An incredibly intensive sport created by the KGB club at Carnegie Mellon University, which has since spread to Drexel and Harvard. It's Capture the Flag in two eight-story buildings (at CMU, Wean Hall and Doherty Hall) with stuff.
- These are the base rules to Capture-the-Flag, as clearly as I can
state them. All the Stuff modifies these rules. The rules are equally applicable
to two-team games and multiple-team games.
The game space is divided into some number of team territories and neutral
space. (There may also be forbidden territory, which no player may enter
at all during the game.) No two team territories may be directly adjacent;
they must be separated by at least six feet of neutral space. You are within
a team's territory if either foot touches or is within that territory.
If you touch an enemy, and both of you are in your territory, he is captured
by you. You must lead him to your jail (see Glyph of Jail) at reasonable speed.
Once there, the prisoner must "enter jail" by touching either the Jail or
another prisoner already in jail. A captor may not make any more captures
until his prisoner has entered jail.
Prisoners may move around freely, as long as they all remain in constant
contact with the Jail (either directly or through a chain of other prisoners.)
- It doesn't have to remain the same chain. Prisoners may rearrange
themselves, or form multiple chains. (Really, they should be called prisoner
undirected graphs, but never mind.) However, it is considered polite
to enter jail at the Glyph and form a single queue, so that the people
who have been captive longest are closest to freedom.
- It's also allowable for prisoners to be kept in the end of a hallway
or similar enclosed space, as long as a member of the team whose territory
this is watches over the jail (it's typical to have someone be the jailer,
though not required), and as long as the prisoner are not trying to escape
and are staying within 6-10 feet of the Glyph of Jail. Note that this applies
only to docile prisoners - those wanting to try to escape will get the Rules
Smackdown quickly. It is up to the jailer to decide how strictly to enforce
these rules, so play nice.
If you touch a prisoner in another team's jail, he is freed, as long
as his freedom does not break the chain of captivity for any other prisoners.
Both of you must then return to your home territor(ies) at reasonable
speed; you need not remain together. Both of you are immune to capture
until you re-enter your home territor(ies).
- If you touch someone in the middle of a prisoner chain, he is not
freed and you are not immune to capture; the touch does not count at all.
He cannot wait for his neighbors to join hands and then leave; you would
have to touch him again after they join.
At the beginning of the game, there is a timeout, usually fifteen or twenty
minutes long, during which no player may enter enemy territory; this is so
that Flags and other magic items may be placed. Flags must be placed no higher
than six feet above the floor (or at least within easy reaching distance)
and there must be at least half of the flag visible from every possible viewing
If you carry another team's Holy Flag into your territory, your team
scores a point. Report to a referee and give him the Flag. There will be
another timeout while the Flag is hidden again. Often, this time is used
to switch territories and redistribute the Stuff.
Magic items may be dropped or given away, but they may not be stolen
or yanked away from other people. A prisoner must give up any items he
possesses, if asked. (To his captor or his captor's teammate.)
- Note that a stunned player is NOT required to give up items.
Definitions of terms and supplementary rules
- Flags are large pieces of cloth or felt; 18 inches square is a good
size. Their magic is inherent; possession is all ten points of the Law.
- Belts are long sashes of cloth or felt; five feet long and five
inches wide is good. (The ends will dangle.) The magic is invoked by tying
it around your waist.
- Potions are foam-rubber balls. Bonking the subject over the
head with the ball invokes the magic. (Silly, but unambiguous.)
- Wands are floppy two-foot lengths of foam rubber. Whapping
the subject (anywhere) and shouting the keyword invokes the magic.
- Glyphs are 8.5x11" sheets of paper marked with the spell
(in big letters.) They function as long as they are taped to a wall or floor;
they have no effect while carried. A glyph is owned by a particular team,
and will be marked with that team's color. Only members of that team may
move it, and it only affects members of enemy teams (with the exceptions
- One charge
- An item with this attribute may only be used once;
it must then be recharged by touching it to any Glyph of Charging. If you
pass the item to a teammate, you should remember to say whether it is
charged or not. If the item passes to an enemy, it is automatically recharged.
