Capture-the-Flag With Stuff

A somewhat psychotic variation on a classic game
Original game by Andrew Plotkin
Revised by Tom Lotze

Stuff is a key concept in game design. Pong plus Stuff makes Arkanoid. Risk plus Stuff makes Cosmic Encounter. Rock-Scissors-Paper plus Stuff makes Magic: the Gathering. Capture-the-Flag plus Stuff makes... Capture-the-Flag With Stuff.

KGB did it first. We stole it from them fair and square. Herein are the rules.

Base rules (Everyone must understand these perfectly!)

  1. The goal of the game is to capture the opposing team's flag and bring it to the main judge; once this is done, your team scores a point. There will be a five-minute timeout while The Flag is hidden again. It may enter the main judge's station by any means. During game time, you may never touch your own flag or move it.
  2. 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.)
  3. You are within a team's territory if either foot touches or is within that territory. If you tag an enemy (even a nick), and both of you are in your territory, he is captured by you. You must lead him to your jail at reasonable speed; both players are considered out-of-game until they reach Jail. Once there, the capturee must "enter jail" by touching either the Jail or a prisoner already in jail. A captor may not make any more captures until his capturee has entered jail. A prisoner must give up any (non-concealable) stuff, if asked. (To his captor or his captor's teammate.)
  4. If a free Enemy touches the glyph of Jail, or any person currently in that Jail, he and the prisoner of his choice get to go back to their territory. They must go directly and rapidly home, and are out-of-game until they reach their own territory (they have free passage back to their territory).
  5. You must have on Team Identification and a watch at all times.
  6. Listen to the judges. This is an extremely difficult game to run, and they are doing their best to be fair and have a fun game. Stay calm, and listen to the judges. If you are going to try something that is unclear in the rules, it would be a good idea to ask them first. Listen to the judges.


Some of these may be useful later; however, you may skip them for now if you wish.

The Stuff! (Players will want to know these!)

General item rules

Flags Flags are large pieces of cloth or felt, 18 inches square. Their magic is inherent; possession is all ten points of the Law.
The Flag
A flag, in the team color. This is the flag. You may never touch or move directly or indirectly your own flag. You must place the flag somewhere where it is visible and accessible (i.e., no using the "Yukko" glyph on the only door in); judges should confirm that both team flags are properly placed before starting the game.
Flag of Delusion
A flag, in the team color. The Flag of Delusion has no restrictions on placement. It is identical to the real flag, except for a label in one corner which says "Psych!" It is technically considered magic, but has no effects other than fooling Enemies. 'Nuff said.
Wands: Wands are floppy two-foot lengths of foam rubber. Affecting the target requires whapping him with the wand. Wands may not be thrown. Wands must be worn in plain view or held. Many have charges and a keyword. In all cases, you must say the keyword when you use a wand.
Blue (The Long Wand of the Law; "Gotcha!")
The Bearer may consider this wand part of his body, or not, at whim. (ie, you can tag someone with it, using the keyword, but if someone hits it with a wand of snoozing you can say he never hit you.)
Red (Wand of Vengeance; "Toast!")
Hit an Enemy in his territory, and you capture him. Take him back to your jail (as normal, with free passage).
Green (Wand of Snoozing; "Stun!")
Whap someone and say Stun! and that person is stunned for 1 minute.
White (Dispelling; "Dispel!")
Whap any Magic Item (except a flag or jail), say "Dispel"; the item loses all magical properties for 1 minute. Whap a person, say "Dispel", and all items they are carrying lose all magical properties for 1 minute. One charge.
Potions: They are folded-over pieces of soft foam, with colored tape. All potions have only one charge. All potions may be concealed. You may use potions on yourself.
Red (Bribe)
When captured, you may immediately give this to your captor in order to negate the capture; you have free return to your team's territory.
Blue (Truth Serum)
If used on a person in jail, he must answer 6 yes/no questions, lying no more than once. May answer Yes, No, or I don't know. This potion may be used no more than once every fifteen minutes.
White (Potion of Lubrication)
When in jail, a prisoner may give this to someone on the team which has captured them (presumably the jail guard). They may then leave jail, bringing along one other prisoner with them. The two former prisoners get free return back to their home territory.
Green (Jolt!)
Person hit is unstunned. You may use this even if stunned.
Belts: Belts are long sashes of felt; five feet long and five inches wide. (The ends will dangle.) Belts must be worn to be effective. They must be worn/carried in plain view.
Red (Belt of Twofer; "Twofer!")
The wearer may capture two Enemies at a time. After capturing someone, he may call out "Twofer!" Instead of immediately taking the capturee to jail, he may attempt to capture a second person. When the wearer captures a second, he must go straight back to the first, and then lead them both to jail.
Green (Goombah's Belt of Humiliating Protection)
The Wearer may carry no other magic items, including The Flag. He is immune to capture, stunning, and generally all magic (except Dispel), as long as he is jumping up and down and loudly singing "Yankee Doodle" (or, optionally, the "Super Mario Bros." theme). 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 (they cannot carry other magic items while doing so).
Glyphs: Glyphs are pieces of bright colored paper with words on them. You may not move or cover another team's glyph. Glyphs may be placed on any surface, and generally work when someone sees them.
"Jail" (Glyph of Jail)
See Jail rules. Cannot be moved by anyone or even touched by Defenders while prisoners are in jail. Must be placed accessibly and visibly in the same way as The Flag.
"Still Going" (Glyph of Charging)
Any magic item touched to this regains full charge. Unlike other glyphs, the Glyph of Charging may be used by anyone.
"Gotcha" (Glyph of Entrancement)
If you see an enemy Glyph of Entrancement, and you are within ten feet of it, you are stunned. The stun lasts ten minutes.
"Thanks" (Glyph of the Net)
Any Enemy who sees this and is within 10 feet must leave a magical item on it. He never has to leave The Flag there. You may not pick up items left on an Enemy Glyph of the Net.
"Yukko" (Glyph of the Disgusting Doorknob)
If placed on a door/window/elevator door/ etc, Enemies may not touch this door in any way.

If you understand everything thus far, you are ready to play. You need read no further.

The rest are further notes on specific points that may be unclear, as well as some suggestions for running the game.


Organization and play

No two team territories may be directly adjacent; they must be separated by at least six feet of neutral space.

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 permissable. I recommend not, since some items are more valuable than others.)

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.

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.

At the beginning of the game, there is a twenty-minute timeout, during which no player may enter enemy territory; this is so that Flags and other magic items may be placed.



See the original rules