I had my 25th high school reunion in May. For my senior year I attended The New Hampton School, a small boarding school in the middle of New Hampshire. The reunion started on Friday evening and lasted through Sunday brunch. It was a great time. One of the things that happened while I was there was that I started to think about a new game.
The first iteration involved a pitcher’s mound, the rubber, a golf ball and some softballs. The golf ball sat on the rubber and players tossed softballs onto the mound to try to get as close to the golf ball as possible without knocking it off. It seemed like a game with potential.
Since then I’ve been working on the game. The mound has been replaced by a circle (usually a 25′ hose), the pitching rubber by a post, the golf ball by a whiffle ball and the softballs by bocci balls. Here’s how it looks (click on the image to see details on the field):
The object is the same – to come as close as possible to the post without knocking off the ball. I kind of combines horseshoes and bocci I guess. The circle can be almost any size depending on how much space you have. I’m still working on the ideal balls to use. The whiffle ball is probably too light – it flies off the post at the slightest touch. Also I think the post should be shorter – probably just a few inches off the ground. This would allow you to hit the post without necessarily dislodging the ball – and this is important.
It’s important because of how the game is scored. If a player hits the post and the ball stays on top they get 10 points. If they are the closest (and no one has hit the post) they get five points. If they knock the ball off the post they lose two points. The scoring formula still isn’t quite right – but it’s getting closer. We kept running into negative scores and deep deep holes no one could get out of. (The first game I think the score was -15 to -10 when we gave up . . .)
It is starting to stabilize though and attracting fans. Matt Searles wrote about the game on his blog and I think it’s going to catch on like crazy.
Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts on improving the game. If you do decide to play and have fun let me know that too.