This game probably works best for a large retreat or camp with lots of kids, lots of space and quite a few adults. Needs to be played at night – be careful!
Object of the game is to not only find the underground church but obtain the password to get in. Christians vs. Centurions.
At least one hour or two before the game is to begin, one of the adults is selected to be ‘the Underground Church’. The rest of the adults will be Roman centurions whose goal is to stop the Christians. However, by drawing lots (whoever gets the ace in a selection of cards, say), one of the adults will be designated as sympathetic to the Christians’ cause. It is important that the other centurions do not know which of their kind is a ‘traitor.’
In secret, the Christian centurion meets with the adult who will be the Underground Church to determine what the password will be. The Underground Church adult may want to meet separately with all the adults so as to not give away who the Christian centurion is.
The kids are now all gathered together in a building or other designated area that will be the prison. All of the youth will be first century Christians. They will be told which of the adults is the Underground Church. They will also be told that one of the centurions is a Christian, but obviously, not which one.
15 minutes before the game begins, the Underground Church leaves to hide – no one will know where.
When the game begins, all the centurions (each ‘armed’ with a flashlight) fan out, not only to look for the Church, but to start arresting the Christians (youth)who will be looking for the Church. The youth are told to wait 2 minutes then to go out and find the Underground Church – and hide from the centurions.
When a centurion finds a Christian, he flashes his light on them and yells, “Halt Christian!” The youth must stop, and the centurion will escort the prisoner back to the prison, where the prisoner must wait a designated time (2-5 minutes) before going back out again.(typically, no one is there to ‘guard’ them so they ignore the time requirement and go back out as soon as the centurion leaves! You may want to have snacks at the prison. The secret Christian centurion can spend this time letting his prisoner know what the password is, which can then be shared with fellow prisoners.
As the game goes on, the other centurions can try to get the password from the kids by letting them go in exchange. (It’s amazing how easily some kids will spill the beans!)
On the other hand, a centurion can sabotage the Christian cause by giving out false passwords. (Optional rule to speed up the game: don’t allow this)
Once the Underground Church is found, the kids must give the password to get in. They can either wait there or go back out to let others know the location & password, subject to arrest. If one of the regular centurions finds the Underground Church AND gives the correct password, the Underground Church has been compromised and the Centurions win.
The Christians can win by getting a pre-designated percentage of the Christians into the Church (50% to 100%).
Option: A centurion can accuse another centurion of being the traitor. If he is correct, the Christian centurion is out of the game (and if he/she never gave out the password the game is effectively over). If the accuser is wrong, the accuser is out of the game.