Thursday, October 29, 2009

Obscure Games October 27 and 29

Games invented this week:

"Motion"/"Moving Target" : This game involves two objects (a ball and a flying disc) moving around the field at the same time. Points are scored by spiking the ball on top of the disc, with the disc on the ground.

Number of Players: 6-12
Equipment: One ball (a kickball or soccer ball will work well), one flying disc.
Field: Rectangular, ~100 feet x 50 feet

Gameplay: Each team begins with one object, and "kicks-off" to the other to start the game. After the kickoff, each team attempts to gain control of both objects, and pass both to one player who spikes the ball on the disc to score a point. Once a point is scored, teams switch starting objects and kick-off again.

1. Play begins with each team kicking off/throwing off one of the objects to the opposing team. Kickoffs/throwoffs must cross the center line.
2.A player may not run with the disc (like Ultimate). Players may pivot around one foot.
3. If a player drops a disc, or fails to complete a pass, that player may not pick up the disc. Any other player, on either team, must touch the disc first.
4. If, while a player is holding a disc, a member of the opposing team touches the disc, the disc changes possession (a turn-over on the spot).
5. A player may not carry the ball, but may dribble the ball using hands or feet to move. A player may also pass the ball using hands or feet.
6. A ball or disc which lands, rolls, or is caught out of bounds changes possession at the point it crossed the line.
7. The ball may be spiked on or rolled across the grounded disc to score a point.
8. Players may block a point from being scored by covering the grounded disc with a part of their body.
9. Once a point is scored, teams switch starting objects and kick-off again.
10. Play to 10 points or 60 minutes.

"Friggat" : This game is a mixture of Over-the-line and Circket, played with a Foxtail.

Number of Players: 4-6
Equipment: One Foxtail and at least 6 cones to mark boundaries
Field: Rectangular, with a triangular area connected to one of the short ends (an elongated house shape). The tip of the triangle is home plate, and 20-30 feet directly forward from home plate stands another base in-line with the two corners where the rectangle and triangle meet. ~100 feet further are the other corners of the rectangular field. (See image below.)

With 6 or more players, the end cones can be moved sideways, widening the playing field. This game can also be played on a baseball field, using home plate and the pitchers mound as bases.

Gameplay: While up at "bat" players attempt to throw the Foxtail past the line (the end of the triangular section) but within the boundaries of the field. Once a throw is made, the player runs back and fourth between the two bases (home base and the base directly in front of it) to score points. Fielders remain in the rectangular field until the Foxtail is caught or hits the ground. Fielders try to tag the runner or home base to get the runner out.

1. A Foxtail caught (by the tail) counts as one out and no points can be scored on that run.
2. A Foxtail that hits the ground and is then caught or picked up does not count as an out: the fielder must tag the runner or home base to get the runner out. Fielders must be in possession of the Foxtail to tag-out, but may not use the Foxtail to tag the runner.
3. A ball that goes outside of the boundaries, or does not cross the line, is a foul ball and counts as a strike. Two strikes equal one out.
4. A runner scores by running in a line between the bases. Out and back counts as two points, and one additional point is awarded for each base the runner touches after that.
5. If a runner is tagged by a fielder before completing his first out-and-back run, the runner is out and no points are scored. If the runner is tagged at any time after completing the first out-and-back run, the runner is out but retains the points already scored.
6. Once a fielder with the Foxtail enters the triangle area, no additional runs can be scored and the runner may choose not seek extra points. The next player is then "up to bat."
7. Once the Foxtail has hit the ground, fielders may enter the triangle area and catch a Foxtail thrown by a team member, to attempt to tag a runner.
8. A Foxtail caught by the ball is an automatic 2 points for the throwing team, with no out.
9. A Foxtail thrown into a tree is an automatic out. And darn tricky to recover.
10. Three outs per team per inning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obscure Games now on Pickupalooza

Obscure Games will now be listed on Pickupalooza, a free web service that allows users to schedule games at locations throughout Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Boston. A product of the Pittsburgh company deeplocal, Pickupalooza is a great resource for finding games throughout the city. Check it out at, create a profile, and come to Obscure Games (and others!)

Friday, October 23, 2009

PghPLAYS - Get Involved

PghPLAYS is an idea born from my realization that, at the age of 22, it had been at least
five years since I had played, just for the sake of playing. So I started to play again, tossing Frisbees and kicking kickballs and running around, and it was great. So great that I wanted other young people to join in. And so Obscure Games, a twice-weekly meetup to play, began through the University of Pittsburgh's Outdoors Club. Since September 2009, we've met twice a week to play games most people have never heard of. New players join us every week, and regulars come back to play again.

From Obscure Games came the idea for the PghPLAYS Festival of Games. Like the Come Out and Play Festival in New York City and the Igfest in Bristol, UK, PghPLAYS is a celebration of the impact of creative play on individuals and communities, men and women, adults and children. Right now, the festival is in the planning stages, looking for funding and community support. If you're interested in this project and would like to get involved, make a comment on this post and I'll keep you in the loop as the project develops. And keep an eye on the blog for news, games, and other information about playing in Pittsburgh.

Now, get some friends, get out there, and go play!