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"The Shire" map by Animal Lover

Getting Started with BZFlag

Good, clean fun... Sorta.

What's in a name?

Register a Callsign

BZFlag allows players to register their name, also known as their callsign. Some servers provide additional benefits for registered users, such as being allowed to vote in polls. Another benefit is that players can not use another player's registered callsign. To register a callsign, visit our forums and register an account. The username and password on the forums will be used as callsign and password in the game.

Register on our forums

Tank Types

Colored tanked from left to right: red, green, blue, purple
Teammates in frickin' tanks!

Working Together as a Team

The game has four main teams: Red, Green, Blue, and Purple. In the Free For All and Capture The Flag game modes, each of those teams work together to fight the other teams. Teammates should not shoot each other in those modes. In the Open Free For All game mode, the teams do not matter and it is allowed to shoot any tank for points.

Servers can choose to limit the number of players per team or disable a team entirely.

Two rogue tanks

Prefer being a lone wolf?

Rogue Class

Like the feeling of having no loyalties to anyone? You consider yourself a lone wolf or aloof? The rogue class lets you play as a tank who's abandoned all its ties to any team and can shoot any tank, even other rogues.

Game Modes

Red tank capturing the green team flag
It's all about the flag

Capture the Flag (CTF)

In CTF, each of the four main teams can have one or more team flags and one or more team bases, both colored to match their team. For each team, the objective is to capture enemy team flags by grabbing them and bringing them back to their own base. Each team also tries to prevent the enemy team from capturing their own flag.

Two hunter tanks pursuing a rabbit tank
It's always rabbit season

Rabbit Chase

In this mode, a single Rabbit is chosen by the server. All of the other players will be Hunters. The Rabbit has the opportunity to score the most points, but it is also the most vulnerable. When the Rabbit is killed, a new Rabbit is selected by the server.

Two red tanks on the left facing off with two blue tanks
No flags, just kills

Free For All (FFA)

In Free For All, also known as Free-style, the objective is to shoot enemy tanks to earn points. The four main teams should not shoot other members of their team as this will result in a penalty. Rogue players are allowed to shoot any tank, even other Rogues.

Four purple team tanks facing off against each other
Friendly fire? Hah!

Open FFA

In OpenFFA, the objective is to shoot other tanks to earn points. Teams do not matter, and all tanks are allowed to shoot other tanks.


Green tank carrying a super flag

Super Flags

There are good super flags that provide some additional benefit, such as faster movement, a smaller tank, or different weapons like laser or guided missile. There are also bad super flags that disable parts of the tank or reduce performance of the tank. Examples of bad flag effects include radar jamming, reversed controls, left turn only, and a bouncy tank. Bad flags cannot be dropped manually and will normally have either a timer or will require finding an antidote flag.

View the flags documentation for a list of all official flags and their descriptions. It is possible game servers to run plugins that add custom flags or modify the behavior of existing flags.

View Flag List


Here are some of the basic controls. These can be customized in the Options > Input Settings > Change Key Mapping menu.

The full list of keys can be viewed in the Help menu in-game or in the Change Key Mapping menu.

Tank Controls

Basic controls for moving your tank and playing.


Up Arrow
Left Arrow Down Arrow Right Arrow


Right mouse button


Left mouse button



Identify / Lock On * player


Drop Flag

Middle mouse button

Heads Up Display (HUD)

The text and visual components that appear in front of the 3D view.

Radar Zoom

1 2 3


shift + Scroll with scroll wheel

Toggle Scoreboard



Be able to communicate with your teammates for excellent teamwork.

Send Chat to All


Send Chat to Teammates


Send Chat to Nemesis


Send Chat to Recipient


Toggle Console


User Interface

The Heads Up Display available in the game

The Heads Up Display (HUD) consists of many components as seen in the image above. Don't worry, some of the components may not be straightforward and need some explaining.


The scoreboard is sorted by the player with the highest kill/death ratio at the top; the sorting algorithm can be changed via Options > GUI Settings > Scoreboard Sort. The scoreboard consists of three main sections:

  1. Score - From left to right, the columns in this section are:
    • Net total of kills minus deaths
    • Kills/Deaths count
    • In the brackets, the amount of teamkills the player has performed
  2. Kills - Your personal kills/deaths ratio against this player. If there's only a single number, that's your name and it's the amount of times you've killed yourself.
  3. Players - From left to right, the columns
    • The player's status on the server
      • + : the player has a registered account
      • - : the player is playing with a registered account but isn't authenticated
      • @ : the player is an administrator on the server
      • No symbol means the player is playing with an unregistered account
    • The ID a player is assigned on the server; this value is only visible to server administrators
    • The player's callsign followed by a slash (/) and the abbreviation of the flag they're currently carrying

Team Scores

This section shows the score of each colored team and the amount of players currently on each team. Depending on the game mode the server is currently set to, the scores for teams will vary.

  • CTF: The number of captures a team has made vs the number of times the team had their own flag captured
  • FFA: The combined total of kills and deaths of every player on said team

These scores will only reset to 0 when every player on said team has left.


One of the game's most powerful features is radar, allowing you to see tanks, shots, and objects within the radar's field of view. There are flags that allow tanks or shots to be hidden or camouflaged on radar, so don't fall into a false sense of security.

Control Panel

This component displays everything that is happening on the server including:

  • Which flags players are grabbing or dropping
  • Players joining and leaving
  • Player deaths
  • Chat messages

This component can filter out a specific type of message as seen in the tabs on the upper right:

  • All : Shift + F1
  • Chat : Shift + F2
  • Server : Shift + F3
  • Misc : Shift + F4