Tournament rules of the Assassins at the University of Helsinki
RULE NUMBER ONE
- Maintain common sense. This is a game. This is intended to be fun. This must not cause displeasure to players or bystanders. Everything the rules do not explicitly forbid is not allowed.
APPLYING FOR THE GAME
- If a candidate does not have a helsinki.fi-address, their identity will be otherwise confirmed. Applications will be confirmed by personal contact.
- During the game the players are assumed to read their e-mail every day from Monday to Friday.
- The umpires use their discretion in accepting players for the game. If the applicant e.g. states s/he is not practically reachable during the game, there is no point for him/her to participate.
- Sometimes there just is no room for everyone. The umpires make the decisions as they see fit. First priority is given to students of the University of Helsinki, second to students of other tertiary education students in the capital region and third to everyone else. So far we’ve never had to limit the number of players.
- Required information is stated on a game-by-game basis. This will include at least name, desired alias, address, a good recent photo and some data about the player’s daily life.
- The alias is a nickname used in the scoreboard and any other game-wide announcements. The umpires accept the alias according to their taste and preferences. The alias can be changed from one game to another and – with the umpires’ permission – within a game.
- A person who has intentionally given misleading information will not participate in future games. (The umpires maintain a blacklist on rule breakers and other people who’ve disqualified themselves.)
- The umpires maintain the game. The police maintain the law. Do not involve the umpires in your self-made problems. (Yes, burglary is illegal, even if you’re playing a game in which people get shot with water pistols.) Your life is much easier if you don’t cause the aforementioned problems to yourself.
- Umpires to all HYS games are chosen by the HYS Board.
- The umpires are the final authority in the game.
- You may to complain about the umpires’ decisions to the HYS Board. This will be done in writing and will not influence the ongoing game or its scoring.
- The easiest way to be blacklisted is to break rule number one. If a player wishes to complain about being blacklisted, it is useless to refer to what the rules do NOT say. The rules do not explicitly forbid e.g. kidnapping the pets of your victims but you can rely on such things getting you blacklisted.
- The umpires arrange the players into a circle of death: all players are both hunters and hunted.
- Players lead their normal lives: No-one forces you to open the door when the doorbell rings but locking yourself into your home and constantly breaking your reported daily routines will be considered unsporting.
- A passive assassin (no assassination attempts during the time limit announced by the umpires) may find themselves on the list of wanted assassins as a revenge of the dissatisfied employer.
- It is forbidden for an assassin to claim to be an umpire, a detective, a person of authority (police officer, fireman etc.), or deceased, or to claim others to be dead or wanted.
- Deceased assassins may become detectives who hunt wanted assassins, if they so desire.
- Detectives score points by executing the (wanted) assassins. If detectives work together, the points will be divided as the umpires see fit.
- The real names of the detectives are public.
- Detectives do not need to care about witnesses as such, but all rules about propriety are still on: a detective can shoot the wanted assassin in front of the Railway station but not in a lecture hall during a lecture.
- A detective dies if shot in self defense. The umpires resurrect dead detectives according to their needs.
- Detectives cannot use indirect weapons (poisons, bombs etc.)
- Each wanted assassin is hunted by a group of detectives chosen by the umpires. All detectives do not get all assignments.
- The detectives’ information on their target may initially be more limited than the assassins’, but it may become more detailed as time passes.
- “Arrest”: A detective must point the target with a gun and say clearly “[Alias], surrender.” After this the target can be shot, if s/he resists the arrest. All assassins resist arrest -> all successful arrests end with the assassin getting shot.
- If the assassin reaches for a gun, s/he can be shot immediately. If the assassin starts to run, the phrase must still be said.
- One call for surrender is sufficient in each individual arrest even if there should be more than one detective present.
- Arrests will not take place in off-game areas (see below). Assassinswill not run there for cover either.
- Bystander victims add to your probability of becoming wanted.
- An assassin is not usually told of their becoming wanted.
- In specific circumstances, a player may be listed as publicly wanted. In this case, all detectives can try to arrest him/her. Furthermore, all assassins can try to assassinate him/her. Normal witness rules still apply to assassins in this case.
- The wanted assassin can shoot a detective in front of eye-witnesses in self-defense. However, even if wanted, an assassin is forbidden to kill his/her assigned victim with >2 eye witnesses. (This still doesn’t count as a successful assassination.)
- Detectives are not counted as eye-witnesses.
- Even if an assassins knows a person to be a detective from following the game announcement board, s/he is not allowed to shoot him/her in self-defense before an attempted arrest or obviously suspicious behaviour (running towards the assassin etc.) It might be prudent to get away, however. If you _know_ a particular detective is after you, you can shoot him/her freely and ignore the witnesses.
- If you discover the identity of another assassin (witness an assassination, hear someone talking about the game…), you can’t kill them, but you can turn them in to the umpires within 3 days of the event.
