Yesterday’s Mockingjay Launch Party was such a blast!
I’m still wading through hundreds of event photos, and am in the middle of writing an article about the event for Manila Bulletin, but I know you’re all waiting for one thing, anyway: the major highlight of the Mockingjay Launch Party — the Quarter Quell Live Action Role Play (LARP)!
Last year, the Hunger Games LARP at the Manila International Book Fair was a huge success, and I was lucky to be one of the few people to cover it. Of course, this meant the Mockingjay launch party wouldn’t be complete without a LARP, and Scholastic upped the ante this year with the Quarter Quell!
24 tributes representing the 12 districts of Panem participated in this year’s Quarter Quell LARP, competing for exciting prizes from Scholastic and National Book Store.
Here’s a recap of the Quarter Quell LARP (based on the events in Catching Fire) which is easy enough to replicate in case you’re planning your own Hunger Games party!
The First Challenge: The Fog Escape
“Whatever chemical laces the fog does more than burn — it targets our nerves. A whole new kind of fear shoots through me and I yank Peeta forward, which only causes him to stumble again. By the time I get him to his feet, both of my arms are twitching uncontrollably. The fog has moved in on us, the body of it less than a yard away. Something is wrong with Peeta’s legs; he’s trying to walk but they move in a spastic, puppetlike fashion.
I feel him lurch forward and realize Finnick has come back for us and is hauling Peeta along. I wedge my shoulder, which still seems under control, under Peeta’s arm and do my best to keep up with Finnick’s rapid pace. We put about ten yards between us and the fog when Finnick stops.
“It’s no good. I’ll have to carry him. Can you take Mags?” he asks me.
“Yes, I say stoutly, although my heart sinks.”
In this challenge, each female tribute had to give the male tribute a piggyback ride and rush to get their weapon found at the finish line.
The last two teams to fire an arrow from their weapons got eliminated.
The Second Challenge: Fending off the Monkeys
“The monkeys explode into a shrieking mass of orange fur and converge on him.
I’ve never seen any animal move so fast. They slide down the vines as if the things were greased. Leap impossible distances from tree to tree. Fangs bared, hackles raised, claws shooting out like switchblades. I may be unfamiliar with monkeys, but animals in nature don’t act like this. “Mutts!” I spit out as Finnick and I crash into the greenery.”
In this challenge, each female tribute was designated as an Attacker, while the male tribute was the Defender. The female tribute was given 20 stickers with images of deadly monkeys. At the signal of the gamemakers, the Attackers dashed to stick as many monkeys as they could on the backside of the opposing teams’ Defenders. The stickers were then counted and the two teams with the most number of monkeys on their backs were eliminated.
The Third Challenge: The Noise Barrage of Jabberjays
“Then the birds begin to arrive. One by one. Perching in the surrounding branches. And a carefully orchestrated chorus of horror begins to spill out of their mouths. Finnick gives up at once, hunching on the ground, clenching his hands over his ears as if he’s trying to crush his skull. I try to fight for a while. Emptying my quiver of arrows into the hated birds. But everytime one drops dead, another quickly takes its place. And I finally give up and curl up beside Finnick, trying to block out the excruciating sounds of Prim, Gale, my mother, Madge, Rory, Vick, even Posy, helpless little Posy…”
In this leg of the LARP, each of the remaining teams assigned one tribute as the Jabberjay and the other as the blindfolded tribute.
The blindfolded tribute stood in front of the Jabberjay, and at the signal of the gamemakers, the blindfolded tributed turned in place three times. Then the Jabberjay shouted directions to direct the blindfolded tribute to one of the flags scattered in the area. The last team to get a flag got eliminated.
The Fourth Challenge: The Death of Many Tributes
“We all nod in agreement, and that’s when I notice it. The silence. Our canary has stopped singing.
I don’t wait. I load an arrow as I twist and get a glimpse of a dripping-wet Gloss letting Wiress slide to the ground, her throat slit open in a bright red smile. The point of my arrow disappears into his right temple, and in the instant it takes to reload, Johanna has buried an ax blade in Cashmere’s chest. Finnick knocks away a spear Brutus throws at Peeta and takes Enobaria’s knife in his thigh. If there wasn’t a Cornucopia to duck behind, they’d both be dead, both of the tributes from District 2. I spring forward in Pursuit. Boom! Boom! Boom! The cannon confirms there’s no way to help Wiress, no need to finish off Gloss or Cashmere.”
In this challenge, the last eight teams faced off on wooden platforms. Using only their palms, tributes attempted to topple their opponent from the platform, and the four winning teams went on to the final round.
The Fifth Challenge: Down the Wire
“I finally see Beetee’s knife with clear eyes. My shaking hands slide the wire from the hilt, wind it around the arrow just above the feathers, and secure it with a knot picked up in training…
I let the arrow fly, see it hit its mark and vanish, pulling the thread of gold behind it.
My hair stands on end and the lightning strikes the tree.
A flash of white runs up the wire, and for just a moment, the dome bursts into a dazzling blue light…”
In the last challenge, the last four teams battled it out in a wire game, where tributes had to maneuver a narrow loop along a wire path without triggering the alarm. The team that reached the longest length of wire was declared the winner of the Quarter Quell.
This year’s Quarter Quell was another exhilarating LARP — all the teams put up a really good fight, (some teams playing like they were in an actual Quarter Quell), all determined to be crowned as the Quarter Quell victors. I was pretty bummed that none of my bookish friends made it to the final four (and they did their best too!), but in a serendipitous twist of events, the winning team from last year’s Hunger Games LARP — Reynaldo Trinidad Jr. and Joan Candaza — once again bested all the tributes!
Career tributes, all the way. Congratulations, guys!
That’s it for tonight — just got back from out of town and the trip was exhausting! — will have another entry about the launch party later on this week, after it’s published on Manila Bulletin.