Updated Rules for Michaelmas '99


Killer is a mock combat game for a large number of players. Each person
has to try to survive whylst everyone else is 'killed'. The last person
to be left alive is, not surprisingly, declared the winner. The game
shall be open to people who live for much of the time within a five
mile radius of Great St. Mary's Church in Cambridge city centre.


Everyone who wishes to play should provide the Umpire with :

    i) Full name
   ii) College/Department if applicable
  iii) E-mail address (full if not @cam.ac.uk)
   iv) Your official address and if different the address at which
       you will be living (ie sleeping and spending a reasonable
       number of hours at) during the course of the game.
       In this game this will be given to your assassin, to
       prevent unfair advantage to those at colleges where the
       porters refuse to give out room numbers. Any player with a
       real-life psychopath trying to kill you, explain to the Umpire
       and you will be excused. Anyone with a real-life psychopath
       trying to kill them who wants to play Killer as well needs
       their head looking at. Should you become wanted, your
       official room address will be made public as well as your name
       (see WANTED LIST, below).
    v) If you live relatively far from the city centre, brief details of
       city centre visits that you regularly make. I shall use my
       discretion in deciding which details to pass on to your assassins.
       The aim is to involve outliers more in the game, since trekking out
       to Girton to kill a target is usually only done by a few of the
       keenest players.
   vi) Whether water weapons are allowed in your room i.e. if it contains
       anything which could be seriously damaged by being soaked (for
       example, your computer). Players should note that 'no water
       weapons' rooms must have a sign on the door declaring this.
  vii) An optional pseudonym to be used in news reports.

Anyone found to have supplied false details to the Umpire will be
disqualified, but I'm sure it's not necessary to say that.


1.2.1	For any deliberate breach of the rules a player may be
identified as a legitimate target for all other players, i.e.
put on the wanted list, or, in serious cases, disqualified
from playing.

1.2.2	The spirit of the rules is more important than the actual rules
themselves.  Rules are made to be bent here and there. On the
other hand, the umpire will not be bound by the rules if he feels
that someone is attempting to exploit a loophole. If in doubt, email
the umpire with your question.

1.2.3	Participants may have accomplices. Targets cannot be
assassinated by an accomplice. Accomplices may only assist the
killer in planning (and carrying out) the murder.

1.2.4	In general, a victim is not dead unless they know about it.
No weapon can be considered to have any effect unless it actually
does something (the more dramatic the better!)

1.2.5	No one may attempt to impersonate the Umpire (either in person
or through messages etc). Taking or attempting to read items in
the Umpire's pigeon-hole, or trying to hack into the Umpire's
computer accounts, is also strictly forbidden.

1.2.6	Exercise common sense. Players are *entirely* responsible for
their behaviour. In particular, avoid inconveniencing other

1.2.7	Players are expected to inform the Umpire of _all_ kill attempts
they make, and also of any attempts on their own life. Feel free
to dramatise the events in your report.

1.2.8	This game depends on trust and gentlemanly conduct. Please be
honest about whether or not you are dead. Honour among murderers
and all that....

1.2.9	If the game becomes tediously slow, and/or the end of term
approaches, the Umpire may introduce a time limit. Players will
then have to make a serious attempt to kill someone within the
time limit, or they will be put on the wanted list for
incompetance. In this game, there is a time limit system already in
place - see section 6.3.

2.0	AIMS:

2.1	The main aim of the game is for everyone concerned to have a good

2.2	The aim of each player is to be the sole survivor.


You will be given details of your target(s) by the Umpire, in
the dead of night (well - secretly anyway) shortly before the
start of the game. Of course, you will not be informed about
whom your assassin(s) are.


The following gives an outline of the various weapons which can be used
against enemies. It is not an exhaustive list and players are
encouraged to use their imagination. However, it is up to the
discretion of the Umpire whether a player using an unauthorized weapon
has killed the victim. So do come and check before using your latest
creation in the heat of battle. In general weapons must

i) be completely safe (people and property).
ii) actually DO something, to indicate to the victim that he/she
has been killed.

Ideally they should be specific to the victim - killing bystanders is
to be avoided if possible, even when the effect (eg perfume poison) is

The Chief of Police is likely to take a tough line over policemen/women
using "non-standard" weapons (e.g. those that could easily endanger the
lives of others, such as contact poisons). Police found to have
breached WILL be suspended. Claiming you didn't read the rules properly
will not be a defence!

