the IPhone". PC World. Retrieved 2009-06-24.  
  6. ^ Graft, Kris. "Social Game Mafia Wars Hits 4 Million Daily Users". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2009-07-18.  
  7. ^ The Leaf Chronicle: Facebook's 'Farmville' not a laughing matter
  8. ^ "Mafia Wars Tips - Strategy Guide". Retrieved 2009-10-11.  
  9. ^ a b Yen, Tracy (2009-06-09). "Highly addictive Mafia Wars on Facebook" (in Retrieved 2009-06-24.  
  10. ^ "Mafia Wars Moscow: Exclusive First Look!".  
  11. ^ "Mafia Wars". Retrieved 2009-06-24.  
  12. ^ "Getting Started on Mafia Wars". Retrieved 2009-11-11.  
  13. ^ "Mafia Wars Strategy". Dan Hanes. Retrieved 2010-01-05.  
  14. ^ Mafia Wars Rackets added to New York
  15. ^ Mob Wars Creator Puts A Hit Out On Zynga, Sues For Copyright Infringement from (February 14, 2009)
  16. ^ Zynga Settles Mob Wars Litigation As It Settles In To Playdom Fight
  17. ^ Mafia Wars Charity Loot
  18. ^ Haitian Drum
  19. ^

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