The Spoon Assassins

Last month, 72 Colgate students, faculty and staff participated in a round-the-clock elimination game based on creativity, stealth and espionage. On September 14, this circle of “Spoon Assassins” each received a “mark” from the players. From that point on, they were, according to the group, “at risk 24/7!” of being “assassinated” by non-violent means with a spoon. The game’s “umpire,” and creator of Colgate Spoon Assassins, is sophomore Christian Rathkopf.

“You must be in control of the spoon at all times,” he explained. “While you can’t fling it at someone, you could, say, attach it to a string and fling it at someone.”

Each day, players sought their targets and tried to avoid assassination by adhering to the daily immunity stipulations posted by the umpire on the Web site. On the opening day, players wishing to earn immunity had to carry “full salt and pepper shakers on their person,” which, Rathkopf noted, resulted in many missing shakers from Frank Dining Hall.

The requirements for immunity got progressively more complicated. On Monday, October 1, the website stated that “Players wishing to earn immunity must have on their person at least half of a liter of tomato soup contained only inside of a plastic Ziploc brand bag, no hard shell containers may be used in the storage of the Ziploc Bag.”

As the game went on over a three-week period of time, the “kills,” or players eliminated, were posted in order on the website. With the competition heating up over prizes for “Last Man Standing” and “Most Bad-Ass Kill,” some players got creative.

“Rachel Suprenant got her friends together, and they dressed up as pirates and stormed the rock wall where Mike Nitzberg was working as a spotter,” Rathkopf recalled.

“I know Nitz from [Outdoor Education],” senior Suprenant said. “I knew he was pretty into the game, so I decided not to insult him with a wimpy kill. He deserved to go by pirates, clearly. It was my friend’s birthday that night, so we had the pirate theme going already, and we knew Nitzberg’s schedule…so we ambushed.”

The “Most Bad-Ass Kill” went to Suprenant, whose target, senior Nitzberg, didn’t know what was happening until he was eliminated.

“I caught a flash of something that looked like a pirate and then felt the spoon hit my shoulder,” he said.

The final duel came down to sophomores Morgan Nevins and Cameron Gilbert.

“I had my final mark, my friend Cameron, for about a week before it came down to just the two of us,” Nevins explained. “I came very close, a spoon’s length away, to catching Cameron in my Batman costume in Lathrop about three days before it was down to two people in the game.”

But it was Gilbert who emerged victorious, taking away both the “Hunter” prize, and “Last Man Standing.” He left the game having assassinated 20 percent of the players. Nevins described her final moments before the spoon hit.

“Earlier that day I stayed away from my usual locations and took time to check out Cam’s residence. Cameron was scouting out my dorm from above, waiting to watch me go to Frank since he knew I would have to eat sometime. This was my fatal error and he came behind me just as I was grabbing my tray. I tossed my tray down in anguish, frustration and disbelief. I let my guard down for perhaps a second and that was the end.”

Rathkopf is excited about the participation the game generated in its first round, but has greater expectations the second time around, which he anticipates will begin within the next two weeks.

“One thing I was disappointed about from the first round was the lack of creativity,” he said. “A rooftop chase is really what I want to see happen.”