A Beginner’s Guide to Paranoia

By Campbell Meszaros, Contributor

A 2021 Paranoia promotional poster 

Get ready! Paranoia, the schoolwide game that usually serves as a fundraiser for the boys volleyball team (but is being used to help fund senior events this year), starts on Monday the 31stHalloween!

If you’ve signed up to play, during advisory on Monday you will receive a notecard with the first and last name of your “target”, (who you are trying to find). Your target can be anyone in the school, there is a good chance you might not even know who they are! If you get lucky and receive the name of someone in your advisory, you can approach them once advisory is over and you both have left the room. If not, it is up to you to search for your target, all while trying not to get found yourself.

When you succeed in finding your target, they are officially eliminated from the game and must surrender any notecards they have collected. If they have just one notecard it is simple: your next target is the name on the new notecard you collected. If they have multiple notecards, ask them which target they were currently pursuing and that will be your new target. It may be helpful to ask them if they have any information on the target, especially if they know a class that the target is in or what their lunch period is.

The process continues until there are two players left who have to get each other out; the person who does wins Paranoia. If there are still multiple players at the end of the day on November 18th, the player with the most notecards collected is the winner. 

While you are trying to find your target, keep in mind that someone else in the school is actively searching for you as well. The game is designed to keep you paranoidso stay alert! Make sure to keep all of your notecards with you at all times as you never know when you will be eliminated. If a player refuses to give up their cards or does something against the rules they will be disqualified, so no cheating.

Paranoia is intense, especially for first time players. Experienced players, seniors Zoe Schnack and Koen Lee, shared some tips on how to be as successful as you can. “I knew the winner when I was in my freshman year. She won because she recruited a teacher to lie on her behalf and she snuck out the back doors every day after school. But she won, so if you’re willing to go all out, maybe you can have a chance at winning too!” Schnack shared. Lee advised to “change your Instagram handle.” Advice to which Schnack added, “Identity theft is always a good move, I support identity theft [when playing Paranoia]. Pretend to be someone else.”

Having advanced pretty far myself, I also have some tips to share. The Instagram identity theft idea is a smart move, but a much easier way to be more mysterious is to make your Instagram profile private if it isn’t already. If you’re willing to go all out, archive your posts, temporarily remove pictures of you from your social media accounts, and change your profile pictures to someone else until Paranoia ends. To hide from people during the school day, take less popular staircases and don’t spend time in the atrium. Essentially, try to stay away from places where it is easiest to be seen.

To find your target, your best bet is to ask around. If done correctly, you can easily find out where their classes are, their grade, what they look like, and where they are during their lunch period. Though this is highly effective, don’t reveal they are your target or else word could get back to them and they could make an effort to specifically avoid you. Happy hunting!

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