Snowball fights are conflicts using snowballs, round packs of snow made specifically for throwing. Snowball fights have been traditional for an undetermined time, and probably had primitive forms in early ages.
For a snowball fight, you need two things: snow and people. Without snow and people, snowball fights could not be possible. Luckily, both of these things are usually readily available in winter time1. Unfortunately, no way has been discovered to snowball fight without these two factors.
Preparing for the Fight
Snowball fights get much more fun with the more people you have. A one-on-one match with two people is great but a huge battle with 15 people is much more interesting. You can play 'everyone for themselves' or in teams (any number of teams).
Before any serious snowball fight, you may want to look into a pair of leather gloves. Without any gloves at all, your hands get cold very quickly, and with woolly gloves, snow sticks to your hands, which in turn get wet.
Ideal terrain for holding a snowball fight would be a field, clear of all objects and with a flat surface. However, not all of us have the luxury of having such a field nearby, so you can use hilly terrain. The only problem with hilly terrain is that your fights will go a little slower as everyone tries to climb up or go around hills.
Since there are no set rules for snowball fights, it may sometimes be necessary for a few house rules. Some suggested rules are:
- No face/head shots.
- A set boundary (eg between the barn and the two trees).
- A time limit (eg until 5pm or for one hour).
- In a free-for-all match, no ganging up on any one person.
- Each team can build a fort before the match starts.
Some people like to build forts in order to protect themselves from the oncoming barrage of snowballs. Forts work best in large team games, since it's easier to build two or three large forts than it is to build ten or 15 small ones. Forts can also be used to store extra caches of snowballs to be used in defence if the enemy tries to storm your fort.
The main rule to remember when building a snow fort is substance over style. You may be tempted to build a back to your fort to look better, but if the attackers will only be coming from one side, it's pointless to waste snow that could go towards making snowballs. Build the fort wider rather than taller; it's easier to duck than it is to make yourself skinny.
People to or not to Play Against
There are some people who are great opponents/teammates in snowball fights. Whether they are good or bad at the game, you will enjoy playing with/against them much more than some other people. Here is a list of the two groups:
Good people to play with/against:
People not to be in a snowball fight with/against:
- Any relative not mentioned above
- Complete strangers
- Young children
Playing on Teams
There are a few ways to play on teams. Here they are:
- A normal battle - last team left wins.
- 'Capture the Flag'.
- With forts, the team whose fort stands longest wins.
The variant you play depends on two factors, preference and amount of time available. The straight-up battle is fairly short; you may want to turn it into a best-two-out-of-three match. Capture the flag can take a long time, so it should only be played when you have a few hours of free time. The fort game can be long or short, depending on how much time is allowed for fort building, but 30 minutes to one hour is usually a fair allotment.
Here are some recommended strategies for playing on teams:
Scramble - If everyone on your team is together, you'll be swatted down like flies when the other team comes around. If you spread apart, you'll confuse them and do better in the game.
Keep small snowball caches - You definitely want snowball caches. However, if you have one large one as opposed to several small ones, you'll find yourself constantly running back to the location of the cache, and exposing your resources to your enemies.
In capture the flag, hide the flag imaginatively - Everyone expects the flag to be hidden in a tree or somewhere like that. Try something more original, like burying it in the middle of the field, to the left, in the snow, and throw a coat on top of it.