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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Assassins’ Guild Dorm Wars creates controversy

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The Carleton Assassins’ Guild is a student-run group that holds Assassins games every other weekend, where members from teams compete with each other around campus with fake weapons, from Nerf guns to toy knifes to “poison” (Tabasco sauce or citric acid). In order to be eligible to enter a round, each member must sign a Safety Contract as well as complete a quiz, based on the Guild’s comprehensive list of rules for game-play and safety. For every active round of the game, the head of the Guild, Vincent DeZutti, notifies Security of such event.

Recently, one of the most popular rounds of Assassins, Dorm Wars, happened to fall only a few days after a shooting in a community college in Oregon. Such coincidence has sparked concerns over the game acting as a trigger for unaware non-players. Samantha Saltzman, who expressed the concern in her submission to a campus publication, states, “in the wake of the wave of school shootings around the country it’s kind of scary to have people jumping out at you with guns and wearing masks as you leave a dance rehearsal” (the rules of the game states that masks must be worn when there are more than certain number of non-players present).

In response to this concern, Vincent has reached out to Samantha, asking for suggestions to make the game feel safer and more entertaining as he aims for it to be. In an email discussing the matter with The Carletonian, Vincent states: “With the current state of gun culture in the US and the simple truth that school shootings are an epidemic in the US, it would be foolish to ignore the fact that there are easy parallels to be made to Assassins, even if I might want to.” Not only does Vincent acknowledge the validity of the safety concern, he also realizes that, “even outside of the context of school shootings, [there is a certain] privilege required to play the game of Assassins. No one who grew up or lives in a place with gang shootings could feel comfortable with it.”

With regards to the Guild’s games, Vincent aims to keep reinforcing the set of rules to maintain the safety and comfort for both players and non-players, as well as reminding the players to be respectful of others. He realizes his responsibilities as Head of the Guild, and wants to preserve Assassins at Carleton. To him, it is “a fantasy: it’s a game of espionage, running around with friends, and occasionally fake bullets,” sort of like a “live-action video game.” Samantha, witnessing Vincent’s response to the issue, states, “Vincent seems like a great leader… I’m sure they’ll do a great job.” Here’s to seeing more safe, fun rounds of Assassins in the weekends.

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