Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for ...

Killer. Also called The Assassination Game

This is the game that guaranteed that TSR would never do LARPs. TSR did not publish it, but the metric crap-ton of grief that it brought down on the company was enough to make it permanently gunshy of anything even slightly north of cosplay.

The game concept was pretty simple – you have a group of people, you give everyone someone else’s name. That’s their target. You “kill” the target and you get the target’s target’s name, and work your way up the daisy chain of death while trying to avoid getting eliminated yourself. Most of the rules beyond that point were what was and was not permissible (witnesses, play space, useless paens to safety that fall on deaf ears, etc…).

But even in the antedevulian times before the towers fell, there were a lot of people who found people running around public spaces with squirt guns and violating personal space as being sketchy. And when someone got shot …

Here’s a side note. I remember there was an incident, at least one, but now years later can’t tell you what it was. Perhaps it even descends into urban legend, but I don’t think so. Someone (security guard, campus cop?) shot a player who engaged in the game, thinking them dangerous. The wiki page is relatively quiet on this, which is odd.

Mind you, this was a time when TSR, the leading voice in RPGs, was trying to convince people that D&D was not actually played in steam tunnels. Something like this just ratcheted up the volume, and the fact that TSR never had anything to do with the game and never wanted to do anything like it (OK, we did a set of Party games, but that was IT), was of no matter – cue the angry moms from heck and bring on the onslaught. 

Suprisingly, I have played TAG (or AN assassination game, anyway) at a friends’ house on Lake Geneva for a long gaming weekend. Within two hours, one player was blown up in the bathroom (bomb rigged to the light switch), every surviving player had been reduced to paranoid madness, and the winner took out her own husband with poisoned lipstick. And a good time was had by all.

More later,