- A stunned player must sit down on the floor
and wait until the stun wears off. He is incapable of capturing or freeing
anyone. He may easily be captured according to the normal rules, in which
case he is unstunned and must get up to go to jail. If a player is stunned
while leading a prisoner to jail, the prisoner is freed. A player may not
be stunned again if he is already stunned.
- A stunned player is not restrained
from anything else; he may talk, etc.
- Most items must be worn or carried openly.
The only exceptions are items tagged "may be concealed". A concealed item
must be brought out into the open to be used. A prisoner must give up a
concealed item if asked, but only if the asker really knows the prisoner
- Some glyphs affect you when you see
them, if you are close enough.
- Take this literally: if it crosses
your vision, and you are within the range, it affects you. No ducking back
and saying "whoops!" Contrariwise, if your eyes are closed or your head is
averted, so that it doesn't hit your retina, it doesn't affect you. You aren't
going to be watched at all times or anything, but nobody likes a cheater.
- The Holy Flag
- A flag, in the team color. This
is the flag. If a player is captured with an opposing team's flag
in his possession, he must drop the flag where he stands before being escorted
off to Jail.
- Flag of Delusion
- A flag, in the team color.
It is identical to the real flag, except for a label in one corner which
says "Psych!" To invoke the magic, hold it with the label hidden. 'Nuff
- Glyph of Jail
- A sheet of paper marked
"Jail". This is the jail; see the base rules for its definition. It may
be moved if there are no prisoners in jail.
- Glyph of Charging
- A sheet of paper
marked "Still Going". Any magic item touched to this regains full charge.
Unlike other glyphs, the Glyph of Charging may be used by anyone.
- It is
still true that only the owning team may move it.
- Glyph of Entrancement
- A sheet
of paper marked "Gotcha". If you see an enemy Glyph of Entrancement, and
you are within ten feet of it, you are stunned. The stun lasts ten minutes.
- Glyph of the Disgusting Doorknob
sheet of paper marked "Yukko". If an enemy Glyph of the Disgusting Doorknob
is on the side of a door facing you, you may not open the door or prevent
it from closing. If the Glyph is mounted on the side of an elevator door
facing you, you may not push any of the elevator buttons, or prevent the
door from closing.
Glyph of the Net
A sheet of paper marked "Thanks". If you see an enemy Glyph of the
Net, and you are within ten feet of it, you must place one magic item
on the floor next to it. If you have no items, nothing happens, and you
need not leave any Holy Flag even if you have no other items. The Glyph
can only affect you once every ten minutes. You may not pick up magic items
sitting next to an enemy Glyph of the Net.
Glyph of Alarm
A sheet of paper marked "Alarm". If you see an enemy Glyph
of the Alarm, and you are within ten feet of it, you must shout "Alarm", "Warning",
or "AHH!" or something like that as loud as you can for five minutes or until
you are captured.
Potion of Lubrication
A brown potion. May be concealed. One charge. A prisoner in jail who
has this item may use by bonking himself on the head with it. He may then
"slip out" of jail -- just walk away -- as long as this does not break
the chain of captivity for any other prisoners.
Note that using this item does NOT give you safe passage out.
Potion of Truth
A blue potion. One charge, and may be used no more than once every
fifteen minutes. A person may use this on an enemy prisoner by bonking
him over the head with it. He may then ask six yes/no questions. The prisoner
may lie no more than once. The prisoner may say "I don't know" if he really
doesn't know (he may not lie about that), but then that question doesn't
count against the six.
The questioner may ask the same question more than once.
Potion of Jolt
A green potion. One charge. May be concealed. A stunned player who
is bonked with this is awakened.
Long Wand (Arm) of the Law (keyword "gotcha!")
A blue wand. If the bearer whaps a person or object with this, he
is considered to have touched him or it, and they continue to touch while
the wand is in contact.
This counts for all forms of touching in the rules, including capturing,
staying in contact with jail, and freeing teammates.
It is convenient to not require the keyword when whapping an object
or teammate. On the other hand, it's clearer if you use the keyword.
Wand of Stun ("stun!")
A green wand. Anyone whapped by this is stunned for one minute.
