Capture the Flag with Stuff

Activities Distractions People Propaganda
Carnegie Mellon KGB
Capture the Flag with Stuff

The Spring 2024 game is Friday, February 16th at 7:00pm in DH 2315.

A somewhat psychotic variation on a classic game
By Andrew Plotkin
Revised 2/7/2001 by Sean "Teki" Dobbs
Revised 11/14/2002 by David "dkitchin" Kitchin
Revised 3/10/2003, 11/7/2003, 3/25/2004, 11/19/2004, 3/24/2005, 3/30/2006 by Benjamin "Hey You" Gilbert
Revised 3/2008 by edanaher, csjackso, ddagradi, cmartens, jgg, csawyer, ehohenst, mglisson...
Revised 8/10/2008, 2/8/2009, 11/5/2009 by edanaher
Revised 2/20/2012 by tbroman, kharring, mjsulliv, eforney, aleibowi…
Revised 9/21/2014 by mwoolfor, jlareau, sguertin, egarbade, afrieder, ssharera, cmorey, bwachowi, jnemes...
Revised 11/4/2015, 2/8/2016 by briedel, egarbade, tparenti, mwoolfor, cmorey, eeb, jlareau, jpdoyle, sctoor
Revised 9/29/2016 by ssharera, briedel, egarbade, tparenti, mjmurphy, hfernand, jpdoyle, sctoor
Revised 2/16/2017 by briedel, mjmurphy
Revised 2/22/2022 by kmcarpen, spalsen, mwmccoy, jamesbyr, yicheng3, kdulla, kevinson, kgurusha
A partial change history of these rules lives on GitHub.
Classic rules may be found here.
A timer / scoreboard for the game lives here.

These are the official rules for the Spring 2023 game of Capture the Flag with Stuff.

Printable Version

I. Base Rules

I.@. Meta

I.@.1. When rules in this document conflict, the later rule takes precedence.

I.@.1.a. E.g. I.C.4 states that a captor may not capture, while V.D.2 states that a player wearing Doc Arnold's Belt of Many Places at Once may capture multiple times.

I.@.2. The judges may choose to change the rules or add or remove stuff into the game. Any such rules or stuff changes must be clearly explained before the start of the game in which those changes are to be introduced.

I.A. Teams and Territories

I.A.1. The game consists of two teams, red and yellow. Team membership is indicated by colored bands, worn on the upper arm or head, which must be visible at all times.

I.A.2. Each team has a home territory. One team's is Wean, the other's is Doherty. The teams should swap territories after each game. The territory is defined as the space inside the building, with the doors closed, or as defined by the judges in the case of ambiguity. Where there is a chamber between two sets of doors, the chamber is included in the building.

I.A.3. Certain areas such as labs, clusters, and any normally inaccessible or otherwise restricted areas are forbidden. No player may enter these areas at any time during the game.

I.A.4. All areas which are neither a team's home territory nor forbidden are neutral. There must always be at least ten feet of neutral territory between opposing teams' home territories.

I.A.5. A player is considered to be in a team's territory if any part of their body is in the team's territory. If a player is in no team's territory, they are in neutral territory. Magic items have no effect on players who are in neutral territory.

I.B. Players

I.B.1. A player is any person playing the game.

I.B.2. A teammate is a member of the same team.

I.B.3. An enemy is a player who is not a teammate.

I.B.4. A player may be normal, ethereal, captive, captor, prisoner, interrogation victim, or stunned.

I.B.5. A normal player is in the default state described in these rules.

I.B.6. An ethereal player may not use, drop, or pick up magic items, is not affected by magic items, may not capture, and may not be captured. A player must use jazz hands to signal ethereality.

I.B.7. A captive is a player who has been captured (see I.C). Captives may not move or touch enemy flags and may not use or drop magic items (except for the Ninja Potion; see III.B).

I.B.8. A captor is a player who has captured another player (see I.C). Captors must lead their captives to the jail (see I.C), but are otherwise normal players.

