The Four Square Thread

Hard to believe its been over 10 years since I have played with any regularity. Then again, I’m just 26, so you can do the math there.

I figured the rules to “Official” game had to be somewhere online.

As I expected, the add on rules aren’t allowed.

Four Square is played on an 16’ square court divided into four smaller squares that meet in the center. Squares are numbered 1 through 4. New players enter into square number 1 and the ball is served out of square number 4. Players may stand, walk or run anywhere in the court, though it is best to stay in a position to protect your own square.

Bolding mine.

  1. We never had any sort of measurement on the squares. IIRC, we actually had rectangular sections, in the same “4 square” format. -Interestingly enough, the game was HUGE at the church retreat center that our Church would go to for retreats.

The retreat center had 2 courts, one of them being Circular, with pie wedge sections.

2.Running anywhere around the court? I’m not sure if we ever had this officially declared in our play, but we did all agree that we had to next to anything to avoid getting out.

Other rules such as “No Blood on Serves” and the fact that you can use your forearms to hit the ball probably, in hindsight would have been great rules to enforce, if we had known them.

How did you guys play?

Looking at the Official rules, how did your play differ?

Ah yes, Four Square, staple of the elementary and middle school playground. I remember we had different names for the “customized rules” (e.g. Bubbles, Babies, Backstops, Shorts: You’re Out, Shorts: You Keep On Playing).

There was also Two Square (like Four Square, but with only two squares, which were larger than the standard four), and Long Ball (similar to Four Square, but played on a long, rectangular court, and you would catch and throw the ball, often quite forcefully, rather than hitting it).

Well of course you can stand anywhere on the court. You can’t possibly protect your whole square from inside it. How would you field a ball from the back corners or across the tip? You’ve got to be able to stand behind or to the side of your square or the game would be impossible and frustrating.

Yes, but doesn’t only matter if Shoeshines are in effect?

[Yeah, this thread is going to be incredibly insane for non players.]


Reminds me of that Peanuts strip, Linus, I think, wants to play marbles with Lucy.

Linus lays down all of the special / customized rules in effect for the game. (He basically claims that an entire list, each in part, would NOT be allowed.)

Lucy, Annoyed at Linus talking about the rules, that she does not understand, simply asks “Slugs?”

Linus : Slugs?!

At this point, Lucy punches Linus.

Lucy “You didn’t say no slugs!”

It was one of the two official games of the Order of the Arrow lodge I belonged to (the other being a violent card game called Egyptian Rat-Screw). We played on four squares of sidewalk pavement in front of the dining hall. If there were a particularly large number of players, it sometimes expanded into Six-Square, Eight-Square, Ten-Square, or Calvinball.

I don’t remember there being an explicit rule against leaving one’s square, but nobody ever did so, anyway. I guess we all just took it for granted.

If you put down a Jack, the other player has to put down one card, Queen, two cards, King, three, Ace, four.

If you put down a face card in that time, your opponent must do the same, related to the card you put down ?
That game goes on forever. Did you allow slap matches?

For “opponent”, substitute “next player in order”. And of course, if doubles or a joker is played, everyone (even people who have run out of cards, or who weren’t dealt into the game to begin with) tries to be the first to slap the deck.

It can go on for an hour or two fairly easily (with the winner often being a bystander), but by then, slapping skill ends up trumping luck, and a victor ends up emerging. Myself, my reflexes were never all that great, but I made up for it by memorizing where the jokers and doubles were in the decks.

I played four square compulsively when I lived in Africa in 5th grade. In junior high we had an interesting variation. Our playground was sunken below the street, with a ramp leading down. We played four square against the wall of the ramp, so that the player in the number four square had only a little space for someone else to hit, and lower number players had more wall. I think we allowed more than four, but had the usually line waiting to replace whoever was out.

When I was in grad school, Uni High at Illinois was next door to the Computer Science Department building. There were kids playing four square there all the time, and rumor had it that a group made four square their term project, keeping compulsive statistics on it.