Whistling Balloons

Strange Games has received a superb party game submission from Elsie McDonald, called Whistling Balloons.
Elsie writes, "To play you are going to need a balloon that makes a whistling noise when you fire it (one each for every person playing)
You could use normal balloons, but it's not as fun and loud! Make sure they are the long and thin ones!
Each player, (minimum of 3) takes a balloon and blows it up as much as they can. The players then stand in a circle with the balloon aimed at the person on their left. On the count of three, everyone lets go of their balloons.
Your job now is to catch the balloon whistling towards you from your right before the air runs out. Anyone that fails to catch the balloon is out. Players keep blowing up their balloons and firing untill there is only one player left. This player is the Whistling Balloon King for the rest of the day and the other players who failed to catch their balloons and lost are slaves to the King all day!"

If you play something strange then don't keep it to yourself send it to me montegue_blister@hotmail.co.uk.

The Passive Agressive Door Holding Game

An e-mail from Strange Games' reader Daryl Hrdlicka (inventor of the brilliant game Hat Ball) entitled Games that Other People Don't Know They Are Playing brings to my attention the Passive Aggressive Door Holding Game.
First featured in a cartoon on passive aggressive notes.com the game is an ideal office game that is as simple as it is cruel.
As you open the door to enter somewhere keep it open for the person behind - as long as they are a considerable distance behind as this will force them to think they will appear ungrateful if they don't rush to accept. The door opener who can get this runner to run from the greatest distance away is declared the winner. Simple....and it works with lifts too.

Sheep ~ a game dedicated to John Leech MP

Strange Games has been honoured yet dismayed to receive an e-mail from Liberal MP John Leech's office questioning the safety and suitability of certain games contained in this blog and in the book Strange Games (described by the Sunday Times as the perfect gift for less cerebral family members here...). He feels that they may be dangerous and possibly cause harm to participants and therefore should not be encouraged in any way. So we have decided to give him the honour of a brand new game thought up by myself and Mrs Blister after a couple of glasses of Palma Sherry. The game is called Sheep.
For two or more players in a small closed room. First make sure there are no obstacles in the room. If any irremovable object has any form of edge then smooth it off. If possible pad the walls so that they are as soft as possible (a cheap padding can easily be achieved with unwanted copies of Liberal Party manifestos) Now cover each player in layer upon layer of cotton wool until no possible harm can come to them under any circumstances. If possible the players should be sexually, etnically and demographically as diverse as possible (if this can't be achieved just get two old public school boys) Now...stand the players at opposite ends of the room, blindfold them and have them run towards each other as hard as possible. Many times they will miss and end up carreering into a wall but every so often they will smack headlong into each other. If they want then players can make sheep noises throughout which both adds to the versimilitude and aids location. The last person standing wins.

Bus Stop Chicken

Bus Stop Chicken is the winning game in the recent 'Win Strange Games the Book' competition and was sent in by reader Steve Bancroft. It is both delightfully simple and stupid - two attributes that are necessary for the best strange games. And it is cheap to play too, needing only the purchase of a bus ticket. Steve writes:'The people who are contesting to be bus stop chicken champ sit on the back of the bus. They must all want to get off the bus at the same stop. Then as the bus approaches your stop the last person to get up from their seat wins. Simple. The trouble with this is if you are very good at it you spend most of your time walking back to your stop because you didn't get up at all.' Also, presumably, there will be games where some people chicken out and get off the bus, some leave it too late to chicken out and fail to disembark and also games where there are more than one person that remains sitting. In this last scenario I suppose the game continues to the next stop on the route...the eventual winner having a very long but victorious walk home.
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If you have an odd/stupid/funny game you want to share the email: montegue_blister@hotmail.co.uk. If you want to buy the book about which Mark 'Late Review' Lawson has said, '...both funnier and shorter than War and Peace' then head over to Amazon here

Human Skipping

You know how very tall people are often rubbish at skipping. Well now they can play too....as long as they don't mind being the rope.

Knife Baseball

If you get tired of the marvellous game of Split the Kipper (taking turns to accurately throw a knife close to the feet of your opponent) then maybe it is time to take up the game of Knife Baseball. This is another silly, probably best not played game where the four bases of a baseball game are simulated using flicks of a pen knife. To play you will need a pen knife that has two different sized blades available at one end. Pull both these blades out but positioned so that the smallest blade is fully extended in line with the handle but the larger one is only half extended at 90 degrees to the small. At the beginning of each strike the knife is inserted into the playing surface (a wooden plank makes an ideal playing environment) using the large blade. Players then put a finger under neath the handle and by using a flicking motion flip the knife through the air. How it lands determines which base that 'hit' gets to. To get a home run you need it to land so that the small blade only is in the wood. A three base'hit' is signified by both small and large blades in the wood, second base by the knife supporting itself on the large blade only and only a single base is achieved for both the large blade and the handle touching the wood. Any other throw is considered to be a strike out and gains no points.

repost: Slap Heads

To celebrate Strange Games the Book being published (a book that has been described by Jenny Murray on Woman's Hour as, 'Not only the dog's bollocks but quite possibly the cat's bollocks of humor related christmas gift books) we repost one of our favourite games: Slap Heads.

