By Julia Cinquegrani ’16, Campus Life Editor
While F&M can be a competitive place, with its high academic standards and involved students, currently a campus-wide game is taking competition to a whole new level as its participants compete for the ultimate victory — survival.
Last Monday more than 40 students began playing Assassins, a game in which every player is given another student to try to “assassinate,” while at the same time trying to evade the student who has been assigned to assassinate them.
This is the first time Assassins is being played at F&M, although it is frequently played at other colleges and high schools. The game was organized by the School Wide Activities club, which also organizes the annual Humans vs. Zombies game in the Spring.
At the start of the game, every player was given a specific person to kill. Players kill each other by putting a sticker on their specific target. After a player assassinates his target, he then goes after the person his target was hunting. If a player sees his assassin coming toward him to kill him, the target can avoid being killed by calling out his assassin’s code name and a pass phrase.
As the game progresses, players are becoming increasingly more careful of their activities to reduce their chance of being killed. Already now, more than half the players have been eliminated from the game.
Sonny Clark-Turner, ’14 president of the School Wide Activities club and one of the organizers of the game, is also playing Assassins.
“[On the second day of the game] I went into Pandini’s just on a whim, and I found my target sitting there, and I was able to assassinate him, which is completely amazing,” Clark-Turner said. “But since then I’ve become quite aware of how open I’m leaving myself, so I’m a little more nervous now that I’ve actually managed to catch someone with their guard down.”
The game has designated safe zones in which targets cannot be killed, including bathrooms, classrooms, libraries, club activities, and bedrooms. Players can be killed in any other public spaces, such as the common rooms and hallways of dorm buildings, in the hallways of classroom buildings, and in eating venues.
The game will end when there is only one player left and all others have been killed. Clark-Turner said he expects the game to last for about two weeks.
“I think the people who are going to last the longest are the ones who are the most involved and into the game — the ones playing it the safest and hunting others down — because if you’re not hunting people down then the people behind you are catching up,” Clark-Turner said. “Players will get a little more paranoid.”
Every player also has a code name they chose, and Clark-Turner organized a spreadsheet with players’ code names. It is updated daily to track which players have been killed and so that players know the code name of the assassin who is trying to kill them.
This system has led many players to attempt to figure out which code name belongs to which player because it gives players an advantage to know the identity of the person who is coming after them.
Often players do not know who is hunting them, but they also may not be acquainted with the person they are supposed to be hunting.
If that happens, players have used Facebook to get a better idea of what their target looks like, looked them up on inside F&M, or discreetly asked friends if they know anything about their target.
Rory Palmer ’16 was able to conveniently make his first kill because the target was a friend of his.
Palmer said playing Assassins has not made him as paranoid as when he participated in Humans vs. Zombies last year because Assassins is organized so there is only one person hunting him at a time.
“The first day I was just watching shadows to see if someone was approaching me,” Palmer said. “Someone suspicious was following me all the way back to my dorm from my class, and I was just so horrified, but it ended up being nobody. Now if anyone suspicious is starting to walk toward me I’ll just run away. You don’t know who your assassin is so you have to be suspicious of everyone.”
At the end of the game there will be two winners — the player who survives the longest and the player who kills the most people.
Both players will get prizes in the form of spy movie DVDs. Clark-Turner said the game has received lots of interest, and he foresees it being run in future years.
“Assassins can be played a lot more indoors and a lot more calmly than Humans vs. Zombies, so, if nothing else, I think it’s a good replacement for that game in the Fall,” Clark-Turner said. “It definitely makes you a little more cautious to know your friends could be hunting you. As the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. And I don’t think that could be any more true here.”
Sophomore Julia Cinquegrani is the Campus Life Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.