So I got in a discussion on facebook the other day about paintball being a training aid for preppers. Someone was saying that it wasn’t worth the time. I disagreed, which is usually what I do when people don’t know what they’re talking about.
So somewhere in my noggin that conversation was swimming around and I woke up this morning and said,
(That’s what I call myself when I’m sober: Self. When I’m not-so-sober, I have a tendency to change my autobiographical nomenclature.)
… games are a great way for people to train with their family and even friends. Why don’t you sit down today and write about what you think some of the best survival and related training games there are out there to hone survival and prepper skills for your lovely following.
I can be so polite to myself when I’m calling myself, Self.
So I thought about that and thought that was a pretty good idea. Then I fell back asleep and dreamt of puppies and Guinness and Ferraris and all the other things I love.
But I’m here now, so let’s begin.
Here are some great ideas for games that you can play to train yourself some aspect of survival or emergency preparedness/readiness. Some are also just something that you might enjoy that could get people talking about prepping.
Some of these games you can buy the stuff for (and I’ve provided the links for you already) and some of them you kinda just make up on your own. I’ve listed survival card games, board games, video games, and games you play or train outdoors.
There are LOTS of games out there that you can play or do that will teach you survival skills or develop teamwork. This should be enough to get you thinking though.
1. Paintball as survival combat training
As I mentioned above, I think paintball is a great game to learn some skills that could be useful in a survival situation. Not only can you learn and practice some basic weapons tactics (provided you have someone teach you), you can learn and teach teamwork with your group or your family.
We use paintball guns (called markers) in the military to practice CQB (Close Quarters Battle) but we use hard rubber balls instead of paint. That is, when we’re not using simunitions. Done properly, it can be a great learning system. The biggest problem with this training (and video games) is that in real life, guys aren’t usually out of the game after the first hit, and not even after they go down.
One of the best ways to get started is to find a paintball field near you or a paintball store to ask.
There is a bit of equipment that you’ll need to play though, especially a good paintball mask and a paintball marker, but you can usually rent those. But, if you really want something cool and performs well, check out something like the U.S. Army Project Salvo .68 Caliber Paintball marker. If you get hooked on the game (which happens quite often, you can go high-tech and get one that’s reeeaaallly nice!
Just remember to wear long sleeves and pants when you go.
Also, paintball isn’t just for playing. You can also get set up to shoot less lethal chili pepper filled balls that you can use for defending your home or bug out location as part of your escalation of force plan.
So don’t count out paintball as a great activity. Besides, even if you just go out there and have some fun, it’s good exercise.
2. Survival card games
The great thing about card decks is they’re a great thing to keep in your bug out bag and on my list of 99 freakin’ awesome ideas for your bug out bag. You should have something to keep yourself and especially your kids busy that doesn’t require much space, weight, or any power. Cards are great for that. Some of them can teach you valuable skills while you’re playing.
This is a deck of playing cards that has SHTF survival tips on each card. Here’s an example of one of the cards:
- 52 Survival tips and tricks that people are likely to forget in a high-stress survival situation.
- Compact size means they fit easily in every GO-bag, 72 hour kit, GOOD bag, and glove compartment.
- Doubles as a deck of playing cards so you can play cards during idle time in a survival situation.
- Each card can be used as a flash card, for quizzing, or for starting conversations on preparedness and disaster situations.
- Small size and light weight means you can “sneak” these into loved ones’ cars so they’ll have life saving survival information in an emergency.
These aren’t simply playing cards…they’re a powerful survival tool for you and your loved ones to use if you need to survive in an urban area after a natural, manmade, or economic disaster.
If/when disaster strikes, you’ll have your Urban Survival Playing Cards to refer to with many of the most important lessons form the SurviveInPlace.com Course.
