How to Play

Endless Ways to Play Archery Tag®

There are as many ways to play Archery Tag® as you can imagine, which is one of the things that makes it so much fun. In general, any dodgeball, laser tag, or paintball game can be adapted to Archery Tag®. Dodgeball-like games are usually best for smaller spaces, while games adpated from laser tag or paintball are best for large spaces. Below are several suggestions for play, but you are only limited by your imagination.


Please play safely. Playing Archery Tag® means shooting a real arrow at someone and being shot by one. You don't feel the photons from a laser tag gun hit you, but you will feel an arrow hit you. The bows are made for playing and not for hunting, and the arrows have a big fluffy head, so you should have fun shooting and getting hit. No one should get the kinds of welts you expect from playing paintball, but it is important to use common sense when playing. Here are a few tips:

  • Wear the mask! You really don't want to get hit in the face by an arrow, especially in the nose or if you're wearing glasses. Just wear the mask.
  • Shoot from a reasonable distance, at least 6 ft. If you can reach out and touch someone with the arrow in your hand, why waste shooting it? It's also safer this way!
  • Don't be the Punisher. There was always that one kid playing dodgeball that threw the ball as hard as possible to see if they could leave an impression - The Punisher. Leave the punishment for your next Spartan® challenge, and just have fun playing Archery Tag®. 😊

Team Elimination is played much like dodgeball and is particularly suited for small venues (like an indoor gym). The diagram below shows a typical setup.

  • Safe Zone

    At least 6-10 ft. wide, no one is allowed to shoot while inside the safe zone. You are also not allowed to shoot anyone while they are standing in the safe zone. If you shoot anyone in the safe zone or shoot while in the safe zone, you are out.

    This is not like home base in tag, though. This is not a safe place to hang out to catch your breath. 🤪

    You might line up the arrows in the safe zone (as depicted in the diagram). Then at the start of a game, everyone has to rush into the safe zone to grab some arrows. Alternatively, you can place the arrows at the back of each attack zone, allowing teams to start the game more relaxed.

    During a game, arrows will inevitably wind up in the safe zone. Pop into the safe zone to grab an arrow or two, and get back out again quickly. No hanging out in the safe zone.

  • Attack Zone

    Each team has their own attack zone on one side of the safe zone. Fire at will while here, but be careful of your opponents because they will be aiming at you.

  • Barrier

    Each team gets three barriers. The arrangement shown in the diagram seems to work really well.

    Feel free to arrange the barriers at the start of a game, but they should not be moved during a game. They are not shields.

    One great way to keep this style of play moving along for everyone is to remove a barrier from each attack zone on a given schedule. In an aggressive game, you might remove a barrier every three minutes.

Game Play

  • Start: You can start a game with a bow in hand and arrows in your attack zone, ready to go. You might also arrange the arrows in the safe zone and the bows along the back of the attack zones. In this case, all players start outside the field of play and run onto the field when the start signal is given. Use your imagination, and mix it up!

  • End - Elimination: A team wins when they eliminate all the players of the opposing team by shooting them with arrows. You can adjust the level of difficulty by assigning a hit zone, which shots count for elimination. Examples: 1) Torso only; 2) Below the kneck and above the knee; 3) Anywhere on the body (the most common).

  • End - Timed: You may assign a maximum game time, and the team with the most players at the end of this time wins. This is a really good way to make sure that no one sits for too long, which is especially useful when playing with younger children.

Total Points Play is an awesome way to keep everyone involved and, if you want, raise the intesity. In total points play, games are timed, while teams or individuals rack up points for shooting their opponents. Here are a few ideas for playing with points.
  • Team Points

    The team with the most points wins the game. This is a great modification to the standard team elimination style: nobody needs to sit out, and the faster you shoot, the more points you may score. If you are playing with a safe zone, shooting while in the safe zone or shooting someone while they are in the safe zone causes you to lose a point for each offense. This style of play really keeps things moving! At the end of a game, take a breather and then mix up the teams. For a high-scoring, intense game, remove all the barriers. 💥

  • Individual Points

    The player with the most points wins the game. This style of play is best outdoors with lots of room to run. Without a referee, you have to trust each other to keep track of their points.

  • First To...

    Reach the points goal to win. Play as a team or everyone for themselves. See who will be the first to score 10, 15, or 20 points. One way to ramp up the fun is to shout out your score as you make a hit.

And more... Don't be limited by our suggestions. Use your imagination, and maximize your fun!

Capture the Flag is a great way to play Archery Tag®. If you're looking for a game that requires strategy and team coordination, grab a couple things to use as the prizes to protect and capture, and find a venue with lots of space and places to hide. Backyards and parks are great for capture the flag.
  • Capture the Flag to Win

    Simply get a hold of the other team's flag to win the game.

  • Return the Flag to Win

    The first team to return their opponent's flag to their own side of the field wins. If the person carrying the flag gets shot, the flag automatically returns to its perch. You can pass the flag to a teammate on your way back to your side. This adds a level of difficulty to the game.

  • Freeze

    If you get shot by an opponent, you're frozen. Hold your bow in both hands, and point it down. While you cannot move or shoot anyone, while frozen you are also safe from being shot. If you shoot an opponent who is already frozen, you become frozen, too. A teammate can unfreeze you by touching you. For extra fun, you can play that you must be shot by a teammate in order to be unfrozen (shoot from a safe distance).