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Chase and Catch Games Prisoners Base V

( Chase and Catch, Command and Response, Defense and Attack, Hunting, Strategy, Tag, Team Wars and Battle )

In this form of prisoners base the ground is marked out in a square or oblong the dimensions varying with the number of players and their age or ability as runners. For average players a ground measuring 60 x 60 feet is recommended. The two end boundaries serve as base lines the territory beyond each belonging to the party on that side. In this respect the game differs from those previously described in which a limited home goal is marked for each team. About ten feet from the base line near the left-hand corner of the square or oblong a small prison is marked for each team.

The first object of the game is to make prisoners of all the opponents. The second object of the game is to make runs into the enemys territory and back again without being caught (tagged). Three such runs entitle the player making them to select a player from the opposing team as a prisoner or to free one prisoner from his own team. Should a player be made a prisoner any runs he may have made into the enemys territory up to that time are lost in his account and when freed he must begin his score of runs over again to count three. A player returning home after a run into the enemys territory may not capture a prisoner or free one of his own men from prison on the way. A player may not be tagged after crossing the opponents base line until he starts back. In returning home after such a run a player may be tagged by any opponent who left his own goal after the runner left his own goal (not the enemys goal) but not by any who started out before the runner started. This rule applies to the capture of opponents at any time any player for instance on team A being liable to capture by any opponent on team B who left his base line after the A man but not any who left it before he left his own. Similarly he may capture any player on team B who ventured forth before he did but must be on his guard against any who came out after he did. Stepping over the side lines while being chased is equivalent to being caught but this does not apply when escorting a prisoner or at any other time.

Prisoners may stretch out of the prison as far as possible so long as one foot is within it. As the number of prisoners increases they may stretch out in one long file from the prison provided each touches a hand or foot or some other part of the next player. In such a file the first prisoner captured should be the farthest away from the prison the last one captured with at least one foot in the goal and the others in relative order. After the first prisoner is caught the game centers more on freeing or preventing the freeing of prisoners than on runs into the enemys goal.

The interest of the game depends very much on locating the prison in such a way as to give the right balance between the forces of offense and defense. If it is placed close to the base line of the side by which the capture has been made it is almost impossible to free the prisoner if there is any defense at all. The game is often spoiled by this mistake. On the other hand it must not be placed too far out for if it is it becomes impossible to win the game because the line of prisoners when the side is nearly all caught then extends to a point so much nearer their own base line than to that of their opponents that even the slowest runner on the losing side can get down and free a prisoner before the fastest runner on the opposite side can get out to stop him. The art of laying out the ground is to have the prison placed far enough out to make the freeing of the first prisoner reasonably easy without being so far out as to make the catching of the last one impossible. In general the game can be made lively and comparatively unscientific by making the distance between the base lines (the lines on which the two sides are lined up) short the field wide and the prisons far out and can be made more difficult and less eventful by making it long and narrow with the prisons close in. If this latter tendency is carried too far however freeing prisoners and making runs become at last impossible and the game is entirely stopped…. The game of course is at its best when there is most going on and of the most thrilling sort –a lot of players making runs and freeing and defending prisoners –with flight and rally charge and rout and triumph and despair.

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