An activity at Pine Island Camp, a boys summer camp in Maine.

The War Game

Of the many traditions unique to Pine Island Camp, the game we have played at the end of each summer for over 100 years is perhaps the most intriguing. The game was invented by Dr. E.L. Swan in 1912, and he named it the War Game. All counselors and campers participate in this game between two armies, the Blues and the Grays. The game is played in four playing periods over two days at a 200-acre site about ten miles north of Pine Island. The entire population camps out together at the site for two nights and about a dozen alumni make the trek each August to serve as umpires. The game is one of strategy and no physical contact is allowed between the armies. The game involves a lot of sneaking around through the woods, running, and scouting. The use of modern forms of communication is not allowed, so the fog of war is very much present and luck, initiative, innovation, and quick thinking is as important as the detailed planning that goes into every game. Pine Island's annual War Game is a test of the community that campers and staff have built during the season, and the motto of the game is, Pine Island Always Wins!