Outdoor Youth Group Games

Bases

Overview:

Bases is a fast-paced outdoor game combining elements of ‘Capture the Flag’ (CTF), flag football, and role playing. Bring and drink plenty of water, and take a break between games to rest and collaborate. Please read the clarifying ‘Notes’ after each section for important information and tips.

Objectives for Winning:

Game: a single play-through that is won by destroying the opponent’s Home base.
Match: the combination of a few or several games, depending on the score teams have chosen.

The game is won when one team destroys their opponent’s Home base. A team receives 3 points each time they destroy their opponent’s Home base, 1 point for every opponent Field base they destroy, and 1 point for each Field base they build (even if it is later destroyed). The match is won when a team reaches the score the teams have chosen beforehand. Scores are not added up until the end of each game.

Note: Make the teams as balanced as possible, and readjust if necessary. While playing, the most important things to keep in mind are safety and honesty – both serious injury and dishonesty will ruin any game.

What You’ll Need:

People: At least 5 players per team – there is no maximum limit.

Flag Football Belts and Flags: Each player needs a belt with 2-3 removable flags that match his or her team’s color. If there are extra belts and flags, use them for the Home and Field bases. If not, you’ll need something like colored bandannas or cloth strips.

Space: At an urban, suburban, or rural setting. For safety reasons, decide if boundaries are needed and where.

Note: There are no ‘safe’ zones or areas where players are immune from having their flags stolen. With large fields or large teams, you may want to have phones so you can communicate with each other.

Player Elimination:

When all of a player’s flags are stolen, they have been eliminated, can no longer steal flags, and must ‘Recharge’ to continue playing. To Recharge, they should pick up their flags and return to a team base to put them back on. If a player has lost 1 or more flags, but not all of them, he or she can return to a base to place the flags back on.

Note: The eliminated player is responsible for finding his or her own flags. It is important that players who stole an opponents’ flags do not throw or hide them, but drop them in an obvious place or give them back to their opponent. If a player has had a flag stolen, but still has another, they should keep the unattached flag with them.

Team Bases:

Home Base: 1-3 Home flags are used to mark a team’s Home base (1-2 if the belts have just 2 flags). The the belt with flags is fastened, or just flags, are placed onto something, like a tree, that serves as the team’s Home base and acts as a Recharge location. Both teams should agree on the placement of each other’s Home flags before the match begins.

Field Base: 1-3 Field flags are used to mark a team’s Field bases (1-2 if your belts have just 2 flags). Like the Home base, these serve as Recharge locations. Before the match begins, teams choose specific locations where Field bases can be built. Field bases can only be built at these locations. There may be 1-2 Field base locations near each team’s Home base, and 1-3 somewhere near the middle of the field. We suggest selecting 2-3 total Field base locations for every 10 total players. At the beginning of each game, the base locations near each team’s Home base belong to them, and are marked by the team’s Field flags. The base locations near the middle of the field are neutral, and can be built by either team. Neutral bases need to be obvious or marked with something like a belt without flags. If a base is destroyed, either team can rebuild at the base location.

Note: When deciding what locations to use for bases, make sure they are evenly distributed across the field. Field bases that belong to teams at the beginning of the game do not count towards their game score, only those built during the game. All base flags should always be in plain sight and within reach.

Protecting Bases: To protect their Home and Field bases, a team assigns Defenders to them (see ‘Player Units’ below). A base can have 1 Defender for each of its base flags, meaning teams can assign up to 3 Defenders to a Home or Field base that has 3 base flags (if using belts with just 2 flags, teams can assign up to 2 Defenders to each base).

Destroying Bases: To destroy a base, an opponent player must remove the Home or Field flags. Players cannot remove an opponent base’s flags until all of its Defenders have been eliminated.

Player Units:

1. Attackers: Attackers wear 2 belt flags, with 1 on each side. They focus on eliminating opponents by stealing their flags or destroying their bases. Attackers may begin the game at any of the team’s Home or Field bases.

2. Defenders: Defenders have the most important role in the game. They wear 2 belt flags, with 1 on each side, but their belt is put on backwards. At the beginning of the game, each team base should have at least one Defender. Defenders steal flags, but mostly focus on building, defending, and representing their team’s bases.

Building: To build a base, a Defender places Field flags, or a belt with Field flags, onto a Field base location. Defenders should carry the belt and/or flags in their non-dominant hand. If the Defender is eliminated before building a Field base, he or she must return to the Home base with the Field flags to Recharge.

