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Basic Rules for Playing Capture the Flag

Buzzle Staff
Test your teamwork and stealth with an all-time favorite game - capture the flag! This Plentifun write-up lists out the rules of the game along with some helpful tips to help you win.

Nighttime fun!

Make your camping trip totally memorable, play capture the flag at night with glow sticks! And yes, don't forget to wear dark clothes so that your opponents have a hard time finding you. Super cool, we say!
Capture the flag is an outdoor game which can be enjoyed by any age group, anywhere, anytime! A fairly simple yet super-fun game, it has just few basic rules.

It is not just a game, earlier in the times gone by, the rules of wars stated that if the enemy captured your flag, you lost and the war was over. This game comes from this war tradition.
In case you are wondering how to play capture the flag, read on. This piece discusses the basic rules of this game, and variations that you can attempt with this game.

Goal of the Game

You need to enter enemy territory, capture their flag, and bring it back to your territory. While, capturing the flag, you cannot get tagged, and you have to ensure that your flag is safe as well. That's it! Pretty simple, right?

What You Need

You will need two flags. Now, flags needn't be real flags, it could be any two identical objects of different colors. Old T-shirts, napkins, rags, or any other item works fine. More the merrier, works fine for this game.
Around 6 - 20 people are ideal. Of course, there should be enough space for a large group. A large area where you can make two territories, with ample scope for running around and hiding, is a must.
Decide the boundaries. You could use trees, walls, cars, or any other markings. There should be places to hide, or else the game will become very monotonous. You will need lots of space for the fort, jail, and playing area. There can be a neutral zone as well.
You could even play the game indoors, if you are a very small group. But, this game is meant to be played outdoors, and that's the way you can enjoy it the most.


Tagging could be just touching the player lightly on the shoulder or arm. You can decide the exact place beforehand. If a player tries to trip or bully the opponent, he will be sent to jail or disqualified from the game.
When a player of the opposing team has been tagged, he will be taken to jail. Either a person stays in jail till the game ends, or another teammate can come and release him. Rules related to jailbreak can differ. Also, if there are many people in jail, all of them could be freed by a single person.
Players freed from jail can walk back, but the person who frees them may be tagged. Decide all these rules beforehand to avoid confusion later. Another twist to the game is that if a person is tagged when carrying the flag, he will leave the flag at that place. Thus, both teams will have to find and communicate the new location of the flag.


The basic strategy is for players to form teams as defenders and attackers. The attackers will enter the enemy territory and try to capture the flag, while the defenders will safeguard the flag. One person is usually assigned the task of guarding the jail, while another will stay at the boundary. Every team will obviously have their own strategy.


Capture the flag becomes so much fun, when you combine it with paint ball. Want to tag someone, then throw some color on them! This definitely is a must-try variation.
Since there is a single flag, there are chances of the game stretching on or ending with a tie, so you can include multiple flags for each team. with every flag that you capture, your points increase; the team that collects maximum flags in a stipulated time period wins.
Who says you have to form only two teams? You can have four! Yes, you can have more than two teams if you are a large group. It might get a little chaotic, but hey, it's fun! If all participating are enthusiastic, you can even wear different costumes. Each team could have their own theme and characters.
Although capture the flag is a very simple and straightforward game, it tests your wit, stamina, intelligence, and of course, teamwork.