WITNESSES AND EYE-WITNESSES
- An eye-witness is a bystander who sees the deed. All eye-witnesses are witnesses but a witness can also be a person who – after the body has been found – could identify the assassin.
- By default, all bystanders have a 360 ° vision. If a bystander is in the same room when you kill your target, they still count as an eye-witness even if they were looking the other way at the moment.
- In case of poisoning and other indirect weapons, those bystanders who saw both the poison being administered and the resulting death count as eye-witnesses.
- A stylish assassination has no witnesses.
- If there are witnesses, the event must not cause harm or displeasure to them or (through them) to the victim.
- >2 eye-witnesses cancels the assassination and makes the assassin wanted.
- 1-2 witnesses endanger the assassin: each witnessed assassination attempt carries a cumulative 10% probability for ending up on the wanted list. >2 witnesses at a single attempt will lead to being wanted.
- Example: Mary Murderess slays her first victim in front of two eye-witnesses. She survives a lottery in which the umpires give her a 20% chance to become wanted. Her next operation has one eye-witness. The probability for having to deal with the detectives is now 30%.
- As with other things, common sense regarding witnesses is necessary:
- You’re an idiot if you shoot a person at work when they’re, say, talking to their superior. You also won’t be participating in our future games. And this game ended for you right at that instant.
- A witness doesn’t need to be an eye-witness. For example, if you visit a private apartment as an invited guest, slip into the bedroom and slay your host’s partner, you’ve got a witness. (And since you’re familiar to the host, there won’t be anything random about making you wanted.
- If you kill a person alone in a closed room and, as you are leaving, meet a person in the corridor who’s going to the same room, you have a witness.
- Do not kill eye-witnesses.
- To make playing the game easier, security cameras do not count as witnesses. Let us think they don’t exist.
- You’re playing a game in which you hunt other voluntary players. This does not entitle you to be rude, unpleasant let alone dangerous to your environment. The game must not disturb bystanders.
- Respect for bystanders is crucial: If you accidentally push someone when you run away from your assassin, you will stop and apologise. If they drop something, you will lift it. If you just run away and your assassin reports the incident, you didn’t get away and might have stopped yourself from attending the next game as well. The assassin is expected to have enough savoir-faire not to shoot the victim during the situation described above. If they don’t, the umpires may decide they just shot themselves.
- The ongoing game is not a subject of discussion. It doesn’t exist and even if it did, you wouldn’t be playing in it. (Exception: You’re free to explain your own blunders or those of others, if you e.g. shoot an innocent bystander or your roommate gets shot by accident.) This rule is intended to protect players from accidental exposure and to prevent players from drafting bystanders as game-aware accomplices .
- Hospitals (incl. YTHS), police stations, places of worship etc.
- WCs and dressing rooms of the opposite gender etc.
- Players’ homes without an invitation. (Entering through a window – no. “Would you like to discuss the Kingdom of Heaven?” – Yes.)
- Using water is forbidden in libraries, computer rooms, offices etc. BANG-rule and other weapons are allowed.
- Players can request personal safe areas or times for personal reasons.These reasons may include e.g. places of work where game activity is impossible, dangerous or otherwise harmful. (E.g. construction sites, experimental animal quarters, security detail etc.) You cannot carry out an assassination in your own safe area.
- Personal safe areas should be kept as small as possible to keep the game playable.
- The umpires will keep confidental any personal details the player wishes to remain secret. (E.g. a specific health reason for withdrawing from the game.)
- The players are expected to know and accept that their hunters will probably observe them before attempting assassination. We do not want to hear about players suing each other, if the next rule has not been broken.
- If you observe the apartment of a fellow player e.g. to find out if s/he intends to leave, you may find out things about their habits or personal relationships s/he would wish to remain private. Respect this, if you intend to participate in our games. Please note that using a pair of fieldglasses near an apartment building might severely irritate bystanders.
- All physical contact between the victim and the assassin is strictly forbidden.
- If someone holds are door closed, forcing it open is forbidden. (Dangerous. Besides, assassination is not a contest of strength.)
- The victim is, of course, free to run for his life.
- Mutual use of common sense makes life easier for the umpires. Your assassin has a water pistol simulating a pistol. No, the the folder in your hands is not kevlar and will not protect you. Doors and items of furniture will. But our consistency has its limits: a water pistol carries only as far as it does. Maybe we assume that our assassins are very, very bad shots?
- It was hit = It died. “Hit” meas “hit in any body part”, not “became soaking wet”.
- Aiming for the head is forbidden with any weapon, including water pistols.
- As far as witnesses are concerned a water pistol is assumed to be silenced.
- After the attempted murder the victim and the assassin report the event to the umpires. The umpires will give the assassin their next target and the victim can become a detective.
