Miniatures Rules for the National Sport of Irvania

Draft Rules 2: 8/20/2001 (Non-Illustrated, Printer-Friendly Version)


This is Draft 2 of the revised, improved, refurbished Slargeball! miniatures rules. This ruleset incorporates bits and pieces of the original Slargeball miniatures rules from 1990, the Slargeball DTP boardgame "game kit" from 1993, the Gludgeball miniatures rules from 1996, and earlier incarnations of Slargeball!.

Primary differences in this version:

  • Fewer types of figures
  • Decrease in the total team size from 64 figures to 33
  • Division of teams into squads of six figures each
  • Simplified systems for Fling and Scatter
  • Revised Coach rules
  • Revised the rules covering the number of balls in play at any given time
  • Elimination of the "quarter" time-keeping rule
  • Revised the "locked in melee" rules for Movement and Whapping
  • Revised the "Break Play" list of circumstances
  • Revised rules for moving through a pile of unconscious figures

Players and Figures

Slargeball! is a set of miniatures rules for 2 to 10 players. The players are divided into two opposing teams. Each team consists of 1 to 5 squads of figures (each player controls one squad of figures), plus a Goalie, a Captain (if there are two or more squads on each team), and a Coach (if there are three or more squads on each team).

There should be the same number of squads on each team. If there are an uneven number of players, one player on the short-handed side controls two squads so that the two teams will have an equal number of figures.

Each squad of figures consists of 6 figures: two Tremples, two Nickelbacks, one Defensive Grelker, and one Running Grelker. Their stats are as follows:

Defensive Grelker
Rushing Grelker

You can use practically anything for figures. We have been experimenting with a popular line of pre-painted plastic fantasy figures, attaching temporary labels with Slargeball information over the "clicky bases". The figures do not have to be mounted individually, nor do they even have to be "figures". You can even use coins. We have plans for trying these rules with 15mm Napoleonic and Roman units as well as microarmour and naval miniatures. Simply print up labels with the Slargeball stats and temporarily attach them to the miniatures you want to use. For stands of miniatures with multiple figures per stand, simply assume that entire armies are engaged in the game and that entire units (rather than individual athletes) are assuming the role of each position.

As of this writing, there are no "official" commercially-available miniatures designed for use with Slargeball!. If you are a manufacturer who would like to produce Slargeball miniatures (think soccer players carrying baseball bats) send me an e-mail. If you are a customer who would like to play this game but are reluctant to get involved with any game system that does not have an extensive line of "officially supported" miniatures, send an e-mail to your favourite manufacturer. If you would like to get involved with playing live-action Slargeball, please phone your local hospital and have yourself checked in. Ask for the eighth floor.

Other Required Equipment

To play Slargeball!, in addition to the figures you'll need a bunch of regular six-sided dice, some rulers and tape measures (in inches), something to represent the balls (I use HO scale 55-gallon drums, painted red, glued to small metal discs), and a playing field. You can make your own field (see photo below) or you can simply mark out the playing area on a tabletop using narrow masking tape. (Precise instructions for designing a field in a future draft; we're using a 64" x 32" field.)

Optional: If you have them available, use "arrow dice" to determine scatter. You can get by using six-sided dice for scatter, but the arrow dice work so much better, and are handy for many other games as well.

How to Win

Get more points than the other team.

A standard game lasts 25 turns. Whichever team has the most points at the end of 25 turns is the winner. In the event of a tie, stamp your feet and demand a rematch.

Figure Stats

Each figure is rated with 4 numbers, or "stats":

  • Move indicates how far a figure can move during the movement phase, in inches. The abbreviation M8 means the figure can move up to 8 inches per turn.
  • Whap reflects the figure's ability to knock unconscious an opposing figure. This also indicates the figure's ability to wake up during the Check Consciousness Phase of each turn. The abbreviation W4 means the figure will knock out an opposing figure on a roll of 4 or less on a six-sided die (1d6); it also means the figure will wake up on a roll of 4 or less on 1d6 during the Check Consciousness Phase.
  • Fling measures how far and how accurately the figure can throw a slargeball. The abbreviation F4 means the figure can Fling a slargeball to a maximum range of 12 inches (3 times the Fling rating), and will successfully Fling the slargeball exactly where he wants it on a roll of 4 or less on 1d6.
  • Nab indicates the figure's ability to catch a slargeball when it's flying through the air, and how well the figure can pick a slargeball up off the ground. The abbreviation N3 means the figure will successfully catch an airball on a roll of 3 or less on 1d6, and will successfully pick up a groundball on a roll of 3 or less. If a figure fails a Nab attempt on an airball, the figure must check for Ballbonk.

