Ninja Tag @ the GT Library (CeLIBration, PART 3)

August 25, 2006, 2:53 pm

I was not very involved in this activity, other than helping to unscrew (and than re-screw) about 100 fluorescent lights. This was the brainchild of the stealthy Bonnie Tijerina . Bonnie is very involved with the Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference . Hmmm, Meredith is offering her content for free . ERL offers their content for free . ACRL, get a clue!

One of the things I liked about our CeLIBration crew was that it was very open and nimble. We had a little over $1,000 to spend and tossed around a ton of ideas. One that stuck was idea of playing tag in the library. Bonnie (and Charlene) ran this activitiy and sexed it up with a “Ninja” theme. Very successful!

Here’s what Bonnie shared with me, combined with my observations.

Background & Setup

Initially we wanted to create a huge game of tag throughout the library, but we narrowed it down to most of one floor. This helped regarding containment of activities to just two floors of the building. We investigated the price and logistics of laser tag, but that could not be done, so we stuck with a game that was a blend of tag and capture the flag. To change it up a bit, we added a teamwork component. Students would compete in groups, with the winning team receiving movie tickets. 52 students participated in three sessions, however many students were turned away. We easily could have had 100+ willing participants.

To make it more interesting and difficult, we turned off all the lights and installed several black lights and a strobe light. We did this in a space with lots of tables and cubicles so that we could rearrange the environment and create a maze with various obstacles. Knowing that ninjas are cool with kids these days, we decided to call it Ninja Tag, and emphasized the need to be ninja-like to tag out the opposing team.

Students were placed on one of two teams, and wore colored reflective tape to identify their side. The goal was to remove a white tag that was attached to the tape of the opposing team, while running throughout the maze with loud dance music blaring.

Supplies & Costs

  • 12 Black Lights (new) $190
  • 1 Strobe Light (used) $10
  • Movie Tickets for 3 rounds: $150
  • Sign-up Sheets
  • Cubicles & Tables
  • Colored Electrical Tape
  • Music! Helps if you have a PA system.

Total: $350

Prep Time and Staffing

1 hour set-up and 1 hour take down with the help of 5-6 people. During tag matches, 3 – 4 people serving as referees, preferably dressed in white so as to be easily identified.

What students said

Students, especially male students, LOVED it! They had many suggestions including:

  • Increase the number of players on each team (we tried to limit teams to 8 players)
  • Having tag throughout the entire library.
  • Having tag throughout the school year.
  • Making it a tournament.
  • Letting people wear two tags, essentially two lives, to prolong game play.

Some players bonded through teamwork and created names, such as “Team KILL” and “Team Sexy Beasts.”

Students also didn’t seem to care about the prizes. They just wanted to play and wanted their friends to be on their team – that was more important than a prize. Bragging rights were very important.

Lessons Learned/Recommendations  

  • It helps to actually know what young people are into. We gained invaluable knowledge from someone close to their age.
  • The colors we used (pink & red) were a little too similar. Next time we plan to use a wider spectrum to include blue and yellow.
  • Students wanted to keep playing. It’s an adrenal rush for a few minutes and they wanted more.
  • Many students went home and changed into dark clothes (ninja attire) once they discovered the game.
  • We’re considering running a tag tournament over the semester, or at least hosting another night organized into a tournament style game.
  • Having tag on multiple floors would increase the challenge. We could create multiple mazes or black lit zones, however areas of total darkness (shadow zones) are intriguing too.
  • Having multiple teams playing simultaneously would also increase the difficulty, as well as allow more people to play.
  • Facebook! 16 students listed ‘tag’ on their profile. 127 listed ninja. This allowed us to directly market the event. We’re also forming a FB group to build anticipation for future events. This will allow us to create a community of interested ‘tag’ students. We’ll also probably advertise widely on campus, and try to get people signed up early.
  • Maybe we could form an actual Campus Club called Ninja Tag, and host monthly events in various locations. Students seemed passionate about the game, so why not let them play? And why not let SGA pay for it?


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