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Games to Play at Night with Friends

Updated on January 21, 2020

It's close to midnight!

Playing games in the neighborhood

The other day I was with a group of friends, trying to figure out something exciting to do for the evening. Money was running a bit low for everyone in the group, so activities with a cost were out of the question, and we didn't have much luck thinking of things that would be cheap or free that were nearby. I blurted out "night games" just for fun, and no one seemed to know what I was talking about! I had grown up in another state, and I guess this part of the country never played night games when they were younger.

Or perhaps they had just never heard them called "night games" before. Either way, once I explained what they were, no one was in the mood for some extreme "night games" fun! Maybe someday I'll find a group that is interested in playing them! And hopefully you can find one or two of them that are useful and entertaining, or maybe just be reminded of the games you used to play when you were a kid. Either way - here's the list!

Capture the Flag

"Capture the Flag" is one of the most popular night games, mostly because it is easy to play with a large or small group, everyone can get involved, and it doesn't require anything other than enough space to play and something to use as a flag. The rules are simple - the group is divided into two teams, and each team is given a flag and a territory. The teams then place their flag at a location near the back of the territory. The object is to then to capture the opposing team's flag without being 'tagged' by one of the enemy team players. The first team to "capture the flag" wins!

Different rules can make the game more exciting, and even mega-games where there are multiple flags and multiple teams can add some variety to the game. It's best to play in neighborhoods where everyone can participate and feel comfortable going in and behind other people's yards, or if you are out at a campground or other site where you can play in a larger open area.

How to Play Capture the Flag

Kick the Can

"Kick the Can" is probably the first night game I can remember playing - I used to play with my cousins in front of their house in a cul de sac. I was pretty young and they were all a few years older than I was at the time, so I don't remember being the winner all that often, but I do remember having fun! The game involved one person being "it" and placing a can in the center of the cul de sac. The rest of the players were then supposed to "kick the can" without being tagged by the person who was it. If you were tagged, you went to jail until that round was over. I guess you can play where the "it" person can jump over the can while calling out the name of someone they see approaching as another way to get them out. Either way, it was simple and fun!

How to Play Kick the Can

Couple Tag

I'm not sure the best name for this game (the one we used to use probably isn't appropriate!), but the idea is simple and can be played in any open space where you can form up in a circle and have others run around the inside of the circle. One person is designated as "it", another is the person being chased, and the rest of the players form a circle. The players link arms in pairs and the game is played by the person being chased linking arms on one side of a pair, which then releases the person on the other side of the link to start running. The "it" person is trying to tag the person who is being chased, and then once they do tag that person, they become the chased person and can then link arms with one of the pairs before being tagged back. Confusing? It isn't all that confusing, but as I am typing this, I'm also wondering if it was really all that fun, or if we just liked linking arms with the girls in Jr. High! :)


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