What is basse?
Instructions and info in English.
Basse is an old Norwegian game reminiscent of bag ball, where you defend your square (actually, it’s a circle). In the game everyone plays against everyone else.
First and foremost it is a game, but you don’t have to compete and crown a winner to enjoy basse. You can also play basse stricktly for recreational (or meditative) purposes, making tricks or just passing the ball between the players.
It is Trondheim and the Trøndelag counties which is most often connected to this game, but other cities in Norway, such as Mo and Larvik, also have solid basse-traditions.
People have probably always had the need for kicking things. Either to compete, or simply to get something out of the system. Basse originated a long time ago, maybe around the year 1900 and there are many theories as to how and why.
Some say it was a result of the “invention” of football (soccer) and developed as a cheap or free alternative, when one (maybe) could not afford a leather ball.
As time went by basse earned a place in culture as a sport in its own right, especially from around the 1950s.
The basse is made from cut bicycle rubber tubes. The tube should be worn out or well used.
You do not need a lot of muscle to play basse, but good technique, balance, speed and agility is an advantage.
How to play basse
The rules and regulations of basse depend upon the time and place. Part of the charm of the game is that there are no written rules or regulations. Parts of the descriptions below are collected from the rules of the World Championships of Basse. It is, of course, all right to make ones own variations based on these.
Make the squares
The first thing one has to do is to make the squares (circles) on the ground. Every contestant makes his own square, and aims to make it as similar to the others as possible. A diameter of 1-1,5 meters is suitable.
Try to draw the squares so that one has a square in the middle. The other squares are drawn with equal distance to each other around the middle square.
It is important that the squares are not drawn too close to each other. 30-40 cm apart is okay. Make sure to agree upon from which square to enter and exit the middle square.
If you are at the receiving end of an approved goal, you get a dot against you. Agree upon how many dots it takes before you are out. 3 is most common.
Run-through of the game:
The game starts with a server. The serve must not be lower than knee-height, and must be done with just one hit at the basse with the foot.
You can hit the basse with all parts of the body except arms and hands.
The point of the game is to defend your square so that the basse doesn’t hit the ground inside it, but rather get the basse into someone else’s square. If you get an approved goal against yourself you are given a dot. It is not allowed to stand in someone else’s square. If the basse hits the ground outside the squares, a new serve is done by the player closest to the basse (or whoever playing).
The whole basse must hit the square within its boundaries for the goal to be approved. If its touching the circle, it’s not a goal (“strek”). If there’s any doubt wether the basse did touch the circle, it’s a nice rule to say it wasn’t a goal.
After an approved goal everyone moves one square clockwise before the next serve. The reason for this is that everyone gets the chance to defend the most ‘demanding’ squares.
Annulling the goal
The goal is annulled if;
a) the basse is dropped from ‘potty’ (between the thighs, the mouth or other bodily cavities) and into another players square
b) the player who scores steps into the square of the player with the goal against him
Goal on the receiving end of serve is annulled if:
c) the serve does not have a bent orbit
d) the serve is not in knee-height at any point of the orbit
e) the serve is an extension, i.e., a very hard shot by way of the receivers body and into his square
All goals are annulled at return serves (“gjenlegg”), i.e., the recipient of the serve plays straight back into the square of the player who just served, before the basse has been in contact with a third player (or the server himself).
When a player leaves, the square he or she was defending becomes a dead-square. If the basse hits the dead-square, the following may occur, depending upon which rules you have chosen to follow:
1. The last one in touch with the basse leaves the game, no matter what the dot-status is
2. The last player in touch with the basse gets a dot
3. Nothing happens, if you choose to disregard the dead-square rules. Just pick it up and serve again.
Hands and penalties
Hands is counted only after a deliberate touching of the basse with the arm. If the basse falls into the perpetrator’s square right after the hands it is counted as a goal and no penalty is taken.The penalty is made by the one who last touched the basse before the hands. There are many variations on the penalty-shot, the most common rules are:
: executor should try to put or kick the basse in the perpetrator’s square.
: executor must touch his square with at least one foot.
: the basse should be laying still on the foot before executing.
: the perpetrator must touch the circle at the back of his square with one foot until the executor has lifted his foot from the ground.
: no knee-height rule during a penalty shot.
: executor is allowed to pass the basse to another player.
: if the penalty shot is saved and the basse still is in the air the basse is back in ordinary play.
Basse out of play
The basse is put out of play as a result of the following incidences:
a) the basse hits the ground
c) during “stamp” (downward movement of the foot where the basse is hit or is thought to be hit with the sole of the foot) close to another player
d) during high kicks close to another players head
e) when a player is physically attacked with pushing and shoving
One shall attack the basse, not the player.
