Rules of Killer


Killer is a mock combat game for a large number of players. Each person has to try to survive whilst everyone else is 'killed'. 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.

These rules are for the May Week 2000 game, and as such, the rules are different from normal games of Killer.

The game will run from midnight on the 14th/15th June to seven days later, midnight on 21st/22nd.


Everyone who wishes to play should provide the Umpire with:

  1. Full name (and optional pseudonym)

  2. College (or Department if applicable) and address in Cambridge

  3. E-mail address (full if not

  4. 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 published on the web page, 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 [The Umpire also stresses that these players should seek psychiatric and/or (real) police help].

  5. If you live relatively far from the city centre, brief details of city centre visits that you regularly make. The Umpire shall use his discretion in deciding which details to pass on to the 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. College/Departmental computer rooms or offices are not valid city centre visits.

  6. Water Weapons category. Possible room categorisations:
    • No Water Weapons Zone: Default state
    • Water Weapons with Care: No waterbombs. No heavy calibre. Medium calibre guns (SS50, XP55, XP65, which are single-barrelled guns of up to about a foot in length) are only ok if used accurately to hit the target. Small Calibre is ok. If you choose this option, list any delicate items in particular to avoid (e.g. computer, expensive hi-fi, TV, etc.)
    • World War 3: Full-scale war allowed. Even so... Avoid unnecessary abuse of firepower on the room. i.e. Be sensible and professionally accurate. Inanimate objects usually don't strike back.
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. For any deliberate breach of the rules a player may be given a warning and, in serious cases, disqualified from playing.

  2. The spirit of the rules is more important than the actual rules themselves. Rules are made to be bent here and there.

  3. 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!). In this game, the victim also needs to know who killed him/her.

  4. 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 or any player's computer accounts, is also strictly forbidden.

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

  6. Players are expected to report all kill attempts they make, and also any attempts on their own life. Feel free to dramatise the events in your report.

  7. This game depends on trust and gentlemanly/womanly conduct. Please be honest about whether or not you are dead. Honour amongst murderers and all that....

  8. This game is NOT about brute force. Knocking people over or forcing your way through doors against the will of whoever is trying to close them just because you're a lot bigger than them is not acceptable. Likewise it is not about knocking weapons out of other people's hands. A gentle tap with a cosh has that effect.

  9. Death is instantaneous on being critically shot or struck. The victim has no time to "get even". If it's very close as to who hit who first, you should resolve the issue on the spot (whenever possible). Note however that poison has a five second delay which can be used to fight back.

  10. Dead players remain dead until they are officially resurrected by the Umpire (as reported on the web page. This usually happens after four hours). Dead accomplices also resurrect after the current death time (usually four hours too).

  11. It is a serious offence to impersonate porters when knocking on players' doors. The player may be inclined to disbelieve the person knocking and this may be a problem if a porter is really knocking on their door.

2.0 AIMS:

  1. The main aim of the game is for everyone concerned to have a good time.

  2. The aim of each player is to kill as many other players as possible while staying alive.


Every player is a valid target for this game. Consult the game web page for a list.


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, any weapon not listed below must be patented with the Umpire. It is up to the discretion of the Umpire whether a player using an unauthorized weapon has killed the victim. So do check with the Umpire before charging into battle using your latest creation. Weapons that have been patented in a past game must still be patented again with the new Umpire. In general weapons must

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

Indirect kills are not permitted during the May Week game. This includes bombs, contact poison, etc.

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

  1. Guns
    • 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 you have delegated you room a No Water Weapons Zone, it then automatically becomes ILLEGAL to use any water-based weapons in the room. Note that other weapons may still be used. The disadvantage is 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.

      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, or, as it is not uncommon for Cambridge, when it is raining.

    • Cap pistols may also be used, although almost point blank range (clear shot from less than one metre) is needed to claim a hit.
    • Soft air guns may not be used, however soft plastic pellets fired by say a spring may be safer. Always present these first to the Umpire for a safety check, before using them.
    • (*) Rubber bands are an acceptable weapon, as long as head shots are avoided.
    • Flamethrower - represented by a bottle of Champagne, hose-pipe, snow spray, shaving foam, etc. Rules much as for water-pistols, except that it is unneccesary to completely coat the victim in your flames. A sufficient spurt to "burn" the vital vertical line (head, torso, stomach) will do.

