Walnut Fights

As conker fighting season draws to a close it is time that the world relearned the joys of its distant cousin...Walnut Fighting - the true king of seed related fight games was last big around the 1900's and not many people today realise that capital contests can be had with just the empty halves of a walnut shell.

A dinner plate is turned upside down (the 'ring') and two fighters place their walnuts (empty halves of the nut shell) point to point in the middle. They then begin to push one against the other using steady pressure of finger and thumb on the stern of the shell. The game is over when the prow of one shell crashes through the prow of the other which happens sooner or later. Like conkers some battles are long and hard fought.
The owner of the victorious walnut can then write the number of victories on his walnut half shell. Also like conkers if he has beaten, for example, a 23-er then 23 is added to his previous number of conquests.

weird web: Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum
strange games no:81 category: indoor games

Mangelwurzel Throwing and other Strange Games with food

My recent post concerning Mangelwurzel Skittles led to a reader telling me about another weird and wonderful game involving them: Mangelwurzel Throwing. This in turn led me to research into the use of vegetable and other foodstuffs in Strange Games. Some of these merge into Strange Sports but they are all bizarre enough to be included here.Below are the greatest Strange Games / Strange Sports involving food ever.

Mangelwurzel Throwing:A traditional Somerset game that requires skill, strength and cunning. Mangold Hurling has a well developed set of rules. Players take it in turns to stand in a pitching basket and hurl a Mangold / Mangelwurzel at a Norman (A Norman being a pre-placed fixed position Mangold) The player that gets his Mangold the closest is declared the winner... it's what you get if you mix boules and strong cider. Mangold Hurling is usually performed during October each year.

official Mangold Hurling Website - unbelievably brilliant site - includes full rules and faq and pictures!!!
Strange Games no:80...category:new olympic sports?

Mullet Throwing

An Pythonesque American game/sport. A one and a half pound mullet(the fish not the hairstyle) is thrown by competitors from the Florida side of the state border into the Alabama side. Throws of around 150 feet are commonplace. It happens in April.

Interstate Mullet Toss
Strange Games no:79...category: new olympic sports?

Egg Throwing

There are various forms of egg throwing games: Egg Relay, Distance, Accuracy and Throwing and Catching.In 'Throwing and Catching' teams of two stand 10 metres apart and throw an egg to each other. The distance between the players is increased with each successive, successful throw. Greatest distance for an unbroken egg throw wins. The world record was established in 1978 Texas, when Johnie Dell Foley threw an egg the almost incredible distance of 323ft 2in (98.51m) to his cousin, Keith Thomas.

In the discipline 'Distance', obviously, the greatest distance thrown with the egg remaining intact wins - here the egg is not caught but must land on grassy ground and remain unbroken.
The World Egg Throwing Championships are held in Lincolnshire, England in June.

World Egg Throwing Federation
Strange Games no 78..category: new olympic sport?
Strange Games the Videos: Egg Throwing

Pea Throwing

A superb game / sport, Pea Throwing involves finding out who can throw a frozen pea the furthest. The current world record is amazingly around the 38m (around 124 feet) mark.World championships (now in the eighth year) occur in a Sussex pub in October of each year.If any sport deserves olympic status it is Pea Throwing.

article on 2006 Pea Throwing World Championship
strange games no:77...category: new olympic sport?

Cherry Pit Spitting

Baseball is just Rounders dressed up, Basketball is a gaudy facsimile of Netball and American Football is just a confused version of Rugby...but in Cherry Pit Spitting, America has created a true sporting classic.The rules: simply spit a cherry pip as far as possible. Current world record a staggering 93 feet.

Cherry Pit Spitting Handbook
Strange Games no:76...category: new olympic sport?

Cheese Rolling

World reknowned and extremely popular, Cheese Rolling takes place annually in Gloucestershire, England in May. Simple, fast, brutal; a large, disc of cheese is rolled from the top of a very steep hill. Competitors, of which there are a large number, hurl themselves down the hill after the cheese. The first person to the bottom wins. The hill, varies in gradient between 1 in 1 and 1 in 2 and has been described as "so steep is it, that the rays of the sun rarely fall on the slope itself!"

