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How To Play Fresh

Fresh is a classic youth group running and strategy game. It's good for those kids who like to show off their speed, but also for those who'd rather stand still and out wit someone.

It can be a really complicated game to explain, so take care in reading the instructions.


Overview: The aim of the game is for each team to try to capture as many of the opposition players as possible.

Layout: The playing area needs to be divided into three sections as in Figure 1 below. No-mans land, team A's end zone and team B's end zone.

Freshness: A key part of the game is the "freshness" of each player. The simplest way to think about "freshness" is this:

You are only "fresher" than another player if you enter no-mans land after they entered.

A more detailed description follows: Imagine the end zones as fridges. When a player exits their end zone (and enters no-mans land) they are "fresh" for the first instant, but as time continues, their "freshness" fades away. For example, if player A exits their end zone, they are currently "fresh". But as soon as player B exits their end zone at any time after player A does, player B is now "fresher" than player A. Again, if player C exits their end zone after player A & player B do, they are the "freshest".

Playing the game

1. Each team begins the game in their end zone.

2. The question is often asked, why would someone want to leave their end zone? Well, the aim of the game is to capture as many opposition players as possible, so do that you'll need to draw them out. Team tactics can often include sending out distractions and taunting opposition players, so you'll be able to capture them. Once one player is tagged, that's when teams start sending in people to rescure their team mates and the game gets more interesting.

3. A player can be caught by a fresher player tagging a non-fresh player. The mechanics of "fresh"ness are described above in the summary section. When a player is caught, they must walk back to the oppositions end zone with the player who caught them.

4. All the caught players must form a line in the centre of the end zone line. The line must extend out into no-mans land. Caught players join the back of line. See Figure 2 below.

5. To rescue a caught player, you must tag the player. Once you've tagged them - you both have a free walk back to your team's end zone.

6. The game ends when the one team is entirely caught, or when the designated time is expired.

Materials Needed

2 parallel walls a reasonable distance apart

Submitted by Kostin on 24 Oct 2008 12:00:00

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28 Comments Add a comment »

we play this game at youth, its really fun

Posted by the almost rock on 13 Nov 2008 at 11:18:19

I don't get it.

Posted by Steve on 28 Apr 2009 at 6:07:42

What is the purpose of the game? Why would anyone leave their wall?

Posted by Terry Bossieux on 10 Jun 2009 at 2:23:39

The purpose of the game is to catch all of the other team so that they a lined up on your teams wall. So leaving your base may cause the other team to go after you.

Posted by Daniel on 27 Nov 2009 at 7:59:01

we have played this for years at our church and is awsome but a bit more serious and no walls as were in australia and not china or japan.

Posted by LLoyd on 6 Dec 2009 at 11:41:38

a line of some description will do. the funny thing is you need to be patient and the game will develop the longer it goes, terry is right there is no point in leaving the wall but they do anyway.

Posted by Julz on 19 Feb 2010 at 3:58:20

My youth once played this for 3 hours in the sun at a youth camp in mudgee...It was only meant to be a filler for 30min. Well they slept well that night which was a first.

Posted by Camo on 26 Feb 2010 at 12:44:52

Very confusing to read

Posted by Bob sluserbutt on 26 Apr 2010 at 5:10:13

Those struggling to understand, try draw a picture of it. Looks very interesting and will try it tonight.

Posted by p!nky... on 13 May 2010 at 1:23:34

This is confusing.. Can someone clarify?

Posted by Evelyn on 4 Aug 2011 at 10:08:36

Does the diagram I added help explain it at all?

Posted by Shorty on 5 Aug 2011 at 1:56:17

Is this how it goes? Players can only tag the opposition if they left thier own wall after thier apponent. In return players can only be tagged by opponents that left thier wall after them. Tagged and taggers have 'free' passage to jail. Those in jail form a chain and are freed by being tagged by own 'free' team mates. The team that gets all the opposite team in jail wins.

Posted by sta on 12 Sep 2011 at 1:16:25

This game needs to be updated with complete rules. I didn't get it either until a comment told the point of the game.

Posted by Mike on 15 Sep 2011 at 2:07:47

I've updated with some freshly typed rules. Let me know if you think there is anything that could be explained better. It really is a tough game to explain!

Posted by Shorty on 19 Sep 2011 at 1:34:09

how do i know which guy is fresher which is not

Posted by andrew on 16 Nov 2011 at 2:52:20

Usually you need to just rely on the honesty system. Most times the players are very aware of who is fresher and who is not.

Posted by Shorty on 16 Nov 2011 at 3:03:36

This game is called as kabadi in India

Posted by dghgj on 30 Dec 2011 at 6:02:33

maybe if you put an object they have to grab in the middle will make it better

Posted by on 19 Sep 2012 at 7:14:24

i am lost

Posted by jeronie on 31 Oct 2012 at 11:10:34

Can players return to their own end zones after entering the no man's land and before being tagged?

