WIDE OR WAR GAMES
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The group is divided into two teams. (May be played every man
for himself.) Each player has three tennis balls. The goal
is to "kill" the members of the opposing team by hitting them with a ball.
The winning team is the team with players left after the other team has
all been "killed."
variation: May be played with a prison, where instead of being
"dead," the player goes when "killed.~ The decision as to whether
the "killed" player keeps his tennis balls, or they become the property
of his captor must be made before starting this version. He may then
be reactivated by catching a ball thrown to him by a team member of his.
The game then ends by common consent, or when one team controls all the
POISON (aka GERM CITY)
One person in the group is appointed it. He finds and tags the
others playing. As he tags each player, that person also becomes
"it" and goes and tags other players tic all players are tagged.
CAPTURE THE FLAG
Some groups prefer to mark the players as they are tagged. This
may be done with flags in pocket, carried by all players and displayed
out of pocket when tagged, or by having the tagged "its" remove their shirts.
The group is divided into two teams. Each team establishes a
base and places a flag there. (The flag must be in plain sight and
easy reach.) The goal of each team is to capture the other teams
flag and take it back to their base. Capture of players is allowed.
If a player is captured, he is taken to a prison. The captured players
may be released by being tagged by a member of their own team. Once
released, the player is must return to his own base before starting to
play again. (Capture varies depending on the roughness allowed by the group
playing. e.g. tagging, pulling flag from pocket, tackling,
totally physically controlled, etc. This must be defined before play
starts.) Viaration: The captured player is not jailed, but must return
to his home base and touch his flag before rejoining the play.
The group is divided into two teams. One team goes and hides.
The other team, after a specified time, goes and finds them. Play
starts when the searching team enters the field. If the members of
the hiding team touch a base before a specified time limit, they are considered
free, but cannot reenter the field. If they are "caught" they are
also out of the game, and must leave the field of play. The object
is for as many of the hiding team as possible to become free. Rounds
continue with the teams alternating roles. The area allowing for
hiding must be defined before play starts. Most often played
The group is divided into two teams, not necessarily equal in number
or size. One team is confined in a prison (a predefined area or enclosure).
The second team guards the prison to prevent the escape of the first team.
The object is for as many as possible of the confined team to escape (i.e.
reach a certain distance or base.).
The game can be structured to either require the confined team to reach
the base a team with as few losses as possible, or to allow them to function
Definitions of capture and restraint must be defined before play
INFILTRATION (aka Flashlight Guard)
The group is divided into two teams, not necessarily equal in size
or number. A base is defined. The first team guards that base
(treasure, etc.) and the second team attempts to reach or steal it within
a set length of time. The guarding team attempts to prevent the other
team from reaching or stealing the base treasure. Limits of roughness
must be defined before play starts.
SPY (aka PENETRATION)
VARIATION: The game is played at night. A infiltrator is
caught when a guard shines a flashlight upon him and identifies him.
The group is divided into two teams, not necessarily equal. Alternately
one or two may be appointed penetrators. The object is for the penetrators
to cross a given area in a set time. The second team's attempts to
prevent them from making it.
AMBUSH (aka CIRCLE THE WAGONS)
The means of prevention must be defined before play starts. As
we usually play it, each player has two lengths of rope, and tying is used
as the means of restraint. For short distances and times, manual
holding has worked well, but is quite rough.
The group is divided into two teams, not necessarily equal in number
or size. One group (The Wagon Train or Custer's Regiment) is moving
along a route or trail. The second team is to ambush and "kill" or
"enslave" the first team, either wiping them out or capturing the treasure,
RULERS OF THE PEAK
This works well on a day hike. The teams can be reformulated periodically
or take alternate roles.
To kill or enslave must defined before play starts. Upon being
enslaved, the player either joins the opposite team, or becomes their servant.
This last option allows the possibility of spies or double agents.
The group is divided into two or more teams. The goal is to have
each group attempt to plant their flag and posses a peak, top of hill,
knoll, center of clearing, etc. Usually the goal should take some
doing to reach. Along the way the teams may interfere with the progress
of the other teams, stealing their flag, killing their players etc.
The manner and mode of interference or killing must be defined before play
starts. A story from history, such as the race for the pole may add
to the excitiment.
