Imagine the greatest game of tag you’ve ever played. Now, multiply that by 1,000. That’s the game that Friday’s new movie, “Tag,” which stars Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress, centers on.

The actors portray a group of friends and former classmates who play an elaborate game of tag every year that can take them all over the United States. Something this out there seems too strange to be true, but it is. This flick is based on a true story of 10 friends who’ve played this intense game for a month out of the year for the last 28 years.

The Tag Brothers, as they’re known, grew up together and were all students at Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Washington. Nine of the schoolmates — Bill Akers, Sean Raftis, Mike Konesky, Brian Dennehy, Joe Tombari, Rick Bruya, Joey Caferro, Chris Ammann and Mark Mengert — graduated in 1982, while Patrick Schultheis was a year ahead of them.

tag movie
Jeremy Renner and Jon Hamm play two of the game-playing friends in “Tag.” New Line Cinema

It all began when they started playing a simple game of tag before school started one morning, which resulted in Caferro being left as It when playtime ended and classes started. He tried to tag Schultheis to pass on the job of being It, but he failed. Instead of his friends relegating him to that position forever, they all decided years later, in 1990, to pick it back up again as a way to keep in touch with each other.

Lawyer Schultheis wrote up a contract, the Tag Participation Agreement, which noted the rules of the game, for everyone to sign and, then, the game began once again. As the years passed, the annual game got bigger and more intense. The guys would include their other friends and family members in their schemes to tag one of the Brothers.

Eventually, the game picked up attention and a Wall Street Journal reporter interviewed them for a 2013 story. This front-page feature led to a spot on ESPN. From there, Hollywood came calling. Now, here we are, the greatest game of tag ever played is out on the big screens for all to see in the form of the “Tag” movie.

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