I have Scrymball – a football like game that takes elements from a variety of modern football games – now I want a bat and ball sport that does the same sort of thing, that I can use in a semiformal setting. It is for a Pathfinder Game, so it needs to have madcap elements that encourage a semi-free-for-all on the pitch. After all, if there wasn’t some sort of jeopardy, no one would have tried to define the rules for the game :] My first thoughts are elements of Cricket, Baseball and French Cricket – because I think and that should lead for some interesting concepts. I’m going to take the bat and wicket from Cricket, the bases and diamond from baseball and the bowling rules for French Cricket! The bowling rules for French cricket are ‘there are no bowling rules’ – OK there is generally an agreed minimum distance – but the ball could be delivered by any of the fielders from any direction.
One wicket and three bases laid out in a flattened diamond shape – each base is 20 yards from the wicket and there are 20 yards between each base. There is a Foul Line that runs to the edge of the playing area, from the wicket that passes through the first and last base. The game is played in a fixed area, with an outer boundary. When played casually, the boundary is agreed by the teams, when played in an amphitheatre or stadium, the boundary is the wall in front of the first row of seats.
The bat is made of a solid piece of wood, no more than 40 inches long and no more than 3.5 inches at the widest point, with a semi-circular profile. (Think of a fat baseball bat with one side shaved flat).
The ball is three inches in diameter, made of a wooden core wrapped in hide.
Wicket keepers may wear padded hide gloves, other players are permitted to wear plain leather gloves. (not baseball style gloves)
The wicket is a set of five stumps, arranged in a semi-circle (to make a target from all legal angles) The stumps are 36 inches high with a gap of three inches between each stump. Bails are balanced across the top of the stumps. (In the same way as a traditional cricket wicket).
It is a very simple game. The ball is thrown at the wicket, from anywhere outside the lines of bases. If the wicket is broken (ie one of the bails come off) the batter is out. The batter must be ready at all times.
The batter may strike the ball and, if the ball does not land in the foul area, run to the first base. If the ball lands foul, the batter may not run. If it is a particularly good strike, they may continue running to try for second, third or home. If they get home (the base around the wicket) they have scored a run. They may stop at any on the interim bases (they are then known as a runner) and hope that they can gain more ground when the next batter strikes the ball.
A runner may try to run to the next base at any time during play, however, note that they can only ever be one runner on a base, and that a runner can be tagged out at any time.
Batters are ‘out’ if the wicket is broken by a throw from one of the out-fielders, or if one of their hits is caught by a member of the fielding team (including the wicket keeper) before it bounces.
Runners are ‘out’ whenever the wicket is broken by a member of the fielding team, and they are out of their base area. If there are two runners in a base, both are out. NOTE: If a ‘batter’ is out of their base, they are considered to a runner.
Any runner not in a base, is ‘out’ if they are hit by a ball thrown by any member of the fielding team, or they are otherwise touched by a ball under the control of a fielder (holding the ball, ball kicked etc)
If the ball goes out of bounds from a hit (in a formal game that means into the audience) the batter is out, but they are credited with four runs. Runners may all jog home (in the same way as baseball)
Fielders may throw the ball, from any position in the scoring area of the playing area, so long as it is outside the line of the bases. They may use any throwing technique – pitch, bowl, underarm, over arm, etc. – and the ball may strike the wicket direct or bounce before it hits.