Stairball is a game for two players.
The objective of Stairball is to have accumulated more runs than the opposing player at the completion of the game.
Stairball requires a ball and a staircase.
Any rules listed hereafter may be suspended or otherwise modified for the duration of a single game with the consent of both of the players.
The ball shall be eligible for play if it is spherical and has no spikes, wedges, or other distinguishing impurities which would prohibit it from rolling in a straight path down a smooth plane.
The ball shall be eligible for play if it can bounce a distance equal to or greater than half the distance back to its source should it be dropped upon a hard surface.
The ball shall be eligible for play if three exact replicas of the ball could fit widthwise on any one of the stairs of the staircase.
Within the same game, only one ball may be used. If the ball is lost or becomes unfit for play during the game, a replacement ball may be used; however, the inning in which such an exchange occurs must be replayed.
The staircase shall be eligible for play if it contains at least seven (7) and no more than fifteen (15) individual stairs. This is not an official maximum, but staircases with more than fifteen stairs are generally considered too long.
In a game, both players must play every turn on the same staircase.
The FLOOR shall be defined as the area beneath the bottom of the face of bottom stair. The floor is not considered a stair for the purposes of any rule herein.
The LANDING shall be defined as the area above the top stair. The landing is not considered a stair for the purposes of any rule herein.
An IMMOVABLE OBSTRUCTION is any object other than the floor, landing, or staircase which exists within the environment that cannot be readily moved by the players. This includes any handrails, walls, doors, windows, etc.
A MOVABLE OBSTRUCTION is any object other than the ball which exists within the environment which can be moved by the players. This includes any loose clothing, third parties, waste baskets, etc.
The ENVIRONMENT is the entire field of play, encompassing the floor, landing, staircase, players, and any present obstructions, movable or immovable.
4. Prior to the Commencement of Play
Prior to the commencement of play, the players must determine which of them shall become the AWAY TEAM. The other player, by default, becomes the HOME TEAM. If they cannot come to a decision, a random method such as a coin flip shall be employed.
Prior to the commencement of play, the players may specify an OVERSEER, be he official or not. An overseer is a third party who offers advice to the players should any disputes arise; he may also maintain the official score for the players. Unofficial overseers have no power to overrule a decision made by the players. (League play may mandate that official overseers be present in certain games. League charters should delineate the powers of an overseer.)
Prior to the commencement of play, the players must specify an OFFICIAL SCORECARD. When the players denote the official scorecard, at that time they should list anyone who is overseeing the game upon the official scorecard.
Prior to the commencement of play, the players may decide upon a defined landing area.
The LANDING AREA shall be defined as a subsection of the floor which the ball must touch in order for the recent play to be successful.
If no specified landing area is defined, then the entire floor shall be considered the landing area.
Prior to the commencement of play, all movable obstructions must be cleared of the landing area and the staircase.
If any movable obstruction is discovered later in the game, it may be removed from the environment at the consent of the players.. Should this the affect the outcome of a recent play, the play may be ruled dead. An obstruction removed under this Rule must remain out of the environment for the remainder of play.
Any movable obstruction that is not removed prior to the commencement of play shall be considered immovable. These obstructions must remain in their original positions throught the game; this includes returning them to their positions if they are moved during a play. This Rule is subserviant to Rule 4.5.1.
The away team shall take its turn first, followed by the home team.
An INNING shall be defined as a set of two consecutive turns, always beginning with the away team. (A turn hereafter may be referred to also as a half-inning, the away team's turns as the top of an inning, and the home team's turns as the bottom of an inning.)
The player who is in the process of taking his turn is AT BAT. The other player is the INACTIVE PLAYER.
A PLAY shall be defined as the series of events beginning with the release of the ball from the player's hand, so long as the player has possession of the ball before it is released, and concluding with the ball touching the landing area. There is no play if the player does not have control of the ball at its commencement. There is a play if the ball never reaches the landing area; see Rules 6.4 and 6.5.
While a play is in progress the ball shall be considered to be a LIVE BALL. Otherwise, the ball shall be considered to be a DEAD BALL.
Upon beginning a play, neither of the two feet of the player may be completely across the plane of the staircase. (See Rule 6.7.2 for defintion of the plane of the staircase.) This Rule implies that the player at bat must begin his play with his feet in some form of contact with the landing. Without this condition met, there is no play; see Rule 6.8.1.
