Today we’re going to talk about several fun variations of Capture the Flag. Now, if you’ve ever played Capture the Flag you know it’s one of the best outdoor games ever created. But did you know there are multiple different ways to play besides the traditional manner?
The basic concept of Capture the Flag is defending your territory and invading the enemy team’s turf. Stealing their flag and returning it to your side of the field is the ultimate goal. Along the way, you must avoid getting captured and sent to jail. Click here to learn how to play Capture the Flag. The following variations of Capture the Flag add twists and turns to the rules and tactics.
If you have a large group playing CTF you might wanna think about adding some spice to it. How do you do that? With multiple flags! One college set an actual world record for the most people playing CTF. They used a pile of flags and it looked like a Braveheart scene.
Everybody loves Halloween so why not have a costume based Capture the Flag game? We’ve heard stories of people dressing up like Star Wars characters, Marvel characters, and other superheroes to play CTF. This variation adds quirky fun, especially for younger children.
Getting stabbed in the back is no fun as an adult – you know, devious coworkers and all. But having a turncoat involved with Capture the Flag is quite fun. It adds a twist to have one spy on each team working behind the scenes for the other team. This traitor, chosen randomly/secretly, gets one chance to steal the flag and take it to his real team. If he gets caught he has to go to jail like a real spy would. This is a big shake-up that makes everybody nervous, making for a better game.
There are ways to play Capture the Flag with only one flag. Some people refer to this as “neutral base” Capture the Flag. This variation involves having the flag in the middle of the field. Each team tries to get it back to their specified home base. This often turns into a big tug-of-war as the flag sometimes moves only inches at a time. This fun variation of Capture the Flag is a war of attrition, so be ready for a long battle.
Groups who mix paintball with Capture the Flag create an epic gamer concoction. The game is played the same way as if you were tagging the players except now you are using paintball guns. Get hit by one paintball then you go to jail or are out of the game. Obviously you want to wear protective gear just like when playing regular paintball. This variation is great for teens and adults.
One of the best ways to mix things up is to make the flag throwable. You simply use a ball for the flag. This can be a football, tennis ball, soccer ball, etc. Once a team member grabs the ball-flag they can throw it to their teammates. This can make the game go really fast. One thing to note is the players cannot throw the ball-flag all the way over the line to their own territory. We refer to that as cheating!
For water lovers, there are fun variations of Capture the Flag just for you. Teams have played using kayaks or in their swimming pools. You need a floating flag for a lake unless you want to go all in for scuba gear. Expensive!
Another water variation is using water balloons instead of tagging players. Get hit with a water balloon, go to jail, soaked.
What about multiple teams above the standard two-team CTF? All you need to do for three or four teams is divide the playing field up into thirds or fourths. This is a chaotic way to play the game since teams will be attacking from many directions. No worries. Chaos means added fun when we’re talking outdoor games. And since you need lots of players for this awesome Capture the Flag variation, it’s a good excuse to meet new people as you invite them to play.
Get out of jail options make for an interesting variation of CTF. There are reports of games where players can get out of jail in other ways besides being saved by a teammate tagging them while in the pokey. Here are a few:
Once you’ve tried all the daytime variations of CTF what are you gonna do after dark? Play Capture the Flag Redux… duh! Since our game glows in the dark, teams don’t have to quit this outdoor game after the sun slides behind the horizon. This fun variation of CTF is the most popular version created in modern times. The main concept is protecting your glowing flag while hunting down the enemy team’s flag. All players are visible to each other as they wear glowing wristbands. CTFR has many variations of its own, including:
If you have your own fun variation of Capture the Flag please let us in on it in the comments section below. Other outdoor game lovers want to know. A simple twist here or there can make for bonus excitement when it comes to classic games. To enjoy the game even more, here is an article we wrote on how to throw an unforgettable Capture the Flag Redux party.
Today we’re gonna follow up on last week’s instructional article by talking about how to play the Capture the Flag REDUX variation. Last week we broke down the traditional rules and concepts for how to play the traditional version of Capture the Flag. Now we will do the same thing for our glow in the dark version of this classic outdoor game.
