Unintended Consequences of Minor Rules in Sports and Games
June 1, 2012 1:41 PM Subscribe
What sports and games are now dominated by a minor or special-case rule?
posted by Jabberwocky to sports, hobbies, & recreation (29 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
In a number of games and sports, the way it is played now is dominated by a rule or means of scoring that appear to have designed for a special case, or to be a minor part of the game. For example:
- In tournament-level Scrabble, the scoring of "bingoes" where all seven letters are used, getting a 50-point bonus, is the most important way of getting a high-score. According to Stefan Fatsis's book Word Freak, players hold back letters that are likely to lead to bingoes, and spend a lot time learning them. My impression is that this rule was designed to be a rare bonus not a part of day-to-day play.
- In cricket, most dismissals are by catching the ball not hitting the wicket. It seems to me that the original design of the sport was primarily about defending the wicket, and that being bowled out was designed to be the main way in which players were dismissed.
- In football (soccer), goals from "set piece" situations such as penalties are an increasingly important way of scoring, rather than being a way of dealing with occasionally aberrant behaviour. Also, the penalty shoot-out to resolve drawn matches provides an alternative strategy whereby a team facing a strong opponent can play wholly defensively to try to force a nil-nil result and get to the shoot-out where chance factors play a bigger role.
Are there other examples of this kind of phenomenon, where something designed to be a minor part of the game becomes very important as the game develops? Have I understood the examples above correctly?