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How to Play Capture the Flag

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Posted By Games We Played

Capture the flag is a classic childhood game. It requires strategy, teamwork, speed, stamina and an adventurous spirit. The Annsville woods were across the street from my house on Lockwood Drive in Peekskill, NY. The woods were a perfect place to play Capture the Flag.

That said, we often played in our back gardens; none of which had fences separating them but did have lush, natural barriers like shrubs, bushes and trees. So we would often agree on joining four back gardens to form the field of play. The house I grew up in is marked “A” on the map below. You can see the space that the woods offered and how large the backyard space was behind the perimeter of houses on Lockwood Drive and Albert Road. What a perfect place to grow up!


Here are the Rules for Capture the Flag

What you need: At least 6 people (but more if possible) and a flag (go on, use your imagination)

Two teams are formed and the field of play is marked out with both teams agreeing where the center boundary is between each side. This is important because a player can only be tagged when on the opposing teams side. Each team decides where their jail will be on their side and mark that out clearly. Then, each team retreats to their own side to hide their flag. Teams agree on how much time should be allocated to hide the flags.

The object of the game is to capture your opponents flag and carry it back to your side of the field of play.

Each team can only have 2 people to guard their side of the field of play and protect their flag. The rest of the team is sent out on offensive maneuvers to try to capture the other teams flag. The number of offensive and defensive players might change depending on how many people are playing.

If a player is tagged when on their opponents side they are sent to jail. Another member of their team can free them by entering the opponents jail and grabbing hands with their incarcerated teammate and running back to their side. If they are tagged when trying to get back, then both players are sent back to jail.

Whoever captures their opponents flag first and carries it over to their side wins.

Capture the flag can be made as simple or complex as wanted. It can be adapted to play in smaller spaces with fewer players or could turn into a complex game played with hundreds of people. There is actually a growing trend of young people playing capture the flag in urban areas today.

Wherever you play, Capture the Flag is a great way to spend hours with your friends — young or old.

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