Defending & Representing:
1. A base’s original Defenders are the only players that can represent that Home or Field base. Once a base is built and its Defenders are assigned, teams cannot add base flags or Defenders to it later in the game.
2. Defenders must stay within about 5 yards of the base. If they leave the 5-yard radius, they become an Attacker, and the base loses a Defender.
3. Defenders must Recharge at a different base when eliminated to continue playing as the base’s Defender. Defenders that Recharge at a different base can return to represent it, if it hasn’t been destroyed. If they Recharge at the base they represent, including Home base, they become an Attacker or other unit. If they’ve lost some but not all of their flags, Defenders can find and replace their stolen flags at the base they are defending.

Note: Defenders can voluntarily leave the base’s 5-yard radius and become extra Attackers, Defenders of a base to be built, or other units. If there is ever any question about a 5-yard radius, use the Defender’s striding pace as a yard. When a Field base has been destroyed, the last Defender eliminated should take the Field flags back to the team’s Home base. For small teams, it’s best that no more than half your players are Defenders.

From the author: If you have any ideas, feedback, or suggestions for this game, or would like the extended rules that include more player units, I would love to hear about it: rustin2@gmail.com.

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Box: the Game of the Future

A large box or big plastic garbage can is the goal. If the ball hits any side or the top, the one who kicked the ball is the new goalie. Everyone plays against the goalie. Use a Nerf soccer ball or a volleyball. People will discover that working together is the only way to score, as they can get the goalie running in circles around his goal.

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Three Quadrant Volleyball

This is two volleyball games going on at once played by three teams. The two courts are set up in a line with the middle team playing on a side with normal dimensions against the two outer teams at the same time (The court is one and a half times as big as a single volleyball court since the middle area is used for both games.) You might put the better players in the middle; they need to play in both directions.

Almost everyone loved this game. Kids who don’t like any active games didn’t like this game either.

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Tag Ball

I made this up one night when the weather was unexpectedly nice and the youth wanted to play outside. You need a ball (like something you would play dodge ball with), and one person to be “it.”

This is a combination of dodge ball and tag. Whoever is “it” has the ball, and has to run after the other youth and tag them with the ball – dodge ball style. If the person is hit, they are the new “it” and must try to tag someone else with the ball. If the person catches the ball, like in dodge ball, they are safe and the original “it” is still it. My group is rather small, so I played with one “it,” but with a larger group you could have more than one “it” to make things interesting.

Really simple, but my youth loved it!

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Coneball

This game is like a combination of soccer, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, and hit the can (the carnival game)… I know it sounds weird, but trust me, it’s awesome.

Materials needed:
-a slightly deflated kickball/dodgeball
-2 2gallon buckets (like the ones they put paint in)
-2 small orange cones (about 6 inches in height.. if you don’t have cones, we used Gatorade bottles filled halfway with rocks)
-something to mark boundaries on a field (powder or spray paint)
-a field about the half the size of a soccer field (maybe not that wide)
– You will want someone who knows the rules to play referee (and you may want them to have a whistle)

This game will take some setup, but it is a great camp game. One was a favorite of my old youth group.

First you must mark two areas at opposite ends of a rectangular field (maybe half of a soccer field size). At each end of the field you need a 16 ft in diameter circles. In the center of each circle you need to place the 2 gallon drum upside down with the cone/bottle on top. The object of the game is to knock the other teams cone/bottle off of the bucket. However, the players may not step inside the circle or knock over the bucket. If this happens, the point does not count and it is the other teams ball.

To get the ball to the other side of the field, you must pass the ball from teammate to teammate (kind of like ultimate Frisbee). If the ball touches the ground, it is the other team’s ball at the place it hit the ground, and of course the ball can be intercepted. The other team may try and stop the other team from scoring, but they may not touch the other team (think like guarding another player in basketball).

There are no offsides, and “cherry-picking is allowed since it will be difficult for that to actually work.

A few other rules to be aware of:
– Players may NOT run with the ball (like in ultimate Frisbee)
– If the team on defense gets too rough with the other players, you should allow the other team to throw the ball in at the other teams end of the field.
– If the ball goes out of bounds, it is the other teams ball, and they get to throw it in from where it went out (like in basketball).
– If team A throws the ball into team B’s circle, and the ball stops INSIDE the circle, the ball is turned over to team B, and a player from team B may enter the circle to retrieve the ball. The player who retrieves it must pass it to a teammate outside the circle to continue play.
– When a team scores, the other team starts by passing the ball in from their end of the field (again like in basketball).