- Things to remember while carrying out the assassination:
- The operation must not cause hazardous situations. (The victim must not carry heavy / dangerous / fragile items, drive vechiles, operate dangerous equipment etc.)
- The operation must not cause property damage. (Textbooks, electrical appliances, chemicals etc. can be damaged by water.)
- The operation must not cause unreasonable disturbance to bystanders.
- The victim of a failed assassination attempt can at their discretion turn the assassin in to the detectives via the umpires. 24 hours after the tip the detectives get the datasheet of the failed assassin. The intended victim can also get the same data, but only if she turns the assassin in to the detectives.
- Killing bystanders is forbidden (e.g. poisoning doorhandles) and all accidents must be reported.
- You’re naturally allowed to shoot back at a person attempting assassination. If you succeed, the incompetent assassin joins the detectives and their hunter gets a new target. Guess who.
- The person who hit first gets their way. The place of your death will not be defiled by an argument along the lines of “I would have had time to shoot you before my heart finally failed.” If the victim and the assassin really cannot tell who hit first, both died.
- A person carrying a water pistol or otherwise behaving suspiciously (suspiciously: would they still be suspicious if you weren’t playing?) can be assumed to be an assassin and is a legitimate target. But don’t kill your friends just because you think they’re playing!
- If a paranoid victim shoots an innocent bystander they are expected to deal with their social problems by themselves and report the event to the umpires. This will not end your game (unless you have broken rule number one), but may lead to becoming wanted.
THE END OF THE GAME
- The game ends when:
a) a time limit set by the umpires is reached
b) the last assassin slays the next-to-last assassin without being wanted
c) the detectives catch the last assassin
d) the detectives catch the next-to-last assassin and the last assassin is not wanted
e) the umpires or the HYS chairperson declare the game to be over.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES REGARDING ALL WEAPONS
- This is a game. This is intended to be fun. It is easy to design e.g. a totally unsporting bomb placed onto a door so that the person inside has no chance of avoiding it. This kind of thing is not done: all assassination attempts must – at lest in theory – be avoidable by a sufficiently paranoid victim.
- If the umpires decide a weapon was unfair, the event did not take place.
- No real harm must come to the victim, bystanders or property.
- Weapons must not look authentic or cause problems with bystanders.
- Physical contact between the assassin and the victim is forbidden. The only exception to this is using a knife (see knives) for obvious reasons.
- Weapons that have not been explicitly allowed are forbidden.
- The umpires can at their discretion allow weapons that are not on the list of allowed weapons. The decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis and BEFORE the assassination attempt.
- The umpires appreciate imaginative weapons and usually will reward them with extra points. Weapons seen in previous tournaments include e.g. spears, blowpipes, chainsaws and poison gas.
- If the umpires have announced that no other weapons will be allowed, no other weapons will be allowed. Begging won’t help.
- REPLICAS OR OTHER GENUINE-LOOKING WEAPONS ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. These may cause considerable stress to bystanders and therefore also cause a severe security risk. In many circumstances authentic-looking weapons are also illegal and may lead to police action.
- However, weapons must be recognizable as weapons that are part of the game. E.g. non-pistol-shaped things that spray water are not weapons.
- The weapon must be operational/loaded when using the BANG-rule (see below), and the weapon must be out at the time of firing.
- A water pistol is the default weapon. Your water pistol contains water and does not look like a real gun. Otherwise the choice of the water pistol is up to you: a small gun is easy to carry concealed but won’t have much of a range. A Super Soaker or some equivalent carries far, but will make it difficult to approach your target discreetly.
- Foam dart guns are allowed as well. Intentional ricochet shots are forbidden to preserve realism.
- Airsoft weapons are forbidden.
- Aiming for the head is forbidden.
- The “Bang-rule”: Soaking people with water is not always necessary to commit the murder. If you can get within one metre of your target and can point at your victim with the water pistol or any other allowed simulated gun and say “PUM” (“BANG” in Finnish) in a loud voice, the target is dead. This naturally means that your target must still be within one metre from you when the syllable ends.
- BOMBS MUST ALWAYS BE PRE-APPROVED BY THE UMPIRES.
- Sending simulated bombs by mail is forbidden.
- Leaving simulated bombs unattended in public places is forbidden.
- A bomb must do something real, e.g. beep or make a bang either triggered by a timer or the victim. (For example, the bomb may react to transferring or opening the package, a wire entering the bomb being pulled etc.) It is forbidden for the assassin to remotely explode her own device.
- The bomb must not be set to detonate in a manner that would be impossible for a totally paranoid victim to detect or evade. On the other hand, if your visiting friend places a ticking package under your bed, you’re in for a rude last awakening.
- If you wish to defuse a suspicious package, contact the umpire responsible for weapons. After this, the bomb will become harmless immediately. However, this leads to a penalty of -2 points. Alternatively, you can try defusing the bomb yourself or let it be.
