Topic 2: H.O.R.S.E.

Horse is a really fun game that every basketball player or child with a backyard hoop can enjoy. Horse is a basketball shooting game where players take turns shooting at the hoop from different locations. If someone makes a shot but everyone else misses, those people get a letter toward the word ‘HORSE’. The last person left standing wins! Get your best trick shots ready because horse is a great chance to show them off! You’ll need at least two players, but there’s no limit to the number of players who can join in.

Establishing the Basic Rules

  1. Decide on an order of play. You can play horse with two or more players but you must agree on an order for who plays first, then second, and so on. Try flipping a coin or playing “rock, paper, scissors” to figure out who gets to choose the order. If you can’t decide, take turns shooting from the same spot. The first person to make a shot can choose their position. Continue this process until the order has been sorted.
  2. Start with the first player taking a shot at the hoop. The first player can take a shot from anywhere on the court or even from out of bounds! They can add “extra rules” to this shot too, but they have to announce them before shooting. For example, the player can say “I’m shooting with my eyes closed” or “I’m shooting behind my back.” They get one attempt to make the shot. If a rule is called and the player succeeds in shooting the ball in but they don’t satisfy all the rules of the shot they stated, the shot doesn’t count.
  3. Let the next player attempt to either match the shot or create a new one. The second player in the order is now given the opportunity to shoot. They either have to create a new shot or attempt to copy the shot that was just made by the player in front of them. If the first player made a shot then the second player has to copy whatever the first player did, including where they were standing. If the first player missed the shot then the second player can shoot from anywhere, using any rules they want to invent.
  4. Keep playing through and attempting new shots. Whenever it’s your turn, if the person before you made a shot, you have to copy their shot exactly. If the person before you missed, it’s your turn to invent a new shot.The order works in a loop so once the final player has taken their shot, the ball goes back to the first player.
  5. Get a letter when you fail a shot challenge. If someone attempts the shot made by the person before them and they miss the shot, they get the letter H. Each time someone makes this mistake, they get a new letter, eventually spelling out H—O—R—S—E. When you spell out the full “HORSE,” you lose the game.When attempting a shot after a letter has been given, you do not receive a letter for missing. If you miss the shot, play just passes to the next player with no penalty. You can also play so that a player gains a letter each time everyone else fails a challenge. In this version, the first to get the word ‘HORSE’ wins.
  6. Invent a new shot if everyone succeeds. If you invent a shot, and every other player successfully makes the shot, you get to invent a new shot. Here, it’s a great idea to try and make the shots more challenging if everyone made the shot the first time around.
  7. Play until there’s one person left. When someone spells out the word “HORSE” with their letters, that player leaves the game. The other players keep playing in the same order but skip the eliminated player’s turn.

Eventually there will be one player left in the game after everyone else has been eliminated. This person is the winner.