Introduction: Manhunt!

Picture of Manhunt!

Also known as Fugitive, Manhunt is a game that requires little set up and no equipment. All that is needed is a playing area that has some concealment (basically you can't play in an open field) and some friends to play with.

Step 1: Rules

Picture of Rules

The rules of Manhunt are simple as it is basically Hide and Seek in reverse, a single person or a small group hides while everyone else seeks, or looks for them. The game goes on until all the hiders (fugitives) have been found and tagged by the seekers (also called cops or hunters). The last hider to be tagged gets to pick the hider(s) for the next round.

Step 2: The Playing Field

Picture of The Playing Field

Before starting the game, be sure to set strict boundaries on the field of play, otherwise, hiders tend to completely disappear. Also, consider maintaining boundaries for hiding, but allowing the hiders to leave the boundaries if they are being chased by a seeker. This makes it more difficult to corner a hider and makes the seekers have to run a bit more.

There are a few attributes that a playing field should have:
Concealment: The field should have plenty of places to hide. Wooded areas and parks are good for this reason.
Lack of Obstructions: Electric fences and rampant poison ivy or pricker bushes tend to make games less fun.
Not on Private Property: Don't trespass. Only play where you have the owner's permission.
Not Too Small: If the playing field is too small it's too hard to hide.
Not Too Large: If the field is too large you'll never find the hiders. The larger the field, the more seekers you should have.

Step 3: Tips for Hiders

Picture of Tips for Hiders

Know the Area: I'm not saying that you have to know where every nook and cranny is, but knowing enough to not get lost can be helpful.
Don't Stay in the Same Spot: It's OK to stop and hide, but staying in the same spot for an extended period of time is just asking to be caught.
Outmaneuver the Enemy: If the seekers figure out where you are, try to stealthily work your way around them and get away. If they spot you and chase you, try weaving in and out of trees, you might get lucky and lose them.
Avoid Crossing Open Areas: When moving from place to place, try to take the route with the most concealment, even if it's slower.
Don't Wear Yourself Out: Heavy breathing will give you away, and you'll need your energy to outrun the seekers when they spot you.

Step 4: Tips for Seekers

Picture of Tips for Seekers

Think Like a Hider: Look where you would hide if you were in their shoes.
Surround the Enemy: Work together with other seekers to try and corner the hider(s).
Stay Together: Split into small groups or pairs to cover more ground, but avoid searching alone. If you do spot a hider, it's harder to outrun two people than it is to outrun one.
Make Use of Trails: Move along trails and open spaces when possible, unlike a hider, speed, not concealment, is your greatest weapon.
Watch for Movement: You're more likely to notice movement or sound than you are to actually see someone.

