Dirty Nine Square
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Clean Nine Square or simply Nine Square or Dirty Nine is a very elaborate version of the game four square: the goal being to get the people in the other squares out in order to move up into the ‘nine square’, also called center, server, or king square. This can be done by performing different moves, which fake or overpower an opponent.
Court and equipment
The Dirty Nine Square court is made up of 9 squares, laid out in a 3×3 grid. Each square should be approximately 3×3 feet in dimension. All squares should be of uniform size. The ground should be relatively level and the surrounding area should be relatively free of obstacles in order to protect the players, however, some variations are to be expected and can be utilized to the players advantage. Dirty Nine is played with a large rubber ball, approximately 2 feet in diameter. If being played with younger players, a smaller ball is recommended.
Rules and methods
- The person in the 'nine square' decides the rules and serves the ball at the start of each round.
- If the ball touches your square, and then touches somebody else’s square or touches out of bounds without you touching the ball, then you are out.
- If you hold onto the ball, then you are out.
- If you touch the ball and the ball has not touched your square, then you are out.
- If you touch the ball twice without it hitting a square, then you are out.
- Serves should be gentle. You may not get out on serves, unless it is your own fault. (Debatable)
- If a player gets out, then they must leave their square, and return to the 1-square. Everyone else rotates up a square.
The Four Foundations
Nine Square has four "foundations", if you will, on which other rules are placed. These are:
- Old School - Completely basic four-square style. Players cannot hold or catch the ball. Only the hands and arms may be used to strike the ball. Open or closed hands may be used. Other body parts cannot be purposefully used to manipulate the ball (unintentional use of other body parts is permissible, and often hilarious).
- Bodyball - Players are prohibited from using their hands for play. Players may use any part of the body except for shoulders down (or elbows depending on the server). With this foundation, "juggling" the ball by striking it multiple times to keep it airborne after it has struck your square, is usually permitted, thought a limit on the number of strikes may be placed.
- Leprosy - In this foundation players have six limbs: head, chest, two arms, and two legs. On one turn the player may hit the ball only once with each limb, but need not use all six. Once the player has continued the ball into another square his limbs reset and can be used again once the ball returns to his square.
- Full Dirty - The name says it all. You may do absolutely anything as long as it still touches your square only once. Players often hold the ball and advance it into other players squares before attempting to eliminate them. While this sounds like an unfair advantage, other players can physically block entrance into their square or even steal the ball from another player's possession.
On top of one of the foundations, the nine square can lay any of these rules: (or any rule of their creation)
- Backstops - With this rule in place the ball may hit you first, then your square. If you would like you may hit it an additional time after the backstop.
- Double-Touch - The ball hits your square then you touch it. With this rule you may touch it again.
- Vollies - In this rule the ball does not have to touch your square. However, if you strike the ball out of bounds, you, not the player who's square it last touched, are eliminated.
- Square Stealing - This is where if an opponent leaves their square to hit the ball you may take their square, forcing them to have yours instead.
- Juggling - You may touch the ball as many times as necessary.
- Iron/Steel Cage - If either foot leaves your square you are out, unless you are performing a defensive move.
- Low Ball - The ball may not go above the specified level.
- High Ball - The ball must, at some point during its arc, go above the specified point.
- _____’s Delight - If a non-_____ gets out, all non-_____s get out.
- Snake Eye - If the server says "snake-eye", he/she removes him/herself from the game. From here on the eight square serves the ball (but is not the server) and the nine square itself counts as out-of-bounds.
- Good Samaritan - If the ball runs off a good distance, the person to retrieve it gets immunity for one round.
- Dinosaur Arms - You wrists must be touching your chest at all times.
- Pow-wow/Tea Party - You must be sitting cross-legged at all times.
- John Madden - The first player in line must make pointless commentary on the game, as if they were John Madden. Failure to do so results in the offending person moving to the back of the line.
- One Man Army - 1-square through 8-square may only get the 9-square out. Getting anyone else out results in your elimination.
- Sniper - If a person gets the square opposite to them out, then the eliminated player as well as 9-square are out, and the person to get the opposite square out takes 9-square.
- “You get me out you get my square” - Self-explanatory.
- No “S” Word - Any player that says the word "sorry" is out.
- Corners vs. Sides - Corner squares (1, 3, 5, and 7) are allied against the sides (2, 4, 6, and 8). Getting a team member out results in your elimination instead.
- "'Word ball'" - The player who hits the ball must say a random word, but repetition of the word within rounds results in the offending player's elimination.
- Bus stop - All the players must dash in and touch the server's foot with their own foot. The last player to do so, by judgement of the server, is out.
- These are names of moves and maneuvers that are allowed unless the server says differently.
- No Holds - Unless the center has declared "full dirty" or allowed holds, it is illegal to hold or catch the ball with the arms or other body parts. Throwing the ball by striking it with an open hand and following through is not considered a hold, though the center has full discretion on declaring if a "throw" oversteps the line and becomes a "hold".
- Spins - By striking the ball with a lot of spin, it is possible to get it to veer wildly to one side, or even back toward the hitter. This is not a hold, however, the center can outlaw this maneuver.
- Biting the (Gentle) Hand - There are two forms of this rule, both derived from the expression, "biting the hand that feeds you".
- Biting the Hand - If a person gives the ball to you in any way, you may not get them out right then. If you do you are out instead.
- Biting the Gentle Hand - If a person kindly gives you the ball then the rules above apply. However, if a person tries to get you out and fails, you may get them out.
- Shielding - This is where you hit the ball in someones square and then stand between them and the ball, preventing them from touching it.
- Stealing the Serve - For this, backstops must be called. When the server tosses the ball to a person you run and bump it into your square, stealing the serve, and then continue play.
- Cherry Bombs - Also known as "slams", this is where you slam it in a persons square, making it too high for them to reach.
- No Typewriters - Typewriters are the most common of the maneuvers that involve a player striking the ball into another square and then touching it after it has bounced in another player's square. Typewriters involve rapidly dribbling the ball in other square to achieve the 2 bounces necessary for elimination. Other variations include the aptly named "Cheap Shot" where the player touches the ball into another square, and then throws it in the opposite direction, often far from the playing court. Typewriters and other variations on this rule are forbidden unless the center square enables them.
Square Specific Rules
These are rules that are apply rules to specific squares or how players advance through the squares
- Suicide - If a square in announced a "Suicide Square", then if you get that person out, you are out. (Note: Being called as suicide does not mean that you do not need to play. You may still get out if you are being dumb or lazy)
- Kamikaze - If a square is a "Kamikaze Square" then if you get that person out, you are both out. This has also been called a "Mass Suicide" square.
- Looting - If a player (other than the center) eliminates any other player, he claims the eliminated players square. Other players advance normally. Variations include "Upward Mobility" where players only loot higher squares or the variety where the center claims the square of players s/he eliminates, but retains the rule setting and serving privileges of the center square.
- Square Stealing - If Square Stealing has been declared any player may enter a square that has been fully vacated by its owner. In order to vacate a square, a player must be completely outside the square. In order to claim a square, a player must get both feet inside the boundaries of the square. If the owner of a square reenters his square before it has been claimed, he'll retain the square. He retains the square by having any body part enter the square. Ties go to the owner (remember, the center has the right to settle disputes). If a square is stolen, the previous owner may claim any open square. If no squares are open, the displaced player is eliminated. If the owner of a square is eliminated while his square is stolen, he is eliminated from play, but his square is still retained by the successful square stealer.
- Immune Square: If this square gets out, they are simply not eliminated (Note: Being called as immune does not mean that you do not need to play. You may still get out if you are being dumb or lazy)