this is by us has a post about games they (we) played that were much worse than tag:
Keep Away – Ah, Keep Away. What a wonderfully simple premise: get a hold of the ball and keep the other team from getting it. Whichever team had the ball at the end of recess won. We did, admittedly have one house rule: no tackling the player with the ball. Anyone else, though, was fair game. It was an open invitation to skidding, bruised arms, and skinned knees. And if you weren’t the fastest runner, you got really good at tackling the empty-handed kids.
Suicide – The recess game of choice during 7th and 8th grade. Someone would throw a tennis ball and we would try to catch it. If someone caught the ball, they threw it back against the wall. If no one touched it, someone fetched it and then threw it at the wall again. If someone touched the ball but failed to catch it, however, they had to stand still against the wall and let someone pelt them with the tennis ball. The greatest thing was, there was absolutely no incentive to catch the tennis ball, save for the thrill that you might miss.
Red Rover – After Dodgeball, this has got to be the classic worse-than-tag game, and yet it always seemed like the most innocent of activities. In fact, it developed a sort of retro appeal for my classmates when we got older. But, come on, a game where the whole point is to run into other people? Where you deliberately let yourself trip over their limbs and try to knock them over and break them apart? That’s got legal liability written all over it.
We also played Smear The Queer, where somebody would run with the football, and everyone would chase him and try to tackle him/get the ball away. He who had the football last won.