What is this children's game?
February 27, 2006 6:01 PM   Subscribe

Schoolyard game identification: Everyone gathers around one spot, and one player bounces/throws a playground ball as high as they can (and shouts the name of the game?). While the ball is in the air, everyone else runs out from the center. When the person in the center catches the ball, they shout, "Stop!" and everyone has to hold their place. Then the person in the middle tries to hit someone with the ball. What game is this, and what are the rest of the rules?
posted by stopgap to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total)
that would be EGG.
posted by brandz at 6:32 PM on February 27, 2006

I believe it's called Spud. I played it a few months ago, but I didn't even understand the rules then.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 6:36 PM on February 27, 2006

Rules for Spud.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 6:37 PM on February 27, 2006

It's called "Spud".

Everyone gets a number. If there are 10 kids playing, give out, say, 15 numbers. If the person throwing the ball calls out a number that doesn't belong (a "ghost number"), he gets the letter "S". The first to spell out "SPUD" loses. If the number called belongs to someone, that person tries to catch the ball. If he catches it in the air, he throws it and calls a new number. This continues until someone does NOT catch it on a fly. Once he gets hold of it, he yells "Spud!" He then chooses someone to try to hit with the ball. As I recall (it's been a few years), he gets three steps to get closer to his victim, the throws at him. If he hits, the victim gets a letter, if he misses, or the person catches the ball, the thrower gets the letter. Then, it starts up again throwing the ball up in the air.

The game ends when someone spells out "SPUD". When I was a kid, the penalty for losing was to go through the "paddy-whack machine". Good times!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 6:37 PM on February 27, 2006

Hmm. When I was a boy, we used names instead of numbers (no "ghost number" scenario) and called it "CHUD", but other than that, it was the same game ObscureReferenceMan has referenced.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:06 PM on February 27, 2006

We called this game Spud, but some of the weird kids down the street called it "Baby in the Air." But, like I said, they were weird so we didn't play with them.
posted by dseaton at 7:18 PM on February 27, 2006

This is how we played it during my childhood and how it was still being played when I worked at a nearby summer camp years later:

Northern New Jersey variant:
Let's say 10 players are assigned random numbers 1-15 above. The person who is "it" throws the ball, calls a number. The person whose number is called has to fetch the ball and gets four giant steps (S-P-U-D) and a chance to throw it at one of the other players. If it hits them, the target gets an S and becomes "it" — if the thrower misses or the target catches it, the thrower gets an S and becomes "it". Some kids play with a rule that allowed the catcher of the ball to get a fifth step (S-P-U-D-Period) if they caught it before it hit the ground.

Now, ghost numbers: when a ghost number is called, the last person to touch the ball (naturally, everyone has started running before they realize it's a ghost number) gets an S and becomes it.

Spell SPUD and you're out.
posted by rafter at 7:34 PM on February 27, 2006

And yes, you yell "Stop!" on catching the ball, making all the others freeze, as in the other variations listed.
posted by rafter at 7:36 PM on February 27, 2006

Bombardment, bombardment, bombardment. It don' need no rules!
posted by Neiltupper at 7:43 PM on February 27, 2006

well, growing up in rhode island we called that game EGG.
posted by brandz at 7:52 PM on February 27, 2006

definitely called bombardment here.
posted by devilsbrigade at 7:54 PM on February 27, 2006

I played it long ago in Northern Michigan (extreme north SP) with the exact same rules rafter describes for Northern New Jersey.
posted by trip and a half at 8:04 PM on February 27, 2006

"Stand in de mand en de bal gaat naar .... Jouke!"
A game we played on the street in the Netherlands in the 70's
posted by jouke at 8:49 PM on February 27, 2006

My most vivid Red Rover memory: One of my friends ran full force to break through our linked hands. We had a really good grip, and he kind of lowered himself, and we must have raised our arms a bit. Result: clotheslining!!!! The kid couldn't talk... couldn't catch his breath, and walked away grabbing his throat.

He was ok. I don't recall him playing Red Rover again.
posted by The Deej at 9:57 PM on February 27, 2006

We stood in a huddle, and one of us threw a compass (the pointy metal thing used to draw circles) high in the air. Whever got hit was out. If you were lucky, it bounced off your forearms as you held them over your head and crouched. If you were unlucky, it went through your elbow and strange liquid seeped out. There Can Be Only One.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:07 AM on February 28, 2006

In Chile it's called "Naciones", and the rules are as stated in the post, plus whoever get's hit becomes the person in the middle.
posted by signal at 4:35 AM on February 28, 2006

Ha. This is a great thread. This game was definitely SPUD in CT in the mid-70s. Bombardment, on the other hand, was a free for all dodgeball type game in the gym for us.

And ObscureReferenceMan gets the best answer for adding the paddy whack machine as the punishment for losing, although we called it the spanking machine (with a tickle machine variant). Made my day remembering something I hadn't thought of in years.
posted by genefinder at 5:01 AM on February 28, 2006

rafter reminded me - I also remember something about getting three giant steps and three baby steps, to get you closer to your target. And the target could only move one leg (and had to declare it) when the ball is thrown at him.

Other favorite games of ours; kick the can, running bases (with baseball & gloves OR frisbee), jail, flashlight tag.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 5:58 AM on February 28, 2006

Dang! I forgot... This was Long Island, c. 1965-1972.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 5:59 AM on February 28, 2006

SPUD. In DC/NoVA, 1980's.
posted by Alt F4 at 11:48 AM on February 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

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