Let the dorm games begin

By Lindsay Cameron

Since creating new games to play around the dorms, many Ashland University students embrace rainy days and boring weeknights with a competitive fervor.

Enough to quell the groans of students who hate Ashland for being dull, simple games played in hallways, lobbies and basements with office supplies and Nerf toys survive the radar of resident assistants and thrive in dorms.

Here are some dorm games AU students play, which you might also consider playing:

Hall Ball

Sophomore Mark Scott created Hall Ball, a combination of football and soccer, with his friends on the third floor of Jacobs last fall.

The game is played with two people, 25 feet away from each other, shoes marking their goal lines. The object of the game is to onside kick the mini Nerf football past the defendant, who tries to block the onside kick. The first person to score five points, but with a two-point lead, wins. The kicker may aim for the walls, but the ball must hit the ground first. Possession of the ball alternates each kick. If the defender blocks the kick, but it rolls too far towards the kicker, the kicker is granted a “redo.”

Scott said Hall Ball is a good way to meet people on the floor and “be more involved in your hall…literally.”

“It lets you experience your individuality,” he said. “We [he and his hall mates] enjoy athletics and it was a way to put off homework and have a good time.”

The games are always competitive, he said, and some final scores reach as high as 11-9.

Extreme Telephone

A telephone made of Taco Bell cups and wool stretches the length of Kilhefner’s hallways, and if time allows, a larger version will connect Kilhefner and Clark Halls.

Alex Sheil was with the upperclassmen swimmers in their Kilhefner dorm room when they demonstrated their working version of a can-and-string telephone, with wool substituting the string and Taco Bell cups substituting the cans. It stretched the length of their room.

“I had never seen it work before,” Sheil said. “We started experimenting with adding extra links and double lines. Then we decided to try and stretch from one end of the floor to the other and we spent a long time trying to get that to work.”

Matthew Cook and his roommates came up with the idea.

“When we made the phone as kids we discussed milk and cookies; now we just talk trash,” he said. “I guess we turned into jerks. The only thing that stayed the same was the giggling like that of a young school girl.”

They realized they would need stronger materials to stretch their creation to the Clark dorm rooms, where the girls on the swim team lived, and devised a plan. Sheil said they have not had the time to build the larger telephone yet.

Four Halls Golf Challenge

Boys in Amstutz found out none of the floors in the building are level when they played golf in the square hallways.

Competitors must putt the square of the hallway, beginning and ending with room 813. The final putt must hit 813’s door. Players are penalized for putting into another door. They may use furniture, recycling bins, or other objects to ricochet their putts.

One mulligan is allowed per player and players are permitted to putt at others’ golf balls, so as to put another player at a disadvantage. A “hole in one” is four strokes. A par is six or seven strokes.

RAs do not mind Eric Vittardi and Vince Gay playing putt-putt on the eighth floor because their goal is never to hit the wall. If a putt hits the wall, there is a two-stroke deduction.

“It’s not advantageous for you to hit it as hard as you can,” Vittardi said. “You want to hit it softer.”

Ray Arnold, the eighth floor RA, said the game would be boring and easy before he ever experienced the game. According to Vittardi, once Arnold played, he said: “I’m bringing my putter back. This is gonna get serious.”

The dips on each floor are different and so each floor is its own course. This is why, Vittardi said, the boys had discussed having a tournament involving many floors. The eighth floor boys once tried playing from the eighth to the sixth floor. The steps were too difficult to putt upon, and when a ball was lost in the elevator shaft, they decided to never try that idea again. Any person who putts into the elevator is now disqualified.

Gay said the game “de-stresses” him and takes his mind off of his obligations. He and his roommate had placed a towel in front of their door so it wouldn’t be damaged by the ball. Gay said it remained there for a long time because they played nearly every day.

There are four or five putters on the floor; 75 percent of the floor plays the game and they are developing new courses, such as a par three into the kitchenette.

The game was created by senior Ted Brink who now lives in Clayton.


Invented by Milton Bradley, ScramBall, a game from senior John Grimm’s childhood, is popular among him and his college friends.

Up to six players wear three colored wristbands. The person wearing the corresponding color to the color rolled on a foam dice grabs the ball and immediately yells, “Freeze!” Every other player, who has had to run as far away as they could, freezes. The person with the ScramBall takes three steps to get close to someone and then must try to hit someone with the ball. If a person is hit, the thrower collects a wristband. If the ball is caught, the catcher collects a wristband from the thrower. Whoever collects six wristbands first is the winner.

