Tug of War Games

Friends in tug-of-war

In tug of war, a classic summer camp game, two players or teams battle to prove their strength by tugging harder than their opponents on a rope. Tug of war games make a good addition to a field day or mini-Olympics in which teams participate in many different events. You can play several different versions of this classic game of strength.

Four-Way Tug of War

The four-way tug of war game can accommodate more players and teams than classic tug of war. The game requires four pieces of rope of equal length. Tie the ropes together to form a circle, and then place the ropes on the ground in a square shape with one knot at each corner. Divide players into four teams and have one team stand along each side of the square. Place a brightly colored bandana or beanbag at the center of the square to mark its original location. When the game leader blows the whistle, all teams must pick up their side of the square and pull on the rope. When time runs out, the team that has made the most progress away from the original center of the square wins.

Swimming Pool Tug of War

This version of tug of war adds a splash of cool relief from the summer heat. Have one team stand on each side of a water-filled inflatable swimming pool, with a long rope stretched between the two sides. Each team tugs on the rope until one team drags the other into the pool. You can also play pool tug of war inside a real swimming pool. Have the teams stand on either side of a lane line. The team that manages to pull the other team over that line wins.

Stumps Tug-of-War

In this variation on the tug of war game, players can use tactics other than strength to achieve victory. Set up two stumps or upside-down milk crates about 6 to 12 feet apart. Place a 25- or 30-foot length of rope between the stumps. Have one player stand on each stump, each holding one end of the rope. Each player then tightens and loosens his grip on the rope in an attempt to make his opponent lose balance and step off of her stump. If one player pulls hard on the rope and the other loosens his grip on it, for example, the first player might stumble off the stump. Play this game on a soft grassy or sandy surface to cushion potential falls, or have a spotter stand next to the players on the stumps. You can make the game messier by building muddy pits around the stumps. Keep hoses or sprinklers handy to wash players off.