Introduction to Water Warfare Games, Game Setup Theory, and Hosting

Vast in its variety of capable games, water warfare has countless possibilities on organizing game rules. What matters is for the water warring group to find the games and rules that work best for them and this will vary widely amongst groups. HydroBrawl Water Warfare operates under a set of strictly defined factors for creating rules and games out of, and this section aims to provide advice on specifying your own rules instead of merely giving game sample suggestions.

All water war gamesets feature common factors and variables that must be defined to running such games. There are two types of rules to look at: game-specific and organizational-specific. Rules such as how hits are counted or safety rules such as water quality restrictions are organizational-specific. Rules that pertain to specific games, such as scoring or time limits, are game-specific.


  • Hit Rules: How hits are defined or counted; generally more of an organizational-specific factor than game-specific but can be both. Examples include honor-based approximations as well as visual-based target devices; everything from gridded/water-stained fabrics to traditional destructable targets. The limitation of having small targets is unintuitive as they can be damaged by means other than being hit.
  • Battlefield Requirements: Limitations and requirements on playing environment, such as location, size, amount of cover, refill sources, etc.
  • Playing Area: Limitations on where players may go and what they may do within the playing environment. This may be team-specific too. (i.e. One team may have different boundaries than the other, to prevent them from going into the enemy’s Base.)
  • Tiebreakers: Rules for settling tied games. (When applicable.)
  • Safety and Equipment Handling: Rules to control how players borrow equipment, how they may use such equipment safely, etc. The aim of these rules are to prevent injury to players and damage to property. This may include everything from prohibiting physical contact and regulations on what water balloon launchers may be loaded with, to limiting or not allowing the use of higher powered water weaponry. (i.e. SuperCannon II.)


  • Player Distribution: Number of players needed/recommended.
  • Team Setup: How players are organized in teams; general options are Free-For-All (no strict teams), two-team, multi-team, and dynamic (i.e. Infection-type games, games w/ permitted alliances, etc.).
  • Rounds and Phases: Some games run by rounds and phases. For example, an entire game of simple elimination (Skirmish) may run on 10 rounds. Rounds are divisions within games, and phases are divisions within rounds.
  • Hit Actions: Specifications for what players are to do when hit, such as respawning (re-entering the game) time intervals and locations, or freezing in place, etc.
  • Overall Objective: The means to determine how teams or players rank up at the end of a match; generally the team who scores the most wins. Primary and Secondary Objectives define how score is accumulated. Other factors may be used, such as last man standing, etc.
  • Primary Objective(s): High-level objectives that are imperative to victory; may or may not be specified. (i.e. CTF Flag.)
  • Secondary Objective(s): Low-level objectives that can supplement a team’s score. Often implied by game rules instead of specified. (i.e. Earning points for getting hits in a CTF game, along with regular point awards for flag capture.)
  • Time and/or Score Limits: How to manage time in a game to prevent it from taking too long. Can also be used as a win/lose restriction.
  • Permitted Water Weaponry: Games may impose rules on allowed equipment and water weapons for the purposes of gameplay. For example, Attackers vs. Defenders games may give one team better guns than the other.
  • Game-Specific Factors: Gameplay rules, setup, and how to handle situations unique to specific gametype.

The distinction between how hits are counted and rules regarding them is an important one. HBWW used to categorize games into three main groups: Soakfest (no hit rules for at least half of the players in the game at a time), respawn-based (infinite lives with spawning rules when hit), and elimination (finite lives, with some mechanism of eliminating players from the game). However, this has changed and games are listed by symmetry or lack thereof due to the rising number of asymmetrical games I’ve came up with.

Primary and Secondary Objectives like CTF flags are also defined on a group’s own terms. For most items, real life objects must be used to represent them, which applies not only to Objectives but also to spawn points, etc.

The HBWW directory listed on the site is by no means anywhere near an exhaustive list of possible games. It is up to the individual and group to decide how to organize their games and what rules to use.

Objectives and Gameplay Primer:

Common Primary Objectives/Object Sets

  • Base: A generic designation of where a team begins and/or is otherwise anchored to in a match. Bases defined may be mobile, may have more than one per team, or they may not exist at all. A base gives a guide to where primary objectives as well as spawn points generally appear.
  • Spawn Area: An insertion area for players, almost always for a specific team. May be defined as a stationary area or even as a certain player. (i.e. One person from each team may act as a spawn point.) Players can start games at Spawn Points, or in games that allow them multiple or infinite lives, return to one under certain rules/conditions. When spawning, once a player meets all requirements to respawn (i.e. wait out a timer), they are invincible so long as they stay inside the Spawn Area. After leaving, they become vulnerable.
  • Flag and Delivery Point: A Flag is any object which has the goal of being delivered to a Delivery Point; associated with Capture-The-Flag (CTF) type games. Flag and Delivery Point team ownerships need to be cleared up; i.e. with three teams A, B, and C in a standard Team CTF game, each team has their own set of Flags and Delivery points, and score by delivering an opposing team’s Flag into their Delivery Point.
  • Container Target: Represented by any container that can hold water, any team that fills up an opposing team’s Container Target completely using water will score against it.
  • Attack Target: Similar to the Container Target, but easier to score against. It is any target that can be soaked or blasted by water directly, such as a square of toilet paper. When the target is soaked or destroyed, it is considered scored.
  • Control Point: To capture a control point, a player must stand within range of it for a period of time denoted by an hourglass placed on the point. The hourglass is flipped as soon as the player is in range, but may be reset if the player fails to fully capture the control point.
  • Bomb and Target: Unlikely to ever be used in a game due to its complexity, the concept is based off of a common gametype found in first person shooters. An object represents a Bomb, and another represents the Target. To score, a team must deliver a Bomb to an opposing team’s Target and detonate it. To do this, the Bomb must go through a short arming phase, which activates a short Timer. If this Timer runs out without the opposing team “diffusing” the Bomb (represented by yet another short action), then the team that planted it scores. Applied to water warfare, one may designate an empty, special water bottle as a Bomb, and have a water source located at a Target. The water source may be a hose, blaster, water containers, etc. and is used to fill the bottle. Filling the bottle “arms” it, and an hourglass is used to represent the Bomb’s timer. To diffuse a Bomb, the diffusing team must empty the container that the water is stored in, before the timer runs out.

Having multiple objectives, even of of mixed type, is possible in any gametype. Objectives may also act as spawn points as well.

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