We usually play first team to 5 wins, but you can also have a time limit as well.

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Diet Coke and Mentos Eruption

Items Needed:

Masking Tape
Ladder
Tape Measure
Sharpie
Several 2 Liters of Diet Coke and packs of Mentos
Paper, Foam Cups, Tape, Scissors, etc.
Camcorder and Tripod

This was a great game for our youth. There is some kind of science principle that makes Diet Coke erupt like a volcano when you drop Mentos in it. This only works with “diet,” not regular. The more Mentos you can drop in at once, the bigger the eruption.

Before the game, find a spot next to a wall where the Diet Coke can spill everywhere without creating a mess. Grass is good, because sidewalks and parking lots can get sticky. On this wall, make a vertical line with the masking tape. Use the tape measure to mark off 1 ft. 2 ft. 3 ft. etc. on the tape and draw thick lines at those intervals with the sharpie. You’ll need the ladder to get up high, and 9-10 ft. should be plenty. The lines need to be dark enough that your camera can see them from a safe distance away.

Divide your youth into several teams of 5 or so members. You need as many 2 liters of Diet Coke and packs of Mentos as you have teams. Give the teams 5 min. to use the paper and items to create a cone or some object to deliver the most Mentos into the bottle. Set up the first bottle in front of the tape, and position the camera a safe distance away and start recording. Let the first team go to drop their Mentos in the bottle and make an eruption. Move the used bottle away, and put another one there for the next team. Each bottle needs to be in the same place, so you may want to mark that spot with a piece of tape. After the last team, head inside to watch the footage and see which team won with the highest eruption.

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Cluster Busters

Ideal group size: at least 15

No supplies required!

WARNING: you should warn your teens beforehand that this is a VERY physical game.

Choose 3 of your strongest boys in the group to be Busters. Then instruct the rest of the group that they have 30 seconds (more with a large group) to form a cluster, holding onto each other as tightly as possible. Be sure to tell the cluster not to wrap around necks, or grab inappropriately to each other. If at any point in the game someone is separated from the cluster and has no one holding onto them or vice versa, they are out, and must sit and watch the rest of the game.

When the game begins, the Busters will start picking people to try to separate from the circle by pulling, prying, tickling, whatever it takes! (Give them rules to play safe, like no: hitting, jabbing, tackling, etc.)

Choose a time limit in accordance with your group size for the pullers to accomplish the task of pulling every person apart, so that in the end there is a winner, either the busters, or the cluster.

This is a very fun game, can be played several times consecutively, will exhaust teens, but is not for everyone, and must be managed with safety instructions and watchful supervisors. This game should be played on soft grass, but if you have the means, it is best in mud!

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Ice Blocking

If any of you come from an area that does get a lot of snow or you just are wishing for it in the middle of summer then ice blocking is the perfect solution. all you need is blocks of ice (less than $5 at a gas station) a towel and a hill. Simply fold your towel on top of the block of ice and then ride down the hill on it. For added fun try to combine blocks to make a large sled or another contraption. Be careful though as you can get going pretty fast and your landing on grass not snow now.

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Drive-In Movie

Provide your youth group with large cardboard boxes collected from grocery & appliance stores. Then they construct & decorate their own ‘vehicles’ from these before settling down to watch the video you have chosen for the evening! Prizes can be awarded for best construction or best decorated ‘car’, and it sure makes video night something to remember!

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Kaos And Control

This game involves simple equipment and lots of open space, like a park or an oval. Australian Rules football ovals have proven to be the best. An overview of the game is as follows. There are two teams, one called Kaos, and the other Control (as in ‘Get Smart’). One team (team A) is equipped with one leg of a pair of stockings, that has a small amount of flour in the end. The other team(team B) does not have these. Divide the oval in to two halves for each team. Team A has control of one of the halves, and B the other. The object of the game is for the members of team B to run through the members of Team A without getting hit by the stockings full of flour to a checkpoint or base at the other end. If they are hit, then they are taken prisoner by the other team. Both sides have a chance to run through the other side, and the winner is the team that gets the most people to the checkpoint. This game does require some old clothes and can be run with a large group of teenagers at a youth group, school or camp. I don’t know if this game has any biblical basis, but is definitely a lot of fun for all.

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