The Positions

This variant of the National Sport of Irvania features 7 different types of positions:

  • Tremples are all-around balanced players, with average Move and Whap rates, but they are better at Flinging than at Nabbing. Each squad has two of these figures.
  • Nickelbacks are also balanced players with average Move and Whap stats, but are better at Nabbing than Flinging. Each squad has two of these figures.
  • Defensive Grelkers are slow-moving but hard-hitting. They are not particularly good at Flinging, but are good at Nabbing. Each squad has one of these figures.
  • Rushing Grelkers are fast but light-weight. They are average at Flinging and Nabbing. Each squad has one of these figures.
  • Goalies are the only figures that are allowed to enter a Goal Zone. Goalies can enter either goal zone, either their own or the opposing team's. They tend to spend most of their time in the opposing team's goal zone in order to assist scoring. Goalies are good at Flinging and Nabbing, but are weak Whappers and of only average speed. There is only one Goalie on each team.
  • The team's Captain is generally a star athlete. Captains therefore despised by all the other athletes and are frequently beaten senseless because of this. (Captains are also frequently beaten senseless by coaches, referees, cheerleaders, hot dog vendors, fans, and idle passers-by, but this phenomenon is outside the scope of this ruleset.) Captains have average Move and Nab ratings, but are good at Whapping and Flinging.
  • Coaches are the most feared entities on the slargefield, and for good reason. They are not, in theory, active participants in the game, but can lose control of their furies and storm onto the field, to the great dismay of everyone and everything around them. Coaches have a nominal Nab rating, which they rarely use. On the other hand, they are very strong at Whapping and Flinging, and move twice as fast as anyone else. Coaches can only enter the field a maximum of three times per game.

The Goal Zone and Scoring

Scoring is achieved by one of two methods:

  1. Any conscious figure may attempt to Fling a slargeball into the Goal Bunker. The Goal must be within the flinger's Fling range (3 inches times the flinger's Fling stat) and the Fling roll must be successful. If the Fling roll is unsuccessful, the ball bounces off the lip of the Goal Bunker and scatters. The flinger must actually be carrying the ball in order to make the Fling attempt.
  2. A Goalie may carry a slargeball into the Goal Bunker. The Goalie must actually be carrying the ball in order to accomplish this.

The Goal Zone is an area marked outside the opening of the Goal Bunker. Only a Goalie may enter a Goal Zone. A Goalie may enter his own Goal Zone or that of the opposing team. If a Goalie is foolish enough to leave the safety of a Goal Zone, or stands close enough to the edge of a Goal Zone that an opposing figure can move into base-to-base contact, the Goalie may be Whapped.

The Balls

The number of slargeballs used in the game varies depending on how many squads are on each team:

Number of Squads per Team Number of Balls in Play

A team has "custody" of a ball when one of the team's figures is carrying the ball. A figure is defined as carrying the ball if he or she attained the ball by one of these two methods:

  1. Airball: Nabbing (catching) a ball that has been Flung by another figure, as the ball flies through the air and falls on the figure's location. In order to Nab an airball, the ball must be landing at a spot within the Nabbing figure's base.
  2. Groundball: Nabbing (picking up) a ball that is sitting on the ground. In order to Nab a groundball, the Nabbing figure must be in physical base-to-base contact with the ball.

Break Play

Play is halted immediately ("Break Play") whenever one of the following conditions occurs:

  1. Anyone scores a goal
  2. Everyone in unconscious
  3. All of the balls in play are somewhere unreachable or offsides
  4. All players agree that play cannot continue under present circumstances

When Break Play occurs, the current turn ends immediately. All unconscious figures are left exactly where they are. Goalies, if conscious, are returned to the opposing team's Goal Zone. Coaches, if conscious and on the field, are moved off the field. All remaining conscious players are lined up anywhere behind the team's slargeline.