Belt of Twofer
A red belt. One charge. The wearer may capture two prisoners at a
time. The first must sit down and wait; when the wearer captures a second,
he must go straight back to the first, and then lead them both to jail.
The first capturee need only wait one minute; after that, the capture is
void and he may leave.
Note that the first capturee is captured, not stunned.
Wand of Vengeance ("toast!")
A red wand. If the bearer whaps an enemy with this, in the whappee's
home territory, the whappee is captured. The wielder gets safe
passage with his prisoner back to his jail. When this item is used, the
bearer must immediately drop it. You may not move or pick up this item
if it is in enemy territory; you may only do so in your own or neutral
Remember, this only works in the victim's territory; it has no effect
in the bearer's territory or neutral space.
A red potion. If you pick this up or voluntarily accept it from someone,
you are stunned for ten minutes. It has no effect if it is thrown at
you (as long as you don't catch it.) This item may safely be picked up
during the initial 20-minute "set-up" period.
If you are holding it when the set-up period ends, you are still
safe from it; the Light Grenade only goes off when it is picked
You can safely move this by kicking it around.
Wand of Dispel ("dispel!")
A brown wand. One charge. May be concealed. Whapping a magic item
nullifies the magic for one minute. Whapping a person nullifies the magic
of all the items he is carrying for one minute. Has no effect on flags or
a Glyph of Jail.
Note that whapping is distinct from touching. You can recharge an
Anti-Magic Wand at a Glyph of Charging, or nullify the Glyph, depending
on whether you use the keyword.
If two Wands whap each other, both are nullified.
A nullified item loses all magical properties; you may treat it as
a mundane piece of foam. For example, you may pick up a nullified Wand
of Vengeance even in enemy territory. Exception: nullifying an enemy Glyph
does not give you the right to move it.
Goombah's Belt of Humiliating Protection
A green belt. The wearer is totally immune to capture and stunning,
as long as he is jumping or skipping up and down and loudly singing
"Yankee Doodle". This protection may be shared by any number of teammates
if they are all holding hands with the wearer, and all jumping up
and down and singing along. A player carrying either Holy Flag may not use
(or share) this item.
This may look overpowered, but consider that you can't move very
fast while jumping. An enemy can pretty much follow you around until
you leave his territory, and you have to keep using the magic the
whole way. And you can't sneak up on anyone.
Belt of Chastity
A blue belt (as chastity is a sad state). The wearer of the
chastity belt is immune to capture by members of the
opposite sex, but they also cannot capture members of the
opposite sex. Hence, if some sexy vixen (like alisag or
kconnors) wore the belt, she could not capture OR be captured by
Note that the Belt of Chastity does not protect against the effects of any
other magic item or glyph (including stunning).
The Belt of Chastity can be dispelled by an Anti-Magic Wand.
A wearer of a Belt of Chastity cannot be affected by
Goombah's Humiliating Protection. A player carrying
either Holy Flag may not use this item.
Goombah's Belt of Humiliating Protection protects you against all the
capturing and stunning magic. You cannot use it after you're captured
or stunned to get free / wake up. This means that it will protect
you from the Glyph of Entrancement, but only if you're using the Belt
when you first see the Glyph (and continue to use it as long as you
see it and are in range.)
The Belt is affected by the Wand of Dispel, if the wearer
is hit. If a group is using the Belt, and any of them are hit, the
Belt fails for the whole group. This holds even if there are two Goombah's
belts in the group (e.g. if the defending team has captured another team's
Goombah Belt). Both Belts are dispelled, and cannot be used by the attacking
team for five minutes.
Also, players cannot use the Goombah belt in an elevator - that is bad.
If you have the Goombah belt, it's a good idea to stay away from elevators.
Dispelling a Glyph of Entrancement wakes up everybody currently stunned
Dispelling a Glyph of the Net allows anyone to pick up the magic items
piled there (since the Glyph is inactive.)
Dispelling a Light Grenade allows you to pick it up, and you do not
get stunned when the Anti-Magic wears off (since you haven't picked it up
then, you're just carrying it.)
