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Battle games to rival Fortnite

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

As a PE teacher their was one game that would guarantee every child got to their feet and into the action. It didn't matter if they were out of uniform, had been sick all week, carried an injury or hadn't moved for the whole term. When we played this game, they all committed like their life depended on the outcome. What was the game? Brandings. At least that's what we used to call it. Trying to hit the other person with a ball. It can be played in your house (caution required), in a hall or large room or outdoors. No matter how many players, what the missiles, or where the location, this is a game guaranteed to keep your children enraptured for hours. There is an endless variety of such games so here are some of my favourites;

Missile madness (Capture the flag) Divide into two teams (Four if you have lots of players). Each team is given an equal number of missiles (balls). Cotton water balls or cut up sponges work really well here. If you use them make sure each team has a bucket of water at their base to re-soak. There should be at least one ball per player. Allocate a play area. The best areas have lots of obstacles and places to hide behind. A jungle gym play area works well. For large groups you can use an area the size of a football field. Just be clear about where each teams base is. Here you will place a flag or other object. The objective of the game is to invade the other persons territory and collect the flag and return it to your base without being hit. When you are hit you freeze. If you have the flag it is returned. Frozen players can only get back in the game if they are saved. This can be done be appointing a doctor to each team. When he touches an 'injured' team mate they are immediately back in the game. Alternatively have a hit player have to return to their base. Another option is to appoint a 'president' for each team. If the president gets hit that team loses immediately.

Asteroids. Define a playing area about the size of a netball court. A jumping pillow works well, and so does a jungle gym or playground area with natural obstacles. Each player gets one or more foam balls, depending on how many you have. They spread out along the edges of the designated area. On go players run and try and hit others by throwing their balls at them. If you get hit, you go to the ground. You cannot move but can rejoin the game if you can get a ball (Sometimes a friend might give you one to let you in or you might have formed an alliance). The player who is the last person still in the game wins. When the game ends after a certain time and there is more than one person still on their feet, the winner is the one who has been hit the least. Variation: Same rules but this time it is not everyman for himself but two teams.

Run the gauntlet. Assign a clear area about the size of a netball court. A jumping pillow would work well. One person is assigned to ‘Run the gauntlet’ while the remaining players line up along the boundaries on both sides for the length of the area. Each player is given one foam or dodge ball. On go, the runner must run to the end of the area and back again. All other players try and hit him with their ball. If he gets hit, he is out. Get one point for making it to the other end and 2 points if he makes it there and back. Once returned swap the runner with another player and repeat.

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