This may also be used as a race, with the interteam interference, esp.
if the point is distant enough or difficult enough or dangerous enough
The group is divided into two teams. Each group declares and
shows to the other group their goal line. At the midpoint between
the goal lines, a gall is thrown into the air by the referee. Each
team scores by getting that ball over their opponents goal line. The only
limitation on activity and procedures is that a player may not intentionally
injury another player.
The goals may be as far apart as the group desires. Often in olden
days, the centers of neighboring villages were the goals and thus several
miles apart. It works best in our modern times to have the goals
much closer, perhaps two or three hundred yards apart.
Each team has a ball. The goal is to get the ball over a preset
distance in a race with the other teams. The distance is usually
greater than 1/4 mile, and may include obstacles such as water or gullies
to challenge the teams. The ball may only be thrown or kicked, but
not carried. No interference with the other teams is permitted.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
An area is chosen by the leaders of the game. The group may be
all one team, or broken into competing teams. The object is to conduct
a search of the area for a lost child or treasure or murder victim.
Points may be awarded, if teams are competing, based on the quality of
An area for the search is defined. One or more players are sent
out into that area to hide. They are variously defined as escaped
convicts, murderers, most wanted and most dangerous. The remainder
of the group has the job of finding them and bringing them back to the
authorities. The convicts may resist as much as the group agrees
upon before play starts. The definitions of kill and capture must
be made before play starts. (The hardest and roughest would be to arm the
convicts with tennis balls or soft rubber knives, and have the search party
physically subdue, restrain, and carry the convicts to the feet of the
NOTE: To subdue a struggling person is generally considered in
rescue and police work to take at least six able bodied persons of similar
size to the person to be subdued.
NOTE: Arming the convicts and allowing too much cover, area or
darkness makes the game very difficult.
The group is divided into teams of five. (Smaller groups may
be used if desired.) One in each group is the horse and is marked
with a tail (flag) in his back pocket. The field of play is defined,
small for an interactive game, larger if more search and rescue is desired.
The object is to steal the horses tail from the other teams. Once
a tail is stolen, that entire group is out of the game. The winning
group is the last group with a tail on their horse.
variation: Killing of the non-horse team members may be permitted.
Killing must be defined before play starts.
The group is divided into two teams, not necessarily equal in numbers
or size. The goal of one team is to capture the second team and put
them into a prison. The goal of the second team is to avoid being
captured. A time limit may be set, and the game played in rounds
with the teams alternating roles.
variation: Escape from the prison may be allowed if predefined.
TRAILING AND TRACKING
One or more persons using track making clogs, wifflepoofs (logs with
many nails protruding) local materials lay a trail. This may be only
that trace left by their passage, or a trail with trail signs. The
remainder of the group follows that trail. Various rewards for success,
or points for difficult points may be awarded.
A point or heighth is chosen by the group. One member of the
group is stationed at the point or on the heighth. The goal is to
get as close as possible without being sighted and named. The player
on the point or heighth watches as if on guard. When he spots a player
and recognizes the player, he calls the player's name. At that
point that player must give up and wait for the next round.
This game can be as elaborate as the group wishes. The thickness
and type of cover will vary depending on the location. The amount
of camouflage and amount of time for preparation may vary. It can
be set up a a military type basis. Or it can be played at night.
(aka flashlight guard.) Competition, eithor individual or patrol,
may be added to make it more exciting.
Played over a low building or sight obscuring hedge, the game uses
two equal numbered teams. Each team gathers on the opposite side
of the building. Team A has the ball and shouts "Anty Over."
They then throw the ball over the building, sometimes in such fashion as
to hit the roof, making it difficult to catch. If a member of Team
B catches the ball, they immediately, without warning, rush the other side
of the building where Team A is, throwing the ball at members of Team A.
Anyone hit is captured and belongs to Team B. Meanwhile Team A attempts
to reach what was Team B's side of the building. Once there they
are safe. If Team B did not catch the ball, the process is repeated
with Team B throwing the ball to Team A. The game continues alternating
throwing of the ball between Team A and Team B with the rushing only occurring
if the ball is caught. Several rouses add to the pleasure.