They include 52 insider secrets from the $47 SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival Course, and cover operational security, psychology, field expedient medicine, basic survival skills, field tested tactical skills to help you not only survive, but thrive after disasters and breakdowns in civil order in urban areas, and much more. Their small size (poker size) and light weight (3 ounces) makes them portable so that you can have them with you all the time to use as flashcards to hardwire essential survival skills into your brain. They are inexpensive enough that you can put one in every GO bag, 72 hour kit, and glove compartment without breaking the bank.Stress, low light, age, and exhaustion all make it harder to read small type.
These cards strike a perfect balance between the amount of information on each card and having a large enough text to actually be readable, so you’ll be able to read them when you need the information most.Best of all, It’s all backed by a 60 day money back satisfaction guarantee!
* They include 52 insider secrets from the SurviveInPlace Urban Survival Course, and cover operational security, psychology, field expedient medicine, basic survival skills, field tested tactical skills to help you not only survive, but thrive after disasters and breakdowns in civil order in urban areas, and much more.
Wilderness Survival Information on a Card Deck that double as Playing cards.
Don’t Die out there! Read the tips and tricks on these cards.
The Survival card deck consists of High Quality Coated Deck of 52 regular playing cards but each card face is loaded with real, tested survival tips. Great for regular card games AND for learning about survival. Use them as a cheat sheet to get lots of survival information fast.
Make up ” audio ” flash card games with your kids — Read a Cards Subject aloud – then have them tell you the answer. Example: “Tell me 3 ways to make a fire in an emergency”. And let them display their new found survival knowledge.
The publisher has already received testimony from 3 people saved or assisted by the information on these cards.
Now you can be your own “Survivorman” or “Man vs. Wild” with these playings cards. Each card gives strategies and tips on surviving out in the wild. Categories include: * How to survive a forest fire. * How to survive an avalanche. * How to fend off a black bear attack. * How to avoid snake bites. * River safety. * hunting for survival. * Finding water. * Useful knots. * First aid kit. * Drowning. * Plus 42 other categories! Deck is a standard 52-deck of playing cards. Recommended for ages 10 and older.
This is the game that everyone’s talking about. It’s now so popular that they’ve expanded to 3 decks and are gonna be coming out with even more ideas soon.
Can you handle the decisions you’ll face after Doomsday? When civilization and infrastructure are gone, where will you draw the line between your morals and your will to live another day? Most importantly, where will your friends and loved ones who you’ll be spending this difficult time with draw the line for themselves? Conflicted: The Survival Card Game lets you explore your own survival philosophy and that of others.
When playing Conflicted, every reaction to a scenario counts, from body language and interpretation of the scenario, to the answer itself.
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” – Plato
Top 10 Reasons Why Preppers And Survivalists Play Conflicted
- It opens up in depth discussions regarding what kind of world we’ll live in after the collapse of society.
- It shows to you where others in your group draw the line between their will to live vs their own morals.
- It helps you create a mutual understanding among the members of your bugout group when it comes to who’s more suitable for what role after the collapse of society.
- It helps you discuss with significant others what kind of survival philosophy your camp will have after the collapse and why that philosophy is important.
- The game will raise an awareness regarding other areas of prepping that perhaps you didn’t think about.
- Practice your barter, negotiating and leadership skills to perfection on the subjects that matter most.
- Conflicted: The Survival Card Game is like a mirror that exposes your real survival philosophy to yourself.
- Over 50 scenarios that will reveal how unprepared emotionally humanity really is to the collapse of modern civilization.
- See what other preppers all over the world think a post apocalyptic society will be like, as they submit scenarios and we publish more decks periodically. Have a way to bring this knowledge to your bugout group.
- It exposes who the true leader of your bugout group really is. Hope you and your group can handle that….
Survival and prepper related board games
Why this one? Because it can get everyone talking about survival. It’s a fun way to get in the mood and to approach the topic.
Life as you have known it exists no longer. Traditional commerce and frivolous living have given way. Enter a world where quick wits, guts and ingenuity mean the difference between life and death. In the Walking Dead Monopoly game you will wheel and deal for your very survival. Can you buy, sell, trade and backstab to survive a world of the dead? Optional speed play as you fight to the finish. Based upon the original graphic novel series.