Posted by cheryl on 27 Apr 2013 at 12:01:59

This is an awesome game we have played it for years and the youth never get sick of it, we also play it inside in the winter and requires a different statergy level.

Posted by Jordan on 12 Sep 2013 at 9:11:20

I think this is an awesome game , though difficult to explain. But once everyone gets it, and starts thinking strategically, you have a time of awesomeness on your hands!

Posted by ninja on 21 Oct 2013 at 7:50:49

Question: When a person leave the end-zone (or fridge), can they go back and come out again to be fresher than before?

Bob goes into No-man's land first.
Joyce from another team goes into No-man's land second.
Can Bob go back to his own end-zone and come back out to be "fresher" than Joyce?

Posted by Bowen on 31 Dec 2013 at 2:07:02

I thought this sounded awesome.... until I go the honesty system bit.... oh well that rules this out with my lot!

Posted by Stu B on 19 Jan 2014 at 4:28:15

We played this game at camp but called it Darebase. You come off the line daring people to come get you.

Posted by Gretchen on 20 Jan 2014 at 10:01:51

would be good if you could make a video of a group demo-ing this game, would certainly clear lots of things up (:

Posted by despo on 1 Jun 2014 at 11:31:23

A suggestion for freshness checks. Have all the kids bibbed up or numbered so leaders can see. Give two checkers on each team (leaders...) a magnetic "counting board" (whiteboard) with two "end zones" and therefore three zones on the board. The leaders have either a: numbered magnetic counters equal to the players on both teams or b: different coloured markers. Then, when a youth from either side gets fresh, ie: leaves their end zone, the leaders call out the number of said child. Then both checkers mark that number on their board chronologically and all disputes can be checked against the marker boards. For example, Bobby is checking for group Zombots. Fillipe is checking for group Sandusters. When Gart, Zombot number 5, steps into the noman's land Bobby calls, "Zombot Five!" and marks a Zombot five in slot one of his noman's land space on his "counting board"; he uses either a red marker, or slides counter number 5 to slot one. Fillipe does the same. etc. When a kid is caught they and their catcher are removed from the noman's land section. Magnetic counters can be moved along but I think a huge board is needed for marker pens cause re-writing a bunch of numbers could get messy... also... i got a picture but i have no idea how to post it...

Posted by Lachlan on 4 Sep 2015 at 3:03:27


Divide into two equal teams (age and ability spread). You need at least 6 players a side for a good game. Maximum size might be about 12 per side before it can get a bit dangerous (side on clashes etc).

Set Up (4 markers minimum)
Set up area using at least four corner markers. Half way markers are helpful. The size of the area should reflect the size of the group. You can change this as the game goes. Length about the distance if all players (on both sides) hold hands and spread out in a line. Width, about the distance for all players (on one side) to hold hands and spread out in a line.

To capture ALL your opposing teams players and place them in 'Jail'. If you do this you win, or swap sides and start another round.

The Field
2. The area inside the four markers (rectangle) is the 'no man's land'. You are 'Fresh' (safe) if you are behind your teams end zone and no one can catch you.

Play Rules
~~~~~~~~~~ ~
You can be caught if you go in the no mans zone by someone who went into the no mans zone AFTER you. (They are 'fresher' than you)

You can catch someone in the no mans zone if you enter the area AFTER them. (You are 'fresher' than them).

You can only catch one player at time. If you catch (tip) a player you can't be caught. You must hold their hand and take them directly out of the no mans land and then march them immediately to your Jail zone (right corner marker).

There is a bit of an honesty policy that must work to determine if you are fresher than the opposing players.

Jail Rules

The caught player must TOUCH a part of their body on the corner marker (usually foot).

Once another person is caught they MUST be touching jail marker and the previously caught person at ALL times. This then becomes a human chain extending along the side line TOWARDS their team.(e.g. it is possible to lay down so hands are extended out and touching feet of next jailed player)

To free ONE captured player a team mate can run out and tip the closest member on the chain (the one who has been in jail the longest).

To free TWO captured players a fellow teammate must run across the field into the opposing teams end zone / safe zone WITHOUT being caught.

You can't be caught if you are bring a rescued team mate back to safety.

Strategy Tips
Offense - get one player to become the 'bait' and draw the opposing team towards your line. Get a fast player to catch the opposing player when they come too close

Defence - make sure you spread you players out across your safe zone line and have a dedicated 'jailer' who stops other player freeing those in jail.

Posted by Phil on 3 Dec 2015 at 5:05:37

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