Game Setup

At the beginning of the game, each team's Goalie is placed in the opposing team's Goal Zone. (See photo above.) The Coach is placed just off the field, to the right of the slargeline. The rest of the figures are placed anywhere behind the slargeline.

The balls are placed in the center of the field, between the two slargelines. If there are more than one ball in play, the balls are placed 12 inches away from each other, equidistant between the two slargelines.

(There is only one ball in play in the photo above. Since there are 3 squads on each team, there should actually be two slargeballs on the field.

Each team rolls 1d6. Re-roll in case of a tie. The team rolling the highest number has initiative for the turn.

Turn Sequence

A standard game lasts 25 turns.

Each turn is divided into the following phases, performed in order:

  1. Check for Initiative
  2. Move
    1. Defensive Grelkers
    2. Tremples
    3. Nickelbacks
    4. Goalies
    5. Captains
    6. Rushing Grelkers
    7. Coaches
  3. Whap
  4. Fling
    • (Check for Scatter if necessary)
  5. Nab
    • (Check for Ballbonk if necessary)
  6. Check for Consciousness
These phases are described in the following sections.

Check for Initiative

If there is only one ball in play:

  • If any figure is carrying the ball, that team's figure automatically has initiative. Otherwise:
  • Each team rolls 1d6. Re-roll in case of a tie. The team rolling the highest number has initiative for the turn.

If there are more than one balls in play:

  • If figures on one team are carrying two or more balls, that team automatically has initiative. Otherwise:
  • Each team rolls 1d6. Re-roll in case of a tie. The team rolling the highest number has initiative for the turn.

Moving and the Move Phase

The Movement Phase is divided into sub-phases, reflecting the fact that some figures are faster than others. The nimbler, faster, more agile figures get a chance to react to the slower, more lumbering figures. On the other hand, the slower figures are often better at Whapping, so their offensive prowess can have an effect on the faster figures.

  • The Defensive Grelkers move first. The team with initiative moves all their Defensive Grelkers, up to their Move stat (4 inches). Then, the other team moves all their Defensive Grelkers.
  • The Tremples move next. The team with initiative moves all their Tremples, then the other team moves all their Tremples.
  • Nickelbacks move next, as above.
  • The Goalies move next. Usually the Goalies stay in the opposing team's Goal Zone, so frequently the Goalies will not move.
  • Captains move next.
  • Rushing Grelkers are the next to move.
  • Finally, if either of the Coaches have been activated and are on the field, they move last.
Figures are not required to move.

Unconscious figures never move. They just lay there.

Facing: There is no facing in this game. Figures may Move, Whap, Fling, and Nab in any direction. Movement does not have to be in a straight line; figures may run in circles, zig-zag, weave and dance as needed. Slargeball players are very nimble.

Moving through unconscious figures: This is a risky proposition. Non-Coach figures may move through a pile of one or more unconscious figures, but they do so at their own risk. In order to move through an area containing any part of a pile containing one or more fallen figures, the moving figure must roll half of its Move rating (rounded up) or less on 1d6. If the figure fails this roll, that figure becomes mired in the pile and falls, unconscious, on top of the pile. (The figure isn't really unconscious, it's just stuck so bad it can't move so it might as well be unconscious, and needs to roll to "wake up" in the Check for Consciousness phase in order to move again as if it were unconscious.) Coaches never need to make this roll, they can plow right through.

If the figure moving through the pile of fallen figures successfully makes the roll, the figure proceeds to move at full speed. There is no speed or movement penalty for going through a pile of unconscious figures, aside from the risk of failing the roll and joining the pile.

Example: In the photo below, the green Defensive Grelker (near the upper left corner of the photo) cannot get to the ball (center of the photo) without going through the fallen bodies that surround the ball. The Defensive Grelker has a Move rating of 4, so he must roll 2 or less on 1d6 in order to move through the unconscious figures. Note that the conscious blue and green figures to the right of the ball can't get to it without risk either, since the bases and feet of the fallen blue and green Nickelbacks are blocking the way.

