Assimilation Rules & Variations
Assimilation is a party game for 8 or more players. The good Citizens must use their wits and cunning to find the evil Drones amongst them. The Citizens win if they destroy all the Drones before the Drones can wipe out all the Citizens. Otherwise, they all face Assimilation!
Select the cards for play. Each player will receive a Character card and an Item card. For character cards you should include: A number of Citizens, several Special Characters, and the appropriate number of Drones. If you have fewer than 15 players you should only use one of each item card. If you have more than 15 players, select the Item cards you wish to have doubles of.
For games of 8-14 players include 1 Drone.
For games of 15-19 players include 2 Drones.
For games of 20 or more include 3 Drones.
Each player should be dealt their Character and Item card and keep those cards secret from the players around them. Once the players are familiar with their cards, the Gamemaster should begin the introductory round. On the first round, make sure to take special note of the locations of certain cards, such as the Trojan Horse and Port Forwarding. Their effect should occur without it being revealed to the players.
Each round the players all close their eyes. The Gamemaster will then prompt each of the special player types in turn. Each player or group that is prompted should then open their eyes and silently follow the instructions of the Gamemaster, making their intentions known to the Gamemaster silently.
Introduction for the first night:
“Welcome to Assimilation! You and your fellow Citizens are adorable, good-natured cybernetic hybrids known as Cybrids. You live in an idyllic community where all your needs are taken care of and you can pursue a life of self improvement and fun. Your life is managed by the ever wise control program known only as ‘The Machine.’ It contains the sum knowledge of your civilization and manages all the automated systems of your society. Something has gone terribly wrong however, as The Machine has somehow turned on the very Citizens it pledged to protect. The Machine has released a virulent program into the society turning several Citizens into malicious Drones, serving its will. You awaken one morning to find your beloved leader deactivated. All his memory has been Assimilated leaving an empty worthless husk. Someone amongst us has betrayed us…”
After allowing the players a few moments to familiarize themselves with the scenario, they should go into the first Standby Cycle, closing their eyes.
The Gamemaster should prompt in the following order (Do not read the parts in parenthesis):
Drones awaken. Drones point to the person they wish to Assimilate. (They must agree unanimously.) Drones go back to sleep.
Guardian Awaken. Guardian point to the person you wish to protect. (They may choose themselves, but they may not choose the same person two nights in a row). Guardian go back to sleep.
Scanner Awaken. Point to the person you wish to scan. (If the person selected is a Drone, give the Scanner a thumbs up. If not, give them a thumbs down.) Scanner go back to sleep.
Renegade. Do you wish to use your special ability to protect or destroy someone tonight? (They may do either, but only one of the two and only once per game. ) Renegade go back to sleep.
If anyone wishes to use a special item card, raise their hand. (Check their item card, see if it is appropriate to use at the moment and follow its rules.)
**On the first night only**
You should ask the players who hold the Port Forwarding, and Trojan Horse cards to each make themselves known to you, one at a time. Remember these players (it can help to write it down) because if the drones try to assimilate them, special effects come into play.
After all of these have been played out, prompt all of the players to awaken. Reveal to them the players who have been eliminated from play (there will usually be 1, though item cards and special abilities can cause there to be multiple, or none.) The rest of the players may them talk amongst themselves to determine who they think the potential drones are.
During this stage, you should be prompting and goading the players along, encouraging speculation and helping to flesh out the theme and story of the setting.
The players may choose one or more Citizens to vote upon. If more than one Citizen is selected, they may take turns making a defense for themselves as to why they are not a Drone.
After each has been given an opportunity to defend, prompt the players to vote upon the accused Citizens. Each player (who is not being voted upon) may vote, but may only vote once. The Citizen who received the most votes is then Deactivated. You reveal their player and item cards (if any) to the rest of the players. If the crowd wishes, they may choose to deactivate more than one, or even zero players in a round if they all agree.
The players are then prompted to go back into Standby Cycle (closing their eyes) and the gameplay repeats. The Citizens win if they find and destroy all the Drones. The Drones win if they Assimilate all the Citizens.
Either way, congratulate the winners!
Extend Game play:
If you wish to extend the length of the game (such as running a small game of 8 players) then you should consider favoring item cards such as: Reactivation, Backup System, Failsafe Program and File Quarantine.
Shorten Game play:
If you wish to hasten gameplay, you should consider favoring item cards such as: Double Deactivation and Dependant Program.
No Reveal Game: If you wish to keep your players guessing, you can host a No Reveal Game. This means that whenever a player is eliminated, their character and item cards are not revealed. No one knows until the drones are defeated (or the drones win) who was playing what. This can be an excellent way to keep your players on their toes.