  2. Contact poison - Not permitted during the May Week game.

  3. Club or Cosh - represented by a cardboard poster tube or a newspaper rolled up and stuck with Cellotape. 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.
    Note that anything you do with an arm that has been coshed is invalidated. If you run away after being coshed in the body or leg, then you are dead. Please allow your murderer to finish you off in style, they might have spent a long time trying to find you... (reasons for this - the satisfaction the assassin will recieve when they Finish Him/Her)

  4. Blades - Foam, soft rubber, retractable plastic or cardboard knives may be used. If the knife has been made by you e.g. 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. And yes, lightsabres count as swords. Representations of Ninja Stars and Razor Blades may also be used (a real razor is out of the question). Razor-edge hats may also be used if the brim is visibly marked with the word "ASSASSIN" on it.

  5. Garrotte - Represented by handkerchiefs, or, far better, toilet paper.

  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 (i.e. if you're wettish) you are dead. If they just splash your arms or legs, you are only wounded, and survive.

  7. (*) Poisonous Gas - represented by perfume/after-shave/air-freshener. This kills instantaneously if it is at a noticeable concentration. Do NOT spray it in people's faces. N.B. It will kill all those who smell it - think of all those innocent victims...
    During this game, gas will disperse as soon as the perpetrator leaves the scene. This is to stop indirect kills.
    Gas masks may be fashioned from a handkerchief, tea-towel or scarf tied across the face.
    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).

  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...

  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 victims!). Nut-based essences are banned as they are a major health hazard. If at any doubt, please register your poison with the Umpire.
    Again, the poison disperses as soon as the perpetrator leaves the scene. Indirect kills are not permitted!
    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. And no... Gardies burgers do not count as poisoning (in the game).

  10. Special Letters - not permitted in the May Week game.

  11. Bombs - not permitted in the May Week game.

  12. (*) 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.

    Open Umbrellas, labelled "Shield" count as protecting you from whatever waterpistol fire you may encounter. Note that, in general, the heavier-calibre guns will get round/through an umbrella. Be honest, if any water gets on your head or torso, own up to being dead. This reflects that bulletproof technology has limitations. Furthermore, if your shield is hit by any class of grenade (see 4.6 above), then you are dead as it explodes into shrapnel that tears your body apart. Note that Body Armour is forbidden in this game. Umbrellas may NOT be simultaneously labelled Shield and Poison-Tip. That would be too easy!

  13. Fridgeing or Safeing - Dropping a large (i.e. of side at least 40cm) piece of polystyrene or of light cardboard packing from at least one storey onto your victim. It must be labelled either 'FRIDGE' or 'SAFE'. It may then be reasonably assumed that they are dead.

  14. Running over. Being hit by a (matchbox model) bus has the effect of squashing the intended victim. This should be enough to kill the victim. However, the following rules apply:
    1. The bus must be small (no longer than 10cm), in order to not cause injury to the victim.
    2. The bus must not leave the assassin's hand for two seconds either side of the attack. Victims will be dead as soon as the bus hits, but knocking the bus out of the assassin's hand to invalidate the kill will be deemed cheating. If the assassin lets go of the bus after the kill but before the two second time has elapsed, then the victim will after all have never died, and all counter-attacks will be valid.
    3. The bus must have a clearly visible run-up of at least half a metre. This is because the bus is a real kill weapon, and as such must be handicapped against the cosh.
    4. Feel free to make engine noises.
    5. Be gentle - remember that weapons must not cause real injury.


Deaths should be reported 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 as they will be used in the news. All assassins should at some point receive a walk-through for the automatic reporting system.


There will be no police in this game, since all assassins resurrect after four hours. The Umpire will take on the police role.



You may attack:

  1. Anyone currently playing the assassins game. The game news web page contains a list.

  2. 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.

Any other attacks will be attacks on innocent victims. Please do not inconvenience non-players. Attacking more than ten non-players will get you disqualified. Attacking university fellows or staff will get you out of the game (and probably sent down as well). Look, there's no point in attacking non-players anyway, so just don't, okay?

Be careful with players bearing musical and/or large electrical instruments (e.g. TV). The instruments are not to be wetted, and the victims have to be attacked carefully so they don't drop their expensive instruments during the assassination attempt. Do note that picking up a random instrument does not qualify as protection. You need a valid reason for carrying your respective instrument if an attempt is made.

Note that players who are in St. John's Ambulance uniform are effectively out of the game for the whole duration they are in uniform. They may not be killed, and they may not kill or be an accomplice. Attempting to gain a tactical advantage from a uniform is a serious offense, and will not be tolerated. You have been warned!


