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"Last year at the World Cup, there were broken bones."
November 13, 2010 8:14 PM   Subscribe

Tomorrow in New York City, the Quiddich World Championship will be decided. Invented in 2005, Muggle Quiddich is now played at hundreds of high schools and colleges around the world. Forty six teams are meeting this weekend for the fourth annual world championship.

The game is co-ed, full contact, and strangely faithful to JK Rawling's fictional sport.

The IQA's official rules lay out how to play. Chasers play a basketball-like game of throwing a ball through one of three hoops. Beaters try to bean opposing players with a ball, dodgeball style. And the seekers chase the golden snitch, portrayed by a guy in a gold jump suit. Early in the game the snitch may go anywhere on or off the field, so games are often interrupted by snitches and seekers from adjoining fields running through.

Game footage helps give an idea of how a typical game goes. And here is some coverage of day one of the World Championship.

Previously.
posted by Maastrictian (99 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ok...i was embarrassed just watching that "game footage" link... god knows what those folks are going to feel like in about 10 years....
posted by HuronBob at 8:19 PM on November 13, 2010


Sigh. I was bemoaning my own extended adolescence and somehow these folks are worse off.
posted by anniecat at 8:24 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The game, created by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and intended to be played in the air, is played while running around with brooms between your legs.
And here they lose me completely.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:24 PM on November 13, 2010 [20 favorites]


1. Middlebury, who did you expect?
2. These students are young enough that they may not actually remember a world before Harry Potter, the first book came out in 1997 when they were 5-9 years old.
3. Someone's going to get seriously injured in a personal manner with those brooms
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:28 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think this is charming and humorous. It's a new sport, fabricated out of whole cloth, being played as best it can be without actual flying brooms and wizardy, and people are playing it enthusiastically. I mean, anything which gets people outside, interacting in teams, and having a good time playing a physical game is a good thing in this day of video games and rising obesity rates.

I'd lay money that within 10 years, someone will be hard at work trying to figure out how to make this an actual flying game. I mean, hoverboard technology is only 5 years away, right?
posted by hippybear at 8:31 PM on November 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


I can't believe I just read the Quiddich rulebook. It actually seems like a decent game, good rules mechanics and a decent amount of physical contact. However:

1) Everyone is holding a broom between their legs and running, which seems both lame and extremely dangerous, given the tackling.

2) The oval field. What a giant pain to lay out if you're doing lines. Rectangles are bad enough.

3) The snitch part of the game mechanics is inspired, but a bit tough to get used to. The object of the game is to grab a tennis ball in a sock of a guy dressed entirely in yellow once you have enough points to ensure that would get you a win. And since that guy isn't on either team, you have to get in-shape volunteers to basically put on a gold bodysuit and run around / creatively hide. That's more overhead - you can't just get two teams together to play, you need to recruit someone impartial for a core part of your game even if you're playing casually without refs.

4) No flying.

It wouldn't be Quiddich, but if you lost the brooms and the snitch you'd basically have a dodgeball / rugby / team handball hybrid, which is a pretty awesome sounding sport.
posted by true at 8:34 PM on November 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Some people at my college just started our official university quiddich team, and decided they were going to play a game on the main quad in the middle of the afternoon. Within minutes there must been a hundred people gathered to watch. There is nothing funnier than seeing college kids run around with a broom between their legs and who take their sport really seriously.
posted by pecknpah at 8:40 PM on November 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I watched the first video. So the snitch can go anywhere? The snitch and the seeker are a blight on an otherwise majestic sport. 50 points and automatic end of game? The position was just added to make Harry the hero yet again.

I just might start up a petition to eliminate the snitch/seeker rules just to bring some purity to the game.

Never heard of Dewitt Forrest park or wherever but I might have to check it out
posted by Ad hominem at 8:40 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least its not Twilight LARPing.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 8:43 PM on November 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


The position was just added to make Harry the hero yet again.

The position was added to make Quiddich a parody of sport itself.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:43 PM on November 13, 2010


When quadrotors get cheap enough, they can be used as the Snitch.
posted by hattifattener at 8:43 PM on November 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


The game, created by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and intended to be played in the air, is played while running around with brooms between your legs.

This sporting good, it vibrates?
posted by Rhaomi at 8:55 PM on November 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


Never thought of it that way.