I.B.9. A prisoner is a player who was a captive, but has touched the Glyph of Jail (see I.C).

I.B.10. An interrogation victim is a prisoner who has been given truth serum by the jailer (see I.C). They may not use magic items, but otherwise act identically to a prisoner except where specified.

I.B.11. A stunned player must immediately sit on the floor in the territory in which they were stunned until the stun wears off. The time they are stunned is measured from when they sit down, not when the stunning effect occurred. If they are captured while stunned, they become unstunned. A player may not be stunned again while stunned. Stunned players may not capture.

I.B.12. Only normal players and captors can be stunned.

I.B.12.a. If John Mackey changes a player's major during the game, the player is stunned for one minute.

I.C. Capture and Imprisonment

I.C.1. If a player touches an enemy when both are in the first player's home territory, they may choose to capture the enemy. At this point, the enemy becomes a captive.

I.C.1.a. As capture is optional, captors are encouraged to notify their captives of this action ("Gotcha" is a good choice).

I.C.2. A player, when captured, must immediately drop any flags they are carrying at the spot where they were captured.

I.C.3. A captive or prisoner must give up any non-concealable items upon request of the captor or a teammate of the captor. Concealable items need not be given up unless the enemy asking for them knows that the player has the item.

I.C.4. A captor must lead their captive directly to their team's Glyph of Jail (see II.B) at a reasonable speed. They cannot make any more captures until their captive has entered jail by touching the Glyph of Jail or another prisoner in the jail. Once this occurs, the captor is again a normal player, and the captive becomes a prisoner.

I.C.5. If a captor is stunned, their captive becomes a normal player.

I.C.6. Prisoners may use magic items.

I.D. Jail

I.D.1. Each team has a jail, designated by the Glyph of Jail.

I.D.1.a. Whenever possible, the Glyph of Jail in Doherty will be placed on floor A, near the staircase closest to the main lobby, and the Glyph of Jail in Wean will be placed on floor 6, near room 6220 at the end of the 6200 corridor.

I.D.2. One player on each team may take on the role of jailer by wearing the team's Jailer Fedora. The jailer is a normal player except as described in the remainder of this section. The jailer may at any time transfer the fedora to a teammate, who becomes jailer, or remove it, leaving no jailer.

I.D.2.a. In particular, if the jailer is captured or stunned, the jail remains functional; prisoners are not released (although any interrogation in progress is ended).

I.D.3. A player may not move the opposing team's fedora except to drop it.

I.D.4. The prisoners must form one or more chains, with each player touching the Glyph of Jail either directly or through a chain of other prisoners.

I.D.5. If there is a jailer, they may relax the requirement to form chains.

I.D.5.a. Typically, the jail is at the end of a hall, and prisoners are allowed to sit around in the vicinity of the jail.

I.D.6. Every fifteen minutes, starting from the beginning of play, all prisoners are released from all jails. Released prisoners must return to their home territories at reasonable speed, by the most direct route. Prisoners released in this manner are ethereal until they re-enter their home territories.

I.D.7. A player in a normal state not carrying a flag may touch a prisoner in another team's jail. As long as freeing the prisoner does not break a chain leading back to the jail, the prisoner is freed. Both players are ethereal and must return to their home territory as after a jailbreak (see I.D.6); they need not remain together.

I.D.8. The jailer has a supply of Truth Serum, which they may use by poking a prisoner in the shoulder with a pinky finger. The prisoner then becomes an interrogation victim.

I.D.9. The jailer may then ask the victim up to six yes/no questions, and the victim may lie no more than once. The victim may answer "I don't know" if they really don't know, but then the question doesn't count against the six.

I.D.10. Upon completion of questioning, the victim is freed from jail and must return to their home territory as after a jailbreak (see I.D.6). Questioning is complete when the victim answers the sixth question, if the jailer decides they are done with this victim, if the victim is freed, at jailbreak, if there is no jailer, or if the jailer leaves line of sight of the victim.

