Capture the Flag Game

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Summary: Capture the Flag Game is for large groups and is much like a mock war.

Ages: From 12 to adult

Recommended Number of Players/Teams: 2 teams with between 6 to 100 players

Two bright colored strips of fabric to act as flags. Old T-shirts work just as well.

Set Up:
Divide into two teams

Mark off the playing field. The size of this playing field depends on the number and stamina of players. If you have a very big group, or a very fit group, you might use a six-by-six-block square in an urban area or an entire city park. Others may want to limit the terrain to a smaller clearing in a park or a school athletic field. Streets, chalk lines, trails, creeks and fences all make good borders. Delineate a clear centerline between the two teams’ territories using clothesline, a chalk line or natural boundaries. Make sure this centerline is apparent to all players at the start of the game. Once a player is tagged, you don’t want the fun to devolve into arguments about whether or not someone was over the line. Each team should mark off roughly 10’x10’ jail within its territory. Clothesline or tape on the ground, or a few items to mark the corners of a square will do fine.

Decide how far from the centerline each team may hide the flag – 50 yards is a good rule of thumb. You can adjust this proportionally according to the size of your playing field.

Decide whether you want to allow “guarding” of the jail and flag. In general, it’s more fun to not have a guard so each team must agree not to lurk within 20 feet of its flag and jail.

How to Play the Capture the Flag Game:
Give each team five minutes to hide the flag in its territory. The flag must be visible and no buried under a rock or tucked in a hole. It may not be further than the agreed upon distance from the centerline. At the end of the five minutes, start the game.

Some members of your team will try to sneak across the centerline, find and capture the enemy flag, and race back without being tagged by the other side.

Other members of your team will try to intercept and tag any opposing players who are in your territory.

You can capture the enemy players by tagging them while they are on your side of the border. Put captured enemy players in the “jail.”

Rescue captured teammates by sneaking across the centerline, finding the jail, tagging your teammates, then racing back across the centerline without being tagged.

If someone tries to free your prisoners, recapture the players by tagging them again before they reach the centerline.

A variation on the jail is that you could allow the captured enemies to stay in jail a set amount of time, maybe two minutes. Then allow the prisoners to return unmolested back over their centerline to be in play again.

Stealth Strategy:Send one of your slower players across the border to pretend to make a dash for the enemy’s flag. Once this decay has successfully drawn out the other team’s players, deploy your fastest player. With luck, your opponents’ most aggressive players will be distracted by the decoy, giving the second runner a clear shot at the flag.

Capture the Flag Game is won by the team that captures their opponents flag and makes it back over the center line first.

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