For two players at a time, one stands facing the other. The slapping player stands with their hands held out in front of themselves at chest height and about shoulder width apart. The other player then has to bob their head vertically downwards between these two hands without receiving a slap on the head. The slapping player can not attempt a slap until the head bobbing player initiates their bobbing movement and if the bobber is successful then players change roles and the game continues.Simple....a game that requires little athletic ability, lack of intelligence and a thick skull.

Spandex Pants

The Strange Games competition is now closed..thank you to all who entered. Some excellent games were submitted, ranging from well loved violent childhood games to a bizarre game involving a shuttlecock, a glass of water and a blindfold!. After much discussion and copious amounts of vintage port I can now reveal the second place game: Spandex Pants.
It is a consensual, multi-person, multi-location, long running game of hide and seek that hides objects rather than people. It was sent in by Jade.
In her own words, "
My boyfriend and his friends have played this game for around 9 years so it's well established here. We call it Spandex Pants because that was the first item to be used in the game. It's a game of hide and seek using a random object. Objects used have been the famous spandex pants, a Tellytubby plush toy, Tiffany Greatest Hits CD...you get the idea. Such items have been discovered in birthday presents, suitcases, hanging on car side mirrors, hidden in clothes drawers.... There can be any number of players and the object of the game is to take an item (in the first case, the spandex exercise pants they found so amusing!) and pass it to each of the players houses/cars/personal being without the receiving player realising they now have it. When the receiving player finds the item they then become the carrier or owner of the item and they then have to pass it back without the new recipient knowing, and so on. The idea being that no one knows who has the item until it is found making this a game of wits and deception. There is only one rule. If the item is found by the recipient before the players part from each other then the carrier has to take it back and try again to pass it on."
Think of the horror you would have if you found a copy of Tiffany's Greatest Hits in your sock drawer....think of the pleasure in getting it back.

Crabs

When I was at school violent playground games such as British Bulldog, Jimmy Knacker and the still popular Slapsies were the order of the day, and despite the best efforts of the health and safety, cotton wool cladding, Daily Mail reading, nanny stating, fun killing, idiotic moral majority the odd one or two are still being played today. Strange Games reader Cynthia Curtainpole (possibly not her real name) sent in the delightfully brutal playground game of Crabs.

For 2 players, each holds out their hands and grasps the other's as in the photo with their finger nails held against the insides of the other person's fingers. Now both players squeeze as hard as possible (in a 'crab' like fashion) which forces their nails to dig into their opponent's fingers while all the time their opponent's nails are digging into theirs. The game is to see who can stand the pain and last the longest.
This is a game best suited for players with long (even better, sharp) fingernails. This is a game for tough people. This is a game for girls!
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If you play a similar unusual game that the world needs to know about then e-mail me (montegue_blister@hotmail.co.uk) and if you do so before 13th November then you will be entered into the competition to win a signed copy of Strange Games the book. See here for details.

New Finger Jousting Video

One of Strange Games favourite games, Finger Jousting has been well covered here many times but a newly posted You Tube video shows a marvellously acomplished and well balanced UK bout.
Note how they are using a scoring system of 3 for head, 2 for chest/neck, 2 for the back and 1 for the legs. Also note the superb jousting stances and high quality play all round by these fine sportsmen.

One of the jousters, a man by the name of
Richard Gottfried has a few other strange game claims to fame in that he is a key player on the UK mini-golf scene, enters many championships and writes a superb blog (The Ham and Eggers Files) on the game. He has also appeared on the quiz show Eggheads as part of a mini-golf team -the Nutters with Putters.

Straitjacket Softball

Straitjacket Softball is another game of genius from the fertile mind of Tom Russotti. Tom is the founder of Aesthletics a movement whose aim is to combine art and sport. In his own words, "Aesthletics aims to unleash the great opportunities inherent in competitive contests for social rather than monetary capital." He has also created some mad games of which Straitjacket Softball is one of the best. Tom created the game for the 2007 Conflux Festival. Visit Aesthletics and watch a StraitJacket Softball video here.

Play as normal softball except the bases are represented by the members of the fielding team wearing straitjackets. And they are not fixed in position but can move inside a set circular zone, so when a batting player hits the ball and starts to run to first base they find that the straitjacketed base runs away from them causing much confusion and giving the fielding team extra time to gather the ball and stump the running player out. Exercise, art and fun for both the sane and insane...what more could you want from a game

Rubber Band Escapology

By playing Rubber Band Escapology you can relieve office based boredom and utilise your stationery cupboard all at the same time. All you need to play is an elastic rubber band and not be concerned with looking a little stupid.
To play, stretch a band over your head and open your mouth so that the rubber band is firmly stretched between your teeth and below your ears. Now, without using your hands at all, get the band to move down your face so that it ends up around your neck. To accomplish this you are going to have to use your tongue, lips and teeth to maximum effect followed by lots and lots of chin wriggling. If you are unfortunate enough to have quite a large chin then this game is just going to make you feel much worse about it...so best avoid.

