Red Rover

Last updated

Youths playing the game Youths Playing Red Rover.jpg
Youths playing the game

Red Rover (also known as The King's Run and Forcing the City Gates) is a team game played primarily by children on playgrounds, requiring 10+ players. [1]

Contents

The game had changed over several decades, evolving from a regular "running across" game, with one single catcher in the center of the playground, to a combat game [2] with two opposing teams. The change basically consisted of merging pre-existing rules from other games with those of the original Red Rover.

The original Red Rover

Origin of the game

Originally, Red Rover was a regular tag and running game with several players on one side and one person (the "Red Rover" [3] ) placed in the center of the playing field. The person in the center calls "Red Rover, Red Rover, let [player's name] come over!" to challenge and catch one of the players who tries to reach the other side of the playing area. If the Red Rover succeeds they both return to the center. Each player tagged joins the center and helps tag the others. [4] [3]

According to Katherine Barber, the name of the game could be based on the novel of The Red Rover by New York author James Fenimore Cooper. It should be of no surprise that – for a chasing game – children prefer the name of a pirate [5] who ravages the British seas. [6]

The game was first recorded in New York in 1891 in Stewart Culin's publication Street Games of Boys in Brooklyn, N. Y.. [4] Until the 1940s, various descriptions of this version of Red Rover have been published, e. g. in 1907 in Dorothea Frances Canfield's book What Shall We Do Now? Five Hundred Games and Pastimes. In the book Canfield compared Red Rover with the German game of Black Man. [3]

In 1903, Red Rover has been mentioned in Some London Street Amusements by Edwin Pugh, published in George Robert Sims' book Living London – Vol. III. [7] It also appeared in 1916 in London Street Games, a book by Norman Douglas, [8] although British folklorists Iona and Peter Opie stated that no record of Red Rover has been found in the United Kingdom before 1922. [9]

The game of Red Rover was sometimes confused with the British game of Warning!, and in the U.S. with a game called Red Lion, which are both tag games but with different playing instructions. [10] [11] The confusion was mainly due to the similarity of names (in Moray, Scotland, the game of Warning! was primarily known by the name of Johnny Rover [12] ). Parallels, on the other hand, exist with Bar the Door, a game that was described in 1901 by Robert Craig Maclagan in The Games & Diversions of Argyleshire. [13]

Red Rover: Intermediate stage. Game rules from 1945, written by Neva Leona Boyd. Taken from the Handbook of Recreational Games. Red Rover - Game description from 1945 (Reprint).png
Red Rover: Intermediate stage. Game rules from 1945, written by Neva Leona Boyd. Taken from the Handbook of Recreational Games.

In the second half of the 1930s, the game rules started to change. A variation, representing the missing link between the original Red Rover and the team game, was published in 1945 in the United States by Neva Leona Boyd in the Handbook of Games. [14]

The game combines the rules of the traditional pastime, such as calling and tagging players individually by a catcher placed in the center of the playground, with those of the team game, which comes into being when the increasing number of players caught in the middle forms a chain by grasping each other's hand. The chain must be broken by the remaining players. [14] These rules were very similar to those in the German game of Chinese Wall. Years before, in 1938, rules for Red Rover had already been adopted from Chinese Wall, e. g. the marking of a narrow field in the center of the playground, which the catcher is not allowed to leave. [15]

By the end of the decade, the transformation process of the game was fully completed. In March 1949, Warren E. Roberts of the Indiana University Folklore Institute explained that two versions of Red Rover exist. [16] In his article Children's Games and Game Rhymes Roberts tried to delineate the particularities between the traditional Red Rover and the combat game of the same name and phrase. [16] Since the beginning of the 1950s, Red Rover has been described primarily as a team game. It remained unclear why the playing rules had been modified over time.

Red Rover as a team game

Early descriptions

Germany

The later combat version of Red Rover is of German or Chinese origin. An early description of the game appeared in 1862 in the German education handbook Merkbüchlein für Turner (memorandum book for sportsmen) by Eduard Angerstein under the name Kettenreißen (literally chain breaking or chain bursting). [17] Alternative names are Kettensprengen [18] and Kettenbrechen. [2]

The same team game was described in 1884 – entitled Der König schickt Soldaten aus (the king sends out soldiers) – in the sixth edition of Spiele zur Übung und Erholung des Körpers und Geistes by J. C. F. GutsMuths, published in Germany by Otto Schettler in co-operation with Friedrich Wilhelm Klumpp and Justus Carl Lion. [19]

In 1896, an English translation of the game named The King's Run was published in the United States by William Albin Stecher in the scholastic manual A Textbook of the German-American System of Gymnastics. [20] Further descriptions of King's Run followed until the late 1920s in several American books on physical education. [21] [22]

