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Assassin (game)   


Assassin (also Gotcha, Assassins, Paranoia, Killer, Tag, Elimination, or Circle of Death) is a live-action roleplaying game. Players try to eliminate each other from the game using mock weapons in an effort to become the last surviving player.

Assassin is particularly popular on student campuses; several universities have a dedicated "Assassins' Guild" society which organizes games for their members. Assassin is lifestyle-invading. Game-play occurs at all hours and in all places. Since an elimination attempt could occur at any time, successful players are obligated to develop a healthy degree of watchful paranoia.



Assassin has no official publisher (published variants include Killer[3]), so different Guilds tend to create their own set of rules and procedures. As such, the specific style of play is likely to vary between one group and the next.


Standard rules

Game hosts (also 'Umpires', 'Referees') begin by advertising that a game is being set up, and instruct potential players to send in their personal details (names and room numbers are usually required).

Once enough players have signed up, the game host assigns targets to the players. A player is usually told the personal details of their target as collected by the game host. The aim of the game is for players to track down and eliminate their targets until only one player remains. When a player eliminates his target, he gets his victim's target(s). If only one player remains, the game is over.

Eliminations (also known as kills) occur when a target is removed from the game because of his targeter's actions. Game rules always list the actions that cause elimination. Generally an elimination will involve something like getting hit by a water pistol, or slain with a cardboard sword. When eliminations occur (when followed by rules specified, or upon agreement between assassin and assassinated) the target is to remain eliminated. A player may only indicate that they have been eliminated when they have been killed. No exceptions apply unless an entirely new game has begun.

assassins tools

                                                      Soup Spoon, One of the Assassin's Weapons

A safe-zone is a place that protects a player from elimination. Safe-zones are declared by game hosts. They are picked to maximize fairness and minimize disruptiveness. Safe-zones that increase fairness are places players are required to go, and places players live. Safe-zones that decrease disruptiveness are places where formal activities happen. Three examples of formal activities are school lectures, religious services, and workplaces. Though within these places there may be exceptions. It has been known to happen that toilet areas are always a safe-zone no matter where they are. Also 2 feet circle around any coffeemachine can be found in some rules as being an automatic 'hot-zone'. Eliminations made in the presence of a witness (or witnesses) may not count and may result in the publication of the assassin's identity.

Game hosts assign certain items to be worn or actions to be performed that protect the wearer or performer from elimination. These items or actions are called Safeties.

 The safety provided can last for one specific day or last for the duration of the game. By wearing silly items or performing outlandish actions players have more fun and can spread knowledge of the game to people not currently playing.

Some games have "police forces", often composed of eliminated players, whose job is to track down rule-breakers. Some have time limits on eliminations and penalize players not eliminating. Some allow non-players and eliminated players to participate; acting as informers and bodyguards. Depending on the set rules an assassin may even be hunted by a group - this is a good way to keep the finalists busy and ensures that all those in the group remain interested as well.

assassins tools

                                                                          Nerf Ammunition, One another Weapon


Methods of Elimination


In a direct elimination, a player uses a fake weapon to touch his or her target. Two direct elimination types are ranged and mêlée.

The most common ranged weapons are water pistols and NERF type weapons.[4] Pellet guns and BB guns are too dangerous for use. Many states also ban the possession of BB and pellet guns on educational property.[5] Sometimes, non-gun projectiles are used as weapons; for example balled-up socks are thrown[6] or rubber bands are shot by hand. Tennis and other types of soft balls are commonly used as well.

Mêlée weapons are typically a fake stabbing weapon. Mêlée weapons are more easily concealed than ranged weapons, but require more stealth to employ effectively. Mêlée weapons must be touched to a player's body to eliminate him. Common examples of mêlée weapons are cardboard and plastic knives, and spoons. Socks are also used, though they can double as ranged weapons, as well. Sharpie markers can be used as mêlée weapons, by marking on player's exposed skin. Stickers can be used as well, by sticking it to a players body.



