I saw a game that I used to love as a child become something much different while traveling in Asia. On a slow boat from the north of Myanmar to the south, I had a conversation with a German dude about “capture the flag.” He said it was his favorite game, and that he had actually been playing it all over Asia. Apparently, it was a big deal over there.
At first I didn’t prod, and to be honest, I don’t think I did at all, but he decided to elaborate on the topic. Though I have great memories of running and trying to save my captured friends from jail, and getting the flag across the line, I should have known my youthful bliss isn’t shared by all. The German’s version was much, much different.
The term “flag collecting,” is used by travelers to talk about where they have slept with locals while traveling. For instance, if you have slept with someone in Thailand, you’ve collected the Thai flag. To spice up flag collecting, the German had a competition going with a fellow traveling friend, and whoever had the most flags collected, would be leading the game of capture the flag.
The game would go as long as they were both traveling, and points were tallied through Facebook and text messages. He decided to leave out the information on who was in the lead. Though there seems to be some important aspects of the game missing (like how does one put people on the other team in jail?) Capture the flag is all the rage for backpackers. Watch out while in your place of residence, you may be the deciding flag on a six-month long battle.