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How to Play Capture the Flag

This classic outdoor game is all about teamwork. The goal is to find the other team’s flag and bring it back to your side without being tagged.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Any large outdoor area
  • 10 or more people
  • Two brightly colored “flags.” These can be almost anything — a neckerchief, Frisbee or ball, for example.
  • Rope to divide the playing field
  • Hula-Hoop, cones, rope or some other markers for “jail” areas

Safety First: Clear the playing area of any dangerous obstacles or hazards. Have one person act as the “judge” to ensure everyone plays by the rules. Play when there is plenty of daylight.

SETTING UP THE GAME

1. Split into two teams.

2. Prepare the playing area. Almost any large outdoor space will work. Be sure there are plenty of obstacles (trees, rocks, bushes) where the flags can be hidden. Divide the field into two zones (like a football or soccer field), separating the sides with a center line. Each side should also feature a “jail” for players who are tagged. A Hula-Hoop, cones or rope can be used to designate these spots.

3. Give each team a “flag.” Any bright object (T-shirts, balls, bandannas) will work.

4. Each team hides its flag somewhere on its side of the field.

HOW TO PLAY CAPTURE THE FLAG

1. The goal of the game is for each team to capture the other team’s flag and take it back to its zone.

2. Pick positions for your team’s players. Some players should try to capture the other team’s flag. Other players should guard your team’s flag.

3. If members of the other team enter your team’s zone, you can send them to “jail” by tagging them. Players can be freed from jail when a teammate touches them.

4. A team wins by capturing the other team’s flag and taking it back to its zone.

MAKE IT YOUR OWN

Improvise your own rules:

  • Can a player free everyone from jail at once or only one at a time?
  • Can a flag be completely hidden or does it need to be visible?
  • Can flags be moved mid-game?
  • Try using a flying disc or ball as the flag. That way, it can be passed to teammates easily.
  • Will you play with more than one flag per team?
  • Can a team take back its flag from the other team before players cross back to their zone? How?

2 Comments on How to Play Capture the Flag

  1. I really like the sounds of this game. I have played similar things with my brothers however, we involved football pads into the game but I know we cant do that with scouts. this article defines the game very well while at the same time it leaves room for change.

  2. capture the flag is rely fun. my troop usaly plays it in the woods or somewhere that is not in an open feald though. we also find a ditch or a path and make that the middle line. the flags always change position after each game. we play is a little diffenrtly but i guess thats part of house rules or whatever. the game is fun.

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