Capture the flag

Capture the flag

Two children capture a flag on a stick.
Capture the Flag is simple to explain, set up and run. The game works well in a large outdoor area where there is a mixture of open space and cover provided by vegetation.

The game encourages team members to work together to plan their strategy — splitting into defenders and attackers and working out of a plan of attack. As the game progresses, players will have to work together to distract the opposing team, capture their flag and move it to their own base.

One or more grownups should be appointed to act as ‘umpire’ to set up the game, keep an eye on it as it runs and bring it to an end (a whistle is helpful!).

Define the area of play — this can usually be done using naturally occurring boundaries: lines of trees / hedges, fences, rivers, car parks etc.

Split into two teams and walk each team to opposite ends of the play area.

Each team establishes a base in which to place their flag (it doesn’t have to be a flag, it could simply be a brightly coloured blanket or item of clothing). The base should be a few metres across and the team are not allowed in their own base.

Start the game. The aim is to collect the opposing team’s flag and return it to your own base without being tagged by a member of the defending team.

When a player is tagged, they must return to their own base to start again and the flag is returned to the defending team’s base.

The game ends when a flag is captured and returned to the opposite base.