I.D.11. There may be at most one truth serum victim in each jail.

I.E. Initial Setup and Game Completion

I.E.1. At the beginning of the game, there is a setup period of fifteen minutes. This time should be used for the placement of flags and glyphs, and distribution of magic items. No player may enter enemy territory during this period. Magic items have no effect during this time.

I.E.2. The game begins at the end of the set up period and ends after one hour, or when there remains only one team with uncaptured flags.

I.F. Additional Terms

I.F.1. Cooldown: This is a property of certain items. An item with cooldown may not be activated again for one minute after its use. This requirement may be suspended by the singing of a number of verses from a song determined before the game begins; the item is then usable after singing that song.

I.F.2. Concealment: Potions may be concealed, meaning they need not be visible. All other game items must be visible at all times. A captive is not required to give up a concealed item unless their captor asks for it specifically and knows that they have the item.

I.F.2.a. Potions cannot be used while concealed.

I.F.3. Dispelling: A dispelled item has no magical effects.

I.F.4. Field of View: The field of view is the extent of the observable world that is visible to the player at any given moment.

I.F.5. Line of Sight: A player is within line of sight of an item or event if they can rotate themself to bring it into their field of view.

I.F.6. See: A player sees an item or event if it passes within their field of view and they can recognize it.

I.F.7. Sacrificial: Red items are sacrificial. These items may only be activated in enemy territory, must be dropped upon use, and may not be picked up or moved when in enemy territory.

I.F.8. Whap: A player is whapped by a wand if it hits them at approximately the same time the wand bearer shouts the key word.

I.F.8.a. As wands are fairly soft, whapping a player on the head counts but is discouraged.

I.F.9. Key Words/Phrases: Some items have a key word or phrase used to activate them. This phrase must be said entirely in the territory where the activation occurs, and the action occurs upon completion of the phrase.

I.F.10. Knowledge: knowledge of an opponent's concealable items, as referenced in rules I.C.3 and I.F.2, means that they have not had a chance to dispose of that item since the last time you saw it in their possession.

I.G. Flags

I.G.1. Flags are large pieces of cloth or felt. Each team has three or more flags.

I.G.2. Flags must be placed during the initial setup time, and their placement must be supervised by a judge. They must be placed no higher than six feet above the floor; the flag must be clearly visible from most angles; flags must be placed no more than one flag per hallway or corridor. If the flag is placed inside a container, there must be an obvious way to remove the flag in one smooth motion.

I.G.3. No flag may ever exist in an area with fewer than two exits, unless it is being carried. If a flag is dropped in an area with only one exit, a judge must move it the shortest possible distance to a valid location.

I.G.4. Any magic items a player is carrying are dispelled if they are carrying a flag, and remain dispelled for one minute after the player gives up the item or drops the flag.

I.G.5. Each flag will be assigned a point value at the beginning of the game by the head judge.

I.G.5.a. Judges may or may not inform the players of these values on a per-game basis.

I.G.6. The winner of the game is the team with the most points. The point values of each flag must be set such that the team with the most flags has the most points.

I.G.6.a. If the point system is set differently than specified in I.G.6, the players must be informed of this fact before the set up of the game in which this takes place.

I.G.7. A player who brings a flag to the judges room earns for their team the number of points associated with the flag. The flag is then out of play for the remainder of the game.

I.G.8. For the purposes of flag placement under I.G.2 and I.G.3, the portion of the Wean 4600 corridor from 4602 through 4616 and the entirety of the Wean 4700 corridor shall each be treated as one hallway and therefore each shall have no more than one flag. Exact boundaries between these two hallways shall be enforced at judges' discretion, but in no case may more than two flags be placed in the combined area.

I.H. Judges

I.H.1. Judges are indicated by blue or silver headbands, and are responsible for keeping the game running smoothly.

I.H.2. The head judge is the final arbiter and scorekeeper, and should remain in the judges' room, which is Wean Hall 8427 unless otherwise specified.