Just read the wikipedia page on quiddich as played in the books. It's 150 points when you catch the snitch. Wikipedia also contains the interesting notion that since quiddich teams are ranked on total points scored instead of wins. So there are times when it would make sense to catch the snitch even if your team was down by more than 150 points just to prevent the opposing team from scoring more points and improving their ranking. I still say the snitch sucks thus quiddich sucks thus all sports suck.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:01 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Part of me hates that the harry potter generation is getting older. I was just a few years too old for the series when it gained popularity, and I'm starting to resent that these kids are creeping into my peer-group and are still going on about Harry fucking Potter. Grow up! You look silly playing your ridiculous fictional game. I can't believe a series of novels about a wizard school has done this to you. I also don't care that you're going to wait out all night to see the latest movie 'first', or that you wish Rowling would keep on writing.

*sigh* I know, I'm a bitter old lady. I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. (except that it isn't even "it" anymore! ssssh!)
posted by sunshinesky at 9:03 PM on November 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ok...i was embarrassed just watching that "game footage" link... god knows what those folks are going to feel like in about 10 years....

I pulled that up ready to cringe but it really does not look any more silly than most sports do to me.
posted by XMLicious at 9:05 PM on November 13, 2010


LOL white people.
posted by justgary at 9:07 PM on November 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


I was just a few years too old for the series when it gained popularity

I was 29 when the first book came out. Maybe there's a middle period during which one wouldn't be caught dead with books supposedly aimed at youth, but eventually you grow out of that again and you just learn to enjoy a good imaginative tale with plenty of wordplay.

Either that or I never grew up. One of those two.
posted by hippybear at 9:16 PM on November 13, 2010 [13 favorites]


take away the costumes and the stick between the legs (really? two men chasing a lady holding onto a rod between the legs?) and it might actually be fun....oh wait it's just a variation of tag.
posted by edgeways at 9:21 PM on November 13, 2010


It's tag mixed with dodgeball and handball; get rid of the brooms, the "snitch" and the costumes and it actually sounds pretty fun!
posted by Silentgoldfish at 9:24 PM on November 13, 2010


Jesus fucking Christ.

This kind of shit makes me embarrassed to be a nerd. Do you hear me? Embarrassed TO BE A NERD. Wait, hold on, that doesn't quite make sense. Embarrassed TO BE ALIVE is a bit closer. Yes, that's it in a nutshell.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:25 PM on November 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


I was just a few years too old for the series when it gained popularity

oh and fwiw I STILL read books by authors like Kate DiCamillo, in pubic even, without children.

The Potter books where worth one read trough, no matter your age. I didn't keep them as I can't really see reading them again, but for what they where they where decent... a lot better than the movies at least.

now, if you just don't like fantasy yeah, skip it they aren't the best of whats out there.
posted by edgeways at 9:26 PM on November 13, 2010


hippybear: "I was just a few years too old for the series when it gained popularity

I was 29 when the first book came out. Maybe there's a middle period during which one wouldn't be caught dead with books supposedly aimed at youth, but eventually you grow out of that again and you just learn to enjoy a good imaginative tale with plenty of wordplay.

Either that or I never grew up. One of those two
"

"When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

-- C. S. Lewis
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:30 PM on November 13, 2010 [26 favorites]


I have some Harry Potter friends, internet ones that are actually all very local. I've been trying desperately to organize RL meetups, trying to coordinate adventures and movie watchings and things like an afternoon of baking pumpkin pasties. But what do half of them keep suggesting? They keep suggesting that we play frigging quidditch. Bitches, I had an emotional breakdown during my 3rd grade kickball tournament, I'm in charge of this nerdgroup and I say we drink tea and do jigsaw puzzles featuring dragons and bake pumpkiny things, I don't need no stinking muggle quidditch.

As much as I am in terrible need of friends, and as much as I love the HP fandom, and as much as I think I'm finally going to find my niche among these people, it is a constant battle with them to keep from taking my LJ community, my mailing list, my hard-earned nerd-cred, my hardcover boxset, and my stack of yellow legal pads 10-deep filled with stupid fic ideas, and flouncing off home while they play quidditch in the Seattle grey. Frigging quidditch.
posted by Mizu at 9:34 PM on November 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


Damn. I've been following Muggle Quidditch for years now. I had assumed it'd been done here by now.

Not getting the hate. Yeah, the brooms are an impediment, and the snitch thing is problematic, but you can easily equate that with soccer (hands, forced offsides) or pretty much any other sport.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:38 PM on November 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Part of me hates that the harry potter generation is getting older. I was just a few years too old for the series when it gained popularity, and I'm starting to resent that these kids are creeping into my peer-group and are still going on about Harry fucking Potter. Grow up! You look silly playing your ridiculous fictional game. I can't believe a series of novels about a wizard school has done this to you. I also don't care that you're going to wait out all night to see the latest movie 'first', or that you wish Rowling would keep on writing.

