For over a decade at the Informant’s Vancouver Island high-school, a folk game would be organized known as “Gotcha”. It is highly similar to the widely-played game “Assassin” where all players are given a “target” which they must discreetly tag with a clothes pin. In order to sign up for Gotcha, a player must pay $20 into a communal pot. The winner at the end of the game gets to keep the money from the pot, resulting in a not-small chunk of change.

The Informant stated that the rules of the game would be updated every year, as someone new was typically organizing it. After he graduated, he said that the rules were updated to include “If you are tagged, you can strip naked in order to save yourself”. After successfully tagging your target, they are removed from the game and you inherit their target.


The Informant played Gotcha as a Grade 12 and the experience was generally not unusual compared to previous years. He was, however, informed about the stripping-based rules that were added after his graduation, and was able to speak to some of the issues surrounding it. The parents and school systems, he said, had been highly concerned over the possibility of students taking pictures of the stripped-nude students and sharing the pictures on social media. The Informant also implied that students get very serious about this game, to the point that “some people don’t even leave their house for like a week”.


The monetary incentive of the game is huge, especially for children who are still in high school, and the original game of Assassin is often played without any incentive besides the game’s inherent fun. Upon combining these two things, I think that the students who participate in Gotcha are willfully entering into a hyper-immersive game with the potential to turn $20 into substantially more (a feeling akin to gambling, but where the outcome has a positive correlation to your own skill and strategic proficiency). The addition of stripping as a sort of “do-over” could be taken to mean that the game designers wanted the players to have more chances to claim the pot if they were serious enough to do it, or it could also be viewed as an excuse to get classmates to willingly strip.


This article states that the pot for a game of Gotcha can get up to $2,000. In addition, it appears that students may also pay $20 instead of stripping nude, and can only re-enter the game twice.