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Soaker Combat Rules

By: (editor)
Contributors: C-A_99, Croc, Duxburian, mr. dude, iSoaker_com, Silent Guy, WaterWolf

This set of rules has been compiled and modified from a number of individual input. It offers a variety of common options water warriors use in their local games. This rule set is, by no means, exhaustive or all-encompassing in its nature. However, it may prove to be useful for those looking for ideas on how to organize their water war games.


1. Game Play | 2. Teams | 3. Players | 4. Equipment | 5. Referees

1: Game Play / Scoring / General Rules

 - all key game information should be given to all participating Team Commanders and/or all Players prior to the start of any game (this includes but is not limited to game location, duration, game type, allowed Team sizes and permissible equipment)
 - use of Referees or not should be agreed upon by Team Commanders and/or all Players prior to the start of the game
 - in the event of an minor accident or Player injury, a local (any Player within visible/audible range) timeout must be called to assess the situation
 - in the event of a major accident or Player injury, the entire game is stopped and injured Player(s) are treated and/or sent for treatment; depending on the nature of the accident, it becomes the decision of the Team Commanders and/or remaining Players whether or not to complete the remainder of the game minus the injured Player(s)

1.1: Location / Boundaries

 - chosen location should be either a public area or a private grounds for which permission to use the area has been obtained
 - locations used should be free of extreme hazards and/or dangerous areas
 - boundaries should be set, particularly if a large expanse is used, in the event that a game Player fails to report at the end of the game; this will define the first area a lost Player would be searched for
 - any actions that occur beyond the game boundaries will not count towards scoring
 - maps should be distributed to all Players prior to the game outlining the extent of the playing field

1.2: Duration

 - different game types have different recommended durations
 - all participants should be informed of game duration prior to the start of the game
 - only points scored during allowed game time will count towards final score

1.3: Game Types / Scoring

1.3.1: Definitions - See also: Scoring Methods
Hit / Tag:
 - a hit / tag is defined as a continuous fist-sized area (approximately 4 inch / 10 cm diameter circle or 12 sq inches / 80 sq. cm area if extended) hit by water
   - Option A: a hit / tag can occur on any part of a Player's body
   - Option B: a hit / tag can only occur on the chest/back and thigh area on a Player's body
Team Tagging:
 - to tag a teammate in games requiring friendly tagging:
   - Option A: a handshake and/or high five counts as a friendly-tag
   - Option B: a Hit / Tag from a soaker counts as a friendly-tag
   - Option C: both Options A and B apply

1.3.2: One-Hit-Kills (OHK/1HK) / One-Hit-Scores (OHS/1HS)
 - for every successful hit / tag, the attacking Player is awarding a point
 - OHK/1HK games use Total Elimination Rules
 - OHS/1HS games use the Temporary Elimination Rules
 - Players on the same Team tally up points at the end of the game to determine the Team's overall score
 - if playing as individuals, the Player with the highest score/number of kills is declared winner
 - the Team with the larger total score is declared winner
 - in the event of a tie, a Sudden Death round would occur

1.3.3: Capture the Flag (CTF)
 - The game follows 1HS rules. Should you shoot someone in the chest/back, and they have a fist sized (or larger) splash on them, your team gets 1 point. Should you capture their flag and make it back to your territory, your team gets 5 points.
Once a flag is captured and point awarded, game play is temporarily suspend to allow the captured flag to be moved back into its original territory
Added note, the flag must be somewhat visible from every angle, so you can't hide it underground, for instance, unless it isn't completely buried.
 - Recommendations:
   - Use Temporary Elimination Rules

1.4: Elimination / Respawning (optional)

1.4.1: Total Elimination
 - If a Player hit, that Player is no longer considered in play and must exit the battlegrounds until the start of a new game; a tagged Player can neither gain additional points nor be used to gain additional points