China

A similar variant has been recorded in China in 1901 by professor Isaac Taylor Headland of the Peking University under the name Forcing the City Gates. [23] In this game one of the children's groups sings a rhyme before sending a boy to the enemy's line. [24]

In his article Child Life in China published in the Delineator magazine from January 1901, Headland annotated that this game was well-known to the majority of American children. He also mentioned numerous other games played by Chinese boys, among them Blind Man's Buff, Hide and Seek, Prisoner's Base, Black Man, Hockey and Shinny. [24]

Forcing the City Gates was also described in 1909 in the recess guide Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie H. Bancroft, using the game instructions of King's Run as a basis. [25]

Game instructions

The game is played between two lines of players (usually called the "North" and "South" team, although this does not relate to the actual relative locations of the teams), positioned approximately thirty feet apart with hands or arms linked together. [26] The game starts when the first team, in this example the North team, calls a player out, by saying the line "Red Rover, Red Rover, let [player on opposite team] come over!" (alternatively "..., send [player's name] right over!" or "..., I call [player's name] over!"). [16] [26]

The immediate goal for the chosen one is to run to the North team's line and break the chain (formed by the players' hands). If the chosen one successfully breaks the chain, they may select either of the two "links" broken by the successful run, and take the link to join the South team. If the selected person fails, they join the North team. [26] The South team then calls out for a person on the North team, and the play continues. [26]

When only one player is left on a team, they must try to break through a link. [26] If the player does not succeed, then the opposing team wins. Otherwise, the player gets a player back for their team. [1] [27]

In other languages

In Russia and other former USSR countries, this game has been known as "Ali Baba", in Hungary as "Adj, király, katonát!" (King, give us a soldier!) [28] and in Serbia as "Јелечкиње, барјачкиње" (jelečkinje, barjačkinje, i.e., city crier and flag bearer). [29]

In Romania, the game is called "Țara, țara vrem ostași" (Country, country we want soldiers). [30] In Republic of Moldova the line is "Împărate, împărate, dați-ne un soldat!" (King, king, give us a soldier). [31]

In the Czech Republic, the game is known as "Král vysílá své vojsko" (The king sends out his army), with the difference that each team chooses which of its members will attempt to break the opposite team's line, rather than sending the member called by the other team. [32]

Prohibition

Like British Bulldog the game of Red Rover has been banned by many schools because of the risk of potential physical harm. [10] This negative reputation has a long history.

In a description from the book Illustriertes Spielbuch für Knaben, published in Germany in 1864, game collector Hermann Wagner stated that the game of Kettenreißen (chain breaking) is perceived as violent. [33] Its practical execution often causes peevishness among the boys. Therefore, any kind of beating and punching and the use of brute force with the help of arms and legs should be strictly prohibited. [33]

See also

Related Research Articles

Croquet Sport

Croquet is a sport that involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops embedded in a grass playing court.

Doncaster Rovers F.C. Association football club in England

Doncaster Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. The team competes in EFL League One, the third tier of the English football league system. Their home strip is red and white hoops, which has been the main design of the club's home shirt since 2001 through different variations.They currently play away games in a primarily blue kit. Rovers often sport a third kit each season promoting mental health charity Calm with proceeds of the particular home games being donated to said charity. They play home games at the Keepmoat Stadium, having moved from Belle Vue in 2007.

Capture the flag Traditional outdoor sport

Capture the flag (CTF) is a traditional outdoor sport where two or more teams each have a flag and the objective is to capture the other team's flag, located at the team's "base", and bring it safely back to their own base. Enemy players can be "tagged" by players in their home territory and, depending on the rules, they may be out of the game, become members of the opposite team, sent back to their own territory, or frozen in place until freed by a member of their own team.

Tag (game) Game of chasing other people

Tag is a playground game involving two or more players chasing other players in an attempt to "tag" and mark them out of play, usually by touching with a hand. There are many variations; most forms have no teams, scores, or equipment. Usually, when a person is tagged, the tagger says, "Tag, you're 'it'!" The last one tagged during tag is "it" for the next round. The game is known by other names in various parts of the world, including “running and catching” in India and “catch and cook” in the Middle East.

Kick the can Childrens game

Kick the can is an outdoor children's game related to tag, hide and seek, and capture the flag, played with as few as three to as many as several dozen players. The game is one of skill, strategy, stealth, and stamina.

Kickball Team sport

Kickball is a game and league game, similar to baseball. As in baseball, one team tries to score by having its players return a ball from home base to the field and then circle the bases, while the other team tries to stop them by tagging them "out" with the ball before they can return to the home base. Instead of hitting a small, hard ball with a bat, players kick an inflated rubber ball; this makes it more accessible to young children. As in baseball, teams alternate half-innings. The team with the most runs after a predefined number of innings wins.

