Played with two teams, this version of Capture the Flag uses the whole campus as its playing area and is probably very different from the traditional game most of us know. A dividing line is marked through the length of campus and ten different colored flags per team are placed at strategic locations, mirrored on each side of the line. Each flag is worth 5, 10 or 25 points depending on its color and the difficulty of that flag’s location. Each flag has two guards, who are distinguishable by the armbands they wear (everyone other than a guard is offensive; only guards can tag other players). Each team also has 4 extra guards, called rovers, who are not assigned to any particular flag and have the ability to travel anywhere in their team’s half.

Points are scored by a player going into the opposition’s half, picking up a flag and running it over the dividing line back into their own half without being tagged by a guard. If the player is tagged, they are sent to the nearest jail and are inactive until the jail is freed, something which occurs every 5-10 minutes throughout the game. In this example, loudspeaker announcements from the organizer dictate jail freeing times. Whether a player scores or not, the flags are always returned back to their areas. The flags are located within a two yard circle, a ‘safe zone’, where offensive players cannot be tagged once inside. This prevents the guards from being able to stand right on top of the flags. Guards are also not allowed within three feet of these circles.

The Really Fun Part...
The real strategy of this game is linked to the multiplying point value of each player. Before the game begins, each team is given an equal amount of lengths of ribbon in three different colors. Every player on each team will tie a piece of ribbon around an ankle and hide it under a sock, invisible to the opposition. Depending on the color, the ribbons give each team an equal amount of 1, 3 or 5 point players. When a flag is captured the point value of the flag is multiplied by the point value of the player who captured it. For example, if a 5 point player captures a 25 point flag, that player scores 125 points for their team. If a player is tagged and goes to jail, his or her point value is added to the score of the opposing team. Scores are tallied and announced at half time but, as you would expect, it is the team with the highest score at the end that wins the game. Teams may also change ribbons and guards at half time.

The Nuts & Bolts

Number Of Staff Required: Varies depending on the number of players, but in this example 20 coaches, including 2 head coaches per team, were assigned to organize and motivate each team. Then 28 judges were used: one for each of the 20 flags, then extras for scoring and overseeing the jails.

Number Of Children Required: Varies depending on space available, but for this example 2 teams of 140 were used. Allow for 2 players per team to guard each flag, and optional rovers if numbers allow, plus as many players as possible to play on offense.

Age Appropriate For: Age 7+ (For this example, all ages of boys and girls play together in this game, at a brother-sister Camp for 7-15 year olds.)

Length Of Activity: Two hours – 45 minutes for each half, plus 15 minutes at the beginning and half-time for coaching points/team cheers.

Estimated Set Up Time: 2 hours, depending on the number of staff used. Also, some of the following tasks can be performed simultaneously: lining fields and flag areas - one hour; dividing teams - 15 minutes; cutting, counting and separating ribbon/string - 30 minutes; preparing and printing team details and instructions - 30 minutes. Judges’ meeting: 15 minutes.

Space Required: This factor is relative to the number of participants and the space available. In this example it was played over the whole of a 30 acre brother-sister overnight Camp with 280 boys and girls from 7-15 years old. It could definitely be adapted to be played in a smaller area with fewer players, staff and less equipment and set-up required.


20 “flags” of different colors (For this example, swimming noodles were cut into 12 inch lengths). 3 different colors of ribbon or string – enough to tie one piece around every team member’s ankle. 48 bandanas or socks for guard and rover armbands. Some kind of field/ground/line marker to make a circle around each flag, plus a dividing line through the whole of campus.
  YES! Print all games and skits

Submitted by: Dane Pickles, (Camp Kenwood-Evergreen)

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