At least 4 people, but more people make for more fun
Chalk to draw a court
If you can’t find a Four Square court, use sidewalk chalk to draw your own. The court consists of four equally sized quadrants, numbered 1 to 4. Players begin the game randomly assigned to the squares, but rotate based on a hierarchy after points are won and lost. To begin, the player in square one “serves” using his hands to hit a rubber playground ball into one of the adjacent squares. The player whose square it lands in has to respond in kind; that player has only one bounce to hit it into another player’s square or the player is “out.” Players may use any part of their hands from wrist to fingertip, one hand or both, to hit the ball, but at no time are they allowed to carry, catch, or hold the ball. The players rotate based on a hierarchy. If player 2 loses, he moves to square number 4 (or the back of the line) and the other players move up. The player in square 1 always starts the new round.
Players may be “out” for enacting the following errors:
- A player hits the ball out of bounds.
- A player fails to hit the ball properly into another player’s square.
- A player hits the ball incorrectly by carrying or holding.
- A player violates a special rule invoked by the highest square.
Hit the ball into an opponent’s square and defend your own. Move through the ranks and try to get to square number one to become King.
It’s good to be king
Typically the player in Square 1 is referred to as King. If afforded the power to do so, the player may invoke any rule he wants. This varies playground to playground, but adding rules like “players must use both hands when hitting the ball,” or, “players must say the name of the player to whom they are hitting,” helps mix the game up a bit.