This week, St Andrews played host to a (not so deadly) game of Assassins put on by RAG Week 2015. For many of us who recognized the game from the American television program Gossip Girl (specifically, Series 3 episode 17), the initial Facebook event notification ignited interest in St Andrews. With nearly 600 students pledging to ‘attend’ the game and participate in the days before the simulation, RAG week clearly had gathered significant interest from the students of the bubble. While the actual day of did not see 600 students running around the bubble, a large group still managed to fill Sandy’s bar.
The night of, my friends and I arrived at the launch point in Sandy’s Bar at 9:50pm and relaxed for a bit to the tunes the DJ playing. When the crowd assembled, the RAG simulation coordinators gave out instructions on how to play and the rules. On site, potential ‘assassins’ could get their faces painted purple (the colour of RAG week) or get on point Blueberry Jannettas’ ice-cream, a nice touch. We were instructed that the Union was off limits, but the three major streets of St Andrews were fair play to run around on for the duration of the game.
As soon as we were released, excitement tinged with wariness, could be felt in the cold air. Soon we realised that strategies tended to fall through when you’re playing a game with so many people. Prior to beginning the game, my teammates and I had made a pact not to ‘kill’ one another (whether or not this qualified as cheating is still up in the air). Our team was ambushed and we were forced to split. It’s worth mentioning that some people were a bit too serious about the game. One player ran about with dark make-up smudged across her face, screaming at other players in an attempt to intimidate them.
Somehow, I managed to survive for longer than I had originally anticipated, by running and hiding rather than pursuing other players. When the screams of people being chased quieted down, I decided to go back to the Union and find my friends. The way RAG ran the simulation, once you are killed, having had the card around your neck stolen by another, you return to the union and wait… or drink, as many chose. En route to the safety zone of the Union, I bumped into a friend still in the game and stopped for a chat. She was the first to make a move, but I managed to escape narrowly. We returned back to town to resume the game, but sadly never made a kill. I’m proud to say we survived until the last minutes of the simulation.
Beyond the thrill of the game, and the adrenaline kick of escaping ‘death’, RAG made the event more than worthwhile with prizes for the winning assassins. With the lure of cinema tickets, dinner at Nando’s, and a 3-litre bottle of wine, the killers were paid handsomely for their bounty. All in all, the event certainly lived up to the hype that Gossip Girl had built up in my head: the game was thrilling and well organized. Speaking with my friends, it was clear that the event was a success, and we happily spent the rest of the night in the Union enjoying the after-party.