“Assassins!” Fever Takes Over Campus
By Risalat Khan '13, Managing News Editor
Your correspondent had just finished dinner, and was happily making his way towards the exit at Val, the day after the dining hall’s namesake holiday. Milliseconds after he crossed the threshold of the safe zone, the swiping counter, he felt a slap on his back followed by a triumphant shout of “Haha, you’re dead!”

As he struggled to fully comprehend what was actually happening, the girl picked up the sticker from the ground that apparently had not stuck at the first try, and stuck it on your dumbfounded correspondent’s jacket. He was dead within eight hours of the start of the game.

Yes, Assassins! fever has spread across campus. Students are skipping classes and taking the long route around the socials to enter Valentine through the back door. No one can be trusted — even your girlfriend may be the one who is supposed to kill you. Paranoia is the status quo.

This is not the first time the game Assassins! has been played at the Amherst campus. For the past few years, “Educate!”, a club that promotes leadership and educational opportunities for young students in Uganda, has run the game.

For those who do not know yet, the basic premise of the game is that each player is assigned a target whom he/she has to “kill” by tagging them with a sticker. The game goes on until there is only one person left standing.

This year, “Big Brothers Big Sisters” is hosting the game. The organization is among the oldest and most renowned youth mentoring organizations in the United States. At Amherst, it has a program where Amherst students meet with middle or elementary school-aged kids, the so-called “littles,” on campus or in the community, and spend time with them. The program has been at Amherst for a number of years, and Amherst has one of the most established partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the colleges in the valley.

The group put up posters and tabled around campus for weeks to collect players for the game of Assassins!, each of whom had to pay $5 to sign up. The proceeds raised are going to the group to contribute to a “big/little match” in the Amherst community.

There are also some modest prizes: for the last person standing, the person who makes the highest number of kills and the person who carries out the most creative kill.

Assassins! is a game that, in addition to causing players to bury themselves in their rooms (a safe zone where they cannot be killed), fosters innovative and creative methods of tracking people down and putting a sticker on them without them finding out and managing to flee in time.

Over the years, there have been many such “creative kills”. A few examples:

• Chris Fitzpatrick ’09 dressed in all black, climbed a tree outside the dorm room of Michele Tran ’09 and waited for two hours for her to come out so he could kill her. He succeeded. Time well spent!

• Andrew Eddins ’11 created a fake Assassins e-mail address and used it to tell his target that he (Eddins) was his new target, getting the target to come after him and walk right into a kill.

• Legendary Assassins player Chris Gullyard ’08 once dove through the Schwemm’s fireplace to avoid a kill. However, this could be a myth.

• An unknown player attached a sticker to a nerf gun and nerfed his targets.

• Over the last few years, many students have created fake psych studies to lure their targets into a specific and vulnerable location. Most recently — this Monday — someone pretended to be a Peer Advocate and set up an appointment with his target, luring him straight into a sticky sticker.

Let us keep an eye out for this year’s creative kills, and wait for the ultimate Assassin to be crowned. Meanwhile, players would do well to watch their backs, because you never know where a merciless, brutal assassin may be lurking. Happy killing everyone!

Issue 15, Submitted 2010-02-17 20:18:41