Weapons marked (*) in the following list should be used with extra care.

4.1	Gun - represented by a water pistol. You must get a definite hit
with the main jet. If you just splash them with water (e.g. at
extreme range or out of ammo) then it is only a flesh wound -
they can carry on as normal. If they are hit in the head or torso
then they are killed instantaneously.

If your private room contains expensive equipment (e.g computers)
which may easily be broken by maniacs with water pistols, you
may ask the Umpire and have it declared out of bounds for water-
based weaponry ONLY. Your assassin will be reminded of this.  Note
that other weapons may still be used, and also that you may not
fire a water pistol OUT of such a room.

Water pistols may not be used in shops or parts of shops where
the PRINCIPAL goods on sale are electrical appliances, books or
other goods which are likely to be the worse for it. Obviously if
the adjacent goods are tinned foods or pencil sharpeners, you may
shoot away. This should be common sense, but is worth emphasizing.

Water weapons MAY NOT BE USED in the rooms of non players.

If small water pistols are used, it is a good idea to
confirm the kill immediately with the victim who might not have
noticed the hit if wearing thick clothing. This avoids arguments
later, when the water has evaporated.

Cap pistols may also be used, although almost point blank range
(clear shot from less than one metre) is needed to claim a hit.

ALL weapons which fire a projectile MUST be presented to the umpire
before use. This includes 'nerf' guns and other previously accepted

(*) Rubber bands are an acceptable weapon, as long as head shots
are avoided.

4.1.1	Flame-thrower -- represented by a bottle of Champagne, hose-pipe
etc.  Rules much as for water-pistols.  These should probably only
be used in summer.

4.2	Contact Poison - represented by Vaseline, mustard etc. This will
kill immediately after contact even if it is wiped off. This sort
of contact poison is deemed to be no longer effective if it has
dried enough that the victim does not notice it (be honest,
please...). If wearing non-porous gloves then it will have no effect
for 5 minutes as the poison is diffusing through the material. You
may remove the gloves quite safely within the 5 minute time period
but they must not be re-used during the game. Similarly, poison will
take an appreciable time to diffuse through anything thicker than,
say, a towel. Powder, eg. talc is also permitted. As contact poison
is dangerous to anyone else who might touch the surface in question,
anyone using it will be put on the wanted list.

4.3	Club or Cosh - represented by a cardboard poster tube or a
newspaper rolled up and stuck with Sellotape. The effect depends
upon the location of the hit:-

Head .......... Unconscious for 5 minutes.
Body .......... Immobilised but conscious for 5 minutes.
Arm or Leg .... The limb is immobilised for 5 minutes.

4.4	Knife - Foam, soft rubber, retractable plastic or cardboard knives
may be used. If the knife has been made by you eg. from cardboard,
it must be plainly labelled 'KNIFE'. Plastic ones which are more
obviously knives don't need this. Plastic swords are permitted,
but please be careful. Cardboard swords must be clearly labelled
'SWORD'. A rolled up paper tube is a cosh, not a sword.

4.5	Garrotte - Represented by handkerchiefs, or, far better, toilet

4.6	Grenades - Confetti in bags made from tissue paper, water bombs,
or (small) flour bombs may be used. You may also employ snowballs.
Use common sense with the last three.
They will kill if they strike any part of the head or body.
If they hit a wall and splash your head or body appreciably (ie.
if you're wettish) you are dead. If they just splash your arms or
legs, you are only wounded, and survive.

4.7	Poison Gas - represented by perfume/after-shave/air-freshener.
This kills instantaneously if it is at a noticeable concentration.
Obviously, don't spray it in people's faces. N.B. It will kill all
those who smell it - think of all those innocent victims...

Gas masks may be fashioned from a handkerchief tied across the
Poison gas should be used with care to prevent the deaths of
people other than the intended victim. It is probably best to use
it only in the target's room. If you have any problems come and
see the Umpire.

If you have a cold and genuinely couldn't smell anything then you
were immune to it (lucky you).

Balloon-and-pin arrangements (scent still required!) can be
labelled as Poison Gas, rather than as Bombs (see the section on
booby traps below).