For more rubber band Strange Game fun try Ear Lug of War as well as Human Rubber Band

Also don't forget the current Strange Games competition (see 2 posts down)...simply send in your particularly odd activity and get the chance of winning a signed copy of the book!

strange games repost: Walking Trippy

To celebrate Strange Games the book, which hits the shops this Thursday, I am going to re-post one of my favourite games of all time....the game that has come to be known as the English man's martial art: Walking Trippy.
Walking Trippy is an easy to play, hard to master , indoors game. It can be played in any room which is carpeted. For two players at a time. Each stands at either end of the room and then they start walking towards one another. They must walk so that they won't bump into each other but they will pass as close as possible. It is at this passing point that both players must try and trip their opponent up. No hands or elbows or knees are allowed to hit your opponent it is purely ankle dexterity that must do the dirty work and most importantly all without breaking step...this is a cultured tripping game. The first few times that you play it may seem impossible until the first time you position the outside of your foot over your opponent's toes, or catch their ankle and they go flying headlong to the floor. If no one falls then continue walking past till you get to the end of the room, turn around and walk past again.


note: the accompanying photo shows Fidel Castro playing the game

Strange Games Competition...Win the Book of the Blog

Strange Games the book (a perfect Christmas gift if ever there was one!) is due to hit the shops in 9 days time. So, to celebrate and promote, etc.. we are having a competition.
The Question: What is the best Strange Game you have ever played...
What bizarre play activity do you indulge in that the world needs to know about?

How to Enter: Drop me just a few lines by e-mail (montegue_blister@hotmail.co.uk) detailing how to play your favourite odd game/activity/unusual invented sport and you will be entered into the competition.
All entrants will be read and judged by myself and Mrs Blister. And the 2 entries that we consider the most original and odd and make us smile the most will win a prize:
The Prize: A personally dedicated and signed first edition of Strange Games...and other odd things to do with your time..plus your winning game to be featured in a future post of this blog!
There are 2 to give away so why not have a go!

Tips:
We are not looking for an odd sport that exists and is well documented already such as Bog Snorkelling, Unicycle Polo or Cow Poo Throwing...we are more interested in the sorts of really odd/stupid/violent/pointless games you've played in the schoolyard or the privacy of your own home or in college. Something just a little unusual.
Good luck!
Send entries to: montegue_blister@hotmail.co.uk
Small Print: Entries are allowed from anywhere in the world. More than one entry per person is allowed. The judges (Montegue Blister & Mrs Blister) decision is final. The competition closing date is 13th November 2009. Results announced on this blog by 16th November 2009.

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Bicycle Jousting @ the Chap Olympiad

The Chap magazine, a journal for the modern gentleman, has been publishing sartorial advice and articles on pipe smoking, tweed, and indeed everything else a chap needs to know, for ten years now. For six of those years they have also held the Chap Olympiad, a gathering of the nation's finest suited, booted and moustach-wearing chaps... not forgetting the chappettes. This year it was held in July in Bedford Square Gardens and was well attended by over a thousand dandies.
Various sporting events are held from piggy back racing to moustache tug-of war but possibly the highlight of the event was Bicycle Jousting. To play you are going to need a couple of cycles, umbrellas for lances and cardboard shields. In keeping with the ideals of Chappism the front of the shield is pasted with the front page of the Financial Times. Players mount their cycles with the shield on one arm, the umbrella held forward in the other and gallantly cycle towards each other and certain injury. Umbrellas can be used in traditional jousting fashion or the hooked handle can be used to try to pull the opponent over.
The jousting fence, which forms the barrier between each jousters course, is created by stretching a rope between two old-fashioned wooden hat stands.
Most sports require specialised clothing and Bicycle Jousting is no different with blazers, waistcoats and a nice pair of flannel trousers being de-rigeur but definately no man-made fibres. Most gentleman jousters favour the bowler as the perfect head wear as it has the ultimate combination of authoritative style and protection should you fall.


Opener

Opener is a game devised by Tom Russotti. Tom has created The Institute for Aesthletics ( an organization dedicated to the playing of sports as an artistic practice)....check out his website here
His new game of Opener (seen in the video below) is a team game where each player wears a helmet with a hula hoop attached (easily achieved with a cycling helmet and some gaffer tape) that makes them look a little like a giant bottle opener..hence the game's name.
Teams pass a ball between themselves by throwing or kicking with the aim being to get into the opponent's end zone and once there throw it through one of their own team's helmet hoops. If they do this then a point is scored. Obviously the other team constantly try to intercept and get the ball down to the other end and do likewise.
Full contact is allowed.

Opener from Aesthletics on Vimeo.

Freestyle Arm Wrestling

Strange Games reader Jason Smith sent in a game he has played called Freestyle Arm Wrestling.
It is fine alternative to normal Arm Wrestling (a game that requires solely brute-strength) needing a player to show guile, agility and some strength to be successful.
Jason writes, "
Two competitors stand facing each other in an open area and grasp hands in the traditional arm wrestling grip. From this stage it is like arm wrestling where the table is the floor. The winner is the first to get their opponent's hand to the ground. General avoidance of the head and groin regions is recommended but beyond that anything goes. Should a "break" occur opponents reset and play again unless the break occurred as an obvious last ditch trick to escape loosing. Should that be the case then the person who weaseled out forfeits the match."

Tights Racing

Another superb childrens' (party) game, Tights Racing has been sent to Strange Games by reader Nick Moss. And it is yet another one of those kids' games that is even more fun when played by adults. Pair up the players into teams of two. One player is given a pair of nylon tights and both are surrounded by a large pile of light, bulky items such as: toilet rolls, fruit, empty plastic bottles, cuddly toys...etc. On a starting command one player must jump into their tights and then with the help of their partner shove all the items down the legs as quickly as possible and then once everything has been stored they must race to the other end of the room.
The sight of players struggling to race with elephant-like nylon cladded legs is what gives this game its charm.

