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Ultimate Waterball :: West Street Games

Ultimate Waterball

:: How to Play

This is an active team game, perfect for backyard summer parties. Ultimate Waterball© is loosely based on Ultimate Frisbee, but with what every summer party needs - WATERBALLOONS!

The game is simple to setup. You need two teams of at least two people per team, a reasonable sized grassy area, brightly colored rope or another way to outline two goal areas, two containers for goals, and of course, a bucket full of waterballoons. The number of people really does not matter, as long as there are at least two per team to make passing the balloon possible. The grassy area doesn't need to be any particular shape, but there must be room for a goal area at each end. The goal area should surround the goals by at least two or three strides (about 15 feet on all sides). Goals can be anything that makes it easy for a waterballoon to break inside. We have used disc sleds from Walmart with a few rocks inside. You will need about a hundred balloons for roughly an hour of play.

Almost any age above 5 can play, but it is better if they can toss and catch a waterballoon without it breaking. Younger players can be given handicaps, such as more steps allowed, handoffs allowed, or whatever seems appropriate. It is a good idea to designate a referee to call things like contact fouls, counted goals, and out of bounds.

The game is played much like Ultimate Frisbee. Your goal is to get a waterballoon to burst inside your team's goal. You can set the game to a certain number of points, amount of time, or number of balloons (this works best).

Here are the rules:

  1. One person on the team with starting possession gets a waterballon to start inside of the opposing team's goal area. Decide starting possession any way you want, such as youngest player.
  2. The starting player must toss the balloon to another player on his/her team before leaving the opposing team's goal area. The starting player may take any amount of steps inside the goal area.
  3. When you receive a pass, you may take up to three steps/strides/leaps before you must stop and then pass the balloon to another player.
  4. The balloon must be passed, not simply handed off. It must leave the players hands to be considered a pass.
  5. Inside the team's target goal area, no steps are allowed. You may 'leap' from outside the goal area to make a shot, but you cannot contact anyone standing inside. You can pass the balloon from inside the goal area.
  6. Blocking or intercepting a passed balloon is allowed, but if the balloon breaks, the team that last contacted the waterballoon before it broke (or as it broke) looses possession. The other team begins play at the location where it broke.
  7. If the balloon is blocked by someone inside the goal area, or the balloon breaks anywhere in the goal area but outside the goal, this is a missed shot. With a missed shot or goal, possession goes to the defending team to start inside the goal area, just like at the game start.
  8. Get a new balloon from the bucket whenever a balloon breaks. Only one balloon is in play at a time.
  9. At no time may you 'slash', hit, or otherwise contact the player with the balloon. This should be played much like defensive/offensive fouls in basketball.
  10. A step fault is when a player takes more than three steps with the balloon.
  11. If there is a disallowed handoff, contact foul, or step fault against a team, the opposing team gets the balloon at the foul location, unless the location is inside their goal area. Then the play starts outside the line.
  12. An unbroken balloon on the ground is still live, and anyone can pick it up and continue the play.
  13. Touching or moving the goal is not allowed. 'Goaltending' is allowed. If any part of the balloon is found inside the goal, this counts as a goal.
  14. If the balloon does not remain inside the goal or break inside the goal, it does not count.
  15. Out of bounds rule is optional. Usually the patio/deck where other party-goers are eating or grilling food is out of bounds.
  16. The details of your yard rules about fouls, etc. should be made clear before playing.
    1. For a more aggressive game, slashing or 'splashing' can be allowed, or allowed just inside the goal areas.
    2. For unsportsmanlike conduct or other as agreed upon offenses, a free shot on goal can be allowed.
    3. Handoffs can be allowed if balloons don't last very long with your particular group of partygoers.

Other fun additions and ideas we have had:

  1. Set up defensive players with squirt guns or hoses at each goal.
  2. Only allow a goal if the balloon does not break. Use a smooth container for the goals.

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