The concept and theme of Capture the Flag stays the same. Two teams try to defend their territory and their prized possession, a flag, from each other. How to play Capture the Flag Redux involves defense and offense. They meld together as each team defends their flag while trying to steal the other team’s flag.
The victory goes to the team that grabs the enemy flag and returns it to their own territory without being tagged.
The big difference in our version and old school Capture the Flag is the thrill of playing the game when the sun goes down. We wanted a game that doesn’t have to be shut down when the sun slides behind the horizon. You could play the traditional version in the dark if you didn’t mind falling in a ditch or running head first into opponents. Scroll to the bottom of this page to watch our video on how to play Capture the Flag REDUX.
Capture the Flag Redux makes it possible to play the game because the game pieces all glow in the dark. You can see the enemy because they wear glowing wristbands and the field is marked with glowing orbs. The flags are visible too of course since fumbling around blindly looking for the flag at dusk would be insane!
The setup for CTF Redux is easy. Wait for the sun to set, then divide all the players into two teams. Mark the borders of the field of play just as you would for any sport needing boundaries. Also, each side of the field needs a jail. Jail is for enemy players who get caught (tagged) in the opponent’s territory. Jail is marked with glowing orbs.
The last phase of the setup is each team hiding their flag on their side of the playing field. Make it hard for the enemy to find it, but don’t break the rules by putting it under something so it’s not visible at all. Digging a four-foot hole is clever but totally illegal.
As the game begins keep in mind you need some light to play since running in total darkness can cause injuries.
The game starts when all players are ready and someone gives the countdown to begin. Any of the following screams will work:
Each team now tries to grab the other team’s flag. They have to defend their own as well. Attackers go after the flag but can be stopped and sent to the glowing jail area. The back and forth continues until one team gains the advantage by locking up many enemy players. This makes it easier to overwhelm the remaining opponents with an assault that wins the game with a flag capture.
Some planning will help get the victory. Capture the Flag is a battle and battle plans are not created for the heck of it. They actually help. Teams need to designate which of their players are attackers and which need to hang back to defend their own flag. This keeps up a balanced effort.
Having no defenders makes it easy for an organized attacking team to snatch the opponent’s flag in no time at all.
Each team must choose how to play Capture the Flag Redux. Aggressive or patient? Both strategies have their merits. Either way teams must eventually go for the flag in order to win the game. Doing so is risky since players can be tagged and sent to jail as soon as they cross the border into enemy turf. Jailbirds can be rescued by teammates so it’s not a life sentence.
You can see that Capture the Flag Redux is an improvement over the traditional daytime version. Why should the fun stop at sunset?
Now that you know how to play the Capture the Flag Redux variation we will let you in on a secret.
Not only does this game make outdoor gatherings perfect for nighttime fun, it adds variety. There are several additional variations included in the game kit. Werewolves and hunters are only part of the additional fun!
We’ve been tossing around ideas on how to throw an unforgettable Capture the Flag Redux party. After some brainstorming, we have come up with a bunch of terrific ideas and tips for making a kids’ party top notch. One member of our team suggested that before the party each and every smartphone should be tossed into a lake or otherwise destroyed!
Not a bad idea, but let’s bring it down a level. There won’t be any need for parent-on-iPhone violence. With these tips and tactics, the youngsters attending the party won’t be worrying about any stupid screens. They will be too busy ripping and running while trying to capture the flag.
An obvious thing to do when planning a big outdoor party is to check the weather. Yes, you will be trusting known liars who get carried away on local TV stations with their fancy maps. But it’s good to have an idea of the temperatures and chances of rain. By the way, just because it may rain is no reason not to have the party. A little rain never hurt anyone and can even make playing the game more fun.
If we waited on predicted perfect weather days to do outdoor events, we would be stuck inside 90 percent of the time.
Figuring out where to have your epic Capture the Flag Redux party is as important as the weather check. If you’re inviting more than twenty kids then you want to have a big area to play the game. A local park is an option, as well as a state park which will have plenty of woods to enhance the game. Smaller groups can use a large backyard or the neighborhood playground. If you can swing it, try to pick a location with an amazing view. Somewhere with a waterfall or mountains in the background.
