First ‘Hunger Games’ hosted by IRHA on campus


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

As a part of Inter-Residence Hall Association week, students participated in a mock version of the Hunger Games where students fought with larping supplies.

Dalton Bergan

The Inter-Residence Hall Association hosted Iowa State’s first ever role-playing Hunger Games on April 22. The event took place at 6 p.m. in the Free-Speech Zone just south of Parks Library.

The Hunger Games was a live-action role-playing-style game based around the rules set by the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society. Available weapons included recreational versions of spears, swords, axes and projectiles donated by the ISU Tir Asleen Medieval Combat Society, a larping club.

Before the games began, students who brought friends as “sponsors” were given special perks depending on how many sponsors they had. One participant from Helser was given a small melee weapon right away so that she didn’t have to scramble for weapons like everyone else.

To start the games, students were placed in a circle around the pile of weapons. Once the sound of an air horn signaled the beginning of the games, participants rushed to the middle of the ring to grab weapons.

“I ended up getting out pretty early,” said freshman participant Eric Swanberg. “The guy to my left told me we should team up and then betrayed me as soon as he got to the weapons.”

To be eliminated, students had to get hit in the torso by an opponent. Each weapon had its own rule, meaning each one could only be used in a certain way. Projectiles, for instance, only counted when it hit the head.

“There were all kinds of weapons,” said Swanberg. “Some people were tactical about it and grabbed the light and agile weapons and others went for weapons that had more reach.”

During the 20 minutes that the game took place, students were eliminated one by one until a single victor remained.

“I was trying to keep track of as many movements as possible,” said winner Shane Blair. “Most of them, being inexperienced in this kind of game, didn’t know exactly how to defend against certain kinds of attacks.”

Blair is a junior currently living in Buchanan Hall. He said that his experience with the ISU larping club gave him an advantage in choosing what weapon to use.

“I used to be part of Belegarth,” said Blair. “I, in fact, positioned myself directly in front of the spear and made sure to mark everyone else who had a spear.”

Blair said that his tactics included making alliances with strong players and letting the weaker players eliminate each other so that he didn’t have to take unnecessary risks.

“I went out and I let the other people do the work in the game,” Blair said. “I only hit about four people in the entire game.”

All students who participated were given a Mockingjay pin identical to the one worn by the protagonist in the “The Hunger Games” series. As a reward for being the last man standing, Blair was given a movie poster signed by the cast.

“As a collector of things, I might decide to keep it [unopened],” said Blair. “I’ll probably give it to a friend of mine back home. He’s ridiculously obsessed with the Hunger Games.”

Though only 30 students were selected to participate in the event, many students came just to spectate.

“I think this event had a really, really good turnout,” said Blair. “I really hope to see them do this again.”