Whenever the live ball comes in contact with the floor the ball immediately becomes dead. The play has then ended.
The player at bat begins his turn by tossing the ball in an attempt to create a play in which the ball does not hit any of the stairs. If he succeeds it is said that he has "cleared" zero stairs. If he fails, he tries again with the next play to clear zero stairs. The consequences of failing in an attempt during the turn are outlined in Rule 6.
Once the player has cleared zero stairs, he then attempts to similarly start a play in order to clear one stair. If he fails, he tries again with the next play to clear one stair.
Once the player has cleared one stair, he then attempts to similarly start a play in order to clear two stairs. This continues until the player is to attempt to clear every stair of the staircase. If he is successful in clearing every stair, his turn is ended.
"Hitting a stair" may involve either hitting the stair itself (horizontal area) or the face of the stair (vertical area).
Subsequent instances of the ball hitting a stair after it already has hit that stair during the play shall not be counted towards the total for that play.
Should the live ball come in contact with an immovable obstruction, no action is taken. The play continues regardless of the alteration in its path.
6. Consequences of the Play
A turn is also ended once the player at bat receives three OUTs.
If a play occurs where the ball hits the landing area before hitting the required number of stairs, the player at bat receives an out.
If a play occurs which hits more stairs than the number required before reaching the landing area, the player at bat receives an out. The ball is dead as soon as it hits the stair which puts the player over the goal.
If the ball comes to rest without reaching the landing area, the player at bat receives an out. The ball becomes dead once it completely stops moving. The player at bat may declare a ball dead before it completely stops moving if it is obvious to both players that it will come to rest without reaching the floor.
If the ball hits any area of the floor besides the landing area, the player at bat receives an out. (By Rule 5.7, the ball immediately becomes dead as soon as it hits the floor.)
The following rule outlines occurances of DEAD PLAYs. They may also occur elsewhere within the Official Rules. The result of every dead play involves re-attempting the previous play; the current amount of stairs is not considered to be cleared, nor is any out awarded to the player at bat.
The act which causes any play to be dead also causes the ball to become dead.
Should a movable obstruction interfere with the path of the live ball, the play is dead. (Note that, by Rule 4.5.2, a movable obstruction that has been in place from the start of the game is considered immovable for the purposes of a current play.)
All plays are dead wherein the ball is initially put in motion while it is physically in contact with the landing or any of the stairs.
If there is a discrepancy among the players with respect to the number of stairs that the ball hit during the play, the play may be ruled dead at the consent of both the players. (This is the recommended way to settle most game disputes.)
If an out would be awarded to a player and an action occurs that would cause the play to be dead afterwards, the out stands as the result of the play. If the play would be dead before the out was to be recorded, the play is dead. If the players cannot decide which event occured first, the play is dead.
The Planes of the Landing and Staircase (Mike's Rule)
The PLANE OF THE LANDING extends horizontally out from the edge of the landing, perpendicular to the face of each stair and parallel to the floor and the stairs themselves.
The PLANE OF THE STAIRCASE extends vertically up from the the edge of the landing, perpendicular to the stairs, the floor, and the landing itself.
All plays are dead wherein the ball is initially put in motion across the plane of the staircase and/or the plane of the landing and the ball is initially moving backwards. (Define "backwards" as moving back towards the plane of the landing if it's past the plane of the landing and moving away from the first stair if it's behind the plane of the landing.)
Following from Rule 6.6.4, if the players disagree upon the number of stairs that are to be cleared with the next play, the players may revert the game to the last remembered point.
If the player at bat releases the ball with either of his feet entirely beyond the plane of the staircase, his play is not legal. Regardless of what occurs during the play, the play is unsuccessful. The player at bat receives an out.
If the player at bat comes in contact with or knowingly attempts to alter the path of the live ball, his play is not legal. As soon as the ball is touched, the play is over. Regardless of what else occured during the play, it is unsuccessful. The player at bat receives an out.
The PLANE OF THE FLOOR extends vertically from the face of the bottom stair, parallel to the faces of the other stairs and perpendicular to the floor and landing.
