The Flying Disc Answer To Armed Conflict
Object of the Game:
To have fun, running about while throwing and catching discs with a large number of others. It’s also possible to score points by throwing discs into the opponents’ goal.
Number of Players:
Thirty to seventy-five players per team works best, but games have been played with as few as ten and as many as 150 per side. Divide the players into two teams of equal strength or natural division such as sophomores versus freshmen, uncles and aunts versus cousins or Canada versus U.S.
Each player begins with a disc. Lightweight, high-profile recreational discs are required. There should be about half again as many discs as there are players. Any extra discs available can be divided equally between the two home bases and used at the discretion of the goalies after play begins. Rope, lime or other markers are used to indicate each team’s goal and homes base. It is also essential to be able to identify team members by shirt color, hats/ no hats or shirts/ skins, etc.. If those differences seem inconsequential to you, remember that it is similarly insignificant differences between us that provide the excuse for war.
The goals and home bases are marked before play begins, but nothing should be done to disturb the natural conditions such as vegetation or water hazards. Hills, tress or other obstructions do not detract from the game, but add elements of skill and strategy. The home bases should be far enough apart that the typical player needs at least two full throws to cover the distance (at least 125 meters).
Rules of Play
When two discs come to rest touching each other in a goal, the attacking team score points equal to the number of discs resting completely within the goal. Many discs may land in the goal, but there is no payoff until two come to rest in contact. The other team gets no points and the goals are cleared to start another campaign. Play may be to any predetermined number of campaigns or points.
Movement of Discs:
- On the field, discs may be moved only by throwing. The restrictions on throwing, catching and defending are identical to those in ultimate. In home base, goalies (defenders in the home base) may pick up, carry, or throw a single disc anywhere in the home area, except in the goal itself, which they may not enter.
- On the field, any player may pick up a grounded disc, but must first throw that disc toward his or her own goal.
- Discs that come to rest completely within a goal may not be touched until a score is made.
- No players may enter either goal.
- No player may enter the opposing team’s home area.
- Players in their own home area (goalies) may not have physical contact with discs thrown by the opposition. They may only contact such discs with a single, held disc (they may use a held disc to block shots on goal).
- No player, including the goalies, may ever touch two or more discs simultaneously in play.
- Goalies may be changed on the fly during play, but no more than three may be in the home area at any time.
To initiate a campaign, all players stand behind line that is a full throw to the opponent’s goal for the typical player. At the call of, “Throw” all players, except for the designated goalies, throw a disc as far as they can toward the opponent’s goal.
No heavy or low-profile discs should be used in the game. Players should be reminded never to throw wildly in the direction of others. Because there are so many bodies and discs in motion, players must always be aware of others and exercise caution in their movements and throwing.
There is a lot to be said for this game. It can be played in almost any large space and accommodates a huge number of players with little use of equipment other than discs. It can also be played with much smaller teams which creates a very different dynamic that is more like ultimate. The best thing about World War Free is the dynamic of play that it creates. It can be absolutely crazy! Those of us who are normally driven to organize things quickly give up and just play. All levels of players can make some contribution because so much is going on. There are downed discs to be recovered, supply lines to be established, goals to be defended and attacked. The play is very engrossing and the total effect is mind-boggling. It is impossible to keep track of everything that is going on, so players just go about doing good things for their team. They may be goalie for a while, then help get downed discs, then move to attack. Midfield play generates lots of exciting floater situations and good give and go situations as in ultimate. Attacking or playing goalie requires special skills unique to the game.
Next time you have way too many for ultimate, try World War Free. I think you’ll like it.