Wednesday 30 January 2013

Tag! You're it.

My friend Mike recently pointed me towards this quite amazing story about 10 friends who cement their friendship with an ongoing game of tag. For one month out of every year, the game is on and the person who is "it" can use whatever underhanded devious tactics they choose to tag one of the others. Whoever is "it" at the end of the month must carry with them the shame of being "it" for the rest of the year. Such dirty tricks include bribing family members and friends, hiding in bushes, breaking into houses in the middle of the night, and anything else that an aspiring stalker might have up their sleeve. Fantastic!

So I got to thinking; how could we adapt this into a country wide game of Ultra Tag? Essentially the game would be tag, but within the confines of an ultra race, and with elements of the old university game of Assassin thrown in for good measure. If you are "it", then you would have an opportunity to tag another player at the next race that you ran at, but for the tag to count you would also need to beat them to the finish line! Here is the game as I see it:
  1. The "tagger" is the player who was it at the start of the game. The "taggee" is the player whom the tagger has targeted.
  2. The tagger has from the moment the race starts until he crosses the line in which to make a tag of another player. 
  3. Players must download, print off, and wear a specially designed target on their back somewhere visible by people approaching from behind during the race.
  4. Only runners wearing this visible mark are eligible targets.
  5. Once the taggee has been tagged by the tagger, there are no tag-backs. But then the race is on!
  6. The taggee has two options to avoid being "it"; they can either tag another player (in which case they become the tagger in the above scenario), or can race and beat the original tagger to the finish.
  7. If the taggee succeeds in beating the tagger to the finish line, then the state of being "it" reverts to the original tagger once more. However, if the tagger crosses the line first, then the taggee is it. This will be updated on the website.
  8. If multiple tags have been made, then the outcome of the tags will be decided based on the order of finishing.
The last rule is just because there is kind of a branching structure to the tagging that might depend on who beats whom in the race. So if Player A is "it" and tags Player B, but then Player B tags Player C, and the finishing order is CAB, then Player B would be "it" at the end of the race. This is because whilst they tagged Player C, Player C beat them to the finish. So we go back one tagging, and find that Player A successfully tagged and beat Player B. So the result of the race is that being "it" goes from Player A to Player B.

It's not as difficult as I've made it sound, honest! It's just a bit of silly fun really! But the more players there are, the more fun it will be. If you fancy playing, then email me with the following information, which will be published on a separate page on this blog for all other players to see:
  • Your name
  • A recent photo (preferably of you running so that people can recognise you at races)
  • A list of all of your upcoming races for the year (where other players might be likely to find you)

This is only a rough idea for the rules - if anybody has any suggestions for ways in which they can be improved then please comment below. 

Who's in?!


  1. I think that the "and you must beat them" is overkill but would allow tag backs (after say one mile of the original tag).

  2. I'm in! Clearly a DNF counts as coming behind a person in the race, but what happens if both DNF... does it depend where they DNF or just that it's null and void and returns to the person who was IT originally?


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