Official Cheese Rolling Site - lots of pictures and details
Strange Games no: 75...category:new olympic sports?
Strange Games the Videos: Cheese Rolling

Warring Couples

I am indebted to Strange Games German correspondent - Heinrich Guntergarten - for telling me about this very odd party game. Warring Couples is an ice-breaking party game that Heinrich has played at an adults party - but it would be suitable for children too.
Players are paired up and have their adjacent legs tied together (as in a three legged race) and stand with their adjacent arms over each others shoulders. One player is give a desert spoon to carry in his free hand. On a table at one end of the room is a pile of tangerines. The objective for each player in the pair is different: the player with the spoon has to walk to the table, collect a tangerine on his spoon and return to the start. His 'partner' must try to stop him, which they can do by using their free hand to knock his orange off his spoon or stopping him picking one up in the first place. However they must comply with any leg movement he makes - they must walk wherever he wants to walk. As can be imagined, pandemonium quickly ensues with players, tangerines and spoons scattered all over the floor.
A most unusual party game - thank you Heinrich.

strange games no:74...category: party games

Walking Relay & Sleepwalking Relay

I still remember playing Walking Relay at 'Biffer' Henderson's 10th Birthday party - a party mainly memorable due to Biffer being sick after his failed attempt at the world record for eating Fondant Fancies. Walking Relay deserves to be rescued from its current obscurity.
Players are formed into teams and then the teams are split into two groups at either end of the room. Upon a starting command a player from each team 'walks' as quickly as possible to his next team-mate. In this instance 'walking' means placing one foot's heel directly in front of the other foot's toe...and so on as fast as one can.
A brilliant variation is Sleepwalking Relay in which the walking players must keep their eyes closed, still walk in a toe to heel style, whilst being directed by their fellow players' shouts.

weird web: Silly Walk Generator - easily create animated silly walks
strange games no:73..category: party games

Human Skittles revisited : Mangelwurzel Skittles and Conger Cuddling

Strange Games number 69 (Headstand Human Skittles) reminds me of one of the greatest Strange Games of all time: Mangelwurzel Skittles.
Mangelwurzel Skittles is an ancient UK Westcountry game that has that magic combination of simplicity and stupidity. A mangel-wurzel (a large whitish-yellow root vegetable from the beetroot family) has a rope tied to it and this is then attached to the ceiling of the room. 'Skittles' are created by players standing on narrow 6 inch-high wooden blocks. Players are best arranged in a traditional diamond formation with location decided upon by drawing straws. The mangel-thrower then launches the mangelwurzel into the skittles. The game continues until a victorious skittle remains on his perch.

A more recent version of Mangelwurzel Skittles has appeared in Dorset in the last 30 years. Conger Cuddling is the same except, instead of a root vegetable, a dead conger eel is used. Ideally the eel should be about 5 feet in length. Animal Rights activists have recently threatened a national campaign to stop this marvellous game.

Guardian article on Conger Cuddling 2006
strange games no:72..category: outdoor games
Strange Games the Videos: Human Skittles

Squirrels in Trees

The leaves on the trees are changing colour, the nights are drawing in and you need a game for your party. Look no further than Squirrels in Trees - the perfect autumnal game. One player is the Squirrel (cocky and skittish) another is the Gamekeeper (unflustered and brutal). The other partygoers make 'trees' by standing still, facing each other, in pairs. The pairs of players (trees) should be scattered randomly around the room. The chase begins with the Gamekeeper trying to catch the Squirrel. The Squirrel can hide by entering a 'tree' and as he does so he should turn to face one player of the 'tree'. This player then becomes the squirrel and chasing continues. Plenty of changes of squirrels makes the game play better. If the Gamekeeper bags a squirrel then places are changed.

weird web: scary squirrel world...nuts
Strange Games no:71..category: :party games

Top 5 Tag Variations

There are many variations of tag but below are the top 5 determined by a scientific survey of the nations top tag players (stand up Bertie Blister)

1. Bent Knees Tag
The title says it all. Everyones movements, both tagger and tagee must be made with the knees in a fully bent position. You are only allowed to stand straight if remaining still and not being chased. A very strenuous variation

2. Bunny Hop Tag
All players must move in the style of a rabbit - jumping with both feet together. A more extreme version has players ankles tied together.

3. Walking Tag
A rarely played variation that is my own personal favourite. Absolutely no running from any player. Hilarious to watch, great for senior tag players

4. French Tag

The tagger attempts to tag an awkward part of the tagee's body (ankle, foot, etc). This player must now hold onto this part of the body till he tags someone else.

5. Pairs Tag

A perennial favourite. Two players hold hands and try to tag. Success means there are three players holding hands trying to tag. The next tag means that the 'three' splits into two pairs. And so on, till only one player is left - the victor

strange games no:70 ...category: outdoor games