There must be a clear path at least the width of the moving figure's base in order to move through without the "moving through unconscious figures" penalty.

Stacking: Only one figure can occupy a given space. Figure bases cannot overlap. When one figure moves up to contact with another figure (same team or opposing team), the moving figure must stop. There must be a clear path between other figures (conscious or otherwise) at least as wide as the moving figure's base in order to move past. Figure bases and groundball bases may not overlap with each other. (The balls are very heavy and dense, and tend to push everything else (including other balls) aside.)

Offsides: Any figure that tries to move off the field is knocked unconscious by irate fans and placed, fallen, on the edge of the field at the spot where the figure would have moved offsides.

Contact with opposing figures: If a figure is in base-to-base contact with one or more opposing figures, it may only move away if it rolls 1 or 2 on 1d6. If this roll is successful, the moving figure may move away at full movement rate. If the roll is unsuccessful, the figure may pivot but may not move away or break contact with the opposing figures.

Whappage and the Whap Phase

Figures who are in physical base-to-base contact with opposing figures may attempt to Whap. If the Whap attempt is unsuccessful, there is no effect.

Figures are not required to Whap an opposing figure that they are in base-to-base contact with.

All Whaps are considered to be simultaneous, so if a figure is knocked out it still gets to perform its own Whap attempt that turn. This means that two opposing figures will often knock each other out at the same time. Although the effects of Whappage are simultaneous, the Whap attempts should be resolved in order of the figures' Whap stats, starting with the higher Whap figures first and proceeding through to the lowest Whap figures last.

A figure may only make one Whap attempt on one other figure per turn. (Exception: Coaches have a Whap-like effect that can knock out any figure within range. See the Coach section.) Figures may be the recipient of any number of Whap attempts during a single turn. There is no effect for being Whapped more than once per turn. Once a figure is knocked unconscious, it just stays unconscious until it wakes up.

Figures who are "unconscious" in the game are not necessarily out cold; they may be simply knocked down, or they might be in a deep sleep that lasts the rest of the game. Each figure that is unconscious rolls to see if it wakes up at the end of each turn, so figures may get back up just seconds after they've been Whapped.

When a figure is Whapped unconscious, it is placed in a prone position right where it fell. (We do this by simply tipping the figure over, right where it was.) The player controlling the successful Whapper figure decides which way the Whapped figure falls over.

If a figure who is carrying a slargeball is Whapped unconscious, the ball immediately falls to the ground (becomes a groundball) on the spot. The ball should not be in base-to-base contact with any other ball or figure, unless the ball falls in a location where it is already surrounded by other figures.

Flinging and the Fling Phase

Any figure that is carrying a slargeball during the Fling phase may attempt to Fling the ball. In order to be carrying the ball, the figure must have Nabbed the ball during an earlier turn, either by picking up a groundball or Nabbing (catching) a thrown airball.

The term "Flinging" in this game refers to any form of throwing, kicking, heading, nudging, batting, or any form of projecting a ball from a figure to anywhere else.

Range: A figure may Fling the ball out to a range equal to his Fling stat multiplied by 3, in inches. For instance, a Rushing Grelker with a Fling stat of 3 would be able to hurl a slargeball up to 9 inches away.

Procedure: To Fling, the figure carrying the ball chooses an exact spot on the field where the player wants the ball to land. This spot can be the base of another figure, or just an empty spot anywhere in the field (including a Goal Zone or Goal Bunker). The figure doing the Flinging must roll its Fling stat or less on 1d6. If this roll is successful, the ball lands exactly where the Flinging player wanted it to go. (See the section on Nabbing.) If this roll is unsuccessful, the ball scatters in a random direction and lands somewhere unintended.

Scatter: When a ball scatters in a random direction, you have to determine the direction it scatters and the distance it flies before falling to the ground. If you have "arrow" dice (6-sided dice with pointers on them instead of the regular spots for 1 through 6; also called "scatter" or "direction" dice) by all means, use them to determine scatter direction. If you don't have these dice, use the Scatter Diagram above to determine which way a ball goes when it scatters.

