4 stars

This is a really difficult game to describe how to play, but once you understand and get the hang of it, it really is a great game. 

Fresh is an ideal game to play on the beach, but you could also play it on a sporting field or in a park. 

Split into two teams and draw out a rectangle playing field (about 20-30m long, 10m wide).  One team starts up one end of the rectangle, the other up the other end.  The idea is to enter the playing field (rectangle) and 'tag' someone from the other team....But, you can only tag people if you are "fresher" than them.  The longer you are in the rectangle, the less fresh you are. In other words you can only tag people who are already in the rectangle when you enter. 

Because of the length of the playing field, when you run to tag someone, someone from the other team could then run in and tag you (because they are fresher) so there ends up being a lot of back and forth. 

When you are 'tagged' you are captured by the other team and must stand up their end of the field in 'jail' with your foot on their end zone line.  When other people from your team are captured, they are also captured but can stand linking hands to make a line back into the rectangle. 

If you're quick enough, you can 'save' captured team members by running up and tagging them when they are captive, but beware because you have to entering well into enemy territory and risk getting caught/tagged yourself!


  • Free / Low Cost
  • No equipment needed
  • Ice breaker
  • Team Building Teamwork
  • Large area
  • Outdoor
  • Teens (Age 12-15)
  • Teens (Age 16-18)
  • Young Adults

Group Size
  • Medium (10-29 people)
  • Large groups (30+)

  • Longer (30-60 mins)
  • Medium (11-29 mins)
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this game usually goes by "Prisoner's Base"
- paul (17 Sep 2008)

@Jay - anyone can enter the rectangle whenever they want. The disadvantage is as soon as you enter, someone from the other team could enter a few seconds after you (and because they are 'fresher' they can tag you)
- admin (14 Oct 2008)

This is a great game. As kids get the hang of it, they start using tactics such as running out to lure kids from the opposing team towards their side, when kids from their own team run out and tip them.
It does take a while to get a hang of, but it is a really good game.
- Heather (17 May 2009)

Excellent game. Probably our most popular game at youth. An add-on for this game is if you make it all the way over the other teams 'end zone line' then all of your captured teams mates are free (and you get a free walk back).
- Hayden (25 Aug 2009)

this game usually goes by "Prisoner's Base"
- samra (12 Jan 2010)

its called fresh and stale

- brendan (16 Sep 2010)

I love this game so so much, haven't played it it ten years though. It's hard to referee who is fresher when it's bigger groups but such a great simple game mixed with running and strategy.
Ive always known the game as "Fresh" but searching for it on the net was hard and this was the first reference I found after ages.
- Heath (22 Mar 2011)

A great addition to this game is having free walkbacks if they get someone out of jail, tag someone into jail, or run across and touch the line of the other team. It adds exitement because they take more risks. The beach is optimal because they can do a lot of diving without getting hurt (or caught). This is a youth group favorite!
- Robby (12 Apr 2011)

Love to hear more about the game. I get just of it but how does one start? So, you run in to rectangle and then someone from other team runs to tag you, you go to prison. If you run in and are the fist one can you run back out or are you stuck in the triangle? You can't tag anyone since you were first.
- Angelica (20 Jun 2011)

Angelica- Yes, after you run in to the tagging zone you can run back behind your line and become "fresh" again. That's a major part of the game's strategy.
- Kyle (10 Aug 2011)

Great game; it is one of the favourites of both the primary schoolers and the high school students.
We explain it as fridges for each base and you are fresh or off milk (or vegetables/food/whatever etc.) depending how long you have been out of the fridge.

* If you are "safe", you cannot tag or be tagged until you return to your team's base and then leave again. You can't tag someone if you're still in the fridge - you have to come out of base or you are unable to tag.
* Once you cross the other team's line, you are safe but dead - You can't tag anyone, but no one comes off bar.
* A tag is when you make contact with a live opponent, intentional or not. Whoever is fresher is safe, the other caught.
* If you get someone out of jail you are safe, and so are they.
* If you tag someone who is safe, you are NOT, and can easily get tagged by someone from the other team.
- Asher Wolfson (14 Oct 2011)

I remember playing this game at youth group. It was called Fresh and Fresher. I was about 12 years old and I could never really understood the rules!!
- Jen (7 Apr 2014)

Have fond memories playing this game every recess at Alden Christian School. Small school so three grades played together. We called it "Fresher". Great exercise with lots of running unless you were caught!
- Bill (27 Feb 2015)

Sounds fun! I understand the explanations, but how do the kids always know who is fresher/has been in longer, especially if a few have been in for a while?
- isolde (6 May 2015)

@isolde there's no good answer to this - it really relies on the kids and leaders keeping track of it themselves. You'll find generally if there's doubt, kids will take the safe option and go back behind their line again but you may need a leader to act as an adjudicator if it becomes a problem!
- Admin (7 May 2015)

I played this game a lot. There was hardly any question about who is fresher. When you run into the play area, you are at risk and must keep your eyes on the opposing players. Anyone coming out into the play area after you is fresher so you need to get back to your line quickly or get caught.
- Bill (9 May 2015)

I was just trying to explain this game to people today. We always called it "Fresher" and we played it all the time when we were kids.

- Gretchen Dietz (22 Mar 2017)

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