Catch me if you can: The controversial story behind AP Assasination
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Alexandra O’Kane ’13
It is 9 p.m. and a senior assassin crouches on a classmate’s porch, waiting for her to walk
outside to take out the trash, as she always does after dinner.
The boy has his 6-shot Maverick Nerf gun pointed at the sliding doors, his body lurks in the shadows, and he attempts to calm his rapid breathing.
The doors begin to open; the boy jumps up, shoots the gun, and hits the girl square on the back. He walks into the light and yells, “Assassinated!” to the girl before running down the driveway and into the waiting car of his friend, ecstatic that he has successfully killed his first target in the annual game of AP Assassination.
This year’s coordinator, Jehangir Hafiz ‘11, describes AP Assassination as a tournament after AP exams for seniors who have taken an AP class during high school. Each participant is assigned a target and a date by which to assassinate him or her, while also avoiding getting assassinated himself.
Hafiz took over the tradition after years of hearing about the game from older friends and classmates.
“I am just super excited to be this year’s coordinator. Even though it is a lot of work, it’s also a lot of fun,” he said.
Last year’s coordinator, Kat Krieger ’10, loved her job.
“I really enjoyed being at the center of such a big competition and knowing what was going on. It was really exciting all the way though, getting the emails and hearing about all the kills,” she said.
Hafiz is unable to participate in the game due to his “overseeing responsibilities” and must put a lot of work into its preparation. But this has not deterred his enthusiasm for the job ahead of him.
Hafiz first created a website containing all the information for the game. His other responsibilities include: revising the rules, registering all participants, pairing all targets and assassins, and making sure all participants follow the rules. He also has to redo all the pairing each round once it is determined who is still alive.
Hafiz has also added his own spin to this year’s game by adding a prize for the most creative kill in addition to the standard prizes for the first and second place winners. This new prize allows all participants the chance to win money, not just the two people left at the end.
“Students can participate in only one round and if they have a very creative way of killing their target and succeed they potentially could win a large sum of money if they have the most creative kill of all,” Hafiz said.
Last year, the first prize winner received $850, according to Krieger. Hafiz hopes to raise the stakes this year.
“I hope first prize will be $1,250 and upwards depending on how many people sign up. This year there hopefully will be a record amount of people playing and a record amount of prize money given out,” Hafiz said.
While Hafiz thinks that the majority of students were already excited by the prospect of playing, this new prize has added to the enthusiasm.
“I have heard a lot of them planning their creative kill already,” Hafiz said. “Based on the response to the AP Assassination group on Facebook, it seems as though those interested in playing and even those who don’t want to play are excited to see all the great things that will happen.”
The only setback seniors may face is the administration. “The school is not in support of AP Assassination in any way, shape, or form” said Assistant Principal for seniors, James Farnen.
“We do see this game as a safety concern for students. This game can put students in harm’s way and what is seemingly fun sometimes becomes a nightmare,” Farnen said.
Hafiz said that all the concerns, such as safety, and conflicts are addressed in the rules. For example, no kills are allowed on school property or at school sponsored events.
And because the police were once called when someone thought a painted black Nerf gun was real all guns must now remain in their original colors.
Despite the work ahead and possible conflicts with the administration, Hafiz is excited about the long-awaited AP Assassination. “I would encourage all seniors who have ever taken an AP class to participate as it’s going to be a lot fun this year,” Hafiz said.
Stories and Strategies: Assasination memories from the class of ’10
Caitlyn Rand ’13
Web Opinions Editor
Eric Wessan ’10, Alex Werner ’10, and Lexi Preiser ’10 all advanced into the final rounds of AP Assasination. One year later, they look back on what made them skillful players:
Besides being stealth and clever, the key to winning the game is owning a killer nerf gun, past players say. Whether it be small and easily hidden, or large and powerful, a good AP assassin should pick his or her gun wisely.
Some, like Wessan, chose to keep it simple. “I used the basic Nerf six shooter, ‘The Maverick,” Wessan said.
Other previous participants chose to go with multiple guns for different scenarios.
Werner said he used “a simple one-shot Nerf gun that was probably the cheapest and smallest one around,” but also a “6-shot gun that was a little bulkier,” which was more expensive.
For Preiser, money was no object.
“I probably spent about $30 on different Nerf guns, Nerf bullets, and I even bought a belt to hold all the extra Nerf bullets,” Preiser said. “Yeah, I was really intense.”
STALKING THE PREY
Preiser suggests that participants “become a stalker. It works. Talk to your target’s friends and figure out where they hang out, who they’re dating, what sports they play, etc.”
Similarly, Wessan advises people to “be vigilant. Know [the targets’] schedules and get your target early in the round.”
HIDE AND SEEK
Preiser also warns others to not “become super paranoid and spend all your time indoors. It’s not worth it. At the same time, though, beware of all your friends. The prize money is a lot and people will do weird stuff to get it.”
Wessan disagrees. He said that someone who really wants to win “must be committed to full paranoia and discipline. The winners do not leave their house for anything unnecessary, they do not take risks. If you have a garage, use it.”
Werner believes that the only way to win is to “stay inside.”
Some past assassins found that using outside help did not always serve as an asset but in some cases they chose to resort to it anyway.
Preiser said she obtained the help of all of her friends. In fact, “during the third round […] one of my friends was the hostess at Tengda. I was driving around Westport and she called me saying ‘Your target just walked into Tengda with all her friends. Come here right now.”
Wessan said he “used [outside help] as transport, look out, distraction and a method of killing.”
However some choose not to enlist in outside help, because they lacked trust in all players, even their friends. “I didn’t really use much help,” Werner said. “But I did talk to people very skeptically, and only used one friend’s help in a kill. I also used my little cousins help for another kill.”
THE BEST KILLS
Preiser: “My first target was a friend of mine. I invited him to go see a movie, because I knew he loved movies. We sat through
the entire movie together and I was holding my nerf gun in my hand, really nervous to make my first kill. When we were walking out of the movie theatre, I whipped out my nerf gun and shot him in the stomach. He was really confused and thought I was kidding at first. But I wasn’t.”
Wessan: “I followed someone home from an internship in order to know where they were. Also, I staked out one house at five in the morning, waiting for my target to leave. I got my friend to entice the girl out of the house.”