Yeah, ditto. I'm 26, and would have been on the tail end of the prime readership for HP, but in eighth grade, when the first one came out, I was just sort of closing up shop on my fantasy/SF obsession with Anne McCaffrey's Pern fandom and moving on to, like, I don't know, Chuck Palahniuk and the Perk of Being a Wallflower and Other Mildly Pretentious Things. And so when I was in tenth grade and people were getting all fandomy, I was sort of, pft, fandom. I was shipping when shipping was still about Mulder and Scully!

I've since read the first two, which were aight and I'm really into YA now and I can't go a week without someone telling me what a travesty it is that I haven't read them all and I suppose they're right (I am, ironically, a pretty big fan of Wizard Rock, mostly because I find it awesome and hilarious and largely rocking--I mean, Draco and the Malfoys are good) but it just really doesn't hit the nostalgia buttons for me the same way it does for a lot of people just a few years younger and so I really don't feel that much urgency about it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have thread to fight.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:39 PM on November 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm in charge of this nerdgroup and I say we drink tea and do jigsaw puzzles featuring dragons and bake pumpkiny things

I really want to move to Seattle now and join your nerdgroup.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:40 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


You should just move to Seattle and be my friend instead, nerdgroup membership not required. Mind, I'd make you read all the HP books, but I think it'd be swell anyway.
posted by Mizu at 9:47 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


PhoB, I'm old enough to have sired you and all I'll say is that if you like DATM you really need to listen to The Mudbloods.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:47 PM on November 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The snitch is a dumpy female and the seekers are thin males???

The snitch should be a male cross country champion and martial arts expert.

(apologies to the females that can defeat me in running and fighting).
posted by squinky at 9:50 PM on November 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


sunshinesky writes "You look silly playing your ridiculous fictional game. "

Somewhere around the point you have 46 teams showing up for a tournament it stops being fictional.
posted by Mitheral at 10:15 PM on November 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


sunshinesky : You look silly playing your ridiculous fictional game.

As opposed to less "fictional" games like soccer or baseball? "Okay, the guy in the middle will throw a ball at you really really hard - Whack it with the stick then run in a big circle while the opposing team runs after the ball and tries to poke you with it". ;)


ChurchHatesTucker : and the snitch thing is problematic

The snitch doesn't just count as problematic, it destroys the game.

It means that, except in the longest of games, one player wins or loses it for the rest of the team. Not really the best scenario for a "team" sport, eh? Moreover, once someone notices the snitch, why does the rest of the team even bother to keep playing? Screw the keeper, they'd all do better to switch to "maul the bumblebee" mode.


But yeah, I'll agree with the "just plain silly" comments; though in fairness, I consider most sports just plain silly, soooo, take that as you will.
posted by pla at 10:16 PM on November 13, 2010


I'm just continually grateful to see other people liking Harry Potter in a goofier way than me. Thank you, other people.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:21 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


In a decade or two, technology should advance enough to make it possible to have cheap tiny semi-autonomous robots play the part of the snitch.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:31 PM on November 13, 2010


I'd never heard of this sport before today, but I spent the afternoon at the Championship (a friend of a friend was playing) and I loved it. Hence the post :)

* The snitch is toned down from 150 points in the books (seriously?) to 30 points in Muggle Quiddich. Of games I watched about a third were decided by the snitch. The others were clear wins before the snitch was caught.

* The snitch does not go too far from play, and there seems to be an unspoken rule that they return to the field after 10 - 15 minutes so that games last 20 - 30 minutes.

* Having to hold the broom the whole time adds an element of "catch the pass one handed" to the game, which seems pretty hard.

* That said, I am convinced that a broom is going to be a cause for serious injury one day soon.

* The people playing the game were clearly having a blast. The announcers were having a blast. The snitch was having a blast, and the audience was having a blast. Its hard to hate on a game when everyone present is having tons of fun.
posted by Maastrictian at 10:32 PM on November 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


Well, I respect it as a competitive activity, though I find it a bit hard to consider a sport just because of the required impartial volunteer. I'm not a Harry Potter fan, but I admire the dedication that's required to realize a game like this.

(I have a cousin who made major contributions to the rulebook, so I'm a bit biased.)
posted by LSK at 10:44 PM on November 13, 2010


I prefer Australian Rules Indoor Quiditch (two links). Anyone with fully paid up insurance premiums up for a game?
posted by Hactar at 11:11 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least its not Twilight LARPing.

