Manhunt (urban game)

Manhunt refers to a number of variations on the game of tag, usually played at night and in an urban area. The goal in any version is to avoid being tagged by anyone designated as "it", or (for those already "it") to tag anyone who has not been tagged. Some variations include teams and point scoring.

As with all games of this nature, many informal variants and house-rules exist. See also Ringolevio.

One vs many games

These games involve an individual starting with a unique designation and goal compared to all other players, who have a common goal. Players may be required to indicate their participation with a visible marker, such as a bandanna. Game play begins after one player has been designated (either as Manhunter or Hunter, see below) and remaining players are given time to run and hide. Games are usually played with time limits and boundaries.

Regressive variant

This variation is called regressive due to the potentially exponential increase of tagged players. One person -- the Manhunter -- is chosen to be "it" and everyone else -- Fugitives -- runs away and hides. When any of the fugitives are tagged, they are "brainwashed" and become additional manhunters. The goal of this game is to be caught last, to hide until everyone else gives up, or optionally to stay untagged until a predetermined end time for the game. There is no point scoring system. 1 to 4 rounds are played in a night and subsequent rounds may use different areas of play.

This version of the game has recently become popular in an urban context. Originating in Toronto , this specific version of the game, generally played at night in the city with armbands worn to denote participation, is now played regularly in several cities throughout Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, where it is known as Manhunt.

This game is also referred to as Shark which is especially popular on land or in water in Southeast Texas, and also in Austin, Texas.

Reverse variant

In this variant, one man -- the Hunted -- hides, and everyone else -- the Hunters -- tries to find him. Hunters are normally armed with flashlights to aid in their search. Hunters may set up squads to search certain areas, try to scare the hunted into giving up, and arrange traps before the game starts (usually without any of the hunted knowing about them). If there are multiple hunted and one is captured, the hunters may try to interrogate him.

In addition to running and hiding, hunted players may attempt to distract or draw off the attention of hunters, wear camouflage, or pretend to be on the hunting team. To win, the hunters must corner the hunted who then surrenders. If the hunted is surrounded and has no way to escape without fighting, he is caught. Games are played at night and have 1 to 3 rounds of play.

Homefree variant

This game is played with one Hunter, who must guard a designated "homefree" section of the playing field. The Hiders must get past the Hunter and tag the homefree spot before they are tagged by the Hunter. Anyone who is tagged becomes another Hunter. This Hiders usually team up and surround the Hunter to allow many to reach homefree.

This variation is especially popular in Burlington, Canada, and in Bangor, Wales.

Team games

All team variations involve one team or group tasked with hiding or running, and one tasked with tagging or capturing the former. Team games may involve keeping scores, though the rules governing how points are scored may vary. Game play begins after players have been divided into teams and given time to hide or begin running. Team games usually involve team bases.

Capture variant

The Finding team attempts to capture players from the Hiding team and bring them to their base. A player who has caught a member of the "hiding" team must take them to the base and cannot catch other players until then. Set up base in the middle of the boundaries. Captured players cannot try to free themselves when caught or en route to the other team's base. Captured players cannot resume play until another person on their team tags the base and shouts "Manhunt". Every player that is hiding must be caught within the time limit. A time limit will be made up according to how many players and the boundaries. Any players not found or caught within the time limit will be counted for points for the team hiding. The more people not found or caught, the more points you gain. Points will add up due to how many turns the teams agree on. Anyone caught or seen out of boundaries is automatically out and must stay at base for number of minutes(made up by both teams) and cannot be set free until that time is up. If any injuries accrue during game play, that player must sit out and cannot rejoin until time is up. This variety of manhunt is played all over the world, sometimes under a different name (i.e. Jailbreak).

Scottish variant

The Scottish version of the game, nicknamed "Mannie", "Blue Murder" or more vulgarly "Hunt the Cunt", is played with two teams. The hiding team think of a word that has the same number of letters as players. Each person is given a letter and may be forced to reveal it when caught. If the Hunters correctly figure out the word within a time limit they win.

The Scottish version however does not rely on the "tag" format, instead the game is sometimes far more violent and the Hunters use physical force to get the letter from the caught member.

Texas variant

This version of the game is played with several teams of four or five people each. Each team is designated a color and a base. Each player wears two team bandannas, and each team captain wears three. At the start of the game each team is given a designated amount of time to hide, after which they may begin hunting each other. When a team member is caught one bandanna is removed. All collected bandannas are kept in the team's home base. If a player loses all of his bandannas, he must return to his home fort where he must stay until he receives a replacement bandanna of his own team's colour, and may guard the collected bandannas while there.

Four wild card bandannas are also hidden across the playing field, which can also be given to players who have lost their bandanna(s). If it is used, it should be replaced by a team color bandanna if one is available, and then the wild will be re-hidden.

To win, a team must collect ten bandannas of a single color, as well as two of a different color. A single "wild card" bandanna may contribute to a winning score as the eleventh or twelfth bandanna.

Players must wear their own team bandannas and carry bandannas they have collected.

