Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders Capture the Flag: Play This Fun, Active Team Game With Teens

Capture the Flag: Play This Fun, Active Team Game With Teens

capture the flag

Capture the Flag is one of the most popular youth group games ever. It works great at youth camp or in any location that has plenty of running space. Plus, Capture the Flag is versatile, as you can see from all the gameplay variations below. So check them all out. Then have a blast playing Capture the Flag with your kids!

How to Play Capture the Flag

Materials Needed

  • Flags
  • Team uniforms (see point #7 below)
  • Boundary markers

Set Up

1. First, find a location to play. The ideal area has lots of objects scattered around (so it’s not completely open). Campgrounds, fields, and forests are good options. In the end, you can play Capture the Flag almost anywhere. You may just need to adapt the rules for maximum effectiveness.

2. Get two flags (or similar objects) of different colors. Then hide them at either “end” of the playing field. Make sure they’re relatively easy to find (i.e., not buried underground).

3. Next, divide the group into two even teams.

4. Then designate a home base at either end of the field where each team will start. Also designate the boundaries of the playing field and a halfway mark, splitting the field into two halves.

5. Finally, explain all the rules to players and make sure they’re aware of the boundaries.

Capture the Flag Rules

1. The aim is for a team to capture the opposition’s flag. Players achieve this by finding the flag and bringing it back to their team’s home base safely.

2. When a player is in their defensive half, they can tag a player from the opposite team. The tagged player must walk back to their team’s home base before they’re “in play” again.

3. If a player is carrying the flag, they can be tagged by the opposite team in either half. Once they’re tagged, the opposite team must return the flag to their base straight away. The player who was tagged must walk back to their team’s base before being back “in play” as per normal.

7 Variations of Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag is a beloved game with many variations of play. Depending on your location, the participants, the group size, and the weather, tailor these options to make the game work for your kids.

1. Jail

Instead of having a tagged player walk back to their base before returning to play, you can have a jail (or two). Have tagged players go to the jail, where they’ll be kept for a few minutes by a jailer (leader) before returning to play.

A fun aspect of this variation is that the jailer can make the player do something funny before being released. For example, make the jailer laugh, perform a silly dance, act like a chicken, etc.

2. Stuck in the Mud

Players who get tagged can be forced to stand still and be “stuck-in-the-mud” until someone from their team tags them free.