1.4.2: Temporary Elimination / Respawning
- If a Player is hit, that Player is considered out-of-play for a set amount of time (recommended count-to-10 seconds to 5 minutes), after which he/she can rejoin game play; time should be set prior to start of game:
   - Option A: Players must sit out for a set amount of time no matter how large the teams are (i.e. count-of-ten to 5 minutes)
   - Option B: If the Teams are two Players per side, you exit for 30 seconds +15 seconds per person on your Team (if there are 5 Players on your team, a hit Player must exit the game for 1 min. 15 seconds) for a maximum of 3 to 5 minutes.
   - Option C: Players must go to a designated jail area; jails can either be a designated common "neutral" ground or a specific area with an opposing Team's territory; to be freed from jail, a Player must be tagged by a fellow Teammate who is not also in jail
   - Option D: Players must remain where they were hit until tagged by a teammate; once tagged, they can resume game play
 - Recommendations
   - Players who are respawning based on time should count aloud and/or count down from 10 seconds prior to their rejoining of game play (i.e. if a 1-minute out-of-play time was set, a respawning Player must begin counting down from 10 once 50 seconds had elapsed, thus respawning when his/her count reaches zero); this notifies all other Players to when a tagged Player is then back in the game
  - for long games, longer respawning times are advisable Respawning Location
   - Option A: Players spend out-of-play stationary and simply respawn where they were tagged
   - Option B: Players cannot attack during their out-of-play time, but can move to a new location from where they were tagged
   - Option C: Players must return to a respawning point; if they reach the point prior to their time out, they must wait at the respawning point until the time-out completes; players cannot respawn at any other points
   - Option D: Players must return to their own territory to respawn, but can respawn anywhere within their Team's occupied territory
   - Option E: If Jails are used, respawning can only occur when tagged by an Team ally when in the Jail area of the opposing Team Camping:
 - in most cases, camping out at respawning points is not permitted nor tactically sound; to prevent camping, a respawned player cannot be shot right away until either he/she has attacked again or a grace-period has elapsed.  The grace-period must be agreed upon prior to start of the game (recommended 15 to 30 seconds)

1.5: Penalties:

1.5.1: Out-of-Bounds:
 - Players who wander out-of-bounds are considered out-of-play with points awarded to the opposing Teams or Players
   - Option A: an out-of-bounds Player is out-of-play for the remainder of the game
   - Option B: an out-of-bounds Player can respawn according to the respawning rules agreed upon (this may mean going to the opposing Team's jail if jail rules are in effect)
   - Recommendations:
   - When boundaries are difficult to mark, distribute maps to Players with the out-of-bounds lines drawn.  Satellite maps allow for accurate designing of the game boundaries.

1.6: End Game:

 - all Players / Teams must report to a common ground at the end of a game for final scoring purposes, to complete a head count, and deal with any minor accidental injuries that may have occurred during a game

1.7: Other Optional Rules

1.7.1: Capturing Territory

1.7.2: Capturing / "Stealing" Equipment

2: Teams

2.1: Definition

 - a Team is defined as a group of two or more Players; points scored by Players on a Team are pooled for the overall Team score
 - a Team must have a designated Team Commander who will speak for the Team in the event of disputes or rule clarifications; the Team Commander does not necessarily have to also be the actual Team leader during combat, but will serve as the Team's representative during game set-up and game progress monitoring

2.2: General Rules

 - Team Commanders/Representatives should meet prior to the start of the game to finalize any unsettled rules, set boundaries, and confirm water sources and equipment types; this meeting should also include any Referees if the game has them

2.3: Additional Players

   - Option A: Once a game has started, no additional Players are permitted
   - Option B: During game play, additional Players are permitted only if all participating Team Commanders agree to the addition
   - Option C: During game play, additional Players are permitted only if acknowledged by the accepting Team Commander


2.4: Switching Teams

   - Option A: Players are not allowed to switch sides at any point during gameplay
   - Option B: Players can switch teams during gameplay as long as all team commanders had agreed to Player swaps before the start of the game and that the commanders of both teams accept the swap/trade
   - Option C: Players can only switch Teams by mutual agreement of primary team commanders and only before a round starts

3: Players

3.1: Definition

 - a Player is defined as an authorized participant in an organized water war
 - all Players must be accounted for prior to the start of game
   - Option: the defending Team [if using a Team's home battlefield] may conceal the number of Players they have.  They may also position such Players anywhere within the battlefield.  Teams may also call for reinforcements anytime during a battle.  New Players may arrive anytime during the war, but are not considered live until they link up with at least one already-present member of their team.  Team Commanders must know the full count of that Team's active Players for final headcount at end game.

