A great activity for everyone

Enter the Castle

Outsmart Guards and Conquer Castles in this Exciting Group Game!

Enter the Castle
By Jon Zajac

What is Enter the Castle?

Enter the Castle is a fun and engaging icebreaker game that involves a small to medium-sized group of players. The aim of the game varies depending on whether you are a visitor or a guard. As a visitor, your goal is to enter the circle known as the castle through any of the open gates, while avoiding being caught by the guards. On the other hand, if you are a guard, your objective is to work together with the other guards to prevent the visitors from entering the castle by moving around the gates.

The game is suitable for players aged 8 and up and can be played with groups of 3 to 10 players. To set up the game, you need to create some castle gates using cones, with enough gates and guards to match the number of players. The game continues until every player has had a chance to be both a guard and a visitor.

Enter the Castle is an excellent icebreaker activity that encourages teamwork, quick thinking, and communication skills. It’s an indoor game that requires no preparation and minimal materials, making it a convenient and fun way to break the ice among friends.

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Rules for Enter the Castle

  1. Prepare some cones to use as castle gates, with 2 cones per gate.
  2. Place the gates around a circle to create the castle.
  3. Select one volunteer to be the visitor and the rest to be guards.
  4. The visitor must try to enter the castle by going through any open gate.
  5. The guards must work together to move around the gates and prevent the visitor from entering the castle.
  6. If the visitor successfully enters the castle, they win and become a guard, while another volunteer becomes the visitor.
  7. Optionally, set a time limit for the visitor to enter the castle, and consider the guards victorious if the visitor fails to do so within that time.

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Materials needed for Enter the Castle

  • Cones: These will be used to create the castle gates that players must pass through to enter the castle. You’ll need enough cones to surround the castle with several gates.

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Setting up for Enter the Castle

To set up for the Enter the Castle icebreaker activity, you will need to create some castle gates using cones. Place the cones far enough apart to create a narrow opening that a player must pass through. Set up multiple gates around a circle to define the boundaries of the castle. Ensure that at least one gate remains unguarded at all times. This setup encourages players to work together and think strategically as they attempt to enter the castle while guards move around to block them. The game’s simplicity and fast-paced nature make it an engaging icebreaker for small to medium groups of any age.

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How to play Enter the Castle

  1. Set up the castle gates: As the game leader, place cones on the floor to create the castle gates. The width of each gate should be just enough for a person to pass through. Create enough gates for the number of players you have, with one gate always remaining unguarded.
  2. Select volunteers: Choose one player to be the visitor trying to enter the castle and have the other players become guards. The goal for the visitor is to enter the circle known as the castle by going through any of the open gates, while the guards must work together to stop the visitor.
  3. Start playing: Have the visitor attempt to enter the castle by passing through any of the open gates. Meanwhile, the guards should move around the gates in an effort to block the visitor’s path.
  4. Switch roles: Once the visitor successfully enters the castle or is blocked by the guards, choose a new visitor and continue playing. To make the game more challenging, add a time limit for the volunteer to enter the castle, and consider the players who fail to make it into the castle within the time limit as winners.
  5. Try similar games: If your group enjoys Enter the Castle, consider trying other icebreaker games like Homeless Rabbit or Vampire Hunters to further strengthen teamwork and camaraderie among friends.

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Benefits of Enter the Castle

  • Encourages teamwork: By working together to guard the gates and prevent the visitor from entering the castle, players learn to collaborate and strategize as a group.
  • Improves reaction time and agility: The fast-paced nature of the game requires quick thinking and reflexes, helping players improve their reaction time and overall physical fitness.
  • Boosts confidence: By volunteering to be the visitor and attempting to enter the castle, players can build self-confidence and learn to take calculated risks.
  • Fosters inclusivity: The game encourages everyone to participate and have fun together, promoting a sense of belonging and inclusivity within the group.
  • Provides a fun and engaging icebreaker: The fast-paced and interactive nature of Enter the Castle makes it an effective icebreaker, helping players get to know each other and build connections in a relaxed and enjoyable way.

