Skip to content ↓
MIT blogger Joonho K. '20

assassins – a liveblog by Joonho K. '20

day 7: five remain

last updated: october 22, 5:15 pm


my hall, 2E of Next House, has an annual fall tradition in which we play a hall-wide game of assassins. the premise is simple: everyone gets a randomized target, and your goal is to assassinate your target. you win when you’re the last person remaining. the way assassinations work varies year by year: one year it was food-related items, another year paper hats. this year, each player has two bandanas, one on each side of their body. the bandanas have to be partway hanging, so you need some kind of belt or pockets or belt loop in your jeans to thread the bandana through. you’re killed if your hunter pulls either bandana from you.

if you kill your target, your next target is your target’s target, so if A was hunting B and B was hunting C, and A kills B, then B is out of the game and A now hunts C.

this brings up an important invariant in the game, which is that there is a single Cycle of targets, and there can’t be any loops: in other words, the hunter-target relationship is something like A -> B -> C -> ... -> A. this is important, because if you know the cycle, you know not only who everyone’s killer and target is, but their future targets as well.

oh, and there’s a very detailed, thought-out set of rules online that covers all different types of edge cases and so forth, as well as established ‘safe zones’: times or areas where you’re safe, and can’t be killed. (these include things like: you’re safe if you’re in the bathroom, or in your room, or riding your bike, or you’re in class, but only if it’s a class you’re scheduled to be in, and so forth…)

there are also rules changes that the game runners can add spontaneously as the weeks go by and the game stagnates, to push the game onwards. did i say weeks? yes, weeks. 2E assassins usually goes on for a while.

this is my first time playing in the hall tradition: i was a wingrep for 2E last fall, so i ran the game, but didn’t participate in it myself. it’s a lot more fun to be a player, though. :)

the game started at midnight today, and everyone was going around with their hands clutched tightly around their bandanas, making casual conversation, trying to figure out who’s hunting who. should you tell the truth? or should you wear ten masks, never telling the same story twice? should you trust your friends and form alliances? or should you be a lone wolf?

i’ve decided to keep a live journal of the game on the blogs that i’ll update consistently as long as i’m still in the game. my strategy is more or less to tell the truth, and to simply play it safe and learn the cycle as quickly as i can. i’ll be actively discussing what knowledge i have with you readers, so you can keep up with what’s going on: i’ll use names, but they won’t be anyone’s real name (obviously, because otherwise this post can be used too easily for info): i think i’ll be ridiculous and go with this website.

alive: [see day 4]

dead: [see day 4]

undead: [see day 4]

DAY ONE: a hectic time.

only five minutes have went by before the first kill, quickly followed by several others. neviatoh has slain melvirn, and pegem quickly did in both cheacorfan and yelvevu in quick succession. resheih died to vi, and kirif anticlimactically got a kill on judrai. five deaths already, all in the span of a mere two hours.

now it is about two in the afternoon: i type this quietly in the safety of my room, without fear of the green cloth that gives me purpose to be taken from me. beside me is a folded piece of paper, a list that holds all that i know. it is valuable, and i am deciding to share it only with close allies, of which i only have one at the moment: taw.

taw was the first who i approached, knowing that they would probably be a good ally. they accepted, and i know now that he hunts urvewo. just an hour ago, i had a talk with gra’al, and we traded our target’s names – turns out that gra’al is hunting taw. taw will be happy to hear that info!

at the moment, i’m simply waiting for 5:30, when dining opens. a ’22 two days ago at the rules meeting asked, “is dining safe?” ha ha ha ha ha. let me tell you, dining is the opposite of safe – dining is a graveyard. i already ate about an hour ago, so i’m not necessarily going to dinner for the food today: i just know something’s going to happen, so i might as well be there.

still, something that bothers me that i’d like to know is… who is my killer? as long as i know that, lowering my guard in non-safe zones will be much easier. but that remains to be seen. all i have are these pieces of the puzzle: chains of three, four, or even five, and all i need is a bit more information to glue them together.

i also have to take into account the fact that there may be kills happening on-campus that i wasn’t there for, and so my information will probably always be outdated in some way,  since it’s in peoples’ best interest to not tell people that they’ve made a kill if they’re still playing.

anyways, until i know who my killer is, i’m going to be on guard.  

