January 30, 2005

Vote Seagrave … and the invention of Gladiatorial Glassball

For the record, we have been responsible for the low-budget flyers which unsuspecting maths students, philosophy students and Rootes residents may have picked up. Generally the blog address accompanied by a witty one-liner. I use "witty" in the broadest sense. We even have the promotional artwork of the 'mazin' Christine on the door of P 3rd kitchen. This is the self-same Christine who, amongst other feats of generosity and fortitude, wrote up a complete set of lecture notes for both Anthony and Colin for no less than two whole consecutive maths lectures while they had a lie-in which would be unconscionable had they not spent the previous night having a crack at breaking the Tesco record. Also an avid player of Fluxx, she remains the undefeated champion at that game in the red-haired female sub-category. But I digress…

The main point of this entry is to gloat over the fact that our publicity has not done a Noah's pigeon on us, but has actually returned with an olive brance, in the form of Mr Seagrave, who, incidentally, is running for some kind of Union rep position. On his canvassing rounds, he happened upon the three Glassball patriarchs in their natural territory, and recognised them from the Blog photos!! (Note that Anthony went unremarked, choosing for the moment to keep his identity a mystery to the hordes of eager, but blind, admirers). However, I'm definitely casting him a vote or three, thanks to his enthusiasm over the game and his willingness to take a break from the scintillating task of sucking up to Rootes residents to play a point or two with us.

Soon after he left, the nature of the game deteriorated somewhat, and was only just rescued by the invention of a new variation – Gladiatorial Glassball (with triple alliteration – the only other known example of this is Foolish Football). Gladiatorial Glassball appears, to the untrained eye, like a slightly jumpier version of Glassball, only with more bad smashes than usual. This is not the case. OK, it might be, but there's a reason behind it: Points can be won in the usual manner, but sooner or later, someone will attempt to smash the ball into their opponent. The longer the rally has gone on for before the sucessful smash, the more points you achieve. If your opponent dodges, you lose a point, as in normal Glassball. Another twist is the bottles. On the odd occasion that you glance a shot off the bottles and it hits your opponent, score double the usual number of points. Play to 21.

Health and Safety note: The first bottle to be knocked over by a table tennis ball was during Gladiatorial Glassball. This was quickly followed by two more, in a single hour. Judging by these standards, mathematically speaking, the chance of being hit by a bottle playing Gladiatorial Glassball compared to normal Glassball are infinitely higher, so watch out.

BTW, check out the recently updated picture of our sponsor, Mr Baldwin – now with an authentic close-up of his badge to prove it!

January 29, 2005

Another barrier broken

Glassball is a sport that all people can play. We don't want to be limited to a set group of people: it's open to the masses. We've had left-handers (Ross); women (Christine, Becky); short people (Christine, Becky); partially-sighted people (Richard etc); twins (Colin); ginger people (Christine)... and yesterday we had our first non-Warwick participant. James, who was staying here as part of the Essential week, played a few points this morning, making him our first non-student. Sadly we're yet to break down some barriers – for example, players have all been white so far, and none have had fewer than two arms. But we want to change this, and if we have to do it by cutting off Anthony's arm, so be it.

January 25, 2005

Latest tournament

Just a quick note to say that Anthony is the current Kitchen Champion, winning the Golden Sash in a three-player tournament. Everybody played everybody else, with the result that each player won once and lost once. So we did it again. This time, Richard won two, Anthony won one and Colin won none, so the final was Richard vs Anthony, a game that was won by Anthony reasonably convincingly… but we were rather tired by then.

January 22, 2005

Glassball: The Brave and Noble Game


Writing about web page http://www.warwickcu.org

Since Warwick CU's mission week begins very soon, we'd like to say that the Glassball team are very much behind it. The mission week is called Essential – because it is – and we'll personally be sacrificing recreational (and tournament) Glassball in order to involve ourselves with the multitudinous activities going on. The main events are happening in the Cooler from 5.30–6.30pm on every weekday next week except Thursday. If you see someone wearing a hoody with the word 'Essential' written on the back, ask them all about it.

