A long time ago, I played a few games of Steve Jackson's killer, specifically I played Cambridge University Assassins. I even ran a game. However, being a busy person with a full time job, I don't really have the time to spend sneaking around colleges or lurking dark corridors in the middle of the night.

The following are a series of rules designed for an entirely different game, inspired by those games that I played. With enough interest, I'll run it and we can see what happens.

Socks and Puppets.

1. Introduction

Socks and Puppets is a game of mock assassinat... hell who am I kidding. Socks and Puppets is about giving presents to people in the mail. Silly things, artistic things, stuff to make people laugh. It is entirely light-hearted, and not to be taken seriously. If you're playing this game to win, then you're definately doing something wrong.

2. Signing up for the game:

The game is open to anyone living within the city of Cambridge, although these rules could be extended trivially to a global game (albeit over a longer timescale.) and the Director may include additional players at his discretion.

Everyone who wishes to play should provide the Director with the following details:

There's no reason to provide false details, so don't. Please don't sign up for this game unless you are willing to spend an hour or so a week being creative...

The deadline for signing up is Saturday 13th October At this date full rules will be published, and the game will begin soon after.

3. Conduct and General.

The Director for this game is David Birch (dtb26@cantab.net) He has final say in all matters, and may change the rules at random if he gets cranky. The spirit of the rules is more important than the rules themselves.

It is just about possible to cheat at this game, but if you do so and get caught you might get called a poopyhead.

You are expected to be a responsible person when playing this game. Don't do anything stupid like sending someone a bag of sherbet in the post, sure it's tasty, but if the mail is inspected you can bet someone will think it's drugs.

4. Flow of the game.

At the start of each round of play, each player emails to the Director a gift that they would very much like to recieve (see below for gift ideas.) The Director then sends this wish, along with the intended recipient's details, to three suitors, who have a week to get something vaguely representing the gift to the recipient. Gifts should be annonymous, and include a card containing the suitor's pseudonym. Every player in this regard sends three gifts per week, and recieves three gifts also.

Once the gifts are recieved, each recipient writes a short report describing what they were given, They are given six points to assign between the three gifts as they choose, with no gift being given more than 4 points. These scores are added into a global leaderboard. Each player then changes their pseudonym, and either requests a new gift to the Director, or drops out as they wish.

After four rounds of play, the game ends.

4.5 Bonus points

Each round of the game is likely to last about 2 weeks, however, each week the Director will assign a special extra task to the players, who may attempt it. The best attempts may be given a bonus point at the Director's Discretion.

For the initial week, bonus points will be assigned to the funniest pseudonym, the most original gift request, and the most entertaining signup email.

5. Gifts.

Gifts need to be something small and easily mailable, otherwise they're kind of hard to get to your target. They also need to be something of artistic value, that could be made by anyone in half an hour or so, with little expense. A sock puppet, for example, is fine. A sock on the other hand is not. Why? - because a lot of people can't make it. Similarly not everyone would have the lego to make "A lego Death-Star" but they would be able to make "A model Death-Star". This game isn't about buying gifts, it's about making gifts, if it looks a suitor is spending to impress, they may be disqualified... You can't buy your way into our hearts you know.

Your gift also has to be something that it's reasonable for people to have a stab at. "Compose me some music" is a bit of a weak gift, because some people will be great at it, and a lot of people won't have a clue how to do it. "Write me the words for a love song to the tune of the hokey cokey" on the other hand is fine.

Think about what you want, a good gift is one that three people will all manage to make for you, but do in very different ways. It's okay to be a bit abstract in your request "a dragon" may lead your suitors to be quite inventive in their approach. Try not to be too broad though. It's much harder to write "a poem" than it is to write "a poem about how badgers are more awesome than robots"

Cakes and other foodstuffs are not within the bounds of these rules, as the time spent in the mail could depreciate the quality of the gift. Bribing your suitor with additional gifts such as these is frowned upon by the Director, since it is naughty. There are no rules against bribing the Director, since it can't affect the gamestate.

The Director, of course, may reject your proposal if he thinks it is against the spirit of the game, or too hard to do, it is a good idea to supply a couple of back-up ideas with your gift request, so as to ensure something gets picked. Also be sure to include relevant information in your bio about what's going to swing your vote.

6. Judging and Reporting.

At the end of the day, there's going to be some luck here. You might think your aria to the left nostril is the most awesome gift ever, but your recipient might not. Judging is entirely down to the recipient, and this is why you need to stay annonymous for the game to work. If they know who you are it might influence them. In judging an item, you should only really consider the gift's artistic merit, presentation and relevance.

Your report should contain a quick rank order for the three suitors, a quick description of each item, and an explanation of what you liked and disliked about each one. You'll be reporting under a pseudonym as well, because that way the list of players remains relatively secret, and you have less chance to guess who is sending you all these lovely things. Feel free to be witty, but don't write huge irrelevant stories about your stuff. If you have a digital camera then photos are appreciated, we'll see what we can do to get them online.

7. Other stuff.

By signing up to play this game, you are agreeing to give a mailing address to people who might be playing. Your address won't go anywhere puclic, and as a suitor you should keep information like this to yourself.

The primary method of contacting the Director is through email, but should you wish to speak in person, he will try and arrange to meet with you.

Any queries about the game or the meaning of life can be emailed to the Director, again at dtb26@cantab.net

The game shall operate through this website, all information should be presented here or emailed to the players.

8. Credits.

This game was invented by David Birch, although it was inspired by Steve Jackson's Killer, and a six hour car journey with too little sugar. The rules format was stolen shamelessly from the Cambridge University Assassins Guild. You are free to invent and run your own game of Socks and Puppets, and modify the rules as appropriate, but please credit us a little bit.

Current queries about the game idea can be found Here