Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one.
Ursla Le Guin (1929-2018)
The Left Hand of Darkness, 1969
Anacondas are the heaviest snakes in the world. This is a heavy, scary tag game with a twist. It does require space and works well outdoors. If outdoors define a playing area. Tag games are no fun when there is unlimited space and just turn into endurance races.
Before the game can be played the players will need to be familiar with the animals above. The game is in two parts. In part one players greet each other until the presence of the anaconda is revealed. Part two is a tag game. The game works like this:
First shuffle the rainforest cards and deal one to each player. Players sit in a tight circle around a hat (or box or basket) keeping their cards secret. The dealer talks to the player on his or her left. Dialogue goes like this:
Player: "Hello! Nice to meet you."
Dealer: "Nice to meet you, too. Are you an anaconda?"
Player: "No, I'm a.. [player reveals and names their card]
The player puts their card in the hat and then turns to his or her left and the process repeats. If the players get around the circle with no anaconda appearing then deal out some more cards and continue. Eventually the anaconda will appear. This is the signal for the players to drop their cards in the hat and run. The anaconda aims to tag the players. Any player tagged by the anaconda joins hands with the anaconda and becomes part of the anaconda's body. The tag game continues until everyone has been caught at which point the whole game can begin again, or not depending upon the energy and inclination of he players and time available.
This is a variation on a tag game called Chains which I used to play in my distant youth. In classic chains runners can be tagged by either end of the chain or just coming into contact with it. Such rules can be used but in pure anaconda only the head can tag a runner, the body aims to get in the way of runners trying to escape.
The hat used to collect the cards is just a method to try and preserve the rainforest cards from the rough and tumble of the tag. An alternative is to write names on slips of scrap paper or even get the players to draw doodles before hand.
Be wary of using this game with mixed age ranges. We had one class of elementary aged students that happened to contain a much young sister. For some reason she really found the game too scary though the rest of the children were always pestering us to play it.
Players speak as they think their animals might sound. This may give a warning when the anaconda is about to show. A further idea is to have the rule that players have to be their animals during the tag part - may not be popular!
getfile: Rainforest cardsPDF File A4, 3 pages, 1.13 MB
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