January 20, 2005

The First 'General' Post

Unlike the 'Introduction to Glassball' part of this blog, the General Category will actually be a blog. That means we'll update it when something particularly exciting happens in the crazy world of Glassball – not only will this cause the general populus much joy, it will also cause most of you to redefine what you understand by the word 'exciting'. Some people like extreme sports – mountain climbing and abseiling, for example, which seem like an overwhelmingly pointless combination to me – whereas other people like less extreme sports – football, table football, blow-football, watching Match of The Day, etc. If your tastes turn more to reading about sports, this is the page for you.


This page is dedicated to sharing with the general public inside information and (relatively) up-to-date statistics and variations on the Brave and Noble game that is Glassball.

Colin demonstarting Glassball for the masses

Please note, on the advice of our lawyers we must include the following warning:
No responsibility will be accepted for the loss of or damage to such items as sleep or work which may, and, let’s be honest, probably will, come about as the direct result of over-indulgence in the new and exciting sport we are about to introduce. If you are not prepared to leave said sleep and work for holidays and retirement, or if you feel that getting a degree is more important than staying up until a quarter to stupid o’clock in the morning with fellow devotees merely to hit a ping-pong ball with an ashtray across a kitchen table divided by a line of beer bottles, please stop reading now.

The following content is thus liability-free, but we sincerely hope that you find this game as enjoyable and exciting as we do. Please note, we will not be liable for any breakages to equipment or participants during the course of the game. We do not condone playing this game while drunk. However, it is useful to be on friendly let-me-have-your-empties-when-you’re-done terms with someone who drinks, for the purposes of equipment procurement. In our unorthodox usage of ashtrays, we are not displaying any prejudice or intolerance towards those students who prefer to aid cancer research by using ashtrays as they were originally intended and hence adding another valuable statistic to the NHS databases. We scare because we care.

A Brief History of Glassball

Cast your mind back to Term 1 Week 5. What were you doing at 2am on Tuesday? You probably can’t even remember. To be quite honest, neither can we. But it was just such a night when the brave and noble game of Glassball came into being. It was born from the fertile imagination of some of the greatest minds of the university (probably the best university in the world). They were faced with the seemingly unanswerable problem of an urgent desire to play table-tennis, while not possessing any of the basic rudiments beyond a ping pong ball. Most people may have solved the table problem with relative ease – we went for the adjoining kitchen table method. But a net??? Now this is the point at which most of you would have squashed the ping pong ball in frustration and sloped off to the bar to drown your sorrows. Not so our heroes. Partly due to the fact that they are both teetotallers, and partly due to the dogged determination of the indomitable spirit that dwelleth within, they persevered.

Eventually they settled on a row of used Stella bottles to suffice in place of a net, but with a new and original name: The Bottles. Not for them the confines of ordinary convention – 13 bottles lined up in the middle of the table with a gap of approx 4 5/8 inches at either end to allow trick shots around the Bottles (more on these later). In addition, paddles needed improvisation. Among some of the less practical ideas were fridge doors, Wellington boots and step ladders. We experimented during the development phase with shoes, a dustpan, cork placemats, saucepans, and, finally, (what a stroke of genius!) the proliferate but entirely useless ashtrays. Thanks to the foibles of Warwick accommodation, our whole corridor, although having applied for non-smoking rooms, and also voting to ban smoking from the corridor entirely, were furnished with exactly one more ashtray each than we would ever need. But Warwick is always right, and so we knew that, although in our feeble minds we could not fathom the reasoning, there was some sensible and lofty logic behind the generosity concerning ashtrays. Made in France, these miracles of construction even have dimples set at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees about the rim for ease of handling, and fit comfortably into the average hand (well, they work fine with me). With a higher coefficient of restitution than even the top quality paddles professional table-tennis champions angle for, these so-called “glasses” (consistent with the name of Glassball, which, in true circular reasoning style, was so called due to the proliferation of glass objects), have been in constant service through the early hours of many happy mornings. Despite numerous guest appearances, there have been but few regular players. These few now bring you the totally un-patented game for your free delight and amusement. Rather like the inventor of the match (what a guy!) we have chosen to share our knowledge of our own match (the Glassball match) totally royalty-free. Don’t thank me, thank my sponsors:

Left: Colin, Right: Richard, Right: Mr Baldwin

We approached a minor subordinate of the famous games shop, Bishop Games of Coventry, and were fortunate enough to secure his whole-hearted affiliation of himself and, insofar as he was permitted, his employers, with the brave and noble game. Left: Colin Thomas – Co-inventor, Right: Richard Baldwin – Co-inventor, Right: Mr. Baldwin, Bishop Games rep.