Street game Sport or game that is played on city streets

A street game or street sport is a sport or game that is played on city streets rather than a prepared field. Street games are usually simply play time activities for children in the most convenient venue. Some street games have risen to the level of organized tournaments, such as stickball.

British Bulldog (game) Playground game and outdoor sports

British Bulldog is a tag-based playground and sporting game, commonly played in schoolyards and on athletic fields in the UK, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and related Commonwealth countries, as well as in the U.S.. The object of the game is for one player to attempt to intercept other players who are obliged to run from one designated area to another. British Bulldog is characterised by its physicality and is being regarded as violent, leading it to be banned from many schools due to injuries to the participants.

Rec footy

Recreational Football was a non-contact version of the Australian rules football game first played in 2003 and later sanctioned by the Australian Football League's game development arm. It was a more accessible version of Australian rules football that people could pick up and play. It was a mixed competition, with eight players on each team, accessible to players of both sexes, all shapes and sizes and requires minimal equipment to play. Rec Footy was criticised mainly by Australian rules players for appearing similar to netball and being too restrictive, lacking of ability for skilled footballers to run kick and play naturally whilst also penalising newer unskilled players with frequent turnovers.

Australian rules football positions

In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team is assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. These positions describe both the player's main role and by implication their location on the ground. As the game has evolved, tactics and team formations have changed, and the names of the positions and the duties involved have evolved too. There are 18 positions in Australian rules football, not including four interchange players who may replace another player on the ground at any time during play.

Darebase or dare base, also known as prisoners' base or Chevy Chace, and originally as bars, base or prisoners' bars, is a tag game between two or more teams on an open field that places a premium on speed and agility. Darebase holds some similarity to capture the flag in its basic premise of chase, capture, and conquer. It differs in that the game field consists of a large no-man's land with team bases occupying two opposite ends of the field and in the methods of achieving victory. A variation called stealbase uses an object that may be either touched or stolen to achieve victory.

Duck, duck, goose Childrens chasing game

Duck, Duck, Goose is a traditional children's game often first learned in preschool or kindergarten. The game may be later adapted on the playground for early elementary students. The object of this game is to walk in a circle, tapping on each player's head until one is finally chosen; the chosen player must then chase the picker to avoid becoming the next picker.

Blind mans buff Childrens game

Blind man's buff is a variant of tag in which the player who is "It" is blindfolded. The traditional name of the game is "blind man's buff", where the word buff is used in its older sense of a small push.

Réunion (card game)

Réunion, Reunion or Vereinigungsspiel is an historical German point-trick game for three players which, despite its French name, appears to have originated in the Rhineland. It is a 10-card game of the Ace-Ten family and uses a 32-card French-suited piquet pack or 32-card Skat pack. Players who cannot follow suit must trump. Otherwise the game can be described as a simplified version of Skat, but is also reminiscent of Euchre with its two permanent top trumps, the Right and Left Bowers.

Poison is a traditional children's game, a variant of the game of tag. Jessie H. Bancroft's 1909 book Games for the Playground... describes it as follows.

Brandeln

Brandeln is an historical card game for four players in which three play against a soloist. It is one of the earliest games to use the terms Bettel – a contract to lose every trick – and Mord - a contract to win every trick. One of several card games mastered by Mozart, Brandeln is still current in Austria and Germany today. It has been described as having a "civilized, refined and ingenious character" and "one of the most pleasant card games".

Sticheln

Sticheln is an easy-to-learn, trick-taking, card game for 4 players that originated from Austria. It is an old game, being recorded as early as 1756 and its rules being first described in 1830. The name means "playing [for] tricks".

Bierlachs, also Bierskat, Bierscat, Lachs or Beer Skat, is a variant of Germany's national card game, Skat, in which the winner is the first to score a fixed number of points. It is predominantly played for beer in pubs and restaurants.

Piquesept is an extinct German card game of the Ace-Ten family that is recorded from 1798 to 1840. It had the unusual features that the player with the Seven of Spades played it out immediately, automatically collecting the highest card from each defender and then did not have to follow suit, unlike the other players.

