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Group of Men Have Played Game of Tag for 23 Years (wsj.com)
340 points by bmj1 on Feb 4, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 47 comments



When I was in high school (when punch cards and Commodore PETs roamed the earth) the game was called Assassin and was played with dart guns. I played for a month, and it was one of the most stressful times of my life. I eventually got whacked by my then-girlfriend as I was walking between classes.

One of the interesting twists to Assassin was was that you weren't allowed to have witnesses to your "crime", which meant you could relax when there were other people around. But it also made it easy to become complacent, which is how I met my fate.


Totally. We played Assassin with platic-disc guns (which I can't find on Amazon) in high school. The school came down on us pretty hard if we were caught playing, so it was doubly stressful avoiding getting whacked by friends and avoiding being caught by faculty. We also had an entrance fee of $5, so the winner took home $100-$200 for surviving.

I never survived.

In general, though, the idea of adding a little game to anything is pretty nice. You can imagine playing tag at CES or assassin at PyCon. Hell, it's be great if the organizers added/encouraged/managed it!


wow, that brought back some memories, it's all fun and games, until someone puts a penny in their gun. Anyway they were called tracer guns, and it doesn't look like they are made any more https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracer_gun


How about NERF guns? http://www.hasbro.com/nerf/en_US/vortex.cfm Those vortex type ones have disc ammo. You can buy them on Amazon.


I'd rather do it with a jolt pistol. The discs have a long range, but they're terribly inaccurate and slow. The single dart fired by a dart is slow to reload, but fairly accurate and fast, perfect for assassinations.


>it's all fun and games, until someone puts a penny in their gun.

Ha. Memories indeed. Ow. ;)

Thanks for tracking down info on tracer guns. You can still purchase them but they're collectibles: http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Vintage-Rayline-Tracer-Toy-Guns-lo...


I fully support playing tag/assassin at PyCon!


You really don't want to do that. It would be hugely disruptive, and it's not what PyCon is supposed to be about.


Debian runs an Assassins game at their annual conference (DebConf) - usually goes over pretty well.


Jobsworth.


Hi!

I'm developing a smartphone version of Assassins; I have some screenshots up at http://hoka.imgur.com/

The server code is written in Python and hosted by heroku! If anyone's interested in helping out or testing the game, shoot me a PM.


We had a game like that in our Halls of Residence at university. One night a name was slipped under your door, you had to get your target wet by any means but only outside. When you "killed" your target you took their target. The names were arranged so that eventually it came down to two people hunting each other. I lasted about a week the years I played but the game usually lasted around a month.


That brings back memories! - we had the same setup at Queen's college (a residential college) at Melbourne Uni. We had about 200-250 players. As someone else said earlier: "One of the most stressful months of my life!". One game (we played once a year) I made it through to the last two players left alive, both of us gunning for each other. By that time everyone knew who we were so it was doubly difficult to perform the deed un-witnessed :-)

Good times!


The "no witnesses" rule is a twist I haven't used.

My experience playing Assassin is that it overshadowed other parts of life. Like paying attention in class. Although a very avid gamer, I try to avoid playing games that have negative externalities (other than time consumption and acceptable hardware/software costs, of course). If the game intrudes into the rest of my life, and the intrusion feels negative, CUT IT.


Cambridge rules have a number of places 'Out of Bounds', for "reasons of sanity and safety", which includes all lecture theatres. I think that's a good rule, since lectures don't get disrupted and you can pay attention, knowing you're safe.

http://www.srcf.ucam.org/assassins/rules.html


Without a "no witness" rule it would have been too easy for the killer. (The other thing I forgot to mention is that you never knew who was after you. You didn't even know who else was playing the game.)


My sister does something similar with a pack of porn cards she got given. Each playing card has a 80s picture of some naked lady or bloke. She slips a card into a wallet or bag then later (usually after a few drinks) she 'finds' the porn and shows everyone.

She also reverse pick pockets them into random peoples pockets.


Reminds me of the movie Gotcha! which upon looking it up, is based on the game Assassin. interesting


I didn't know it was a genre. I only knew about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag:_The_Assassination_Game


In college, we had a few weeks of Humans v. Zombies with nerf guns. Those games are so fun.


Would make a good movie plot for a Hollywood bromance style comedy.


Vince Vaughn, Jack Black, the Wilson brothers, Will Ferrell, Jonah Hill, and Seth Rogan.

We could call it "The Magnificent Seven Play Tag."


I would watch that.

But title it:

Tagbros.


It's only a matter of time.


Yeah, your thought indirectly reminded of The Big Year, in which in a bunch of unlikely friends/competitors try to get the record of number of bird species spotted (or heard) within a year.


Don't forget to check out the contract that they drafted up: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732337520457826...


A valid tag occurs whenever (subject to Article II below) It intentionally causes his hand (right or left) to come into contact with the body or clothing of any other Participant

So the clothing doesn't need to be on the tagged person...


In my opinion it makes the story. I love that they included a provision preventing tag-backs.


My family members used to (some still sort of do) play a game called "got you last", wherein each player has a set of relationships with every other player, and the idea is to get everyone else last (adjudicated like tag), without anyone having gotten you last.

You need to keep track of whom you need to get last, and who might be trying to get you last.

An uncle and a cousin of mine have been going back and forth for about 30 years.


Part of me felt this was silly... Another part (a secret part) felt very, very, very, very envious. How come the rest of us don't have games like this we can play, potentially, for the rest of our lives?

It would be a whole lot more interesting than "sup bro?" at a reunion.


Used to know a slightly odd, hyperactive kid in high school who used to randomly 'head-tap' my friends and I on the shoulder (with his forehead). Every once in a while we turned it into a bit of a game where you tried not to let the other head tap your shoulder. It's basically tag but arms-free (or maybe 'thumb wars' works as an analogy, for its dodgy nature)...and you can only give chase or escape by walking fast, no running.

Coincidentally or not, we were also ultimate frisbee players in middle school. And there were pogs, of course.


I wonder who the very last will be? Kind of a sad thought but it's gotta happen some day..


My coworker told a vivid story of playing "Jurassic Park", where he and other men in the dorm would get blitzed, remove their shirts, duct tape their forearms to their upper arms, and pretend to be velociraptors in a dominance battle.

With their arms and hands practically useless, they could only bite and kick each other. Apparently people would get bit pretty good.


For months me and my housemates would hide a crumpet in each others cupboards and food items. I'd buried deep in my mates doritos, it had been in granola, in massive packs of protein. I ended up throwing it away after i'd found one of them had expertly hidden it in my tub of hummus. Bastards.


I think it's pretty cool how after 23 years a group of guys who were friends in high school each went on to be a CMO, a lawyer, a H.S. teacher and a priest, respectfully, and still stay in touch and have a way to have fun.


The fact that each year, 'It' gets to make a donation on behalf of all of them towards their Alumni just makes it for me :) That was an awesome read!


This is adorable. It always makes my day to read about the creative things people do with friends.


This was posted almost a week ago - http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5135883


The title on this one is better without context.


Yes, although it needs a '(sic)' for the poor grammar in the original; I thought the submitter had made the mistake until I clicked through to the article.


If you mean the "have", that's not poor grammar – it's correct, though more common in Britain than in the U.S.


Rubicon story come to life.


Haha! Business!


Most awesome story like, ever :-D


"Men" is a stretch.


Why do you say that?


Fanciful embellishment on the part of those involved. It's impressive what some will do to 'get their name out there'. I guess when you make a career of it some will spill over into your personal life.




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