Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things To Do With Kids: The World's Greatest Game

In last week's Highlight Reel, I promised to tell you about the greatest game the world has ever beheld.  It's called Tomato War.

Here's the first secret.  I invented it, so I am way biased.  But it really is the most fun I've ever had playing a game.  Just look at the joy in my blurry figure throwing the frisbee below.


- Field
- 2 Large Trash Cans
- 1 Quality Frisbee
- Several Large Cans of Whole, Peeled Tomatoes
- Goggles
- Boundary Markers


- Strikers - Those who can touch the frisbee
- Launchers - Those who throw the tomatoes at opposing players
- Doctors - Those who unfreeze players and collect ammo for launchers
- Referee - Skeptical person

Arrangement of Pitch (I invented the game and I like soccer, so I called it a pitch):

Object of Game:

Score by placing frisbee in opposing team's goal.  First team to predetermined score wins.

How to play:

Tomato War is a combination of freeze tag, dodgeball, and ultimate frisbee.  Everyone can have fun.  The athletic people can be strikers, the mean kids can be launchers, and the nice, non-athletic kids can be the doctors.  All three positions involve separate challenges.  It is also a good idea to have everyone change positions once in a while.  Each team is made up of strikers, launchers, and doctors.

The launchers must stand in their zone.  Since our game was a full-scale youth group retreat version, we created catapults to aid the tomato launchers.  The kids quickly found it much more effective to hand throw the tomatoes.  The launchers help defend their goal by throwing tomatoes at the opposing strikers.  Intentionally hitting someone in the face is not allowed.  The referee can make anyone take a break at any time.

The strikers play ultimate frisbee (with garbage can goals instead of end zones) whilst the launchers throw tomatoes at them.  It gets really crazy as they get closer and closer to the other team's goal and launchers.  When the strikers get hit with a tomato, they are frozen.  They can't move even to touch the frisbee until they have been unfrozen by their team's doctors.

The doctors are also in the field of play, but can't be frozen.  They can either pick up tomatoes to take to their launchers OR unfreeze their strikers.  They can't unfreeze a striker if they are carrying tomatoes.

Anything outside of these rules is up to the discretion of the referee.

Seriously, this game was soooo much fun.  It originated out of the need to fill some rec. time on a retreat, but was honestly one of the most enjoyable things I ever did with a youth group.  

You don't have to have a youth group to play this though.  Don't think you have to have mud either.  It just happened to be very wet the day we played.  If you are thinking that your group isn't an athletic bunch, I can assure you they will still have fun.  While we did have a few athletic types, overall the group was really more of a musical conglomerate.

Tomato Wars is involved enough that you could make an entire birthday party out of it or any party for that matter.  You could scale it down and help your kids play with a handful of neighbors, or it could even be scaled up to play with an entire school for homecoming week, prom after party, or graduation festivities.

Break out this game sometime and blow your kids away.

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