Human Slug Racing

Recent news reports about the record numbers of slugs in the country caused by the wet summer (BBC News report on slugs) reminded me of a brilliant game I saw being played at a camp site last year: Human Slug Racing.
Each competitor needs to bring their sleeping bag. They get into the bag, face down and with their arms down by their side. The race organiser now secures the bag tightly around their shoulders – if the bag doesn't have a draw-string at the top then use string or tape to bind it firmly. Now the race begins; players wriggle, writhe and slither to cover the course in the fastest time. To make the game more 'hardcore' simply add slugs' greatest fear 'salt' in the form of some rocks or large stones randomly strewn over the course. Sure to sort out the men from the boys.

strange games no: 142
web: 'real' flesh eating slug attack
web: slug racing video (slightly lame attempt)

Human Boules

My recent posts on ideal, but strange, beach games led to an e-mail from Sky Croeser - the co-creator of Human Boules. Similar in form to Human Croquet this is the perfect game to play on the beach, especially if you want to attract startled looks from other beach dwellers.
Split everyone bar one player into two teams. Each team is formed of one 'thrower' with the rest forming the boules - these players are all blindfolded. The solitary player forms the 'jack' and stands himself a good distance away down the beach.
Now to the bowling. Each thrower takes it in turn to spin one of his blindfolded 'boules' around a set number of times, then holding him by the shoulders faces him in the required direction and tells him the number of steps to take. The 'boule' must obey as best he can. Obviously the thrower must be skilled in judging the length of individual players' steps and also the dizzy curve they will have acquired from spinning around. Points are gained for the player who gets his boules nearest to the 'jack'.

strange games no:141

Strange Games for Firemen - Fastest Up the Ladder

When you think about what sort of games firemen get up to in their spare time then the strangest you probably get is shooting pool or a quickest slide down the pole competition.
In Hungary they stage a fantastic speed ladder climbing event. As the video clearly shows these are the firemen you want to come when you are stuck on the top floor of some burning flats. Setting off running carrying a single lightweight ladder they cover 30 yards and then use it to climb a mocked-up 3 storey building in an incredible 18 seconds. They climb a floor at a time then pull up the ladder they just climbed up to use for the next level at jaw-dropping speeds.

Other unusual games played by firemen seem thin on the ground but if you particularly want to see them playing conventional games then head to the World Firefighters' Game which in 2008 are held in Liverpool. A vast array of conventional games and sports will be played by firemen from around the world. The only hint of unconventional play being the Firehouse Cook Off: contestants have to design and cook a three course meal for ten people within a budget of £50, presumably without burning any food and setting off the kitchen smoke detectors.

strange games no:140

Report on the First Welsh Open Stone Skimming Championships

Founder of the Welsh Open Stone Skimming Championships, Mark Davies, writes this report on the inaugural event.

We had a fabulous day at the Wales Open Stone Skimming Championships. We had 193 entries and the event raised over £500 – the majority of which will go to the St. John’s ambulance. It seemed like everyone enjoyed a quirky and different kind of day.
The winner, Mike Camplin, threw a maximum 75m and hit the bridge. No one else came near that distance and we wonder if there’s a potential world record holder here next year. The Cook family from Cheltenham can be singled out as a particularly talented family in that Mr Cook came 3rd in the Seniors, Jack Cook and William Cook came first and second in the Senior boys and George Cook came third in the under 10 boys.
The Strange Games Shield for most number of skips for the under 10's went to George Hancock - a local lad who also threw 32m.

There will be a SkimWales 2008.

Mark Davies
Welsh Stone Skimming 2007

Spectacular Deaths

My recent post about strange games to play in the sand dunes led to friend and correspondent Maurice Tweddle to write in and remind me of a game that we used to play together as callow youths: Spectacular Deaths. Although it can be played anywhere with soft ground the perfect environment is the sand dune.
The premise of the game is simple, one must die in response to the other player's imaginary gunfire, and the death must be as spectacular as possible. This leads to much clutching of chests, cartwheeling through the air, falling backwards off the tops of dunes, jerking your body in response to machine gun fire and perfecting the head snap whiplash response to the superbly accurate hit man hiding behind the pampas grass. And once one has mastered all these spectacular deaths there is the ultimate dune death of the hand-grenade lobbed into the sand bunker: a leap through the air with forward somersault to land triumphant (and dead) on your back.

