‘Assassins’ lurk on campus

By Julia Kline

Since the beginning of the spring 2005 semester, there have been sixty-nine recorded “assassinations” on the University campus. These gruesome killings were perpetrated with such weapons as water guns and spoons. Who is behind this string of farcical murders you may ask? The answer is the Campus Assassins’ Guild.

Assassins is a live action role-playing game that allows members to pit their stealth and cunning against one another. The registered student organization was founded in the fall of 2005 by sophomores in Engineering Ryan Mulligan, David Grayson and Kevin Chang. Mulligan, Grayson and Chang, who started the club with the help of the Honors Student Council, had originally intended to organize a one-time assassins game. However, with the success of the first game, the trio felt that the concept could be extended to a full-fledged club. The Campus Assassins’ Guild charges dues of two dollars per year and organizes a number of concurrent assassins games throughout campus.

Playing the part of an assassin is simple in theory. Each player is assigned a target and must track and exterminate their victim by either touching them on the torso with a spoon or squirting them in the midsection with a water pistol. It becomes more complicated because each player is simultaneously hunter and prey. At the same time an assassin is searching for a target, another killer has been assigned to do away with the first assassin. The game becomes a race to eliminate the target before you yourself are found and “assassinated.”

This pursuit often culminates in epic “shoot outs” or spoon battles on the quad, in campus dining halls, or in the hallway between classes. Many bystanders familiar with the antics of this club barely bat an eye when a fellow student is “gunned down.” However, the founders stress that some places are assassination free zones.

“Assassins cannot enter a target’s room unless invited in, and classrooms and places of worship are off-limits,” Mulligan said.

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Students in the club have been known to go to great lengths to avoid being located by their pursuers. Greg Schechter, freshman in Engineering, said he uses specific techniques to make himself less vulnerable to attack.

“Before each game I prepare myself by taking my name and schedule off my door, altering my Facebook account so no one can find me in a search, and changing my Facebook picture,” Schechter said.

This seems to be a common tactic employed by the stealthy assassins to avoid recognition. Some assassins go so far as to change their information in the campus directory.

Additionally, some club members exercise a more offensive approach to the game. They use any means necessary to lure their unsuspecting targets into cleverly laid traps. Anna Dombrowski, junior in LAS and last year’s top-ranked assassin in terms of kills, recounted one of her sneakiest maneuvers. “My target happened to be an acquaintance of mine,” Dombrowski said. “I invited him to lunch. When he showed up late, I killed him with my spoon.”

Another important facet of the Campus Assassins’ Guild is its detailed Web site chronicling each kill that has been made in each game. When a member of the guild terminates another player or is killed, they are given the privilege of writing a colorful account of the confrontation. They can then submit it to the Web site for the viewing pleasure of the other members. Adam Ciganek, freshman in Engineering, who was executed by his assassin on Oct. 19, wrote an account of his vanquish on the Campus Assassins’ Guild Web site. Ciganek began his narrative with, “This is the tale of the kill; it is a story of deceit, alliances and the battle of the century.” The website along with other details on the Campus Assassins’ Guild can be found at http://www.campusassassins.com.

When asked what their plans were for the future of the club, the founders had a very ambitious response.

“We hope to get thousands more members and attract people to host games for us,” Grayson said.

Mulligan also had high hopes for the future of the Campus Assassins’ Guild. “We plan to expand to other universities,” he said.

The club has already been asked to host an Assassins game at Creighton College in Nebraska.

Mulligan and Grayson encourage anyone interested to join their dynamic, interactive club. Upon being asked what the best part of being a campus assassin was, Grayson replied, “You get to meet new people … and kill them.” What could be better than that?