“The Urban Games League is a student organization at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. that exists to sponsor and hold events and games of the primarily urban variety – meaning they are played in developed areas and improvised terrain, rather than on regulation ‘fields,’ on Ball State University’s campus,” according to their Facebook page.
UGL is well known on campus for their most popular game, Humans vs. Zombies. The game is played for an entire week throughout campus with different missions assigned to the human and zombie teams each day. Players of the game can be spotted on campus sporting Nerf blaster guns and bright green headbands, which signify a player is a zombie. The ultimate goal is for the humans to last through the last mission without being “infected,” or turned into a zombie.
But the group does more than one game a week. They play games such as World War 3, a faction-based game recently added to the roaster; and Dagorhir, a hand-held weapon-based battle game. For those who are nervous to try one of these games, capture the flag, foursquare and dodgeball offer a more familiar alternative.
Sarah Bright, a senior operations management major, is the president of UGL. Although she estimates that there is a 10-to-1 boy/girl ratio, she wants people to know that there are plenty of girls who take part in the events.
Besides thinking only boys participate in these sports, Bright admits there is also a misconception that the games are only for “geeks.”
“I wish [people] didn’t associate us with a nerd stigma,” says Eric Goff, a sophomore history and criminal justice major. “These games are enjoyable for everybody.”
All the sports played by UGL take skill and athleticism, but they agree that everyone is more than welcome to participate. They even bring extra weapons to each of the events just in case.
To learn more about the group or any of the games, go to https://www.facebook.com/BSUGL
Dagorhir, or DAG, began when a couple of college students, all reading Lord of the Rings, wanted to reenact the battle scenes written in the book. The game has transformed throughout the years to a group of friends or acquaintances coming together to fight each other with weapons such as swords, axes and spears, all of which have been padded and approved by the UGL committee. This is in contrast to Capture the Flag and Humans vs. Zombies, which are Nerf-heavy sports.
“[Dagorhir] takes more on your personal skill than your ability to purchase a very nice gun,” says Goff, who is a moderator for the game.
People are allowed to make and bring their own weapons, but they must be checked out and pain tested by game administrators.
Steven Ridge, a sophomore business education major, explains that a pain test is when a game moderator covers the back of their neck and kidneys and take a soft, medium and hard hit by the weapon. If at any point the moderator says “ouch,” the weapon cannot be used for the game.
“The number one rule in all DAG Manual of Arms is safety first, safety first, safety first, “ says Ridge.
The Manual of Arms is a detailed guide to rules and regulations of the sport.
Common materials used to make weapons include open cell foam, cloth, nylon, duct tape and athletic tape.
People tend to confuse DAG with LARP (Live Action Role Play). While the group wouldn’t turn away someone interested in having a persona, a majority of the players don’t role-play.
“DAG ranges from stick jocks which is kind of like people who are just there to fight around with the swords to role play and some groups lean one way or the other, but the great part about DAG is it’s right in the middle and you pick where you want to go,” says Ridge.
“Most people think DAG can’t be all that intensive,” says Goff. “I’m not going to lie – it’s a full body workout. Because you’ve got your runs, you have to do sprints and people look at the foam swords. And yeah they only weigh about 2 or 3 pounds, but you have to block someone swinging at you. There’s a lot of force behind them when they’re swinging at you especially if you’ve got a shield. You’re jostling, you’re taking hits and it’s a full workout. Even in the cold, you’re sweaty, you’ve worked out, you’re sore, but it’s a great workout.”
The group tries different modes to keep the game fresh and interesting. They meet to play every Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Frog Baby.
Capture the Flag (Field Sports Building)
“Blue team are you ready?”
“5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Go!”
These are the words shouted by Dustin Baldwin, Capture the Flag administrator, as Nerf bullets zoom past and chaos ensues. Students with Nerf blaster guns of all shapes and sizes take to the field to try to steal the other teams’ flag.
The guns range from small to large. And there are even homemade versions, such as blowguns, which are PVC pipe with duct tape that players blow into and shoot out a Nerf bullet. For those without a Nerf gun, the group provides sock balls to throw, which are balled up, never worn socks wrapped in duct tape.
“Capture the flag is one I’d recommend to everybody because I have yet to meet anybody that doesn’t like capture the flag. And the difference is that we use Nerf blasters, but there is a community sock bag,” says Goff. “You get to throw those and [if] you’re super athletic you can come out and use the socks. We’ve got about 300 of them.”
The group encourages first-time players to try this game if they are intimidated by some of the others.
“It’s possibly one of the easiest [games] for anyone to just show up,” says Baldwin, a sophomore natural resource major.
Capture the Flag is played Friday nights at 9 p.m. in either the Field Sports Building, or University Greens during nicer weather. Baldwin reiterated what others have said about UGL, everyone is welcome, you just have to show up and they will show you the ropes.
“People think we are way more intense than we are, like you have to be really devoted and give all your time to these games. No,” says Baldwin. “It’s pretty casual. You can just show up to DAG, dodgeball, CTF. Just show up one night and be like ‘Hey, I heard about this’ and it’s like ‘yay another person.’”
- These are stab only weapons such as a dagger or spear.
- These are hit weapons under 36-inches. They are usually swords or axes.
- These are the same as blue weapons, only they are longer than 36-inches and are two-handed.
- These are projectile weapons that players can throw such as javelins or archery.