Cops and Robbers Rules

Cops and Robbers is a chase game that is played outdoors. Children as young as 6 years old can play in a group of at least 8 people. The goal of the game is for the police to put all the thieves in jail.

Before to start

  • Mark off the playing area.
  • Designate a place for the jail.
  • Divide the group into 2 equal teams: gendarme and thief.

How to play the game?

  • The gendarmes must catch the thieves and put them in jail.
  • To catch a thief, you have to touch him.
  • When a thief is hit, he goes to jail.
  • To be freed, the prisoners form a chain.
  • Either a free thief breaks the chain.
  • In this case, the prisoners on the side of the free chain can escape.
  • Or a free thief touches the prisoner at the head of the chain, freeing everyone.
  • The game ends when all the thieves are put in jail; the gendarmes win, a new game begins where the roles are reversed.

Variation with treasures


  • Objects that can be used as treasure,
  • Hoops

Set up

  • Divide the field into 3 parts:
  • The bank at one end,
  • The thieves’ hideout at the other end,
  • The police camp in the center.
  • Place the hoops randomly in the gendarmes’ camp; these are the thieves’ hiding places.

How to play the game

  • The goal of the thieves is to transport the treasures to their hideout.
  • To do this, they must cross the gendarmes’ camp.
  • A thief can only carry one treasure, which must be seen by all players.
  • The gendarmes’ objective is to arrest the thieves.
  • A thief can only be arrested if he has a treasure in his hand.
  • An arrested thief must return the treasure to the bank.
  • If a player is standing in one of the hoops, he is untouchable.
  • A hoop can only contain one thief.
  • The game ends when all the treasures have been transported to the thieves’ den.