Pocket Rules

These rules provide most of what you need to know to play Assassins. Further details and edge cases are elaborated on in the main rules, sections of which are linked frequently here for reference. For this Michaelmas 2022 game we are participating in a research collaboration on the use of phone trackers for tracking people. You can opt in or out of the study when you sign up (so no one will track you if you don't want them to). Opting in will give you the opportunity to earn extra credit for kills using the trackers. The special rules for the trackers are at the bottom of the page, and here in more detail.

Signing Up:

Near the start of the game, the Umpire(s) will email everyone on the mailing list with a link to a Google Form that lets you sign up for the game. Here you put certain information about yourself: the exact details can be found in this section of the main rules.

How to Play:

As an Assassin, you are given 3 targets who are also Assassins, and tasked with hunting them down and killing them using harmless weaponry. Each time one of your targets dies, a new one is assigned to you. At the same time, you are given as a target to three Assassins who you must evade. The last one standing is the winner.

At the same time, Assassins who have made minor rules infractions (Wanted players) and Assassins who have been inactive for too long (Incompetent players), are hunted down by the rest of the Guild, including the 'Police force'. The Police are special players who are not being hunted, nor can they be killed permanently, and are given no other targets. You can either sign up to play as Police, or become a member after you die in the main game. As a member of the Police, you cannot win the main game, but can indulge in stress-free murdery fun with the assistance of other players.

Code of Conduct:

The Code of Conduct is the most important section of the rules. In short:

Targets:

The following are licit targets for any Player:

If an Assassin kills an illicit target (a Player who was not a licit target at that point) they will be put on the Wanted List but the target will still die. If a member of the Police kills an illicit target, then the target will not die.

Killing People:

We take harmless objects and put labels on them to mark them as something 'dangerous'. Examples include pens labelled 'knife', teddy bears labelled 'rabid polar bear', and paper planes labelled 'kamikaze'. We also allow most Nerf guns and waterguns, though projectile weapons have restrictions on where they can be used. Water weapons are restricted to certain areas, and in one's signup email, one can specify that one's room is either 'No Water', 'Water with Care' (small water weapons used carefully), or 'Full Water'. For a full list of allowed weapons and where they can be used, see the Weapons Rules (a shorter document, separate from the main rules). However, if you have any weapon you aren't sure about, contact the umpire(s) for clarity.

If a person is hit on the head or torso, they are dead. If a person is hit on a limb, they lose that limb for the the next 30 minutes. Dead players are subject to different rules to living players: they can no longer participate in the game (including passing information), but are encouraged to join the Police force if they wish.

Reporting:

If anything game-related happens to you, email the Umpire(s) and tell them what happened, even if it's just that you went to a target's door, knocked, but found them not in. You can also include a more humorous description of events that will be put up on the site news. You will be asked to choose a pseudonym for these reports to be under. You start out with one pseudonym but can acquire more by killing people. More detailed information about reports, including an example, is available here.

Out of Bounds:

The following paragraph is a list of areas you are not allowed to kill someone for reasons of safety, security and sanity. It is not exhaustive but simply designed to give you a good idea. The full out of bounds list is here: for the most part, this is common sense, but it is worth familiarising yourself with this list.

Examples of places you can kill people:

Some places are not Out of Bounds, but projectiles cannot be used in those places, in order to avoid disruption. These include informal dining areas, shops and pubs.

Accomplices:

If you recruit a non-player's help for the game, whether or not they know this, they become your Accomplice. They cannot wield weapons but may be able to help in other ways. If your Accomplice is killed, you are put on the Wanted list and the Accomplice cannot act as an accomplice to anyone until they respawn in 4 hours. It's expected that you explain this to them.

The Wanted and Incompetence Lists:

If you break the rules in a minor way, you will be put on the Wanted list and become a licit target for any other player - this includes the police force. You redeem yourself by either surviving a certain number of days, or making a certain number of licit kills (the Umpire(s) will tell you which). Breaking the rules in a major way will see you disqualified and potentially banned from the Guild.

If you fail to participate in the game for a certain amount of time, you will be put on the Incompetence List and also become a licit target for everyone. You redeem yourself by licitly killing other surviving Players (or attempting at least twice) and emailing the report to the Umpire(s). People on the Incompetence List for a long enough time will eventually be removed from the game.

End-Game:

Towards the end of the game, the Umpire(s) will often announce 'Open Season', when all surviving Players become licit targets to each other. After a certain amount of time (usually a week), the top few survivors are invited to a final organised Duel until only one remains.

The winner is given the title of 'MA' (Master Assassin), or 'PhD' (Paranoia-Hardened Deathmaster) for a two-time winner. Other silly and fun awards are also given out to people who did something worthy of note over the course of the game. You can send in any nominations you like. Take a look at our awards page for a better idea.

Now let's go out there and kill some people!

Michaelmas 2022 Tracker Rules

To keep the study scientifically rigorous, we ask that you read the full tracker rules here before opting in to the study when you sign up. Nevertheless, here is a brief overview of them: