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How to Play Prisoners Base

Things You'll Need:

  • 10-30 players - an even number
  • A large area to play
  • Jump ropes or chalk

Prisoner's Base is a fun game of tag that's been around a long time. It has been changed here and there through the years and some play it a little differently than others. A version of this game has been known to have been played back in Shakespeare's time, and was even in one of his plays.

Choose two team captains to put two teams together or separate a group of even numbered kids into two random groups. One group will be team A and one team B. Choose a Prison Guard for each team to guard the prisoners from escaping.

Mark out a "home base" for both teams on opposite sides of the room or area you are playing the game in. Use sidewalk chalk if on pavement, or you can mark out an area with jump ropes.

Mark out a "prison" for each team. The prison for team A and the home base for team B will be on one side of the playing area and the prison for team B and the home base for team A will be on the other side of the playing area.

Line up both teams hand in hand to form two lines, one for team A and one for team B, stretching out from home base to home base in the middle of the playing area.

Chase a member of the opposite team. The player on team A farthest away from team A's home base will break from the chain and run toward home base, and the player on team B farthest away from team B's home base will break from the chain to chase him. While these two are running, the next member of team B at the end of the chain will break free and run toward home base while the next member of team A at the opposite end chases him and so on.

Go to prison if you are running toward your home base and are tagged by the member of the opposite team who is chasing you. If you hit home base first before you are tagged, go to the end of your team's line to play again.

Escape from prison when a member of your team in play runs through to the prison and tags you without getting tagged first. If the attempted rescuer is tagged by the opposite team's prison guard, or the member of the opposite team who is chasing him, before tagging you, he will join you in prison. If you, the prisoner, are successfully tagged, the prison guard must let you both free to return to the end of your team's line.

Win the game if your team captures all the members of the opposite team.

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