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Crazy Four Player Ping Pong Adds Elements Of Pool

Illustration for article titled Crazy Four Player Ping Pong Adds Elements Of Pool

In the grand tradition of Calvinball, this four player table tennis setup looks like it borrows elements from other games. Including ping pong and billiards; mashing them up into a new creation that's ready to destroy friendships.

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Unlike doubles table tennis where players on each side work together to score points, it's every person for themselves in this creation. The table is split into four sections, and players can hit the ball onto whichever surface they want. The angled surfaces result in bounces that don't fly all over the room, but also require quick reflexes to return a shot. Points are scored when a player misses a shot, or when they hit the ball into the center hole of an opponent's table.

Available from Hammacher Schlemmer for $250, I'm particularly fond of this unique take on table tennis because you're not stuck with a giant permanent table filling your basement or garage. I know most of them do fold up, but they're still a pain to wrangle and put away. [Hammacher Schlemmer]

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DISCUSSION

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For the Gizmodo audience, allow me to elucidate the 'rules' of Calvinball. This has taken me a long time, sourced from my extended readings of C&H over the years. I hope you enjoy!

Equipment needed: A Calvinball; Soccerball, Volleyball or any other reasonable ball. Bowling Balls ARE accepted. Calvinball Field; The Calvinball Field should be any well-sized field, preferably with trees, rocks, grass, creeks, and other natural obstacles. The higher the risk of injury, the better the field. At individual player's discretion, other optional equipment, including flags, wickets (especially of the time-fracture variety), transmogrifires, Automatrons and anything else the players wish to include.

1. Permanent Rule: You must NEVER play the same rules twice.

EVER.

It should be noted, at this stage, that ALL following rules are, in fact, not rules in the general, and common, sense of the word, but, more properly a guideline for anyone wishing to engage in a solid game of Calvinball.

2. Any rule posted from here on in, may be changed, amended or deleted by any player who engages or is involved. These rules are not required, nor even necessary to play Calvinball, including this rule.

3. All players must wear a Calvinball Mask.

4. Any player may declare a new rule at any point in the game. The player may do this audibly or silently depending on what zone (Referenced in Rule 7) the player is in.

5. A player may use the Calvinball in any way the player see fits, whether it be to incur injury upon other players or to gain benefits for himself.

6. Any penalty legislation may be in the form of pain, embarrassment, or any degradation the rulee wishes to execute upon the other player.

7. The Calvinball Field should consist of areas, or zones, which are governed by a set of rules declared by players, at any time. Zones may appear and disappear as often and wherever the player decides. For example, a corollary zone would enable a player to make a corollary (sub-rule) to any rule already made. Or a pernicious poem place would require the intruder to do what the name implies. Or an opposite zone would enable a player to declare reverse playability on the others. (Remember, the player would declare this zone oppositely by not declaring it.) Zones and other rules can of course be declared silently, in a silent zone.

8. The differing Flags shall be named by players whom shall also assign the power and rules which shall govern that flag, in each respective zone.

9. Songs are an integral part of Calvinball and verses must be sung spontaneously through the game when randomly assigned events occur.

10. Score may be kept or disregarded. In the event that score is kept, it shall have no bearing on the game nor shall it have any logical consistency to it.

The most famous end-scores of Calvinball include 'Q to 12', 'BW-109 to YU-34, and 'Nosebleed to Pelvic Fracture'. These are all, of course, documented in the Calvinball book: "A History of Calvinball games: The ones that went wrong."