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Skills built with Enter the Castle

  • Reaction time: Playing Enter the Castle requires quick thinking and reflexes as players need to react quickly to changing situations in order to win.
  • Balance: The game involves a lot of movement and agility, which can help improve a player’s balance and coordination.
  • Running: As an active group game, Enter the Castle involves a lot of running and physical exertion, making it a great way to build endurance and overall fitness.
  • Teamwork: The game encourages cooperation and communication among players, helping them work together towards a common goal and build stronger relationships.
  • Strategy: As a guard, players must think strategically in order to prevent the volunteer from entering the castle, while volunteers must use cunning and deception to outsmart the guards and make it into the circle. This can help improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

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Why I like Enter the Castle

I enjoy the Enter the Castle icebreaker because it promotes teamwork and communication in a fun and engaging way. The game is easy to understand and set up, making it accessible for people of all ages. I appreciate that it can be played with small to medium-sized groups, making it a great option for various social situations.

The role-switching aspect of the game keeps things interesting, as players take turns being both the visitor trying to enter the castle and the guards working together to prevent entry. This encourages empathy and understanding between players, as they experience the game from different perspectives. The optional time limit adds an extra layer of challenge, keeping everyone on their toes.

The materials needed for Enter the Castle are minimal and straightforward, usually consisting of cones that can be found in most sports equipment sets. This accessibility makes it simple to organize a game impromptu or plan it ahead of time.

In addition, I find that Enter the Castle is a versatile icebreaker that can be tailored to fit the energy level and preferences of the group. The game can be made more or less intense by adjusting the size of the circle, number of gates, and time limit. This flexibility ensures that everyone remains engaged and having fun throughout the activity.

Finally, I like that Enter the Castle is an indoor game, making it a great option for gatherings held in spaces without access to outdoor areas. Its active nature encourages movement and interaction, helping break the ice and create a lively atmosphere among friends.

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Tips for making Enter the Castle more inclusive

  • Tip: Use cones of different colors. Inevitably, some players may have difficulty distinguishing between the gates and the castle’s entrance due to similar color shades. By using cones of different colors, you ensure that everyone can easily identify the gates and the castle’s entrance, making it more inclusive for all players.
  • Tip: Provide visual aids for visually impaired players. For visually impaired individuals, use tactile markers or textured mats to help them navigate and understand the boundaries of the game area better.
  • Tip: Designate a “safe zone” around the castle. Players with mobility limitations might find it challenging to move quickly around the gates. By creating a safe zone where guards cannot enter, you provide a space for everyone to participate in the game without feeling overwhelmed or left out.
  • Tip: Use simple language and clear instructions. To cater to players of different ages and abilities, ensure that your rules and instructions are straightforward and easy to understand. Consider translating them into multiple languages if necessary.
  • Tip: Encourage teamwork among guards. Rather than having individual guards trying to block the visitor individually, emphasize cooperation by assigning roles like “leader” or “supporting guard” within the group of guards. This encourages communication and fosters a stronger sense of inclusiveness for all participants.
  • Tip: Allow players to choose their role. To ensure that everyone feels comfortable and engaged during the game, allow them to select whether they want to be a visitor or a guard at the beginning of each round. This provides an opportunity for all players to participate in activities they prefer while still being part of the group experience.

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Reflection questions for Enter the Castle

  1. What did you enjoy most about playing “Enter the Castle”? This question can help participants reflect on what they found enjoyable or fun about the game, which can help break the ice and create a positive atmosphere.
  2. How did you feel when you were a guard, trying to stop the other players from entering the castle? This question can help participants empathize with the experience of being a guard and understand the importance of teamwork in achieving a common goal.
  3. Did you discover any strategies that helped you succeed as a visitor or a guard? This question can help participants share their insights and learnings from the game, which can foster collaboration and communication among the group.
  4. How can we apply the lessons we learned from “Enter the Castle” to our teamwork and collaboration in other activities? This question can help participants reflect on how they can use the skills they developed during the game to work together more effectively in other contexts, such as group projects or team-building exercises.
  5. What feedback do you have for improving “Enter the Castle” or making it more enjoyable for future players? This question can help participants provide constructive feedback and suggestions for enhancing the game, which can demonstrate their investment in the group’s success and their willingness to contribute to its growth and development.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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