Scrumpy Bucket

Strange Games reader, and self styled King of the Scrumpers, Christopher Trigg sent in the Autumnal game of Scrumpy Bucket some time ago and it is only now that I am getting around to write about it. Scrumping is the noble childhood activity of stealing apples from someone elses orchard and the Game of Scrumpy Bucket could be seen as some sort of celebratory game of this activity.
Christopher Trigg writes,"Scrumpy Bucket is played in teams of twos in an orchard at Scrumpy time. One man, the 'bucket-boy' holds a large plastic bucket in each hand then starts spinning around on the spot. His partner stands a couple of yards off, gathers as much fallen fruit from the ground as possible then tries to throw the fruit into the buckets. Obviously, with bucket-boy spinning around, this is no easy matter and much fun is gained by the fruit missing the buckets and striking his team mate instead. The job of the bucket boy is made even harder as the game goes on - he gets dizzier and dizzier and is more than likely to stumble and fall on the apple strewn ground. Get more than one team playing at the same time and set a time limit for the spinning...then simply count the apples in the buckets at the end to determine the winning team."

A humorous description of Scrumping can be found at Scaryduck

Blongo Ball/ Ladder Golf / Hillbilly Golf

Strange Games is indebted to reader Jerry Coffey for drawing our attention to the classy American game of Blongo Ball.
To play, you will need a Blongo Ball set consisting of two sets of bolas (two rubber balls connected by a short length of cord) and a goal, which is a little like a plastic clothes-dryer with three crossbars. The aim of the game is to throw your bolas and get them to wrap around the horizontal goal bars, each of which is differently coloured and gives different points. The best throwing technique is to spin one ball around the other then launch the whole bolas in an underhand style.
Rules can vary but a good allocation might be 1 point for the easy top rung, 2 for the middle and 3 for the tricky bottom. You can gain extra points for more unusual shots such as getting the bolas to bounce off the ground before they wrap themselves around the bar. You could even give differing points to whether your shot produces a 'wrap around' or a 'hanger' (the bolas hangs on delicately by one ball only)

Play as a two player game, take it in turns to throw and if you knock one of your opponent's bolas off then they lose those points. The first player to get to 21 wins.
In his correspondence Jerry suggests, rather cruelly I think, that the game is also known as Hillbilly Golf.
Learn more at the blongo ball website where you can even have a go at a computer version of the game
Jerry is also starting a bloglist of fun family games here

Hat Ball

Strange Games is often deluged by at least a couple of e-mails a week detailing odd and obscure games that readers play. Many of these games we feature in the blog and a few are touched by the hand of genius...Hat Ball is one such game.
Hat Ball was sent in by reader Daryl Hrdlicka.

To play the game you need to be outside on a patio (or some other solid flat area) that adjoins a wall. Both players wear hats and stand close together side by side facing the wall. One player holds a power-ball (super-ball) which he then throws down hard against the patio at such an angle that the ball will bounce onto the wall and then bounce higher up into the air before it starts to descend. As soon as the ball is launched both players remove their hats and scramble to catch the ball in their own hat. The player that achieves this gains a point as well as control of the ball and play continues. The game works well for two players but could probably be extended to more people for a really chaotic version.
Daryl writes:"You couldn't take your hat off until the ball was in the air, and then you just tried to catch it in your hat (using elbows and body checks to get the advantage). I liked to use hats with rims all the way around because if you snapped your wrist right, the hat would fly out like a Frisbee and you could catch the ball in the air"
A game that involves power-balls, Frisbee skills, rough and tumble...and wearing hats. What's not to like?