Hard Boiled

Hard Boiled is the name of a daring school game that combines Egg and Spoon with tickling and ends up with a probable detention. It was sent to Strange Games by Bethany and Maddie.

For two players: All you need to play are two spoons and an open window (the first floor of the home economics building is possibly the ideal location). The two players stand side by side close to each other and facing an open window. The left standing player must hold the spoon in their right hand, the other must use their left hand. Each player now places an egg in their spoon and holds the spoon at arms length, as if they were about to run an egg and spoon race....the only difference being they are not about to run AND they have one arm,a spoon and an egg held outside the open window. This feels dangerous enough but now the players can use their free arms to tickle the exposed armpit of their opponent. No punching, pinching or grabbing is allowed, only tickling. The first player to drop their egg is the loser.

Strange Games welcomes reader contributions...just e-mail me: montegue_blister@hotmail.co.uk

Circle Rules Soccer @ igfest 09

Next weekend sees the second running of Bristol's urban/social interaction/street game festival: igfest. It runs from Thursday 10th - Sunday 13th in various Bristol locations such as multi-storey car parks, supermarkets and parks and includes a superb variety of games including Tom Russotti's Mega Socca (multiple balls and players), interactive treasure hunts and Moose hunts! and much much more including the marvellous game of Circle Rules Soccer.

Circle Rules Soccer
was developed in 2006 by Greg Manley for the Experimental Theatre Wing of New York University and has been successfully played at other urban games festivals such as New York's Come Out and Play Festival.
The game is played by two teams on a circular pitch (about 50m in diameter) in the centre of which is marked a goal area (4m in diameter) inside which only the goal-keepers are allowed. However there is only one set of goals, in the centre of this goal area, manned by two goalies. Two make it even more unusual instead of a normal sized football the game is played with one of those giant inflatable yoga balls. Players can kick it, punch it or bounce it along the ground in a basket ball style but they can't hang onto or sit on it. Their ultimate aim is to get it through the goal posts from the right side for their team. The goal keepers for their part are allowed full body contact with each other so that they can wrestle the one another to the ground to help in the goal scoring activityies. For smaller scale, less complicated games, you can dispense with the goal keepers and the goal area and just keep the goals.

Worm Racing

I am yet again on holiday for a week or so enjoying the bracing sea mists of an English Summer, so to keep readers entertained until my return I post an entertaining video of Human Worm Racing. Enjoy!

Pegs: an inane pain game

Pegs is probably the most fun you can have with a group of friends, some dice and a humble clothes peg. To play, everyone sits in a circle around a table with a couple of dice and one strongly sprung plastic clothes peg. If you can't get one of these you could always try using a bulldog clip although that might be a little too painful for what is about to happen. Players take it in turns to roll the dice. If they roll two different numbers then the dice are passed to the next player and play continues. However if any double is rolled then a peg based punishment must be applied. If you roll double one then you must attach the peg to the loose skin on the back of your hand. A double two means you apply the peg to your neck, a double three and you must peg one of your cheeks (on your face!). A roll of double four means that the peg is heading for one of your nostrils and double five means you must peg your earlobe. The worst roll, double six, places the peg on your lip. Players must keep the peg in whatever position it is placed until the next person relieves them, but hurts themselves, by throwing the next double.

Kung Fu Diddymen

Another e-mail to Strange Games from reader Lurch Latronico details a fabulous playground combat game he and his friends enjoy playing. It has the marvellous name of Kung Fu Diddymen.

Lurch writes, "
Kung Fu Diddymen is a difficult violent combat game for only the very fittest of combatants. Two players face each other, bow, then adopt a low crouch. Both knees bent and their bottoms almost touching the floor. A sort of Russian dancer posture...but these are Russian dancers with attitude as both kick out at each other and try to achieve a knockdown. It takes quite a lot of practice just to be able to do this but once you have two players that can do it the fights are hilariously brilliant and occasionally brutal, depending on how high you can kick from a crouched position. The first player to either put their hands down or get knocked over loses. You can play the version where if you put a hand down you lose OR you can allow hands to be placed onto the ground only when a kick is being made."

If you have any odd things that you play contact Strange Games here: montegue_blister@hotmail.co.uk

Fingertip Firewalking

Experience the thrill, and the pain, of walking barefoot over hot ashes but in the comfort and convenience of your living room by playing the intensely stupid game of Fingertip Firewalking. Fill a tray an inch or so deep full of dead cold cigarette butts. Amongst these, at random, distribute a dozen recently smoked and still hot butts. You should now have a menacingly smoking tray full of cigarette ends. Players (who haven't been party to the placing of the live dog ends) now have to place their index and middle fingers into one end of the tray then fingerwalk to the other side. Points are given for fingerwalking style and coolness and swagger of the walk. Points are deducted for screaming, withdrawal of fingers and...burns. For the truly advanced player attempt the course with a swagger by nonchalantly holding a lit full cigarette higher up the two fingers whilst walking the walk.

repost:Headstand Human Skittles

I am just about to take my annual vacation (a whole week being pushed along Great Yarmouth promenade in my bathchair, by my faithful and delightfully stern nurse, Matilda)and so thought it might be appropriate to make a blog re-post of my favourite beach game: Headstand Human Skittles.
To play the part of the skittles you need some players who have the ability to achieve and maintain a headstand. Simply get up to nine players to form headstands on the sand as close to each other as possible...then two players take it in turns to kick three footballs each at them. Obviously the idea is to try and hit and knock down as many of the headstand skittles as possible, cause pain and win the game. Summertime fun at its best!