3.2: General Rules

 - Players are never permitted to aggressively physically come in contact with another Player for any reason; physical aggression shall result in the removal of the offending Player(s) from the game
 - Non-Players and/or Referees/Moderators are considered non-combatants and thus must not be attacked or provoked in any way

3.3: Player Conduct

 - Players should respect self, other Players, and all non-participants
 - Players should be familiar with all the rules of the game and strive to abide by all of them
 - all Players should never intentionally damage any other person and/or property and do what they can to minimize the risk of personal or accidental injury

3.4: Player Disputes

 - in the event of a dispute, game play should be halted and the dispute discussed until the group can come to an agreement
   - Option A: if an agreement cannot be reached quickly (within a few minutes), a replay from approximate previous positions would be called
   - Option B: Team Commanders may mutually agree to declare all Players involved in a dispute dead if an agreement cannot be reached.  Likewise, they may also declare that all involved remain alive, as if the event did not take place.
   - Option C: rely on the Referee/Moderator's decision on the outcome of a disputed action

4: Equipment / Water Sources

 - Equipment is defined as any objects brought onto the battle grounds that are used by Players
 - Water Sources are defined as areas / facilities that are approved for Players to use to refill their water guns / soakers / refill bottles / water dispensing devices
 - use of any equipment to intentionally injure and/or harm another person is strictly forbidden
- use of any equipment to intentionally damage and/or destroy another person's property is strictly forbidden

4.1: Water Guns / Soakers / Water Dispensing Devices

 - Definition: the term "soaker" is used loosely in these rules and can refer to stock soakers, modified soakers, and homemade water guns depending on the context.  "Soaker" is, however, not used when referring to water balloons, hoses, or non-water-containing equipment
 - all water dispensing devices must be filled only by water from approved Water Sources
 - all water dispensing devices must be in good working order (i.e. no heavily rusted parts or being significantly damaged in a way to pose a threat to any Player or others)
 - all Team Commanders must agree to the use of significantly more powerful water blasters
 - no water blaster should be used in such a way to inflict injury on another Player
 - any device deemed too dangerous for game use by any Team Commander and/or by the majority of the Players must be left out of the game

4.1.1: Soaker Classification

4.1.2: Stock Soakers
 - stock soakers are defined as any mass-produced retail-store bought soaker, but not those purchased from specialty stores or custom-building stores

4.1.3: Modified Soakers
 - modified soakers are defined as any stock soaker which has had either its internals and/or externals significantly modified from the original model; this includes but is not limited to painting, nozzle drilling, addition of accessories, power modding, tank expansion, etc.

4.1.4: Custom-Built Soakers
 - custom-built soakers are defined as soakers built from scratch (i.e. from simple tubing and valve parts) or made in very small batches (less than 100 built)

4.1.5: Water Balloons
 - water balloons are defined as devices typically made of latex or paper containing water that are thrown or launched which, upon breaking, release water upon the target

4.1.6: Hoses / Sprinklers / Unlimited Dispensers
 - Hoses / Sprinklers / Unlimited Dispensers are defined as water dispensing devices that have continuous access to a large volume of water that can be quickly or continuously output (over the amount of water that can be reasonably carried by two adults of average strength); this includes garden hoses, fire hydrants/hose, motorized river pumps, etc.

