A game for Kids and Radio

To teach radio procedures and techniques for disaster preparedness


For keeping the FUN in HAM radio.  Here is an idea for your FD, SCOUTS, RADIO CLUB or KIDS club as a way to practice radio communications skills and have LOTS of fun.                                        (HINT:  its "CLUE" over the air)




OBJECTIVE:  A Radio FIELD game, FUN for Kids and Adults alike.  Do this

for something different for your outdoor HAM radio activities...  (you do

not need APRS, just a radio)...


GAME BACKGROUND:  There is a disaster.  You have to figure out WHAT it is,

WHERE it is happening, and WHO is not yet on the scene.   This game

can be played Oudoors over miles, over acres, or in your yard.  There

are degrees of implementations to match your players, ages, skills or



Think of the Classic Game of CLUE played outdoors!


WHAT        WHERE       WHO is missing

----------  ----------  --------------

Crash       Bridge      Fire Department

Explosion   Campground  Engineers

Fire        Capital     Hazmat Team

Flooding    Interstate  Medics

Riot        Mall        Police

Terrorists  Park        Tow Trucks





PARTICIPANTS:  All that participants need are a radio and pen/paper.  For kids learning about Radio for the first time, the Family Radio Service walkie talkies are ideal.  This also lets ANYONE play, not just licensed HAMS. On FRS, be sure

each kid has a callsign; I would recommend their initials.


PREPARATION:  Prepare 21 cards as above, remove one of each category, and place these three in the "EOC" (Emergency Operations Center…).  Shuffle and deal the remaining cards to each player (up to 18 can play.  If you have more, then invent more items above).  No one should see any of the cards except their own.  (A Faster option for younger kids is to just place 2 cards in each location for them to see when they visit).


PLAY:  There are many ways to adapt this game to the age and skills of your players or your geography and venue.  As you can see, the objective is to visit the locations and learn enough info to be able to accurately discern WHAT HAPPENED, WHERE and WHO is missing.  Communications by radio, getting the information correctly, proper net discipline are the key to this game.


COURSE:   Set up a Net Control in the "EOC".  Layout the 9 locations spread out over your area of activity (say in a Park, or field, camp, or city, or neighborhood).  There are also three other locations which you may or may not want to establish:  the DUNGEON, a MOUNTAIN, and/or a JAIL.  Be sure to have a MAP of the locations prepared for the players that may be new to the venu.


MOVES:  Net control rolls the dice for each player in turn and advises that player of his next move.  There are many ways to implement a move depending again on the age and skill of your players.


   DISTANCE:  Each roll of the dice equals so many feet, steps or miles.


   MARKERS:   Place N numbers of flags in the field along the paths

              between each of the locations.  THe die roll says how

              many flags you can go


   LOCATION:  Each location is given a number 3-11.  Two die are used

              to see where you go next.  If you roll snakes eyes, you

              go to the DUNGEON (where your radio cannot get out), or

              to JAIL (where they take away your radio), or If you roll

              a pair of 6's, you go to the mountain top (where QRM,

              INTERMOD and OVERLOAD prevent you from playing for one



INFORMATION:  There are many ways to gather, or share information  again

depending on the skill, speed or experience of the players.  If all the cards were dealt to all the players, then players must move to a room where they can make a "GUESS"  THey announce their guess and any person who has that card must reveal it to disprove the guess.  Options here are:


  FAST:   If anyone has the card then they must reveal one (or more)


  NORMAL: Players answer in sequence and only the players following him in

          sequence must reveal one (or more) cards.


  QSY:    Players QSY to get the answer either from other players or EOC


  RACE:   How fast can you run between places (not recommended since kids will

          Forget about the radio and learn little..


Conversly if the cards are dealt out to the locations, (not to the players) then the following methods may be used:


  SHARED:    As each player arrives at a location, he looks at either

             ONE or BOTH cards and reveals (ONE or BOTH) over the radio

             for the benefit of all other players.   For a long game

             each player only looks at one and reports.  FOr a short

             game they look and report both.  For an intermediate

             game they look at both but only report one.  etc...


  TEAMS:     Teams share information over their own separate freqs.  You could

             allow teams to dispatch members to multiple locations to gather the  



  ALONE:     Each player is on his own.  Not very intellectually

             challenging, since it is simply required for everyone

             to visit all locations to see all cards for a solution.

             But this might be good for kids 10 and under...


SOLUTION:  The player that offers the corret "SOLUTION" wins the game.  You

may have options on where or when he may offer the "SOLUTION" again depending on the length of the game and skill levels.  Some possibilities:


   EOC:   He must "move" to the EOC before he can reveal his “SOLUTION”


   TURN:  He may make it at any time when it is his move.


   RACE:  First one that gets to the EOC with the correct answer



FREQUENCIES:  THere are many ways to use frequencies.  I think in terms

of using the 14 channels of FRS, since this game will be most popular

with SCOUTING and KIDS clubs, etc where not all players are licensed.


    ONE FREQ: Everyone on one freq.  Net Control runs the net. (or not)


    TEAMS:    Teams are on different frequencies, but talk to others and

              Net Control on the net frequency.


    PLAYERS:  Each player is assigned a channel.  He must stay there

              The EOC alerts him to his move.  If he makes a guess,

              he must QSY to the next player in turn to ask if he has

              the card... etc...


    CHAOS:    Just let them do whatever they want and learn how hard it

              is without a NET control... (probably impossible and the worst

              way to teach radio procedures.


    ROOMS:    Each room has a freq.  You must QSY to that ROOM'S

              FREQUENCY when you get there to make a GUESS.  Someone

              at EOC will reply with the answer.  This method is good

              for PUBLIC places where physical cards cannot be left in

              the location because they will get lost...  But it needs

              an AGILE team at the EOC..


    PL:       To get newbee's to radio (FRS outdoorsmen and campers)

              You can assign PL's to certain functions and they will

              LEARN that they learn more by holding the MONITOR

              button and listening to the channel first.


APRS:  Of course, you can do ANY or ALL of the above with APRS and more!  No end of imaginative ways to use APRS for things that move and for tactical communications at the scene of a disaster where everyone must share information..


    INDOORS:  Play it all on the screen from the comfort of your shack.

              Place and Move objects.  Reveal or don’t reveal clues...

              etc...  EOC runs the game...


    MOBILES:  Make it a road rallye in your GPS vehicles.  First good

              solution wins, or least mileage traveled wins.


    GPS:      See my other postings about ways to use GPS in Road Rallyes


    HT's:     Combine the field event above with D7's and send the clues

              via APRS messages and Bulletins.


    DFing:    Include DFIng in the search for clues...


There are so many ways to play this game, and you can involve so many

aspects of RADIO COMMUNICATIONS depending on the interest and skills

of the players.  Setting up the game to match those skill levels is

the KEY to a very stimulating and challenging game...  And once it is

played, you can do it AGAIN by just shuffling the cards!  You don’t have

to lay out a new course...


FOR FIELD DAY!  We will use this at FD to break the monotony of the visiting kids and NON-HAM family members...  Our FD park has lots of paved bike trails running everywhichway and so we can mark off moves by tying small ribbons on branches between all the locations.  ALso for the kids we will be doing FOX hunts.  One with clues (don’t need DF) and the other using DFing techniques...


The KEY here is that we often talk about disaster preparedness, and we talk

about emergency response, but sometimes its a LONG time between disasters.

This game of APRS CONFLAGRATION is a way of simulating your own communications exercise at a time and in a venue convenient for your event...  Recruiting for HAM radio is one thing.  RETENTION of interest is another...


de WB4APR@amsat.org, Bob