Capture the Flag requires a large playing area, 2 handmade flags on staffs and 2 different colored sets of arm or headbands.
The objective of Capture the Flag is to be the first team to capture the other team’s flag and safely return it to your side.
Set up the Capture the Flag Playing Area
- Divide the group into two teams; identify each by a set of arm or headbands.
- Define your playing area, ideally 1-2 acres of land with some natural cover or obstacles.
- Set up a visible middle line using cones or backpacks. You can use natural dividers, too, such as a driveway or trail in the woods.
- Set up a jail area (3- 4 square yards). You can use a picnic table, too.
- Determine a separate hiding spot for each flag on each side. The flags should not be visible from the starting point BUT should not be hidden from sight as you approach (ie, on the ground behind a tree, in a backpack, etc).
How to play Capture the Flag
- Have each team assemble on their side of the middle line so you can review the boundaries and rules, as well as handout headbands/armbands.
- Explain that the goal of the game is to sneak across the middle line into “enemy territory,” find the opposing team’s flag, and return it safely to your side without being caught.
- If you cross the middle line, you are on offense and your job at the time is capture the flag.
- Players can be rotate in between any role at any time on their team.
- If you stay on your side and try to catch players from the other team who have crossed over onto your team’s side of the playing area, you are on defense. You capture other players by tagging them. Please note, you can use water balloons, flag football belts or sock filled with flour, and more to capture players, but a simple tag is just fine.
- Any player tagged on the other team’s side is officially captured and brought to the enemy’s jail.
- A few jail rules:
- If you are tagged, you are required to walk with the person who captures you to jail – they do not need to keep an arm on your or otherwise restrain you.
- To get free from jail, a player from your team must cross into enemy territory and run through the jail or take the bench if you are using a bench. Everyone in jail is set free.
- Once in jail, you must stay in jail until released. Once released, you must return to your own side before attempting to cross back into enemy territory. You can not bum rush the flag from jail.
- Each side should assign a jail keeper or two to tag any opposing players trying to free prisoners. However, if needed, jail keepers can join the offense and be used to get the flag on the other side.
- Players who are freed from jail are given “free walk backs” to their side.
- A few jail rules:
- Each side assigns one or two flag guards whose specific job is to tag players attempting to capture the flag. They must stay back from the flag by 10 feet and cannot hold or touch the flag to protect it. If needed, they can join the offense and try to steal the other team’s flag.
- Aside from the jail keepers and flag guards, all players are either on offense of defense.
- Once a player steals the other team’s flag and safely returns it across the middle line, that round is over. If you have time, all players return to the starting points and you can play another round.