How to Play Assassins: A Game For Giant Groups of People
Yes, this is a game where you can kill all of your friends, one at a time, and feel good about it.
Last week I was asked to run a game of Assassins for three days, with a group of about 60 travelers as we toured through New Mexico into Texas.
By the end of day 1, people wouldn't go to the bathroom alone, scared that there were assassins lurking in the shadows, just waiting to take them out.
The game is pure paranoia.
HOW TO PLAY ASSASSINS
How to Win at Assassins:
- To win assassins, you must be the last assassin alive.
Or -- if time does not permit playing to the last man, then:
- To win assassins, you must accumulate the most kills, and without getting killed.
How to kill someone:
You must receive your target's “Contract” from a moderator.
-- For our game, we printed up contracts for each player and mailed them out before they arrived on the trip. Each contract had a name and a picture of the target.
To kill your target you must get them alone in a room.
Once they're alone, you must reveal your weapon of choice and the contract to your target.
--For our game, the weapon was chosen by the player. The only rule regarding the weapon is that the item must be something unique, hard to replace and that it's not that dangerous. So, an ordinary Bic pen won't do, but a pen with a Disney logo would. Also, a real knife would not be permitted.
In short: When you are alone with your target in a room, present your contract and weapon. Once this is done the target is dead.
When you are killed:
- Death means you must give up your contract to the assassin. You are officially out of the game. Running away or tearing up your contract will not save you.
When you kill someone:
Collect the target's contract.
Deliver both your Contract and your mark's Contract to the moderator.
The moderator may give you a new contract right away, or they may tell you to come back later, but eventually, you'll receive a new contract.
-- For our game, I would give a new target to the player as soon as possible, however when we played at college, you'd wake up in the morning to find your next contract in your mail slot. The first method is obviously for a more time constrained game.
You cannot kill another mark until the moderator sends you out to kill with a contract, so be sure to find a moderator ASAP.
- If you can have two moderators that would be best, however, the on this week's trip I was the only moderator. It can get a little hectic, so make sure you have a good way of organizing the players.
The moderators are responsible for the following:
- Keeping track of who each assassin is assigned to kill.
- Keeping track of the “weapon of choice” for each player.
- Coming up with resolutions to problems.
- Coming up with punishments for carelessness (losing contract, weapon) or for cheating.
- Finally, when there are only two players left the moderator must design the final duel: This could a nerf gun fight, it could be a LARP style foam weapon battle, a knife fight with Sharpies, or a simple game of rock, paper, scissors. It's up to you, moderator -- get creative!
Setting Up The Game:
- Collect all the player's names on a list.
(optional) Additionally, collect a current photo of each player on the list.
Put a player’s name (and picture) on an individual card. Do this for every player. These cards are called "contracts.” These will be passed from player to player as people are assassinated.
Have each player text/email/hand a photo of their “Weapon of Choice” to the moderator. The weapon can be anything that the player wants, as long as its unique. For example, A regular Bic pen is too common, a pen with Disney characters printed on it is unique.
No real weapons allowed.
There should be one list with every player’s name, picture, weapon, and current contract. This list is only for the moderators to use to keep track of who’s killing who and whether the kills are legal.
Players shouldn't know how many people are left.
There should be no contract trading.
(Optional) Designate Safe Zones where no one can be killed. Attempted murders in safe zones should be reported to a moderator so that swift justice can be delivered.
(Optional) I suggest collecting $50 from every player, and the winner gets all the money. Having some stakes makes the game way more cutthroat.
If you lose your murder weapon or contract. Find a moderator, he/she will assign you a new one. For your foolishness, your contract will be open to every assassin in the game for 24 hours. Good luck, muthafucka!
If you’re playing outside, moderators should agree on a particular distance from other people that counts as “alone.”
The more players, the better!
This game is awesome; I hope you have as much fun playing it as we did last week. Have fun!
Thanks for Reading,