We won’t tell you who to invite to the party. But here is something to add to the invitations… some instructions for how to play Capture the Flag. The kids coming to the party don’t need an online course on how to play or have fun. But knowing the general idea of the game will get things moving faster. Parents can still tell everyone the rules before starting the party. The adults will appreciate not having to answer 20 questions since everyone has seen the rules and concepts before they arrived at the shindig.
As you can imagine some parents are picky about their kid’s clothes. After spending an arm and leg to buy the apparel, we can’t blame them. So it is wise to alert parents that Capture the Flag Redux will involve dirt, sweat, and even a stretched shirt or two. With this warning, no one will send their child to the party dressed like they’re going to a White House formal. And just like rain, a little dirt, sweat, and a twisted T-shirt never hurt anyone. Let’s toughen up our kids just in case life ever gets tough for them. Hint, it will.
As you plan your amazing Capture the Flag Redux party, you will have awesome snacks and a perfect cake lined up. But remember that this game does tire out the players. So be sure to have plenty of water or Gatorade on hand. It would be a shame to have players drop out of the fun because of cramps or heat exhaustion. We want the kids to be tough, but we know you’re not running a boot camp either.
Depending on how long the party is set to last, the teams will need mixing up now and then to keep it fresh for all the invitees. We can’t have one team dominating the contest for six hours if the party is an all-day affair. Parents can make sure the teams are evenly matched from the start or tweak the teams as the party goes on. It can get demoralizing if one team keeps winning easily.
Stick a competitive mom or dad on the team that is struggling if need be. That should fire up the underdogs… and tick off the team that is finding it too easy to win!
There are lots of ways to make parties for kids memorable. Taking the time to plan a Capture the Flag Redux party is a great step. It would be easy to let the kids mill around indoors and gobble down some cake and ice cream. They will love it, but it won’t stick in their minds as a top-5 party of their youth. What will make the top-5 list is a party where they ran wild and competed against their friends in a time-tested strategy game. Maybe they did it while getting soaked with rain. Or lost three pounds of water weight from sweaty fun.
It’s weird how the best memories involve getting a little dirty and doing something physical in a competition.
To learn the best Capture the Flag strategies for winning, download our FREE Capture the Flag Strategies eBook.
When camping with kids and teens, you can sometimes face the problem of them getting bored, which can turn what you hoped would be a fun family camping trip into a bad camping trip.
In order to keep boredom at bay, it’s nice to have a list of the most fun camping games for kids and teens on hand for your next camping trip. Seasoned campers know how to keep kids and teens entertained and busy. Having them set up the tent, stack firewood, and hook up the water lines is a good start in my book.
For parents who are new to camping, you may need some games at the ready to keep the kids engaged in the Great Outdoors. The last thing you want is your kids sulking about their lack of wifi.
A good way to get everyone involved in some physical play is Camp Olympics. No need to add weird sports like curling or pole vaulting. Stick with foot races, long jumps, swimming contests, and even some wrestling. These Summer or Winter Olympics can be used yearly to track record setters for years to come. Not a bad addition to the family history books that mom keeps.
Washer Toss is a good way to rest up after the Camp Olympics. It’s a fun game that can get competitive even though it is played at a more relaxed pace. You don’t want your kids running all over the place right before bedtime. Washer Toss is a good way to calm everyone down and get ready for the sleeping bags or hammocks.
Kayaking seems to be getting more and more popular each year at various lakes. Teenagers would love to challenge their parents in a Kayak Race or Lake Cleanup Contest. For cleanups, players compete to see who gathers the most lake litter in an hour or two. The races could be sprints from one side of the lake to the other. Or for athletic families, an endurance race around the entire lake would be awesome. You might want to track the kids on a GPS. They are pretty crafty and could take a shortcut. Same goes for you kids… watch Dad, he hates to lose!