I watched that movie, based on The Hater's promise that it was hilarious. She was not wrong. And based on that movie, I'd be tempted to take part in a LARP. Not because I like the series, but because it would be easy. Normal LARPs involve running around and shit. All I'd have to do for a Twilight LARP is stare longingly at someone for an hour and a half, without contributing any kind of meaningful dialogue or plot advancement. During that hour and a half, I would have to not have sex with them, and possibly act like a weirdo. Sounds pretty easy to me.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 11:15 PM on November 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


ZeusHumms writes "In a decade or two, technology should advance enough to make it possible to have cheap tiny semi-autonomous robots play the part of the snitch."

We're probably there now. All one would have to do is adapt a roomba with wheels appropriate for grass, power and logic to randomly vary it's speed between a slow walk and faster than people can run; and harden it so that it'll survive being stepped on. Volunteers will continue to be cheaper though.

Maastrictian writes "* That said, I am convinced that a broom is going to be a cause for serious injury one day soon."

This probably isn't much of a concern. Both hockey and lacross give everyone a stick that is swung around attempting to hit a puck, net a ball. The brooms at worse would sem to contribute t a risk of tripping.
posted by Mitheral at 11:21 PM on November 13, 2010


I get the feeling that, in the near future, the wholly non-functional cape (that some teams seem to have already abandoned) will basically become like a pair of plus-fours in golf - a reminder to community that you are a purist, a traditionalist.
posted by milkrate at 11:41 PM on November 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


The broom seems like a terrible idea. Other than that, I'm failing to see how it's any inherintly sillier than the arbitary rules of any sport.
posted by rodgerd at 11:46 PM on November 13, 2010


Oh no people doing things they enjoy and looking silly booooo
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:50 PM on November 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


the snitch thing is problematic

The snitch doesn't just count as problematic, it destroys the game.



STOP SNITCHIN'
posted by louche mustachio at 12:13 AM on November 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


SNITCHES GET WITCHES
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 1:05 AM on November 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


To be fair, Baseball really depends on neutral third parties for something as basic as balls vs. strikes, and soccer referees have to be as fit as the players. Requiring a neutral snitch isn't that big a deal.

It is absolutely the case that quadcopters would make great snitches.
posted by effugas at 1:53 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't mind this at all so long as it doesn't reach the point where the damned barber expects me to discuss it.
posted by Segundus at 2:13 AM on November 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Compare with Jugger, as in Salute of the Jugger. Popular in Australia and Europe.

Much more dignified ...
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:19 AM on November 14, 2010


What do they look like Jimmy?
posted by i_cola at 3:19 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's with all this going out into the germ-laden Outside and sweating? Can't they just watch TV or play video games like normal people do?
posted by happyroach at 3:44 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Color me old fashioned but I sure miss streaking and mooning. Now those were real sports.
posted by Postroad at 4:09 AM on November 14, 2010


Toronto still loses all the time, Montreal boos its own players and none of the smaller market teams can fill their stadiums.

Sounds like it's doing well.
posted by clvrmnky at 4:42 AM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Next up: The Klingon Review of Books.
posted by athenian at 4:52 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there a versions without the music somewhere? Due to copyright restrictions I cannot view the Youtube clip.
posted by sandrach at 4:55 AM on November 14, 2010


Nope. Sorry. Fixed numbers of players and comprehensible rulebooks do not a good spectator sport make. Get drunk, rewrite that thing, get the bloody players drunk, and I'll be back to watch.

Until then I'm sticking to Cammag.
posted by Ahab at 5:19 AM on November 14, 2010


I'm surprised at the small number of UK teams. Maybe they're all out playing Guyball.
posted by fight or flight at 5:27 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


All I'm going to say is curling is in the Olympics.
posted by tommasz at 5:31 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


he position was just added to make Harry the hero yet again.
But Harry, Harry has gained control and is after that Snitch like a fucking rocket. Ziff! That Slytherin Seeker has been after it for a while, but I feel bad for him, because he is stupid, and Harry is a rocketized animal who will stop at nothing. Yes, they crash each other as hard as they can as the Snitch leads them straight down, that Snitch leads them down, right down into certain doom!

Are they going to crash? Yes, they're going to crash, but Harry loves death. He says, 'Bring it on.' He is like a demon, long dead, with nothing left to lose. The weak-ass Slytherin pulls away, but Harry pulls up just in time. He is standing on his broom like it is an extension of his body. He reaches out, almost having the Snitch, but he stumbles and falls.