- No side of the bomb package must be shorter than 5 cm.
- The kill radius of a 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm package is three metres of unblocked line-of sight. (E.g. a table between you and the bomb might be sufficient protection depending on the circumstances.)
- The kill radius of a 20 cm x 30 cm x 5 cm package is eight metres of unblocked line-of-sight. This is the longest possible kill radius in the game.
- Other kill radiuses must be negotiated with the weapons umpire.
- Each bystander victim in an assassination by bomb leads to a penalty of -2 points. The bomb must not have more than 4 bystander victims per intended target, otherwise the assassination will fail and the assassin will become wanted.
- In addition to the mechanism the bomb must contain a note which contains your greeting to the victim signed with your alias, the kill radius of the bomb and the following text unchanged: “Tämä on simuloitu LEIKKIpommi,joka kuuluu Helsingin yliopiston salamurhaajien (http://www.salamurhaajat.net) salamurhaturnaukseen [insert year here]. Jos luette tätä, ettekä tiedä pelistä, on tapahtunut virhe ja pyydämme, että ilmoitatte siitä osoitteeseen hallitus[at]salamurhaajat.net. Pahoittelumme.” (This is a brief Finnish explanation and an apology intended for people who have nothing whatsoever to do with the game.) The above text must be in sight at the same time as the rest of the message and not, say, on the other side of a bloodthirsty threat on top of a mean-looking mechanism.
- Car bombs have special conditions. It is particularly crucial that you contact the umpires and explain your plan. The main point is that the bomb must under no circumstances come off and cause a hazard to the traffic.
- The only allowed food poison is vinegar which must be present in food or drink in sufficient quantity to be noticed by the victim. The assassin is not required to compensate the victim for the food she spiced, unless she is caught in the act.
- When poisoning drinks, note that onlookers may misinterpret the situation. For this reason, you can “poison” the beverage by attaching a piece of tape or a sticker with a clearly marked black X on it on the bottom of the glass. If the victim fails to notice the mark before drinking, you can inform them and the assassination will count as successful.
- The only allowed contact poison is a hand lotion of your choice which must be present in the target surface in a layer thick enough to be noticed by your victim.
- Sending poisoned letters by mail is forbidden. The poisoned letter, magazine etc. must be delivered personally to the victim’s mailbox.
- The poison letter must contain a note that includes a greeting of your choice, signed by your alias, and the following text unchanged: “Tämä on simuloitu myrkkykirje joka kuuluu Helsingin yliopiston salamurhaajien (http://www.salamurhaajat.net) salamurhaturnaukseen [insert year here]. Aine kirjeessä on käsivoidetta. Jos luette tätä, ettekä tiedä pelistä, on tapahtunut virhe ja pyydämme, että ilmoitatte siitä osoitteeseen hallitus(at)salamurhaajat.net. Pahoittelumme.” (This is a short Finnish explanation to people who don’t know anything about the game.)
- Poisoning doorhandles is forbidden if it can be reasonably assumed that someone besides the victim uses the door. E.g. it is allowed to poison the doorhandle of a victim who lives alone, but not the doorhandle of a lecture room.
- A surface covered with contact poison can be safely handled with gloves, tongs and the like.
- The only allowed simulated knife is a strip of soft, pliable cardboard, at least 15 cm in length and covered with aluminium foil. The blade must not be bent or folded. To avoid injury, the umpires recommend adding a handle.
- A knife is the only exception to the no-contact rule: it is used by touching the victim’s torso CAUTIOUSLY.
- Other close combat weapons must be approved by the weapons umpire.
- Throwing knives must be approved by the weapons umpire. Never aim for the head.
- As can be deduced from the above, the knife is strictly a matter of style: it has no benefits compared to other weapons.
ANIMALS AND OTHER EXOTIC WEAPONS
- Small toy animals that are generally known to be poisonous (spiders, snakes and the like) are automatically allowed. Other suitable animals can be approved by the umpires. The animal must wear a black band around its neck and carry a note telling who it is, who it came from and what it did to the victim.
- Venomous animals are lethal if they touch bare skin.
- Contact the umpires if you want to use a heavy weight. A weight is a simulated heavy object that can be dropped on the victim. The weight must be soft and light, so that it doesn’t cause any harm to the victim. You can use e.g. a beach ball or a light pillow.
- Permission and additional instructions are requested BEFORE the assassination attempt.
- One of the umpires is responsible for weapons. Approach that umpire, if you wish to use exotic weaponry. Be prepared to take a no for an answer.
- If a toy is used to simulate a weapon, it will be handled like a simulated weapon all the time. It is explicitly forbidden to e.g. ask for permission to use a plush spider as an attack animal,then introduce it to the victim as a plush toy and inform the victim (who was admiring your alleged plush toy) that he is dead.