Last Wednesday, AniCu (Curtin Uni’s anime club) held a modified and shortened game of Assassin’s. For those of you who haven’t heard it, Assassin’s is a game played largely across universities in America and involves a large number of people signing up, receiving information on a ‘target’ (their timetable, picture etc.), and must find a way of ‘killing’ that target when they’re alone using a variety of creative, mostly harmless weapons. Wikipedia it if you care for  more, but I personally think it’s an awesome game. It’s designed to promote a sense of "healthy paranoia" as you’re walking along with your best friend and all of a sudden they draw a nerf gun and start shooting at you. I spent some time training with my Maverick and designing my outfit so that it maximised mobility and accessibility to a variety of weapons, including but not limited to three Nerf guns, a foam sword and a spoon. The day did not quite turn out as I expected it to though- we were not walking around, searching for targets, but walking around talking to each other and trying to find out who our target was. You see, AniCu’s variation on the game, as well as being much shorter (Assassin’s can take months to finish, as once you kill you target you acquire theirs, until you are the last remaining assassin) was based on codenames. I was told I was Solineum (however the hell that’s spelt) and was supposed to kill Lithium and Xenon. Much of the game was spent asking people if they knew who these people were, and if they wanted to know anyone else’s identity in exchange. To aid with identification, fake money was stashed around campus which, if found, could be exchanged for the name or picture of your target. I spent the first two hours of the game looking for money so I could cash it in, when someone on my team came up to me and said he knew the identity of Lithium. I gave him $1000 for it and he told me, then as I went to look for the person, he poked me in the back with a ballpoint pen.

I’ve replayed the scene in my head many times. Although I don’t remember it clearly (due to shock, I imagine), he said I turned to look at him as he approached, indicating I knew something was about to happen. I guess I assumed he was going to tell me something more, but all of a sudden that innocent gesture of a poke in the ribs had assassinated me. All that training with accuracy and dodging and rapid firing and quick reloading was over. It was a legit tactic, but it was really annoying because at the onset of the game, the other members of my team and I agreed we wouldn’t betray each other, but he didn’t say anything. Unfortunately, the game I had trained for was very different to the one that played out- kills weren’t made in isolation: they weren’t one-on-one assaults when no one else was around. One person walked up to someone in a crowd, shot them and walked off. Hardly stealthy, but that was the rules, and it required a different tact. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a second chance to try again- I would have gone straight for identities and information rather than acting casual and bothering to holster all my weapons, unlike everyone who carried their guns around casually in their  hand, locked and loaded. Okay, I’m still a little annoyed it wasn’t at all about stealth so much as deception and betrayal, but there was eventually  another round with modified rules.

For those who remained, the second round was much more straightforward. There was a set playing area of about 200m squared, we were given the names of our two targets and told to kill them, then kill the team  leaders (if we could). This was much more my style. I knew exactly who I was after, and one of my targets was the former team mate who had stabbed me in the back, so I was stoked. At an attempt at being forgiving, I gave him one of my Nerf guns because his only weapon was his pen. Then the group split up, presumably to find cover. I immediately went in the opposite direction of everyone else, camping on the second story of a building and watching everyone move. When I identified my target, and essentially slid down the side of the building, stalked from cover to cover, then when I was within 10 metres, sprinted at him, firing as I did so. Unfortunately, one other person in the area started sprinting as well, and I decided to go for my target before turning to face him. It turns out I was one of his targets, and even though I shot him in the face, he had apparently got me in the back as I chased (and missed) my mark. It was a fairer, funner and admittedly shorter. The round played out a lot longer, with members picking each other off one by one. I wish I had the patience to make a more tactical approach rather than running and gunning. Next time, I hope.

So that was the first AniCu games of Assassin’s. Afterwards, most of us with Nerf guns just hung around the lecture hall shooting at each other. I got pretty good at evasion, managing to dodge most of the bullets fired at me and closing in when they needed to reload. I tried a bit of sword vs gun work, and the sword wasn’t so much a shield as an aid when dodging. There was this one amazing round though when the person was firing at me and I was running towards them. I dodged the first bullet, deflected the next two with my sword, dodged the fourth, deflected the fifth, and dodged the sixth just as I closed in and cut him from hip-to-hip with a mighty kiai. It was glorious.

Well, that’s it for now. Looking forward to future games. More tactics, less trust. Oyasumi.

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