How about a Fishing Tournament? And don’t keep this game to yourselves. Have the kids invite neighboring campers over for the tournament. The winner could win a cash prize or get to skip any part of the packing up chores when the camping trip is over. The winner is the fisherman with the most pounds or the largest number of fish overall. Use those kayaks or do some casual bank fishing.
Rescue the Rookie Campers may be a game I just made up. However, it is a good challenge. Trust me, somewhere near your campsite will be a rookie camper with no clue how to start a fire. The poor guy probably didn’t even bring any firewood, much less kindling. So your mission as a family is to seek out the rookie and offer him some wood and let your kids start the fire. I had a Boy Scout Troop start a fire for me and my young family back in the day. Not a proud moment personally, but I appreciated them and eventually learned how to start a fire… all by myself!
Capture the Flag is always a go-to game for all ages no matter where you are. It’s definitely one of the best outdoor camping games. You can even play after those memorable sunsets with Capture the Flag REDUX, our glow in the dark version of Capture the Flag. This game is great for larger groups so this is a perfect opportunity to make new friends with other campers. Don’t let the kids be shy. Have them invite other junior campers over for a big game of Capture the Flag.
Whether you need a game for the day or a week-long challenge, Scavenger Hunts never get old. How many items could you find over the course of a week at a campground? I’d say 50-100 if you want to make things interesting. Better watch mom. She’s prepared for everything, so she may have half of the items already in her bag!
Some honorable mentions for the best outdoor camping games include:
Keep this list of games handy as you head out for your next camping trip. Getting active and competitive with your sons and daughters will make them forget about the lack of wifi out in the woods. It doesn’t hurt us adults to forget the internet world for a while either!
Want more games? Here is our best outdoor games list that includes 50 of what we think are the best outdoor games.
If the campground you are going to has a public swimming pool, check out our fun glow in the dark swimming games.
* The featured image for this blog post was taken by Martin Thomas and can be found here on Flickr.
Here is one thing we really love about our glow in the dark game Capture the Flag REDUX… you mainly play it in the cool part of the day and not during the blazing hot sun hours. Understandably, it is difficult to get people motivated and outside when it’s a 100 degrees! So our Capture the Flag REDUX game already has some built in comfort to it: you’ll be sweaty because of running, not because of the sun.
BUT NOT EVERY EVENT TAKES PLACE AFTER THE SUN SETS!
Which is truly too bad. People should really consider us poor weaklings who burn within the first few minutes of sunlight. That being said, we understand that with school events, birthday parties, and youth events…they can’t always take place after dark. So how does one play capture the flag indoors? Here are our ideas of how to play capture the flag indoors:
1. Book a location
Find a gym, room, or space through a local group. Maybe it’s a school? Or maybe a community center? Church buildings also have great spaces to play sports. You can also look into renting out indoor soccer fields or sports complexes. For an event on the cheap, it’s usually best to book with a parks and rec center. They tend to have cheapest prices.
2. Measure the space
By this we don’t mean literally, unless that’s something you ARE very concerned with. Just make sure that you gauge that the room will have enough space to run. Even if the room looks big enough, remember that you need to set some “out of bounds” space aside so people running will have some safety space built in. Usually best not to have “walls” as the out of bounds.
If you are finding it hard to find a space that doesn’t have enough running room, consider some of our game variations. Some of the variations involve more strategy and hiding than actual running. Or maybe consider playing each game in slow motion, limit speed to speed-walking, or require players to waddle like penguins!
For our glow in the dark Capture the Flag REDUX game kit it is vital that you choose a dimly lit place—NOT COMPLETELY PITCH BLACK—to help enhance some of the glowing lights. Also, it’s the only way you’ll be able to see the glowing orbs and jail markers. If you book a place with windows, maybe bring along some parchment paper to temporarily block some of the light.
4. Get creative
How do you play Capture the Flag REDUX indoors without always making the orb so visible? If the orb can’t be hidden because of the space, maybe consider a game variation where one player is holding the orb, etc. Or some game variations don’t even need the orb! (For example, werewolves).
These are just a few examples of how to play Capture the Flag REDUX indoors. If you want more information on game variations, sign up for our newsletter where we send out free ones during certain months!