“My biggest goal is not to catch the ball,” Grimm said. “My biggest goal is to disappear. So I’m always grabbing things around me and burying myself. I try to make myself as small as possible.”

In Myers’s basement, Grimm hid behind recycling bins, underneath overturned furniture and among couch cushions.

Grimm’s favorite ScramBall memory with his college friends occurred as he explained the rules to them. Jim Slike, without understanding, chucked the ScramBall at Eddie Carney from four feet away. It hurt his face for a few hours, Carney said.

“Ashland’s not boring,” Grimm said. “There’s a lot to do, it just depends on how creative you are. It depends on the friends you make and what you make of the place you’re in.


Junior Zach Heffner invented the game V-darts with his high school friend, Jake. Heffner now plays this war game with his friends in the basement of Myers Hall.

V-Darts involves rolling an inch-long piece of paper into a cigarette shape, and then bending it into a V position. This V is then shot by placing the inside point of the V onto the rubber band, holding the two ends of the V, pulling it back like a slingshot and releasing. If you are hit by the V-Dart, you are dead, and therefore must proclaim a blood-curdling distress as you hit the floor so the other players know you are out of the game.

There are many versions to the game. Like most elimination games, it has the typical rule of “you’re hit, you’re out.” Dark Assassin is often done in Myers Basement with the lights out and vending machines unplugged, where the offensive team enters into the room to begin the game as the defensive team waits in the dark.

Heffner said his game is like the poor man’s version of air-soft guns.

People can usually tell when Heffner and his friends are playing, Heffner said, because he has the V-Darts stuck in a band tied around his head.

“They’ve got the making of V-Darts down to a science,” senior Matt Durbin said.

Durbin once hid on top of the vending machines, only to be shot by friend Keenan Franley, who had lain atop the other end long before Durbin.

“It helps you stay sane after a stressful week of school,” Heffner said. “As we get older we forget to play as much and it brings out the child in you. Sometimes there’s nothing to do in Ashland, but life is what you make it.”

Heffner said it is about “living life and not letting life live you.” He and his friends do not go drinking on the weekends for fun. With just paper and a rubber band, they make their own fun, and can play the game for hours.

Hopscotch on Crack

Neon duct tape on the fourth floor of Clayton Hall last semester created over forty psychedelic hopscotch squares for the honors girls, a game they coined “Hopscotch on Crack.”

According to Alicia Smith, her friend Megan Liggett thought of the idea when they went to Taft Elemenatary School to hopscotch on the playground.

Smith said they bought about $10 worth of tie-dye, green, orange, teal, yellow and purple duct tape. She said the event helped them communicate better with other girls and unified the floor. The girls often had races to see who could hop the course the fastest.

“Our RA really wants us to do it [again] ‘cause it was a really fun activity,” said Rachel Carson, who participated in the hopscotch events. “Our floor ended up being divided because the other half is freshmen so she wants us to bring everyone together.”

Carson said Liggett “was quiet sometimes and it brought her out of her shell,” recalling how loud she had been on those hopscotchin’ nights.

Carson said it was funny to watch drunken students try to complete the course at 2 a. m.


Crud is played on a pool table, with the cue and eight ball and no sticks. The object of the game is to avoid receiving the letters C-R-U-D, such as in the basketball game HORSE. Letters are given to a player when the player cannot, with the cue ball, hit the eight ball away from going into a pocket, or the eight ball stops rolling before the player can hit the eight ball with the cue ball.

The cue ball must always be rolled forward – never to the side or dropped vertically – and must take place behind the width of the pool table. Each player has unlimited attempts to hit the eight ball with the cue ball, until the ball stops rolling. When the eight ball is struck with the cue ball, it is the next player’s turn. When a player receives the final letter, “D,” the player is out.

Jordan Messner plays Crud with his friends in Jacobs lobby and at the Rec Center.

“It’s cheap,” he said. “I like it because it keeps me out of trouble. I don’t like to drink. I like to keep my nose clean.”

Travis Bowers said his favorite Crud memory was when their friend Keenan Franley whipped the cue ball so hard it bounced off the pool table in the Rec Center and landed harshly upon the inner thigh of Messner, who had been sitting in a chair nearby.

“It gives students a chance to relax from work,” Lucas Bowers said.

Dorm games are not a cure-all for college boredom, Bobby Schmitz said, but they unite friends and are “something to turn to when you need it to help pass the time.”