Smuggling the Geg

This is an old Scottish game, which came out of the popularity of smuggling. It became popular in the American colonies, since the colonists considered smuggling to be a noble trade. The “geg” is a small treasure, an object that’s easily handled such as a key, a marble or something similar.

Number of players: 8+
Ages: 5+
Space: playground or campground with good places to hide

To begin play, divide the players into two teams, one called the “outs” and the other the “Ins.” Mark a four by six foot den on the ground near the center of the playing field.

Both teams must agree on boundaries, though they should give themselves a pretty good sized playing field. The teams can flip a coin to see who will be the first “outs”, or smugglers.

The outs have the geg, or treasure, which they give to one of their players. The other team can’t see who has the geg. They can go out of sight to do this, or line up with their backs against a fence passing the geg from hand to hand behind their backs, making fakes to deceive the other team.

When the geg is safely with one player, the Outs run and hide. Before reaching their final hiding place, they call “Smugglers.” This is the signal for the Ins to start chasing them down. The goal of the Ins is to catch the player on the Outs team that has the geg. If the player holding the geg can return to the den without being caught, his team wins, and goes out again to smuggle in the next game. If the holder of the geg is caught before returning to the den, the Ins win the game, and become the outs for the next game.

Whenever one of the Ins catches one of the Outs, the Out is not a prisoner until he is “crowned.” The pursuer has to catch the player, and place the palm of his hand on the other player’s head, at which point the other player has to stop struggling. The pursuer demands “Deliver up the geg!” which the player must do if they have it. If the player has the geg, it’s announced to all the players who then return to the den. If the player caught doesn’t have the egg, they’re allowed to go free.