From Ludocity
Crunchball Field.gif
Designer: Austin Borisy, Rob Sun
Year: unknown
Players: 12
Stuff required: Two goals, goalie gear, baseball fielder's gloves, a 16" softball. More info below.
Crew required: None
Preparation: Ten minutes.
Time required: An hour.
Place required: A women's lacrosse field.
Activities: New Sport
This is a playable game - it's finished, tested and ready to play.
This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

Crunchball is a full contact fusion sport borrowing elements from team handball, hockey, lacrosse, basketball and any sport where tackling is legal... Players try to score goals against the other team by throwing the ball into the goal from outside the goal crease or deflecting the ball inside the crease, while the defense tries to block, tackle or otherwise interfere.

History and Influences

Crunchball was conceived in the communal living room of the roommates Austin Borisy and Rob Sun. Rob had been talking about taking a class for handball. I was googling obscure sports, and I said to him that we should invent a sport. We sat down and hashed out rules, and have been tweaking a little ever since.

Crunchball is a full contact game played much like hockey without sticks. The goal is to score by throwing the ball into the opponent's net from outside the crease. Teams of 5 fieldmen and 1 goalie will play against each other. If the person with possession of the ball is tackled, the ball is turned over to the other team. If the ball is dropped, play continues, with the loose ball up for grabs.


  • 2 lacrosse goals
  • 2 sets of goalie gear:
  • Cage facemask (any)
  • Chest protector (baseball)
  • Shin guards (baseball, soccer, just not large pads like hockey)
  • Fielder's baseball mitt
  • 16” softball (deBeer Clincher 16" is the standard.) - Note, you will need to break in the ball before it is soft enough to play with.

Playing Field

The field is a women's Lacrosse field. Notably, the 12m (red, in the diagram) semicircle around the goal is ignored, the 8m (green) wedge in front of the goal is known as the goal crease, and the circle (light blue) immediately surrounding the goal is known as the goalie's circle. See the image in the infobox above for details.

Number of Players

Two teams will play against each other in a game of Crunchball. A team of 5 fieldmen and 1 goalie per team will be the on the field at any time, provided there is no penalty being enforced. The goalie may be pulled to add another fieldman, but only 1 goalie per team is allowed on the field at any time.

Rules & Gameplay

These are the current rules of Crunchball:

Ball Rules and Rules of Play

  • The game shall be played for 3 periods of 20 minutes apiece. In between periods, a break will be allowed for rest and discussion of strategy. This break will last 10 minutes. In the event of overtime, there will be another 10 minute break allowed. The team with the most goals scored (and therefore the most points) at fulltime wins the game.
  • If the game ends in a tie, a single sudden death overtime of 20 minutes will be played after another 5 minute break. The first team to score during this overtime will win the game. If no goal is scored during this overtime, the game shall result in a tie.
  • In the event of overtime, the extra period will be played with all 6 players for each team. If, however, a team has a player penalized, the player will continue to be penalized and will not be allowed to reenter the field of play unless the other team commits a penalty and that penalized player is brought back on instead of sending the penalized player off. (see infractions)
  • Each period shall start with a tip off at the center of the field. All players must be on their defensive side of the field. The referee will toss the ball straight up into the air, where one player from each side may try to gain possession of the ball. The ball may only be tipped to a teammate, not held by the tipper. All other players must stand outside the center circle. Once the ball is touched, players may enter the circle to recover the ball. Players may not cross the center line during a tip off until the ball is tipped.
  • Once a player has the ball, he may take as many steps as he wants, hold the ball as long as he wants, pass the ball to whoever he wants or throw the ball to whatever point on the field, accepting all other rules.
  • If a player with the ball is tackled, he must relinquish the ball to the other team, giving the other team an uncontested throw. If the uncontested throw would be granted inside a team's offensive crease, the uncontested throw will be administered from immediately on the offensive zone side of the center of the zone boundary.
  • A tackle is defined as a player’s knee, elbow, shoulder, stomach, back, hip or combination thereof hitting the ground as an immediate result of a tackling (opposing) player’s action on the tackled player. Therefore, a player who is shoved to the ground by an opposing player will be considered tackled whether or not the tackling player touches the downed player while he is on the ground. A player who falls without influence of another player must be touched by an opposing player while on the ground in order to have been tackled.
  • During an uncontested throw, the player with the ball must remain at the spot where the ball was turned over or the penalty was committed. No opposing player may get closer to the inbounding player than the nearest teammate of the inbounding player, or withing 20 feet of the inbounding player, whichever is closer. Once the ball is no longer in contact with the player, play resumes as normal.
  • If the player with the ball is wrapped up by an opposing player, similar to the forward progress rule in football, the play may be called dead by the referee. In this instance, the player is considered to have been tackled.
  • In the event of a loose ball, the ball is up for grabs for any player. The ball may be recovered and played on normally. If a player is legally tackled without clear possession of the ball but is near the loose ball, there will be no penalty assigned, and play will continue.
  • In the event of a tackle in a loose ball situation, it may be unclear when possession is established. Possession is established when a player is deemed to be in control of the ball, either by gripping it in his hands or kicking it like soccer. This is left to the referee's judgment. On a close or contested call, the referee will decide who gets possession and that team shall have an uncontested throw at the spot of the play.

