Assassins Game Killed


Some of the students who took place in the Stafford Assassins.

Imagine enjoying a dinner with your family at El Patron, when suddenly, a group of teenagers armed with water guns soak you, then leave as abruptly as they came. As outlandish as it sounds, this was a reality for both juniors Jack Baumgartener and Annabelle Harris, and many others had similar experiences. The reason? Stafford Assassins.

The Assassins game was led by “Game Masters” and seniors Rhian Batts and Brayden O’Dell , with the goal to eliminate opposing teams of three with water-based warfare, tournament-style, for a chance at a cash prize funded by their entry fee. As per tradition, only juniors and seniors were allowed to participate. In order to keep the game from disrupting school and work, specific rules were posted, most with the aim of protecting players from being “assassinated” on school grounds, or while working. However, that didn’t stop people from being caught before and after their shifts, highlighting the fact that no one is truly safe.

Usually, people emphasize having fun over winning when playing a game. However, Assassins became extremely competitive. One of the winning teams, The Strawberry Shortcakes, opened up about their path to victory. Alex Taylor recalled how she and her team were trying to chase their target, when another group of assassins pursued after them. “Um, we’ve gotten into a car chase,” Brenna Elchinko said. When asked for further details, Taylor said, “So, we were trying to chase our target, right? And we got followed by our assassins, while chasing our target… we got into uh, a bit of a situation and we were blocked in a random person’s driveway.”

As the game progressed, what was originally  “harmless fun”, turned into disorganized pandemonium. In order to get an advantage, players aimed for surprise attacks, often in the most unexpected of places. The Strawberry Shortcakes all said that their locations had been leaked several times, including their home addresses.

I had to run barefoot for about a mile until the three players after me took my car, drove it away, and accidentally locked the keys inside.

— Blake Childress

“Every group that had us as targets would find my house on day one, and every day of the new round, I would look outside, out the window, and see somebody either crouched or laying beside my house,” Brenna Elchenko, another member of The Strawberry Shortcakes said.

The game was supposed to end with two winning teams, but it was cut short due to safety concerns. 

“There were too many incidents that intruded on the safety of both the people playing and others around them,” Batts said. This was her reasoning for ending the game early.

“People took it too far and broke laws and the game rules to try and win,” senior Maddy Smith said. Blake Childress of the other winning team, 540 Blood Babies, spoke about what he had to endure. 

Although the original money payout plan was supposed to allocate 65% of the cash to the winning team, 25% to the second place team, and 10% to charity, the abrupt end changed things. “Originally, we were going to give all the money to charity,” explained Batts. But when the DMs of the official Instagram account were flooded with angry messages, Batts decided to give 40% to two teams with the best kill-death ratios, while O’Dell donated the rest of the money to the Fairy Godmother Project, an organization which serves to assist families undergoing the hardships of childhood cancer. 

“I just think, for the people doing this next year, I hope that they will have more common sense and understand that if they continue to do dumb things, it’s going to reflect on everybody else and the game’s going to have to end. I just hope that taught everybody a lesson,” Batts said at the end of her interview.