During the course of the year, we have played numerous exciting matches, gradually improving our own knowledge of the game, inventing new techniques, and even new rules (rather like the popular game, Fluxx – see the Fluxx blog which, incidentally, doesn’t exist and, as long as I have any say in the matter, never will). Read on for set-up, rules and variations…

But first, a word on…

Health and Safety

Unfortunately, Glassball has not all been laughs and smiles. The current recorded number of fatalities stands at zero, but that’s not to say we haven’t had a couple of close calls. Perhaps the most traumatic moment to date came during a particularly ferocious rally between the co-creators, as an attempted backhand shot resulted in a smashed glass, broken into so many slivers on the floor. This could easily have resulted in cuts and scrapes, or even a full-scale invasion from the kitchen below, but luckily the only outcome was a slightly embarrassed player and an earlier bed-time than normal. Although an isolated incident – other dropped glasses have, inexplicably, bounced – the daily life of the hardcore Glassball player is one plagued by peril and tormented by… torment. Being hit by a table-tennis ball may sound like only a minor occurrence, and indeed it is… but imagine for a moment if the ball had been a football. Or a basketball. Or a particularly sharp knife. Then what would have happened? So remember, kids – don’t play Glassball without the supervision of a responsible adult (or, preferably, an irresponsible student). And don’t play with sweaty hands.

Meet the Creators

Hi, I’m Colin, co-creator of the Brave and Noble Game of Glassball (and co-plagiariser of that slogan). I was named after my father, by about 32 years, and other sports I have had a hand in inventing include Canman and Countdown Fluxx. Among my notable contributions to Glassball are the name (hence the pronunciation – see below) and some of the more pointless rules. My interests include watching Neighbours, watching Friends, maintaining websites about both, and trying to hide from my general acquaintance the fact that I maintain websites about both Friends and Neighbours. In my spare time, I attend maths lectures. Attempting to define triple (and quadruple) sarcasm was the main pursuit in my life for many months, and was achieved with help from Richard, not long before we collaborated on the invention of the brave and noble game that is Glassball.

Hello, I'm Richard – co-creator, 'sponsor' and a generally-fun-to-be-near kinda chap. My non-Glassball pursuits include participating in and teaching youth drama, playing board games and juggling. I am personally responsibe for the modern configuration (largely because I own a suitable plank of wood – from a rola bola) and have made a significant contribution to just about every major Glassball decision so far (yay!). At some point in the future I will be adding a section on the specifics and finer points of glassball technique and tactics, since I have been appointed (by myself) the expert in that area. So feel free to ask me questions about anything Glassballish. I play with a more defensive style, favouring a kind of slice shot to stay low over the bottles. Then, when the moment is right, I move in for the kill … but enough of that. I'm off to try and catch up on some sleep…

Lastly, a somewhat more passive co-creator, Anthony who, though not being in on the very beginning (to be fair, who is? Did you go to see the Beatles live before they were famous?), was a willing participant from the very early stages of the game, suggesting developments and trying out groundbreaking methods and equipment before release to the general public. He is also the official camera-man of the game, and the fact that he studies maths makes him look even worse when he fumbles the 8th term of the Fibbonaci series (see game variations). For the minority who are desperate to unravel the enigma that is Anthony, please see my website: www.stationcrafts.net. Glassball related habits include a working knowledge of Kipling (see game variations), an uncanny ability to put away vast quantities of orange juice (see Semi-classic configuration) and the discovery of the only Glassball poem ever written (see Glassball Lullaby).

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  • Except… now this page comes out as the top entry. Post–modern or what? by on this entry
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