To determine the distance the scattered ball flies, subtract the number rolled on the failed Fling attempt from the Flinger's Fling stat. Roll that number of six-sided dice and add the results to find how far the ball scatters, in inches. For instance, a Captain has a Fling stat of 4. If he rolls 1 through 4 on his Fling attempt roll, the ball lands exactly where he wants it to land. If he rolls a 5, he has to roll 1d6 to find out how many inches away the ball lands from his intended target point. If he rolls a 6, he has to roll 2d6 to find out how far away the ball lands.

Note that, through scatter, the ball may land farther away than the flinger's normal range of his Fling stat multiplied by 3 inches.

Note also that Flinging and Nabbing are not simultaneous. Flinging and Nabbing take place at different times during the turn, regardless of how far the ball travels. Flinging can only take place during the Fling phase.

A ball that is Flung always comes down during the beginning of the Nab phase of the same turn in which it is Flung. Because of this, airballs can only exist in the period of time between the Fling phase and the Nab phase of the same turn. Airballs cannot exist during the Check for Consciousness, Move, or Whap phases. Groundballs, on the other hand, can exist anytime they feel like it.

A figure may Fling a ball at another figure it is in base-to-base contact with, but this still requires a successful Fling roll on the part of the flinger, a successful Nab roll on the part of the flingee, and a Ballbonk roll in the event of an unsuccessful Nab attempt. Slargeballs are so dangerous that they can cause Ballbonk even when handed carefully from one person to another.

Scoring: A ball that is successfully Flung into a Goal Bunker, or scatters into a Goal Bunker, scores one point for the team whose Goal Bunker it isn't.

Coaches: In the unlikely event that a Coach is ever carrying a ball, the Coach will Fling the ball in a random direction as soon as possible (the next occurring Fling phase). If this happens, roll 2d6 to determine the number of inches away the ball lands.

Nabbing, the Nab Phase, and Ballbonk

In this game, the term "Nabbing" refers to one of two actions:

  1. the act of picking up a slargeball that is laying on the ground (a "groundball"). There is no penalty for failure of this act.
  2. the act of catching a slargeball as it falls to the ground after flying through the air (an "airball") as the result of a Fling. The penalty for failure of this act is the possibility of Ballbonk.

Nabbing a groundball: The figure attempting to Nab a groundball must be in base-to-base contact with the ball. The figure must roll its Nab stat or less on 1d6. If this roll is successful, the figure is "carrying" the ball, or "has custody" of the ball. Place the ball on top of the carrying figure's base to signify this. If this roll is unsuccessful, nothing happens.

If more than one figure are in base-to-base contact with the groundball, the figure with the highest Nab stat makes the attempt to Nab first. If this figure fails, the figure with the next highest Nab stat tries next, and so on, until a figure successfully Nabs the ball. In case of ties in the Nab stats, the team with initiative goes first. If the ties are between figures on the same team, the person controlling the figures decides which to resolve first.

If no figure is successful in Nabbing the ball, it stays there on the ground until the next turn's Nab attempts.

Coaches will never attempt to Nab a groundball. Their attentions lie elsewhere.

Nabbing an airball: If a Flung airball comes down (either by a successful Fling roll or by scatter) on any part of the base of a figure, that figure must make a Nab attept. The figure must roll its Nab stat or less on 1d6. If this roll is successful, the figure is "carrying" the ball, or "has custody" of the ball. Place the ball on top of the carrying figure's base to signify this. If this roll is unsuccessful, the figure must check for Ballbonk.

A Coach will attempt to Nab an airball if it happens to be coming their way, but will never divert their course during the Movement Phase in order to go for an airball.

Ballbonk: Slargeballs are large, dense, and incredibly dangerous. The Irvanians tell stories about knocking out Tiger tanks in WWII with slargeballs (although no one else believes these stories). Whenever an airball lands in the same spot occupied by a figure and that figure fails a Nab attempt, the figure must check for Ballbonk. Roll 1d6. If the result is 4 or less, the figure is knocked unconscious.

