You may have noticed postings like this one on your friends' walls, "Pete Smith has requested help against a Rival Family in Mafia Wars," and wondered what the heck was going on. It's Mafia Wars, a social game with more than 9.6 million monthly users [source: Inside Social Games]. The object of Mafia Wars is to work your way up to Godfather by performing tasks and getting your friends to play the game.
Mafia Wars has three main points of play -- Rank, Fighting and Respect. To ascend in the game you must increase these, which happens through recruiting other players and friends to your "family," earning virtual money from criminal activities, arming your family with weapons, and fighting other mafia families. See? Good clean family fun.
When you first begin playing the game, an elder named Luco guides you along. He'll show you how to recruit your Facebook friends to the game and offer other tips on how to build a large family. The game is text-based -- not a simulation or virtual world. You click on actions and then gather your "family" to help you out. Then you all split the money. The game keeps track of your activities, and whenever you need a hand, you can post requests to your wall.