Timekeeping Rules

  • The time will be kept by either the referee or the bench on a timekeeping apparatus, either a watch, a kitchen timer (good because you can add time if something goes wrong), a scoreboard, or a stopwatch.
  • The clock will not stop except for:
    • Penalties
    • Goals scored
    • Out of Bounds
    • Uncontested throws
    • The end of the period
    • Injuries
    • Referee discussions
    • Timeouts
  • Each team is allowed one timeout during the game. This timeout will last 60 seconds, and may be called during any stoppage of play, including stoppages for uncontested throws. No additional timeouts will be granted in the event of overtime.
  • During any stoppage, the clock will not restart until the ball first touches a player other than the inbounding player, similar to basketball.
  • There will be 2 varieties of clock violation. Minor clock violations include:
    • Taking more than 5 seconds to inbound the ball once the referee gives the go ahead.
    • The referee may count out loud 5 seconds for the goalie to get rid of the ball while inside the circle and/or crease (where the goalie may not be tackled) to encourage faster play if delay of game is suspected.
    • Taking more than the allotted 60 seconds during a timeout.
    • Discussing a call with a ref beyond a reasonable amount of time but not to the point of unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Major clock violations are committed with the intent of manipulating the game clock illegally. These penalties will result in removal of the offending player to the penalty box. Major clock violations include the following:
    • Diving – Feigning injury to draw a penalty or to earn a timeout will not be tolerated.
    • A warning may be issued for excessive idle passing at the discretion of the referee. After that initial warning, the referee may elect to issue a major clock violation to the offending team.
    • Intentionally throwing the ball far out of bounds to earn a rest for your team.
    • Attempting to take a timeout when you have none remaining.
    • Serially committing minor penalties to manipulate the clock may result in a warning from the referee and subsequently may result in a major clock violation.
    • Moving either goal from its rightful place on the field intentionally.

Scoring and the Goalie

  • The ball must completely pass the plane of the goal line as defined by the front of the goal posts.
  • The ball may not be touching any part of the scoring team's body when it enters the goal.
  • After a goal is scored, a tip off at the center of the field will ensue.
  • A thrown shot on goal must be released outside the crease, as defined by the arc region in front of the net, bounded by the diagonal lines extending from the goalposts. Note, however, that a ball may be released while in the air over the crease, provided no part of the thrower's body has not touched the inside of the crease.
  • The ball may not be touched with an open hand inside the crease. It may, however, be deflected, redirected or otherwise affected with any part of a player's body (including a closed fist) outside of the goalie's circle.
  • No fieldman may enter either goalie's circle.
  • No player may initiate contact with the opposing goalie inside the crease.
  • The goalie may cover up a blocked shot like hockey. The goalie's possession of the ball may not be contested inside the crease. The goalie's pass may be contested, but the goalie may not be touched, nor may the ball be stripped from the goalie.
  • The goalie may be pulled and replaced by a bench fieldman, though the goalie may not enter the offensive zone.
  • The goalie has reasonable rights to defend himself and his position. Since he has first right to position on the field, he may assert his right to his position. This includes initiating contact.

Field Rules

  • All field position judgments (including crease violations) will be based on the point on the ground last touched by the player in question. Touching a line with any part of the body or straddling a line defaults as follows:
    • The goalie's circle takes precedence over the crease.
    • The crease takes precedence over the offensive zone.
    • Out of bounds takes precedence over in bounds.
    • The zone boundaries take equal precedence so that a player straddling the zone boundary line, or with one foot touching the boundary line is considered to be in both zones. IE One foot is sufficient to tag up onsides. If the ball touches the line, it remains in the offensive zone.
  • A ball that leaves the field of play, as defined by the boundary lines of the lacrosse field, is turned over from the team that touched the ball last to the other team, and an uncontested throw in from the sideline will be granted.
  • Substitutions will occur on the fly at any time during the game, much like hockey. The number of a team's players on the field at any time may not exceed 6. The player coming off the field must be off the field before the replacement comes onto the field, and both players must enter/exit the field of play from the neutral zone. This is punishable with a penalty (see below).
  • A player is offside if he completely enters the opposing team's zone before the ball crosses the zone boundary line, provided he is not in possession of the ball, similar to hockey.
  • Any ball put out of bounds behind the opponent’s goal, will result in a turnover, however the ball will be brought back into play by giving the goalie possession of the ball starting at the goal, except when the ball has been booted (see infractions).


