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The Best Social Outdoor Game EVER

August 13, 2009

The best social outdoor game ever is four square.


I played the other day, and I was quickly reminded how this childhood game is the perfect social game:

  1. Anyone can play. You barely have to move.
  2. You can mess up or make a stupid play, but it’s no sweat off your back, because you just get back in line and are soon in the game again.
  3. Anyone can walk up to the game and play as long or as little as they want.
  4. You can play with a beer in your hand.
  5. There are elements of teamwork–you may work together with the other players to eliminate a person who has been king for too long.
  6. There are elements of individual prowess–for the most part, you’re fighting to stay in the game.
  7. It’s simple–all you need is a ball and a piece of chalk.


Also, I’ve discovered a rule iteration that simplifies all the other rules: The ball must bounce in your square once–no more, no less–before you hit it (which you must do), and it then must enter someone else’s square. This takes away elements of “stealing” or “saving,” and there’s never any confusion as to whether or not the ball actually bounced. The only confusion comes in when it bounces on the line, and we played by the rule that if it bounces on the line between your square and someone else’s, either of you can play the ball. If neither of you plays the ball, it’s a redo. Lastly, if someone hits the ball at you and it hits you before it hits your square, you’re out unless you were standing outside of your square at the time, at which point the person who hit the ball is out. Play underhanded. Play with passion. Play today.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Bryce permalink
    August 14, 2009 8:54 am

    This a beautiful post. And it further confirms why my greatest high school achievement was starting the Four-Square Craze of 1999 in the late spring of our senior year. There were times when I was playing Four Square 3 periods a day (thank you, Leslie David Schrieber) and that’s not even counting lunch! I remember lines that were 30 people deep.

    Those were good times, Jamey, I know you remember (…though I’m sure you try to forget how badly I dominated you).

    • August 14, 2009 9:26 am

      I have no recollection of any such domination. But I do remember playing–such a great game.

  2. T-Mac permalink
    August 14, 2009 2:48 pm

    Wow. You two went to a magnet school?

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