The Games Activity


The Games Activity should be run by one or two charismatic counselors and one of the Coordinators.

JCs and CiTs who are not tied to a House for the week can help set up the trails, can play characters on the trails or can join teams as coaches that need extra help.

Games Counselors (or Game Masters) should be thoroughly familiar with all rules and lore and should step in to adjudicate disputes with authority and charisma. Campers should look up to and respect Games Masters as confident, knowledgeable and fun officiators who are capable of coaching and giving advice worth hearing. Game Masters should strive to build up this kind of reputation and maintain it.


Use a Mountain Bike!

It is a requirement that at least one Game Master have a mountain bike. If you can rig a bike with a rack and or trailer that’s even better! It will help you save an incredible amount of time and energy.  It will help you get around faster in emergency situations. It will save you the exhaustion of walking/running on average 13 miles a day!


You are the Keeper of the Drums!

Use teh drums! It is an expectation! They have power!

Use drums to circle up kids at the start and end of Games!

Use the drums during skirmishes and duels!

If you don’t know how to play learn a simple beat. The standard AiC kit is a kick drum, snare drum and cymbal. In addition you have a tambourine and a box of noise makers.

The drums are precious and breakable! No one plays them except you and the Coordinators! Only use drum sticks, never use a stick or sword!

Learn how to tune the kick drum!

Learn how to tune the snare drum!

Keep the sticks and tuning key in their pouch on the kick drum! If it rains move the kit to safety. Stop all kids from playing them! Only you or the coordinators or someone you trust should move them into or out of the truck – people disrespect and break them all the time!

The drums are your responsibility and again it is an expectation that you use them!


Set Up the Trails

Set up the Trail Marking Flags. These can be set up on Sunday and left out all week

  • Set up the Territory Flags daily. Use a mallet, always remove them by grabbing the pole, not the flag
  • Hide the Relics
  • Set up any special encounters


Set Up the Game Start / Circle Up Area (sometimes these are different areas)

  • Hang the Big Map from tree or prop it against the cart.
  • Next to the big map hang a List of Relics and any other special charts or rules.
  • Set up the Percussion: kick drum, snare, cymbal, sticks,
  • Prop the Respawn Flags in the Cart so they are pretty and load props & costumes
  • Set out the Tagger Bin and Ranged Weapon Bin
  • Arrange team piles: bows & arrows, mana, crossbows and darts, flags


Set the Map

As the Game Master you should take the time to think about the most interesting ways to use the parks and maps you are given. Please do set up the territory flags each day and refer to places by their names, even this token scenery can help give the sense that players are somewhere in the Realm and it will make it easier to refer to places in the game!

Make sure teams are equidistant from each other and in interesting and defensible respawn areas., Houses don’t need to stay in the same respawn area, and you can change their bases often, especially in the 3-way games. Come up with different stories for why a House is starting in a different area. It can make the game fresh and interesting to start from somewhere else each day.


Set the Perimeter

Make sure you check in with JCs and Counselors if they are playing characters so you can set them up in areas that need to be watched, like areas near water, railroad tracks or areas where the general public walks in.


Communicate Often

Use your walkies to check in with teams to see if they are ready to begin, if they have done attendance and have all their campers or to organize searches if any houses cannot locate certain campers. The Game Master should actively help locate kids


Run a Weekly Plan

Monday through Wednesday you’re typically going to run 3-way games of Capture the Flag according to the 3-2 Schedule on the Forties. On Thursday morning we typically run a 6-way game of Capture the Flag before lunch and Follow-Your-Bliss. Some bands run a 6-way game on Wednesday too. Some Game Masters think more 6-way games are better, others like to build up to the 6-way game and focus more on the differing teams and map set-ups that 3-way games allow– it’s up to your band!

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Make Your Circle-Ups Brief and Entertaining

Ask each group you meet with on Monday how many newbies there are. If you don’t have a lot of newbies you can move more quickly through the rules and even get into a game of CTF right away. Do this especially if it’s a nice day out! These kids really do want to get out on the trails and they wait all year for it, so if you have the time, do it! Do not hold them back in field games if you can help it at all.

Only give the rules you need for the day. Do so loudly, with energy and in as entertaining fashion as you can! You must practice your speeches, in a mirror if necessary, and work on any routines you create with other counselors so you are on point. Strive to amuse the campers and strive to inspire them. This is why YOU are the Games Counselor, live up to it!

Typically we do melee on Monday, you can do crossbows if you like. Tuesdays we add bows and mana.

It’s a good idea to write up a little cardboard chart with relics and their powers and set it up with . Hide 3 or 4 each day but always say all relics are out there!

It’s really great after giving the rules to begin the game with a quick little theatrical intro pulling campers into the fun before heading out to the trails.  There are some scenarios you are welcome to use in the Book of Games, unless you have a theme and story set for the week.


Running a Weekly Score

Keep track of the score. If you do Castle Battles on Friday morning, the victors of the week are typically given the choice to defending the castle and can often choose one other team to help them.

If you have a few teams that are very young sometimes you can Ally the Scores! This means that though allied Houses may or may not be playing together on any given day, they are allied for point totals at the end of the week.


Typical allied houses by age are:

Hart (older) – Draech (younger),

A’quilah (older) - Sahngliér (younger)

Arko (mid aged) – Hakkarl (mid aged)

In tallying a weekly score give every team points. The first-place team will get the same number of points as there are houses. Then reduce the number of points for each place until the house in last place has one point. For example.