Oh my God! Is Harry going to vomit? Of course not! Like a viper, Harry used his voracious mouth as his catcher. He's got that Snitch in his animal belly, and Pop! it is out! They've won! One hundred thousand points for fucking Gryffindor!

The crowd goes absolutely bazonkers! The champions in red and yellow are the victors, and Harry is spent. The crowd is destroying its throats calling Harry's name. Harry feels right with himself. He's down there, a new god who has found a calling.

He holds up that Snitch and bellows:

'I am a beautiful animal!

'I am a destroyer of worlds!

'I am Harry Fucking Potter!'

And, dear readers, at last the world was quiet.
--Wizard People, Dear Rader
posted by empath at 6:03 AM on November 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


If I did something like this for any universe I get all fandom about, they would call it LARPing and do it at a convention. Just because you are 21 and doing it doesn't make it something people haven't been doing since there have been fanbois.

I'm sure it's fun. I'm sure there is an athletic element. SCA Armored Combat also fits those requirements and it's not news.

Wow. I woke up all old and hater-ade didn't I?
posted by jopreacher at 6:07 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Me, I'm still waiting for someone to start a 43-man Squamish league. I've got a frullip that's just sitting here gathering dust.
posted by usonian at 6:19 AM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Timely thread!
posted by Hydrophage at 6:33 AM on November 14, 2010


The Snitch goes from a bad make-Harry-a-Hero rule to brilliant if we make two slight changes.

1) the snitch stays off for, say, 30 minutes.

2) catching the snitch ends the game.

Now, the Seeker's jobs are the end the game when your team is ready, and to prevent that when you are behind.

Plus, the Seeker needs real awareness of the game. Imagine the replay when a team is up by five, but a tenth of a second before the Snitch is caught, the other team slams it in and wins by five.

The idea of snitches crossing to other fields sounds interesting. What happens if the seeker grabs the wrong snitch? IMHO: that team gets 50, the other game ends.

Which makes total score tourneys fascinating.
posted by eriko at 6:51 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eschaton Lite, anyone?
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:52 AM on November 14, 2010


Oh yeah, the oval field can be trivial to draw. Two stakes, long loop of rope, and some pulleys to make things move easily.

Look up how to draw an ellipse. The official field spec becomes the length of the loop and the distance between the stakes.
posted by eriko at 6:56 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, ditto. I'm 26, and would have been on the tail end of the prime readership for HP, but in eighth grade, when the first one came out, I was just sort of closing up shop on my fantasy/SF obsession with Anne McCaffrey's Pern fandom and moving on to, like, I don't know, Chuck Palahniuk and the Perk of Being a Wallflower and Other Mildly Pretentious Things. And so when I was in tenth grade and people were getting all fandomy, I was sort of, pft, fandom. I was shipping when shipping was still about Mulder and Scully!

Wow, I could have written this!

Somewhere around the point you have 46 teams showing up for a tournament it stops being fictional.

Oh, go on. You know exactly what I mean. It's a bastardization of a fictional game that is in fact impossible to play as it was written, and ridiculous to try and play in real life. Broomsticks, really?

Try not to lump this in with real sport and say they're the same. Superfandom is such a waste of time... you can have the exact same fun without perpetuating this aging franchise any longer. Get back to your studies...

...and get off my lawn while you're at it! The lot of you!
posted by sunshinesky at 6:58 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, Greg Gumbel has aged.
posted by languagehat at 7:07 AM on November 14, 2010


This is more evidence of my theory that nerds do not like things as much as they like being fans of things.
posted by Legomancer at 7:13 AM on November 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


I concur that this would be far more awesome with a bedazzled quadrotor. However, I would also like to see Sewgays used instead of nonfunctional brooms... Segways capable of foolishly high speeds.
posted by elizardbits at 7:13 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Needs more kabaddi.
posted by Not Supplied at 7:14 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I concur that this would be far more awesome with a bedazzled quadrotor. However, I would also like to see Sewgays used instead of nonfunctional brooms... Segways capable of foolishly high speeds.

Or bicycles or unicycles.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:17 AM on November 14, 2010


I mean, obviously if Quidditch is ever going to make the big time, the Snitch is going to have to be replaced by an autonomous drone.

And hoverboards instead of brooms.
posted by empath at 7:20 AM on November 14, 2010


Bombardment!
posted by Brocktoon at 7:28 AM on November 14, 2010


It could be OK with skateboards or scooters or wheelchairs.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:38 AM on November 14, 2010


This is more evidence of my theory that nerds do not like things as much as they like being fans of things.