When there are only 2 players left a final is played. During the final there is alternate serves until a winner as been declared. Difficult serves can be objected to and must then be served again. During finals return serves are allowed.
The players are their own judges and in most cases the majority rules. Players who have left the game are welcome to continue to rule.The players are responsible to keep track of the number of dots they have incurred. To aid this you have occasional rounds where everyone announces.
Hints for playing
Basse can (and should) as a principle be played on any kind of surface.
Gravel: It is easier to draw the squares, but they are quicker to be erased. You get dirtier, but the danger of twisting your ankle is less than on tarmac. On this surface it is easier to judge if the basse was inside the square, as it leaves marks in the dirt. It is easier to let go and make the game more spectacular on this surface. Avoid the driest and dustiest grounds.
Tarmac: Drawn with white / signal spray paint, paint or chalk the squares are more durable on this surface. Increased danger of twisting joints and ankles. No trace-marks from the basse to help judge goals or penalties. When painting permanent basse-grounds it is recommended to plan the size, the number of squares and the distance between them with utmost care before you commit paint to the tarmac.
Grass: Grass is always an excellent choice of grounds for sport. It maybe difficult to draw squares here, but if you play net-basse grass feels wonderful to play on. Also when you are training, i.e., centring and practicing tricks grass is a firm favourite to play on.
Indoors: Basse can easily be played indoors, but maybe it is best to concentrate on centring. Fine motor skills, passes and balance can also be practiced indoors, but move antiques and valuables out of the way!
Indoor play in halls and gyms is fine, but also here you could face difficulties drawing up the squares. You should ally yourself with owners and maintenance-staff before spraying or painting squares in places like this.
Make the square with your heel, the inside of your shoe, a rock or a stick. If you use a piece of string as the radius and a stick at the end of it you get perfect circles as well as even thickness of the line.
If you use one of your feet as the center and draw the square with the other foot, the square is fine, but the line has a tendency to be on the thick side.
If you play on tarmac you can use white/signal spray paint, chalk or a colored rock to draw the squares. Painting squares takes more planning ahead and time.
Try to work out a reasonable collection of squares; take the number of players into account. If it’s not too many players it is a good idea to draw the middle square first and the others around this one.
Distance between squares
It is important that the squares are not drawn too closely. You get more space for ‘runs’ and you don’t bump into each other all the time. Recommended distance between squares is 30-40 cm.
Number of players
To get the best out of a round of basse, 4-8 players is recommended. 5-6 is the optimum. If you are too many players there is just too little room and you do not get involved enough in the game. Also it takes too long for the round to finish. If you are a lot of players it is better to split into groups to play and have a final between the groups at the end.
Kicking the basse/balance
Basse is largely a question of balance and swift changes of the centre of gravity. If you are in balance when you have the basse you are well advised to use the inside of your foot. With regards to the mobility of the foot this gives the best control for centring and tricks.
During harder shots (smashes) the ankle is often used. It‘s easier to get power behind the shot when you turn around in the air to kick the basse downwards.
The inner side of the foot is also good to make shots with, but it takes a lot of practice to get them hard enough. However, with the inner side it’s normally easier to hit the target more accurate.
Experienced basse-players have ‘basse-muscles’ and are able to produce spectacular shots from any angle or side.
It is often a good idea to lower the velocity of the basse on thighs or the chest to find your balance again before you shoot or centres on – or hit a giant smash.
Even if the point of the game is to get the basse into someone else’s square, it doesn’t mean that co-operation and playing beautifully is taboo. Spectacular runs, centres and turns are encouraged. The term ‘back-room’ gets a new dimension in basse.
Because one shall defend the square it is important to place oneself in relation to where the basse is. It is well advised to stand at the front of the square and make yourself ‘big’, but note that too wide a scope will make it easier to hit a tunnel.
If you play a final, one should leave the square to make it smaller, but note the risk of a lob.
It might be advisable to move the dead-square in relation to how many players are left and where they are located. If the basse lands in the dead-square the player is out of the game (“blakka”) or is given a dot.
It is also common to play without dead-squares, but the rounds will take longer to complete. This should all be agreed upon before the round commences.
To be the first to leave the game is boring, but there is no use crying over spilt basse (!). Make sure you have a number of basses available, so that you can practice and keep warmed up and limber until the next round starts.
The final is a game between the last two who are stil in the game. It’s recomended that the player with the least dots serves first in the final. With an equal number of dots it is noble to offer to serve first.
To avoid getting too close during the final it can be a good idea to play with a square between the two finalists.
It is best to play without dead-squares in the final. It is no fun loosing that way, besides, it is more worthy of a winner to finish off with a smash or a lob.
There are many variations on the rules of basse and one can make ones own as one tries out different kinds of basse-play. Just agree upon which rules apply before the game begins.