3-way game                                  2-way game                               6-way game

1st place = 3 points                 1st place = 2 points                1st place = 6 points

2nd place = 2 points                2nd place = 1 point                 2nd place = 5 points

3rd place = 1 point                                                                              3rd place = 4 points



Castle Battles

If you run a Castle Battle of Friday morning there are suggested rules in the Book of Games. Each Band does this a little differently. The Band of Storms typically does an alternatively-themed Friday activity.


Invest in the Game, Coach the Players

This is the Games Activity. Although we mix up gaming, free role playing and creative arts throughout camp, respect the games in the game activity like we respect free role playing in castle and creative building in the armory. Don’t undercut the competitive nature of games if you don’t yet understand why these games are fun. Trust camp, lean into playing and learn why these games are so much fun!

We want the kids to invest in the games and play by the rules. Therefore it is important to respect the rules and coach kids through victories and defeats rather than undercut the rules if a team is losing or downplay a victory to avoid salty feelings. The score is important, never ignore it or throw it away – we ask campers to invest in the game! Some bands wait until after lunch to wrap up with a score if there have been contentious disputes that need settling. If we help campers be their best selves through both victories and losses they become better people and over time camp actually becomes easier because we are actively working to instill a legacy at camp of playing fairly and in the right spirit of the game!

All counselors should be doing their best to coach their teams and should be actively playing the game. Though we typically do not want counselors capturing flags and tagging kids out with indiscriminate skill and abandon, we certainly want them helping their team with their swords as well as their wits! Its more fun if counselors play with campers and more importantly it gives counselors a chance to role model good sports-person-ship and how to play in the spirit of the game!


Julian coaching Julian coachiong Sahn-Gliér against Hart and A'quilah.

Devin teaching cardboard fencing basics.


Tactics and Strategies and Inclusion

Game Counselors and House Counselors should be very familiar with the Strategies and Tactics outlined in the Book of Flags which can also be found as a chapter within the Book of Games. Understanding these roles will help you help your counselors finds tactical roles suited for all players. Of course, players can also be engaged by hunting for relics or seeking characters. If you have players who insist on being characters have them be characters who are either on your team or allied with your team so they do not work against their own team.

Seek to instill a respect for inclusion in every team! For example, if a group of boys is always running out for offense when the whistle blows leaving the same group of girls at home to defend, it’s up to counselors to change this up and make sure everyone is playing the way they want to play and sharing the burden of all strategies.


Adjudicating Disputes

There are three ways of doing this: making the decision on your authority, getting clarification behind the scenes or in working it out in large groups.

Making a decision on your authority is most efficient, and this is why you must build and maintain your reputation as a knowledgeable and impartial Game Master with Charisma. If you have these qualities players will isten to you and accept your rulings.

Adjudicating behind the scenes is useful when there are different accounts of an event and one team or both teams think the other is cheating. Get as many eyewitness reports as possible and ask a few counselors from each team to interpret what happened. Then make a decision and report it after lunch or at the end of the day circle up with a brief explanation of why YOU decided it. Don’t mention other players or counselors or stat ethat anyone convinced you, just mention the facts as you have heard them and own every decision you make as an authority – it’s better of players are salty with you and not each other!

Adjudicating in large groups is best when the dispute revolves around an interpretation of our imperfect rules! Adjudictaing in large groups can be more contentious but can also be highly rewarding if players see how large groups can work through disputes. In a large group you will set yourself up as an impartial judge and will present the dispute and several possible outcomes. You will ask to hear two arguments for each outcome, usually this is two arguments for something and two arguments against something, ie did Hart capture the territory before the whistle blew or did it not? These arguments must be limited to thirty seconds and after hearing you will use your authority and charisma to level a wise decision.

If any counselors undermine your decision of authority speak with them after the campers have gone home or speak to a Coordinator to address this behavior. We cannot have salty counselors undermining the Game Masters.


Playing Characters

It is awesomely fun to populate the dangerous trails of the Realm with characters who can present the players with obstacles, with quests, with friendships or with sideline entertainment.

Characters can set themselves up on the trails to be discovered or join and play with a team if needed. Characters should be mindful not to undercut or imbalance a game too much and should generally avoid congregating at respawn bases where they will distract the defense of flags.

Characters can be silly or heroic or anything in between, but if a counselor is not getting the interest of players they should quit and join the game! No character should be ignored on the trail for terribly long before throwing in the towel – if a quest or character doesn’t attract players in Games they very well might in Castle where more kids may be looking for quests and characters instead of flag captures!


Tagger Rules

2 Handed Weapon: up to 36” from the top of your hand to the tip.

1-Handed Weapon: up to 24” from the top of your hand to the tip.

Dagger: up to 12” from the top of your hand to the tip

Crossbows: target is whole body not including neck and head, no minimum range, helmet makes darts bounce off armor

Bows: target is whole body not including neck and head, 30’ minimum range, do not pull bow full strength from less than 60’, helmet makes darts bounce off armor


Mana Spell: Tossed from hand or spun like a flail.

Flame Spell: goes through armor– respawns target

Root Spell: goes through armor & shields – immobilizes target’s feet for a fifteen count

Wash Spell: Dispels Root at any time and flame if target is hit within roughly 3 seconds



For a full list of relics and powers see the Book of Games!