How to Play a Game of Outdoor "Hunger Games"
The Hunger Games Tag Game: for kids invented by kids
This is a Hunger Games game with a difference. What makes this game special is that it was invented by kids and has been tested out thoroughly by being played by kids (my daughters and their friends.) They have played it enough times now to have figured out what works and what doesn’t.
You will need a minimum of 6 people to play this game. So far, children and teenagers from 10 to 15 have played it and enjoyed themselves. Older teens and adults could join in too. If younger siblings want to join in you would need to adapt the rules a little.
To have fun you don’t need fancy equipment. You could use Nerf or water guns if you want, but actually the game works far better without.
- If you have guns the game could all be over very quickly – and the fun is in creating tactics to outsmart your opponents and in the chase. (In the books and movie the Hunger Games last as long as they do because Katniss and others live by their wits to get the better of the stronger tributes.)
- No one will get accidentally injured. Unlike in the books and movie the aim of this game is to have fun, and no one will die or get hurt!
What you need to play The Hunger Games Tag Game:
Tags (you can print off the tag design included in this article or design your own.)
String (and scissors to cut the string)
An area that will form your “Arena.”
Maps of your Arena.
Extra goodies: eg snacks, drinks, more tags.
Backpacks for some of the extras.
By using tags in this game, it’s very easy to tell when someone has “died” and there is no way to cheat!
Everyone gets 3 tags, which are tied by string onto wrists or belt loops on trousers. There are also extra tags hidden in various places in the arena.
It’s not a good idea to tie tags to ankles because they might easily catch and tear off. The aim of the game is to pull off your opponents’ tags and to avoid losing yours. When a player loses all tags they are “dead” and so out of the game. (They can still hang around with other players, but can’t help them in any way.)
When only one player has any tags left that player is the victor.
To make tags:
Either print off the ones below, or create your own design. Either way, if you copy and paste several times you should be able to fit 9 on a page - 3 across and 3 down the way. Print out as many as you will need. Cut them into individual tags and then using a punch make a hole in each, using the black dot as a guide. Then thread string through the hole. Your tag is ready!
2 tags you can use in the Hunger Games tag game
You can print out these tags to use in your game
You can download these tags to print out and use in your game. You should be able to fit about 9 onto an A4 size of paper. (Or US letter size.)
You are allowed to download these for use in a game, but you may not copy these onto any site on the internet without prior permission.
An example of a map showing the rough location of extra tags
Example map giving exact location of extra tags
How to Make Your Own Hunger Games Arena
The neighborhood where we live is ideal for playing this game. There are 2 communal parks with trees and bushes, and a third communal area with trees that are prefect for climbing. Although two main roads flank the neighborhood, there is little through traffic and with a speed limit of 20 mph (32kmph) it is safe for the age group playing. The main roads are the boundaries for the arena.
Since not everyone is likely to have such a perfect “arena” on their doorstep, you may have to venture further afield to play. Here are a few suggestions:
A park with different types of terrain such as trees, twisting paths and open areas would be ideal.
A small woodland area could also be fun.
If the people playing are neighbors then a few gardens and yards could be used to make the arena – so long as there are clear rules for passing through houses. A good general rule is no going upstairs. (Our house is the gateway to one of the communal areas, and is also where kids can use the toilet if they need to. You can see the rules the children created for this in the Inside section of the rules.) Parents need to be okay about their house being used as part of the arena, so any children reading this: check with your parents first!!!!
Maps of Your arena
Make several maps of your arena.
Your first map will be for everyone to see, and could be pinned to tree or passed round before the game begins. It will show the boundary, the position of the cornucopia and any other details that everyone needs to know. The first example map shows the exact location of 2 sets of extra tags and gives rough locations for more spare tags. (These are indicated by the colored circles.)
Your other maps will give away details of some of the spare tags, but each one will reveal only one or two locations and different ones for different maps!
