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Written by Hunter   
Sunday, 16 November 2008 23:54

10 to 100 players.

Out of doors; gymnasium.

This is one of the very strenuous games based on the idea of warfare. The underlying idea is exactly opposite to that of Robbers and Soldiers, being a game of attack and defense rather than of chase and capture.

diagram: Fortress Fortress

A fortress is marked on the ground, in the shape of a large square or oblong, the size differing with the area at disposal and the number of players. It should be not less than twenty-five by forty feet in dimensions. One or more sides of this may be situated so as to be inclosed by a wall or fence. A line should be drawn five feet inside of the fortress boundaries and another five feet outside of it; these mark the guard lines or limits for making prisoners. Each party should also have its prison—a small square marked in the center of the fortress for the defenders, and another at some distant point for the besiegers.

The players are divided into two equal parties, each under the command of a general, who may order his men at any time to any part of the battle. One party of players are defenders of the fortress, and should scatter over it at the beginning of the attack and keep a sharp lookout on unguarded parts at any time. The other players, forming the attacking party, scatter under the direction of their general to approach the fortress from different directions. This may be done in a sudden rush, or deliberately before attacking. At a signal from their general, the besiegers attack the fortress.

The method of combat is entirely confined to engagements between any two of the opposing players, and is in general of the nature of a "tug of war." They may push, pull, or carry each other so long as they remain upright; but wrestling or dragging on the ground are not allowed. Any player so forced over the guard line becomes a prisoner to his opponent and is thereafter out of the game. If he be a besieger, captured by a defender, he is placed within the prison in the center of the fortress, and may not thereafter escape or be freed unless the general should make an exchange of prisoners. Should he be a defender, pulled over the outer guard line by a besieger, he is taken to the prison of the attacking party, subject to the same rules of escape. In the general engagement, players of equal strength should compete, the strong players with strong ones, and vice versa. The commanders should each give general directions for this to their men before the engagement opens.

The battle is won by either party making prisoners of all of the opponents. Or it may be won by the besiegers if one of their men enters within the guard line inside the fortress without being touched by a defender. Should a player accomplish this, he shouts "Hole's won!" Whereupon the defenders must yield the fortress, and the two parties change places, defenders becoming besiegers, and vice versa. The possibility of taking the fortress in this way should lead to great alertness on the part of the defenders, as they should leave no point unguarded, especially a fence the enemy might scale. The guard line should be drawn inside any such boundaries, and a player entering in this way must of course get inside the guard line as well as over the fence. The attacking party on its part will use all possible devices for dashing into the fortress unexpectedly, such as engaging the players on one side of the fort to leave an unguarded loophole for entering at another.

The attacking general may withdraw his forces at any time for a rest or for conference; either general may run up a flag of truce at any time for similar purposes. Under such conditions the generals may arrange for an exchange of prisoners; otherwise there is no means of freeing prisoners.

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