Gotcha More, coming soon to Mechelen

Keep an open eye to find your target, then try to eliminate them. © Jakob Robijns

Eliminate your opponents in order to become the last person standing. Gotcha is a game of tactics, tension and a tad of luck. It’s rather popular amongst youth movements and youngsters alike, and that’s why Student Information Network (SIN) created a Thomas More version, named ‘Gotcha More’.

Last year event planner Papaya Events, an organisation by students and for students, organised a Gotcha game in Leuven. This year Thomas More students everywhere will get the opportunity to play too.

How does Gotcha work?
The game itself is fairly easy. Everyone is appointed a target – the name of another player – to eliminate. When you have eliminated them – which only counts if no one else has seen it – their appointed name becomes your next target. In the end, only one can be left alive.

There are various ways of playing: you can give everyone a balloon to protect, or you can use small water pistols to shoot your victim. In the first case a player is eliminated when the balloon explodes, in the second case when they get hit by water from the water pistol.

In the Papaya Events version, players had to use little syringes filled with water – without the needle – to tag their targets. After the ‘kill’ the player and his victim had to take a selfie together to make it official.

More than Gotcha
The Thomas More version, Gotcha More, works with an app and QR-codes. Players have to paste a sticker on their target, and then scan the QR-code visible on the victim’s phone to confirm their kill in the app.

But this version isn’t quite the same as the others: players can continue playing after they’ve been eliminated. Players start in the regular pool, in which you get 20 points for each kill. If someone eliminates you, you end up in the kill pool. Then you still get 5 points per kill.

Paste your sticker and scan to eliminate your target. © Jakob Robijns

Gotcha More: by and for Thomas More students
Jakob Robijns, a member of SIN – Student Information Network – explains: ‘I kinda got the idea. Papaya Events organised a game of Gotcha in Leuven, and I had played the game at summer camp too. I decided to sit together with some fellow students who could be interested, and from there on it started.’

Those students were also a part of SIN, the student organisation for IT people. ‘Normally we only offer web services, such as hosting a website, but we wanted to do more. Organising this game seemed a perfect way for SIN to grow,’ Jakob adds.

Jakob had played Gotcha at summer camp too. © Tijs Van Woensel

From idea to app
‘First we tackled the logistic side,’ Jakob continues. ‘We thought about how the app should work, what should be in it and how to divide targets for example. After a month of preparations we could finally get started on creating the app.’

Stuvo, an organisation for students at Thomas More, supported the SIN team. ‘In the beginning they helped via subventions, information and helping with the concept amongst other things. After playing the game a few times on a small scale, we told them we wanted to organise it on other campuses too.’ And so Stuvo held a meeting with the team, and now they are helping to organise Gotcha at all Thomas More campuses.

Time to play
The first test for an entire campus was in Geel. People could choose an association during their registration. Your points would then go to a common pool of that association. There were also prizes for the 10 best players.

‘Before we had played with IT people and friends, during basecamp – the first day for first year’s students – and during the hogeschoolcongres, a congress for all the teachers. The teachers played gotcha as a way of meeting each other.’

‘Then there was the first try on a larger scale in Geel,’ Jakob goes on. ‘In the beginning we feared that there wouldn’t be a lot of interest, because new concepts are hard to sell. That’s why we sat down with Atomos – the coordinating student association in Geel, and they made sure we could give away a keg to the winning association.’

‘This resulted in a lot of extra advertising among the associations, and there were even some that made participating a part of their initiation. In the end we had more than 100 players.’

‘Registered for Gotcha More? Go get your stickers at Stuvo.’ © Facebook

Ten days of Gotcha
So from 3rd to 12th December students could eliminate their targets, anytime and anywhere. ‘There were peaks during café nights, because a lot of people run into each other during such nights. Someone even got eliminated at McDonald’s!’

And of course no new thing is exempted from teething troubles: ‘Difficulties lied mostly in the software. We encountered some mistakes that we had to resolve at the spot, which could be hard if they appeared during a party night for example.’

Gotcha More in Mechelen?
After a first successful trial the road was open: ‘In February we will organise a Gotcha game on all campuses.’ So, students of Mechelen hang tight, it’s almost our turn.


Text: Sofie Verdonck, pictures: © Jakob Robijns and Tijs Van Woensel