Just as in the Hunger Games, this game starts at the “Cornucopia”.
This doesn’t need to be an elaborate building. In fact “cornucopia” simply means abundance, so it is where you leave extras for people to grab before they dash off. Because the more tags a person has the longer he or she will “live,” extra tags are what everyone wants. Scatter a few tags on the ground and maybe some water bottles or snacks.
You could also leave backpacks and these could contain drinks, snacks and other extras such as more tags or maps showing where tags are hidden. It is more fun to leave maps because then whoever gets those will try to find the tags, which gives others a chance to catch them as they search. (Looking for tags keeps people moving.) For 10 players 3 backpacks would be a good number.
If your cornucopia is in a public place such a park, someone will have to stay with the goodies. An adult could do this.
Position of the Cornucopia
The Cornucopia needs to be in a place that it is easy for people to escape from – otherwise your game will be over before it’s begun. An open area is best and a tree in the middle is good because you can leave your supplies around it. If this isn’t possible, then have a “Peacetime.” This means that everyone has a certain length of time to get away before anyone can go “into combat.”
How well do you know the Hunger Games books and movie? Take the Quiz.
If you want to, you can have a “training session” before the games. This would consist of races with winners getting a bonus – perhaps a head start at the Cornucopia, or one of the maps.
You could also hold a quiz, with questions from the Hunger Games. Either use the quiz here or make your own.
This game works whether you divide players into Panem Districts or not. If you do decide to use Districts players can choose to be from any District. Anyone choosing a district with “Career tributes” would then pick allies from other Career Districts.
If everyone wants to be from District 12, then it’s best not to have Districts at all.
Hiding in trees is allowed
But hiding here is not allowed!!
Rules, and why to have them
The rules you create should make the game more fun for everyone, and make sure it is fair. You will see in the example rules below that alliances should be small. This is because with larger groups either the game is over too quickly or nobody makes a move!
If the game does run into “stalemate” where nobody moves, then have a minute of “Peace Time” during which everyone should run off.
You also need to allow people time to go to the bathroom if they need to, but not to hide in there to avoid capture.
If you play in a wooded area, decide tree-climbing rules beforehand. Are people allowed to go from tree to tree (as Rue did) or are they only allowed to climb one tree? This will probably depend on how expert everyone is at climbing trees. You might also need to decide on a time limit for staying up a tree.
Below is an example of rules for the game. You could use these or adapt them to suit. If smaller children are joining in you may need to play in a smaller and enclosed area so rules about gates and roads could be omitted.
An Example of The Rules for: The Hunger Games Tag
1. No mending tags after they’ve been broken.
2. No hiding tags.
3. Pick up used tags from the ground.
4. No making fake tags.
5. You may put tags around your wrists and waist only.
1. Leave open gates open.
2. Leave closed gates closed.
3. No climbing over gates.
Combat + Games
1. Backstabbing is awesome and should be done.
2. No biting, scratching, kicking etc.
3. Stay within the borders on the map. Don’t go on to the main roads.
4. Stay within specified maximum alliance size (e.g. 3 for 10 people).
1. You may go inside on the bottom floor of the house at any time.
2. Inside you may go to the toilet, get a drink, or to pass through.
3. You may not use the toilet for too long or in the middle of combat.
4. You may not attack someone when they are going into or coming out of the toilet.
1. Do not move before the countdown is up.
2. In some games the first 10 seconds of the game are a Peacetime - no attacking.
3. Make sure you start with no less or more than three tags.
1. If possible, bring a mobile phone.
2. You may only phone your allies or an adult (if you have questions/concerns).
3. If you are out of the game you can phone anyone but you may not give away details of tributes location, allies etc.
4. Only bring phones if you can keep them safe.
Anyone who does not abide by these rules will face loss of tags or disqualification.
Oh, and one final rule, the most important of all:
With thanks to my children and their friends for sharing their awesome ideas!