Wharton gears up for end of ‘Hostile Takeover’
"Assassins" game intended to promote friendly competition
April 4, 2012, 9:11 pm · Updated April 4, 2012, 11:02 pm·
One fortunate Wharton student will be crowned the “ultimate corporate raider ” April 6.
The first round of Wharton’s Hostile Takeover started March 21, with around 300 Wharton undergraduates participating.
At the start of the contest, each participant received a small ball and the name of their target from an anonymous Gamemaster. In each round, participants attempt to “assassinate” their targets by hitting them with the ball while simultaneously trying to avoid the unknown “assassin” seeking them out. As the game progresses, the number of participants diminishes, culminating in the Final Boardroom.
The Final Boardroom — in which the 10 remaining finalists do battle in a dodgeball-style round until one student remains — will be held April 6.
Wharton junior Justine Shiou, one of the co-chairs of the event, noted some of the benefits of hosting a Wharton-wide competition.
“The most enjoyable part is seeing how into it the students get,” she said. “At the end of the day, besides all the negative stereotypes of Wharton and how we are too competitive, to see these kids break out of their shells and have fun with this game is the best part about it.”
Wharton sophomore Gina Ah-Fenne, who co-chaired the event with Shiou, described the extent to which some students have taken the game.
“It’s interesting to see the things that people actually do,” she said. “I’ve seen all the creative ways people go about trying to get their targets, with some people camping out literally for days.”
One of the common strategies some participants have used to locate their targets is simply surfing the web.
“I knew exactly where my target was this year because her address was listed on Penn Directory,” Wharton senior Gandharv Bedi said. “Other than that, it’s relying on your resources. You have to Facebook stalk them, find mutual friends and you go from there.”
Wharton and College sophomore Jacob Dinkel said the element of fear plays a role in the game.
“You could have strangers get you at the most random times,” he said.
Dinkel said this fear makes the game exciting for everyone.
“Going to bed at night thinking you’re still alive is the most rewarding aspect because it’s really like a game where you are CIA or FBI agents and you didn’t go down that day,” he said.
The physical boundaries of Hostile Takeover encompass virtually the entire campus, which allows for greater creativity in hiding from and searching for targets.
“Because the entire environment is the campus, people can go through all sorts of means to make themselves undetectable,” Ah-Fenne said.
At the end of the day, the spirit of friendly competition and community-building motivated some students to participate in Hostile Takeover.
“It can develop into fights because people are competitive and that’s how Wharton is, but overall it brings people together,” Beti said.
Dinkel shared a similar view.
“I love how it gives a dedicated group of really intense people in a way other than the classroom to compete in a fun environment,” he said.