I.H.3. An assistant head judge should reside at each team's jail.

I.H.4. Each team should also have at least 1 roaming judge. The total number of roaming judges is up to the head judge, and based on the number of players.

I.H.4.a. Roaming judges’ responsibility is to resolve conflicts or perform other duties required of them.

I.H.5. Judges should attempt to resolve disputes fairly and find outcomes agreeable to both sides. In all cases, the judge's decision is final.

II. Glyphs

II.A. General

II.A.1. Glyphs are large sheets of paper or poster-board marked with a spell.

II.A.2. Each glyph is owned by a particular team, indicated by the coloring of the glyph.

II.A.3. A glyph must be taped to a wall in the owning team's territory or side of a door that would be in the owning team's territory if it were closed.

II.A.3.a. Once placed, all glyphs are considered part of the owning team’s territory.

II.A.4. A glyph affects all normal players on opposing teams in its owning team's territory.

II.A.5. A glyph may not be placed within ten feet of a flag. If a flag is dropped within ten feet of a dispellable glyph, the glyph is dispelled for as long as the flag remains, and for one minute after.

II.A.6. A glyph may not be placed such that any part of it is more than 6 feet off the ground.

II.B. Glyph of Jail

II.B.1. The Glyph of Jail is indicated by the word "Jail".

II.B.2. The Glyph of Jail defines the Jail, as described by section I.D.

II.B.3. The Glyph of Jail cannot be dispelled.

II.C. Glyph of Entrancement

II.C.1. The Glyph of Entrancement is indicated by the word "Gotcha".

II.C.2. A player who sees the Glyph of Entrancement is stunned for one minute.

II.D. Glyph of the Disgusting Doorknob

II.D.1. The Glyph of the Disgusting Doorknob is indicated by the word "Yukko".

II.D.2. If a Glyph of the Disgusting Doorknob is on a door, a player may not open the door or prevent it from closing by interacting with the side of the door the Glyph is on. If the Glyph is mounted on one of a set of doors, all doors are affected.

II.D.2.a. The Glyph of Disgusting Doorknob affects players in neutral territory.

II.D.3. The counting of exits for purposes of flag placement is unaffected by this glyph.

II.D.4. If a Glyph of the Disgusting Doorknob is mounted next to the buttons controlling an elevator, no affected player may push any of the buttons or prevent the elevator doors from closing.

II.D.5. Any player must be able to exit to neutral territory without opening any door from a side affected by a Glyph of the Disgusting Doorknob or activating any stuff. No player can be completely trapped by this glyph.

II.E. Glyph of Alarm

II.E.1. The Glyph of Alarm is indicated by the word "Alarm".

II.E.2. A player who sees the Glyph of Alarm must shout or sing "Alarm" or another phrase as loudly as possible for one minute or until they are captured or returns to neutral space.

II.F. Glyph of Recharge

II.F.1. The Glyph of Recharge is indicated by the phrase "Still Going".

II.F.2. A player may recharge a white magic item (see VI.A) by holding it to a Glyph of Recharge for a period of 10 seconds.

II.F.2.a. A player may use any Glyph of Recharge in either territory.

III. Potions

III.A. General

III.A.1. Potions are small pieces of foam wrapped in colored tape.

III.A.2. Potions are concealable.

III.B. Ninja Potion of Magic Smoke

III.B.1. The Ninja Potion of Magic Smoke is red, and thus sacrificial.

III.B.2. To activate this item a captive throws this potion onto the ground and yells as loudly as possible "Poof, I am a Ninja!". All enemy players who hear this and are within line of sight of the user are stunned for ten seconds.

III.B.2.a. This includes enemy players within line of sight in all territories. Players in neutral territory are unaffected, as they are immune to all stuff.

III.C. Potion of Wait... There's a Key at the Bottom of This

III.C.1. The Potion of Wait... There's a Key at the Bottom of This is green and has cooldown.

