Nursing captures the faculty

The ArtSci team proudly display their flag prior to this year’s Capture the Faculty.
The ArtSci team proudly display their flag prior to this year’s Capture the Faculty.
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After initial controversy, the Faculty of Nursing was declared victorious in the second annual game of Capture the Faculty, despite being the smallest team in the field.

The event pitted the University’s six undergraduate faculties against one another in a cross-campus game of capture the flag. More than 700 participants turned out for the event on Friday night, prepared to battle in the name of faculty pride and the $1,000 first-place prize.

Each team’s objective was to guard a flag situated within their pre-determined zone, while simultaneously trying to steal other faculty’s flags for themselves. The team to collect the most flags at the end of the game, while still in possession of their own, would be declared the winner. Teams were each given 400 popsicle sticks—representing 400 lives—to be distributed amongst their players. When tagged in an unfriendly territory, a player was obligated to break and discard one of the sticks before being allowed to resume play.

After more than two hours of play, the game came to an end.

Initially, every team except for Commerce—who accepted defeat outright—claimed victory. Each of the five teams asserted they had a legitimate claim to two flags.

Although the game started with only six flags, 10 flags had manifested by the end. Through the wear and tear, pieces of flags were included in some teams’ final tallies.

Cheating charges were also made by members of some teams.

Founding organizers Louis Plamondon and Jonathon Suter, Comm ’05, held a closed-door meeting with the student constables who had been on hand to act as referees and mediators, as well as one representative from each faculty.

It was decided that half of the prize money would go to charity, and half would go to the team with the most remaining popsicle sticks.

This tie-breaker strategy was laid out in the rules prior to the start of the game, and each team handed in their sticks to be counted by Plamondon and Suter, with an announcement of the winner to follow on Monday night.

“Each faculty agreed that this was the best way to solve the matter,” Plamondon said.

“People had expected a winner at the end of the game, but there was no uproar when the players learned what had been decided.” In the end, the Nurses, who fielded a team of less than 20 players and who are credited with the first, and least controversial, flag capture of the game, were awarded the $1,000 first place prize.

Half of the prize money will be donated to a charity, decided by the faculty itself, and the other $500 will be used at the discretion of the Nursing Science Society.

This year’s Capture the Faculty was bigger, with a five-fold increase in the number of players.

The goal was to provide people with “[a] great time, to demonstrate that non-alcoholic inter-faculty events can work, and to show that even if you don’t have a student government title, there is nothing stopping anyone from making a difference on campus,” Suter said.

To accomplish these goals, the pair advertised in residences and buildings across campus and set up a booth at Clubs Night, where more than 300 people signed up. They also accepted sign-ups over the Internet.

“Online sign-ups were vital because it gave people a chance to sign-up with very little hassle,” Plamondon said. “I had sign-ups coming to my e-mail inbox at three in the morning because of people who were chatting on-line late at night and spreading the word to friends who could register instantly.” A final tally on the site indicates more than 1,000 people used this method to sign up.

As the game progressed, clear strategies emerged. The largest team on the field, Arts and Science, developed a technique of mass assaults to overwhelm smaller teams.

Neil Martin, ArtSci ’08, described his team’s strategy to obtain the well-placed and carefully guarded Nursing flag.

“We send half of the group from one side and half from the other,” he said. “Most people just run near the flag to draw the defenders out. One pre-planned person from each direction, however, goes directly for the flag,” said Martin. Despite these tactics, after five or six attempts and many popsicle stick casualties, the Nurses prevailed and the hoard of ArtSci moved off to test the Commerce defence. The Con-Ed team employed the unique tactic of using walkie-talkies to co-ordinate attacks or to call for back-up on defence.

“We live by the acronym T.E.A.M.—Together Everyone Achieves More—and communication is the key to making this work,” said Rebecca Pereira, ConEd ’06.

The ConEd team may not have had the leg-up they thought they enjoyed, however, because one of the innovations new to this year’s game was a partnership with CFRC, who broadcast the game live. This allowed up-to-the-minute coverage of team movements, provided via cell-

phone by organizer Plamondon. Announcements were broadcast through speakers set up at each faculty’s home base.

“At one point, I watched a group of engineers turn away a particularly large attack. I phoned it into the station, and news of the defensive was announced within seconds, drawing both tremendous cheers from the engineers and re-enforcements for the attackers,” Plamondon said.

CFRC also broadcast on-air comments from players themselves.

DJ Mike McCarthy kept the banter light, introducing one caller by saying: “I have an ArtSci student on the line with the chance now to defend the strong accusation that the ArtSci’s have no attack game whatsoever.” Despite a successful evening, the organizers identified several issues they would like to see resolved by next year.

“One thing to be addressed next year is definitely flag placement,” Suter said. “They should be pre-placed to ensure accessibility and equality among the teams.” As both founding organizers are graduating this coming spring, future event planning of the event will likely be passed over to the AMS.

“The motivation of Suter and me was to see this Capture the Faculty project turn into a marquee event,” he said.

“The excitement is definitely there and there is real potential for an even bigger event next year.”

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