British Bulldog was so favoured as a game of the playground that, like such other greats as Dodgball and Block 123, I remember, it seeped into weekly Brownie meetings and even became the game of choice for games lessons at school whenever it rained. Gymnastics vs Bulldog? Not really a difficult decision there.
Admittedly, a game of British Bulldog could get rather brutal (maybe that's the Brit part of it, who knows), but at least it got kids running around and keeping fit! What was especially great was that you could have as many people playing as you liked, so no one felt left out. Of course, perhaps it was the escalating size of the gameplay that led it to being banned by some schools.
The game begins with one, two or a few people if the game has a lot of players, being selected as Bulldogs. This means they stand in the middle of the defined game area. The rest of the players have to run from one end of the area to the opposite end without any of the Bulldogs tagging them. It really was a game of wit and agility! If you were unlucky enough to get caught then you too become known as a Bulldog and join the others in catching other players. As you might expect, the winner was the last person to be tagged by a Bulldog. However, there is a way of escaping the Bulldogs, for even if you got caught by one, as you ran across the area, they had to keep you caught while shouting 'British Bulldog 123". If you had the wriggling ability to get free before they finished shouting this, you were free to continue on your quest to the other side. Phew!
I remember the way we used to choose who was Bulldog at the start of the game was kind of a game in itself. We all stood around in a circle with our legs wide apart, while someone bounced a tennis ball into the centre. Whoever's legs the ball naturally found its way through was Bulldog.
While many parents deplored British Bulldog for the many dirtied trousers and torn shirts that resulted from the rugged contact sport, it was nevertheless a great game for helping kids build team spirit. Its somewhat unsurprising then that, in light of the recent child obesity epic, British Bulldog has made a bit of a comeback, even in schools.