4.8	Dart or Arrow (*) - represented by a grape fired from a catapult
or a dried pea from a pea-shooter. This has the same effect as a
gun. Avoid head shots.
A paper plane may be used as a poisoned dart, provided it is
clearly labelled as one. Being hit by a random one in a boring
lecture does not count...

4.9	Poisoned Food or Drink - Use Tabasco sauce or peppermint essence
in sufficient quantities to taste. N.B. Experiments to establish
the lethal dose are liable to kill the guinea pig (more innocent
Buying your victim a Pizza Gamberi from Pizza Express does not
count as a poisoning, even if they do go a bit strong on the
Tabasco. However, leaving an extra-strong Phileas Fogg Tortilla
Chip in their pigeon-hole, which they then proceed to eat, does.

4.10	Special Letters

4.10.1	Containing contact poison or some sort of audible detonator
(letter bombs). Musical birthday cards are a special type of
letter bomb, requiring no additional detonator or label. It will
kill the victim if it goes off, although signing it from e.g. A.
Sassin might be an idea.

4.10.2	Cards, letters, parcels, etc. that are sent through the mail
service (University or Royal) or are handed to porters, and have
leaked their contact poison or poison gas are deemed to have
killed innocent victims.

4.11	Bombs

Bombs can be deadly in their effect, but they require careful
preparation and setting up if they are not to kill innocent

A bomb is represented by a box or container consisting of two pieces:

i) The detonator - to tell the victims that the bomb has gone off.
It must bang or bleep sufficiently loudly to be heard by any
victims. Remember rule 1.2.4, "A victim is not dead unless they
know about it."

ii) The explosive. The size of the bomb is determined by
the volume of the explosive. 'Explosive' could, for
example, be cotton wool or plasticene, or water placed in a
closed container like a wine bottle.

The volume of the explosive must be marked on or in the bomb in
cubic centimetres, and it must be labelled 'BOMB' in large
letters. If your construction might worry passers-by, write
on it:

"This is an imitation bomb for the mock assassination game run by the
Cambridge University Assassins' Guild. Any queries may be addressed
to this term's Umpire, Charlie Baylis, Trinity Hall

In the event of the bomb being triggered, the blast shall be assumed to
act in a 'reasonably' straight line, and along this line may encounter
obstacles. By 'reasonably', I mean a bomb placed right up against the
door (outer or inner, for those with double doors) to a room, will blast
in all directions into all corners of the room through the door, not
through the side of the wall.

For people with 'oaks' this may sound unrealistic, but this is a game
not reality, and I have to be fair in this respect at least to those
with only one door.

The blast radius of a bomb can be generated from its volume by the
following formula:

r = 50*V^(1/3)

Where V = bomb volume
r = blast radius

Note that if your bomb volume is in cubic centimetres, the blast
radius comes out in centimetres.

If there's something between you and the bomb, it will subtract from
the blast radius:

Door:              1 m
Window:          0.5 m
Plasterboard wall: 1 m
Brick wall:        3 m
Stone wall:        5 m
Cupboard:          1 m

Clearly remote bomb detonation for a bomb left outside your door, from
within your room, is best done with, say, a coat-hanger underneath the
door. More preferable is for you or your neighbour to diffuse the bomb
without its detonation.
If you are unsure then come and check with the Umpire.

Table of Bomb Volume vs Blast radius:

volume/cc    Blast radius / metres
25	1.46
50	1.84
100	2.32
200	2.85
300	3.34
500	3.96
1000	5.00
2000	6.29
5000	8.54

'Ready made' bombs include alarm clocks, tape recorders, plug timers,
and such like. Party poppers also count as bombs, but remember that
they are of extremely limited volume and are hence only likely to be
useful as letter bombs. They can be used as detonators for larger

Bomb equipment should be returned to the maker via the Umpire, unless
it is defused or dud. It may not normally be re-used, unless it was
defused or dud. The Bomb Squad is on holiday, but the umpire would like
to hear how you fare in performing your own bomb defusion.

An exception to this rule is that the detonator, if encased in a
sturdily constructed case of steel (or other such material), may be
re-used. The Umpire will rule whether the detonator has survived a
blast or not.

NOTE: Bombs operated by timers are not permitted. Some method
of detonating them involving an person's action of some kind must be
used. This is because it is unfair that people should be blown up while
asleep; there is no defence against it.

The one exception to the triggering rule, is that timers may be used on
bombs INSIDE a player's room, because there is a defence to this. It
consists of locking the door...

