I have been playing iMafia (iTune App Store link), a free social game on iPhone for more than two weeks. It doesnâ€™t take up too much of my time, probably 3 minutes every session and I play it 3-5 times a day.
If you are good at personal finance, it will be revealed while playing this game. I believe that gamers with different level of financial education will have different outcomes. Let me show you what I mean.
What is iMafia?
iMafia is a free social game designed by PlayMesh. You can compete with other players (even if you arenâ€™t playing at the same time), and buy virtual goods that will help you along the way. The graphics are pretty basic, with two-dimensional artwork and text-based instructions giving users a variety of options.
The game is not hard to play. If you have an iPhone, just download the game on App Store. After you have gone through the simple tutorial, you shall master the game in no time.
How is it connected to real life in terms of personal finance?
Just like real life, to succeed in this virtual world of iMafia, you need money (a lot of it). You need money to do these stuffs:
1. To buy real estate properties â€“ this will give you hourly cash flow
2. To buy weapons, armors and vehicles â€“ this will aid you to do quest and fight other mafias
3. To heal in the hospital â€“ this will replenish your health after wounded in mafia fights.
4. To hire more mafia members â€“ this will allow you to do higher-paying quests such as smuggling, blackmailing politicians etc., and also manage more real estates investment.
Basically, if you want to advance through the game, you need a lot of MONEY $$$.
How do you make more money in iMafia?
As time goes by, your money will increase provided that you have a positive cash flow in the game. The money will pile up hourly, a lot faster than real life where most people get their cash inflow monthly.
Several things you can do to earn money are:
1. Fighting other mafia to steal their money (only if you win) â€“ this requires Stamina points and Health points.
2. Completing quest such as smuggling, robbing banks etc â€“ this requires Energy points. You will need more mafia members and better equipments to do quests that pay more money.
3. Investing in real estate to increase your hourly cash flow.
You can see that doing item No.1 and No.2 require active participation in the game. You need to keep playing the game in order to earn more money. But when your Stamina, Health and Energy points are depleted, you canâ€™t proceed further until they are replenished over time.
Only item No.3 – investing in real estate will provide more money for you even without you playing the game all the time.
iMafia Game Strategy
Here is my game strategy:
1. Invest the money in real estate in order to have a higher cash flow. I buy a lot of properties until my mafia size canâ€™t manage the portfolio (one mafia member is limited to manage only 5 properties). When I hit the limit, I will hire a new mafia member, one at a time.
2. When your level advances, you will have Skill points to increase your ability. I use the skill points to increase energy level, so that I can play less frequently in the future.
If you are playing this game, add my character (KCLau) as your friend to share our progress. You can add friends in the cafÃ©.
It is a fun game to play and it wonâ€™t take up too much of your time. Please share your character below in the comment section so that I can add you as friends too. What is your strategy?
Update 28th May 2009
The below information is provided by Druzel, who masters the iMafia game. (Thanks a lot Druzel!)
In general, Playmesh try their best to balance the game. If you pay careful attention as you play, you will find the best way to play, level up and/or make money. Also, please note that Playmesh points are NOT required for ANYTHING in the game. They only help you advance faster. Thats all.
The Raid quests
The 20% for the Raid Gun Dealer quest refers to the chance you have of getting an Uzi. Each time you perform the quest, you have a 20% chance of getting an Uzi. That means, you have an 80% chance of NOT getting one (the likely outcome each time). Over time, this balances out but its entirely possible (and unlucky) to perform the quest 20 times without getting a single Uzi. Its also possible to do the quest 10 times and get an Uzi every time. Its the luck of the draw.
Once you have your 10 Uzis (and the other requirements), you can then go for the military boats. Note that this quest only gives you a 10% chance. You only need 5 boats (instead of 10 Uzis) but the chance of getting one each time you perform the quest is only 1 in 10.
You may decide not to do these quests in favour of those that make you money. Then come back to the Raid quests at a later stage.
These you can get by downloading the other (free) Playmesh apps. You must pay careful attention to the instructions and follow the steps exactly or you will not get the points. Read the steps in the App Store for each application.
You gain attack and defense points by buying weapons, armour and vehicles for your mafia members as well as using your skill points to increase your Attack/Defense statistic. Add all these up and when you attack an opponent, your Attack points are matched to their Defense points. If you have more points, chances are youll win (though there seems to be a small amount of chance involved). The closer the end result is, the more experience points you get (up to 9). Also, please note that the amount of life you and your opponent lose always adds up to 29. So, if you easily beat your opponent, you might lose 6 points. He would then lose 23. You would also receive fewer experience points. This is to balance the game. If you lose more health, you would also gain more experience. See how it works?
Moguls, brawlers and workaholics
Moguls generate 10% more money. They gain income every 54 minutes instead of every hour (60 min). Brawlers regenerate health and stamina 10% faster. Workaholics generate energy 10% faster so they can do more quests. Those players who do not choose one of these three player types lose out on these bonuses.
Heres the formula for calculating the cost of the next mafia member. Just copy and paste into Excel:
For example, your 80th mafia member would cost 79*79*79*500 = $246,519,500.
Pay attention, read different forums and youll find out all this stuff for yourself. Im a level 60 mogul and have been playing for 62 days. Its fun but it shouldnt take over your life. If you have complaints about the game, provide Playmesh with some constructive feedback instead of whining and complaining. If you dont like it, dont waste your time on it. Lifes too short.