- Custom The Walking Dead Game Board
- 28 The Walking Dead Title Deed Cards
- 6 collectible tokens: Bucket of body parts, Katana, Rick’s hat, Telephone, R.V., Lucille
- 16 Scavenger Cards & 16 Supply Chest Cards
- 32 houses renamed walls & 12 hotels, renamed guard towers
- 2 dice
A Previews Exclusive! Despite its post-apocalyptic setting, Monopoly: Walking Dead “Survival Edition” delivers classic Monopoly wheeling and dealing game play. Players vie for, and must then fortify, the prime real estate and resources that will sustain their lives. There’s only one victor that will outlast the others – whether living or undead – when all is said and done. The standard Monopoly pieces are given a unique spin to fit the world of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. This completely customized game features 6 collectible Walking Dead-themed tokens, optional speed play and a fight to the finish! Ages 13+; 2-6 players.
The mysterious event that has animated the dead has also given them an unhealthy hunger for your brains! The only way to survive is to fortify your house and make your stand. How long can you survive?
In Zombie Survival: The Board Game, you choose your provisions to survive a zombie apocalypse. Each player selects items to place in their house, including weapons, lumber, gas, first aid, etc.
The second part of the game brings your fears to light as the zombies start heading towards your house, tearing down your barricades and creeping in. You may have a chance to make it to town for some additional supplies, hopefully avoiding the zombies there, leaving your family to defend against the walking dead. Did you prepare for the possible power outage, contaminated water, sickness and fatigue? How long can you feed your family and keep them healthy?
The best prepared will win.
RISK The Walking Dead Survival Edition Board Game is based on a futuristic and apocalyptic story of humanity’s survival from the hordes of walking dead. One very exciting game where players make choices which can result in their final survival or demise.
The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe causing the dead to rise from their graves and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled.There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV or Internet, no cell phones, no facebook or twitter. In a new world order ruled by the dead we are forced to finally start living. The choice is yours but the goal is the same….win at all costs.
In Risk Walking Dead Survival edition you are the leader of a group of survivors. You are responsible for their fate and possibly the future of the human race. In order to survive you will need to grow the population and sphere of influence of your group, control more of the landscape and resources. When the inevitable overrun of the Walkers occurs, the group controlling the most territories will stand to win.
Two game modes: Survival for 2 to 4 players and Conquest (3 to 5 players) more of an updated version of classic Risk. There are 4 groups of survivors: Governor’s Group; Greene Family Group; Rick’s Group; and Prisoner Group. Then the Walker Horde (group). Approximately 50 pieces for each group
An incredibly engaging strategy/adventure, turn-based, board game. Based on the original RISK board game by Parker Brothers circa 1957. Risk is a trademark game owned by Hasbro.
Game for 2 to 5 players, ages 14 & up. Average game time 90 to 180 minutes.
Computer, XBOX, Playstation, and other console/video survival and prepper games
So you might not think that video games would help with survival skills. The great thing about them is that they put you in the mindset. Why do you think it’s so great people talk about the zombie apocalypse? It’s a fun way to think through what you’d do in certain situations.
Some games like Call of Duty: Ghosts can obviously get you thinking about battle tactics and the ones that you play on a team can teach kids (and you) about working together. Those are no-brainers but here are a couple that you might not have thought of and can make things more fun.
This one is one of my all-time favorite games. You can also get it on Playstation 3 and PC. It will definitely get you into the mood of living after SHTF.
You are on a perilous journey across the Great Southwest in a post-nuclear world. As you trek across the treacherous Mojave Wasteland, you’ll need to keep your senses sharp for what may be lurking around the next corner. Your goal is to make a name for yourself, but beware — in New Vegas, fortunes can change in an instant. Welcome to Vegas. New Vegas.
