A quiet weekend in Schow breaks into KAOS

For students looking for a party, Schow on a Friday night is usually no hotspot. However, on Friday Feb. 1, the Science Quad was home to pure KAOS (Killing as an Organized Sport) as participants who made it to the final round students faced near death experiences, stalked and shot their friends, broke alliances for individual survival, shot at innocent bystanders and of course, collected pencils.

From the time the Death Squad announced the commencement of the final competition, Schow was scattered with eight ambitious students, Nick Arnosti ’11, Pat Chaney ’10, Dan Costanza ’11, Diego Flores ’11, Nat Hewett ’11, Jake Levinson ’11, Kwame Poku ’11 and Vicki Sheng ’11 searching for hidden “special-agent” pencils. Ultimately, Costanza was able to prevail over his opponents, capturing a total of 26 pencils and winning a $45 prize for a restaurant of his choice.

“I think the thing that really helped me [in winning the game] was that when I would go around corners, I would crouch really low, so people would usually shoot over me,” Costanza said regarding his victory in Schow. “We were given two guns for the game, so when I heard someone coming around the corner, I would only fire one gun so that I would always have an extra shot. Otherwise, I think it was partially just good luck.”

Although Costanza attributes luck to his final victory, his experience during the final round, though suspenseful and thrilling, was not always the most fortunate. While searching for pencils in Schow, Costanza heard a noise and jumped around the corner to draw his gun in the culprit’s face. He looked up and only to see that it was a security guard. Luckily neither Costanza nor the security guard fired.

Throughout Winter Study, 110 students signed up to participate in the competition, according to Andrew Goldston ’09, one of the event organizers. These students had high standards to live up to from last after David Moore ’10 used climbing equipment to scale the side of Williams Hall and shoot his target through her open window. But not all students came into the game with victory on their minds. “I didn’t really expect anything,” Levinson said. “I figured I would be happy with one kill.”

Despite his low expectations, Levinson ended up being a finalist after devising numerous inventive methods to eliminate his victims. Levinson researched the minute details of his targets’ lives, learning everything from where they lived to their classes and activities. Nothing was safe against Levinson’s extensive investigation.

Levinson’s success was largely due to all the time in he put into the game. “I changed all the room numbers in my hall,” he said. “I also didn’t sleep in my room.” He also he changed his entire Facebook profile to include false information to confuse his killers, including his Winter Study class.

Not everyone dedicated as much time and effort to the game. “I went in with the goal of staying somewhat sane,” Arnosti said. “But the better I did, the more paranoid I got.”

Arnosti ended up as a finalist due to his notable five kills during the regular round. “My number one strategy was to figure out who you know that lives near them [the target] because then I could just hang out in their common room and always be ready to say that I was just visiting so and so,” he said.

Sara Turner ’11 discovered that even hanging out can be dangerous in the game of KAOS. A fellow participant asked Turner and another friend to accompany her as protection on missions to kill each player’s target. One of the targets soon came by the three girls, and Turner’s friend was able to run and successfully shoot the target. The victim then told the friend that his target had been Turner, and the friend promptly came back in and shot her. Such is the cruel fate of the game.

For most, the key components of KAOS were doing the prep work and stalking targets. “My method was complete badgering until my target made a mistake,” Hewett said.

Sheng, the only female finalist, also came across luck in her KAOS endeavors despite the target’s sly attempts to confuse her. Her target had employed the tactic of switching of names on dormitory doors, but she recognized the target sleeping in a neighboring room and swiftly nabbed her. “Luckily I happened to recognize her, so I was able to make my kill then,” she said.

Fear and suspicion became a regular part of most players’ daily routine. “It changes the way you live,” Costanza said. “I didn’t have escorts or anything like that, but I was always looking over my shoulder.”