Capture the Flag

Evening game, outdoors

Equipment: 2 handmade flags on staffs 2' long;
2 different colored sets of arm or headbands made of crepe paper.

Formation: teams.
Divide the group into two teams.
Identify each by a set of arm or headbands. Set up a jail area (3-4 square yards) and a separate hiding spot for each flag. Jails are set up at opposite ends of a 5-20 acre area. The object of the game is to penetrate the other team's area and capture their flag. A flag is 'captured' after it has been returned to the captor's jail area. Prisoners are taken by having their arm or headbands removed by an opponent. Prisoners are taken to the jail of their captor's; then they wait there quietly until they are released. Prisoners can only be released when a member of their team (with arm or headband intact) runs through the jail in which they are being held captive. After their release, prisoners are given free escort back to a central spot near their end of the area. Here, they are issued a new arm or headband. The game continues until a flag is captured, or time is up. Note: Supervision at the jails and 'new arm or headband area' is important. Encourage teams to plan elaborate strategies of defense and offense. Variation: try playing the game with three or four teams, each with its own jail area and hiding spot for their flag.

Another Description: 2 flags or For night play 2+ lanterns First you pick out two even teams. Once you have the teams you set boundaries for the game. The boundaries can be wherever you want them. What you should end up with is a large rectangle or square. Once you have decided on the boundaries, you should draw a line through the middle of your playing zone. This line is divides the two sides. Each team should be able to choose where they want their flag and jail but they have to show the other team where they are and both teams have to agree on the placement of the flags and jails. Once this is done, each team goes to their own side of the playing field. Once the game begins, the teams are free to go at the others flag. If a team member is caught on the other teams side, (To be caught you must be "tagged" by a player on the opposite side on his own territory), he will be sent to jail. This player must sit in jail until either the game ends or he is freed by a member of his own team. To be freed, you have to be touched by a "free" member of his own team. The freed player gets a free walk to his own side of the playing field. The person freeing the player is on his own, he may still be tagged and put in jail. To win the game you must capture the other teams flag and return it to your own side with out being captured. It is up to the team on how they want to place their members. When we play, we usually have two players guard the flag and one player be the jail guard. Two or more players stick around and help provide the defense. The rest go for the flag.

Variation From Mike Stolz:
Our troop plays this on every overnight campout. For night play, we use 2 or 4 lanterns. Two are used to mark the center line, while the other two can be used to show the 'approximate' area where the team's flag is. Our flag guards MUST remain at least 15 feet (5 meters) from their own flag unless chasing someone, and the flags must be completely exposed (no stuffing them into holes in the ground, or tying them to trees). When the teams are small, we do away with the jail. Instead, we create 'Check Point Charlie' at the centerline. Captured prisoners can be exchanged for a point. In case of a tie (equal games won, or no winner at all), the team that earned the most points is declared the winner.

Variation: From Doug:
This game, played at night, is a variant of Capture the Flag that we just call "The Candle Game". Two small pots are placed at opposite ends of a field (with trees or bush down the sides of the field) and lids for the pots are placed on the ground, just beside the pots; a small, lighted candle is placed in each pot. Each team tries to put out the other team's candle by sneaking up on their opponent's candle and putting the lid on the pot without being caught. The rest of the rules are pretty much the same as Capture the Flag.

The MacScouter's Big Book of Games -- 51 -- January 1997