- Beyond the Wasteland: The world of New Vegas is more expansive than ever. Each new distinct area presents a fresh set of branching-quests, remarkable personalities and more chances to play the Savior or the Pariah to the natives of New Vegas.
- Dead Money: Lured into a trap masquerading as the Sierra Madre Casino, you are thrown into a high stakes game where you’ll have to work with three other lost souls if you want to survive.
- Honest Hearts: An expedition into Utah’s Zion National Park goes horribly wrong and you become embroiled in a war between tribes and put into a conflict between a New Canaanite missionary and the mysterious Burning Man.
- Old World Blues: Transported to the Big MT research crater, you are enlisted by the Think Tank to save them from their own science experiments that have gone horribly out of control.
- Lonesome Road: Ulysses, the original Courier Six, contacts you and promises to answer why he refused to deliver the Platinum Chip at the start of Fallout: New Vegas, but only if you make one last journey into the treacherous canyons of the Divide.
It’s the kind of town where you dig your own grave before being shot in the head and left for dead. It’s a town of dreamers and desperados where the right kind of person with the right kind of weaponry can really make a name for themselves — as well as make an enemy or two along the way. As you battle across the heat-blasted Mojave Wastelands, the colossal Hoover Dam, and the neon-drenched Vegas Strip, you’ll meet a colorful cast of characters, power-hungry factions, mutated creatures and much more. Choose sides in the upcoming war or declare “winner takes all” and crown yourself the King of New Vegas in this follow-up to the 2008 videogame of the year, Fallout 3.
- Ultimate Edition includes all original Fallout: New Vegas content and the full suite of add-on content, including Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues and Lonesome Road
- Also includes the latest arsenal of weapons, ammo and recipes with the Courier’s Stash and Gun Runners Arsenal add-on packs
- Explore new areas, each with thrilling quests, unique personalities and more chances to the play the savior or the pariah to the natives of New Vegas
- See if you can make your way out of a high-stakes game with three other lost souls after finding yourself lured into a trap masquerading as the Sierra Madre Casino in Dead Money
- Fight your way out of the middle of a conflict between a New Canaanite missionary and the mysterious Burning Man in Honest Hearts
- Save the Think Tank from their own science experiments that have gone horribly wrong in Old World Blues
- Make one last journey into the treacherous canyons of the Divide to find out why Ulysses, the original Courier Six, refused to deliver the Platinum Chip at the beginning of Fallout: New Vegas in Lonesome Road
- Flex your ammo-packed muscles with new weapons in each add-on, including the Two-Step Goodbye, a unique set of ballistic fists and the Sleepytime, a nifty 10mm submachine gun
- Stretch out with a little room to grow, as each of the four main add-on packs increases the maximum level cap by five levels, raising the ceiling to Level 50
- Find more friends and enemies, live with more consequences to your actions and earn more opportunities to live in glory or infamy throughout the Wasteland
For the first time in one package, this Ultimate Edition offers you all the fun of the original Fallout: New Vegas game, plus the full suite of action-packed add-on content, including Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues and Lonesome Road. Hungry for more? The Ultimate Edition makes sure that you’re locked and loaded with the latest supply of special weapons, ammo types and recipes from the two most recent add-on packs, Courier’s Stash and Gun Runners Arsenal. That should keep you happy during your stroll through the desert. Visit expansive new areas, and come across an outlandish array of friends. Put up your dukes with the Two-Step Goodbye, or lull your enemies to eternal sleep with a 10mm submachine gun — known simply as Sleepytime. Face brand-new challenges — but be careful. Your choices will be crucial to your survival — and reputation as savior or pariah to the natives of New Vegas. The Ultimate Edition ensures that you’ll enjoy your stay as the Wasteland welcomes you back for another visit.
Here’s what one of my readers, Jean-Luc Marcucci, said about it:
Well, if we’re talking about video games, I can’t say much about the ones in your article, as I’ve never played them, but what I have played is the Fallout series, which is an awesome role-playing game based in an post-apocalyptic world. Though being a bit over the top and unrealistic at times, it has to be one of the best out there in my opinion.