III.C.2. To activate this potion, a player must bonk themself on the head with this potion and use one of the key words "Lolt", "Jube", or "Key".

III.C.3. A stunned player, once they are sitting, may use this potion to unstun themself and return to a normal state.

III.C.4. A prisoner may use this potion to free themself from jail and return to a normal state.

III.D. Potion of Mind Control

III.D.1. The Potion of Mind Control is blue.

III.D.2. To use this potion, a player must capture an enemy player while using the key word "obey". The enemy becomes the player's captive, and must be handed this potion immediately.

III.D.3. A player may capture two people simultaneously with one invocation of the potion's ability. They must be simultaneously tagged when the player says "obey". Both enemies become the player's captive.

III.D.4. Captive(s) who are handed this potion must proceed directly to jail as if escorted by the captor, clearly displaying the potion to any members of the captor's team they encounter.

III.D.4.a. Player(s) controlled by the Potion of Mind Control are still captive(s). They may not be stunned, and they ignore opponents' glyphs.

III.D.4.b. No player may take the Potion of Mind Control from captive(s) being controlled by it, even if they know they have it.

III.D.4.c. If the Potion of Mind Control is dispelled, the captive(s) under its control are freed.

III.D.5. A captor who uses the Potion of Mind Control becomes a normal player after handing off the potion. They do not have to escort the captive(s) to jail.

III.D.6. The captive(s) may not proceed to jail by a route that is less than direct, in an effort to explore for flags or for any other reason.

III.D.6.a. If two players were captured, they are controlled by the same potion and must stay together.

III.D.7. This potion may be activated while concealed.

IV. Wands

IV.A. General

IV.A.1. Wands are eighteen-inch lengths of foam rubber.

IV.A.2. The effect of a wand is activated by whapping a person or glyph and shouting the key word.

IV.A.3. Each use of the key word invokes at most one wand on one subject.

IV.B. Wand of Vengeance

IV.B.1. The Wand of Vengeance has key word "Toast", and is red, and thus sacrificial.

IV.B.2. A normal player may whap an enemy in the enemy's home territory. The user captures the enemy, and both players become ethereal. The user must lead the enemy back to their jail as directly as possible at reasonable speed.

IV.B.3. Upon entry into the user's home territory, the user becomes a captor and the enemy becomes a captive.

IV.C. Wand of Stun

IV.C.1. The Wand of Stun has key word "Stun", and is green and has cooldown.

IV.C.2. Any player whapped with this wand is stunned for one minute.

IV.D. Wand of Dispel

IV.D.1. The Wand of Dispel has key word "Dispel", and is blue and has cooldown.

IV.D.2. If a player is whapped with the wand of dispel, all magic items they are carrying are dispelled for one minute.

IV.D.3. If two players simultaneously use this wand on each other, all items carried by both players are dispelled for one minute.

IV.D.4. A dispellable glyph which is whapped by the Wand of Dispel is dispelled for one minute.

V. Belts

V.A. General

V.A.1. A belt is a long sash of cloth or felt.

V.A.2. To be used, a belt must be tied around a player's waist.

V.A.3. A belt can be worn by at most one player.

V.A.4. A player can wear at most one belt.

V.B. Andy Warhol's Belt of Pop Occultism

V.B.1. Andy Warhol's Belt of Pop Occultism is red, and thus sacrificial.

V.B.2. To activate this belt, the wearer must yell as loudly as possible some phrase to be determined by the judges before the start of the game. Upon activation, all enemy players within line of sight of the user are stunned for one minute.

V.B.2.a. Since the belt is sacrificial, the user must also drop the belt.

V.C. Goombah's Belt of Humiliating Protection

V.C.1. Goombah's Belt of Humiliating Protection is green.

V.C.2. This belt is activated by starting to skip and loudly sing "Yankee Doodle". While singing and skipping continues, the belt is in use, and the wearer is immune to capture and stun.

