In an attempt to be free, black slaves in the southern states made a dangerous and difficult journey north to Canada on the Underground Railroad, running from their owners and the slave hunters. The experiences they faced would have been terrifying, but so incredibly full of hope.
Escape: A Night Time Hide And Seek Game
What you need:
- a flashlight
- a large area to play, with many hiding spots – like the woods or a paintball field, or even indoors if you have the space to play
- at least 1 person to be a slave hunter
- designated start and end areas
To play, wait until it is getting dark. Mark out an area to be the plantation for a starting zone and an area to be Canada to reach at the end.
The goal is to make the trip from the start to the end without getting caught by the slave hunter, using the hiding spots along the way to stay hidden and safe. When the game begins, slaves can leave the plantation at any time they choose, carefully sneaking their way around the play zone and avoiding the slave hunters. You can move in small groups, or individuals. Remember to be quiet, quick, and use any hiding spots to your advantage.
Slave hunters are not allowed to guard the plantation or any particular hiding zone, but must roam the play area to try and catch them along their journey. Using the flashlight, search for hiding and running slaves. If you catch one with your light, they have to go back to the start.
If a slave manages to get to Canada quickly, they can come back and be a “conductor” – helping other slaves on their journey to Canada. However, if you are caught – you lose your freedom.
If all the slaves get to Canada (yay!), trade out players for a new slave hunter and begin again.
Note: I know this game makes the Underground Railroad (which was a very terrible experience) seem like it is kind of fun, so it might be worth reminding your kids after playing that being caught wouldn’t have been just a reset back to start but could have meant severe punishment, or worse.