It involves barter and trade, help, don’t help or sabotage, stealing, killing, convince, and just generally interact with many different kinds of people and personalities, good and bad, and how do deal with them accordingly (with so many different choices depending on how you want your personal game to go and how you create your character’s strengths and weaknesses.) The game is what you make it, basically. It also involves scavenging with weight limits, offensive, defensive and stealth tactics, obtaining shelter, medicine, and other necessities, dealing with hunger, thirst, radiation, injuries, and lack of rest, finding and making weapons, protectives and ammo, stuff like that. A lot of people jokingly call it the “Hobo Simulator” lol!
Again, it’s a bit unrealistic (as you are able to become the Lord of the Wasteland in a sense if you’re good,) but overall I think they’re great, fun games that you can get a feel for what it would be like to live in the years following a major SHTF (in this games case, in a nutshell, resource wars eventually turned into everyone nuking the hell outta each other, the world as we know it ending in under 2 minutes.) Bethesda Studios did a killer job on making the newer ones, particularly Fallout: New Vegas! I can’t wait for the next in the series.
This game is so awesome that I think I might just have to write a whole article just on it alone. I’ll update you if I do. Time for some game-time research!
This game is also available on other consoles at the same link.
The Walking Dead video game takes the undead and brings them out of the AMC Emmy award-winning TV show and into console gaming systems in a new, terrifying way. Terminal Reality’s first-person action game will allow players to assume the role of the mysterious, crossbow-wielding survivor Daryl Dixon on an unforgiving quest to the supposed safety of Atlanta. The iconic walkers will relentlessly hunt down players like their television counterparts using a combination of sight, sound, and smell. As Daryl, players will need to tread carefully throughout each new area they explore. Once discovered, it doesn’t take much to attract an unstoppable horde of undead walkers, so every threat needs to be assessed, and every situation analyzed. No place is truly safe for Daryl as he makes his way through the Georgia countryside, alongside his overbearing brother Merle, in this new, post-apocalyptic world.
Watch the trailer here:
The Last of Us is a third-person Survival-Action game that utilizes choices in gameplay action to develop the game storyline, as well as the relationship between the two main characters, Joel and Ellie, made exclusively for the PS3 system. The game features a combination of combat, exploration, stealth, and platforming game mechanics. Although Joel and Ellie are both residents of a post-apocalyptic world, they have had different experiences that affect the way they see the world around them, and feel about what they see and do. Joel had a life before the pandemic, while the world of the pandemic is all that Ellie has ever known. As part of Joel’s job to smuggle Ellie out of the quarantine zone, players have to make choices in how they deal with enemies, which include, roving gangs of human scavengers not unlike themselves, military elements and infected civilians.
Players also have an opportunity to interact together with elements of the world around them, which helps to build the bond between Joel and Ellie. Resources in the game are scarce, making overwhelming use of firepower unlikely and unwise in conflicts, and resource gathering missions. In addition, most other residents of the ruined world that are encountered are just trying to survive – blurring the line between good guys and bad guys. Finally, game AI react differently depending on the specifics of the player’s actions, making choice in gameplay a major consideration.
Watch the trailer here:
Survival training games you can play anywhere
8. Kim’s Game
This is a game that you can play pretty much anywhere, with pretty much anything. Several government agencies use it to train agents, snipers, and others to increase their observational skills and situational awareness. It’s probably the best game out there for that.
This game was actually invented by Rudyard Kipling in his book, Kim.
Essentially, to play, you play against each other to see how much you can remember of something in a given amount of time compared to someone else. There are several ways to play. For details, see my detailed post on how to play.
The short version though is that you can just lay out a pile of things on the table for someone to study and then after so many minutes or seconds, cover them up. They have to remember as many objects as they can, and as many details about each object. The more you play this game, the more detailed you can get, and the more objects you can put out there.
