One Attempt at Recreating Quidditch in Real Life
During a short stint as a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, I happened upon an e-mail description of a variant of Quidditch once played in the Kingdom of Atlantia (at least I think it was Atlantia). It was suggested that it could be tried at an event closer to home, but the practicalities of running around in SCA armor required a simpler approach.
The end result could be played by anyone who could run along a 100-foot pitch. One gentle observing the spectacle described the physical endurance required: "I nearly had an asthma attack just watching it!" Fortunately, the only ones needing this level of endurance played Chaser - others could play other positions without nearly as much exertion.
Much of this was copied from a document I authored myself, available at http://www.fecyk.ca/gordonf/bofferquidditch2.html. Bits of that document came from Quidditch Through the Ages and from the original Atlantian e-mail.
- Quaffle, Inflatable ball, any reasonable size that could be gripped with one hand.
- Foam pipe insulation, 20 pieces, fashioned into flexible clubs. One for each player (14), one additional for each Beater, one additional for each person acting as a Bludger.
- At least one coin or other small object to act as a Golden Snitch. Ideally, several of these with one uniquely marked, to make the Seeker's job of finding it harder.
- Goal Hoops, 6, fashioned from flexible pipe and a Hula Hoop. I used 1/2" PVC pipe for the stand, and a two-foot hula hoop fastened with a PVC T-connector and duct tape. The stands should vary in height: two 3-foot, two 6-foot, and two 9-foot to get the effect seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
- Flagging Tape, used to mark off the pitch bounaries.
Players (14 total, 7 to a side)
- Chasers, three to a side, equipped with one foam club.
- Beaters, two to a side, equipped with two foam clubs or foam club and shield (to discourage handling the Quaffle).
- Keeper, one to a side, equipped with one foam club.
- Seeker, one to a side, equipped with one foam club.
- Bludgers, two, equipped with two foam clubs. They attack the nearest player, and if attacked by a Beater, change to the direction the Beater swung at them in.
- Referee, one, acts as judge and time keeper. Also watches out for player and spectator safety.
- Goal Judges (Optional), one to each side, to catch and retrieve Quaffles launched toward goal hoops, and to judge and record goals.
The Playing Field, or Pitch
The pitch is an oval shape, one hundred feet long and anywhere from thirty to fifty feet wide, depending on the number of players and their endurance level. The goal hoops, three to a side, sit within a five foot radius circle drawn at each end (or "side" as they like to say in Football). The same five foot radius circle acts as a "scoring area" where only the Keeper and one opposing Chaser are allowed to enter.
For the most part, the rules follow the fictional game of Quidditch:
- Chasers try to carry the Quaffle to their opposing side's goal hoops and throw it through one of the hoops. A goal scored in this manner is worth ten points.
- The Keeper tries to prevent goals scored on his or her side's hoops.
- During game play, two people acting as Bludgers are causing general mayhem attacking the players around them. The Beaters defend their teammates from the Bludgers by attacking them and sending them off to opposing players.
- Finally, one Seeker on each side is looking for the Golden Snitch. The seeker that finds, and in this variant, retrieves it to their side, earns their team one-hundred-fifty points and ends the match. The team with the highest score at this point wins the match.
Restrictions on Muggle technology (and endurance) required the following changes to the original fictional game:
- The game can only be played for fifteen minutes, in three five minute periods. If the Snitch is not caught in this time, the scores stand as they are.
- Since we aren't playing on flying brooms, we use the foam clubs to attack each other. A Chaser carrying the Quaffle must drop it if attacked. Within reasonable limits, an opposing Chaser may also snatch the Quaffle from one's grasp or intercept a pass. Attacked players must return to a "resurrection point" before resuming play. These are best marked off on the sidelines at the middle of the pitch. A player can only attack with the foam club, and attacking by other means should be strongly discouraged.
- The Snitch can't move on its own (yet). So the Seekers must search the ground for a small object representing the Snitch. To make things more difficult, the referee may place several similar looking objects (like pennies) and mark one uniquely. Also to add to the challenge, the Seeker must take the Snitch back to their side without being attacked, or they must drop it. Seekers must be aware of their surroundings, notably to avoid being trampled on by other players.
- Bludgers act as a chaos device of sorts. People representing Bludgers attack the closest player. If attacked by a Beater, the person representing the Bludger must turn and run in the direction of the Beater's attack. For example, if a Beater strikes a Bludger on the chest (up front), the Bludger must turn in the opposite direction. If attacked on one side, they turn to the other side. The person playing Bludger is free to interpret the direction they're struck in as they wish - reasonably - to simulate the behavior of the charmed cannon balls from the fictional game.
While many of the rules that govern the fictional game cover circumstances that couldn't happen in real life, those that can should be enforced. For example, a Keeper cannot defend his or her hoops from behind them. The usual penalty for breaking a rule is awarding a penalty shot to the opposing team - an opposing Chaser takes the Quaffle from mid-pitch and tries to score against the lone defending Keeper. The penalty is over once the Quaffle leaves the Chaser's hand or if the Keeper successfully attacks the Chaser (if the Chaser successfully attacks the Keeper, he or she is free to score).
This variant of Quidditch looks and plays much like the original game, and playing in robes or SCA garb adds much to the fantasy. It's probably the closest we Muggles can get to the feeling, short of buying EA Games' Quidditch World Cup game for personal computers.