Strange Games with Mattresses #3 Mattress Dominos

After Mattress Jousting and Mattress Running comes possibly the oddest and the best game requiring a mattress or two. Like Mattress Running you are going to need as many mattresses and bodies as you can get hold of to make the game last as long as possible - making it the ideal dormitory game.
Simply, stand with your mattress held upright and close behind you. The next person does exactly the same half a meter behind you and so on.... a set of human dominoes is created. The first player falls backwards onto the second and the cascade begins.

Duncan Flann's Groin Ball

Regular Strange Games reader Duncan Flann has been in touch following my recent post on Spike Ball. He uses a small trampette and a tennis ball to play a similar-ish game, but one that involves pain... he calls it Groin Ball.
Duncan writes, "Hello Monty...I've just got to tell you about my game Groin Ball. It's for two players. Each stands opposite each other close to a small round trampette. Players take it in turns to throw a tennis ball into the tramp with the aim being for the ball to hit the opponent in the groin. The tramp gives the ball a lot more velocity than simply bouncing it off the floor and it makes for a truly exciting (and excruciating) game. Players are NOT allowed to move to get out of the way, they have to stand there like men...they can however use their hands to defend themselves being hit above the belt. Players take alternate turns with the winner being the first player who throws a groin ball. Also, NO groin protection is allowed...that would be for wimps!'
Strange Games is aware of two other similar games also called Groin Ball and will be featuring both in the coming months!
If you play a game that is strange and involves possible testicular damage then we would like to hear about it. Contact Monty at montegue_blister@hotmail.co.uk

The Lying Down Game

The daily free rag that is Metro today featured the Lying Down Game. As any expert at slothful games knows The Lying Down Game is played simply by lying flat down on the floor in an exotic location and having you photograph taken. It takes as many guts and as much determination as any other sport (although slightly less athletic ability) to achieve a good Lie Down.
Metro has highlighted the Lying Down Facebook group
here and they do have some rather marvellous Lie Downs including one on a basketball hoop. However the game has been around much longer than that. Check out LyingDown.net a long running site containing Lying Down photographs of absolute genius.
With the government encouraging everyone to take up sports and games with the aim of improving health maybe now is the time to start ever so gently and try the Lying Down game..."parkour for people how can't be arsed!
"

LyingDown.net

Spikeball

I don't normally feature many strange games that require you to buy expensive equipment to play them...but I feel that Spikeball is so good it has to be featured here. Spikeball is a beach game that is kind of like beach volleyball only there isn't a net, at least not one that is strung between two poles that you have to hit a ball over. In Spikeball the net is replaced by a round, ankle high trampette. The teams, consisting of two players each, fire the ball into the trampette with the aim of making it impossible for the other team to return. Like volleyball each team has two touches of the ball before the third one that must direct the ball against the trampette. Unlike volleyball team members can occupy any space in the game...there is no court.

You can get official kit from
Spikeball.com but if its not available in your area you could always improvise with a tennis ball and one of those small, round exercise trampolines.

Strange Games with Mattresses #2 Mattress Running

Strange Games has already covered the noble art of Mattress Jousting (two players hold their mattresses then run at each other, ideally in a narrow corridor. But the humble mattress has more to offer if you want to have some strange fun. Consider Mattress Running: a game that everyone should try at least once..simply place your mattress upright and tight to a wall, take a run up and hurl yourself at it as hard as possible. Points can be awarded for style, daring and the lack of broken bones (try the video here for an example run).
But, for truly hardcore mattress running you have to compete in a version detailed in the video below. It's an ideal dormitory game because you are going to need a staircase and as many mattresses as you can get your hands on. Use them to line all the stairs from the ground floor to the top. T
he aim of the game in the creators' words is "to reach the top of the accomodation, collect a personal item and return to the bottom. Full contact is allowed." As you can see utter chaos ensues. Mass scrummages and crushes in the relatively safe environment of a padded staircase.

Yoga Ball Jousting

What do you get if you cross a large rubber ball used for physical therapy with the medieval sport of Jousting? - Yoga Ball Jousting. Two players each hold a yoga ball then run directly at each other as quickly as they dare. The player that remains standing wins.

It is very, very stupid...don't play it...its probably more of a spectator sport.

Lippy

Lippy, as far as I'm concerned, was invented during a particularly dull Biology lesson at Malbank Comprehensive by Andrew Chisnall in the late '70s. Maybe it's been played for more years than that but unless someone else is claiming it then Mr Chisnall is the man.
It is simple enough to play once you have mastered (and not everyone can!) the upper lip raise - in fact that is almost all there is to the game. To do an upper lip raise ( a Lippy) wipe as much moisture/saliva as possible off your upper front teeth - most players accomplish this by rubbing with the back of their hands. Then, using your fingers push your top lip upwards so that it curls in and remains held in that position by the dryness of your teeth. It may take some practice. Now you are ready for the game.
Two players face each other closely and perform a Lippy...the person to keep it in position longest (without using fingers, obviously) is the winner. The successful player often wins by causing the other to laugh...to maintain a longish Lippy you need to hold an almost rictus-like grin.

