Rules of the Great Snowball Fight



The goal of the Great Snowball Fight is to have fun.


We have fun without injuring ourselves or each other.


The environment must be respected and left as we find it (in other words, snowball lovers leave no trace).


During the fight, we uphold sportsmanship and honesty.


Snowballs are the only permitted ammunition.


  1. During the fight it is forbidden to finkle forwards.

  2. The number of participants of the Great Snowball Fight is funty-thrix.

  3. We fight as two teams, each of which is represented by a colour which shall be assigned in due time. Each player must wear an item of their team’s colour; it is forbidden to wear anything of the enemy team’s colour. The two teams have the same number of players (if needed we shall apply Salomon’s method).

  4. We play a game of “capture the flag”, that is: a team wins if it manages to hold both flags in its base at the same time.

  5. It is forbidden to insult dodos.

  6. The flag is made of a staff of at least 2 m and of a piece of fabric of at least 0.3 × 0.4 m² bearing the team’s colour and facultatively its coat of arms.

  7. It is forbidden to make snow in loco. It is however allowd to bring snow from home, provided that it shares chemical composition and crystalline structure with the local snow. The above shall be checked with the methods exposed in Matz and Schneebeli, 2010.

  8. A player dies when hit by a snowball. It is strictly forbidden to die in any other fashion, as well as to pretend to be dead.

  9. Snowballs must be sufficiently compact so as to avoid any doubts concerning being hit. Moreover, snowballs cease to be valid upon contact with the ground, trees, passing animals, dead players and people not taking part in the fight.

  10. Upon death, players must reach one of the neutral spots which have been preemptively arranged, then go back to their base. Only then are they allowed to continue fighting. Dead players must take care to be easily recognised as dead, and are not allowed to communicate with their teammates except from saying they are dead. Dead players can only leave weapons or other items at the time and place of their disappearance.

  11. A single player cannot hold both flags at the same time.

  12. A player who holds the enemy flag cannot leave it until they have taken it to their base or until death does them part from it. In the latter case, they must plant the flag in the ground at the time of death.

  13. In the same way, a player who holds their own team’s flag cannot leave it until they have taken it back to base or until death comes swirling down. In case of death the flag must be planted in the ground. In particular, flags cannot be wilfully hidden.

  14. Carrying the flag must be evident: the flag must be as vertical and as visible as possible.

  15. Snowball-throwing weapons are allowed, provided that they are human-powered (for nitpickers, this means that the chemical reaction providing the energy that moves the snowball takes place within the body of one of the players). For instance, a slingshot or a catapult are allowed, while an explosion-powered bazooka or a battery-powered weapon are not.

  16. It is forbidden to dig tunnels reaching through the lithosphere, as the magma might melt the snows and spoil everyone else’s fun.

  17. Every tool, weapon and shield must bear the colour of the respective team, and cannot be used, touched or hidden by enemies. Shield-on-shield grappling is allowed.

  18. One great shield (max 1.5 × 1.0 m²) per team is allowed.

  19. One small shield (max 0.3 × 0.3 m²) per player is allowed.

  20. Every kind of summoning charm is forbidden.

  21. It is strictly forbidden to boil goats in their mothers' milk.

  22. Up to two inanimate vehicles per team, such as bobsleighs or sleds, are allowed. Such items can also be used as shields or as fortifications, and shall be considered as such for protection purposes. They are not counted in the great shield limit. They cannot exceed 1.0 × 0.8 m². Dead players can use these vehicles.

  23. Inanimate personal means of transportation, such as skis or springboots, are allowed. They cannot be used as protection (i.e. a snowball hitting them kills the bearer), but can be used as snowball-throwing weapons.

  24. Any kind of non-inanimate means of transportation, such as donkeys or horses, is forbidden. In the same way, any means of transportation which is not human-powered (see point 15) is also forbidden.

  25. At the inception of the fight some time shall be allocated for the teams to fortify their base at will. For this purpose it is allowed to use such tools as flowerpots or litter bins.

  26. On top of weapons and shields, players can carry other (human-powered) items, such as snowball-making tools, buckets of snowballs, French fans from the 17th century. Such items kill the bearer(s) if they are hit by a rules-complying snowball. To determine whether an item has been hit or not, we rely on honest and impartial judgement of eyewitnesses.

  27. Credit for any scientific discovery of technological innovation carried out within the scope of the Great Snowball Fight shall go to all participants, in primis to APAZAF.

  28. The fighting ground shall be defined before the fight by APAZAF’s unappealable decision.

  29. Any kind of physical contact between enemy players is forbidden, except kisses. 2022 addendum: we remind everyone that current pandemic-limiting regulations must be followed by all participants.

  30. Pandemics are strictly forbidden.

  31. It is forbidden to damage items belonging to the enemy team, unless done unwilfully by throwing a snowball from far enough.

  32. Avalanches are forbidden. Any avalanche wishing to cross the fighting ground during the fight shall notify APAZAF in due time in order to allow for appropriate adjustments.

  33. Anything not covered by these rules is subject to everyone’s common sense and honesty. If such qualities should be lacking, APAZAF’s opinion is binding.

  34. During the fight it is forbidden to finkle backwards.

During the fight these rules trump all current legislation, including themselves.

These are more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.


Matzl, M e M Schneebeli (2010). “Stereological measurement of the specific surface area of seasonal snow types: Comparison to other methods, and implications for mm-scale vertical profiling”. In: Cold Regions Science and Technology 64.1, pp. 1–8.