Physical Games

Most of the games I concern myself are not physical in nature, but even a pimple-faced geek needs exercise from time to time. While I've played my fair share of organized sports I've never really been a fan of them. Some of the players tend to have a bit too much "team spirit" and their insults always end up ruining the game for me. So instead, I like to play un-organized sports. These are games and sports that have very lax rules with plenty of room for interpretation or "house rules". You don't usually see these games on ESPN. Take a look at some of these games and maybe you'll find something that you and your group of friends can enjoy. Many of these games are time-tested and you may have missed out on them as a child, some are a little newer and utilize more recent technology. All of them are useful for losing a few pounds, adding some muscles, and becoming more coordinated.

Airsoft is similar to paintball, only instead of paintballs, you shoot high velocity plastic pellets. And just like paintball you will get the occasional bruise and welt. Airsoft guns are simulations made to look like there live counterparts. The game can be played pretty much anywhere. Unlike paintball there is no way to prove that a hit was made, so players are left on their honor to declare when they're hit. Eye protection is important, but aside from that the game is quite safe. Various games can be played with Airsoft, most of which involve being considered "dead" once shot.

Boffering is a fun sport that could be considered Nerf sword fighting. Basically, each person wields a weapon made out of foam and plastic and they attack their opponents trying to score hits on different body parts. Limbs are rendered useless upon successful hits and torso shots are considered kill shots. For more information on rule variations and boffer construction tips, take a look at Lukrain's Boffer Guide.

Capture the Flag
Capture the flag is only mildly complex. It kind of mixes tag and hide-and-go-seek. Two teams are created and two flags are made. The playing field is broken up into two halves and each team hides their flag on their side of the playing field and also sets up a base (which is not hidden). When the game begins, players run to the opposing side and attempt to find the other team's flag. If they find it, they run back to their base and that team wins. In order to add complexity to the game, when you're on your opponent's side, you can be "captured". This is done by having an opponent tag you and haul you to their base. You are not allowed to leave the base until another one of your teammates can tag you to set you free. Capture the flag has many different variants and can be played pretty much anywhere.

Crack the Whip
A lot of people remember this game from their childhood. A line of people is made, each facing the same direction and holding onto the opposite hand of the person in front of them. Then the leader begins to run and change direction erratically. The people following are caught in the curving momentum and eventually lose their balance and break the chain of hands. Where ever the chain breaks, the person who held on becomes the new leader. This game is also a lot of fun on ice skates or in-line skates.

Some nerds may remember those days of having a soccer ball smack you in the face, but remember that you are fully capable of using a Nerf ball. Separate everyone into two teams and separate the playing field into two equal sized sections. Use one ball for each pair of people and set them in the center of the field, each player is at the back of their side. When the game starts each player rushes to get the balls for their side and begin throwing the balls at each other in an attempt to hit them. If you get hit by a ball you're out. If you catch a ball being thrown at you the person who threw it is out. If you cross the center line you're out. Your team wins by getting everyone on the opposing team out. All sorts of variants exists as well.

Fox Hunt
One person is the fox and everyone else is a hunter. The fox is given a head start to run into the woods to evade the hunters. The hunters must then chase into the woods and try to track the fox by looking for footprints, listening for breaking branches, and utilizing their senses to track the fox before a specified time. If the hunters are able to encircle the fox and cut off all his escape routes the fox loses. If the fox is able to evade the hunters until time runs out, the fox wins. This game can also be played in an urban setting where the fox is able to use taxis, subways, buses, etc. and the hunters are allowed to use cell phones.

There is a very old treasure hunting game called letterboxing where a small waterproof container is hidden in the woods and hints and riddles are given in order to find it. Geocaching is similar to that, but it uses the modern technology of a GPS (global positioning satellite) and a GPS receiver. Participants are given several coordinates and must drive, hike, climb, or swim to get to them. There is usually a riddle or hint to help you find the exact location of the treasure box. The box usually contains a log book where you can leave your name, and little trinkets of "treasure". Depending on where the cache is hidden you can expect simple walks or complex adventures.

Hide and Seek
There isn't a child alive who made it to the age of ten without playing this game. One person is "it". They give the rest of the players a set amount of time to go and hide. Once the time is up the person who is "it" goes seeking for the hidden people. The last person found wins. It's extremely basic, but many variants can be made around the premise.

