Rules Matches Arenae Private Events

Improve your Flags knowledge while supporting the sport of Flags and the Play Flags corporation by buying your own copy of the "Flags, Official Rules of Play" for $6.50 CAD online (click the button below)!

Until you receive your copy of the official rules, please review the brief overview below for an introduction to the Flags version of Capture the Flag, or attend a match!

Quick Reference (Capture the Flag, Flags)
Modification Types (Timed, Multi-team, Large Scale, Playground)

Quick Reference

Capture the Flag is a group of sports with a very similar structure but that often have very different details (specifically the rules). These sports are almost always called Capture the Flag, yet lack standardization to the point where within one game different rules are sometimes used for the same situations. The Flags variation of Capture the Flag is a standard that can be used to circumvent this problem.

Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag is a sport typically played in an arena with two objects used as "flags" and teams that can vary in size from two to as many as can be efficiently organized. The arena is divided into two areas, one for each team. In preparation each team hides their flags on their own side. Once play begins a player is safe on his or her own side but can be "caught" (tagged) as soon as they cross the middle line. If a player is caught they go to jail and can only be freed if one of their teammates ventures across to save them. The winning team is the first to find the opposite team's flag.


The following rules are the most important to be aware of in order to have a successful game of Flags:

  • The freer may free everyone in jail at once but does not get a free walk back, only the people he or she freed get a free walk back. He or she must touch each of them, or touch a chain touching each of them and only the people connected to the jail get freed. See rule (5-3a).

  • A player can get free from jail by touching any person (on either team) who is not in jail with him or her, not in a chain in jail with them, not currently on their side, and not in a chain on their side. This prevents guarding of the jail, with a higher guarding difficulty as more people are caught. Also see rule (5-3a).

  • The flag cannot be guarded. There is an effective "key" (such as in basketball) in a 3 meter radius sphere around the flag, and a 3 meter radius cylinder around a path connecting whatever the flag is suspended by to the ground which both have a time limit of 5 seconds. No person on the guarding team may be within these 3 meter volumes for more than 5 seconds at a time. See rule (5-1e).

  • A player only needs to be touching their side to be safe, not completely or even half on their side. See rule (4-1b).

  • If a player becomes caught while carrying the flag, the flag is immediately dropped and remains where it lands without being re-hid. See rules (5-1a) and (5-2b).

Depending on the type of match and the participants some hiding restrictions may be placed before the match begins. For example in a multi flag (timed) match one might enforce:

  • The flags will be restricted by the height of the reach of the player hiding that flag (varying the difficulty of attaining different flags) and must be at least 33% viewable from an angle of one person on the hiding team who is at the time only supported by the ground. See rule (3-2d).

Modification Types

The versatility of Flags allows for play in a wide variety of arena types, and with numbers of people ranging from 2 to as many as can be efficiently organized. In order to accommodate this versatility, a number of rules modifications to the base "Field/Forest" version are necessary. The four base modification types (Playground, Timed, Large Scale, and Multi-Team) can be combined or used individually to suit the number of athletes and the arena type. For example an eastern West Edmonton Mall game of mall flags such as WEM Arena I would probably call for the "Timed" modification, due to the size of the arena and the inability to communicate well to all participants across the mall.

The most commonly used modification of Flags (not including the base Field/Forest version) is the "timed" modification. The primary difference in this modification type is that there are as many flags as there are people playing the game and at the end of a specified time the team having found the most flags is declared the winner.

A Multi-Team match consists of more than two teams playing on an arena with as many "sections" as there are teams. Each team hides one flag less than the number of teams there are on their side, and the game finishes when one team has brought that many flags to their drop point.

Large Scale
Check your copy of the official rules of Flags!

Check your copy of the official rules of Flags!

For more information, please e-mail or call Trevor Prentice (780 695 2109).
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