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Nomad game

This nomad game is an outdoor terrain game for at least 30 participants and at least 4 game leaders. Provided by Matthias Zimmer (EC-Sulzdorf) in December 2003 for use by Praxis- Jugendarbeit (youthwork-practice)



For this game we will imagine (accentuate with a relevant story if required?) that we are nomads in the desert. The main task of the desert people is camel breeding. The aim of the game is to “capture” and feed as many camels as possible together as a tribe. A camel needs 20 litres per day to survive. To make the game sensible, we will represent 1 day with 10 minutes and 20 litres of water with 10 ml. Each captured camel needs 10 ml of water every 10 minutes otherwise it will die.


In a large enough playing area, little pieces of paper (approx. 300-400) with camels on them, are spread out. An oasis is built in the middle of the area, represented by a water barrel (approx. 40-50L). An area of 20 metres around the barrel is neutral ground. No one is allowed to be attacked here because the oasis belongs to all tribes. The children are now split into three (or more according to the number of players) equal tribes and are given a leader as a Sheikh. The Sheikh now splits his tribe into water carriers, camel drivers and hunters. For example, if the group has 15 players, it makes sense to have 5 water carriers, 4 camel drivers and 6 hunters.


The players are now equipped with the following:

  • Each water carrier receives a 50 ml pipette.
  • Every hunter receives a colourful marker and a yoghurt pot.
  • The Sheikh of each tribe receives a bucket, a watch, a measuring beaker and a replacement pipette.

Game plan:

  • Start:

    At the beginning of the game all players are positioned in the neutral oasis area. On the command all of the tribes start off in different directions and walk around until the game leader blows his whistle (after around 3-5 minutes – depending on the size of the group). Wherever the group find themselves when the whistle is blown, is where the must build their camp. This location will be kept by the tribe throughout the game. On the game leader’s second whistle, the game begins (approx. 1 minute later).

  • Camel drivers:

    The camel drivers now have the task of collecting as many camel notes as possible and bring them back to their own camp.

  • Water carriers:

    To keep the camels alive, the water carriers must take water from the oasis and bring it back to their own camp.

  • Sheikh:

    The sheikh checks the water levels and number of camels. He empties his bucket every 10 minutes with the relevant amount of water for the number of camels and jots down the number of surviving camels. Example: A tribe owns 50 camels; these need 50x10 ml of water per day (10 minutes). If there is not enough water in the bucket, as many camels as possible are given water while the rest die and the pieces of paper are kept by the sheikh.

  • Hunters:

    The hunters must try to steal water and camels from the opposing tribes. They are not allowed to pick up any “wild” camels (from the ground).

  • Rules:

    If a hunter catches a water carrier (by tagging), the water is filled into the hunter’s beaker. If a camel driver is caught, he must give up all of the camel notes in his possession.

  • Goal:

    The winning team is the team with the most surviving camels at the end of the game; only the camels which are alive and in the tribe’s camp count.

  • Additions:

    An interesting extension to the game can be introducing using so-called camel dealers. Camel dealers should be 3 members of staff who do not belong to any group and move around freely the playing area while carrying a certain number of camels. A dealer can only be robbed by camel drivers, not from hunters. If he is caught, the number of camels won is decided with dice (number of dots=number of camels). A dealer has one minute to relocate after an attack.


  • Pipettes (one for each water carrier)
  • Yoghurt pots (one for each hunter)
  • A measuring beaker (for each Sheikh)
  • Bucket (also one for each Sheikh)
  • Dice (for the camel dealers)
  • Whistles
  • Water barrel (60l barrel)
  • Water (40-50 litres)
  • Camels
  • Markers for the hunters
  • Stopwatches

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