We’ve been playing a variant of a manhunt game quite a lot at Chaigeley School recently which we call Jailbreak. This week we have been developing the rules to make the game more dynamic, and have come up with a really good game with a competitive edge.
Previous to this week we have been playing a simple jailbreak game where I usually play the role of the ‘jailer’ where I have to tag a player and lead him or her back to a designated jail where they have to stay unless they are released by a free player (by tagging them and shouting “1,2,3 X is released from jail”). The problem was that sometimes the person in jail wasn’t released because the free players just would hide, and I would tend to stay too near to the jail in the hope of catching players attempting to free prisoners. We needed to adapt the rules to make the game more interesting.
So now we have another member of staff who is the ‘holder of the treasure’. Their role is to wander through the woods with some treasure. This could be anything – tokens, coins, tickets etc. (We used 2″ lengths of paracord.) Each player can claim a bit of treasure once per minute. They can also get 5 pieces of treasure for releasing a prisoner. This makes me as the jailer have to move around more so I have to seek players, attempt to prevent treasure collection and to guard the jail at the same time. The players are encouraged to come out of hiding to claim treasure and are rewarded for breaking others out of jail. The winner is the player who at the end of the game has the most treasure. This could be exchanged for rewards at the end if appropriate.
The game we played last week was a lot of fun and it was great to hear the laughter as the game was played, especially as I was sneaking up to where a couple of players were talking and got to within just a few yards before being spotted, followed by a shout of surprise and flight and pursuit through the woods. Great fun!
In this setting the balance of play is usually me as the jailer and about 5 players. It could be developed for more players by having a similar ratio of jailers to players, for example 2 jailers for 12 players or something. Have a play about with it and see how it goes with larger groups. I would tend to have faster runners as jailers so they have a chance to catch some prisoners.
EDIT: We had a new rule suggested and tried last week: A prisoner may buy their way out of jail for the cost of 3 tokens. – Worked really well, giving everyone the chance go get out quickly if they wish, but at a small cost.