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

  1. Lecture theatres (including after/before lectures).

  2. Practicals/laboratories.

  3. Hospitals/libraries/sports-halls.

  4. Churches/chapels/synagogues/mosques/temples/stupas!

  5. Formal college dining halls - Informal college cafeterias are in the playing arena.

  6. Any OFFICIAL university society meeting (e.g. speaker meetings, formal halls). Kills at unofficial social meetings (e.g. the pub meet) are permissible. Note the society need only be registered with CUSU, not with the university. Such meetings must be in a fixed place to count.

  7. Seminars and supervisions.

  8. Boats (except in leisurely outings, e.g. punting).

Assassinations CAN take place in the User Area, Phoenix, departmental/college computer rooms etc, but only as follows:
  1. Outside the hours 9am to 5.30p.m.

  2. Use only weapons which CANNOT POSSIBLY damage equipment (e.g. garotte, knife, cap gun, etc.) - i.e. no messy weapons (also applies to Music Rooms and Lifts).

  3. Minimal inconvenience to any other users (players or bystanders). So, for example, pointing a cap gun and saying 'Bang' rather than actually firing it. If you want to be scrupulously fair, say 'Click' every once in a while to simulate a misfire.

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 certain college) are permitted to use computers. Players' private rooms do NOT count, no matter how many computers they own.

May Balls are designated no messy weapons areas. That means no water, no flamethrowers, no contact poison, no grenades. Poisoning food is fine though, as long as you stay to see the kill. Try to keep a moderately low profile in May Balls - we aren't an official society, and porters are liable to to throw gun-toting maniacs out of May Balls. Such is life.

Inside university faculty buildings will be designated no messy weapons areas, unless it is blatently obvious that the building will be oblivious to the mess. In general, use your common sense. If there's a carpet, notice board, fellows, milling crowd, or anything similar, then that place is definitely NO MESSY WEAPONS. Courtyards in university buildings are okay though.

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


The game only lasts one week. Kill as many players as you can in that time.


Witnesses are anyone who has seen a kill happen, be they players or non-players. Anyone may report a kill by anyone and of anyone. When reporting, the computer will attempt to work out if any reports are duplicates. Duplicate report texts will go to the news page (differing views, etc), but the statistics will only be updated once.


This game is unlike the normal games. Once you die, you resurrect after four hours (this time may change mid-game).

All players are listed on the web page in a table. This table includes information on which assassins each player has killed, and which assassins each player has been killed by. When viewing the statistics page, it is up to you to decide who you think is the winner.

However, the computer will sort the players on this statistics page, approximately as a ranking from best downwards. The better assassins will be recognised by the program as those who kill lots of different players, rather than those who kill several players lots of times. Note also that if you have already been killed by someone, them killing you again won't put you down the table much.


I cannot prevent mafias from existing. Any group of people may agree not to kill each other and call themselves a mafia. There is nothing wrong with that.

The problem comes when a mafia becomes too influential and starts ruining the game. In these circumstances, the Umpire will use whatever means necessary to keep the game enjoyable for everyone else. Let's hope the new rules will prevent this.

Please, have some consideration. It may be fun for you if you are crimeboss of a mafia that is killing everything in sight, but think of all the other people playing. It gets boring if no-one dares to emerge from their rooms.


This term's Umpire is Alex Churchill (

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: Room 8, 6 Adams Road, next to Robinson College.

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 the players to check the game web site often. Information on which players are alive is posted on the web page, along with how many points one would receive on killing any particular victim.

If any information on the web site is inaccurate (especially kill reports), then send the umpire an email. Reports automatically go onto the web site as soon as they are submitted, but the Umpire should be able to sort out most problems.



The game now has its own newsgroup ( - although it hasn't been used for eons. Players may use it for discussion if they wish but I've no idea if anyone checks this. The news and announcements will only be posted on the webpage (see Section 11.2) by the Umpire.

If you wish to post something anonymously to, ask the Umpire to do it for you.


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

To avoid waste of bandwidth, game news will not be distributed by email, although important announcements may be.


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 (mjH12) 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, modifications.
David Allsopp (dna1000), surprisingly, made some modifications.
Paul Menage (pbm1001) was Easter 1995 Umpire, and initiated 3 targets per player.
Nigel Harris (njH17) made modifications.
Ben Harris (bjH11) 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 right)
Lynnette Dray (lmd21) modified a few more things, surprisingly.
Tom Oinn (tmo21) htmlified the whole thing.
J Doe (ea212) made some modifications to counter the more modern forms of organised crime endangering the game's status.
Nadim Nehmé (nn211) incorporated Ed's changes into Tom's html form and declared a different form of Necromancy.
Matthew Wakeling (mnw21) was the May Week 1999 Umpire, and completely rehashed the scoring method.
Alex Churchill (gaec2) hasn't modified much yet.

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