In an indirect elimination, a player plants a weapon where his or her target will be eliminated by it, or changes his or her target's environment in a specific way, as defined by the variant's rules, that results in an elimination.

Some variants allow "poison", which can be implemented by adding strong flavors such as Tabasco sauce to the victim's food. Rules might also cover "poison gas" or contact poisons. Food can also be poisoned by the insertion of an upright toothpick, with a "poison" label attached, or a piece of paper being placed underneath the victim's food with the word "poison" written on it. The most popular method of using contact poison is to apply the poison to the target's door handle; consequently some players choose to wear gloves.

Some variants allow "bombs", which may be implemented in various ways. Some require the bomb to "go off" in some way, and hence might use alarm clocks or other timers.

 One technique may be to "e-bomb" a target by either using an e-mail or instant messenger to send a file to another target in order to kill them. This "attachment" may be a word document, audio file, or an image that shows that the target is dead, and the assassin that killed him. Another technique is the "car bomb" where the assassin puts a tape or CD in the victim's car audio system. When the victim starts the car and audio, he will hear the assassin saying that he was just "car bombed." Another "car bomb" variant allows one to shoot and kill the person while they are in the car, but in order for this kill to be achieved the assassin must be using the Nerf Rocket Launcher or equivalent. An assassin may also bomb a victim by sending him/her a package in the mail with a dart and/or letter saying, "You're Bombed." The victim is eliminated as soon as he or she open the package and reads the note.

A very messy combination is the poisonous car bomb. By dusting the air outlet of the air conditioning with plain flour and setting the blower to max, the car will fill with a cloud of white 'smoke' as soon as the key is turned.



When clipped to a target's clothing, a clothespin serves as a flag football like objectiveIn a capture elimination, a player eliminates his or her target by coming into possession of a specific item. Capture eliminations are exactly like tackles in Flag Football. Some common objects used as capture objectives are flags, articles of clothing, and clothespins.

assassins tools

                                                        Clothespin, One of the Assassins' Tools




Tribalistic instincts can cause informal team play to emerge, where members of or within a college or several colleges band together in "no-kill" agreements or higher levels of co-operation. The advantages of pooling information on targets include the possibility of joint operations, added tactical information on geography or simply greater ease of identifying targets, e.g. where one member of the "Mafia" personally knows the target of their colleague. Co-operative play enables greater offensive and defensive co-ordination, the latter especially where mafiosi live near to each other and are able to communicate by instant messaging. It has been played at universities all around America.

These groupings can improve game play by formalizing a learning system where experienced players mentor new ones, and can add a humorous flavor to the game. However, eventually a large group which includes several talented players can exert a stranglehold on the course of the game. Whilst this can be highly amusing and challenging for experienced players, it can strain friendships and is often off-putting for newer players. In extreme cases, the later stages of play can descend into farce where only members of one group are left alive, eliminating the excitement for all others.

Excessive collusion is difficult to control, and is best dealt with by an experienced umpire, who can take emergency measures such as licensing the execution of some of a group's key members.

 Over time, the process is self-regulating as most communities consist of students, who experience a rapid turnover of membership and will go through lean periods. Some universities prefer to formalize the teamplay system as alluded to earlier.


Security fears

Due to increasing security worries since the World Trade Center attacks, the participants can find themselves restricted in their behavior and choice of weaponry. In the United Kingdom, gun laws were changed by the Anti-social behavior Act of 2003 to make the carrying of an imitation firearm in a public place illegal. After a couple of low-key incidents involving arrests under the amended Firearms Act of 1968, and possibly other public order legislation, guilds had to re-consider which kind of toy gun could safely be used. This is in addition to tight regulation of the use of imitation "bombs" and suspicious behavior in general.

Also, some police forces have urged people to stop playing assassins. In 2008, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln placed a one year ban on the Assassin Game. The administrators of the school placed the ban after the police had been called by a person who observed one student chasing another with a toy gun.

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com

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