Squid (game)

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Diagram showing game layout. It consists of five areas: Offensive house (1), Promotion area for the defense (2), Defensive house (3), Promotion area for the offense (4), and Others (5). Korean Play Ojingo (trimmed).svg
Diagram showing game layout. It consists of five areas: Offensive house (1), Promotion area for the defense (2), Defensive house (3), Promotion area for the offense (4), and Others (5).

Squid, also known as ojingeo (Korean : 오징어), is a children's game in Korea. The game is named as such because the shape of the game board drawn on the ground resembles that of a squid, and there are regional variations of the name such as "squid gaisan" (with gaisan thought to be a variation of the Japanese word kaisen開戦, "to start a war"), or "squid takkari". [1] It is a multiplayer game, and the game is divided into two teams, offensive and defensive. There are two main purposes, either for the attackers to achieve the purpose of the attack, or for the teams to annihilate each other. [2]



There are multiple versions of the rules for different areas and groups.

The home bases for each of the teams are called "houses" (). The top circle is the house for the offensive team, the bottom rectangle is the house for the defensive team, and the middle triangle is the neutral ground between them. [1]

The objective for the offensive team is to leave their house and move outside the figure around to the bottom of the defensive house (shown "open" on the diagram above), then pass through the figure back into the offensive house. [3]

Attacking players are required to move only by hopping on one foot until they "promote" by either reaching area 2 having passed through area 3; or by hopping over the thin part of the figure between the two areas marked 4. Once promoted, they may use both feet. [3]

The defensive team tries to eliminate the members of the offensive team by pushing them across a line of the figure they are not permitted to cross. Typically this means pushing players who have entered the figure out, or pushing players attempting to hop over the figure at 4 into the triangle. Defensive team members who leave the figure are also eliminated, so it is possible for the attackers to win by pushing all defenders out of the figure. [4]

Regional variations

Because of the fact the game is informally played among children, there are few official written sets of rules, and their common features are mainly attested through multiple people who played it as children. However, a few examples of regional variations in rules are listed.

Squid ttaeng (Busan)

Squid ttaeng (오징어땡) is a regional variation of the squid game that is popular in Busan. The game usually involves ten or more participants. The origin of the game is assumed to be influenced by both the large presence of squids in the waters around Gadeokdo island and by the popularity of squids as a snack among local children. The game starts by dividing two teams, with at least ten people per team. A squid with a pentagon-shaped body and a round tail is drawn. The team that wins a game of rock paper scissors becomes the defensive team and the team that loses becomes the offensive team. If the offensive team reaches the house of the defensive team and screams "Ttaeng", the game is won by the offensive team and the two teams change sides. [5]

Squid unification game

Squid unification game (오징어통일놀이) is a regional variation of the squid game that is based in Haenam. The game is said to have originated from the Three Kingdoms period of Korea when the three kingdoms were fighting for land. In this version, the area which the offensive team has to reach while passing the defensive team is called the "unification area". [6]

The 2021 Netflix streaming television series Squid Game is eponymously named after the squid game, a deadly version of which is played during the series. [7]

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  1. 1 2 Lee, Sang-ho. "오징어놀이". Encyclopedia of Korean Folk Culture (in Korean). National Folk Museum of Korea. Retrieved 30 September 2021.
  2. Ha Eun-sun (September 29, 2021). "'오징어 게임'이 뭐길래..." [What is 'Squid Game'?]. The Korea Times (in Korean). Retrieved September 29, 2021.
  3. 1 2 ""오징어놀이"".
  4. 김종만 (2017). 보리 어린이 놀이도감. 보리. p. 190-191. ISBN   978-8984289826.
  5. "오징어땡". 향토문화전자대전.
  6. "오징어통일놀이". 한국향토문화전자대전.
  7. "Everything to know about 'Squid Game', the surprise Netflix hit series". Fortune. October 2, 2021. Retrieved October 3, 2021.