Tag, you’re it: The world of competitive tag

We all played it. We all (most of us) loved it. Then we got too old for it. We got too ‘cool’ for it. It fell by the wayside, only to be picked up occasionally by the film industry to turn into a comedy movie.

That’s right. I’m talking about tag (it, tig, gotcha, you’re it… There were many names associated with this incredibly rule-light game).

The rules were simple. Someone was ‘it’ and they had to run around and ‘tag’ someone else by touching them. Then that person was ‘it’ and that person had to run around and ‘tag’ someone else. The game lasted until you were too tired, too bored, or too injured to continue.

Once upon a time in London

And then London happened (as it always seems to). It all began with two brothers in 2011. Christian and Damien Devaux lived just outside of London and one day happened upon the idea of tag with obstacles. Cut to a few years later and a meet-up in Hyde Park brought the sport to a new level. Cut again and you find the sport of Chase Tag to be a competitive international event where the best parkour and Ninja Warrior athletes from around the world compete in a 12m X 12m arena crammed full of obstacles.

In essence the rules are still simple. Don’t get tagged. But in reality, this global competition is a little more sophisticated than the games played at school.


  • Two teams face off, each team having a maximum of five players.
  • Each chase lasts twenty seconds and consists of one member of each team going head to head.
  • One team begins as the chasers, one as the evaders. If the chaser catches the evader in the time limit, teams switch roles.
  • One point is allocated when an evader successfully evades their opponent for the entire time limit.
  • You can only tag your opponent with your hand.
  • If you step out of bounds, you lose that chase.
  • If you lose the chase, you rotate to another member of your team.
  • The team who reaches the pre-determined number of points first wins.

More complex, but still pretty simple. Don’t get caught.

Extreme Tag

And while anyone in theory can play this game, you should know that the winners of this year’s competition were led by Sébastien Foucan, the founder of freerunning. So this isn’t for the faint of heart.

If you have some time to kill, make sure you check out the videos of this year’s competition and fully grasp the intensity of the once-simple game of tag. This is what happens when adults decide they enjoyed too much the games of youth to let ‘growing up’ stop them from bringing those games with them.

What’s next? Taking those darts guns you used to play with and turning them into viable business opportunities… oh wait, that’s actually happening. Maybe that should be the subject of my next post.