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Strange Games on the Beach

At this time of the year Strange Games receives many e-mails like the following: "Montegue, my family are all ready for a beach holiday, we have got wind-shields so that we don't have to gaze upon our beach neighbours, sunscreen in case the sun comes out and garishly coloured Crocs for everyone's feet...but what strange beach games can we play?"
The answer I give is that if you want to avoid the mundanity of beach cricket/volleyball/frisbee you should attempt Headstand Human Skittles or at the very least a bit of Sand Wrestling but if you really want to have fun head for the dunes.

Sand Dune Jumping
The perfect beach sport requiring only bravery, a steep hill of sand and a grassy top to throw yourself off. Sand Dune Jumping is as adventurous as you want to make it. Simply run and abandon yourself to gravity and a soft landing. The person who achieves the furthest distance with the most style wins.
web: sand dune jumping video from You Tube
web: naked sand dune jumping (not for the squeemish)

Sand Dune Skiing
If you
have access to an old pair of skis or even better a snowboard then there is no better way to tackle a steep hill of sand than by skiing down it. If a straight run down is fairly easily achieved then attempt sand slalom and even jumps.
The usual complaint that the greater friction of sand makes skiing too slow can be overcome by liberally spraying your board or skis with WD40.
web: serious sand skiing in Qatari
and Bruneau Sand Dunes, Idaho

strange games no: 137&138

German Splash Diving/ Bombing/ Arschbombe

My previous post advocating Belly Button Battles as a game suitable for all portly, paunchy, porcine people prompted Heinrich Guntergarten (Strange Games' German Correspondent) to recommend another game: German Splash Diving.
At the end of July the second World Splash Diving World Cup was held in Hamburg ('fat city'). This involves competitors jumping into a swimming pool from heights of 10 meters (diving board) and 30 meters (from a crane). Entrants are scored with the highest points being awarded to the biggest splashes as well as supplementary points for style (somersaults, twists etc.) and not letting the pain show. The accompanying picture shows the classic 'bomb' position but the event is freestyle with any entry position allowed as long as the splash is large. As the official website so eloquently puts it:'Splashdiving is to be seen as a community for girls, boys and especially freaks that have lots of fun at diving'

Note: the event used to be called arschbombe (literally arse bombing) but has been changed to the much politer splash diving
web: official arse bombing website
web: bbc news report on German Bombing
web: reuters report on splash diving

strange games no:136

Belly Button Bounce-off/ Stomach Jousting

As the majority of the nation becomes ever more obese and the powers that be cajole them into exercise there is an increasing demand for suitable games for fat people. Belly Button Bounce-off, as witnessed at The Small Festival, could just be the solution.

Two players stand facing each other, as close as possible, feet together and stomachs touching. On an agreed signal both players start to push the other using their stomachs only -a solid stomach along with a Shakira-like thrust of the hips make for a winning combination . The first player to take a step backwards is the loser.

strange games no: 135

Chant Intro for Rock Paper Scissors

Grace Jefford, Strange Games' Brighton Correspondent, has described this brilliant chanted intro to Rock Paper Scissors that is currently sweeping the country.
Opponents face each other, hands together and fingertips touching. Both chant,"Tic-Tac-Toe" and on each beat brush the backs of their hands together. Then they chant, "Give me high" - clap their right hands up high, "Give me low" - clap their hands down low. Then each player interlocks their fingers and flexes their hands to the rhythm of the chant, "Give-me-three-in a-row". Now each makes a fist of their right hand and tap it into their left, quickly, to the beat of "Polly-got-shot-by a-U-F-O". This part is performed at double the speed of the previous parts and after the 'O' of UFO each player shows either Rock, Paper or Scissors.
If there is a tie then "Polly got shot..." is repeated and players draw again.

Once a winner has been found a punishment is now given to the loser. The losing player turns around whilst the winner pokes them in the back with the finger of their choice. The loser has one guess at which finger poked them, and if they guess correctly the game ends there. If they guess incorrectly then the winner extracts their punishment: with a fist they bash the loser on the inner arm in time to the chant of "I-win-you-lose-I-give-you-a-big-fat-bruise"

Marvellous. Thank you once again to Grace Jefford for describing this variation on the game.

strange games no:134