April 8, 2010

Four Square

So my friends and I are really cool. The other night, we played a little four square. Since no one had played four square in about 15 years, we had to have a little refresher on the rules. Lucky for us, some hip kindergarten girls happened to be passing. They were kind enough to join the game and help us out. After a while it became obvious that their rules were skewed to keep them as King and we had to kick them out and send them home. Ten seconds to retrieve a ball from out of bounds?? Children these days are so soft.

Anyways, below is an abbreviated list of the rules of four square. I feel like it is significantly more complicated than it was when I was six.

Around The World: Any player in possession of the ball may call Around the World regardless of rank at any moment. If it is called, the calling player can hit it to an adjacent square, and that person must hit it to the remaining adjacent square until it reaches the player who called it, at which point the game returns to normal. A "permanent" version may be called, in which case the sequence must continue until a player gets out, even if it reaches the caller.

Backboards (Treetops, Double tap): Hitting the ball upwards into the air one time before hitting it into another player's square, often used to give a player a better aim.

Baubling (Bubbles, Double Touches, Popcorn, Juggling, etc.): A way to get around holding the ball, one bounces it lightly between their hands before hitting it to another square.

Black Magic: King says “black magic” while twirling a ball in hands before throwing it at another player. When they throw it, they yell “dare!” If the player does not catch it, they must perform a dare of the Kings designation.

Catching between one’s legs (The Annihilator): If this is called, and a player catches the ball between his or her legs (typically between the knees), all players except for the person to catch the ball are out. The person completing the play then moves to the serving position.

Dodge Ball: If a player is able to catch the ball before it bounces in any square or out of bounds, the game play shifts to Dodge Ball, wherein all players must abide by the standard rules for the game Dodge Ball. This entails the player with the ball not taking more than three steps, and attempting to throw another player out by striking them with the ball (recommended only with soft large rubber balls). If the target player catches the ball or the ball misses all players the player who threw the ball is out.

Fairy Bomb: When a player catches the ball they may jump in the air as if about to throw a cherry bomb but instead softly say, "Fairy bomb," and lightly drop the ball in another player's square.

Midget World: The King may call "Midget World" before they serve and all players must play in squatting position for the match.

Passback: If a player calls Passback during a game, the next person must hit it back to that player.

Sharking (Skunk, Sting, etc.): Aiming directly for any part of an opponent's body rather than playing it normally. If the sharker hits the opponent, the opponent is out. If the opponent dodges the ball, the sharker is usually out (because the ball did not bounce in his or her own square).

Spinning ((Texas) Twisters, Screwballs, Peppermint Sticks, etc): Hitting the ball, usually with both hands, in such a way that a spin is imparted on it, causing it to bounce unusually.

Typewriter: A rule in which a player grabs or baubles the ball, moves close to an adjacent square, and bounces the ball in that square a predetermined number of times. The usual variant is to spell out the opponent's name, one letter per bounce. If the player successfully completes the move, the opponent is out. If the opponent hits the ball to disrupt the spelling, the person who initiated the typewriter is out.

The complete list of cooool rules can be found here. The site even has a map of four square locations. Sadly, most are centered around Boston (the four square mecca) and no where near Louisville. Last time we played, we only had four players (after we kicked the kiddos to the curb - cheaters) and need more. Come play. Drink some beer. It's more fun than you think!

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