All players doing the rushing may fake carrying the ball. Peeking
around corners is permitted.
Two teams are chosen. Each team has a rectangular base large
enough to hold all their players standing in a line. The bases are
about 30 feet apart. The object is to leave home base one at a time,
loop around the other teams base and return without being tagged by one
of the other teams players who is also attempting to loop. If a player
is tagged, he is out. One may only tag players who left their home
base before they did. Thus sharp eye and watch must be made.
Frequently an umpire is appointed to keep track of who left when to settle
disputes. If a player successfully returns to his base without being
tagged, the circled team has to drop one of their players. The game
is over when all players on one team are out, time runs out, or the umpire
calls the game. Boundaries are optional.
CROWS AND CRANES (VARIATION OF BASE)
The field of play is set up with two safe areas maybe one hundred feet
apart at the ends of the field and side boundaries set. One team is the
Crows, the other the Cranes. A center line is determined between the safe
areas. Each team lines up adjacent to the center line on the same
side as their safe area. The umpire calls either Crows or Cranes.
The side called dashes for their safe area with the other side in chase.
If a player is caught (usually defined as being tagged, possibly in rougher
versions being held for a ten count.) he joins the catching team.
The umpire may call a team name at any time, at which time the team called
must rush for their safety area and are liable to be caught. The
game is over when all players of one side are gone, or the umpire calls
BRITISH BULL DOG
variation: The game is played in rounds with each team chasing
the other team. throughout their area. In this version, bases or
safe area are not used, but rear and side boundaries must be set.
A player is considered caught when he is dragged or carried over the center
The group divides into two teams (more equal in weight than numbers).
Each team has a defined area with a center line between them. The
depth of the areas is dependent on the degree of roughness and amount
of chasing desired in the game.) At a given signal, team A attempts
to pull, drag, carry or otherwise manuever the players of team B over the
center line. A time limit is set, at which the teams return to their
areas and exchange roles. A round consists of two goes so each team
has played capturers and capturees once. The winner of the round
is the team with the greatest number (or weight) of opposing players across
the center line.
The group divides into two teams. Each team has a goal line at
the end of a field. One team lines up behind their goal line, and
the other team is scattered on their half of the field. At the start
signal, the team behind the goal has 30 seconds to get across their opponents
goal line. The opponents may hinder their progress in any manner
without damaging the first team members. A point is scored for each
person across the goal line at the end of the thirty seconds. A team
may assist each other, even returning onto the field to assist their team
The two teams each establish a jail, equal distance behind a center
line. The teams line up at the center line, each defending the side
where their jail is. The object is for the players to dash into the
opposite teams territory and not get caught and tag members of the opposing
team when they dash into your territory. If caught he is placed in
the jail (soup pot). He may be released if a member of his teams
reaches and tags him. Both then must get back safely on their own
to their own territory. Or a player may run a complete circle
around (not a loop) around the soup pot. In this case, everybody
in the soup pot is free, but still in enemy territory. A way to start
would be to place one or two members of each team in the respective jails,
then have the goal to have the entire team free.
STEAL THE BACON
The two equal numbered teams line up equidistance from the middle and
are each numbered from one to the number on the team. Care should
be taken that individuals on the opposing teams with the same number are
about equal in size and ability. In the middle is a circle in which
a grabbable object, the "bacon" (rags tied in a knot) is laid. A
umpire calls out a number or numbers. The persons who have that number
or numbers rush out and try to return the "bacon" across their line of
teammates without being tagged by those from the opposing team who have
been called into play. Only those who have had their number called
may be involved in the stealing. Throwing or tossing is allowed only
if two or more from a team have been called by the umpire. The umpire
may add numbers into play at any time. Score is kept for number of
times each team successfully gets the bacon back across their line.
STEAL THE PINES
This is a variety of Capture the Flag. Each team has a pot of
marked twigs or other flag or marked the right size to grab. This
is placed in a circled area. Each team has the same number of markers.
The object is to steal, without getting tagged, the opposite teams markers
and place them in your pot. The team at the end with the most markers wins.
The game may be played so that if tagged, a player goes to a jail and is
released if tagged by another member of his team. Or the game can
be played so that if tagged, the player joins the team that tagged him.
