The War Game


The War Game is an unlikely survivor of another era that, like much of Pine Island, has changed with the times but would still be recognizable to campers from a century ago.  Though all Pine Islanders know what it is, there is no easy way to describe the War Game to someone who has not lived it.

Legend tells us that the first War Game was a spontaneous event at a site that is considered Hallowed Ground to many Pine Islanders.  There is not an alumnus living or dead who would fail to recognize the noble stand of pines on Route 11, which has served as the unofficial gateway to and from Pine Island Camp for all of its history.

There is some debate as to the year of the first attack, but it was most likely a Sunday in 1911 that a group of campers walking back from church decided to ambush a second group that had lagged behind.  Their weapons of choice were apples, provided by the orchard on the side of the stone wall (where one tree may remain to this day).  Once the unsuspecting targets arrived, they were pelted with rotting fruit, but quickly gathered their wits and responded with a counterattack.  

After seeing how enthusiastically the boys had participated, and at how each side had worked together to defeat the other, Dr. Swan began to wonder if a more structured event pitting one half of the camp against the other might be a worthwhile undertaking.  The next year, the War Game was born. 

The War Game consists of Blue and Gray armies battling over an imaginary ‘Town,’ marked out by rope over several acres.   One army defends the Town, and the other attacks. 
The Town can only be attacked at certain points, called Gates - the defending army can block or “plug” gates by occupying them, but they do not have enough men to plug all the gates at once. The attackers must find the weak gates, and through stealth and speed invade them.  If they do, they are able to score points for their army.  The defenders must shift men between gates to keep the attackers guessing.   While other ways to score points have been added over the years, the basics have stayed the same, and there is never any actual physical contact between the two armies.

The Declaration of War


What is the War Game?

How Is It Played?

Legend says the War Game started here.