Kick the Can
Kick the Can is a mix between tag and hide and seek. The person who is "it" places a can in an open field. All the remaining people run and hide. After sufficient time is given, the person who is "it" must try and find the people hiding. If they are found and tagged then they are out. At any time a player who is hiding may run up and try to kick the can. If this happens everyone who is out is back in and must run and hide once more. If the person who is "it" tags everyone out they win. this game will help you learn how to hide and walk stealthily.

King of the Hill
As the name suggests, the game is played on a hill. Actually, a small mound is more effective, as a hill can become tiring very quickly. The objective of the game is to stand at the top of the hill and remain there while everyone else tries to push you down. Only pushing and tripping is allowed, not punching or kicking. Whoever remains "king" of the hill the longest wins. It's amazing how much of a workout your legs get while playing this game.

King of the Ring
This game is basically Sumo wrestling without the rules and ritual. A large ring is created on the ground; it can be with rope, paint, tape, it doesn't matter just as long as it stays put. Two people enter the ring and attempt to push the other person out of the ring. This can be done by pushing and tripping, but not by kicking or striking. Whoever touches the ground outside of the ring with any part of their body loses. To win, you must push your opponent out while staying in yourself. This sport is great for learning balance and footing.

Laser Tag
Laser tag is played using guns that shoot an infrared laser. Each person has a gun and wears a body suit that has several laser targets on it that can be shot by laser guns. If a player is shot their gun becomes inactive for a short while before they can shoot again. Information is kept on who shoots who and how many "kills" each person gets. At the end of the game a winner is declared. Because laser tag requires so much expensive gear you usually have to rent the equipment and play in a laser tag building, although some cheaper home equipment is becoming more common. Laser tag is useful for developing accuracy while under stress.

Manhunt is best described as hide-and-seek for adults. The objective of the game is to have a one person be the manhunter, and the rest be fugitives. The fugitives are given a little time to hide and then the manhunter goes looking for them. The manhunter has a limited time to find the fugitives. If a fugitive is found they are "brainwashed" into being a manhunter as well. Any fugitives that are still hidden when time is up wins. This game is often played in urban settings at night by teenagers and adults.

Mongolian Wrestling
As the name explains, this is a form of wrestling that originated in Mongolia. The basic premise of the sport is to grapple with your opponent and try to get the off their feet. If any part of your opponent's body other than the soles of their feet touch the ground, you win. The rules prohibit any form of striking, kicking, hair-pulling, etc. Only grappling and tripping style maneuvers are allowed. Aside from being great exercise, this sport teaches basic grappling skills which are important for self-defense.

Paintball is a way to simulate military combat using guns that fire paint instead of bullets. Although some body armor is important like a face mask and safety goggles, the game is relatively safe other than a bruise or two. Because the guns shoot paint, it is easy to tell when a player is shot and thus "dead". Paintball can be played in small groups, or even on the scale of hundreds of people.

Rope Jousting
Rope jousting is tug of war with strategy. Two people, about twenty feet apart, stand on a brick, stump, milk crate, whatever. A rope is stretched between then and each side has about ten feet of slack behind them. The game starts and each player tugs on the rope to win. You win either by tugging your opponent off his brick so either of his feet touch the ground, or by pulling the rope to where your hands touch their end of the rope. You are allowed to let go of the rope while your opponent is tugging in hopes that they will be off balance and fall off their brick. Rope jousting will really help you learn how to keep your balance.

Tag has about a million variants, all of which involve running and chasing. The basic premise is that one person is "it" and they must chase down another player and tag them, thus making them "it". Most children have spent countless hours playing this game. Variants include freeze tag, octopus tag, flashlight tag, TV tag, ball tag, to name a few.

Tug of War
Tug of war is a simple game where brute strength is key, but not the only factor. Two teams are made, and placed on either end of a rope. When the game begins they must pull on their end of the rope in order to force the other team to be moved past a marked point. A good way to mark the point is to put two lines of tape on the ground for the starting point of each time and some tape on the center of the rope. When the tape crosses one of the starting lines you can declare your winner.