The inactive player should attempt to stay on the floor as much as possible during the game. However, this Rule does not force the inactive player to stay on the floor at any point of the game.
The inactive player is a movable obstruction; if he interferes with the live ball, by Rule 6.6.2, the play must be ruled dead, except in certain circumstanes listed below. It is expected in good sportsmanship that the inactive player will not intentionally interfere with a live ball before it crosses the plane of the floor or before its path is obvious to both players.
If the inactive player alters the path of a live ball which has crossed the plane of the floor, the play is over and stands as if the ball had hit the landing area. (Note that if the inactive player opts not to alter the path of such a ball and it returns to the staircase without touching any part of the floor, the number of stairs hit on the play continues to accumulate.)
If the inactive player alters the path of a live ball which has not crossed the plane of the floor, if it has hit exactly the required number of stairs, the player at bat is awarded the play as if it had hit the landing area. The amount of stairs that was attempted in this scenario is considered cleared.
If the inactive player alters the path of a live ball which has crossed the plane of the floor and whose next bounce would have landed somewhere upon the floor, but it is unclear where on the floor the ball would have landed, the play may be ruled dead. (Recall Rule 7.3.)
If the inactive player alters the path of a live ball before it crosses the plane of the staircase and before it has hit the required number of stairs, award the play as successful to the active player. Disregard this Rule in cases of blatant abuse, for instance if the player at bat throws at the inactive player who is standing on the staircase with no attempt to clear the correct number of stairs, or if it is obvious to both players that the ball could not possibly clear the required number of stairs, etc.
Following from Rules 6.6.4 and 6.8, if the actions of the inactive player cause a dispute, the play may be ruled dead.
8. Completing the Turn and Game
When a player's turn has concluded, he and the opposing player switch positions. The opposing player comes to bat and the player at bat becomes the inactive player.
At the conclusion of each turn, the score of that turn must be recorded on the offical scorecard. See Rule 9.6.
The game endures for nine innings, with the exception of a tie game at such a time; see Rules 8.4-8.5.
The bottom of the ninth inning shall be played only if the away team is leading or the score is tied after the top of the ninth inning.
If the score is tied after nine innings of play, the game goes into extra innings. Play in extra innings is conducted in the same fashion as standard play as explained by these Rules, with the sole exception that the player's turn is over after he receives one out (instead of three).
A game in extra innings is in sudden-death. The game will end if a team is winning at the end of any inning past the ninth.
By Rules 8.5, 9.5, and 9.8, if the away team fails to clear zero in an extra inning, the game is over. The bottom of that inning need not be played.
A game may be suspended at any time by the request of either player. If this occurs during a player's turn, the number of outs and the next quantity of stairs must be noted on the official scorecard. If the game is not completed within two weeks, it is discarded.
The resumption of a suspended game must occur upon the same staircase on which the game was begun, with the same ball. If the original ball cannot be produced for the game, a replacement ball may be used; however, per Rule 2.1.4, if the game was suspended in the middle of an inning, the entire inning must be replayed with the new ball.
If, for whatever reason, the staircase on which a suspended game was being played becomes unfit for further play, the game must be replayed in its entirety upon a different staircase.
The official score of the game shall be kept and tabulated on the official scorecard.
The score for a turn shall be calculated after the turn is over.
The score for a turn shall be equal to an amount of runs equal to the greatest number of stairs cleared during the turn.
If a turn ends with the player at bat clearing the entire staircase, the score for the turn includes a premium of two runs.
If a player fails in clearing zero, along with the out assessed for failing to clear zero the player receives a premium of negative five runs. These premiums are cumulative and are compounded with any positive runs that the player accumulates during the rest of the turn.
At the conclusion of each turn, by Rule 7.1.2, the score for that turn must be recorded on the official scorecard. Both players should verify the correct score for the turn at that time.
The total score of a player shall be determined by the sum of the scores of each his individual turns.
If the bottom of the ninth is not played, the home team shall receive a score of zero for that turn, expressed on the scorecard with the capital letter "X."
The winner of the game is the player who has accumulated the most runs during the game.
At the conclusion of the game, each player must sign the official scorecard to confirm the outcome of the game. Any overseers that witnessed the game should also sign the scorecard at its conclusion.