Step 5: Variations

Picture of Variations

Constant Movement: Everyone has to keep moving at all times, stopping to hide is not allowed (thought up by a modified cross country coach as a workout on easy days).
In a Crowd: At a concert, street festival, or any other place with lots of people. Just be sure not to trample anyone.
At Night: Best just as the sun is going down so it's somewhat dark, but no one runs into anything. Everyone gets a flashlight.
Airsoft/Paintball: Instead of tagging the hiders the seekers shoot at them. Hiders can shoot back, but have smaller weapons (pistols).
In a Room: Everyone stays in one room and the seekers wear blindfolds. A true test of coordination.
Replacement: When a hider finds a seeker they switch roles, with the seeker (now the hider) hiding in the same spot.
Zombies: Seekers must extend their arms and growl "Brains! Brains!" throughout the game, unless they are vegetarian zombies, in which case they would growl, "Grains! Grains!"
Helper Manhunt: Like helper tag, if a hider is tagged they become a seeker. The game goes on until everyone is a seeker (thanks nf119).
Tournament: Uses two even teams which alternate being hiders and seekers for a set number of rounds, with each round having a time limit. If a round ends and all hiders have been found, the seekers win that round. If all the hiders have not been found, their team wins the round. Which ever team wins the most rounds wins the game (thanks lemonshark10).
Muggles: Hiders are not only out if found by a seeker, but also if they are found by someone who is not playing, also known as a muggle (thanks lemonshark10).
Journey: Hiders have to move from a starting point to a base on the other side of the playing field. If they reach the base without being caught they are safe. Instead of the last person to be caught picking the next round's hiders, the first hider to get to base picks (thanks othertonywilson).
Long Distance: Played in a large playing field (4-6 square miles), seekers are allowed to use cars, however, they are not allowed to run over the hiders or any pedestrians who get in the way of the game (thanks othertonywilson).
Partners: Hiders get partners and must stay together or they are considered to have been caught. Also, if one person gets tagged, their partner is also out (thanks tac135).
Jail: When hiders are caught, they get sent to a designated "jail" and must stay there until they are tagged by another hider, or a set time limit expires (thanks KillerPanda).
Sardines: Seekers who find a hider must hide with them, sometimes resulting in a large mass of people hiding behind a tree (thanks "byaaface").
Sasquatch: Hiders may jump out and tag a seeker, thus making the that seeker the next hider, or sasquatch.  When a seeker finds a hider, they must yell "sasquatch," at which point the seekers may all run back to base, making the last seeker to reach base the next sasquatch (thanks jmicko).
Anything Else You Can Think of: Underwater? In zero gravity? The possibilities are endless. Post your ideas in the comments section and I'll add the ones I like best to the list.

Thanks for reading! I hope you've enjoyed this Instructable.
- ELMo_0007


Zzzzzzach11 (author)2017-09-01

We play a variation in our neighborhood where everyone has their phones and people that aren't playing sit on their driveways. They are "surveillance cameras" and text the hunters if they see us. Also, they stay where they are

06-06-09 (author)2016-11-05

I agree with milkywaybar

06-06-09 (author)2016-10-27

fix website so people get more info plz

Qwertyuiop82583 (author)2015-12-24

We play a variation where there are hiders and hunters and there is a jail (like a front stoop or something). The hiders are given time to hide and then the hunters are released. The hunters have to keep both hands on a hider and say manhunt manhunt 1 2 3 and then they can take them to the jail, where they must stay until they are tagged by another hider that is not already in jail. The game ends when all the hiders are in jail.

gearup500 (author)2014-10-28


mike876763 (author)2013-01-23

I've always played where there is an even amount of players on each team and one team hides. Other team hunts. The hunting team also has to guard the "base." Hiding team gets points if they make it to the "base" without being tagged. This variation is a lot more fun in my friends and my opinion.

nfk11 (author)2011-11-14

could you use airsoft guns

Kirby1 (author)2011-01-18

It reminds me of game called "hide and seek" (also known as "tigy") you can play in a park or anywhere and there is two ways to play either it's build up thats where there is 1 seeker and how many ever hiders. You get about 20 seconds off and the hiders go hide while the seeker counts to 20 with his/her eyes closed. When the seeker tags a hider than the hider also becomes a seeker and so on.
The other version has all the same rules except when you get tagged by a seeker and you are a hider you are out of the game. (And can't get back into the game until everyone is found).

jmicko (author)2009-12-06

We used to play a version called Sasquatch, where when anyone found the hider they would yell sasquatch and everyone would run to the base which is safe. the Sasquatch had to chase them upon being found, but could jump out at them any time he wanted. first person tagged is the next sasquatch.

punkhead58 (author)jmicko2010-02-07

That sounds a lot like a game that we used to play when we were kids called A Ghost in the Graveyard.

Ghosts in the graveyard is very similar, but multiple people hide, and one person finds. After each round, those who were found join the seekers, correct?

ELMo_0007 (author)jmicko2010-02-07

Sorry I took so long to reply, but "sasquatch" has now been added to the list.  Thanks for contributing!

eulaliaaaa! (author)2010-04-10

I don't know.  Would a 40 acre piece of land with lots of woods and no trails be good?