Also, you don’t even need to have a pile of objects. If you’re sitting in a room (let’s just say a waiting room) with your kids, have them each go to the end of the room and look around the room for one minute. Then they have to turn their back without peeking and write down as many details about the room as they can think of. You could limit it to the people they see, the signs on the wall, or whatever you want.
If you’d like a great old movie to watch that you’ve probably never seen and would like to see them using Kim’s game to train spies, get a copy of the DVD of the movie Kim from 1950. It stars Errol Flynn and Dean Stockwell. It’s a classic, and a must-have if you like espionage-related movies.
Here’s a glimpse of the movie that shows a scene using this game:
9. Scavenger hunt
A scavenger hunt or treasure hunt is a great game for kids at home but you can also use it with adults if you expand the area. I’ve used this technique to give personnel a fun and competitive way to familiarize them with an area. If you plan the items correctly, you can have them go all over an area and by the time they get back, they know the area pretty well.
To play, you either hide things around an area (room, house, yard, neighborhood, city, country) and give them clues about what to find. You can either give them a list of things that they could find in several places such as a civil war statue or give them unique things that they’d have to find.
There’s also a book called The Pocket Scavenger that would be a great gift to give to each of your kids. It’s kind of a journal where they go find things and document them but it’s done in such a way that they discover things about themselves. If you have kids, check that book out.
Geocaching is where someone hides a container somewhere (anywhere), gives you the GPS coordinates, and people try to find it. Then they report back what they found. It’s also a good way to familiarize yourself with an area and a great way to meet new people. It’s essentially a scavenger hunt that requires navigation and usually a GPS.
If you really want to know about geocaching, check out the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Geocaching. It’ll tell you pretty much everything you need to know about it.
For a more prepper/survival version of the game, you could always do a variation on we do in the Army on our Land Navigation courses. It’s called orienteering.
This kind of training can be done in town or it can be done in the woods. You should hook up with a group of experienced orienteering people if at all possible but if you think it through, you can find ways to do this yourself.
Just be ready that if you send your family or team into the woods for something like this, they’re gonna have to have some survival skills or at least a plan on what to do if they get lost. Always set up an easy way for them to find their way out like a major road to the east of where the training area is that they couldn’t possibly cross without knowing it and tell them if they get lost, head east until they find the road, turn right, and follow it until they hit the whatever’s down there that you’re gonna meet them at. Be smart about this.
Typically, we’re given a starting point and a distance and direction that we have to walk through whatever terrain (usually hilly/swampy/muddy crap) and find a post way out there. You have to know how many steps you walk to go 100 meters in different terrain to know how far you’ve gone (you’re not allowed to use a GPS). You also have to learn how to navigate obstacles like lakes and impassable areas and get back on track so you find your next spot.
Instead of geocaching something and giving your team or family the GPS coordinates, go plant a few geocache containers and jot down the grid coordinates instead. Then have them try to locate them by using only the map and compass. With this method, they’d be learning how to orient their map to the terrain and how to do a back azimuth:
You could also do like the military and start them at a location and just give them a distance and direction but that’s definitely harder.
Remember that a lot of cell phones have GPS apps in them so you’ll have to watch cheating.
So there you have it. Learning survival or emergency preparedness doesn’t have to be boring. It can actually be fun. The more fun you can make it, the more people will learn, and want to learn – especially children. Even just sitting around a camp and seeing who can get a fire started first is a great way to teach and to learn.
Reader-suggested survival/prepper-related games
Here are some other quick mentions that you might be interested in. Let me know if you have any others that you think bear mentioning:
and that particular game has SEVERAL expansion packs available.
Well, that’s enough to get started. If you have any other great ideas about games that you can play with your family or friends that will teach you survival or prepping skills, please comment below.
Oh, and don’t forget to please share this post below if you know someone who might like new games to play with their family. Thanks!