It's mostly that don't like being a 'fan' of things, actually. I avoid pretty much everything until the hype is gone. It's not so much about what it is (although I've admitted that I think wizards and quidditch are silly), it's more about the lengths people go to to... What exactly are they doing anyway?... and that's exactly my problem with this, on top of this particular franchise's popularity going on for nearly half my life at this point.

I read the first book. I tried to read the second. It's not that good.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:54 AM on November 14, 2010


Doing anything physical, even in RenFair getup, is still cooler than watching sports on TV.
posted by docpops at 8:25 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


My daughter's team from her art school will be there! It's fun, and for artists to play any kind of sport is commendable.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:38 AM on November 14, 2010


Greg Gumble plays that amazingly straight - did not appear to be making fun at all. Maybe someone who has actually seen the game can weigh in, but it almost seems like scoring is too easy... that the goals are too big or something?

Is this where I explain how I demographically too cool for Harry Potter and express my derision?
posted by jeoc at 8:52 AM on November 14, 2010


> The snitch doesn't just count as problematic, it destroys the game.

Yes, it seems arbitrary and doesn't add to the overall game dynamic. If this turns out to be more than a trend they'll undoubtedly need to figure out how to make work for real.

It seems the best sports are in some sense "natural", where the rules are added simply to tighten up holes. Or looked at the opposite way, the rules degrade into something simple that anyone can play. Two goal posts, a ball, and you can't use your hands. Some kid start cherry picking, so you add offsides.

Cricket and American football seem to be notable exceptions to this natural, simplicity though. Make what you will of that.

> Both hockey and lacross give everyone a stick that is swung around attempting to hit a puck, net a ball. The brooms at worse would sem to contribute t a risk of tripping.

Neither encourage sticking it between your legs though :).
posted by stp123 at 9:04 AM on November 14, 2010


It's fun, and for artists to play any kind of sport is commendable.

What does this even mean? I know plenty of people who are both artistic and talented athletes.
posted by sunshinesky at 9:06 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well. If I had a university-aged child, I would be pleased as anything to have him or her running around a field with a broom, chasing a someone in a golden leotard. There are far worse things (more dangerous, more shameful) that people can get mixed up with in those vulnerable years—like fraternities. Or ultimate frisbee. Or a capella singing groups.
posted by wreckingball at 9:08 AM on November 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Some sort of extremely high-energy herding dog would also make an entertaining snitch, provided it was large enough not to be repeatedly trod upon, and well-trained enough to understand the idea of "keep-away" as opposed to "fetch".

Unfortunately that would bring about lots of cheating with lunchmeat.
posted by elizardbits at 9:21 AM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, we're in a world without actual flying boomsticks, so you've gotta choose between function (lets you zip around and do high-speed stunts) and form (it's a stick). I get that.

But when it comes to sports, choosing form seems like missing the point. It's like saying "well, we don't care how heavy, slippery or elastic a basketball is, but it absolutely must be orange because other colors aren't canon."

If the goal is to make a sport that feels like quiddich, I think the easiest thing to do would be to play on BMX bikes. You can sustain a higher speed than you can on foot. You have to keep track of your momentum and avoid collisions. If you're good you can do aerial stunts. Instead they've come up with a sport that looks (very vaguely) like quiddich, but I imagine doesn't feel much like it at all. Which, okay, I'm cool with that, I'm just not sure I understand the appeal.

(That said, I am all in favor of these people having their chosen variety of shameless fun in public. It's not my thing, but hey, more for them.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:25 AM on November 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wait, the broomsticks don't actually fly? Aw, screw that mess.
posted by Evangeline at 9:51 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't get the person as Snitch, honestly. That's the last thing that would have occurred to me. R/C car, maybe.

Or better yet, R/C helicopter! But we can't fly yet. No jetpacks. Stupid jetpack-promising-scientists.

I love the Segway idea. They'd still have to throw with one hand to stay balanced. Or do you need both hands to pilot a Segway? Not sure. The thing is, Segways aren't too fast. A furiously-pedaled bicycle would be better.

Now, a unicycle and a bot Snitch? This game shoots right up into the stratosphere of awesomeness.
posted by misha at 9:55 AM on November 14, 2010


actual flying boomsticks

Muggle, wizard. I'm the guy with the flying gun.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:58 AM on November 14, 2010


jopreacher writes "If I did something like this for any universe I get all fandom about, they would call it LARPing and do it at a convention. Just because you are 21 and doing it doesn't make it something people haven't been doing since there have been fanbois. "

I wouldn't classify this as a LARP any more than I classify paintball as LARPing. You aren't pretending to play something rather you are actually playing something.

nebulawindphone writes "Okay, we're in a world without actual flying boomsticks, so you've gotta choose between function (lets you zip around and do high-speed stunts) and form (it's a stick). I get that. " "But when it comes to sports, choosing form seems like missing the point."