Central-Florida Variant

This points version of manhunt is played strictly within suburban neighborhoods, and involves only two teams. A "Home Base" is selected first, and is generally the front porch or stoop of a single house which is chosen before the choosing of the teams. Each team is chosen by a "captain" whose sole responsibility is picking their team members. After flipping a coin to determine the teams' roles, the hiding team is given 1-3 minutes to disperse and hide. The Hiders can hide individually or togeather in small groups and use decoys to distract the seekers away from other near by hiders. When the seeking team is done counting, the Seekers may use any means necessary to find the Hiders. Seekers may also search dindividually or in goups. However, no Seeker (or Hider) is allowed to stay in close proximity of the "Home Base," which is referred to as "puppy-guarding." When a Hider has been passed, unnoticed, by a seeker, he (the Hider) has the option to run to home or wait a little longer to buy himself more time, at which point, he becomes a "Runner". However, if he is seen while hiding, or pursued while running, the runner must attempt to run until he reaches Home Base, or is tagged "out" by a seeker.

The goal is to have as many players from your team make it to "Home Base" to earn points for their team.If a runner (after leaving hiding place or being found) makes it to "Home Base," he gains a point for his team. However, if a Runner is touched, he is "out" until the next round.

After every Runner has either been tagged or makes it to Home, the round is over, and the teams switch roles regardless of people tagged or at Home. Which ever team has the most points at the very end, wins the Game.

  • Near the end of the game, if a team is winning by a large streak and it is their turn to hide, the seeking team can secretly refuse to search after the hiding team has left, and stay within the house until all the opposing members, frustrated, eventually return... this generally signals the end of the game.

Escape variant

This game is played with two teams, Hiders and Finders, of 5 or more players. The leader of the finding team may use a flashlight. The leader of the hiding team carries binoculars. The finding team designates a location as a base before the game starts.

Players are caught when a finder says "1, 2, 3, manhunt!" (alternatively "manhunt, manhunt 1 2 3!") while holding a hider. The hider is then brought back to the finding team's base. If a hider returns to the finding team's base and puts his hand on a captured teammate and says "1, 2, 3, manhunt!", the teammate is then freed. If half or more of the hiders are caught, the finders win, and if less than half of the hiders are caught, the hiders win. If you are caught by the captain of the finding team, you cannot be freed and remain "caught" until the end of the round.

A to B variant

This variation is played with a group of Hunters and a group of Runners. The distance of the game varies on the size of the group, but is usually between half a mile to up to 5 miles. The point of this variant is for the runners to make it from point A to point B without being caught. Hunters search the area for runners. Neither the hunters or runners are required to work together within their groups, and can at any time go on their own. When runners are caught, they too become hunters. A runner is caught when grabbed by a hunter while in sight of a patrol car. This is to prevent a single hunter from guarding the destination. This variant also works best after dark, though the use of flashlights is frowned upon.

This version is especially popular in Huntsville, AL, Richland, WA, and Walnut Creek, CA. In Central Texas, this version of the game is called Cops and Robbers.

Another version of this variant popular in the UK is British Bulldog where players attempt to cross a playing field or playground to avoid two "bulldogs". When players are caught (varying from a simple tag, to a full body tackle) they become bulldogs until there are no runners left.

Majority Variant

Another version of the game has two teams of three or more people. This version can be played at any time of the year and usually whenever the sun has set and it is completely dark. One team is the hunters and the other are the runners. The runners are given about five minutes to go and hide within the boundaries (boundaries vary depending on the place). After those five minutes the hunters split up into base guarders or catchers and the runners can go anywhere with the goal of getting back to the base safely. The catchers will go around and try to find the runners and tag them and once the runners are tagged they are out and must go back to the base. In this game you must get the majority of the runners (2 out of 3, 3 out of 4, 4 out of 6 etc.). If majority is captured the sides are switched with the hunters being runners and the runners being hunters. If majority is not captured the sides remain the same and stay that way until majority is captured. This game is popular with teens in the suburbs of Buffalo, New York.

Job Corps. variant

This variation was invented at the Penobscot Job Corps in Bangor, Maine. The game consisted of a handful of one-three person teams who would try to sneak up on the other ones and choke them by using various choke holds. If the attacked tapped out, then in-game they were considered "dead" and could no longer play. As it was greatly against campus rules, campus security worked as the "cops" that you had to avoid and you could not attack other teams when they were within sight of witnesses or their girlfriends/boyfriends. If your team all "died" then you lost. No alliances outside of temporary truces were allowed, and you were not allowed to gang up on one person. Security caught wind of the event and soon the game was even more risky than before.

Local Hunts

It is common belief that there are many hunt clubs throughout the U.K, the most popular being at a secret location within Leicestershire. Below is a list of Hunt Clubs throughout the nation (Please feel Free to add to the list with any relevant info)

Name: Hinckley Hunt of Man Group
  Location: Hinckley
  Co-Founders: Steven Whittle, Mark Whittle, Russell Jones, Steven Thomas, Damien Carl Dowell's Torch.
  Team Names: Hunter Gatherers & Hiders not Runners.

Members within this club are ever increasing and further members are always welcome.

International Manhunt Day

Due to increasing popularity, the International Manhunt Committee has recently designated April 26th to April 27th as International Manhunt Day. The festivities will begin at 6pm, with a brief speech by the foundations founding member, Deråj Öljæ, and will commence at 6am on April 27th. Numerous games, including all different variations will be played throughout the night, in an act of defiance and celebration for an under-appreciated national past time.

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