4.2: Other Rules / Additional Equipment

4.2.1: Allowable Soakers
 - restrictions on the type of soakers that can and/or cannot be used in a game must be declared well in advance prior to the start of the game.
 - Option A: anything capable of dispensing water is allowed
 - Option B: only handheld soakers are allowed (no vehicle-mounted soakers, portable pressure washers, etc.)
 - Option C: only soakers of a given class (usually defined by measured stream output and range) are allowed
 - Option D: only soakers of a given mass are allowed
 - Option E: only a specific type of soaker is allowed

4.2.2: Back-Up Soakers
 - Option A: no backup soakers are allowed; Players must rely on a single soaker; this works best for small skirmish-type battles, but is not recommended for larger water wars
 - Option B: Players are allowed one primary soaker and one back-up soaker; this works best for small to medium length skirmish-type battles, but is not recommended for larger water wars
 - Option C: Players can use as many soakers as they can carry; this is the most preferred and common option for longer games and does not have the problem of soakers being "stolen"
- Option D: a fixed number of soakers are allowed to be brought to the battle ground by each Player (whether the Player can carry them all or not; recommended numbers between 5 to 8 soakers); soakers a Player cannot carry are stored somewhere on the battlegrounds for later use; this can work, but is subject to problems if not all Players can be trusted not to "steal".  There are also problems if not all Players have many soakers.  There is also the chance if using a public ground that a non-Player may find a soaker cache and take/use what does not belong to them
- Option E: backup soakers can be stored in soaker cache areas on the battle ground, but can only be used by the specific Player/Team; this works well, but is subject to problems if not all Players can be trusted not to "steal".  There is also the chance if using a public ground that a non-Player may find a soaker cache and take/use what does not belong to them
 - Option F: backup soakers can be stored in soaker cache areas on the battle ground, but can "stolen" by the opposing Team if discovered; there is the chance if using a public ground that a non-Player may find a soaker cache and take/use what does not belong to them

4.2.2: Tools:
 - Tools must only be used for repairing soakers and must never be used as weapons
 - for short games (less than  or up to an hour)
    - recommended: no tools or repairing is permitted if the game is short
    - refilling bottles and other equipment can be used so long as Team Commanders and/or all Players agree to their use; equipment not permitted for use must be kept outside the battle grounds and not used during the duration of the game
 - long games (more than an hour)
   - small tools, tape, etc. for repairing soakers are permitted
   - small knives are permitted if Team Commanders agree to their use

4.3: Water Sources

 - water sources are defined as any place within the battlegrounds from which a soaker can be refilled
 - water is defined as a liquid with a relatively high purity of the chemical, H2O, and no large amounts of bacteria/microbes, salts, sugars, and/or other additives; water MUST be free of anything toxic or life-threatening
 - Note: not all tap water is clean or even safe; some lake and pond sources can be very clean; water sources in question should be checked and verified by all concerned Players
   - Option A: only water that is clear, colourless, odorless, and drinkable is permitted to be used
   - Option B: water from some natural sources (i.e. ponds, rivers, creeks, lakes, etc.) can be used if agreed to before by all Players; all Players should be allowed to inspect all filling sources; any source deemed too unclean by at least two Players would not be an allowed source for refilling
 - water from waste disposal sites, toxic dumps, sewage contaminated water, etc. must NEVER be used

5: Referees / Moderators (optional section; mandatory for Tournaments)

5.1: Definition / Role

 - a Referee / Moderator is defined as someone who is not a Player or a member of any Team, but acts as an objective observer to help keep score and solve Player and/or Team disputes

5.2: Choice of Referee/Moderator:

 - Referees / Moderators should be a person who is considered honest, fair, and not partial to any team
 - Team Commanders and/or the majority of Players must agree with the choice of Referee(s)

5.3: Referee Duties:

 - Referees must act as impartial observers to the game; Referees must have no preferences and/or biases towards any Player and/or Team
 - Referees must have a full understanding of the set game rules for a particular water war game
 - Referees must be quick at making decisions to resolve Team/Player disputes
 - Referees should avoid being accidentally caught up in Player-Player interactions
 - Referees should not give away the location of a Player through watching, talking to, or interacting with unless a timeout has been called to solve a dispute

5.4: Recommendations:

 - for larger battles, multiple Referees should be used to help patrol the expanse of the battle grounds; Referees should be assigned to patrol a specific area to prevent overlap as well as undercoverage of battleground spots
 - Referees should try to keep within seeing range of each other if possible

| Posted: 20070422