Fairly arbitrary equipment regulation exists in many sports. MLB won't let you use aluminum bats. PGA won't let you use a cart, a restriction that makes about as much sense to outsiders as requiring one to maintain control of a broomstick. The NHL and NBA both regulate uniforms (probably other sports too but I'm not going looking for verification).
posted by Mitheral at 10:17 AM on November 14, 2010


Yeah, but running while holding a nonflying broomstick between your legs for Quidditch is more like a requirement that all NFL touchdowns be completed by three-legged race than an aluminum vs wooden bat rule.
posted by elizardbits at 10:36 AM on November 14, 2010


"Oh yeah, the oval field can be trivial to draw. Two stakes, long loop of rope, and some pulleys to make things move easily.

Look up how to draw an ellipse. The official field spec becomes the length of the loop and the distance between the stakes."


I'm not saying that it's a pain in theory, but in practice...ugh. Imagine doing that for 40 fields starting after your Friday classes in time for a weekend tournament. You have to lug the stakes and gear from one field to another and either hunch over to use the marking paint or figure out a way to direct a field marking machine with the arc of the rope. Plus I can tell you from experience, you don't want to be the guy who has to untangle the ropes you left in the trunk from last week's tournament.

Now, if you don't need lines that's fine - but unlike rectilinear polygon fields you can't expect people to look at two cones and interpolate if they're in/out if you're playing a casual game with no lines. It seems like the rules just penalize for going out of bounds persistently, so they probably can just skip the lines. But if they ever want get all fancy with field marking, they might want to file the oval fields with the flying as "things that are cool, yet impractical".

One field is trivial. A tournament's worth is unpleasant.

You can probably tell I hated marking lines.
posted by true at 10:41 AM on November 14, 2010


Real LARPers scoff.

LIGHTNING BOLT! LIGHTNING BOLT! LIGHTNING BOLT!
posted by GuyZero at 11:01 AM on November 14, 2010


Considering cricket is often played on an oval field isn't this basically a solved or at least acceptable problem.

Even if it isn't setting out stakes and running a specially designed marking machine around the field while keeping a line taunt doesn't seem anymore onerous than setting up bases and marking batter boxes and foul lines on casual use softball fields. It easily takes half a dozen people 10-20 minutes per field to stake bases and draw the lines. And the batter boxes have to redrawn every game because they are drawn at the focal point of the game.

true writes "Plus I can tell you from experience, you don't want to be the guy who has to untangle the ropes you left in the trunk from last week's tournament."

This is just a foreseeable result of sloppy storage the previous week. I routinely transport 100' extension cords from job to job and spreading them out doesn't consist of much more than walking from point a to b while letting the cord out because I coil them properly when I'm picking them up.
posted by Mitheral at 11:06 AM on November 14, 2010


But when it comes to sports, choosing form seems like missing the point. It's like saying "well, we don't care how heavy, slippery or elastic a basketball is, but it absolutely must be orange because other colors aren't canon."

Basketballs are indeed required to be orange, there are also regulations for the colour of things like tennis balls and cricket balls but at least there the justification is so that you can pick out a small, fast moving object against a particular background.

Cricket and American football seem to be notable exceptions to this natural, simplicity though.

I think you underestimate the natural simplicity of apparently simple sports, the FA Handbook is 564 pages long (though only about 150-200 of them look to be directly related to the play on the field); the NCAA Football rules are 272 pages in a much larger font.

Try not to lump this in with real sport and say they're the same.

Lol! As if 'real sport' required something more than a bunch of relatively arbitrary rules that you could get enough people to agree to play to.
posted by robertc at 12:26 PM on November 14, 2010


In a decade or two, technology should advance enough to make it possible to have cheap tiny semi-autonomous robots play the part of the snitch.

Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
posted by scalefree at 12:46 PM on November 14, 2010


Fairly arbitrary equipment regulation exists in many sports. MLB won't let you use aluminum bats. PGA won't let you use a cart, a restriction that makes about as much sense to outsiders as requiring one to maintain control of a broomstick. The NHL and NBA both regulate uniforms (probably other sports too but I'm not going looking for verification).

Yeah. No, I get that there are plenty of arbitrary rules about gear in any sport, and FWIW I'm not trying to get on the "This is Not A Real Sport" bandwagon. I don't care if it's "real" or not. It sounds, as others have said, no weirder than curling, and the players and fans are clearly having a fucking blast.