The group forms a circle with one player outside the circle.
The group them bends forward, hands on knees, eyes closed. The player
left outside has a rolled newspaper with which he gently swats one of the
players, then drops the rolled newspaper behind that player. The
swatted player picks up the rolled newspaper and chases the swatter
around the circle. If he can swat the swatter with the rolled newspaper,
then he retakes his place in the circle and the original swatter tries
again. If he cannot swat the swatter, then, he remains it and must
find another player to swat and try to escape from. Best played with different
rings for various sizes and ages of players.
Usually played in the woods with boundaries optional, Buck is a chase
game similar to Poison. Using a counting rhyme, the players are counted
out until two are left. Those counted out make for the woods and
hide. When the last two are left, the counting rhyme is repeated.
The player who is counted out makes for the woods and hides as the
previously counted out players. The other player is It. It must catch
the other players, including his partner in the last counting and hold
them for the count of ten. As a player is caught, he becomes also
It, and joins the original It in catching the others (cooperation is allowed
between those who are It). Thus all players are in the game throughout.
A round may last hours.
BUCKETY-BUCK (For larger older boys only, very rough)
The game is played with two teams of approximately equal weight.
CRACK THE WHIP
Team A lines up with the largest player as post. He holds the
head of the next player in line under his arm, as does each player down
the line, thus forming a linked line. Team B rushes and or jumps
upon the line trying to break the line. Team B may be required to
rush or jump one at a time, or may all attack at once. (Perhaps the
all at a time may be limited to the final round.) The teams take
turns forming the line and rushing the line.
The entire group forms a line holding hands (or for more strength,
wrists). The leader starts the line running and makes sharp corners
and turns with the rest of the line attempting to hang on.
FOX AND GEESE
A circle is drawn in the snow or sand with two or more cross links
intersecting at various points in the middle. The Fox is it and tries
to tag the others who are the geese. The game can be played that
the tagged geese become foxes or that if tagged they are out. If
the group is large, perhaps two foxes can be appointed. The size
of the circle and the number and complexity of the cross links is judged
by the size of the group.
FOX AND HOUNDS
The group appoints one or more to play the Fox and establishes a home
base. The Fox is given a fair head start. As long as the Hounds
are out of sight, he lays a trail either dropping paper, tying paper or
strips to trees and bushes, trail signs etc. Once the Hounds sight
the Fox, they start a bray (making noise) and the race is on. The
Fox may lose them if he can. The object is for the Fox to return
to home base, but he must return to home base in full sight of the Hounds.
May be a team game with a team of foxes moving together, and the team of
hounds moving together.
WOLF (can be rough)
The game is best played with a grove of climbable trees, or spots for
escaping. A large tree or escapable area is established as home base.
The players are not safe unless in that area or in that tree. The
wolf (it) would walk away, not looking, and count slowly to ten.
Everybody else takes off. The wolf's job is to catch (hold
for a ten count) everybody else. If caught, the players also become wolf
and help the wolf catch the others. A frequent strategy is to climb
a tree and then swing off it, leaving the wolf in the tree.
KICK THE CAN
A variety of hide and go seek. The can is placed on a marked
spot to which it must be returned by the person it after it is kicked.
To start, it kicks the can, while he is retrieving the can, the others
run and hide. They may move during the play. The object is
for it to spot the other players, call their names and the place they are
hiding or placed, and then beat them back to the can. If it beats
them back to the can, they are in jail at the can. If they beat it
back to the can, they kick it, and all in jail are free and go back to
hiding. The game continues till all are in jail, or fatigue set in
or time runs out. The game may be set in timed rounds, each with
a different person it.
The two teams line up some distance apart. One teams yells "red
rover, red rover, send (name or names of players, numbers may be used).
The person or persons called attempts to break through the joined hands
and wrists of the opposing team. If he makes it he takes one of their players
back to join his team. If he does not, he joins their team.
The game continues till all players are on one team.
A game of hide and go seek, in which one individual goes and hides
in a fairly large space. The others then seek to find him/her.
As each of the seekers finds the hider, he/she hides with the hider.
The game continues until all players are hiding, or a preset time has expired.
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