Games & Leisure

Overview

Humans are a resourceful lot, and ever since the beginning of recorded history they've exercised their remarkable mental capabilities to come up with new ways of amusing themselves. This page details those sports and leisure activities popular among the citizens of the Twelve Colonies.


Martial Arts

Pankration

The most common form of martial art in the Colonies is Pankration, a mixed martial art hailing back to the days of Kobol. The traditional competitive form covers a wide array of technique including hand strikes, kicks, throws, and grappling. Hand strikes and grappling are the most favored techniques, and while present, kicks tend to be low and practical, designed to trip or injure the knee or ankle. Excessive or flamboyant kicking tends to be looked down on, to the point where telling your opponent "You kick well" is not a complement. Competitive Pankration is one of the big-draw Olympic events, and competition at this level is far more of a fight than a sport. Competitors are often injured, and deaths, though rare, have occurred.

Many different styles have evolved over time, ranging from sporting / recreational styles to the more practical combat versions taught in the Fleet and CMC. These styles can all be broadly divided into two main versions: Ano Pankration is a 'hard' style similar to karate, and focus on strikes and kicks; Kato Pankration is a 'soft' style more along the lines of Judo or Aikido, focusing on throws and holds.

Bolkat Kontakta

A relatively new martial art is Bolkat Kontakta. Introduced by the Arpay some twenty years ago, it is now fairly popular as a practical self-defense style. The general principles of BK are:

  • The best way to win a fight is by avoiding it altogether. Any and all verbal resolutions should be exhausted before resorting to physical responses. If this means that the practitioner looks like a coward, so be it. You may very well be saving the life of the aggressor by not attacking.
  • Counter attacking as soon as possible (or attacking preemptively) by aggressively attacking into the coming attack or combining a defensive and offensive movement.
  • Targeting attacks to the body's most vulnerable points such as the eyes, jaw, throat, groin, knee etc. In the military style many movements are practiced that will leave the opponent’s throat open to a highly lethal strike to crush the larynx or head. The civilian and law enforcement style will focus on knees, shoulders, elbows, and the groin.
  • Neutralizing the opponent as quickly as possible by responding with an unbroken stream of counter attacks and if necessary a take down/joint break to force their submission.

Pyramid

The most popular sport in the Twelve Colonies by far, Pyramid is a close-quarters ball game played on a pyramid-shaped arena — hence its name. The object is to score points by getting a ball into one of three goals.

Official Regulations

Organization and Equipment

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A makeshift but regulation-size Pyramid arena.

A regulation Pyramid court has three goals, or heads. Each is mounted on a six-foot backboard and placed at the center of each edge of the court, which is shaped like an equilateral triangle with edges of fifteen feet. Additional backboards are located at each vertex.

A regulation Pyramid ball is the size of a cantaloupe and weighs approximately half a pound. It is constructed from thirty-two panels of waterproofed leather.

Each professional Pyramid team has twelve active players, though only three may be on the court at any given time. A professional game is officiated by three referees, one for each edge.

Play

At the start of each match, one player from each team attempts to win possession by means of a face-off at the center of the court (the “C-spot,” for short). Players with the ball can take no more than three paces without passing, shooting, or rebounding ("banking") the ball off the ground or a backboard. Players without the ball may move about the court freely, and may also jostle each other for position within limits.

Certain sections of the court (the C-spot and the space in front of each vertex’s backboard) are designated as neutral zones. When a player is in one of these zones, other players must back off and may not make contact. However, full contact is allowed when the ball is not in a neutral zone.

Once a player with possession has been tackled to the ground, she must get rid of the ball, whether by passing, banking, or shooting.

A team that scores relinquishes possession of the ball to its opponent.

Fouls

Pyramid is a full-contact game. However, certain behaviors — called “fouls” — are prohibited.

A team whose player is whistled for a minor foul must relinquish possession to the other team, which will begin play at the c-spot. Such fouls include traveling (taking more than three steps with the ball), goaltending (blocking a head), neutral zone violation (tackling a player in a neutral zone), and excessive celebration (an unreasonable display of poor sportsmanship).

A team whose player is whistled for a flagrant foul is charged with a penalty shot, during which a member of the other team is granted a free shot at a head from the neutral zone directly opposite. Such fouls include tripping, illegal block in the back, horse-collaring, and pass interference.

Scoring

Each successful goal or penalty shot earns a team one point. Professional games last for four quarters of ten minutes apiece. If the game is tied after regulation, play continues during successive five-minute overtime periods until one team wins.

Tactics and Strategy

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A battered Pyramid ball.

Pyramid players usually fall into one of three archetypal roles.

  • Points are offensive specialists, tasked with doing one thing: running up the score. Some are armed with a dizzying array of trick shots; others simply ram opponents out of the way to clear up their own shooting lane.
  • Posts are defensive specialists. “Man posts” are hard-nosed tacklers who bash their opponents into submission; “zone posts” are light-footed defenders who play off their opponents and intercept balls in the air.
  • Swings are smart and versatile players tasked with winning face-offs and distributing the ball. They’re also charged with changing their side’s offensive and defensive formations to take advantage of mismatches on the court.

The ball’s small size and the head’s cupped design make shots from the edges quite a bit more difficult. However, the closer to the center of the arena a player gets, the more defenders can converge. Some teams favor large and physical players capable of battling over and winning the good shooting space directly in front of the goal; others feature deadly accurate shooters who can convert those difficult outside shots.

Leagues

The Colonies boast a vast number of Pyramid teams and leagues, from municipal nine-and-under peewee squads to big-money franchises with billions of fans.

The Colonial Pyramid League is the professional league, containing forty teams divided into four conferences of ten.

The Inter-Colonial Collegiate Pyramid Association is the top-tier collegiate Pyramid association in the Colonies.


Triad

Triad is a type of bluffing card game similar to poker played in the Twelve Colonies. The hexagonal card faces are abstract symbols that are not explained in the series. The back of the cards show a large star surrounded by a border with smaller stars. It can be played in traditional or strip fashion. "Full Colors" is the name of the highest winning hand in the game. Players declare their hands after betting is concluded, or "fold" (resign) depending on the cards they were dealt. Ron Moore has stated on several occasions that there are no official rules and the actors adlib it.

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