Most camps and youth groups I know of play some version of Mission Impossible. Kids love it. It’s arguable the most popular night game for large groups. The game I’d like to introduce you to is Mission Really Difficult – since it actually isn’t impossible.
You will need a large area in which to play the game – preferably with a large open area surrounded by woods. Somewhere in there you need a bank. I’ve used a cabin, a shed – just any structure that can hold the weight of a few people safely. You will also need a home base for the two teams. In the way of supplies, you will need three containers (for the gold), gold painted rocks, several glow sticks, some pool noodles, and a few powerful flashlights.
Place an empty container at each of the home bases for the two teams, which should be a good distance from the bank. For groups of about 20, around 75 feet away is sufficient. For larger groups of 50 or more, you’ll want the bases more like 200 feet away. And it depends also on how close the bank is to bush. The closer it is to the bush, the closer you can put the base. (There’s no sense in sending them 200 feet away into the bush when you can’t even see them until they are within 20 feet of the bank.) At the base of the bank, place a container full of gold rocks (or whatever else you want to use.) You’ll need enough rocks for an average of 2 or 3 rocks per person. On the roof of the bank, station 2 or 3 guard (usually adults) with flashlights and the glowsticks. Station 1 or 2 guards at the base of the bank with the pool noodles.
Playing the Game
Divide the players into two teams, guys vs girls. Each team starts at it’s respective home base. Once the game begins everyone will try to sneak up to the bank to get one gold rock and bring it back to their home base – putting it in the container. As they do this the guards on the top of the bank will try to find them with their flashlights and identify them. This is done by simply shining the light on them and calling out ‘guy’ or ‘girl’. If the guards accurately identify them, they must return to their home base and then try again. Depending on how you want to play, you can give a free walk to the bank for an incorrect identification, or you can allow the guards to guess twice. If they make it to the bank safely without being identified, they can take one gold rock and have a free walk back to their home base. The exception to this rule is the guards with the noodles can hit anyone at any time. If they do, the player must return any gold they have and go back to their home base empty-handed.
Every so often throughout the game, the roof-top guards will throw out a glowstick – they are worth five points to the gold rock’s one. Any player can pick it up and try to get it to their home base, however, if they are identified or hit with a noodle, they must drop the glowstick immediately where it is and are not allowed to touch it again until they’ve returned to their home base. Other team members must try to continue bringing the glowstick back to their base before the other team does.
Usually the game goes for about 15 minutes – you can honk a horn or shoot a flare to end the game. Have the teams count up their gold – remembering that the glowsticks are worth five points – and see who wins.
It won’t take long for people to start swapping coats and hats and everything else in order to fool the guards. For lots of kids, trying to fooling the guards is their favorite part of the game. Sometimes the staff bring along wigs or other costumes. Sometimes a blob of kids sneak up all under a tarp. It’s up to you how far you will allow them to go.
Another element you can add is to allow the guards to shout out “Ten Free Seconds” – and then allow anyone to take gold from the bank without stopping them for ten seconds. (After they get use to this, call out ‘ten seconds’ and then proceed to catch them all since you didn’t say they were ‘free seconds’.)
You can find other great wide games in Six Wide Games Kids Love.