AI Olymics '97 Playground

These are the preliminary ground rules for the AI Olympics '97 Playground Event. This might be overly ambitious. Comments to naha.

The playground event will take place in Dupond Gym (due to scheduling conffusion at the athletic department, we were moved from the back half of Rockwell Cage) from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on Monday, January 27.

We can play any or all of the games below. If there's another game you like but I've ommitted, tell me about it and I'll consider it.

The games have been grouped into categories for ease of explanation.

Dodge Ball Games

In general these games are played with one or more soft, bouncy rubber balls. Players throw the balls at each other in hopes of getting each other out. If a player catches a thrown ball, the thrower is out. If a player is hit by a thrown ball then he is out.

PrisonerDodge Ball

This is a dodge ball game played between two teams of equal number. Ideally it should be played with at least three balls. The rectangular play area is divided across it's long dimension into two halves, one for each team. Behind each team's half (the opposite side from the dividing line) is it's priso. When a player from team A is out, he goes to Team B's prison. That player can escape prison by hitting a free (unimprosoned) player from Team B with a ball and running back to Team A'a area without getting hit. When you're a prisoner, you shouldn't throw the ball hard since you are likely throwing it behind your target's back. Prisoners can try to secure balls and pass them to their free teammates. Free players can not enter a prison. Prisoner's can not leave the prison except as described above. A team wins when either it has all it's opponents team members out and in prison or the team's last free player survives ten throws without getting out.

Ball Scatter

Ball Scatter is played with one ball in some arbitrarily bounded area. The winner is the last player who is not out (a phrase borrowed from cricket, no doubt).

To start, the ball is thrown up in the air from a central location by an arbitrarily chosen player. Some player (other than the one who tossed it) will then get the ball. The one holding the ball can't move except to pivot on one foot (like in basketball) or to take one step while throwing the ball. He throws it at another player. At this point one of three things can happen:

Other players can move around to dodge or catch the ball.

If the ball leaves the playing area, someone goes to get it and can bring it back to just inside the playing area at the point where it went out before throwing it at someone.

Players who are out become obstacles. Obstacles can't move from the spot where the became out. If an obstacle is able to tag another player with his hand then that player is out as well. If an obstacle catches a thrown ball the thrower is out. If the obstacle hits someone with the ball (and they don't catch it) then the person hit is out. In the interest of simplifying the game, obstacles are not allowed to horde the ball as bait in hopes of tagging anyone who tries to recover it.

games to exalt the strong and humiliate the weak

Competitive team sports are said to build character for those who participate. Often they merely provide an environment for assholes to behave like bigger assholes.


Kickball sucks!

I'll not waste my time describing the rules. It's like baseball except that it's played with a soft red rubber ball of about a foot in diameter which is kicked instead of batted and can be thrown at the runner to get him out.

For me it represents years of gradeschool playground oppression. Overly hormoned alpha-male, dominating personality types are welcome to play if they want, but see the special scoring provisions concerning this game. Revenge is sweet, and is best served cold.

Cooperative and Noncompetitive games


You and your co-players try to keep the foot bag (a soft round beanbag of about an inch and a half in diameter) in the air without touching it with any body part distal to your elbow. You can screw up, but don't appologize for it.


Players close their eyes and join hands with one another. Once every player has one other person's hand in each of their own, everyone opens their eyes. At this point everyone's arms are joined to form a complete though tangles loop. The idea is to weave in and out from one another to untangle the knot. Once everyone thinks they can't get more untangled, they can decide where to make a "cut" in the chain, pass it around one other "strand" and reconnect. Try to untangle into a circle with the fewest number of cuts.

Jump Rope

Two players each hold one end of a rope and swing it around. Other players go between then and repeatedly jump the rope as it goes around while reciting a ritual chant in time to the rhythm of the rope. Extra points for anyone who can jump double-dutch.

Four Square

I've contacted the world governing body for this sport and hope to receive the official rules shortly.


In general these games have some player who is it and other players who are not it. The player who is it tries to touch one of the other players with his hand. That player then becomes it. The process repeats.

Gotcha Last

Gotcha Last is played between two players over an extended period of time (like the whole school day or up until you're scolded by an English teacher). Many can play, but there is a separate competition for each pair of players one of whom is "it" at any given time, that is, a given person can partcipate in numerous games simultaneously. One usually initiates a competition by sneaking up on a perspective player, tagging them and calling out "gotcha last". The play area is unbounded. Any games of gotcha last that take place on the day of the playground event will be counted for scoring.

See special scoring concerning this game.

Chain Tag

Chain tag is played in a bounded area. One player is arbitrarily chosen to be it. As players are tagged, they join hands with all the others who've been tagged to form a chain. The free hand at either end of the chain can tag people. The chain must be fully intact at the time a player is tagged.


Bounce a ball and see how many jacks you can pick up before catching it. Jacks will be provided. Someone who has actually played this will hopefully come forward to prvide any necessary details.

Scoring for the Playground Event

A team's standing for the playground event will be determined by the number of participation points they receive.

The counting of participation points will be based on the honor system. I trust you all to accurately report your participation.

Special scoring considerations:

Playing kickball doesn't count toward participation points, except that your team looses one participation point for each player that plays for more than one inning. Go ahead, just follow the flock.
Jump Rope
Anyone who can jump double-dutch to the satisfaction of other observers will receive five participation points for their team.

For those too lame to jump, swinging the rope counts as participation.

Gotcha Last
For each player who participates in a gotcha last game with a player from another team, and the one who is "it changes at least five times, those teams will receive one point. Only one game for any given pair of players will be counted. If One person is involved in a gotcha last game with each of four other players, that is worth four participation points for his team. All gotcha last games must be initiated before 5:00pm on the day of the event.
all other events
One point per player per each type of game played. That is, your team receives a participation point if you play balls catter, not one for each time you play ball scatter.
Mark Nahabedian