4:00 pm put in my second load of laundry. met judrai and arth: arth said he was hunting keli, who i didn’t even know was playing (they don’t live here). it would help if i knew who judrai‘s old target was, because then i wouldn’t have to pester kirif about it, but i think sooner or later i’ll get an answer.

i have a shortlist of ~9 people that could be my killer: the chances that one of them is my killer is good if they don’t really want to trade target names, so i might poke around doing that whenever i meet someone on the list.

5:00 pm apparently, i slept before kah-ze killed vodin, so adding that to the list.

6:00 pm dinner happened, which didn’t really bring any new news since all the people still alive were in and out of dinner in a flash, which is probably fair. judrai confirmed that her target before they died was kah-ze, but that’s about it.

12:00 am i’m back from toons rehearsal! \o/ taw got my message and gave me updates as to what happened. there’s been more kills. there was also a bug in my info, which was bound to happen, and now i’m at a point where the list isn’t really going to get any more comprehensive because all the missing links aren’t really around hall (or they literally live outside of hall). this is normal, and usually leads to game stagnation for a while until enough kills happen to the point where pieces of the cycle inevitably glue themselves together.

so far, the pieces of the living i have are:

neenuldrei -> kah-ze -> ushelil -> kirif -> broozek -> vo
neivatoh -> gra'al -> taw -> urvewo
jeutek -> talru -> vi -> ro
pegem -> lenc

and that’s it. nobody’s on an island anymore. now is the waiting game: who are the targets of vo, urvewo, ro, and lenc? (these are also the people i need to watch out for, since i don’t know who my killer is.)

i think this game will start to really slow down. i want it to progress as fast as possible, though: and until that happens i’ll continue talking to people, trying to facilitate the piecing together of the cycle, while still keeping a foot in the race myself. i do want taw or broozek to win though, if not me: so if i die, i’ll still be rooting for them. we’ll see how things go.


DAY TWO: the calm after the storm || a triplet of kills.

1:20 pm i’m back from 6.031 lecture (today was literally an entire class on regular expressions… fun times). i definitely felt a lot safer walking around campus, especially with the knowledge that i only have to look out for a small handful of people. nothing’s really happened yet, and i wouldn’t be surprised if no kills happened today. there’s still lots of time left in the day, though…

9:00 pm there’s been a lot of action. ro, vo, and lenc are all dead, which is important because they were all at the bottom of my chains. so now the chains look something like this:

neenuldrei -> kah-ze -> kirif -> broozek; neviatoh -> gra'al -> taw -> urvewo; jeutek -> talru -> vi.

there’s also a new player that i didn’t think was in the game but might be: kanna. they’re currently an island.

there’s some information i’m intentionally hiding here. that’s because people are starting to use this blog as information, and i know things that are too confidential to be said out loud anymore. the number of players are thinning as we speak.

kah-ze, if you’re listening, i hope you make a play tonight.

9:55 pm kirif is dead. kah-ze, kirif‘s roommate, locked the door and waited over an hour for kirif to come back – unfortunately, kirif wasn’t even wearing their bandanas, so the kill was trivial. (in the case you aren’t wearing your bandanas, the hunter can simply tap you on the back to kill you.)


DAY THREE: a moment of rest.

3:00 pm today is a safe day for me, since i’m at work all day, very far away from campus (all the way up north in burlington!) that doesn’t mean i should lower my guard, though: you never know who you’ll run into.

today, i’m writing a bunch of test cases/unit tests for a piece of code my manager wrote yesterday. exciting, right? software is fun. :)

there’s a slight… complication running amok in the game currently. according to sources, kah-ze is what we would call… well, a zombie, undead, what have you. his killer already killed him, but since kills are not confirmed until the confirmation email is sent to the game runners, kah-ze is still ‘alive’ for all intents and purposes. this is a deal worked out so that kah-ze can continue to play, killing everything in his path, and, well, turning himself in when it’s his time to die. we’ll see if that develops more tonight.