Once again, thanks to Andrew Chisnall for giving the world this game, a far greater contribution than his promotion of obscure bands such as Prag Vec!

Siamese Wrestling

Strange Games recently received an e-mail from occasional contributer Maurice Tweddle. In it he described a classic stand-off game he calls Siamese Wrestling.

Maurice writes:"For two players. Each stands facing the other then they reach out with their right hands and grasp the left wrist of their opponent. Now the game begins...you must try and release your own wrist whilst all the time trying to maintain your grip on the wrist of your opponent. There are no further rules, and apart from the clashing of heads almost any techniques go. The first player to lose their grip loses the competition. Bouts are often won by one player swivelling their body so they have their back towards the other's stomach and then pulling down with their held arm.

If you find that both players grips are too strong to enable a winner to emerge then limit the grip to being made only with thumb and index finger."

The accompanying photo shows the lady on the left has released her grip after having her forearm brutally forced back.

Rickshaw Racing

I was attending a school sports day last week and as the uniformly unimaginative games progressed I found myself reminiscing about Wheelbarrow Racing. Everyone knows how to play it (grab your partners ankles whilst they support themselves on their arms and use them to 'run' whilst you push...like a wheelbarrow) but for some reason this activity is frowned upon at schools. As I was in the middle of my bemoaning a fellow spectator who had been listening-in turned to me and said, "Ah, wheelbarrow racing is for wimps, have you ever Rickshaw Raced?" I hadn't...but I have now and it is far superior.
Rickshaw Racing is almost identical to Wheelbarrow Racing apart from one thing - the pusher turns around 180 degrees and still holding the partner's ankles pulls rather than pushes. Obviously, the 'rickshaw' has to move their arms as quickly as the puller is pulling to avoid falling flat on their face. And the puller, not being able to see how the 'rickshaw' is doing has to rely on their shouts and screams to work out whether to speed up or slow down. Like many of these games playing as an adult is even more fun.

Flounder Fling

As all fish throwing cognoscenti know the pinnacle of the sport is the Australian Tuna Tossing event. However, at the North Carolina Seafood Festival (a celebration of everything from shrimp to shark!) they are known to play a marvellous version of Flounder Flinging.

All you need to play is a bowl to make a target and someone to form the baseboard. This person sits down, legs apart and with the bowl on the floor between them. Competitors take turns to toss the flounder so that ideally it hits the human baseboard in the face and then flops into the bowl.
If you play an odd game or sport, maybe a version of baseball involving a jellyfish and catfish then Strange Games would love to hear about it. E-mail Montegue at montegue_blister@hotmail.co.uk

Human Battleships

Apologies to regular Strange Games readers (Hello, Daryl!) for the lack of recent posts. This was due to an almost fatal combination of a failed hard drive, the credit crunch and a bout of swine flu. We get back on track with a superb summertime game called Human Battleships.
To play all you need is a beach wind-break and copious amounts of water bombs. Split the players into two even teams - the best numbers for a good game depends upon the length of your wind-break. Each team picks one side of the windbreak to position their team members. Players can decide to sit anywhere as long as they are not visible to their opponents (it is important to use a wind-break made from opaque material) Once seated they can not move about but must remain in position. Each member also has a supply of water bombs (either shop bought or home made). Play alternates with one player tossing his bomb over the wind-break with the aim of hitting an opponent on the head - if this occurs then that side gets another throw. If they miss then the next throw reverts to the other side. No dodging is allowed. When the bombs have all been used the team with the most wet heads lose.


Also worth mentioning is its time for the second annual Newport Pagnell Pub Bounce. This coming Saturday (6th June) ...all you need is your own space hopper and money for drinks. The combination of drinking then bouncing to the next pub will undoubtably bring as much fun and casualities as last years event. Interested....see their Facebook group here for details.

Ear Tug of War

Strange Games recently received an e-mail from a reader calling herself Kimberley Clarke - in it she describes a marvellous game that needs just a couple of people and a rubber band. The game is called Ear Tug of War.
Kimberley writes, "Ear Tug of War is extremely simple to play as well as nerve wracking and often painful. For two players. Each stands facing the other as close as possible then a large rubber band is placed over one ear of each player (obviously if the two are facing then the band will be over one person's left ear and the other person's right ear). The players need to stand so that the band is taut at the beginning of the game and once the band is in position the game begins.
The objective is for one player to move their heads so that the band slips from their opponents ears OR causes it to break. No use of the hands is allowed and no contact is allowed- victory must be achieved through head and body motion only."

"Obviously the enjoyment/pain in the game comes from seeing how far you dare move from the other person, trying to get the band off, avoiding it flicking into you or cutting too much into your ear. Often, if a nice strong band is used, both players pull back hard only for the elasticity to cause their heads to hurtle back towards one another."