References

  1. 1 2 "Red Rover: A Traditional Favorite Outdoor Game". About.com . Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  2. 1 2 Amalie Schönlank, Eduard Angerstein: Kampfspiele. In: Lehrplan für den Turnunterricht in Mädchenschulen. Nicolaische Verlagsbuchhandlung (Rudolf Stricker), Berlin 1894, p. 20.
  3. 1 2 3 Dorothea Frances Canfield: Red Rover. In: What Shall We Do Now? Five Hundred Games and Pastimes. Frederick A. Strokes Company, New York 1907, p. 159.
  4. 1 2 Stewart Culin: Black Tom / Red Rover. In: William Wells Newell: Journal of American Folk-Lore: Street Games of Boys in Brooklyn, N. Y. Volume IV, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York 1891, p. 224–225.
  5. Katherine Barber: Games Children Play: Red Rover. In: Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do with Pigs and Other Fascinating Facts About the Language from Canada's Word Lady. Oxford University Press, Ontario 2006, ISBN   978-0-19-542440-9, p. 102–103.
  6. Larry Stephen Clifton: The Terrible Fitzball. The Meldramatist of the Macabre. Bowling Green State University Popular Press, Ohio 1993, ISBN   0-87972-608-3, p. 185.
  7. Edwin Pugh: Some London Street Amusements. In: George Robert Sims: Living London. Vol. III, Cassell & Company Ltd., London, Paris, New York & Melbourne, 1903, p. 268.
  8. Norman Douglas: London Street Games. The St. Catherine Press, London 1916, p. 141.
  9. Iona Archibald Opie, Peter Opie: Red Rover. In: Children's Games in Street and Playground. At the Clarendon Press, Oxford 1969, p. 239–240.
  10. 1 2 Steve Roud: British Bulldog and Other Chasing Games. In: The Lore of the Playground. Random House Books, London 2010, ISBN   9781407089324, p. 40.
  11. Jessie H. Bancroft: Rules for Games: Red Rover / Red Lion. In: Mind & Body. Volume 7, No. 81, Freidenker Publishing Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 1900, p. 208.
  12. Alice Bertha Gomme: Johnny Rover. In: The Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland. Volume I, David Nutt, 270–71 Strand, London 1894, p. 286.
  13. Robert Craig Maclagan: ''Bar the Door. The Folklore Society, David Nutt, 57–59 Long Acre, London 1901, p. 210.
  14. 1 2 Neva Leona Boyd: Red Rover. In: Handbook of Games. H. T. FitzSimons Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1945.
  15. Therese Powdermaker: Red Rover. In: Physical Education. Play Activities for Girls in Junior and Senior High Schools. A. S. Barnes & Company, New York 1938, p. 146.
  16. 1 2 3 Warren E. Roberts: Children's Games and Game Rhymes. In: Hoosier Folklore. Volume 8, No. 1, The Hoosier Folklore Society, Indianapolis, March 1949, p. 16–17.
  17. Eduard Angerstein: Kettenreißen. In: Merkbüchlein für Turner. Verlag der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, Halle 1862, p. 278.
  18. Hermann Wagner: Kettensprengen. In: Illustriertes Spielbuch für Knaben. Verlag und Druck von Otto Spamer, Leipzig und Berlin 1888, p. 36.
  19. Otto Schettler: Der König schickt Soldaten aus. In: J. C. F. GutsMuths' Spiele zur Übung und Erholung des Körpers und Geistes. Verlag von G. A. Grau & Cie. (Rudolf Lion), Hof 1884, p. 302–303.
  20. William Albin Stecher: The King's Run. In: Gymnastics. A Text-Book of the German-American System of Gymnastics. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., Boston 1896, p. 320–321.
  21. Albert Meader Chesley: The King's Run. In: Indoor and Outdoor Gymnastic Games. American Sports Publishing Company, New York 1913, p. 42.
  22. Sherman Ripley: King's Run. In: Games for Boys. Henry Holt & Company, New York 1920, p. 20.
  23. Isaac Taylor Headland: Games Played by Boys. In: The Chinese Boy and Girl. Fleming H. Revell Company, The Caxton Press, New York 1901, p. 54–55.
  24. 1 2 Isaac Taylor Headland: Child Life in China. In: The Delineator, No. 1, Volume 57, The Butterick Publishing Co. Ltd., New York, January 1901, p. 98–99.
  25. Jessie H. Bancroft: Forcing the City Gates. In: Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium. The MacMillan Company, New York 1909, p. 89–90.
  26. 1 2 3 4 5 Martin Toseland, Simon Toseland: Red Rover. In: 365 Family Games and Pastimes. Square Peg, London 2012, ISBN   978-0-22408-655-4, p. 54–55.
  27. "Red Rover". Gameskidsplay.net. 28 January 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  28. As explained on this link in Hungarian
  29. As explained on this link in Serbian
  30. Explanation in romanian on this link
  31. Cucoș, Cristina (26 June 2017). "Jocuri ce ne amintesc de copilărie. Tu pe care le-ai încercat?". Sunt Parinte (in Romanian). Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  32. As explained on this link in Czech
  33. 1 2 Hermann Wagner: Kettenreißen. In: Illustriertes Spielbuch für Knaben. Verlag von Otto Spamer, Leipzig 1864, p. 20–21.