Penalties will not be enforced until the team that committed the penalty gains possession of the ball. Delayed penalties may be waived off in the event that the team corrects the action before regaining possession of the ball. For instance, if a player is offsides with the ball in the neutral zone, the ref can raise his hand to signal a penalty, but then waive off the penalty if the player tags up onsides before the ball crosses the zone boundary. If the team with the player offsides enters the offensive zone while the player is offsides, the penalty will be enforced immediately.

Minor Penalties
    • Booting: Any ball thrown out of bounds behind the opponent's goal from the defending zone will result in a punting penalty. This will give the non-offending team an unobstructed throw from behind the offending team's goal, and the offending team will not be allowed to substitute players.
    • Offsides: A player is offside if he completely enters the opposing team's zone before the ball crosses the zone boundary line, provided he is not in possession of the ball, similar to hockey. This will result in a turnover, and the ball will return to play in the possession of the non-offending team’s goalie.
    • Goalie obstruction: Incidental contact with the goalie inside the crease. This will result in a turnover, and the ball will return to play in the possession of the obstructed goalie.
    • Crease violations: Any player commits a crease violation if he touches the ball with an open hand inside the opposing team's crease or enters the opposing team's goalie circle. This will result in a turnover, and the ball will return to play in the possession of the non-offending team's goalie.
    • Minor Clock Violations: See timekeeping rules.
Major Penalties
    • Hit to the head – No player may tackle an opposing player by hitting the player's head. Furthermore, a player may not tackle by leading with the crown of his head.
    • Low tackle – No player may tackle an opposing player by striking below the knees.
    • Goalie interference – No player may intentionally make contact with the opposing goalie in the crease. Particularly egregious or clearly intentional interference may be penalized with a major penalty.
    • Interference – No player may tackle another player who does not have possession of the ball or is being passed the ball, or is in the vicinity of the ball. This is at the referee's discretion.
    • Holding – No player may hold another player when not attempting to legally tackle the other player.
    • Roughing – No player may strike another player with his elbow, knees, head, etc. intentionally. Stiff arming a player is allowable, but clothes-lining a player is not. This is along the lines of striking with the intent to injure, and is at the referee's discretion. This is a full contact game, but be reasonable.
    • Personnel violation – At no time may there be more than 8 men on the field per team. When a major penalty is committed, the offending team loses one of the players allowed on the field. While substitutions are allowed on the fly, the player coming off the field must be completely off the field before the substitute may enter the field of play. The last player to enter the field of play will be the player removed for the penalty. Leaving the field of play from outside the neutral zone will be considered a personnel violation. The player coming off the field will serve the penalty, and since he was already leaving the field, a player of the penalized team's discretion will need to be removed from the field to the bench, but may be substituted for at any time during the penalty.
    • Unsportsmanlike conduct – At the referee's discretion. Particularly violent attacks on players, harassment of the referee, fighting, excessive taunting, personal attacks, hits with intent to injure (including attacks using the ball) and indecent exposure (and other attempts to subvert the legitimacy of the game) will be punishable under unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Major penalties will result in the loss of a player on the playing field until the opposing team either scores a point or commits an offsetting major penalty. Additional penalties will result in the team losing one additional player per penalty until they have 4 players to the opposing team's 7. Then, additional penalties result in a penalty shot.
  • A penalty shot will also be assessed if the foul takes place during a shot or in the immediate windup to a shot to keep the offensive player from making a shot on goal.
  • In the event of a penalty shot, the player against whom the penalty was committed will get the ball with all other players in the neutral zone. Because there are several types of shot in Crunchball, the penalty shot will be of the same type and take place from the same place as the shot would have been had it not been for the penalty. Therefore, a shot from the top of the crease will start from the top of the offensive zone and must be taken from the top of the crease. A shot from the corner will be started with a run-up from the side where the infraction took place. The ball must be shot from the same side as the infraction.
  • Major penalties will not be enforced until the offending team gains possession of the ball. The referee will raise one hand to signal a delayed penalty.
  • The player removed from the field of play will be the player who committed the penalty, and may not be substituted for another player, except when the goalie commits a penalty.

Game penalties

The referee has the right to throw any player out of the game for extremely violent behavior, particularly bad harassment or other egregious or flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct violations.