Mattress Jousting

Pillow Fighting isn't particularly deserving of being classified as a strange game unless you can get people to play it en-masse as in last Saturday's Global Pillow Fight Day
Created by the Urban Playground movement the idea was to hold mass pillow fighting events in as many countries as possible.
The king of strange games using bedroom soft furnishings however has got to be Mattress Jousting. The game is just like it medieval predecessor, only with mattresses. To play get two players, holding their single mattresses in front of their bodies, at either end of a corridor (this is not strictly necessary but it adds to the fun for observers as in the narrow confines of a corridor it is impossible for a strike not to be made). Players can choose to hold the mattress in a shield-like fashion or for the more daring player in a lance type way.
They then run at each other as fast as they can. The player who remains standing, or less bloodied, is declared the winner.

Door Jamb Climbing/Door Jamb Wars

The marvellous childhood past time of Door Jamb Climbing is even more fun, although much more difficult, to do when played as an adult. Simply take off your shoes and socks and use your feet and hands to climb as high up the inside of a door frame as possible. Either fastest person up, or the one who can stay at the top the longest wins. One of the few games where having sweaty feet is a distinct advantage. And if simple door climbing whets your appetite for more house based strange activities then you should head over to the amazing House Gymnastics site...see if you can accomplish a XXX!

Once you and a partner have mastered the Door Jamb Climb then you could attempt Door Jamb Wars (another superb game sent in by Daryl Hrdlicka- inventor of Hat Ball). For this you need to two door frames relatively close and facing one another. Players climb the frame with their pockets full of power-balls or some other suitable projectiles. Once in place they attempt to remove the balls from their pocket and throw it at their opponent - the aim being to upset the other person's wedged position and cause them to slip, before they themselves fall.

Dying Fly Tag

There are many fine versions of Tag (someone is declared 'it' and has to chase everyone else in the hope of catching one and transferring the status of 'it') from freeze tag to zombie tag but one of my all-time favourites is Dying Fly Tag.
As usual one person is 'it' and chases after the the other players who try their best to avoid being caught. However they have a further line of defence...if the catching player is very close to them they can avoid being tagged by quickly lying flat on their back and frantically waggling their arms and legs in the air: a human dying fly. If they achieve this position before being tagged then the chasing player must redirect their attentions elsewhere. If they are tagged then they become 'it'. For greater verisimilitude the chasing player can wield a plastic fly swat.
As with many of these childish games they are even more fun when played as adults.

Office Ball Games: CUPS

An e-mail reaches Blister Towers from the creator of the website/book Office Ball Games. If you visit the website, which I sincerely hope you do, you can download a pdf book which has in depth and hilarious instructions of how to play Office Ball Games. These fall under six broad categories: Cups, Catchy, Counters, Hops, Hopsy and Golfsy. All involve the use of a stress ball and the office kitchen with many games involving trying to fire the ball past your opponent after a required number of bounces off kitchen tables, chairs and other fixtures and fittings.

The game of Cups is particularly inspired, it is a little like a combination of lacrosse and squash but played in a small office kitchen. Cups is an ideal game for two players. Each has an empty coffee cup. Player one places a stress ball in his cup then fires it against the wall (above waist height) and in the direction of his opponent. The opposing player must catch the ball after it has bounced off at least the one wall and before it hits any horizontal surface (including, as the guide says, toasted sandwich makers). If successfully caught then play continues in a similar manner. If the ball is missed then a point goes to the serving player. The website gives details on a variety of Cup grips to impart different spins on the ball and the use of psychedelically patterned cups to confuse opponents and gain advantage.

web:Office Ball Games

Semi Shadow Puppetry

Strange Games welcomes contributions. If you have a weird game you play or have invented something unusual then we would love to hear about it..even if its just slightly odd.
Regular contributor Daryl Hrdlicka (inventor of Hat Ball) e-mailed us about Semi Shadow Puppetry..a very peculiar activity. Strange Games in NO WAY encourages you to go out and actually play this game, we are just reporting what might happen if you are driving late at night on a motorway, are passing a large lorry and have a torch to hand.
Daryl writes:"
Semi Shadow Puppetry is an odd game that a friend and I invented. It's played at night on a multi-lane highway. We were out driving one night and pulled up next to a semi truck (articulated lorry) with a white-sided trailer. We were pretty goofy by then, so while my friend kept the speed steady next to the truck, I got out a flashlight and started making shadow puppets on the side. At times he held the flashlight so I could use both hands. This worked until the trucked pulled off, at which time we started looking around for another one to use. Found one, matched speeds, and kept playing."

Daryl doesn't say but I guess that points should be awarded for complexity of shadow created and time that it remains in view.

Table Frisbee

As governments around the world try and combat obesity with education, shock tactics and reduced taxes on broccoli what is really needed is a new sport for the masses. Something cheap, addictive and easy to play. That something could be Table Frisbee.
Table Frisbee is a little like an updated version of spinning tops or the hoop and stick games that I used to play before I was born... the basic idea is to keep the thing going as long as possible.

For 4 or more players - all you need to play is a small table which needs to be liberally coated with washing up liquid and water and a standard Frisbee. One player 'serves' the Frisbee - sets it spinning on its edge with a backwards flick of the hand then all the players try and keep it spinning and on the table for as long as possible. This is achieved using any means possible: slapping it, prodding it with a finger or creating a wall with your stomach or any other part of your body. Anything goes as long as the Frisbee is kept in motion. See the video above for Table Frisbee masters in action.

