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Capture the Flag

Capture the flag is a physical game in which two teams try to find their opponent's flag and return it to a specified location. Typically, the game is played outdoors in a specified area that is divided into two territories. Each team places a distinct flag or marker within its territory, either in a hidden location or a visible "home base" area. Players from each team try to find and seize their opponents' flag, and return it to their "home base" without getting caught by an opposing player (depending on the rules, "caught" could mean tagged, tackled, or, using a flag belt, having one's flag ripped off). Only players who have crossed into the opposing team’s territory be tagged. When a player is caught, they must go to a timeout area (often called the "jail") where they must remain until they are tagged by a teammate to release them. The first team to successfully capture and return their opponents flag is the winner. Because the game is usually played in a large space or field, often with foliage in which players can hide, capture the flag involves both physical capabilities (such as speed, spatial awareness and agility) and strategic ability and teamwork in order to develop team tactics. The rules of capture the flag are highly adaptable, allowing for variations in the number of teams, number of players per team, difficulty of finding the flag, size of the playing area, etc.

Is this activity known by any other names?


What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

The game is based on historic war strategy, with the term originating from the US Civil War and first mention of the game appearing in the 1947 Scout Master’s Handbook. Capture the flag later became a children’s game and gained popularity in Canada.

Who takes part?

Males and females of diverse ages and ethnocultural backgrounds, although the game is most commonly played by children and youth.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

Capture the flag is organized informally year round. However, cecause it is typically played outdoors, it is most commonly practiced in warmer months.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

Capture the flag is an informal activity that is practiced in parks or playgrounds or in physical education classes.

Cultural Significance


Is there anything else we should know?



Physical Game

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