Capture the flag is an outdoor game where two teams each hide the other team’s flag on their base. The objective is to capture your team’s flag, and bring it safely back to your own base. Opposing players can be tagged and sent to jail. Within their own territory players are safe. Once they cross the line into the other team’s territory they are vulnerable.
We played this urban game in the Rundling complex in the south of Leipzig. The circular housing complex was divided into two clearly designated halves, known as territories. The symmetric architecture enabled a chance of losing orientation and getting lost on the other team’s side. The players were intruders. The people living in the neighborhood became the observers of this unusual happening in their environment.
It also raises the questions: How do we use public space?
To avoid direct relations to nationality, gender or religion, simple patterns were created and printed on overalls to identify each team. Therefore the geometric team played against the organic team.
It was very interesting to observe the relations between the two sides. As soon as the territory was divided with a simple chalk line, the players immediately started using defense and offense techniques such as surveillance, oppression, provoking, outflanking, observing. The people who didn’t join the game unintentionally found themselves being mediators for both sides.