You wait in the halls. Your eyes are up, darting around to make sure that you don’t get jumped suddenly. But there’s no one there—the emptiness would normally be eerie, but it gives you a sense of relief. No one can get you out now. Whoever’s hunting hasn’t found you yet. Instead, you’re the hunter. And your prey is about to emerge.

Either you’re participating in the Hunger Games, and you’re in a true life-or-death situation. Or, you’re immersed in the OLu senior tradition: the Lancer Games, where the stakes are, fortunately, much lower. Win, and you get up to $500 and eternal bragging rights. Get eliminated early, and you can return to everyday, non-paranoid life. 

As of this writing, over half the tributes have already been eliminated. Most of them joined with half-serious intentions to just enjoy the first round and work from there. But some seniors don’t enter just to play—they want the glory (and cash) that comes with victory. So what types of tributes are there, and how do they plan to survive the Lancer Games?

(For the underclassmen out there already anticipating this treasured senior tradition, pay attention. This could come in handy in a couple of years.)

  1. The Ruthless Hunter. They take the word “proactive” to the next level. Patience is not their strong suit. Hunters get their target on Day 1, and in Purges, this is the tribute you have to be wary of. They’ll attack indiscriminately, and rack up a double-digit kill count throughout the Games. But if this is you, be careful—someone’s always lying in wait to take you out, too. Don’t get overconfident.
  2. The Planner. Quiet, analytical, careful. Planners take their targets seriously: they’ll figure out your schedule, scope out ambush points, and lie in wait with incredible patience. They’ve got an arsenal of every safety item possible to anticipate an untimely Purge. Planners also account for their own hunter, keeping one eye open at all times. This is the tribute to watch out for in later rounds.
  3. The Trickster. Their motto: rules are for thee, but not for me. This tribute figures out every possible way to bend the rules of the Lancer Games to their advantage. Faking elimination, forging emails, and gaslighting allies are their forte. They enlist friends to concoct ridiculous plots to trap and tag their targets, and they usually end up with the most interesting eliminations. More often than not, this tactic backfires by the final rounds, forcing them out into the open. But when it works, there’s no limit to how far a Trickster will survive.
  4. The Casual. At least half the tributes play for fun—and there’s nothing wrong with that! These Casuals usually end up eliminated in Round 1, but there’s always a lucky handful who stay alive through later rounds. They don’t take the game too seriously, which makes their time remarkably low-stress. If you couldn’t care less about winning, this is you—just sit back, enjoy the game while it lasts, and have fun!
  5. The Helper. These students aren’t actual tributes. Instead, they work as mercenaries-for-hire, aiding friends in assassination plots and procuring targets’ schedules—for a sum. Helpers often work not out of altruism but instead out of a keen business sense, charging for their services or expecting a post-victory favor. These students are the least stressed: they have no obligation to play, but can help their friends claim victory instead—and get a cut of the winnings. The Lancer Games are a win-win scenario for Helpers.

Dozens of factors contribute to winning, so don’t take this as a guide to surefire victory. It takes skill, foresight, and a healthy dose of luck to survive. But I hope you enjoyed this deep-dive into the Lancer Games, and, as always, may the odds be ever in your favor.

Photo Credit: thelancergames on Instagram