If any other figures (on either team) are in base-to-base contact with a figure who fails a Nab attempt and who is knocked unconscious via Ballbonk, these other figures must also attept to Nab the ball, and must check for Ballbonk if they fail the Nab attempt. Start with the figure with the highest Nab stat and work down to the lowest Nab stat, as above. If all the figures who were in base-to-base contact with the original Ballbonk victim are knocked unconscious, continue checking all figures who are in base-to-base contact with them. This process continues until a figure has successful Nabbed the ball, or all the figures who were in the entire cluster of figures who were in base-to-base contact with each other are Ballbonked. If this second possibility occurs, roll for scatter to see in which direction and how far (roll 2d6 for distance) the ball goes after all figures in the original group are Ballbonked. Slargeballs are known for bouncing a lot, and causing great damage wherever they hit the ground.

The Check for Consciousness Phase

Quite simply, this is when all the unconscious figures attempt to wake up.

For every unconscious/prone/fallen/mired/slumbering figure, roll 1d6. If the figure's Whap stat or less is rolled, the figure has woken up and is now standing, ready to rejoin the game. The figure must be placed in such a way that it is not in base-to-base contact with any other figure or any slargeballs, unless the waking figure is completely surrounded by other figures and/or balls and there is nowhere for it to be placed without being in contact with something or somebody.


Coaches are not normally participants in slargeball games, per se. They stand on the sidelines, hurling epithets and vituperations at their team members. However, at any time during a game a Coach can lose his or her self-control and stamp onto the field, marching directly towards one of his or her own team members in order to issue a scathing castigation up close and personal, creating a corridor of pain and suffering in the wake of his or her passage. Coaches can only do this a maximum of three times per game due to the effect it has on their blood pressure.

Coach Activation: The Coach figure starts the game standing just off the field, to the right of the team's slargeline. Coaches cannot Move, Whap, Fling, or Nab until they have been activated. Roll 1d6 to attept to activate a Coach (see table below).
Coach Activation
Need to Roll on 1d6
3 or less
2 or less
Cannot Activate
A roll of 3 or less is required to activate a Coach for the first time in a game (regardless of how many unsuccessful activation rolls have already been attempted). After the Coach has been activated the first time, it takes a roll of 2 or less to activate him or her a second time. A third activation requires a roll of 1. No Coach may be activated more than 3 times during a game.

Once activated, the player controlling the Coach indicates a specific figure on his or her own team (not necessarily in his or her own squad) to be the target of the Coach's wrath. The target figure may be conscious or unconscious. The target figure is immediately frozen in place and may not Move, Whap, Fling, or Nab. The target figure may be the subject of Whap attacks and may suffer Ballbonk. The Coach figure moves in a direct line at 16 inches per turn towards the target figure. The Coach may not change direction or speed.

When the Coach reaches base-to-base contact with the target figure, the Coach and target figure spend one entire turn frozen in place as the Coach gives the wayward athlete a good talking to. Immediately after this turn spent in place, the target figure goes unconscious (if it wasn't already) and the Coach heads directly back to the normal Coach spot off-field, just to the right of the team's slargeline.

As the Coach storms past (coming and going), any figure (either team) with any part of its base within 2 inches of the Coach's line of travel must suffer a Whap attack, using a simulated Whap rating of 5 for the Coach. This occurs during the Coach's Movement Phase and the effects are immediate. The Coach is not actually Whapping the terrified players as he or she goes by; the figures are actually fainting at the Coach's mere proximity. Any figures effected by the Coach's simulated walk-by Whapping can attempt to wake up during the Check for Consciousnss Phase, just like any other Whap attack or Ballbonk victim.

Coaches never perform normal Whap attacks, although they may be the subject of normal Whap attacks. If the Coach is knocking unconscious, the Coach's target figure continues to be frozen in place regardless. Coaches may suffer Ballbonk. Coaches will make a Nab attempt on an airball if they happen to be standing right where the airball is landing, but will make no attempt to Nab a groundball. If a Coach somehow Nabs an airball, he or she will Fling it in a random direction (2d6 distance) during the next Fling Phase. Coaches will never attempt to score a goal, although a Coach's randomly-scattered Fling may score by accident. webmaster: Dave Ferris
Slargeball rules version August 20, 2001
Last updated: June 11, 2016