V.C.3. Any number of teammates may share the protection of this belt by holding hands with the wearer, either directly or through a chain of teammates, as long as all teammates in the chain are skipping and singing along.

V.C.4. If any player in the chain is dispelled, all items carried by all members of the chain are dispelled.

V.C.4.a. In particular, the Goombah's belt is dispelled.

V.C.5. This belt does not function in elevators.

V.D. Doc Arnold's Belt of Many Places at Once

V.D.1. Doc Arnold's Belt is blue.

V.D.2. A player wearing Doc Arnold's Belt may have up to three captives at once. They may attempt to capture further captives beyond their first.

V.D.3. Once any captures have been made, the player must lead the captives directly to jail as normal. On their way, the player may deviate from their route only in the manner described below in V.D.4.

V.D.4. While wearing Doc Arnold's belt, a captor with at most two captives may use the key phrase "I'LL BE BACH." If they do, each captive of that captor must remain stationary for as long as the captor remains within their line of sight, and for a period of 10 seconds thereafter. If the captor wearing the belt is outside of a captive's line of sight for a period of 10 seconds while using this effect, that captive is freed and becomes a normal player. This effect ends after one minute, or when the wearer resumes taking captives directly to jail, whichever occurs first.

V.D.4.a. A captor wearing Doc Arnold's belt may not use the key phrase again if they have not brought a new captive back to their waiting captive(s) since the last time they used the key phrase.

V.D.5. If the belt is dispelled, all of its wearer's captives except the first are freed. If two captives were captured at the same time, the captor may choose which one to keep.

VI. White Magic Items

VI.A. White Magic Items

VI.A.1. A white magic item is white.

VI.A.2. A white magic item must be charged to be used.

VI.A.2.a. All white magic items are charged at the start of the game

VI.A.3. White magic items come in potion, wand, and belt types.

VI.A.4. Each white magic item can be used as though it were a magic item of the same type of any other color, and is activated by invoking the keyword and action of that item.

VI.A.4.a. A white potion may be activated as any potion defined in III, a white wand as any wand defined in IV, and a white belt as any belt defined in V.

VI.A.5. A white magic item is always white. During its activation, it gains the color of the magic item which was invoked, and follows all rules of that magic item.

VI.A.5.a. In order to activate a white magic item, you must be in a valid player state and location for activating that color and type of magic item

VI.A.5.b. For example, if a white wand is used to invoke a Wand of Vengeance IV.B, you must be in enemy territory, and the white wand is sacrificial.

VI.A.6. After the activation of a white magic item, it becomes discharged and loses the color of the invoked item.

VI.A.6.a. If a white magic item touches the ground, it becomes discharged.

VI.A.7. In order to recharge a white magic item, a player must hold it to either a Glyph of Recharge (see II.F) or their own Glyph of Jail (see II.B) for a period of ten seconds.

VII. Sportsmanship

VII.A. Physicality

VII.A.1. Players may not physically impede or block other players, either with their bodies or with objects.

VII.A.1.a. This includes actions like preventing elevators from moving. Breakage of this rule is grounds to eject you from the game.

VII.A.2. You may not change official timekeeping watches.

VII.A.3. You may not fabricate or replicate game items.

VII.B. Lies

VII.B.1. Although lies and deceit are part of the game, there are several things you may not conceal, obfuscate, or lie about.

VII.B.2. You may not lie about whether you're in the game.

VII.B.3. You may not lie about which team you're on.

VII.B.4. You may not lie about the status of the game.

VII.B.4.a. For example, whether the game has started or ended.

VII.B.5. You may not lie about what non-concealable items you have.

VII.B.6. You may not lie about cooldown, dispel, or charge status of items.

VII.B.7. You may not lie about any player's status.

VII.B.8. You may not make jazz hands unless you are ethereal.

VII.B.9. You may not display a Potion of Mind Control in enemy territory unless you are a captive under its control.

VII.B.10. You may not imitate the activation or use of an item without the intent of using it.

0. Respect: Above all, don't be a jackass.

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