King of Chairs

My last post on Blindfold Musical Chairs reminded me of a children's party game I used to enjoy playing. In common with many of these great games King of Chairs is even better if you play it with a group of adults.
To play form a circle of the same number of chairs as players. Each player now sits down on one of the chairs and is dealt a playing card by the game moderator. So each player is either a Heart, Club, Diamond or a Spade. The moderator stands in the middle of the circle and picks a card from the deck. Whatever the suit of the card he draws then any player who is that suit must stand up and move around the circle clockwise to the next chair and sit down. Obviously, the chair they move to may already be occupied and if this is the case then they must sit upon the knee of the topmost occupant. However, any player who already has someone sitting on their knee may not move if their suit is chosen. The game continues with the moderator turning over a card each time. The first player to travel all the way around the circle and return to their starting chair wins. Usually the game throws up the delight of even more than 2 people sharing a chair - I've seen games where seven people were balanced upon each others knees, much to the annoyance of several lower players.
For more fun you can play the Queen rule: that is whenever a Queen is turned over then any players sharing a single chair must re-arrange themselves in reverse order before play continues, so the top player sits on the chair and the others sit on their knee.
Excellent fun .... who will be the King of Chairs?

Blindfolded Musical Chairs

Daryl Hrdlicka, inventor of Hat Ball and friend of Strange Games, has brought to my attention the game of Blindfolded Musical Chairs as played on a recent episode of the Ellen Degeneres Show. The video below shows how a classic though over-familiar party game can be improved by the addition of a new element, a simple blindfold.

Of course one could go a step further and pair contestants up, bind their ankles together and play 3 Legged Blindman's Musical Chairs.

Human Rubberband

Most of the games and activities we cover at Strange Games require minimal equipment such as a ball or plastic bucket or, often, none at all. Human Rubberband™ is different in that to play you are going to have to buy one...but it allows you to play an amazing game.
Human Rubberband™ was founded in 2008 in Reese, Utah and what they are selling is a gigantic rubber band, a massively scaled up version of the common desk accessory. The Human Rubberband™ is 50 inches wide with a diameter of 15 feet!.
The game that you play with it is a cooperative game that requires four players. Each stands inside the band and position themselves so that they form the four corners of a square - the rubber band being at waist level. Now the action begins. One pair of opposing players run towards and past each other and then turn so that they back into the band. The resulting elasticity forces the other two players to perform a similar motion and so on....as long as you can keep it up you do it.
The embedded video should make it perfectly clear, it's a little like a continuous rope bounce that you often see in wrestling bouts although without the final blow of a forearm smash.
Visit the Human Rubberband website here for more information. And take note of one of their warnings:"Excessive speed and force while using this product can lead to serious injury or death"

Human Blongo Ball

My previous post about Blongo Ball / Hillbilly Golf got me thinking about whether an even better game could be developed along similar lines. Although Blongo Ball is odd, requires skill and is obviously fun it lacks a certain 'je ne sais quoi' that makes a truly great strange game.
Strange Games is proud to present....Human Blongo Ball. To play you are going to have to make your own bolas. Because of the nature of the game these have to be on a larger scale than the ones used in the standard game. After some experimentation I have developed the perfect bolas. Get an old pair of ladies tights, place a power ball (supa-ball) down each leg and make knots so that the balls stay in the toe area of the tights. Now knot the tights so that the length of material between the two power balls is about 30 inches long. What you end up with is a large hosiery bolas with a power ball encased at each end. Make as many of these as you can.
Now the game....For two players, one has the bolas, the other stands a set distance away with their arms held horizontally out to the side of their body and their feet shoulder-width or more apart. The throwing player now throws his 'weapons' with the aim being to get them to wrap around the other player's arms and legs. 1 point for an arm, 2 for a leg. With a little practice it is possible to get quite skilled and as well as the fun of the game there is joy of watching the expression of the 'target' player....it's as close you will get to the feeling of being a knife thrower's assistant without the danger of being stabbed.
Simple and ever so slightly stupid. You might wish to wear some sort of head protection before playing the game.

Stuck in the Mud Tag & variations

Of the many varieties of tag one of the best is Stuck in the Mud. In case you don't know how to play it...One person is 'on' and tries to tag the rest of the group. If anyone is caught they must remain standing at the place they were tagged with their legs shoulder width apart. And they remain like this for the rest of the game unless one of the un-tagged players can release them. To do this they must crawl between the immobile players legs whilst avoiding being tagged themselves. With the right number of players the game becomes a frenzied one of avoiding being tagged and trying to release team-mates.

Toilet Tag: I've written about Toilet Tag before but it is such a good variation that I make no apologies for highlighting it again. It is played exactly as Stuck in the Mud except that if you are tagged you have to remain immobile in the 'shape' of a toilet: crouched down, knees bent, with one arm held out to your side. Now to be released your team mates simply have to press down your 'flush arm'.

And from regular Strange Games contributor Daryl Hrdlicka comes a variation requiring only a small puppy! Daryl writes, "My daughter and friends have come up with the game of Puppy Tag. They have a small puppy who loves to run and chase people and jump on them, so the rules are you have to stay in motion as much as possible (no standing still for more than 5 seconds) unless the puppy touches you, in which case you freeze until someone touches you and says "Woof woof". When you run the puppy goes after you, but if you stand still he loses interest so it works out nicely. A good way for everyone to get a lot of exercise. I suppose grownups could play it with a larger dog as well, you just need to make sure it's a friendly one!"