Devices which prevent motion sensors or other triggers from going off
for a certain period of time are permitted, if you can work out how to
make one!

Bombs can be triggered by the victim in various ways.
There are endless possibilities: drawing pins positioned to pop
balloons, smoke detectors (if the victim smokes), vacuum cleaners
booby-trapped with confetti in the exhaust, etc.

Note: Constructing a bomb which is intended to kill the occupants of an
entire staircase or college, is not generally valid as it validates rule

4.13	Other

(*) Poisoned umbrellas may be used to transfer contact poison on to
a player (as in the case of the Bulgarian Georgi Markov). However,
you should be careful to avoid actual injury to the participant,
and may well need to cover up the tip of your umbrella with
something softer.

It is possible to use 'novelty' weapons which aren't in this list.
Previous unusual weapons have included Fridges (a large cardboard box,
which is labelled fridge), or poisoned lipstick. Email the umpire
before using such a weapon. A kill using a non-sanctioned weapon
may not be accepted!


Deaths should be reported to the Umpire as soon as possible after
the event, stating all salient details (when, where, how, and
whether any innocent bystanders were killed). It is best if both
assassin and target report the death to make sure there is no
mistake. Creative/amusing reports are encouraged.


When a player is dead he may if he wishes join a "police force"
with the purpose of killing any wanted criminals, who have
been discovered to have killed innocent bystanders. The members of
the police force will be announced to all players.

Police may also attack players openly bearing weapons in
"pre-emptive self-defence", but once a weapon is out of direct
sight the player cannot be killed by police.

The actions of the police force will be coordinated by the Chief
of Police.

Police officers should take great care not to kill innocent
victims. In general, police who kill innocent bystanders will be
permanently suspended from duty, whether they are innocent
players, non players or ducks.

The umpires will consider individual cases though, and if there
are extenuating circumstances the officer will be allowed to
resume his duties. These would include bystanders who
deliberately threw themselves in front of a criminal to stop a
bullet, or if the police misidentified a passer-by with
reasonable cause.

If police shoot innocent players, the players will not be killed,
but the police will be suspended anyway, so there!



You may attack anyone - however anyone who is NOT one of:

i) Your assigned target.
ii) The assassin assigned to you, if you learn their identity.
iii) Anyone holding a weapon or having one in full view, whether
or not they are about to attack you. Once the weapon is
hidden, the person is no longer a legitimate target.
iv) Anyone on the Wanted List.

is an innocent victim.


No assassination attempt may be made if victim or assassin is in
an out-of-bounds area. The following are always out of bounds:

   i) Lecture theatres (including after/before lectures)
  ii) Practicals/laboratories.
 iii) Hospitals/libraries/sports-halls.
  iv) Churches/chapels/synagogues/mosques/temples/stupas!
   v) Formal college dining halls.
      Informal college cafeterias are in the playing arena.
  vi) Any OFFICIAL university society meeting (e.g. speaker
      meetings, formal halls), or regularly scheduled meetings
      of an unofficial society which takes place in college
      grounds. Pub-meets are within the playing arena.
 vii) Any Ball, Event, garden party or similar.
viii) Seminars and supervisions.
  ix) Boats (except in leisurely outings, e.g. punting)

Assassinations CAN take place in the Pheonix User Area, Cockroft 4,
departmental/college computer rooms etc, but only as follows:

i) Outside the hours 9am to 5.30pm.
ii) Use only weapons which CANNOT POSSIBLY damage equipment (eg
garotte, knife, cap gun etc),
iii) Minimal inconvenience to any other users (players or
bystanders). So, for example, point a cap gun and say 'Bang'
rather than actually firing it.

Should the situation occur again, computer rooms in libraries are
defined as computer rooms, not libraries. A computer room is, in
general, defined as a place where the public (or any clearly
defined group, e.g. members of a college) are permitted to use
computers. Players' private rooms do NOT count.

Any further suggestions should be communicated to the Umpire as
soon as possible. Please use your common sense!


Once the game starts you must make a reasonable kill attempt within the
first 336 hours (14 days). After this period is up, you must make a kill
within every subsequent 168 hour (7 day) period.

Players missing the time limit will be put on the wanted list for
incompetance. Players who are on the wanted list for incompetance can
be removed if they catch up on the previous period's kill as well as
making an attempt for the current period.