ELMo_0007 (author)eulaliaaaa!2010-04-11

40 acres seems rather large.  Maybe if you set boundaries within the property?  As for no trails, that makes it much more fun to be a hider, but really hard on the seekers, so be sure to set a time limit.

shveet (author)2009-10-26

Actually me and a few friends play something similar, we call it  "one man army"  its technically everyone looking for a single person, but the way to win is when the timer (usually 5-15 minutes for us) hits zero (or whatever)the game ends. This is best to be played at night and with about 10 or so people, the seekers may use flashlights, and if the hider is spotted... wish him luck, game becomes intense with the more people.
Another veriation is "army of two" same as above, just with two hiders.
Optional: the hider can use infrared goggles or a gillie suit, and a headset to communicate with others.

PKTraceur (author)2008-08-26

Idisagree with Long distance. The max should be three miles, WITHOUT CARS! i think the cars defeat the idea. Also, please add Snowhunt. Same as manhunt, though in winter. seekers are allowed to hit hiders with snow balls.

r0ker (author)PKTraceur2009-10-11

 With the whole Snowhunt idea, my friend and I played it in reverse, and with airsoft guns. The hunted could through snowballs and the seeker (we only had 3 people playing) had an airsoft gun.

bears0 (author)2009-08-21

there is also a game called SARDINES in a can like posted here

bears0 (author)2009-08-21

have you ever played spotlight tag or flashlight tag? its pretty much the same as hide and go seek but you tag with a spotlight and then the players go to jail like here and someone has to come and tag the base to set them free. no guarding the base though. :-}

bears0 (author)2009-08-21

the muggles thing isnt very good because it would just make it easier for the seeker

murderme13 (author)2009-07-08

nine or ten of us tried playing in the pit at a slipknot gig. um... I wouldn't recommend it for safety, but was very fun!


tac135 (author)2008-08-06

I know it sounds creepy, but i always play in the really large cemetary across from my house. Its a great place to play because the grave stones make great cover.

ELMo_0007 (author)tac1352008-08-07

That's not creepy at all. I find cemeteries to be peaceful places and I love playing tag or geocaching in them. The only problem is that sometimes the cemetery workers get upset.

crak-a-bottle (author)ELMo_00072009-05-28

i just got this image of people all over the world suddenly having fits because there's, like, 30 kids walking 9or more likely running) over their graves . . .

im a bit weird like that.


tac135 (author)ELMo_00072008-08-07

I don't find it creepy either, but a lot of people do, for some reason. Anyway, we play a variant where everyone splits into teams of 2, and one team is the seeker team. If you abandon your partner than you are disqualified, and the seekers only have to tag one of the teams members to get that team out. You can also play so nobody knows who the seeker is, it makes it a lot more challenging.

ELMo_0007 (author)tac1352008-08-07

Thanks for sharing, I've added it to the list.

oniman7 (author)ELMo_00072009-02-20

I don't find it creepy, but what about that whole "respecting the dead" thing. And what if there were families there mourning when you showed up to play?

emopants92 (author)2009-03-21

Yeah there is always a fugitive game going on. But these get a little out of control. The ones that I always here about start in a park with about 20 people typicaly played and everyone has to stay in the general area of the park. But with the added twist of hunters being able to have 2 people in a car and one driving and one getting out to run. Of course this is all at night and cops are a problem another big problem.

crak-a-bottle (author)emopants922009-05-28

i remember we used to play this in the lunch hour at school, except if the seekers wern't found by the end of lunch hour, the seekers would just leave them. by the time the hiders realised, they were often 10 or sometimes even 15 minutes late for registration. =D happy days (i was always a seeker)

KillerPanda (author)2009-03-17

I always play a version where when the hiders are tagged by the seekers, they are sent into a jail where they must wait either for their teammates to free them by tagging them, or wait for the time limit (somewhat symbolizing the United States Statue of Limitations) to expire which allows the hiders to win. Each round the teams are switched, and there is generally more seekers than hiders. I have an awesome yard for this as my mother plants a lot of bushes and there are many trees and gardens to dart around.

