Capture the Flag has long been a popular outdoor game because of its emphasis on teamwork, strategy, and quick-paced action. It’s hard to imagine how you could make a timeless classic even better, but the new Capture the Flag Redux kit does so marvelously. This kit has all of the necessary equipment that allows for a nighttime variation of Capture the Flag, which opens up new strategic options and makes the game more fun to play.
From the first moment the kit arrived, it made a strong impression. The box the kit arrives in is sleek and compact, with a logo reminiscent of the Tron franchise. The equipment includes everything you need to play Capture the Flag at night: seven territory lights to mark the dividing boundaries, eight jail lights, 40 glow wrist bands (20 blue and 20 green for opposing teams), and two glowing orbs that act as the flags for evening play.
The orbs are able to cycle through different colors at the push of a button. There’s even a feature that has the orb permanently cycle through the different colors, which makes the orb easily stand out at night. It’s ideal for teams to have a flag that matches the team color for their wristbands, so it’s nice to have something that’s compatible with nearly any color of wrist bands you decide to purchase. The orbs are the most striking part of the kit – when I brought the kit to different single adult events, the orbs definitely attracted the most amount of attention.
Aside from the equipment, the kit also includes a short guidebook and 12 game variation cards. The guidebook is laid out like a comic book, making it fun and easy to read. Game variation cards are fully illustrated and contain instructions on how to modify the game. For example, one variation of the game, “President,” designates one person to act as the orb holder and the game is over when that person is tagged. This is ideal for playing the game in open arenas with little hiding. Including these game variation cards gives the kit a lot of replay value and adds to the flavor of the game.
After unpacking the equipment, it was time to test the game. We started off with a crew of 30 young single adults and quickly grew to over 40 people after the first game. We decided to play on Boise State’s campus after nightfall, on the grassy area of the student quad. I’ve played Capture the Flag during the day before, but this was my first time playing an evening game, which opened up a few new strategic elements:
- Easy to identify players. The glowing wristbands made it easy to quickly identify teammates and opponents, which is a particularly useful feature in a large game.
- Established boundaries. The jail markers and dividing lines made it easy to quickly see the boundaries, which meant we didn’t have to waste any time having to referee a close play.
- Stealth. With the cover of darkness, it helped players approach the flag before making their move.
There was also a few unique dynamics that made it fun to play on a college campus. First, we were able to recruit a few students into our game as they walked by on campus. Second, the low lighting around the quad helped make the game a little safer to play without completely taking away from the lights from our kit. Finally, we also had a few clever players who used “Assassin’s Creed” style tactics, which was blending in with groups of walking students to get within striking distance of the flag.
Campus security might have been an issue, but we were prepared to move to a different location on campus if necessary. Luckily, we were able to play without interruption from law enforcement – the only jail that players spent time in were the ones in our playing area!
We played four games and chose to play the “President” variation for the last two games. I spoke with several of the players afterwards and they enjoyed playing the nighttime version and felt the equipment created a fun dynamic. Everyone who attended that I spoke with gave positive feedback and showed interest in playing the game again in the future.
There are just two minor issues that the creator might want to consider for the next version of the kit: 1) The blue wristbands aren’t quite as bright as the green wristbands, giving the blue team a slight advantage. 2) The orbs are powered on by a button underneath that’s easily triggered. If you aren’t careful, it might go off and drain your batteries after they’re put into storage, which happened to me once between games. (An easy workaround is to remove the batteries after each game, which is simple to do).
Overall, I feel this kit is masterfully designed and is an excellent investment for any youth or single adult group that likes to organize large group activities. This kit makes it easy to quickly set up and play an epic game that will create hours of fun for groups large and small. If you’re looking for a fun evening activity to entertain a group, this kit offers the complete package.