Assassin Game

Main Piece

DR used to go to an academic summer camp in New England from 7th through 10th grade. Every year, they would play a game called “Assassin.” If you wanted to play, you would sign up with the person running it. They would give you a spoon and some ID number, as well as another player as a “target.” You can only tag your target when they’re not holding their spoon, which is “assassinating” them. After assassinating someone, you inherit their target, and the game continues until there is only one player remaining.

Informant background

DR is a student at the University of Southern California. He is from Sudbury, MA.

Performance context

This story was told during a folklore collection event that I set up with a diversity of members from the USC men’s Ultimate Frisbee team. We were in a classic folklore collection setting: sharing drinks around a campfire, in a free flowing conversation.


There are some games (in fact, most games) which are entirely bounded in space and time to a certain restricted area – e.g., a basketball game on a basketball court; a game of chess to its board. However, games like Assassin are “always on” – in other words, a player must be ready at any time to play. This kind of game seems most common in schools and summer camps, where a large amount of children all live together. This is probably because children most enjoy the excitement of always being in the game, and also being in the same space for much or all of the day allows the element of persistence and vigilance to come into play.