ELMo_0007 (author)KillerPanda2009-03-18

Thank you for reminding me of this variation, I used to play the game with a jail, but I completely forgot about it when I made the instructable.

KillerPanda (author)ELMo_00072009-03-18

Yay! I feel useful!

i dont mean thos offensivly, but what you said reminded me of this and i thought you might like to see it . . .

it made me laugh.


yeah it is awesome playing in your yard. except i cant run at all :-(

brawns214 (author)2009-04-20

My friends and I used to play a variation of this in city neighborhoods. Basically, the hunted went from point A to point B (mile to mile and a half) by foot that just happened to traverse through many different neighborhoods. The hunters drove around in cars carrying one other person (at the start) and as they tagged someone, they added them to their car. Its challenging for the hunters because the hunted can go through backyards and basically take any path they want. Its tough for the hunted because they can never know when that car is a hunter or not and also jumping through backyards really slows you down so you tend to stick to streets.

crak-a-bottle (author)brawns2142009-05-28

this sounds like it calls for extreme stealth . . i like it. shame i can't drive yet. =D

crak-a-bottle (author)2009-05-28

excellent 'ible. i've never played manhunt before.

sardines is excellent just on its own, expecially in large groups, starting with just one hider. by the end you tend to have about 30 people under a bench or whatever, practically wetting themselves laughing at the one poor sod who's left walking around thinking 'where the f*** has everyone gone'.

plus an idea for a totally unrelated game: have everyone avoid one chosen person (bday boy/girl? lol that would be mean).
the catch?
the person being avoided (or the avoidee, if you like) doesn't know he/she is playing. :P great fun.

Thelonelysandwitch (author)2009-05-18

Here is a variation, if you have night vision, give that to the hiders, and let the seekers roam. I have played the airsoft version, and kinda cheated. My friend brought infrared viewing scopes (the same idea as night vision goggles)and infrared lasers that were invisible to the naked eye. and only we had them (my friend and I). So thats how you cheat.

byaaface (author)2009-05-05

How 'bout sardines? (where once a seeker finds the hidig person they have to hide with them, once a lot of people are hiding it can get a bit crowded, hence the name. This is more of an inside game tho...)

ELMo_0007 (author)byaaface2009-05-07

Good idea, but how do you know when the game is over? Nonetheless, I like the concept and I added it to the list.

ILIKEPIE333 (author)2009-04-14

Zero gravity as in outer space? that would be awesome, but hard to hide

zimmemic25 (author)ILIKEPIE3332009-04-18

then u need meteorites to hide behind...

ILIKEPIE333 (author)zimmemic252009-04-19

...or get hit by

Matt21497 (author)ILIKEPIE3332009-04-29

.......OR ride on.......

ILIKEPIE333 (author)Matt214972009-04-30

...which is awesome!

Matt21497 (author)ILIKEPIE3332009-05-02

OH Yeah

ILIKEPIE333 (author)Matt214972009-05-02

'tis über

fatman999 (author)2009-03-25

I love doing this in the park i live by! it has like 10 trees so you have to be creative and climb one of them (they never find me!)

blimperator (author)2009-03-15

this was always one of my favorite games and you found ways to make it more fun

oniman7 (author)2009-02-20

You know, a lot of my airsoft games are like this. If we have 6 people, two will go in the woods ( always two for safety reasons ) and however many is left will chase them down. The people running will have the normal weaponry and all that, and get 5 minutes to go off into the woods. I love running. we play at my friend's house, and he knows that entire place. within three minutes, he had led us to a great hiding spot.... two very narrow entrances covered in thorns ( like the rest of his woods ), and the dry leaves make it impossible to walk through by it without alerting the people outside. We actually heard them go by three times. One time, we saw their outlines in the bushes. They were talking and yelling and laughing. After an hour of not being found, they tricked us into coming out and pointed guns at us... not fair at all. So many of our games end like that. The game just ends because the other team is tired of looking. I count it as a victory. After all, in war, the only victory is escaping with your life.

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