DAY FOUR: the cycle, revealed.

12:00 am pegem died to broozek while playing black ops 4, and i’m his new target. me and broozek are allies, so this is good.

this is also good because that means that the cycle is solved. at this point, there’s nothing really left to hide, and we’re in true late-game stagnant territory, so i’ll be removing all the fake names and showing the full cycle:

olivia -> jeremy -> bill -> joon -> hannah -> lulu -> cynthia -> joey -> tommy -> michelle -> olivia.

why did i start with olivia? well, remember kah-ze? that’s jeremy. it’s currently in olivia‘s best interest to let a very willing jeremy to go on a mass zombie murdering spree, clearing the path to victory by waiting until the last moment to turn him in. and because olivia‘s letting jeremy live, he has de facto immunity, not wearing bandanas, a free zombie, if you will. and what’s worse, he really wants to, ahem, kill bill. and then me, probably.

so what can i do? well… even if we were to kill olivia, jeremy would still be alive (because that would irreversibly nullify olivia‘s kill on jeremy). so me and my two allies are stuck on that front. there are plans in place to advance the game: but i can’t get too specific.

if both of my allies die, i’ll try and win the game: otherwise, i’m going to try and help either of my allies win. the ideal situation would be if it was just us three remaining; i would willingly die and let the other two figure it out, because my job would be done. but with jeremy currently hunting bill and then me, and with it only being a matter of time until bill dies, i feel like a clock is slowly but inevitably ticking.

the game continues…

12:30 pm in an extremely unfortunate series of events, my ally tommy died. :( this is a very sad day.

i was more than anything banking on tommy to win it all, but now that tommy‘s dead, all that’s left is me and bill, but with jeremy down our backs it’s going to be hard to win at this point.

let’s talk about some of these hunter-target relationships and exactly how hard it’ll be for people to convert kills:

cynthia -> joey: extremely hard. joey plays very safe.

joey -> michelle: honestly, maybe.

michelle -> olivia: possible, but unlikely.

olivia -> jeremy: this is more like an employer-employee relationship, honestly.

jeremy -> bill: likely, since bill doesn’t play too safe and jeremy‘s actively looking for the kill.

bill -> me: we’re allies.

me -> hannah: maybe, but also unlikely unless i go out of my way to snipe.

hannah -> lulu: maybe.

the pressure is kind of on me at this point to kill people now, since we’re at a standstill of sorts. i actually haven’t killed anyone yet because i had no incentive, but now i do.

11:00 pm an exchange between me and jeremy, just now:

jeremy: “i have some important information for you.”

me: “oh???”

jeremy: “olivia‘s dead.”

me: “oh?????????”

jeremy: “and i’m dead too.”

me: “OH???????????”

well. either michelle went off, or joey is on a rampage. there goes the zombie run. rest in peace, october 17th – october 18th.


DAY FIVE: six remain.

6:00 pm no new news. we’re down to six people (already!): cynthia -> joey -> michelle -> joon -> hannah -> lulu -> cynthia. i’m honestly surprised that the game has gone by so quickly, and at the same time not too surprised, since it’s been a lot easier to kill people this year. i’m not looking to kill anyone at this point, nor do i have a strong desire to win: but i’ll keep playing because, well, i’m in the game still so i might as well try, right? :)


DAY SEVEN: five remain.

5:00 pm another exchange just outside of BC, with me and hannah this time:

me: “are you wearing your bandanas?”

hannah: “can you kill me please”

me: “only if you want to be killed”

hannah: “yes please”

me: “ok”

to be honest, this is a Mood. i didn’t wear my bandana today and i was on campus all day.