If there are too many players left towards the end of the game, the
interval will be reduced to 72 hours (3 days).


A witness is any player or non-player who is in a position to see
the assassination take place. Witnesses can, of course, talk about
the assassination to other players. Killing your target when
there are witnesses present will get your name in the News.

In game terms, dead witnesses tell no tales but provoke
investigation. The police force has a very up-to-date forensic
department, and players do not escape the Wanted List by
disposing of witnesses.


If you have killed an innocent victim (see rule on Permissible
Targets) then you are put on the Wanted List (a public file
containing the names and addresses of known criminals).

Getting other people to open your mail/door for you will make you
responsible for them (unless you have a good explanation).
Players who incompetently _attempt_ to murder innocent victims
will also be put on the wanted list. If an innocent person is
killed by genuine mischance, and players could not be expected to
foresee this they may appeal to the Umpire. Poison letters are
considered attempts on who they are addressed to; poison on door
handles will be considered to be an attempt on the life of anyone
who may reasonably be expected to try to open the door. So if you
poison a communal door, you have attempted to murder innocents,
and are on the wanted list. To discourage indiscriminate contact
poisonings (which get tedious), it's now assumed that people other
than a room's occupant could reasonably try to open its door.

If you are on the wanted list the police will come after you...


This term's Umpire is Charlie Baylis .

The primary method of contacting the Umpire is through email,
though players are welcome to visit.

The Umpire is immortal. No one may be killed in the Umpire's room
(S4 Trinity Hall), which is also a no water weapons zone.

If you have any queries, visit/mail the Umpire, preferably
before the query becomes a matter of life and death (yours or
anyone else's).

Player-Umpire communications may be made public at the end of the
game for everyone's enlightenment and amusement. If you do not
wish a certain communication to be made public, please tell the
Umpire. Thanks.

NOTE: It is the responsibility of players to read their e-mail to
see the news and whether they have been put on the wanted list.
Players are deemed to know that they are wanted/police as soon as
the Umpire sends e-mail to that effect. They are not wanted/police
before this. This may seem a bit unfair, but is less so than
expecting the Umpire to guess if a player has logged on recently.
Players are not wanted before the Umpire announces the fact and
therefore are not automatically permissible targets, even if
people know they will be wanted soon. Of course, you may shoot
anyone displaying a weapon.


The game now has its own newsgroup (ucam.rec.games.assassin) --
the news and announcements will be posted here by the Umpire, and
players may use it for discussion etc.

If you wish to post something anonymously to ucam.rec.games.assassin,
ask the Umpire to do it for you.


The game has its own World-Wide Web pages, which will host these
rules and game news.


* The Umpire's Rule is law. There will be no right of appeal against a

* Official complaints about a person's behaviour will almost certainly
result in disqualification. Involvement of the (real) police will
definitely cause you to be disqualified.

* It is considered that taking part in this game implicitly allows
people to enter your room through an unlocked door or open window.
Entering a room by any other means is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. If you don't
want trespassers, make certain they can't get in.

The history of this set of rules is thought to be:
Author unknown.
Typed in by Paul Roberts (PER10).
Later history unknown.
Used by CUSFS for a while.
Martin Hardcastle (MJH22) made some modifications.
Julian Birch (JMB29), some modifications and clarifications.
Richard Fairhurst (RJF1001), further modifications and clarifications.
Ben Jameson (BFJ1000), yet more modifications.
Jim Cameron (JC10007) and Elizabeth Pringle (EMPP1), even more, mistyped,
David Allsopp (DNA1000), surprisingly, made some modifications.
Paul Menage (PBM1001) was Easter 1995 Umpire, and initiated 3 targets per
Nigel Harris (NJH27) made modifications.
Ben Harris (BJH21) changed even more things, notably the bomb blast radius
formula to be based on a cube root.
Chuan-Tze Teo (CTT20) modified still more rules.
Martin Read (mpr22) corrected the text of the bomb rules, and set a
(semi-)codified timing rule (after a few shoutings, getting the wording
Lynnette Dray (lmd21) modified a few more things, surprisingly.
Charlie Baylis (cgb23) took this ruleset in 1999 in order to back out the
strange necromancy rules, and made a couple of other patches.

The Umpire umpire@fish.zetnet.co.uk