Station games differ from runaround games because of their increased focus on characters and story, and the diversity of tasks the players face. Station games represent a collection of dozens of mini games/challenges that all contribute to the story as a whole. These “Stations” present a variety of different kinds of challenges. These challenges might be: riddles, strength-based, speed races, or whatever zany thing we can come up with.
Station games are usually played as individuals or in teams and involve the players moving around within the Gameworld, travelling from Station to Station, completing challenges and piecing together the story. In some Station games teams will be competing against each other, in others teams will be working together to beat the clock or a shared opponent.
Station games usually require a large area, with the Stations spread out across the Gameworld. A campground will suffice. Any large, outdoor area will work. We have endeavored to create Stations that don’t require site-specific objects, so our Station games are playable anywhere.
We’d like to highlight the benefits of playing Station Games that differ from the benefits of Runaround Games:
- Teamwork: An increased focus on working together in small groups, requiring all members of the group to participate. Station Games don’t allow one player to dominate, and the diversity of the challenges caters for the many different skills and strengths of all the players.
- Problem Solving: During Station Games, players are presented with dozens of different challenges, all of which require different solutions and strategies. The game is driven by a narrative and overall objective, but the variety of stations allows a greater range of problems for the players to face.
- Social skills: Station Games revolve around the interaction between the players and the characters within the game. For this reason, players are required to be social, ask questions, listen to instructions and engage with many different kinds of people.
- Wonder: Because Station Games are story and character-driven, they represent the peak of an immersive gaming experience. The wild and wacky characters and the layout of each Gameworld encourages players to use their imagination and to embrace the experience.
- Storytelling: Station Games revolve around a central narrative, and each character contributes to that story by sharing their own story. Players learn how all the pieces of the game fit together, and how their actions might affect other players, other characters, or the outcome of the game.
Runaround Games, in our experience, have been incredibly engaging for boys, girls and staff alike! Most camps know Capture The Flag, and how tremendously popular it is with their campers, and that was our experience too. We decided to develop other programs that deliver that competitive adrenaline rush to CTF but also add complexity, variety and story to the experience.
Runaround Games are a fun way to inject energy into your camp programming, and we recommend creating a session program schedule that utilises a mix of runaround, station and hybrid games to manage the energy levels of your campers throughout the summer.
We’ve found that Runaround Games work best in flat, open areas with few hazards and dangerous obstacles. We do, however, think that the games are most engaging when there are buildings and trees to use to dodge tags, make great escapes and epic runs, provided it is safe to do so.
We see the benefits of Runaround Games as:
- Exercise: Runaround Games are fast-paced and players require commitment and fitness over a long period in order to be successful. Runaround Games offer a fun and engaging way to encourage campers to exercise and improve their health and well-being.
- Adventure: Few things can match the epicness and excitement of a large-scale runaround game with over 100 players battling it out. Runaround Games offer opportunities for campers to become legends, to make important contributions and be the hero.
- Healthy competition: Runaround Games can become pretty all-consuming, but if they are managed effectively they provide excellent opportunities for campers to push themselves, make strategies, and devote themselves to a team. Runaround Games offer players a chance to test themselves against others in a fun, low consequence environment and to begin to understand how competition drives us and also where it can become a problem.
- Respect: Runaround Games only work when players understand and abide a clear set of rules. By engaging with these games players develop respect for rules and their fellow players, and understand how rules and structures can enable something incredibly fun to happen!
- Sportsmanship: Anyone who has been on the losing side of a Capture The Flag match knows that is often a bitter pill to swallow. As humans, we generally don’t like losing, and that makes sense. That’s what pushes us to do better. Sometimes losing is important, and a reminder to be humble. By engaging with Runaround Games players practice losing and winning graciously, and begin to celebrate the achievements of others as well as their own.
Hybrid Games represent the most creative peaks in Trailhead Games’ arsenal. Heard the expression “Have your cake and eat it too”? That’s what our Hybrid Games set out to do: deliver the intense, competitive excitement of our Runaround Games while allowing us to spread our creative wings as we devise unique and memorable stations. Hybrid Games are for those ready to take on the challenge of bringing the fun to the next level.
Hybrids are often our most complex games, requiring watertight integration of Stations into a story driven by a competitive, high-paced narrative that is always in motion. Most importantly, the Stations need to serve the game and entice the players into undertaking them. That’s where our creative funslinging comes in. Hybrids usually contain between 8-15 Stations to supplement the Runaround component of the game.
We’ve found that you can play Hybrids anywhere you play Runaround or Station Games. The Runaround component of Hybrids benefits from having a flat, open area free of obstacles to minimise the chance of injury.
