It’s always irritating to hear people criticize college kids for “having too much time on their hands.” After all, it’s those kids — the ones with all that extra time — who end up starting little companies like, you know, Facebook, or Microsoft.
Case in point: this e-mail sent out to Harvard’s Adams House Sunday afternoon:
Date: May 6, 2007 4:41 PM
Subject: [ADAMS] SAVE CLAVERLY!!
My fair Adamsians,
Right now, our beloved Claverly Hall is in grave danger. The blue skies over Mt. Auburn stree are darked by a teeming horde of barbarians.
These foul creatures will stop at nothing to get their greasy hands on the jewel of gold coast housing. I am, of course, referring to Winthrop house. Right now, they have 64 armies poised on our border, ready to sweep in and occupy. It is defended by only 35 valiant Adams knights. Brave and strong as they are, their numbers are too few. As a resident of Claverly, I cannot bear to live ruled by the debaucherous Winthropians! I beg you, my friends, to come to our aid!
We will fight them on Linden Street! We will fight them in the pool! We will fight them in the tunnels! WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER! Sign up for Risk before 5 PM!
We haven’t seen Harvard kids so riled up since The Crimson tried to take away their maids!
The idea for a campus-wide game of game of Risk is nothing less than genius. For starters, it’s perfect for finals period: Unlike the squirtgun shootout Assassins, you never have to leave your dorm. Students form teams that must then conquer other dorms. Whoever conquers all of campus by May 20 wins. Between now and then, we expect many battle-cry emails like the one above. (Even if you didn’t get into Harvard, you can watch the game here.)
There’s just one problem: Yale had the idea first. Earlier this year, Gabe Smedresman, Yale ’06, designed a campus-wide game of RISK that ended up attracting over 350 students. (Check out the original Yale version here.) Do the Harvard biters give credit? Meh, sort of. If you look at the Harvard edition’s FAQ page, it says the site was created by the Harvard College Events Board. But then at the bottom, in tiny print: “Based on idea and source code by Gabe Smedresman.” Aha!
If there was ever a sign that Yale looms large in Harvard’s rearview mirror, this is it. Next thing you know, Harvard dorms will start calling themselves “colleges,” the Crimson will transmogrify into a navy blue, and Harvard students will suddenly become fulfilled human beings. Mmm, on second thought, unlikely.