Capture the Flag!™ | Communication Training Activity

**FOR USE IN VIRTUAL & FACE-TO-FACE TRAINING SESSIONS** Ideal for use in virtual training sessions. A 60-minute test of how teams communicate effectively – or don’t! *This activity is supplied digitally via the Northgate Trainerhub. No delivery charges apply.*

Learning Objectives

  • to practise communication between teams
  • to highlight potential pitfalls
  • to stress the importance of establishing common ground
  • to avoid making assumptions
  • to understand the need to give as well as take
  • to stress the crucial skill of listening

Five-Year Repeat Use Licence

This Northgate training activity comes with a five-year licence for repeat use with up to 24 participants per training session within the licence-holding organisation. Please ask for a discount on multiple licences to use with larger groups. Also includes access to the Northgate Trainerhub (see below for details).

  • Participants

    4-24 (2 or 4 teams of 2-6 per team)

  • Timing

    1 hour + debrief

  • Uses a computer?

    Not required

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Delivery charges do not apply to digital downloads.

  • UK delivery

    (normally next working day)


  • Europe delivery

    (1-2 working days)


  • World delivery

    (1-5 working days)



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The Activity

Participants work in pairs of teams - from separate breakout rooms. The task for each pair is to achieve a common objective.

One team, the BLUE team, is on an outdoor training course. At the start of the activity they are in a dinghy just off the coast. They are about to land in the territory of the Red team. Blue team's mission: to capture Red team's flag and escape.

The other team, the LOCAL RESISTANCE team represent villagers living in Red team territory, but who resent the Red team and are willing to help Blue team. They also want to be evacuated from the area.

At the start, each team has some information but it is sketchy and not always reliable. But at set intervals there are opportunities for inter-team communication. Representatives from each team can meet in a separate 'meetings' room.

Can the teams communicate effectively to achieve their objective? There are potential barriers. First, dividing groups into teams often serves to create competition and rivalry. Communications are limited so what can they do to make the most of them? How well do teams plan for their meetings? Do they collaborate well and exchange information freely? Is there clarity and order - or confusion - to their conversations? Do they make assumptions - for example the maps and their different orientations? Can they trust each other? Will they capture the flag - and all escape?!

Trainer's Role

  • Briefly introduce the activity to the group in plenary, verbally or by PowerPoint.
  • Arrange the group into pairs of teams (one or two pairs) and install them in separate break-out rooms. Also create a separate ‘meeting room' for each pair.
  • Issue a copy of the appropriate Brief and Map to each person.
  • Teams have 20 minutes to discuss the information within their team and establish the key points.
  • At the 20-minute point, announce the first meeting. Transfer one (or two) individuals from each team to a meeting room. In subsequent meetings they can change the person who attends these meetings.
  • End the meeting after five minutes and return the representatives to their respective teams. The next meeting will be in 10 minutes' time.
  • Observe the various stages in the session: the first 20 minutes, the meetings, relaying information back to teams, agreeing a plan. Note what stages went well / what not so well (useful for the Debrief).
  • Repeat the meetings schedule until time is up - or teams have achieved their objectives (that is, they have a safe route, a departure time, the Local Resistance Team - and the Red flag!).
  • Bring teams into plenary and conduct a Debrief on the communication issues arising. Elicit the key points, issue the Handout and draw up Action Plans for improvements in communication skills in the workplace.

Pack Contents

  • Trainer's Notes (PDF file)
  • PowerPoint for introduction & debrief (PPT file)
  • Blue Team Brief (PDF file)
  • Local Resistance Team Brief (PDF file)
  • Sketch Maps (PDF files)
  • Key Points Handout (PDF file)

This activity is supplied digitally via the Northgate Trainerhub. No delivery charges apply.

Northgate Trainerhub

Benefits of the online Northgate Trainerhub include:

  • Easy-to-access resource library which stores all the digital files for the activity in one place
  • Immediate access to upgrades made to the activity over the five-year licence term
  • Access to an online Trainer Forum where you can post questions, share experiences & network with other Trainers
  • Access to free activities and icebreakers
  • Unlimited Trainer logins for all Trainers based at the licence-holding site

We are really enjoying using 'Capture the Flag!' It creates amazing learning within the virtual classroom.

Martin Bycroft, Director, People-Centric

'Capture the Flag!' was a great success! The team found it enjoyable and it really highlighted communication styles and issues.

Geoff Hoffheinz, Chief Engineer, Glennmont Partners

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