We see the benefits of Hybrid Games as:
- Adaptability: Hybrid Games are often changing as the balance of power switches between teams, or a new element is introduced. Players need to be ready for anything, and demonstrate their speed, cunning, skills, problem solving and communication to best effect in order to win.
- Challenge: Our Hybrids are often complex. Players need to have a solid understanding of the rules as well as the perseverance to navigate changes throughout the game.
- Strategy: More than any other type of game, Hybrids present an opportunity for players to hone their planning and strategy skills. Due to the diverse nature of Hybrids, and their tendency to change as the game progresses, players must assess when to attack, defend, complete stations, consolidate their position, or ride out the storm. There’s a lot going on in Hybrid Games that require calm heads to handle.
- Uniqueness: We pride ourselves on the creativity and imagination that goes into creating the Gameworlds, stories, and integrated rules that make up our Hybrid Games. Hybrids offer us the opportunity to create something truly special that is hard to replicate.
- Responsibility: Players in Hybrid Games need to be aware of the consequences of their actions, and how they might affect their team. A mistimed run, an irresponsible foray into enemy territory, a rash decision to attempt a Station rather than guard their land: all of these might result in the game changing in favor of the opposition.
Tower Defense Games
Imagine being part of the final battle of Ragnarok, where monsters from many realms charge on the defended city of Asgard. Or imagine working together with different crew members on the other-worldly planet of Nausicaa to defend your bunker from impending aliens. Tower Defense Games are the latest style of game play added to the epic live action framework, and bring large scale battles to life.
Tower Defense Games are some of our most dynamic programs: full of intensity, storyline, and hype. In these types of games, a larger group (usually the campers and some staff champions) must work together to hold off the incoming waves of a smaller group of attackers (usually the staff with a variety of roles and powers), while also launching their own counteroffensive in a variety of ways. Multiple options of classes, objectives, and strategies await all players of these highly collaborative programs.
Bring the intensity and excitement of camper vs. staff games to another level with creative storylines, countless possibilities, and unforgettable characters. It will be unlike anything you've ever experienced.
We see the main benefits of Hybrids as:
- Collaborative Strategies: These are the kinds of games camper groups analyze beforehand, strategizing about who will be what and how they will work together to win. No one camper can win these games, and no one class can win these games; they require equal involvement and support from campers of all ages, genders, and abilities.
- Uniquely Competitive: Few things can inspire the intensity of camp like a staff vs. camper game. Here, that same intensity is captured, but in a creative world bolstered by healthy competition and a theatric storyline.
- Dynamically Accessible: Whether you want to be stealthy, aggressive, supportive, or strategic, or even switch between them all, there is a vital role for you to play amongst your team. Great for groups of all ages, genders, and abilities.
- Epic Intensity: Get thrown into an epic scenario where the odds are stacked against you, your doom is imminent, and the only option left is to play hard enough to defend yourself, your fellow campers, and the world.
- Hype & Theatrics: Relive the stories of myths and legends, and bring to life some of the greatest duels, most heroic plot twists, and most inspiring speeches. These stories will inspire campers and staff with a call of meaning, and can infuse entire days with a sense of immersion.
Water Games are a whole different animal altogether. These programs are designed to cool us down on hot summer days and get the players wet. As you can imagine, these games very often devolve into chaos, but boy is it fun!
We at Trailhead believe having some Water Games in your repertoire is essential in order to add variety and have a fun programming option on those hot days. Due to the differences in the playing environment, Water Games often have different rules and considerations from our non-water-based programs.
Water Games have a simple recipe for fun…just add water.
We see the benefits of Water Games as:
- Freedom: We believe that good old-fashioned waterfights allow people to reconnect with their inner child and experience the freedom and mania that comes from being absolutely drenched. Once you’re that wet, suddenly anything seems possible…
- Fun and play: Water Games really are about splashing about and having a great time. Remember that sense of mischievous satisfaction that comes from dumping a bucket of water on someone’s head when they don’t expect it, or the exhilaration of jumping into a pool. Water Games are designed to have fun and get wet
- Inclusion: We love that anyone can play Water Games. You don’t have to be the fastest, the smartest, the strongest or the greatest tactician. All you have to do is be willing to get wet.
- Versatility: We believe that Water Games are an important addition to any program to provide an option on those hot summer days when it’s too hot to do anything else. Our Water Games also work for smaller or larger groups, and we design them to be fun even without water!
- Community: In our experience we have seen that games that result in players getting wet or dirty are the ones that bring people together. More than winning, or competing against each other, we’ve found that nothing beats the playful silliness of wetting each other to create a sense of community.