Hints and Tips

1. There's safety in numbers. Players' pieces can only defend themselves against 'laming' and removal by the mob by running, unless there are three or more of them grouped together in a protective formation.

2. Always keep enough pieces back to defend your goal (remember they cannot move backwards untill they reach their opponent's end).

3. Don't be in too much of a hurry to pick up the Bladder, wait until you have a strong 'field position'.

4. Use the extra side squares (9C, 9D, 10C and 10D) to attack a linear defence.

5. Spread play and get men around the back of your opponents team - even if you are not in possession of the bladder. 6. Lepers should avoid playing on hard or stoney ground.

Or - 'Other Ways to Enjoy your Bladder'

As with any game, there are many ways to play Bladder. Listed below are some ways in which you can just subtly alter the strategic emphasis and some entirely different scenarios. An elegant and challenging variation is to play Bladder without the Two to Tackle rule. This, you will find, calls for a more considered build up, as you will have to leave more men in defence to cope with an attack on goal. For a more dynamic, attacking game though, try playing the normal rules but increasing the distance that you can pass the bladder to four squares; you'll be amazed the difference it makes.

If you do get the urge to experiment with your Bladder, then why not email us with your thoughts, or even suggest a completely new and mental Bladder scenario of your own (see the end of this section of the website for further incentives!).

1. 'Real Time Bladder'.

To play Real Time Bladder we must give the Bladder Board a grid...
Seen from behind the dark team, left to right squares in the main square are numbered '1' to '8'. The back row of the dark team, in end to end terms, is 'A' and moving alphabetically to the other end, the back row of the light team is 'H'. Again, seen from behind the dark team, the two extra flanking squares on the left are number reference 9 (9D and 9E) and the two extra flanking squares on the right are number reference 10 (10D and 10E).
Real Time Bladder is the same as regular Bladder except that instead of players taking their move alternately, they write down their moves (EG as both players' possible opening moves, Dark - B4 to C4 and Light - G3 to F4) without letting one another see their 'orders'. They then reveal their moves simultaneously and make their moves together. In the event that both players instruct pieces to move to the same square, the pieces are deemed to have had a clash of heads and both are removed. Any laming or tackling resulting from the moves is done after both players have completed their moves.
If one of the player's moves was to attempt to take possession of the bladder then this player must nominate which piece he intended to carry the bladder as a part of his or her written order. Failure to do so will result in not being allowed to take possession of the bladder that go. If a bladder carrier is the target of a successful laming, then (as with regular Bladder) the aggressor lames (takes) the piece and gets possession of the Bladder – Provided of course that said aggressor nominated a carrier themselves.
Players must also state in their written orders when they are attemting to 'tackle' or 'lame' (or both). It is OK to write a lame or tackle order that fails (ie there is no penalty for a failed attempt) but if LAME or TACKLE was not added to an order, with the target for the lame or tackle being stated, a player may not remove an opponent's piece or take possession of the bladder - even if the situation that results from the move would otherwise have resulted in one or the other. Only the intended (and stated) targets may be removed or tackled. In other words a player may not accidentally lame or tackle an opponent.
There is no 'Half Time' rule in Real Time Bladder, as neither team goes first. In all other respects, objective, movement etc,
Real Time Bladder is the same as Bladder.

2. 'Hidden Hero's Bladder'

Most contests have a magic moment, or one piece of individual brilliance, which is often attributed with being the point at which a game turns in favour of one side. With 'Hidden Hero's Bladder', you can add to your own magic moment by having one piece in your team who is destined to do something "unbelievable" (as Alan Hanson would say).
This super-human feet of medieval majesty is, in Hidden Hero's Bladder, a double move (an extra move straight after a normal move - for one chosen piece). Your potential hero is marked out before the game by secretly (out of sight of your opponent) sticking a small piece of sticky tape (or with a dob of paint - or whatever) on the underside of the chosen player piece. It is then up to you where you place your big 'new signing' in your team before kick -off. You must remember (no checking after kick-off) which piece it is and then choose when during the game, your hero is to execute his (or her) amazing double move. When executing it you must show your opponent the tape or mark as proof that said piece is your hero. If you have lost track of your Hidden Hero and discover, upon declaring that you are about to play it's double move, that the piece whose bottom you are showing to your opponent is not marked, you have forfeited your double move for the game. In all other respects Hidden Hero's Bladder is the same as regular Bladder.
You may of course combine 'Hidden Hero's Bladder' with 'Real Time Bladder' or indeed any of the Bladder alternatives... it's up to you!

3. 'Bladder Two's'

'Bladder Two's' is the same as regular Bladder in all respects except that all pieces may move one or two squares (forwards, diagonally forwards (in a straight line only i.e. not like a knight in chess) or sideways. You may of course keep adding to a pieces capabilities numerically but we find that what would be 'Bladder Three's ', or more, looses touch with 'reality' and play becomes unsatisfactory.