Capture the Flag FAQ


What should I wear?
You should dress like you want to win! Teams are delineated by color so you should be decked out in the color of the team you’re playing on. You’ll also want to make sure your shoes are good for running.

What if I can’t register for a color?
If you buy last minute tickets, we will try to email you before the game and assign you to a team before the day of play. If you’re really, really, buying at the last minute, just show up in neutral clothes. We will have a limited amount of shirts available for you to throw on over your clothes. We don’t have tons of these though so it’s best to sign up with plenty of time to spare.

What should I bring?
Couldn’t hurt to bring some bottled water but really, you should as little as possible.

Will there be a place to store my belongings?
We do have storage available but it’s limited and while it’s going to be in a safe place, we can’t legally take responsibility for its safety. So, bring the essentials and whatever you don’t want on your person, we’ll take care of.

What if you didn’t answer my question here?
Check the registration page for event specific details and if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, send us an email.


If you’ve never played Capture the Flag, it’s a pretty simple game. Each team has their own territory when they will hide their flag. Some of their teammates will stay in their territory to defend the flag while others will go out into other territories to try to capture the enemy’s flag. If you’re tagged while you’re in the other team’s territory though, you’ll go to jail. Your team can win the game by capturing the flag and removing it from your enemy’s territory. Though there are many variations of play, here are our official rules:

Hiding and Guarding the Flag

  • Teams must remain thirty feet away from their flag and fifty feet away if it is at the back of a territory.
  • Your flag’s location shall be determined by your team at the beginning of the game. You may place it anywhere in your territory but at least fifty percent of the flag must be visible and in plain sight. Your flag’s location will be approved by a ref before game play begins.


  • If you are tagged in enemy territory, you will be taken the enemy’s jail.
  • This is not a tackle sport. You may tag the person but if you tackle them, you will wind up in the enemy’s jail and if you do it more than once, you may be disqualified.
  • Your jail’s location has been selected for you and will be disclosed when your team is brought to their territory.
  • Jail guards may not enter the jail.
  • In order to free your teammates from jail, you must tag each of the players you wish to free individually. You must be standing outside the jail and they must be standing inside the jail.
  • Players leaving jail get a free pass back to their own side. They must raise both their hands in the air as they are leaving jail and returning to their home territory.
  • At various points through the game, the refs may issue a jailbreak. If they do, both sides jails are emptied.

Running to Safety and Boundaries

  • A player is considered to be safe when he or she has both feet planted in their own territory or on neutral territory.
  • Boundaries are important. The outside of the territories will be shown to your team during your field walkthrough. They are marked with chalk and/or tape. Do not leave the playing field at any time during the game. We will show you the general locations of the territories on a map before the game begins.
  • Remember that there is a road in between territories. The sidewalk and the road separating the territories are neutral and you cannot be harmed… by other players. That doesn’t mean you can’t get tagged by a car. Please look both ways when crossing the street. There isn’t a lot of vehicle traffic on Roosevelt Island compared to the rest of New York but it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Do not run out into traffic. If you are on the sidewalk, you cannot be tagged so there is no need to run out into the middle of the road.

Once the Flag is Captured

  • Players must hold the flag with two hands. As it’s on a flagpost, it could poke someone if you do not hold it with both hands. If you a running with the flag and are holding it in a way the ref determines is dangerous, you will be warned and may be sent to jail or disqualified from play if you repeat the behavior.
  • The flag may be passed from player to player as they attempt to return it to their home territory but it may not be thrown. If the flag touches the ground it returns to its point of origin.
  • If a player is tagged with the flag, the flag returns to it’s original position. This rule changes if the game enters sudden death.


  • A team wins when they’ve captured their enemy’s flag and have removed it from the enemy’s territory.
  • If both teams cross into neutral territory with their captured the flag at the same time (red is holding blue’s flag while blue is holding red’s flag), both flags are returned to their place of origin and players must return to their own territory. Otherwise, the team which removes the flag from their opponent’s first shall be the winner. Refs will make this call.
  • Depending on the length of the first game, there may be a chance at redemption. This will be determined by the referees. If so, victory will be secured by two out of three wins.

Sudden Death

  • The flag does not return to its origin when players are tagged trying to bring it to their own territory.

Whistle Calls

  • One long whistle indicates a player foul. If directed at you, see the ref who made the call. You may not be tagged during this time.
  • Three whistles – long, short, long – indicates the game has ended.

Unfair play
If a ref sees you cheating (not going to jail, trying to capture the flag after being freed from jail without returning to your home territory, or physically or verbally abusing another player) you will be placed in jail or asked to leave the game. If you are expelled from the game you will not receive a refund so play nice and have fun out there.