Leave it to the Japanese to come up with a game that looks like a lot of fun to play at camp. I am a huge fan of dodgeball (the movie and the game) and a huge fan of adding twists to traditional activities. Pillow Fight is like a themed version of dodgeball. It’s so big in Japan that they have official tournaments and even have the All Japan Pillow Fighting Association.
Here are the Basic Rules of a Pillow Fight Tournament
- Teams consist of 5 players (though, each team can have a few pillow retrievers as well)
- Everyone starts in a sleeping position
- Teams must stay on their own court – the size of 20 sleeping mats (about 356 square feet)
- A player is out if a pillow hits him/her (even if they catch the pillow they’re out) – they then must go back to “sleep” for the remainder of the game
- If a pillow hits two players, only the first one hit is out
- One person may play defense using their futon (a Japanese quilted mattress) as a shield (though a sleeping bag would work as well, I’m sure)
- Head shots are fine
- There is no way to bring back players into the game like in dodgeball
- The main goals is to hit the “boss” or captain of the team
“The Teacher is Coming!”
There is one more rule (and I love this addition); a team can use “The Teacher is Coming” play. When used, the referee blows the whistle and yells, “The teacher is coming!” All players must get to their bed and pretend to go to sleep – as though they are on a school trip and the teacher is coming to check on them – all players, that is, except for the captain of the team that called for the play. The captain (teacher?) gets 10 seconds to gather up any pillows from the other team’s side. At the end of the 10 seconds the game resumes.
If played at the right time, this could change the game. I’m unsure if both teams can call out this play and how many times they can use it. The only place I found the official rules was in a video that was all in Japanese. Gakkari! (bummer!)
There are official pillows, but unless you’re planning a trip to Japan, you’ll need to find an alternative. I checked Amazon and Alibaba to see if they sold them – nope (but Amazon sells everything, right? – aw, skunked again).
Whatever pillows you use, make sure they are soft, free of zippers and plastic edges and don’t have hard corners.
If you happen to try this out, please send me a video. I would love to see it.