Organization and play
Each team should get one of each type of flag and one of each type of
glyph. The remaining items should be rationed by team size; each team
should get one wand, potion, or belt per person. A ten-person team
can thus have one of each kind of item. (It's up to you whether duplicates
are permissible. I recommend not, since some items are more valuable
- the way it is usually played, there are no duplicates.
It works well even if you have 40-odd
people on a team :)
This game is meant to be played indoors. Lurking in hallways, finding
unexpected things around corners, and putting glyphs on doors are all integral
parts of the strategy. An outdoor version would take considerable fiddling.
The flag may not be placed in a room with only one exit. Likewise, if
a player has captured an opposing team's flag, he may not take it knowingly
into a room with only one exit, such as an elevator (believe me, it's happened,
it sucked). If that player is captured, and the flag is left in a room with
only one exit, a referee must move the flag to an area with more than one
exit. I'll leave it to the referee to decide the best place to place such
a flag, but I suggest in the middle of the closest open area.
For the sake of sanity, you should have a central room in neutral
territory where the head referee will preside. He can answer questions,
resolve disputes, and so on. The players wouldn't mind if there were cold
drinks there, either.
If you have enough spare people, it is also helpful to have some field
referees who wander around and follow the action, so that questions can
be resolved more quickly. Still, referees can't be everywhere, so please
stay on the honor system.
All this nonsense obviously takes a lot of familiarity with the
rules. It will probably take even more tolerance to play "at speed". Pay
attention to people; see what magic items they're carrying so you won't
be surprised if they seem to violate the rules.
If it impossible for you to know something, don't worry about it.
For example, the Potion of Truth may only be used every 15 minutes; but
if you come across one and don't know if it's been used recently, assume
it hasn't. Make every reasonable effort to tell people about time limits
Every player should wear a watch.
16 feet (total) of black foam pipe insulation, 1.5 inch diameter.
(Look in hardware stores.)
8 neutral-colored foam balls (black or white). If you can't find
any, substitute another 8 feet of pipe insulation; see below.
20 feet each of blue, red, yellow, green, and brown cloth tape.
One (square) yard each of pink, yellow, and orange felt. (Look in
fabric stores. Felt is reasonably cheap, it doesn't unravel like cloth,
and when you tie the belts on they don't come off. Don't yank on it, though.)
Pink and yellow highlighter pens, preferably fat ones.
As many rolls of masking tape as you can scare up. Each team will
need at least two.
Several pairs of scissors.
A black permanent marker.
The teams will be pink and yellow. (If the players object to the wimpy
colors, inform them that great wizards
are above that sort of whining. If
they continue to complain, go home.)
Cut the pink and yellow squares of felt into quarter squares. Set
aside two quarters of each color to be the Holy Flag and Flag of Delusion
of each team. (Write "Psych" in one corner of the Flags of Delusion, in
permanent marker. A little smiley-face with its tongue sticking out adds
to the effect.) Cut the remaining quarters into long ribbons, 18 inches
by one inch, which the team members will wear to identify themselves.
Cut the orange felt into eight yard-long strips, and tie pairs
of strips together to produce four orange belts, each about five and a
half feet long. Add bands of green and red cloth tape to form two of each
kind of belt. (You could just use red and green felt, of course, but this
is a little easier. I used orange because it's distinct from the team colors
and the other colors significant in the game.)
Make up two of each kind of glyph, and color the borders with the
highlighter pens to indicate which team owns each. Make sure there's enough
color to be recognizable from down a long hallway. (You were wondering
why the teams are yellow and pink? Those are the highlighter colors I found.
You could make the glyphs on colored paper, if you wanted to be fancy.
You could rearrange the entire color scheme if you wanted. Just make sure
the team colors and the magic colors are all easily distinguishable.)
Cut the pipe insulation into eight 2-foot lengths. Put bands of
colored cloth tape around each length to make the eight wands (two of each
type.) Four bands of tape per wand is good.
Put a band of colored tape around each foam ball. We couldn't find
foam balls in time, so we took eight 1-foot lengths of pipe insulation,
bent them into doughnuts, taped them that way, and added more bands of
Allow at least half an hour for all this construction foofaraw,
plus another half-hour to go over the rules and pick teams.
Stolen wholesale from http://www.cmukgb.org/activities/ctfws/