How to Play Marco Polo
Marco Polo is a fun swimming pool game. It's perfect for pool parties and can be played with three or more players. Some people believe it takes its name after the great Venetian explorer, Marco Polo, because like "Marco" in the game, the explorer did not always know where he was going. If you want to know how to play Marco Polo, or to learn a variation on the game, see Step 1 to get started.
Playing Marco Polo
Choose one person to be "Marco." This person will try to catch everyone else. "Marco" can also be known as "It". Think of is as playing a variation of tag -- in the water! The person who is "Marco" has to have his eyes closed the entire time.
Have Marco count to ten before searching for anybody.All players should start out in the pool. Marco should stand in place, counting loudly to ten, giving the players enough time to disperse. They'll want to be as far away from Marco as possible to avoid getting caught -- unless they're risky players who like living on the edge! Once he counts to ten, he can begin searching for people, but he has to keep his eyes closed.
Have Marco shout "Marco" while everyone else answers by shouting "Polo." Marco can yell "Marco" as often as he likes. Hearing the other players respond "Polo" can help him figure out where they are, allowing him to swim or walk closer to the others.
- The players who are trying to escape Marcomustshout "Polo" every time he or she shouts "Marco." The only exception is that they don't have to shout it, obviously, if they're under the water.
- If a player above water doesnotshout "Polo!" and Marco suspects he knows who it is, then he can say, "I know that (player's name here) didn't shout Polo!" If the other players agree with him, then that person has been caught, and he has to be the new Marco! The game starts over!
Marco should follow the sounds of the other people and try to tag them.You can swim or just walk in the water. To stay safe, keep your hands out in front of you. You don't want to suddenly run or dart into a wall. You can even keep one hand on the edge of the pool as you move around, so you know where you are. Also, if you're walking, watch out for walking into the deep end and make sure you're prepared to swim.
The Polos should move away from Marco to avoid being caught.If you're running from Marco, then you should be quick on your feet, prepared to dart away at any moment. You can also go underwater and swim in a different direction after shouting "Polo" to confuse Marco. If he's close to you, change the path you were moving in to throw him off.
- Before you start the game, you should decide whether you can also move outside the pool. Some versions of the game allow for this, while others allow you to be out of the pool as long as one body part always remains in the water. This can make the game even more fun, but you have to make sure not to run outside the pool, which is very dangerous!
- You can also play the game using the "Fish out of water" rule. Under this rule, if you allow players to be out of the water, then Marco has the right to yell "Fish out of water" at any time. Once he does this, he can open his eyes -- if he sees that one player is out of the water, then he is right, and that person is the new "Marco" and the game starts over. If multiple players are out of the water, then Marco has the power to choose whomever he wants to be it!
When Marco tags somebody, he or she will become the new Marco and the game will start over.Once Marco tags a person, he or she will become the new Marco, and the player will close his or her eyes, count to ten, and prepare to tag all of the Polos once more. Keep playing the game for as long as you like -- it usually only takes a few minutes for Marco to tag somebody and for the fun to start right from the beginning!
- You can set a rule for what it means for Marco to "tag" someone during the game. Does he have to use his hands to tag someone, or does just touching that person, even if it just means his leg brushes up against the other player, mean that the person has been tagged?
Playing Blind Tag
Set the boundaries.Blind tag, for lack of a better term, played in the pool, is like Marco Polo, except the people not it are encouraged not to make noise. The game should stay in the shallow end. If you can, tie a line to separate the deep end of the pool from the shallow end of the pool.
Decide on the rules.How long will the "it" person have to count for before the game can start? Does it count as "tagging" if the person who is "it" tags the person with his or her foot? Can the players who are not "it" go out of water at all, or do they have to stay in the pool?
Decide who will be "it".You can randomly choose, you can all shout, "1, 2, 3, not it!" or you can let someone who wants to be it go first. It doesn't matter who starts, and chances are, everyone will get a turn.
Have the person who is "it" count underwater.Typically, the person should count to 10. He or she can also count above water if that's best. When the counting is over, the fun can begin! The other people should use this time to assume a tactical position, not cornered, but not too open, and as far away from "it" as possible. Unlike in Marco Polo, there is no shouting or talking, and the people who are escaping "it" should try to be as quiet as possible.
Play until the next person gets tagged.Since the game will be quiet, the person who is "it" should try to pick up on where people are by the sounds they make in the water. He may also hear people randomly giggling or breathing close by. It's hard to stay completely quiet in the water! The person should just be careful not to move around too fast, and should keep his arms out in front of him, to avoid running into walls.
- Once someone is tagged, the new person who is "it" can count to ten and start the game all over again. The fun can continue for as long as you want. It's best played when there's no one else around -- if you're darting around with your eyes closed and there are strangers around, you are bound to annoy one of them pretty quickly! Have fun playing "blind tag" for as long as you want!
QuestionDo we have to play it in water?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAlthough it is most fun, and probably safest to play it in water, you can play it elsewhere. I have played Marco Polo in a ball pit and on a playground before.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if the red fish calls out of the water and nobody gets out?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe players who don't get out will receive a penalty for breaking the rules.Thanks!
QuestionDo I have to answer when they say Marco?Top AnswererYep! That's how the game is played, and that's how the person saying "Marco" can possibly find you.Thanks!
QuestionDoes Siri play Marco Polo?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, Siri does not know how to play Marco Polo.Thanks!
QuestionCan we play without the other players absolutely having to shout, "Polo?"wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf the players in Marco Polo are underwater when, "Marco!" is shouted, they do not have to shout "Polo." However, if they are above water and can hear it being called, it is considered cheating if they do not respond.Thanks!
QuestionHow many swimming strokes are there?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFour that are recognized by competitive swimmers: butterfly, backstroke, breastroke, and freestyle.Thanks!
QuestionCan you move after you say Polo?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
To play Marco Polo, start by picking 1 person to be “Marco,” which is like being “It” in tag. Marco has to count to 10 while everyone moves as far away as possible while still remaining in the pool. With eyes closed the entire game, Marco can find people by yelling “Marco” because this signals the players to respond with “Polo.” If a player doesn’t yell “Polo,” Marco can call them out and they’re the new Marco. Otherwise, Marco should listen carefully and use the “Polo” sounds to find a player to tag.
- Variation: "Marco" can use "alligator eyes" and open their eyes under water(only without goggles), this works better when there aren't many players.
- Variation: Those shouting "Polo" can get out of the water and run around if they want. However, if "Marco" shouts "Fish out of water", the person who is out of the pool is "Marco."
- If you are Marco, yell "Marco" often.
- The more players the better.
- Marco can yell, "I can't hear you!" which makes everyone have to yell "polo." If you don't respond, you are it.
- If Marco is wearing goggles, have them pass their goggles to someone who is not, especially if they are wearing tinted goggles.
- An alternative to closing your eyes is to have the person that is Marco wear blacked out swimming goggles.
- All games are to be played at your-own-risk. It is highly recommended that you have an adult evaluate the appropriateness of the games and activities according to the ages and needs of your group. There may be potential risk. Safety precautions may be required before you play any game.
- Sometimes the lifeguards at public pools will yell out polo when they're on the stand. Do not try to tag a lifeguard, you won't be able to reach them from in the water, and they can't be Marco if they do get tagged.
Sources and Citations
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