I'm just puzzled by the emphasis on the broomstick part. I mean, when you read the books, you don't go "How cool! A sport involving BROOMS! I've always wanted to play a game with BROOMS in it!" You go "How cool! A sport where you go zipping around through the air!" I feel like if I'd gotten really caught up in the quiddich scenes as a reader, I'd want the best possible simulation of the zipping-through-the-air part, regardless of whether or not there was a floor-sweeping implement involved.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:52 PM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Broomball. Broomballs? Handegg. Heh.

Someone is getting trolled. I'm not sure if it's us or them, or both.
posted by loquacious at 1:37 PM on November 14, 2010


So (and I've thought a lot about this over the past ten years) there are three elements of Quidditch as written which cannot be replicated currently.

1. The Snitch. It has to fly on it's own, erratically, and very fast. It must be difficult to see (not hard on its own) and be safe to catch. Probably the easiest aspect to create with technology, really. Dedicated inventors could create this now.

2. The Bludgers. Also have to fly on their own, but seek out competitors. Must be heavy enough to disrupt movement. Also must be able to withstand a ridiculous amount of abuse. Might rt physically possible with a DoD-type budget, but only because they are supposed to hurt when one is hit with one, and so wings and other necessary features can be acceptable.

3. The Flying Broomsticks. Undoable. They need to be not only aerodynamic, but extremely fast, lightweight, unobtrusive, wieldy, and controlled almost unconsciously. In a word: magic.

I too have longed to actually play the sport since reading about it, but I can't even imagine any terrestrial vehicles which could possibly substitute for what the broomsticks are supposed to do here. In truth, ice-skates are probably the closest thing we've got. Worn by skilled skaters, they are crazy-fast, maneuverable, natural, and simple.

So imagine Muggle Quidditch now as played on ice. No broomsticks. Still a very different game from Hockey. The Snitch is within our grasp, so to speak. And until science steps up with the Bludgers, Beaters could basically be like manic Lacrosse-players, snatching tennis balls or the like and hurling them at the other team's players.

But until that day, I'd settle for an actually decent videogame simulation. Years ago EA did one as a movie tie-in, but aside from some half-assed physics and some admittedly gorgeous visuals, they fucked it up royally. I wish they'd given it to EA Sports, which takes this sort of thing seriously, instead of EA games, who seemingly saw it as kind of a waste of time. I mean,, the Irish team wasn't even in the game. They took all of their information from Goblet of Fire and didn't even include the winning team!

Anyway, a boy can dream.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:47 PM on November 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


A friend is covering this for cable news. She posted on FaceBook:

"Ambulances pulling up to the World Championship of Quidditch... The UMass seeker was just hit by a bludger!"
posted by Jahaza at 2:44 PM on November 14, 2010


Looks like Techland is also covering the Cup.

Side note, I want a Transylvania U. Quidditch Team t-shirt
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:49 PM on November 14, 2010


According to Techland, they've lowered the value of the snitch to 30. Which, IMO, is all that's needed to make it make sense as a game.

Though, yeah, it probably would be more fun played on bikes instead of brooms.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:52 PM on November 14, 2010


According to Techland, they've lowered the value of the snitch to 30. Which, IMO, is all that's needed to make it make sense as a game.

Agreed, and I believe even Rowling realized that towards the later books.

Not sure about the alternate 'vehicles' for the sport. Bikes would seriously raise the risk and consequences of collisions (we just lost a Seeker in the Cup as it is!) I like the idea of vestigial brooms as a condition of the sport.

Hell, it's easier to monitor than 'forced offsides' and most of the planet has no problem with that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:05 PM on November 14, 2010


What about a pig as the snitch? Spraypainted gold of course. If you've ever seen kids chasing pigs at a fair, that's what I'm thinkin.
posted by meta87 at 9:07 PM on November 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Harry Potter series has bridged the gap from Fantasy to Pop, making pretend magical games based on the books less nerdy than LARPing (I'd guess). To test this theory, I'd ask people who play Muggle Quiddich one question: would you participate in mock battles based on the ideas from the Harry Potter books? Since there were no other "character classes" in the books besides wizard, it'd be all spell fights, all the time.

Muggle Quiddich sounds to be based on the realization that the players aren't magical in the slightest, so they make rules for a game to vaguely mimic the magical version. With that, this is more like Eschaton Lite (previously) than LARPing, as it's less about make-believe and more about replicating a literary creation with limited resources.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:34 AM on November 15, 2010


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