During the past few weeks, you may have noticed students sneaking around campus suspiciously, often looking over their shoulders. You may have also witnessed one student creep up behind another and shoot him or her with a water pistol, while yelling triumphantly. Despite what you may think, this erratic behavior is not the result of spring fever or anything of the sort. These students are involved in TCNJ Assassins, a new game that has recently hit the campus.
“Assassins is basically like a complex version of tag,” Mo Savard, freshman computer science major and head of Assassins, said. All participants sign up for a round, then at midnight on the first day of the game, an e-mail list goes out to everyone. In the e-mail, people will receive the name of a person who they are supposed to “kill.”
A given person will then have to use a strategy to kill his opponent, while others will also have the task of killing him. Each time a player eliminates a target, he receives two points. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins the round. A round usually ends at a predetermined time.
The methods by which people can be killed are in the interest of safety. The rules of the game dictate what types of weapons are acceptable. The weapons that are permitted include Nerf guns, water pistols, fun-noodles and pipe foam. Another method of killing a target is sending them a “letter bomb,” which is a letter with the word “boom!” written on it. If a player thinks up a new, creative weapon, it must first be approved by Savard before it is used.
The rules also outline where a player can and cannot be assassinated. Anything goes in an “Open Kill Zone,” which is any area outside of a building on the College campus. The locations where kills cannot take place include public restrooms for the opposite sex, within vehicles, classrooms while classes are in session, a room in which a club is meeting or any residence hall hallway.
Savard had first heard about the game during his sophomore year of high school. Since high school is not the ideal environment for the game, he did not play it then. However, about a month ago, he was informed that people were playing it at Rutgers University. Savard quickly wrote up the rules and organized the first Assassins game at the College on March 28.
“I had originally created it so that my friends and myself could have something to do besides the usual classes, clubs and so forth,” Savard said. Since its inception, Assassins has been gaining more and more popularity. While 16 people played in the first game, Savard estimated that there are now close to 50 people involved with Assassins in some way. With an increasing number of players, Savard has created numerous positions that have been filled by officers to help run the game. Savard has the title of Dictator, which means he runs the main games, enforces the rules and answers players’ questions.
Jake Voytko, freshman computer science major, is the Senior Advisor; he helps during meetings and helps other officers think of ways to expand the club. Voytko will also be responsible for running additional games if the number of players continues to grow. It appears that he may be called upon to begin these extra games soon.
“The game is growing exponentially, with people joining as fast as we can add them to the roster,” Voytko said. “The second game has twice the number of players that the first game had.”
Adam Morris, freshman criminology and justice studies major, serves as the Minister of Secret Police. He ensures that everyone playing follows the rules and reports violations to Savard. However, players are expected to adhere to an honor code and voluntarily confess when they do something wrong. According to Morris, the system has worked well so far.
Sarah Braun, freshman interactive multimedia major, is the Minister of Propaganda. She is in charge of maintaining the group’s Web site. The Web site, tcnj.edu/~braun5/Assassins/links.htm, is a necessity for players; it provides names and pictures of all of the players, the rules of the game and a running list that keeps track of who is killed during a game.
Students involved in the game enjoy it for a number of reasons.
“I think it’s fun because it’s a mind game you play, as far as strategizing and plotting,” Lindsey Borda, sophomore communications studies major, said. “Everyone seems to have a really fun time playing it.”
Joe Adorna, sophomore economics major, also enjoys playing the game.
“It’s interesting because you always have to watch your back and expect the unexpected,” he said. “And it’s another thing to do around campus.”
Although Assassins was started as the semester is winding down, Savard assures that the game will begin again next semester.
“Assassins will absolutely be continuing in the fall semester and hopefully will continue indefinitely,” he said.